Clownfish stressing, blind, and showing gills?
My clownfish has been acting fine in the past 1 month I've had them, no signs of trouble, and actually the only fish in the tank that haven't been stressed by anything.
Yesterday I introduced a featherduster, Galaxea coral (Tooth coral), Xenia coral, and 2 yellow sea cucumbers to the tank, the Xenia coral coming with 2 emerald crabs, a fancy yellow brittle star, and a peanut worm.
Today, both of the clownfish are suddenly seeming very stressed, one won't stop racing around the tank, bumping into anything he swims towards before changing direction, the other is slowly swimming near the top, bumping into snails and walls. Both fish have some kind of white coloration to their faces, looking like they just got hit in the face with flour, and I snapped a picture and noticed their gills are extended
I tested the water quality last night, pH is about 8.0, alkalinity 300, nitrites 0, nitrates 5-10 (The strip was a creamy color), specific gravity 1.025 (33ppt)
Whitish coloration to face, and extended gills (black "fingers" behind first stripe) best seen in 2nd pic
1st pic is the larger female swimming near the top, 2nd pic is the smaller male racing around
I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I also noticed some spiderweb-like strands floating around in my tank.
This is a very difficult situation. There are unlimited possibilities on this issue, so I will start the brain storming process and hopefully something will hit home with you and we can figure this out.
First, a quote from liveaquaria.com website regarding Yellow Sea Cucumbers:
"If attacked or injured, it may release mild toxins, but due to its small size, will not pose a threat in the average sized aquarium. The Yellow Sea Cucumber is very sensitive to copper-based medications and it will not tolerate high nitrate levels. "
Is it possible that your Sea Cucumber released a toxin? As a precaution, you should run a fresh bag of activated carbon for 24 to 48 hours.
Have you ever treated the aquarium with copper, or did you transplant the same substrate from a different aquarium that you treated with copper?
Next, the parasite Brooklynella in very early stages could cause this type behavior and appearance. Do you have any other symptoms or updates?
Are their other fish showing odd behavior?
Another thought, and this is a just a wild out of the blue meaningless question. By any chance, do you feed your fish exclusively Freeze Dried Krill?
Try testing your pH at night and then again in the morning. We are looking for the swing that occurs in the reading overnight. How frequently do you have to buffer the water to maintain the alkalinity reading? Do you add calcium also?
None of my other fish are showing anything wrong, and after looking around on the internet, Brooklynellosis was giving all the symptoms my fish had.
I think the white flour-covered-face was a "thick whitish mucus coating", which I've heard starts around the face, or that could have been the symptom of losing color... Both were gasping at the surface, which is another symptom, one of them was very lethargic, another symptom...
The part that worried me yesterday was that the websites say that fish with Brooklynellosis often die "with hours to a day or two after being initially diagnosed."
Also, I've never let any copper-related fish medicines even in my house, and my LFS, while stocking copper-related fish medicines, is about as against treating their fish with copper as I am.
Also, oddly enough, I noticed the fish had this possible Brooklynellosis at 8:00AM, so after college I raced to every fish store in the area, and only one out of the ten or so stores carried anything with malachite green, this one was a mix of malachite green and formalin (I was iffy about using formaldehyde with my fish, but it's better than the alternative). At about 2:30PM, I arrived home, and both my clownfish were acting perfectly fine... Colors were back to normal, they weren't gasping for air, weren't lethargic, and they accepted the food I gave them (One of the symptoms was refusal to eat).
Both fish's gills were slightly flared, but less than they were in the morning, and they didn't seem to have any breathing problems, but just in case, I moved them to a QT tank I made from my previously-unused 5gal nano cube, with a HOT filter with carbon. Also, instead of dosing the QT tank with formalin/malachite green, as I've read people kill their fish that way, I treated it as methylene blue, giving the fish a dip in the medicine for about 10 seconds, then gave them a hyposalinity dip for 2 minutes (Started stressing in that time), then back in the QT tank.
Keep a close eye on them for a week or so prior to placing them back into the display. If you see any white spots at all, you will need to give them a much longer quarantine period.
Keep in mind, carbon removes medication. So i'm not so sure you have the proper filter on your q-tank.
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