Q. Why has my Scar­let hawk­fish turned pink?

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Fishkeeping Answers -

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.

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