Aiptasia and Missing fish

Discussion in 'Invertebrates' started by hachadwick, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. hachadwick

    hachadwick Pilot

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    Just a quick introduction:
    My father has a 125 gallon long tank with coral and fish. Everything in the tank is awesome: healthy and water is good. We have two main issues thought that we are stumped on. I know the people in this forum will have a answer.

    1. We have a issue fish disappearing.
    2. We have aiptasia ALL OVER the tank. It came in the system on some Chaeto Algae.

    So on the the first issue, we have several theories: A bobbit worm, yet unseen. Other fish killing them, but where are their bodies? Maybe the overwhelming numbers of aiptasia are killing them? There is a shrimp with burrows through the sand and has two yellow gobys as cronies watching over him. could this shrimp kill these fish?

    On the second point, I just ordered 5 Berghia Nudibranchs from the saltyunderground. They will arrive today. I'm hoping they go to town on the aiptasia. What are your thoughts on this approach?

    Our biggest probelm is with the fish not lasting very long. I will list the fish we have had and the ones remaining. Of course these were not ALL in the tank at once, but over the last year.

    • 2 O-clowns, dead:frustrat:
    • 4 anthias, dead:frustrat:
    • copper butterfly, dead:frustrat:
    • 4 yellow tangs, 3 dead, 1 remains:frustrat::^:
    • 2 maroon clowns, 1 dead, 1 remains:frustrat::^:
    • blue hippo tang, alive:^:
    • 2 PJ cardinals, 1 dead, 1 alive:frustrat::^:
    • several chromis and damsels, 2 remains:frustrat::^:
    • tan colored tang, dead:frustrat:
    • foxface, alive:^:
    • blue spotted blenny, dead:frustrat:
    • many corals, soft and hard which mostly are doing really well.

    Just as a ending note I will add that the corals are doing great. We've lost a few, but mostly it is due to our lacking of experience. The water and chemicals levels are perfect nearly all the time. 0 on all bad stuff and PH is about 8.1, with saltwater level maintained at 1.025-1.026.
     
    hachadwick, Jun 27, 2013
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  2. hachadwick

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    I hate to ask you to do this, but could you add some more info with the list of fish - it would be really helpful to know the order that the fish went into the tank in, and at what point in the process the various fish died. That might help us rule out aggression issues from fellow tank mates.

    What do you have as a clean up crew in the tank?

    Do you have any large anemones (other than the aiptasia) in the tank? How big are the aptasia?
     
    FishyReef, Jun 27, 2013
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  3. hachadwick

    hachadwick Pilot

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    Wow, well I am not sure the exact order of the entry of the fishes. The two O-clowns were added together and they were GONE the next day. No bodies were found at all. The PJ's were added with the clowns and one of them died shortly after the clowns did. About a month after the O-clowns dies, he added the maroon clowns. One of them died in about 1 week. The 4 anthias were added last and two died within the first week, the last two died about 2 weeks later. Still, no bodies EVER found of any of these fish. Copper band was added with the maroon clowns or shortly after, can't remember exactly. The blue tang and the two yellow tangs were added together and one of the yellow died within one week. The second yellow tang added with the blue is still alive, though this week he was cut by something. Seems to be healing but he looks rough. Clean up crew consists of several hermit crabs, all types of snails except turbos, two conch, and a shrimp which I believe is a pistol shrimp. He has no other anemones in the tank. The aptasia range from very small to about 1 inch diameter and there is no less than 100 in this system. it's a borderline infestation! I have nagged him and nagged him about getting rid of them so I finally just ordered him some Berghia Nudibranchs to take care of them.
     
    hachadwick, Jun 27, 2013
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  4. hachadwick

    hachadwick Pilot

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    If a aptasia stings a fish, will it make the fish fall to the ground and be eaten by the CUC? Just a crazy idea:)
     
    hachadwick, Jun 27, 2013
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  5. hachadwick

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    Okay, a few more questions (trying to narrow down things) - has he gotten all of the fish from the same place? How is he acclimating the fish?

    It is possible that if you have a large enough clean-up crew then they will consume the body before you see it, but its also possible that he has a predator in his rocks (such as a mantis shrimp). I don't think the aptasia are the culprit with the larger fish but it is possible. I suspect some of the deaths were because the fish were just unhearty to begin with (copperband and anthias comes to mind), some may have been lost due to aggression (chromis/damsels can easily kill each other off, and maroon clowns are notoriously aggressive), but the total disappearence of the bodies leads me to think there could also be a predator at play. If the pistol shrimp is paired with the gobies then I don't think its the pistol, but if its a large one then it might be. Its also possible that some other factor is killing them and then the pistol is dragging the bodies into his cave. It could also be acclimation issues or just specimens that weren't healthy when they arrived - especially if they are coming from the same place. The fact that so many died within a relatively short time of adding them leads me to think that this could be the case. I wish I had a straightforward answer! We'll help you get it narrowed down at least!
     
    FishyReef, Jun 27, 2013
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  6. hachadwick

    hachadwick Pilot

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    yes, all of the fish except the maroon clowns came from the same LFS. The pistol is paired with two yellow gobies. I know he is floating the fish for acclimation and then adding small amounts of tank water for about 30 minutes. Then he scoops them out with a net.
    We have looked and looked and can't find any other large predators. We did find a ffuzzy like worm of some kind in the bottom in the rocks. He's real slow and sticks out of the rock about 1-2 inches. I think it may be a bristle worm.
     
    hachadwick, Jun 27, 2013
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  7. hachadwick

    chichimom79 reef junkie

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    Acclimation does sound a bit fast, especially depending on how different the store's salinity is from his tank. I prefer the drip method over at least an hour.
    Not that the store would be truthful, but have you asked them about their other customers mortality rates? It could be a problem with where they are getting their fish from.
    And then it could be a hidden predator in the tank, like a mantis as fishy said. I dont think it's the aiptasia causing the fish to die, but on that note, I would have just gotten some Aiptasia X to get rid of those guys rather than adding something to eat it.
     
    chichimom79, Jun 27, 2013
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  8. hachadwick

    SarahSmile :)

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    the butterfly, the anthias, and the chromis can all be tricky. None of these ship well and many have had trouble with all of these. Butterflys are hard to keep in tanks, they do best in the wild. Anthias have metabolisms that require lots of feedings, and/or, a very mature tank. Chromis are caught with cyanide and many, many die soon after shipment. As for bodies, I had the TANK OF DOOM there for a while in 2011 and early 2012 and lost fish frequently, I couldn't always find the bodies. Things eat them. They die in the rockwork. Etc. With me, I couldn't really figure out the issue. There was lots of speculation. I switched to premade saltwater I buy and I leave my moonlights on all night, there was a theory that my light off at night was dropping the PH.
    I'm not sure how long your fish were lasting, maybe one cardinal bullied the other to death? It also helps to buy fish that have been at the LFS for at least a couple of weeks. Less of a shock to them and you know they are hardier.
    I don't know anything about aiptasia except it should die a gruesome death.
    I wish you lots of luck.
     
    SarahSmile, Jun 28, 2013
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  9. hachadwick

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    Do you have a glass top on your tank?
     
    ErinCahir, Jun 29, 2013
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  10. hachadwick

    AnthonyTheNewbie

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    Glass tops mess with the gas exchange (I think). So, if you do, ditch em and go with a mesh lid.
     
    AnthonyTheNewbie, Jun 29, 2013
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  11. hachadwick

    hachadwick Pilot

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm starting to think the type of fish is the main reason. There is not a glass top on this tank. I'll monitor the situation and let everyone know if we loose any more. The one thing that shocked me the most was loosing two clowns in the same night. they are pretty hardy I have found.
     
    hachadwick, Jun 29, 2013
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  12. hachadwick

    AnthonyTheNewbie

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    Tank raised ones are, WC aren't as hardy (though still hardier then a lot of other fish)
     
    AnthonyTheNewbie, Jun 30, 2013
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