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Old 01/25/2008, 09:24 AM   #1
Sk8r
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HLLE and carbon...relationship?

I have seen it discussed...that running carbon 24/7 may lead to hlle in hlle-subject fishes.

It does strike me that carbon, which can remove many things from the water column, might also be removing trace elements as fast as water changes can put them back in...and that HLLE, which many suspect as a nutritional disease, is therefore more likely to appear.

Carbon is a frequent resort of fish-only tanks with an ammonia problem: such tanks are also quite frequently keeping tangs and angels, which are subject to this condition.

Zoe appeared to cure HLLE when fed to a fish of my acquaintance who had come in suffering from it. THere was no carbon in the second tank.

Comments? Experience? Mythbusting?


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Old 01/25/2008, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: HLLE and carbon...relationship?

Quote:
Originally posted by Sk8r
I have seen it discussed...that running carbon 24/7 may lead to hlle in hlle-subject fishes.

It does strike me that carbon, which can remove many things from the water column, might also be removing trace elements as fast as water changes can put them back in...and that HLLE, which many suspect as a nutritional disease, is therefore more likely to appear.

Carbon is a frequent resort of fish-only tanks with an ammonia problem: such tanks are also quite frequently keeping tangs and angels, which are subject to this condition.

Zoe appeared to cure HLLE when fed to a fish of my acquaintance who had come in suffering from it. THere was no carbon in the second tank.

Comments? Experience? Mythbusting?
Most of the discussions I have had with people who cured HLLE moved the effected fish into another tank. So it is an unfit experiment because they just change every environmental factor and changed the feeding but they state that what ever elixiar they may be feeding their fish was what "cured" them. I have heard a lot of claims that it is related to diet but I don't completely buy that. I have seen fish with HLLE in one tank and a fish of the same species, recieveing the same diet in a different tank not have HLLE. What I have also seen were fish (Atlantic Blue Tangs) in a new tank live for a few months with no signs of HLLE and within a week of useing carbon to "polish up" the water clarity devlelop HLLE. I have also seen the reverse. A 650 gallon tank that traditionally had HLLE bad, was tore down, completely repainted and all the gravel change and cycled. When fish that get HLLE were added they did not come down with HLLE. So I am not sure that it is the carbon removeing somthing from the water or the carbon forming a fine dust that effects the Lateral line of the fish some how.

Brad

P.S. I have heard of a several thousand gallon aquarium coming down with severe HLLE after a machanical malfunction that lead to carbon dust being dumped into the tank.


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Old 01/25/2008, 02:21 PM   #3
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i have several tangs and dwarf angels in my system and i also run carbon heavily(3x to 4x what most do) and ive never experienced HLLE. i also think that the perception of carbon striping most or all trace elements from the water is over stated.


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Old 01/25/2008, 09:11 PM   #4
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I have seen multiple cases where fish were fine, only to come back later and find the carbon bag developed a hole or tore, carbon all over, and finer bits/dust collected in filter media until it's blackened, and fish with severe HLLFE.


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Old 01/26/2008, 10:08 AM   #5
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HLLE is likely multiple pronged problem in terms of cause. There has been much anecdotal ties to carbon use, stray current, and nutrition. The only scientific work I've seen on the subject (by Blasiola) points to nutrition, primarily vitamin C. Vitamin C is well known to play a role in immune systems of animals. Lack of it can cause decrease in the ability of the immune system to deal with problems. A weakened immune system is subject to even more problems with addition of yet more problems such as excessive particulates (carbon dust), and stray voltage. HLLE has been repeatedly reversed via dietary manipulation by increasing the amounts of vitamin C (boost the immune system) and vitamin A (used in tissue repair/healing).


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Old 01/26/2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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i also run carbon heavily and have a good amount of carbon dust, my purple and yellow tang have shown no signs of HLLE yet, its been 5 months. they recieve what i consider a well balanced diet.
i also totally agree with mbbuna about carbon removing trace elements being overstated, as far as i know most trace elements are useless heavy metals with a few possible exceptions, i am not sure what kind of amino acids and other useful things carbon may remove but trace elements prolly are useless anyways.


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Old 01/26/2008, 02:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by poo-tang
i also run carbon heavily and have a good amount of carbon dust, my purple and yellow tang have shown no signs of HLLE yet, its been 5 months. they recieve what i consider a well balanced diet.
i also totally agree with mbbuna about carbon removing trace elements being overstated, as far as i know most trace elements are useless heavy metals with a few possible exceptions, i am not sure what kind of amino acids and other useful things carbon may remove but trace elements prolly are useless anyways.
Do you have a reef tank (Live Rock, skimmer ect...). Most cases of HLLE I have seen have been in FOT with only machanical filtration. The cases I have seen in reef systems have not been as severe.

Brad


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Old 01/26/2008, 03:02 PM   #8
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Well, I only offer my experience I've been doing the aquarium maintenance gig for a long time now, and this is only FWIW.. As I mentioned, I have seen carbon bags break and spread carbon particles all over. When nothing else has changed, these events can lead to severe HLLE, however not always.

This has led me to the belief that excessive carbon filtration can lead to HLLE. However, I don't think it's the amount of carbon, more to do with how effective the carbon is. My thought it that it is considerably more effective outside of the confines of a filter bag and spread all over the place Maybe it's not even a scavenging issue. Perhaps the carbon dust directly damages the fish, maybe it effects the digestive system(could the dust make it into the gut?), I don't know.

I do agree that it is a multi prong problem, it has certainly occurred in systems where excessive carbon wasn't an apparent problem.


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Old 01/26/2008, 03:11 PM   #9
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IME Tangs and Angelfish are the two families most often affected by HILLE. Certain species of these two families are very prone to develop HILLE if kept in a fish-only system. These same species usually do not develop HILLE (or might even reverse the symptoms) if placed in a reef aquarium environment (or sometimes even a FOWLR).
It doesn't matter if carbon is being used or not. This is my experience.
It leads me to believe HILLE is a dietary stress related problem.
I've used broccoli and orange sections (vitamin C) to help cure HILLE in Paracanthurus hepatus, Acanthurus veliferum, and several species of Zebrasoma. I currently have a Powder Blue Tang in my reef aquarium recovering from HILLE that was induced by a stressful FO system.
Obviously, carbon dust being spilled into ANY system can cause problems.


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Old 01/26/2008, 03:18 PM   #10
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reversed/cured HILLE in a Sailfin Tang


same Sailfin in a reef aquarium fed a good rotational diet (frozen orange sections here) cured up to be a real beauty!



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Old 01/26/2008, 03:19 PM   #11
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ive never believed the idea that carbon leads to HLLE. lack of proper diet and stress leads to HLLE in my experience.


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Old 01/26/2008, 09:58 PM   #12
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yes i have a reef tank but there is no skimmer, that would effectively removes carbon dust, i do have a considerale amount of filter feeders because of the lack of a skimmer, ie sponges tunicas and dusters, the sponges actually turn black from time to time because of carbon dust(my carelessness). i have had several carbon bags break on me and even spill into the sump. i just today vacuumed out about a cup of carbon from my sump(BB). again this is careless and i regret not taking care of some issues sooner but anyways, i see no visible HLLE. i am an inexperienced aquarist and may not be able to diagnosis this syndrome in the early stages having only seen pics of it, but to me my tangs are healthy and thriving.
as a side not, how do you stop carbon dust from spilling into your system, even when i run it in a carbon bag that doesn't break i see carbon dust throughout mysystem, and i use what i think is a high grade carbon, kent reef carbon.


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Old 01/26/2008, 10:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by poo-tang
how do you stop carbon dust from spilling into your system, even when i run it in a carbon bag that doesn't break i see carbon dust throughout mysystem, and i use what i think is a high grade carbon, kent reef carbon.
run it in something like a Phosban reactor


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Old 01/26/2008, 10:59 PM   #14
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Ever think we are just trying too hard?

Its been said several times in this thread already and I always just thought it was kinda obvious.

Carbon can be a causal factor in both causing and curing HLLE.

Carbon used in a proper manner helps clean the water in our tanks. This improves the water quality and helps eliminate a portion of the ultra-fine particles floating free in our tank water. This cleaning is why we all use carbon in the first place and will help improve water quality and improve the condition of fish with HLLE. (And I do not think there is any way to overclean the water using carbon unless you were using some behemoth setup with gratuitous amounts of carbon).

However, the dust from improperly rinsed carbon (or even GFO) is a very fine dust and is small enough to get lodged into the pores in our fish's heads. (ampules of Lorenzini or some such title) This dust is one of several methods to plug these delicate and critical part of a fishs anatomy. Other methods include detrius in the water or just bad water quality leading to infected pores that could become inflamed or swollen.

Either by clogging with detrius, dust or swelling shut, the end result is the same. Fish develops infections in its ampules and then is no longer able to utilize this sense. Just as important as sight or touch, the loss of this sense would spell the doom of any fish.

HLLE is just the point where we can observe physical deterioration in the fish as its pores are already clogged, infected and the bad flesh is decaying away. Truly a horrible fate.

Good clean water, stress free enviroment, maybe a little antibacterial medication and any fish should be able to recover from HLLE. But I would argue that any fish that has suffered from a visible case of HLLE should be considered a high risk for developing a new case of HLLE.

I am not saying I am right. I am just saying that this is how I understnd the illness HLLE.


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Old 01/27/2008, 12:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
run it in something like a Phosban reactor
Quote:
However, the dust from improperly rinsed carbon (or even GFO) is a very fine dust and is small enough to get lodged into the pores in our fish's heads.
i rinse properly, how would running it in a reactor help, in a reactor it is in constant motion (at least some of it) and constantly colliding with itself causing dust, mine has always been rinsed properly and run in a filter sock were it basically stays put and doesn't constantly move about an cause dust. i s this assessment correct or am i missing something? why am i geting carbon dust, using it too long? please explain if you can?


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Old 01/27/2008, 12:57 AM   #16
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I think what you are asking is the real source of much of the misunderstanding of what causes HLLE.

You go about rinsing your carbon and get it to an acceptable level of cleanliness, and then put it into your reactor. Problem is what do you consider an acceptable level of rinsing the carbon and how do you come to the decision that it is clean enough? And then how much flow do you run through your reactor unit?

In a theoretical situation each of these issues has a clearly defined answer. You rinse until no more dust is released by the carbon and you use the exact recommended amount of flow for your reactor based on the amount of media used. (Amount of media used is based on your tank volume).

In the real world however these are not easily defined instances.

I have yet to find a carbon that rinses perfectly clean of dust if I agitate it even a little bit. And getting the flow just right on a reactor is more subjective than anything else.

On a positive note, the amount of carbon dust released should have to be pretty substantial to be enough to clog the pores in the side of your fishs head. As a one time instance, it should be of minor importance. Just make sure the carbon you use does not release tons of dust into your display tank all the time.

In fact, I would argue the benefit of using carbon outweighs the potential for it to induce HLLE.

Short answer is you just have to get the carbon clean as you can and watch out if you get a dustcloud released into your water.

Good water quality is still more important than focusing on the carbon risks. You would have to have a pretty serious, long term carbon cloud to cause HLLE all on its own. But, have nasty water and watch as even a small carbon dust cloud could cause HLLE.

Dont take just my word on this. Look up the ampoules of lorenzeli (sp?) yourself. Consider how they would get infected. I could be wrong. All I am doing is critical thinking about a situation.

Turns out my terminology about ampoules of lorenzini are a little bit off. Correct term is just lateral lines. But the two are closely related. see link http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Lateral+line


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Old 01/29/2008, 09:33 AM   #17
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I have a sailfin that just developed HLLE a month or so ago. Happend very fast, and after a few large water changes seems to have stopped progressing.

Now that I think about it, there is a possibility it was caused by me not rinsing my carbon/GFO enough but im not sure. I usually rinse my reactor with both carbon and GFO in it pretty well, and then run the effluent into a filter sock just in case. But even if it isnt rinsed or run into the sock it still has to go through the fuge and a mass of cheato so there is little chance it will make it into the display.

I also feed VERY well. They get pellets 2 times a day, and a mix of a bunch of frozen foods, as well as sheet algea at least 5 times a week.

To the people who have cured it, what do you do? I have a seperate frag system I could put him in for a while if I must. I have also been giving him shaved carrots along with his algea sheets.

It seems to only be affecting the sailfin as well, the purple and blue tang in there are not showing any signs. Other then the funky looking face and line, he is his usual self...a fat butthole of a fish.


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Old 01/29/2008, 01:00 PM   #18
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I've used Kent reef carbon for years along with Purigen. Never ever ever had a problem. BUT I think what your not doing is rinsing in fresh water before putting into the tank which is why you have carbon dust spread throught your tank. The directions should be clearly stating you should rinse in fresh water outside of your tank before placing in your sump.


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