Sick Wrasse?


Apsiring Alhcohlolic

My fish seems to be going into a brief fit.

He'll suddenly stop swimming, lie on the bottom of the tank with his mouth closed and have heavy gill movement. During this time, he'll go into his stressed coloration and he be pale and blotchy. He is very active during other times and has brilliant coloration with no spots or nothing.

Last time he did this he did it for around an hr, then was fine.

He does seem to "sleep" more than my other fish.

It'll take him around 30mins after lights come on until he wakes up and starts swimming around.

I am fighting a little bit of a Nitrate spike atm (20ppm), but the previous time this happened the nitrates were low for me (10ppm).

Nitrite and Ammonia are 0.

He was quarantined for 2 weeks with Prazi-pro and given 2 treatments.

He's been in the tank for 2 weeks.

The only thing I can think of that I can compare it to... I also own a Springer Spaniel. Occasionally she has a "fit"... basically like epilepsy. Can fish have the same condition?

If not what do you think this could be?


Moved On
First off, your nitrates should have nothing to do with this. Unfortunately you didn't QT long enough so any number of diseases is possible. A mental condition similar to epilepsy is also possible. But my money says some external parasite or internal worm is probably afflicting him. Do you see him twitching his head sometimes? 2 treatments of Prazi is normally sufficient, but I've had to dose more (and more frequently) to break the egg cycle of Flukes, which can be quite tricky.

Also, what's your pH? How long has the tank been setup? Any other fish? How are they doing? Any fish newer in the tank than the wrasse?


SALTWATER since '73
Premium Member
what kind of wrasse is it?
IME, many wrasses seem to have an 'internal clock', and may not come out when the lights first come fact if I override the timers and turn of the lights, can take the wrasses an hour or 2, to 'wake up'.


New member
Heavy breathing could be low Disolved oxygen in the water.

Do you have a lid on the tank?
Do you use power heads and what size are they and what size is the tank?
If you do have power heads are they on a controller?


Apsiring Alhcohlolic
PH is 8.1

The tank is still pretty new, around 2 months. The reason for the slight Nitrate spike is I had softball sized rock that had a few blotches of colonial hydroids that I burnt off with a grill lighter.

All the other fish are fine.

I have 3 other Anthias I QT'd with him, they are doing well. No fish have been added since them.

I haven't seen any twitching from him.


New member
Water quiality less important for fish as they can do good in these readings.

Do you have a lid on the tank ?
Whats used for water flow?


Apsiring Alhcohlolic
I was thinking lighting could maybe cause it, but he doesn't seek shelter when he goes into one of his "fits". He lies out in the open on the sand bed.


New member
In a 120 you want a minimum of 3000 gallons per hour or tank size times 25 times the water flow. If those pumps are on high without any wave maker your still 1000 gph low.

The screen on top will also limit amount of gas exchange.

Your tank breaths at the waters surface and needs good high steady water flow with little to no restriction at the surface for proper gas exchange.

Salt water tank recieve oxygen and discard un wanted gases at the surface and the better the flow the better the exchange.

I would remove the screen and increase the flow.


New member
Ok i see that sorry i thought it was 1000 gph max.
Do you have them both set at 3200 ?
And are they on a wave maker?


New member
Not sure what reef crest mode is.

Anyway if you have a screen on top this will highly reduce any gas exchange , and you want steady constant water flow.

Remove the screen and create a constant water movement and ill bet you will see a big difference.


New member
I dont mean to be rude but removing the screen and creating steady flow sounds easy and like i said DS ( dissolved oxygen ) can only be brought in at the surface. More available open air and steady water current will produce the most. I just want to help.


Apsiring Alhcohlolic
I understand and appreciate the advice hollister, but I think oxygen levels are ok.

I have numerous other fish that aren't exhibiting issues.
There is plenty of flow via the powerheads. I'm also using a sump with a 900gph return.
The screen top is a very coarse screen with 1/4" x 1/4" openings and only a small "fishing line" type mesh as a divider... It's as close to open air as you can get without letting your fish jump out.

Also, another thing to keep in mind, he only acts this way for an hour tops. He recovers and then once again starts swimming around the tank like nothing happened.


Apsiring Alhcohlolic
Sorry, just trying to think of the best and least intrusive option here...

I'm thinking at this point I should probably do a FW dip on the Wrasse just to be safe.

If I see little white spots collecting on the bottom of the bucket, I got issues. If I don't see little white spots collecting on the bottom then it might be something that won't show up... like worms or it's just the wrasse being weird.

In the event of white spots I should probably start treating the DT with Prazi-pro.

One concern with this is that it makes my skimmer unusable during the duration of treatment and I am dealing with that nitrate spike.

In the event that spots don't show up and it is an internal worm causing the issue and it goes untreated... what are the risks?