Lost my clown today, gutted.

eagerreefer

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Like the title says I sadly lost my male clownfish today and am pretty devastated. Fortunately or unfortunately I had the day off so I basically watched his final moments. Although it's too late for him now I'm hoping to figure out what got him as I don't think I can handle one of my other fish dying as well. My last new fish addition was July 2020, and I haven't added new coral for a few months. He had been swimming head angled up and pretty fast breathing for a while now but he always ate like a hog so I didn't think I needed to do anything extreme. I did give him a Reef Rally Bath along with the female clown and a goby about 2 weeks ago (mainly for my Goby who had a puffy gill at the time but I thought I might as well treat all my fish at the same time. The rally bath didn't really do much positive or negative. He seemed normal up until last night, he waited for me at the screen door cover during feeding time like he always does but instead of pigging out he flopped on the sand panting hard and didn't eat anything. I checked on him throughout the night and while he would have random bursts of energy he would quickly flop back down and lay sideways on the sand panting. This morning he ate nothing again so I decided to do a 5min fresh water dip which again seemed to do nothing for him positive or negative. He passed a few hours afterwards.

One thing I had noticed in the past few weeks was a white patch underneath one of his fins, which I have a picture attached (as well as a video of some better days). Normally it was quite small and only visible when he was laying at a certain angle in the coral / anemone. It didn't look like ich, brook, or anything I had seen before, it more looked like he had lost some skin, almost like an ulcer. When he died he went pale and the patch became very apparent as well as some smaller pale patches around his head / gills.

Hoping someone can help identify the issue so I can act quicker if any of my other fish start acting strange. I wish I knew more so I could have done more. He was "just" a fish but brought me a lot of happiness in a year where there wasn't much.

My parameters if that's helpful:

Alk: 8
Calcium: 440
Mag: 1300
Salinity: 1.026
Temp: 78
Nitrates & Phosphates: Undetectable, but I have plenty of pest algae so I know it's there

Appreciate anyone who read this lengthy post and thanks for the help in advance.

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anemoneanatomy

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The white spot + the difficulty breathing makes me think ich. Also, I'm sorry for your loss. I am devastated when I lose any of the fish, corals, or inverts in my tank.
 
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eagerreefer

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The white spot + the difficulty breathing makes me think ich. Also, I'm sorry for your loss. I am devastated when I lose any of the fish, corals, or inverts in my tank.

Thank you. I have lost corals and inverts before but this was my first fish loss. He had so much character and my female clown loved him as well. I hope she'll be ok without him.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Thank you. I have lost corals and inverts before but this was my first fish loss. He had so much character and my female clown loved him as well. I hope she'll be ok without him.
That doesn’t look like ich. More likely it was a systemic bacterial infection. Rapid breathing can be caused by protozoan diseases, but that always goes hand in hand wil the fish not feeding. Since your fish was breathing fast, but still eating for at least a few weeks, it wasn’t a protozoan disease. That, plus the belly lesion all takes me to some systemic bacterial infection - tough to treat, but usually not highly contagious.
Jay
 
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eagerreefer

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That doesn’t look like ich. More likely it was a systemic bacterial infection. Rapid breathing can be caused by protozoan diseases, but that always goes hand in hand wil the fish not feeding. Since your fish was breathing fast, but still eating for at least a few weeks, it wasn’t a protozoan disease. That, plus the belly lesion all takes me to some systemic bacterial infection - tough to treat, but usually not highly contagious.
Jay
I don’t think it’s ich either, the lesion wasn’t raised at all nor a small dot like most of ich pictures I’ve seen. What do you think was the source? Opportunistic pathogen possibly?
 
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Jay Hemdal

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I don’t think it’s ich either, the lesion wasn’t raised at all nor a small dot like most of ich pictures I’ve seen. What do you think was the source? Opportunistic pathogen possibly?
Just guessing here of course, but our aquariums are filled with gram negative bacteria that become pathogenic when they invade a fish, usually through a cut in the skin. There are also internal bacterial issues, most are less known, but Mycobacterium sp. "fish tuberculosis" is fairly common, and not really treatable. That disease however, usually affects older fish.

Jay
 
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