So it’s been over a week since the Lightning Maroon’s first date.  I left for MACNA XXII in Orlando Wednesday night (9-1), and returned on Sunday (9-5).   Between then, my wife cared for the tanks for a day, and then my good friend Jay took over for Friday-Sunday.
So Jay told me that our little Lightning had been “sulking” and indeed, when I got home on Sunday, the coloration was darker and the fish was indeed sulking.  It still ate well once food was introduced.  Is the Lighting Maroon heartbroken?  Not sure.  Things looked OK, but I’m not one for taking chances, so a water change was performed.  The tank housing the Lightning Maroon has developed a bit of a cyanobacteria (Red Slime Algae) problem since I had to swap out lights, and on Monday night, I gave the tank another 25% water change.
Still, the Lightning Maroon just doesn’t seem happy.  It ate alright, but seemed to sulk in the back corner.  The dorsal fin damage incurred from the “date” had fully healed.  But tonight, I noticed, the right pectoral fin has a big chunk missing from the lower half.  I am beyond stumped…I think I would have noticed damage like this after the “date”.  No, I think this is something new.  But what is it?
Of course, my heart races at the thought that this is some sort of fin rot.  Without harassing the fish excessively however, it doesn’t really look like fin rot, no it kindof looks more like mechanical damage that is healing.  It’s really hard to tell.  Did one of the tankmates grab this fish through the egg crate and cause this damage?  There is only one fish in the tank that could cause this – the Labrador Maroon.  But still, it doesn’t look like that’s the case either.  The damage has a wierd shape to it, as if the fin was nipped multiple times…perhaps by a Bristletail Filefish?
I’m stumped.  I did my best to get some pictures.  I just can’t get close enough to see what is really going on.  I did a 25% water change earlier this evening, and again tonight, trying to remove as much of the cyanobacteria as possible.  Out came the carbon and phosban.  While Christine Williams is going to give me all sorts of grief over this, I dosed the tank tonight with Maracyn SW.  I am comfortable with it as a prophalactic and I know it will knock back the cyano in the tank that has smothered a frag or two.  I will be watching carefully tonight and will reassess in the morning.  For now, the Lightning is still eating, which is always a good sign.  I am hoping this is just mechanical damage and I’m overreacting.
Of course, if you owned the fish that got a standing ovation at the MACNA XXII banquet Saturday night during David Vosseler’s presentation on PNG SEASMART, you might be overreacting, or “extra cautious” too.  OK, maybe not quite a standing ovation, but seriously, 1300 people applauding the Lightning Maroon?  More on MACNA in a later post…this seemed more pressing of an update.
The net result is this – if this is mechanical damage, I think I have to allow the Lighting Maroon to become a female.  I cannot risk this type of interaction occurring again.  After all, this fish is in the most stable, well filtered aquarium I have, and it is in an egg-crate cage, and somehow it still winds up with half a pectoral fin missing?  You’d be scratching your head too…
I shot 50 images and NONE show the damage on the pectoral fin with any amount of clarity.  Will try again later.  All around a frustrating day in the world of the Lighting Maroon!