Q. Why has my Scarlet hawkfish turned pink?
I have a 300 l fish-only marine tank. About a week ago my Scarlet hawkfish started to lose some of its pigmentation, and within a further couple of days, it was pale pink. It has since recovered some of its colour, but its fins are ragged. It has been a little reclusive over this time but is still eating.
I should point out that this fish and its tank mates — a Regal tang, Foxface, Eibli angel and Azure damsel — are all over 15 years old. None of the other fish have lost any colour and are behaving normally.
Is this loss of pigmentation simply old age, or could something else be going on? WILFRID GALE, EMAIL
AFish can lose colour for a number of reasons, such as stress due to bullying or ill health. The colour loss, change in behaviour and frayed fins may indicate some illness or aggression from tank mates but if this fish is over 15 years old that’s good going, so it could simply be old age.
Even so, do look out for any bullying and give the fish a thorough visual check to eliminate any parasitic diseases and check for obvious reddening of the fins, which could indicate secondary bacterial infections. Unless these look to be an issue it’s probably not worth risking stress to the fish by moving it to a quarantine tank for isolation or treatment. Instead, continue to provide the obviously excellent care you already have been by maintaining optimal water quality and offering a varied diet (including different crustacean- based foods such as Mysis and Krill).
If you’re not already, additional supplementation of the feed with a vitamin/ HUFA (highly unsaturated fatty acid) preparation could help to give it a boost, and this certainly wouldn’t hurt the hawkfish’s tank mates. DAVE WOLFENDEN
Fifteen years is a good age for a Scarlet hawkfish.