Is my fish dying?! Please help!!!!

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by jennyk, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. jennyk

    jennyk

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    My damsel is sitting near the bottom of the tank a lot and he looks like he's breathing pretty heavily. Is he dying? This is my first time so I'm totally new and only know what I do from this forum and the aquarium store...but I'm freaking out! He's beautiful and calm I don't want him to be sick or suffering or die!

    Stats:

    15 gallon
    5 trochus snails
    yellow angelfish - who swims up and down like she's trying to escape near feeding time...is this normal?
    fiji devil damsel - sickie?
    purple dottyback
    8 lbs. live rock
    15 lbs. live sand
    protein skimmer
    heater
    filter with biowheel

    Snails have been in about a week and a half, put in the fish 3 days ago. Woke up this morning and noticed damsel is staying near the bottom. I've been checking the levels 3x a day and last night the nitrite was about 0.05 and the nitrate was about 10, couldn't get the bit of food they didn't eat out the first day so that plus bio-load is what contributed to the bit of spike I'm sure. I know how to properly feed now and only do bits at once to make sure not too much goes in. I did a water change of about 20% this morning and now the levels are as follows:

    7.8 ph
    1.023 salinity
    220 kh
    0.02 nitrite
    5 nitrate
    0.2 ammonia (which never spiked after putting the fish in...it's always been around there)

    What can I do??
     
    jennyk, Jan 26, 2013
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  2. jennyk

    Kelz88 Got Reef?

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    Did you add them all at once? That could have caused a spike which could have gotten your fish sick.

    with a 15 gallon your really only limited to around two fish and it is too small for a yellow angelfish. Also you should be adding them one at a time with 2-3 weeks in between.
     
    Kelz88, Jan 26, 2013
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  3. jennyk

    jennyk

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    I did add them all at once.... the aquarium store said I could do three but no more. In any case, my levels never spiked really high, only the small spike like I mentioned, and he seemed totally fine when I went to bed last night. Is there anything I can do now?
     
    jennyk, Jan 26, 2013
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  4. jennyk

    Kelz88 Got Reef?

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    What do you have in there for water movement?

    Im not to sure what you could do tbh, the few times I had this happen sadly it didnt end good :/ If you dont have much surface agitation it could be an oxygen problem, but im not sure if that is the problem.
     
    Kelz88, Jan 26, 2013
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  5. jennyk

    jennyk

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    I have a skimmer and a filter...not sure if that's what you mean by water movement...

    I'm just so confused since the levels have stayed relatively good this whole time...
     
    jennyk, Jan 26, 2013
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  6. jennyk

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    So the tank is between 1 and 2 months old? Did you cycle the tank? If so, how?

    Based on the numbers that you gave, adding the three fish restarted the cycle. The added bioload did cause an ammonia spike. Even if you did not see it in your tests. Ammonia is very quickly broken down into Nitrites. Both of which are highly toxic to fish.

    You also have three fish, one of which requires a much larger tank, in a tank that should only have 2 small fish it at most. They are all competing for space and stressed out. The damnsel is most likely the first one to start showing signs of it.

    As for what you can do, just keep up water changes and try to reduce the stress level in the tank. If you can, return the angel to the store. They should not have sold you that fish knowing that you have a 15 gallon tank. Assuming that you got the tank from the same place.

    Things you can do to help avoid problems like this in the future.

    1 Go slow. Only disasters happen fast in this hobby
    2 Research. The more you know, and the more you let your LFS know you know, the less likely they will be to sell you incomparable fish
    3 Keep doing weekly water changes and tank maintenance. It is often said that in this hobby, we don't keep fish, we keep water. If the water is healthy, the fish tend to be healthy too.
    4. Research. You just can't do enough of this.
    5. Watch the fish you are interested in buying over the course of a few days. If possible that is. You can get a better idea if the fish is healthy or not.
     
    bjohanson1234, Jan 26, 2013
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  7. jennyk

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    +1 beej & kelz...too many fish too fast in too short a period. I normally wait a few months in between adding fish. In my 125g, I've added as much as 3 fish at once with no ill effects, BUT again, I have a 125g. In a 15g, I wouldn't add more than 1 at a time. And that angelfish DEFINITELY has to go ASAP.

    Research, research, research. I know the LFS tells you stuff, but they're in it for the money. Even the very best LFS's are a business and could be misleading. What do they care. They've got your money.

    Check out liveaquaria.com to see what a fish's tank requirements are. You'll see there are no angelfish that should be housed in a 15g. That angelfish looks like he's "trying to escape" because he probably is. He wants a bigger tank LOL

    And ditch the biowheel. They're best left for freshwater. Slow down, take your time, and research things in sources other than your lfs :)
     
    wontonflip, Jan 27, 2013
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  8. jennyk

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    I agree with all of the above. 3 fish shouldn't be added to a small tank like a 15 gallon at the same time. That's a huge input of waste into the water, and a newly set up tank doesn't have the bacteria required to break down that waste, so it ends up poisoning the fish.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 27, 2013
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  9. jennyk

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    In addition to what others have said, you really need more rock in your tank - recommended is 1-2lbs per gallon - so 15-30lbs in a 15g tank. Rock provides surface area for bacteria to grow that break down ammonia and nitrite. Without adequate rock, you will run into ammonia and nitrite spikes because there isn't enough bacteria to break it down. Even with enough rock, you should still wait 3-4 weeks between fish additions to give the bacteria time to grow to catch up to the added waste a new fish contributes to the water.
     
    FishyReef, Jan 28, 2013
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