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Carrie H

New to forum - Help with sick clowns...

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Carrie H

Hi!   This is my first post :-).  


I have a 32 gallon bio cube currently stocked with 2 clowns, 1 fire shrimp, cuc, 3 zoas and a BTA.   Last week I lost a Bangai cardinal, and a fire fish....which was my first sign of trouble.  They both died within 24 hours of each other - after looking fine the day before.


The last 3 days, my clowns have refused to eat and have been hiding under a rock, and appear to be breathing rapidly.   I did a 15% water change yesterday - and they perked up a little...but still refuse to eat.   I tried soaking food in garlic (which the shrimp LOVED) but they still wouldn't even try to eat it.   I also added an air stone yesterday to help my little clowns breathe.


I saw white (thick) poop briefly in my female last night just before I went to bed.  Other than the poop....the clowns look normal - no spots...or damaged fins.    Fire shrimp, BTA and zoas are still looking great.


So....Doing a search on the internets - it may be my fish have parasites???  I do not have a QT tank, so I'm wondering if I could/should dose the tank with API general?    


All water parameters are right where they should be.....nothing appears to be 'off' chemically.


What else could I try?


Update....May have panicked too soon....

Tested Ammonia again....still at zero
Clowns seem to be a bit more active than they were yesterday. Larger clown still has stringy poop...I've attached a video below - I think shows the stringy poop.

The better news is that when I accidentally tapped the lid, they got excited and started begging for food. I dropped a couple of pellets in and they ate them.

I still think they are breathing rapidly. I uploaded this to YouTube: Clown Fish breathing fast? Are they still breathing fast in your opinion? Ps... they like to host by the back wall....

On another note.....I've wanted them to host the anemone since I put it in the tank....this morning, one of them was - but the anemone wasn't having it....and moved under the rock - now they are back to hosting the back wall. Are some anemones anti clown hosting? My daughter has this same variety in her 75 gallon, and her clowns do just fine with it?

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Welcome to the forums! 


The anemone probably needs to adjust before it'll accept them, and they can stress it out a bit. 


With regards the not eating etc, there may have been some ammonia spike for a short time after the fish died, and passed only suppressing their appetites and causing minor stress. The rapid breathing would be because ammonia burns gills and would take a while to heal, just make sure to keep the tank as aerated as possible. 

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Seachem Focus + Metroplex is what I would recommend if you believe your fish have internal parasites. However, this method only works if they are eating. Keep in mind, Metroplex is not reef safe but can be reef safe if bonded to the food using focus. I am currently using it now because my clowns have internal parasites as well. No loss in coral after 2 weeks of use. I'd just make sure to remove any uneaten food with a turkey baster. Internal parasites are a slow killers so if you see the signs, you should medicate. 

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When and how was the tank cycled? 


Test all your parameters, see if anything looks off.

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