My poor little fishies are just dropping dead!!

Discussion in 'Fish Disease' started by excrider121, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. excrider121

    excrider121

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    First off, Hello everyone after lurking on many sites since I started this hobby with my Fiancee a few years I figured I'd finally register!!


    We have a problem. Fish keep dying, and we have no idea why. For about the past 6 months putting a new fish in the tank has been a 50/50 chance that they will live. We keep the salinity at 1.024 (why I don't know, my fiancee is the expert) and we do water changes regularly. The fish that we get will usually live for 3-4 days before they just dissapear. Until recently.

    We went to PetCo and got a Tang, Angel, and 4-5lb of new rock that came out of the same tank that the fish were in. What kind exactly, I'm not sure. The Angel lasted 1 night, was dead the next morning.

    Several days after this, my fiancee noticed what she thought was some bubble algae in a corner of the tank so she put in a treatment that we had in the chemical cabinet that would combat the algae. The next day, the algae was still there and the instructions said to apply one treatment per day until the algae was dead, so she put in a second treatment. That night, the Angel was appeared to be drunk. The fish would just flop around in the water and would come to rest at the bottom of the tank like it was laying down. If you put your hand in the tank, it would swim vertically up to the surface of the water and just bob there. Eventually it would fall to the bottom of the tank again. The next morning it was dead. This left us with 1 Clown fish and 1 black-pink blenny (they have been in the tank for several years).

    We then took a sample of the water from the tank and a sample of the water from the tap (since we use tap water to do our water changes) up to PetCo and they ran all the usual tests that we do, Alklinity, Amonia?, Nitrates and several others. They said that both samples were clean and didn't show anything unusual.

    We purchased new carbon filters and put them in and let the tank
    This left us with a Clownfish and a black-pink blenny. We let the tank sit for 3 weeks, just feeding the two remaining fish and letting the water try to purify itself with the new filters.

    3 days ago, we went to Petland and got 2 black clowns and a Mandrin Dragonette, all of them were swimming around just fine, we brought them home and acclimated them properly. They have been doing fine until this morning. One of the black clowns is almost dead, and the other looks very bad, both have the same drunk-style swimming.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is going on? And whatever the reason is, why isn't it affecting the fish that we've had in the tank since all this began.

    I just find it hard to believe that all 4 fish were sick before we brought them home.
     
    excrider121, Dec 16, 2012
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  2. excrider121

    Treezer8

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    What are your parameters?
    ammonia-
    nitrite-
    nitrate
    water temp-
    etc.


    How do you acclimate them? Drip method? Or are you just sitting them in the tank and letting them get used to the temp?
     
    Treezer8, Dec 16, 2012
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  3. excrider121

    bigford fish only

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    i watched a girl at petco do this to a LARGE bag full of clowns. we got there
    at the same time as she put the bag into the water and about 15 min later
    she was cutting the bag open and in went the bag water and clowns......

    DO NOT do this:death:
     
    bigford, Dec 16, 2012
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  4. excrider121

    excrider121

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    I'm not sure of the actual numbers. I know that everything was where it was supposed to be aside from nitrates, they were a little high from possibly not having enough live rock? (only 35-40lbs in a 75gal tank). Water temp was 79.x this morning

    Acclimation:

    Take the bag that the fish were brought home in and place it in the tank for the temperature to equalize (roughly 15-25 min) then add 1 cup of tank water into the bag every 20 minutes, do this 3 times. After this, we used a net to remove the fish from the bag and put them in the water.


    When my fiancee decides to answer her cell phone I'll see if I can get exact numbers from her for all the parameters.
     
    excrider121, Dec 16, 2012
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  5. excrider121

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    There is a slight chance all four fish were sick before you brought them home, but really there's probably something in your tank.

    You should invest in some test kits to keep at home (the drip kind, not the strip kind). That way when something goes wrong, you can test right away.

    We're going to need a lot more information on your tank.

    How long has it been set up?
    How much live rock do you have?
    What do you use as a substrate?
    What kind of filtration do you use? (protein skimmer, algae scrubber, hob filters?)
    How many powerheads do you have?
    We need explicit numbers for parameters. Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Phosphate, etc.
    Is this a reef or a FOWLER?


    FWIW, you shouldn't try to keep more than a pair of clowns. The dominant one(s) will bully the others to death.

    And chemical treatments in general should be a last resort kind of thing ONLY.


    Also WELCOME! (Forgot that part. :))
     
    ErinCahir, Dec 16, 2012
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  6. excrider121

    Treezer8

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    I'd get some small tubing and put a valve in the middle and use the drip method, and acclimate the fish over a few hours. I'm sure you'll have a lot better luck that way. But there is a chance that the fish may have been in bad condition from the places you got them from. And yea, I'd get more rock in there.
     
    Treezer8, Dec 16, 2012
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  7. excrider121

    TBrewerton

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    Welcome to the site!

    Im wondering if you have enough movement in your tank for oxygen levels? Like Erin said if you can supply all that info it will help a lot more in getting to the root cause :) Or at least eliminate possibilities anyway
     
    TBrewerton, Dec 16, 2012
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  8. excrider121

    Smitty

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    Hello and welcome to the site...so far, they've got you covered.
     
    Smitty, Dec 16, 2012
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  9. excrider121

    excrider121

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    We use a titration style tester, not the strips.


    Tank has been set up for 3+ years, I've just recently cared more about the tank since I've been putting money into it as well. Originally it was simply something pretty to look at.

    Only have about 25-45lb of rock, but we haven't had a fish massacre since this tank has been set up (came from a 30gal)

    We use sand as a substrate, have ~40lb in the bottom.

    We use a hang-on-the-back protein skimmer rated for a 150gal tank (I don't remember the brand, it was expensive thought.)

    Have two power heads, one on either side of the tank, one angled slightly up, the other angled slightly down.

    I'll try to get numbers when I get home, the wife is MIA.

    I don't know what a FOWLER is...sry

    I had thought that you could only have 1 pair of clowns since one will be come the female and the other one the prisioner, i mean male. My wife told me that this would be the case unless they started to fight with each other, and the all she would have to do is rearrange the rocks in the tank and it would solve the dominance issue.




    I'll try to get all the numbers as soon as I can.



    Edit: When I went home for lunch, one black clown has died (or I simply can't find him.) One of the black clowns that we bought had a torn upper lip that we noticed once we got home with the fish. That's the one that has died.

    The other clown fish that was floating around like he was drunk when I left this morning is now doing fine-ish. He's swimming normally and when I fed them, he ate so *shrug*

    Thanks, for all the help!! I know that newbies to forums are generally looked down on, thanks again. This hobby is just too expensive to try to troubleshoot by ourselves.
     
    excrider121, Dec 16, 2012
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  10. excrider121

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    We don't look down on newbies here. We just want to help you. :)

    A FOWLR is Fish Only With Live Rock, as opposed to a reef tank.

    You're going to need more rock than what you have. You should aim for a pound to two pounds per gallon. So 75-150 pounds in your case. You can get dry rock to add to your existing set up which will be much cheaper than buying all live rock.

    And yes, you can only have one pair of clowns. I thought from your original post you had a singular clown and then you added a pair?
     
    ErinCahir, Dec 16, 2012
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  11. excrider121

    excrider121

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    The I guess you would call our tank a reef tank since it did have some brain coral at one point, but when we did the tank move, it died off, that, and we didn't have the right kind of lights. We now have a 4' LED that the mushrooms and anenomy(sp) loves.

    We usually buy a pound or two when we get new fish, but haven't been buying fish lately just simply because money is tight, but we most deffinately need more rock.

    Right, we added two regular clowns (not Percula) and one died. Several weeks later, we added the two black clowns, and one died earlier today. So now we have one orange clown and one black clown.
     
    excrider121, Dec 16, 2012
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  12. excrider121

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    Okay. The black clowns are usually occillaris clowns, and your other "regular" clown is probably also an occillaris, so I you should be okay there. But you're limited to those two clowns.

    What kind of tang/angel did you try?
     
    ErinCahir, Dec 16, 2012
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  13. excrider121

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Everyone's got you covered. And they're right...the fish could have already been sick. Most Petco's (not all, apparently) have very sickly fish that are pale and riddled w/ diseases (which your tank now has). So first off, find a better LFS (local fish store)...if you can afford it, I suggest ordering from a reputable online site like Liveaquaria.com.

    Secondly, the best tried-and-true method is a drip acclimation, like Treezer said. If you don't have a valve for your tubing, tie a knot on it, and start a drip from the tank to the fish bag at a rate of about 1 drop per second (tighten or loosen the knot to adjust your drip rate). Scoop out water from the bag as it fills up. Most of us drip acclimate for a god 2-3 hours (I've even done a 3 hour drip once).

    But none of that will matter if the fish were already sickly. Take a break from adding fish first, and get a good dropper test kit (Petco carries API for saltwater...others use Salifert, but they're more expensive). test your own water and post your results here.

    Post pics, too. Hopefully your anemone is not sick, because if it is, I bet it is leaching poison in your tank as well, killing all the fish.
     
    wontonflip, Dec 16, 2012
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  14. excrider121

    little_fish Moderator

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    Hello and welcome!

    +1 everyone
     
    little_fish, Dec 17, 2012
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  15. excrider121

    Northstar24 The Tang Herder

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    Everyone has given you good sugguestions. I would not add any more fish to the tank until we can figure out what is going on.

    I think the most important things for you to do now are to invest in some test kits for yourself so that you can test the water parameters at home, versus having to go somewhere and have it tested.

    I would also add some additional rock to the tank. It does not have to be live rock, dry rock will become live once you add it to your tank because you already have live rock. Many vendors sell dry rock, take a look at Bulk Reef Supply or Marco rocks, You want at least 1-2 pounds of rock per gallon
     
    Northstar24, Dec 17, 2012
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  16. excrider121

    baeya Aquarium Addict

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    Sorry your having such problems with your tank.
    I would also recommend testing for stray current. I know that the home stores have inexpensive testing tools that you can get. Just tell them you need a tester to test for current in water.
    Also, one of the members here, recently found out that the type of rock in his tank was probably the culprit of all of his inverts deaths.
    I'm considered new to the SW side but, these are observations that I have seen from reading many many threads.
    Good Luck and welcome to this forum.
     
    baeya, Dec 17, 2012
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  17. excrider121

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Sorry I may have missed this, but do you have powerheads for water movement? And you mentioned you have an anemone -- what kind, and what does it look like? Is it healthy? Anemones are very difficult to keep and require stronger lighting than most corals. I don't think the anemone has to do with your fish dying, but if it gets sick and dies, it can kill everything else in the tank too.
     
    Bifferwine, Dec 17, 2012
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  18. excrider121

    excrider121

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    Alright, I've got more tank information...

    KH is 13
    pH is 8.4
    Nitrates/Nitrates = 0
    Temp is 78.5*F

    Current Occupants:

    Flame Tail Blenny, Black Clown, Rose Bubble Tip Anemone, TONS of blue mushrooms, a Sand Sifting Starfish and too much Hair Algae.
    The bubble tip anemone has been growing the past few weeks since we upgraded to a Reef Capable 4' LED light.


    Fish that have died in the past few days:

    Scopas Tang, Spot Breast Angel, Mandarin Dragonette and a Black Clown.


    Recap:

    Bought the Tang and the Angel. The Tang died the next morning. We thought we had Red Slime Algae and used Chemiclean two days in a row (two separate treatments). At the end of the 2nd day, the Angel died.

    We changed the charcoal filter and did 2 water changes over the course of 4 weeks. Bought 2 black clowns, Mandarin, Starfish at Petco. 4 days later, both Black clowns were swimming drunk-ishly. 4 hrs later, one black clown was dead. Mandrain was dead this morning. 2nd black clown seems to be fine, along with the other clown and the blenny.



    Is there a company that we can send a water sample to see if they can 'grow' what's in the water to see if it has anything it's not supposed to in it? This is alot of money to be throwing away... :/


    Thanks again for all the thoughts and help!!
     
    excrider121, Dec 17, 2012
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  19. excrider121

    excrider121

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    Ammonia = 0
    Salinity = 1.025


    Thanks for all the ideas, but most of the diseases and problems with the tank that I'm reading about would wipe the whole tank, including the fish that we've already had. The issue is with new fish.

    Since all the test parameters come back fine when we do the tests, and the fish that have been in the tank for longer than 3+ months are doing fine. The thing that doesn't make any sense is that pretty much 75% of the fish we put in the tank dies days after they are put in the tank.

    Is there anything that could be in the tank already that the 'residents' would have become accustomed to that the newer fish wouldn't be able to tolerate?
     
    excrider121, Dec 18, 2012
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  20. excrider121

    excrider121

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    Pictures brought to you by iPhone...4


    Whole Tank
    [​IMG]


    Black Clown

    [​IMG]


    Plentiful Mushrooms
    [​IMG]


    Regular Clown
    [​IMG]

    Anenemy(sp) The picture takes some of his color out. I's more red/orange than light orange/white, like picture makes it look
    [​IMG]



    Picture Shy Blenny
    [​IMG]
     
    excrider121, Dec 18, 2012
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