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Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.02.24(Thu)17:08    Post subject: Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE) Reply with quote

This thread was started in response to question posed to me by a fellow hobbyist, who writes, "Have there been any updates in the treatment of lateral line errosion in Centropyge Angels? Obiously, I'm familiar with the traditional opinions. I'm just wondering if there have been any new ideas or interesting research which you have come across recently."

Another hobbyist commenting on his Sailfin Tang wrote, "I did notice that there were these small almost like holes around its face and a few sporadic ones on its body."

I will get things started with my previous HLLE response to the second post first, then add to it when I get a chance...

Regarding the sailfin tang; sounds like early stages of head and lateral line erosion (HLLE) sometimes called a "syndrome." There are documented cases of reversal after moving to different tank and changing diet (more green matter) but unless you move the fish it will likely get worse.
When your fish start "breaking down" with HHLE, you need to look at the environment more than the fish. The fish is not happy; it is REFLECTING its husbandry/environment. Actual cause depends on which expert you consult.
Some attribute this problem to diet, viral disease/pathogen, vitamin deficiency, lack of slime coat, overall water quality/excessive nitrate/nutrient build-up, electrical current/lack of grounding, "stress" due to above or overcrowding... I have personally even seen this brought on overnight by too much activated carbon. Bottom line, some fish are more likely to get this than others, and in my experience sailfins are often known to have a problem with HHLE.
Suggest:
1. Make sure your water is up to par (basics here; pH, nitrates, etc.)
2. Make sure your diet is too (it is not a bad thing for some healthy, bright green algae to be growing in all fish systems for tangs and angels)
3. After checking all of the above, identify which species are resistant and simply avoid buying the problematic species... for example, I have never seen a wrasse, trigger or clownfish with HLLE... I'm sure they must get it, but I have never seen it. On the other hand, I have seen lots of tangs and angels with this problem. In fact, I have seen them in community tanks while the other species are never affected.
Recently, I am of the opinion that perhaps a vegetable (macro) filter may offer the most hope for reducing or even elminating this problem long term, of course combined with water changes and proper diet/Iodide/Zoe/Selcon, etc. Despite popular opinion, certain species can suffer from this even in better reef systems, which came as a surprise to me considering the water quality found in these systems.
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Taylorsville, KY

PostPosted: 2005.04.01(Fri)19:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it is worth. The situation I am describing is an isolated case, but is interesting none the less.

About 2 months ago my Coral Beauty Angel came down overnight with HLLE. The skin began to peel away behind its eye, and within 2 days was extending down the lateral line.

My only course of action was to change its diet. I began feeding Julian Sprungs Sea Veggie flakes exclusively. Within 1 week it was begininng to heal, and today the reversal is complete, with no signs at all that HLLE was ever present.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2005.04.02(Sat)9:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to hear your success.
Sounds like in your case it may have been number three on my list (vitamin deficiency). Any chance you may have added fresh activated carbon just before this appeared? Also, was a skimmer in use on this tank?
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MarkLehr
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PostPosted: 2005.04.07(Thu)20:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't' use activated carbon.
Yes, I run a skimmer full time. Very large for the tank size.
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KDodds
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PostPosted: 2005.04.07(Thu)21:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many greatly successful aquarists use both skimmers and carbon, or don't use either, without effecting HLLE one way or the other for them to be considered significant contributors, IMO. I'd look towards diet and water parameters almost exclusively every single time. It used to be that stray voltage was implicated, but it really doesn't seem to be the case either.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2005.04.08(Fri)16:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, water parameters indeed... and, protein skimming as well as activated carbon adsorbtion at the molecular level certainly impact water parameters, don't they....
Did I mention the effect of moving test groups from concrete tanks to fiberglass tanks? Or the effect of moving test groups into outdoor tanks exposed to sunlight?
Have we covered autoimmune disease? Or ozone and HLLE? Or copper and HLLE?
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KDodds
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PostPosted: 2005.04.09(Sat)10:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Protein skimming has been implicated in HLLE the other way around. IOW, it is the USE of a Skimmer that has been implicated, not the non-use. The reduction of organics in conjunction with skimming does not seem to be an issue in HLLE. The same holds true with carbon, it's the USE of carbon, not the non-use that has been implicated. FWIW, neither skimmer nor carbon effect salinity, temperature, Alk, Ca, etc., which should be inline with NSW levels.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2005.04.09(Sat)23:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, okay this is getting interesting... so now you're saying skimming and carbon ARE contributors to HLLE? Just trying to follow your line of thought here.
Regarding carbon, look at my post above; as I said, I have personally seen HLLE brought on overnight by the use of activated carbon. So I can assure you from experience it is not always diet 100 percent of the time. There is more at work here; other stress factors, etc. My point here is HLLE appears to be an autoimmune syndrome which can be triggered in different ways, all of which are important to understand for the hobbyist who would keep susceptible species. Heck, I've even read detailed accounts of amazing reversals with "miracle mud" and macros (and not from the sales material), so I'm not ready to completely rule out organics yet, at least not in all cases. However I can honestly recall no one proposing that "salinity, temperature, Alk, or Ca" are factors in HLLE as you seem to be suggesting. Did you read that or experience it yourself? If you read it please give the reference so I can learn more about it. Also, what are yor references/sources for skimming being a contributor to HLLE?
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KDodds
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PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)7:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, what I am saying is that in the past, both skimming and carbon have been linked as contributors. However, it is now pretty much 100% accpeted that neither are the case due to the vast majority of experienced aquarists keeping especially prone species in conditions where both skimming and carbon are consistently in use.

You may have seen symptoms of HLLE the day after cabron was introduced, but it's doubtful it was the carbon. While it doesn't take as long as it does to cure, HLLE does take quite some time to develop, and a day would not be long enough for this to be the cause.

You're right, it may not be diet 100% of the time, but it's very doubtful it's EVER carbon. I agree, there probably is more than JUST diet to HLLE, but I don't think it can necessarily be attributed to a definable auto-immune response either. That is to say, it MAY be an auto-immune condition, or it may be that some other unidentified factors have come into play. If you are unsure as to whether NSW parameters come into play, I would direct you to take three Purple Tangs. Put one in a reef (where NSW parms are required by default), another in a FO with NSW parms, and the last in a FO with LFS-like parms. Fed appropriately, the one in the FO at NSW parms should never develop HLLE, nor should the one in the reef. I can virtually guarantee, however, that the one kept in LFS parms for extended periods of time will eventually develop HLLE, usually at least a minor case within a few months. I HAVE also read this in the hobbyist literature, but I'll be danged if I can remember where. Possibly TCMA, but maybe not. Osmotic pressure, in any case, is a very important contributing factor to fish stress. Unnatural conditions in this regard cause problems more often than not, and that's not only for Marines.

As for skimming and carbon usage, I would direct you to take a look at all of the fish species photographed in UMA. It's the most concise and comprehensive source I can think of off the top of my head. Virtually every tank in that tome uses both a skimmer and at least interim carbon usage. With Tangs and Angels galore in those tanks, it should be evident that neither practice results in HLLE. In fact, there's a FO in there that is jam packed with larger Angels, none of which exhibits any signs of HLLE. Take a look at the system setup and parms on that tank.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2005.04.10(Sun)14:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, now you're saying skimming and carbon are NOT contributors to HLLE.
Again, just trying to clarify/follow your line of thought here.

"You may have seen symptoms of HLLE the day after carbon was introduced, but it's doubtful it was the carbon. While it doesn't take as long as it does to cure, HLLE does take quite some time to develop, and a day would not be long enough for this to be the cause."

Wow, no disrespect intended here, but you must be some authority, you actually know what I saw better than I do myself! LOL... it wasn't symptoms, it was full blown HLLE, triggered in less than 24 hours in a controlled setting with no change other than a large load of fresh carbon. That's not forum chit chat, that's personal experience.

Hey look, I've been tracking this issue for a long, long time, and it's always a pleasure to get new insights... thanks for your thoughts. I'm just glad when I hear new reports like Mark's, it's very good to hear a success story.
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