Clownfish Hyper-Melanization

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Dr. Fish
Wandering Nomad
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Clownfish Hyper-Melanization (updated 1-27-23)

What You Need To Know:

* Small black smudges (larger than “Black Ich” turbellarians) usually only found on clownfish.
* This is more of a condition than a disease. The dark spots are reactions from coming into contact with an anemone or stinging coral.
* Most of the time the issue self-corrects. In rare cases it can be fatal if the host anemone/coral refuses to “accept” the clownfish.

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Crusty Old Salt
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Is it really the "host" not accepting it or could it be an issue with the clown's mucus coating not picking up the chemical cues used by the anemone to keep from stinging itself?


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Los Angeles
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My clowns I got when they were about 6 years old according to the seller. When I got them they had these black spots. They went thru copper, prazipro, F2, MB, - probably more. I was convinced it was a disease or something I could cure. These poor fish went thru all this with absolutely no change for months and months. One day I decided I was done putting them thru the treatments and I gave up and plopped them into the DT. They are now about ten years old, still have the black marks but are otherwise great, fat and happy. They lay eggs like clock work, and are not mean, don’t bite me like almost every other clown fish I have or had. I’m not sure if is some cases the spots go away, but in my case they did not.

it was only after I put them thru all the treatments did I come across hyper-Melanization. In hind sight I wish I knew of this before and avoided the senseless treatments.