FAQs on Tank Troubleshooting 12
Related Articles: Tank Troubleshooting Pt 1, Part 2, The Three
Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease,
A Livestock Treatment System,
Related FAQs: Troubleshooting 1, Troubleshooting 2, Troubleshooting 3, Troubleshooting 4, Troubleshooting 5, Troubleshooting 6,
Troubleshooting 7, Troubleshooting 8, Troubleshooting 9, Troubleshooting 10, Troubleshooting 11,
Complete Crash 4/2/10
I have a 180 gallon salt water aquarium that I have kept and maintained
for over 4 years now. I have (well, had) a wide variety of corals and
approximately 18 fish.
<Mmm, depending on size, you may very well be overstocked.>
About one week ago my Foxface Rabbitfish died, I thought at first that
it may have been from old age as he was an old fish given to me by a
friend many years ago. I removed him from the tank and checked the
water. My water
quality was perfect.
<What's perfect, have you checked ammonia?>
Since then however, I have lost nearly all of my corals and all but 4
of my fish...I don't think the few survivors that are left will
live out the weekend. They are dying at a rate of two or three a day.
The hardier species are dying the same as the sensitive ones. I have
tested the water over and over again, and my water is fine. I have
tried an emergency water change, I have tried everything I can think
of. I have tried antibiotics mixed in the food, I have even tried
adding system bacteria. Everything I try is helpless. I have not added
anything new to the tank in months and have not changed the food or the
salt that I use to mix. I have kept everything the same since I started
this tank and now out of nowhere I am having a complete crash. I am at
a complete loss here.
My friend who owns a fish store here by me is at a loss, as are the
people at every other store that I call. I am trying to find anyone who
has any idea what could be happening in my tank?!?
<My guess would be a toxin in the system and could have came from
household cleaners such as Windex, etc, or you may have had an ammonia
spike in the system. Is it possible copper may have gotten into the
system? My first
move would be to heavily filter the tank with a Poly Filter to remove
any contaminants in the system. Do read here and related
articles/FAQ's for more help.
James (Salty Dog)>
Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Yesterday at 'lights on" I found that my 3 Royal Grammas had
all died some time in the early morning hours.
None had color fade, all were locked in sleeping positions, and only 1
had damage or any kind on him (and that was because he bedded down next
to some hermits). The previous day and night they were their normal
selves, eating, swimming, and just a little bickering. All were
different ages and showed absolutely no signs of distress or illness, I
have no idea what could have done them in. They had eaten the exact
same things as all the other fish (fed 1 cube frozen Mysis, 1 cube
frozen Spirulina brine, and 1cube butterfly/angel prepare) and none of
the other fish have died.
150 gal, been running 2 years+, 6"avg DSB
<A bit low>
Atlantic Blue Tang (subadult)
4 Atlantic pygmy angels
2 flame angels
3 chalk bass
prior to the sudden RG deaths, I had sudden noticed a decline in
Zoanthids, which started 3 months ago.
<May be an important fact>
Water tested out the same as current (using 3 different kits), though
one test put it with a nitrate level of over 200ppm, it turned out to
be a false reading upon a second go.
I also had a pair of Yellow Head Jawfish both go blind at the same
time, no idea why (diet perhaps?).
They continued to live for over 5 months, being target fed. The last
one died this morning, seemingly healthy and unmarked (though it had
been acting depressed). Over the last 2 weeks, this Jawfish had
ventured from his hole, and kept digging craters in the corners of the
tanks to sleep in, but would still return to his other burrows on
occasion to keep them clean.
Is it possible that the Jawfish digging might have released some
trapped gasses into the water that might have killed off the Royal
<Mmm, not likely, no... else, the other fishes would have been
Any help would be appreciated.
<Is a "bad" mystery; that is, one I can't for sure
point out real possible explanations for. I suspect that some sort of
"cascade event" occurred here with your mention of Zoanthid
behavior... with the Grammas most affected. I would take care to
"spiff up" your water quality, add some new live rock,
perhaps some new coral sand... to re-center your system chemically and
biologically. In addition, I'd give your skimmer a thorough
cleaning, and change out/add new GACarbon, and possibly PolyFilter in
your water flow path. Please read here:
and the linked files in this .ppt pres. above, and here:
re: Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Thank you for the reply Bob.
Some additional happenings and info:
Found the largest Atlantic Pygmy Angel dead this morning. No marks,
<Again... I suspect some sort of biological poisoning... likely
associated w/ the Zoas... Read and act... soon>
The Atlantic Blue Tang seems to not be sleeping. She's covered in
what looks like Ich, but it clears up by mid day. I noticed last night
that she was avoiding her hidey-hole and hanging out near the rocks,
but in the stream of the Vortech...
<... related/due to stress>
The tank was originally a Caribbean biotope for almost a year and a
half (all fish, gorgonians, Zoas, palys, and Ricordeas bought from
Florida collectors), but I broke it when I took down my Nano and added
the Yellow tang, Flame Angels, Galaxea, and some mushrooms (boy was
that last one a bad idea...).
I forgot to mention that when this all seemed to start I had a
Caribbean collected Dendro that was nice and bright, and it seemed to
get injured and die off.
<All part of the whole... "cascade...">
Now, however, there are tons of babies beginning to take over the old
skeleton. Pretty cool!
Anyway, the week before the RG deaths I had cleaned out my skimmer
(Coralife250, I'll be getting an MSX soon though) and changed out
all media (poly, carbon, and Phos-x) and can't help but wonder if
all of that at once may have contributed somehow.
<May well be>
As these deaths are all rather sudden, could it be that a chemical may
have been introduced into the water somehow?
<Is... but not exo... endogenous>
Is there a place I can send a water sample to be tested for extraneous
<Not as far as I'm aware... one can do their own bioassays...
but unless you act prudently, there won't be much to test.
Re: Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Ahhhhh.... did a thorough scan of the aquarium, and found that there
are 2 spots where the rock had shifted somewhat recently, causing 2
different Zoanthid colonies to be damaged. Perhaps that is our
My girlfriend also just told me that she did a water change the day
before the Royal Grammas died, and that she "harassed" some
of the mushrooms that were encroaching on Purple Sea Rods,
as she could see damage at their base. basically, she said she tried to
vacuum them up, sometimes getting their flesh all the way into the
siphon, but they stayed rooted to the rock. She did observe "some
powdery and snotty looking stuff coming off of them and into the
tube". Perhaps this is tipped the scales?
<Very, to too likely>
(I'll be having a talk with on proper conduct with sea life...
<Does little actual good to "wag fingers", but does make
me feel better.
15/02/10 Identification and Treatment
Recently, I purchased a Copperband Butterfly to help with my
Aiptasia problem in my tank. As I live in a rural area, I stopped
by the LFS in the closest big town to pick up some supplies.
While there, I saw that they had a couple healthy Copperband
Butterflies in stock. As I decided to pick up one last minute, I
did not have a quarantine tank already set up at home.
Unfortunately, I took the advice of the LFS and did not
quarantine, as the store manager told me that their tanks were
<All the time? I would not be buying fish from
here'¦ this can permanently damage fishes>
and a quarantine set up last minute would do more harm than good
even with cycled water.
<A common stance/ statement unfortunately. 'Our shop does
not have parasites'>
I did place the fish in a dip with ParaGuard for an hour before
introducing into display.
<Won't be effective against Crypt and other
In the last week, a small white spot similar to a zit has
appeared on the Copperband Butterfly on his mouth. Additionally,
there is a white patch between his eyes.
<Hmmm, could be an injury.. or worse>
He appears to be healthy and has been eating well. The white zit
on his mouth is smaller today than it was yesterday.
<A good sign>
Upon closer inspection, my black and white clown also has some
abnormalities. There is a slight discoloration on his dorsal fin
and one side of his body.
<I see this>
He is also eating well and appears to be healthy. I have attached
pictures of both fish.
I checked all the levels in my tank and everything appears to be
within the normal range.
<Please Matt, 'normal' really does mean nothing to
Was planning on doing a water change today.
Reading through the FAQ's, I am still unsure what the issue
is with these fish.
As have not been able to identify the issue, I was planning on
waiting until I got a confirmed diagnosis from you guys before I
treated. If treatment is recommended, please let me know what
medications are recommended and, if they are safe for the display
or need a hospital tank.
<I would set up a QT tank if you can now and watch
closely'¦ this looks a bit like Brooklynella:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooksympf.htm. If it is, then your
fish will show other symptoms and will quickly succumb. Monitor
closely, as this could be another protozoan or a set of
co-incidental circumstances and none of the above>
Please keep in mind that really the only store in my area is
Petco (I do have Maracyn-Oxy on hand).
<No, read re: Quinine and purchase some on the web just in
case: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm. >
The crew at WetWebMedia has helped me keep my fish healthy for
many years. I have always appreciated all the great advice that
has been given to me.
<That's good news, lets hope it stays that way!>
<No problem at all>
Re: 15/02/10 Identification and
Treatment... SW, trb... 2/16/10
Thanks for the info. I will get the fish in the QT today.
<I would not, just be prepared, get it all ready>
What should I do with my two tangs? They do not appear to have
<As above, monitor, do not treat unnecessarily>
The white "zit" on the Copperband is smaller again
today, which makes me think it was some sort of trauma.
However, there is still that small white patch between his eyes,
which is concerning. The discoloration on the Clownfish remains
the same and has not gotten worse.
If it was Brooklynella, wouldn't the fish have other more
severe symptoms at this point? It has been close to a week since
I noticed the discoloration.
<Yes, I think you could be ok, watch closely>
Regardless, I will order the Quinine today and be ready should
the fish exhibit more symptoms.
<Yes, I should>
Should I do PH adjusted freshwater dips prior to placing in the
<I always do>
At what point do I want to begin treatment? What do I do if they
don't exhibit additional symptoms?
<Leave them in the main system and let them get over whatever
it is on their own. Just watch them closely and be ready to
Tank loss, SW, troubleshooting 1/26/10
I have a well established (4+year) tank that I came home to last night
and had severe losses. All fish were dead, 2 3 stripe damsels, tomato
clown, false percula, powder blue tang, engineer goby and a flame goby.
Also lost an arrow crab, cleaner shrimp, large sea cucumber, and about
5 sand sifters. Things that survived - horseshoe crab, Condy anemone, 3
urchins, red gorgonian, shaving brush, and about a 15 hermit crabs and
snails. Everything that is left is barely moving - but definitely still
About 2 weeks ago the Condy, tang, and flame goby were added. They were
all eating well and showed absolutely no signs of any sickness. The
part I can't figure out is that on Sunday night everything in the
tank was completely fine, eating and swimming around - then on Monday
afternoon it was like a bomb went off. All fish lying on the ground
dead and stiff as a board. All water parameters were perfect, no
ammonia, nitrites/nitrates were 0, ph 8.2-8.3, salinity 1.022, temp
<The Spg is low... Perhaps one scenario here is the stress/death of
the Condylactis... cascading in effect as poisoning to the rest>
The only thing I can think of is that the anemone released poison but I
don't know why it would have done so.
<... the low density of water is one source>
Nothing in the tank seemed to pay any attention to it at all in the
previous 2 weeks and there's no other anemone in there to compete
Any suggestions would be great.
<One can only speculate... Perhaps a read through here:
and the linked files above, and here:
the areas on Troubleshooting, Environmental Disease, Toxic Water
Conditions... will grant you insight into the myriad of possibilities
Could well be that "something" from outside brought on this
die-off... Household, glass cleaners, for instance. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank loss 1/26/10
Should have mentioned it in my original response - the Condy is doing
Hell he even ate something yesterday (little piece of krill).
<Oh! Well... very likely counts this out as a source of the trouble
Yea the only thing I could think of was something accidentally getting
sprayed in there. I have seem some companies that you can send your
water to for testing, they look for about 14 different things. Worth
<Not really... most all such toxic events are transient in nature.
Whatever caused such a rapid onset (vs. slower, days...) is likely
Re: Tank loss 1/26/10
Got it. Appreciate the help man.
As far as getting it back up and going again any suggestions?
<What is archived that you've been referred to>
I am going to see if the remaining animals survive - and if so might
introduce a damsel as a test fish.
Judging by the transient nature of the suspected toxin its probably
fine to keep the sand, live rock etc right?
<Likely so. B>
Foam for faux rock in saltwater tank Aquascaping, Fish
Health, Aiptasia 1/25/2009
Wet Web Crew,
Thanks as always for the invaluable help and advice!
This is a follow up question regarding a Naso tang question from two
weeks ago. Long story short...we had a Naso tang for about 3 1/2 years
that had an acute onset of lethargy and weight loss and subsequently
died about 5 days later. No external marks or abnormalities were seen.
The system is a 250 gallon SPS/LPS show tank with 650 gallons total
volume. All test values were given in the previous e-mails and all
considered to be within normal range per correspondence with the
Now, a Yellow tang and a Rabbitfish are starting to exhibit some mild
The Rabbitfish has some slight "tattering" to the caudal fin
and some mild scaly irritation on both sides of the body. The Yellow
tang has a slight red haze on the lateral fins. Both fish are still
feeding and active. The only other fish in the tank, a pair of
Ocellaris clownfish, seem ok so far (touch wood!).
<Something definitely amiss. With the LPS and SPS in the tank, I
would suggest running carbon in the filtration system.>
So my question...We have other systems that are running smoothly and
even this tank was pretty unremarkable until the Naso had the sudden
signs, so we have been trying to figure out what might be different
about this tank that could be causing a problem. The only differences
we can think of are three things....first, the 250 gallon has faux rock
on the back wall created by a product called "Savio Black
Waterfall Foam" made for pond use. It claims that "the foam
is closed cell, and will not age, harden, or shrink. Additionally, it
is safe for water gardens with fish and other aquatic life." It
can be found here: http://www.123ponds.com/bf400.html
We are worried if perhaps something could have started to leech out of
the foam and is now causing a problem. It was done about 2 1/2 years
ago. Are any of you familiar with this product and have an opinion on
<I am familiar with its use in freshwater systems, but not in
saltwater systems. I am very leery of adding anything to a saltwater
system unless it is proven chemically inert (like glass) or beneficial
Short answer is, it's possible.>
Secondly, about one week prior to the Naso's demise, we started our
generator in the garage which is connected to our "fish room"
with the fuge, frag tank, sump, etc. in case we had a power outage with
an upcoming ice storm. A big cloud of black smoke came flying out of
the generator. I wonder if this could have contaminated the water.
<Another distinct possibility - hydrocarbons and or carbon monoxide
from the exhaust could be contaminating the water.>
The supporting tanks were not directly next to the smoke and were
actually in a separate room off of the garage, so it could not have
been much, but now we're paranoid.
<If no part of the system was in close proximity (in the same room)
it is doubtful that is the cause.>
How ironic if that was the problem...start the generator to be ready to
take care of the fish in case of a power outage and inadvertently kill
the fish with said generator. =(
Thirdly, we have been fighting an Aiptasia problem in this tank. We had
used Aiptasia X for several months, but it had not been used in the
weeks preceding the Naso's change. Also, no marks were seen on her
to indicate stings, but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone had
<I've heard more than a few anecdotal reports of Aiptasia-X
making fish sick. I prefer to kill them using a Kalkwasser slurry and a
syringe and inject the little buggers directly.>
I left out the details of the system since it had been ok-ed by
previous e-mails, but if whoever gets this would like it included, let
Much appreciation if anyone has any thoughts!
<I would do a large water change and definitely run carbon and a
Polyfilter in your system to try and soak up any chemicals that may be
in the system and then observe. If the conditions seem to worsen, I
would remote the fish and get them into a separate hospital tank Have a
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm as well as the linked files on
the top of that page.>
Fish are Gilling... 12/23/09
In my 90gal tank I have 2 Koralia 4 water flow pumps and plenty of
currently, I tested the water there is no ammonia, nitrates, nitrites,
and the Ph is 8.0-8.2. my fish seem to always be gilling or breathing
heavily, even though they show no other signs of stress, (i.e.
bacterial growths, ich, etc) What could be causing this?
<A myriad of "things"... what have you done recently?
Anything tried to alleviate it? Have you read on WWM re troubleshooting
I do have low salt levels to prevent ich outbreaks and my salt is at
<Uh, no... maybe 1.018... I would raise this... Read here:
and the linked files above>
Could this be the issue. every time I go to my LFS they tell me its Ph
but my Ph seems fine, id why else they'd be gilling. please
One more question I seem to have white spots or dots that I'm
assuming are barnacles that came out of the live rock. are these useful
to the tank? or are they better to scrub off ?
<Likely are encrusting/tubiculous Sedentariate Polychaetes... not
harmful... See WWM re>
Any helpful tips to aid in my fish keeping?
<You're not joking? Please learn to search, read on WWM ahead of
writing us. I strongly suggest your reading at least one good marine
aquarium book... Perhaps the new, 3d. edition of Martin Moe's... In
the meanwhile, besides reading, water changes, the use of chemical
filtrants... see WWM...
Re: Fish are Gilling, using WWM 12/24/09
I have added the second Koralia 4 for water movement (was told to put
the 2 at opposite sides of tank pointed at e/o for random current
movement), added airstones to break the water surface, continuously
check pH to make
sure that isn't burning their gills, idk what else it could be.
<... read where you were referred>
They don't seem to be sick or hurting in anyway they swim all over,
and they all eat well. and sorry for the vague question, though I found
the respond sort of rude, I was just simply asking for a little random
tip, I look at your site all the time, and I've read a lot of
articles on it, I was just simply trying to get a real persons opinion
as opposed to reading an article.
<... ? The articles are written by real people... for real
As folks don't provide all useful info. in all cases, by having you
review others experiences, results, I/we hope to have you become better
educated, aware. Read. BobF>
55 gal. reef w/ mysterious Cnidarian et al. types of
life issues 11/14/09
I absolutely cringe that I have to ask a question but I have been on
WWM for several hours and the wife is giving me the wrap it up
<Heeeee! Maybe she'd appreciate a referee's jersey and a
whistle for Xmas?!>
Little about my system: 55 gallon mixed reef that is overstocked,
(4" maroon clown, 4" scopas tang, 3" blackcap Basslet,
2" purple Firefish, 2" Sixline wrasse, 1" pajama
cardinal, and a 1" yellow tail damsel). Also a coral banded
shrimp. Before I continue I want to state the scopas tang is only held
in my system because my friend is moving. It goes home in a few days.
Either that or I am giving it away. I am utilizing a 1" sugar fine
sand, and I don't even know how much LR but suffice it to say the
display is about half full and rock rubble is in the sump bio ball
compartment, the sump flow through and the canister filter. Canister is
an Eheim, not sure which model but it is rated for 296 GPH. Skimmer is
an Aqua C Urchin Pro with a mag 5 pump inside a Megaflow 1 sump (10
gallons?). Lighting is provided by 2 - 175 10,000 Kelvin MH bulbs and 2
- 96 watt actinic supplements. For flow I am using the canister filter,
a quiet one return pump from the sump, a Koralia 1 and a Koralia 4.
Parameters are excellent.
Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate unmeasurable by means of Aquarium Pharm and
Salifert test kits. Calcium is steadily maintained via a Kalk drip at
<What of Magnesium?>
PH is at 8.2 and KH is 8. Water changes are done every week with 5
gallons of mixed saltwater from my LFS. Top offs are done with buffered
OK is that a little info?
<Summat; and sounds/reads as a very nice system; showing evidence of
keen, clear understanding on your part>
This system has been setup, as stated above, for several months.
Started this tank in January using substrate, rocks, water and filter
media from a well matured system. Everything seemed great but out of
nowhere I started losing coral. I did have a Cyano breakout but
syphoning it out and redirecting the powerheads seemed to fix that.
Also had an aiptasia problem that I have been rectifying with Aiptasia
X, Blue Line, and Joe's Juice. All seem effective but sure is no
cure. Guess I am going to have to drop a couple hundred bucks for
<Mmm, I wouldn't. Keep using the Aiptasia X...>
A pumping xenia melted away after it started to attach and grow. My
colt coral, which once was about 8" has shriveled to a 1"
tight mass. Polyps are melting away like crazy and are not opening as
much. Also in the tank are a toadstool leather, a Fiji ruffled ridge
leather, a small frogspawn frag, a trumpet frag, some other pink
looking leather (I have no idea what it is). A brain Favites which is
large and doing splendidly. Also a button coral. Purple ribbon
gorgonian and a red tree sponge. All these are doing fabulous.
<Interesting... to the winners, the spoils; or at least in this
case, the whole 55 gal. sys.>
There are also some very small Birdsnest frags that are doing fine.
Sorry to list so much but I do not want to leave an essential piece of
the puzzle out. I have tried everything that I felt was not too
drastic. Changed carbon brands, readjusted the skimmer, reaquascaped
and adjusted the powerheads, moved the coral everywhere I could.
Thinking I am having some kind of warfare here.
<Yes, or more likely-important, a contest for available nutrients...
The winners are better at scrounging what little nitrate and likely
phosphate (among other chemical species) than the "losers"
Perhaps one of the healthy corals is attacking the colt and the slime
from the colt is affecting the polyps.
I am thinking that I will remove the colt from the system but I am not
sure that is the best thing to do for it or my system as a whole. It
concerns me when my system is healthy enough to support sponges but
cannot grow polyps. I am lost. Not sure if it will help but I started a
thread on my aquarium on the local reef clubs site.
http://www.cvreefers.org/showthread.php?t=13906 Perhaps it contains
something I forgot. Other than the gorgonian having been moved, by
mouth of the clownfish, it pretty much looks exactly like that.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it.
John A. Davis
<Mmm, how to put this best? Well, all might be solved if/when you
have a larger system... Or if you used ozone, had a decent RedOx value
(which assuredly you don't)... and all that it implies. You could
spend a good deal of time, effort (when your wife is out doing other
things than being home!) reading on the Net re the needs of the
disparate life you're trying to keep here... You could do as you
suggest and remove the more likely culprits one at a time... You could
try augmenting your water mineral and food wise... Check the ratio of
Mg:Ca, do what you can to boost to some measurable concentration at
least HPO4 and NO3... add a larger refugium with a DSB, RDP lighting,
macro-algae of use... and Ozone generator with some way of measuring
ORP.... But if you're "fine" with how things are
progressing, I'd let all go as it is.
What do you want to do? Bob Fenner>
Help with troubleshooting die-off
I need some help in trying to troubleshoot an ongoing die-off event.
I've read through your FAQs and articles but am still at a loss on
isolating the problem(s) and saving our remaining livestock.
We've been keeping marine aquariums for about 5 years and over that
period only lost 2 fish (due to old age we think) until this event. For
the past 3 years we've had a 180 gallon reef tank with about 100
lbs live rock and 200 lbs deep sand bed. Fish: 1 dragon-wrasse, 1
maroon clown, 1 yellow tang, 1 coral beauty angel, 2 Banggai cardinals.
We also had 1 small frogspawn coral fragment and about 10 BTAs (clones
from 2 originals). No new livestock have been added to this tank in
over 2 years.
About a month ago we experienced several systems failures in quick
succession which stressed the tank. The chiller failed (temps were
unstable/high for several days until we repaired it). Additionally we
had a pH spike while restoring our Kalkreactor which had been down for
Around the same time our RO system clogged so we replaced the sediment
& carbon filters and RO membrane. These events seemed to
precipitate the following. First, we experienced an algae bloom (lots
of green, probably hair algae). It started covering the liverock and
coral. Then, we noticed what appeared to be ich symptoms with our
clownfish (swimming at the surface, covered with a coating of white
mucous, etc). We immediately removed her from the main tank, put her in
QT and started a 2 wk hyposalinity treatment (1.010 specific gravity)
to which she seemed to respond favorably. We opted for hyposalinity
rather than formalin over fears of toxicity.
<A reasonable concern>
Parameter checks in the
main tank at this point included pH, nitrate, phosphate, ammonia,
nitrite, dKH, calcium, and magnesium. All parameters were normal except
nitrate which was around 30ppm (has always been that high or higher in
And we had a slight imbalance in ca/mg.
Then about 10 days ago, we found the yellow tang dead on the bottom of
the tank. There was no sign of ich symptoms. We executed a series of
30% water changes and got 3 other QT tanks running (against the chance
we'd need to extract the other fish). Three days later we found the
coral beauty dead in the same spot in the tank. Again, no visible
symptoms either before or after death. At this point we moved the
remaining fish from the main tank to the QT tanks and started gradually
decreasing salinity in the QTs until over several days we reached the
current 1.010 specific gravity in the QTs (3 days ago). Meanwhile I
continued large water changes on the main tank and ran additional tests
including for copper (wondering about metal poisoning), dissolved O2,
and silicates. I was concerned the RO system incident and rework had
led to contamination in our source water (the main tank has an auto-top
off from the RO system). Silicates were normal.
Dissolved O2 was inconclusive (bad test kit). There was a detectable
amount of copper (about 0.1 ppm)
<High! Am surprised your Cnidarians weren't showing
so we installed a Polyfilter in the sump.
<Did this show any blue, bluish green colour?>
Also added 2 lbs of carbon filter. After a few days the copper was
undetectable. I checked the RO water in the QT tanks and could not find
signs of copper. I completely replaced the old RO system with a new
RO+DI system last week in an effort to isolate this. Am doing daily
water changes (25-80%) on the QT tanks to manage ammonia. Did a 50% H2O
change on the main tank a few days ago. Despite all this the inverts in
the main tank look bad (BTAs and frogspawn are always shriveled).
I fear we're about to lose another fish (one of the Banggai
She's laying on the QT bottom and/or swimming head down. Looks like
swim bladder trouble. Don't see any visible signs of ich, etc.
Other fish seem to be okay but main tank (now inverts only) still looks
It feels like we're missing something basic but can't seem to
find the problem. Plan right now is to let the main tank remain fallow
for 30 days (complete Nov 30) before returning the fish from QT. Am
worried we didn't move aggressively enough (if this indeed is ick)
but also concerned about continuing to make changes vs. letting things
Should we try more aggressive treatments in the QTs (formalin)? Are
there other tests we should be running?
<I would not try medicating, nor hyposalinity really. I fully
suspect the issue here is some sort of endogenous/biological poisoning
in your main display. Not parasitic or infectious disease at
I fear if we don't figure out the root cause we could lose
everything. Any ideas welcome. Thanks,
<There's either some sort of microbial "wipe out
syndrome" or stress-effect result on your Euphylliids and anemones
that has changed your water/system to unsupportive. You can
"re-center" the system by continuing to use chemical
filtrants, spiffing up your skimmer, adding some new/er live rock...
But I would take a look at an important measure of system viability
here: RedOx, and possibly add an ozonizer to your standard list of
gear. Do take the longer read here:
the second tray down, under the orange banner: Toxic Situations
And we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: help with troubleshooting die-off
Bob, thanks much for the responses. Am running out of tricks and
greatly appreciate your help. We've been fans for years. You guys
are a critical resource. I will read the recommended link on toxicity.
In the meantime, updates....
I. QT tanks & fish
The surviving fish are in 3 QT tanks as follows. Tank-A: maroon
clownfish (3wks), Tank-B: dragon wrasse (2wks), Tank-C: two Banggai
cardinals (2 wks). The clownfish (who showed first symptoms of distress
-- white mucous covering and surface swimming) was subjected to
hyposalinity and no meds for 2 weeks (down to 1.010 sp-gr) - is now
back to normal salinity. She looks great (good color, energy,
appetite). Because of her symptoms and treatment response we (probably
incorrectly) suspected parasite infection from suppressed immune system
so (a week late) got the surviving fish out of the main tank and into
hyposalinity QT. In tank B the dragon wrasse shows no external signs of
disease but is spending more time laying around than usual - would like
to think he's just bored being in a small tank with no rocks to
throw (he's rather smart) but am wary. He shows no signs of
breathing distress (normal rate for him), remains gregarious and his
usual voracious wrasse appetite. Tank-C inhabitants (cardinals) are
The male is carrying a brood (actually hatched one last night) and
looks good all things considered. The female is hovering at death's
Over a period of a few days she developed what appears to be a severe
bacterial infection (fins wasting, discolorations and wasting on body,
and white feces streamer). Her swim bladder seems damaged (went from
swimming head down to laying on the bottom). She's still breathing
and will swim away if approached but has stopped eating. Some of her
discolorations look like gold velvet so in response to these symptoms
(and the clown's) I diagnosed Amyloodinium and started treating
Tank-B and -C with CopperSafe and antibiotics (erythromycin/Maracyn in
QT water). Both tank-B and -C are currently at about 1.012 sp-gr and I
was planning to maintain that with the meds for 2 weeks unless you
recommend backing off on all or some of this.
<I really don't think the hypo is going to help; and the copper
exposure may well cause more harm than good.>
If the sick cardinal continues to suffer I will consider euthanasia and
in any event will do a post-mortem (microscope view of skin sample) to
look for parasites. Will discontinue the copper and/or slowly return
them to normal salinity levels if you think it's more risk than
benefit at this point. Getting an accurate reading on copper (both with
total and free copper kits) is difficult so I'm currently at the
mercy of the CopperSafe dosing instructions.
My daily QT protocol is to measure ammonia, feed all fish, watch their
response, perform 25-80% water changes, and add meds (again nothing for
tank-A at this point). Am also aerating vigorously. My plan has been to
keep the fish in QT (after the above treatment completes) until a full
month has elapsed (allow time for any parasites to complete life-cycle
in the main tank) and/or the main tank health has stabilized based on
response of inverts.
<Again... would like to have you confirm (microscopic examination of
body slime) parasitic presence>
Biggest concern at this point is not losing more fish. We've had
the dragon wrasse about 7 years and know they live longer. I'm
prepared to sacrifice the remaining main tank inverts to save him
(change to FOWLR) but am frankly anxious to get him back there as soon
as its safe (really tricky/risky maintaining a big fish in a 20 gallon
QT tank for an extended period). So any major reconfig on the main tank
that delays returning the fish is a concern.
II. Main reef tank
I just ordered yesterday a 2nd (200 gal capacity) skimmer to augment
our existing skimmer as well as an ORP probe for our Neptune
controller. Was planning to dig into Redox next as you suggest.
I'll look into the ozonizer option.
<A good piece of gear for larger, more valuable (emotionally,
As for tank status, after 2 weeks the poly-filter (in sump) shows no
signs of blue-green (copper) color and test kits (API and Instant
Ocean) show no measurable copper so I'm wondering if the source
water (old RO system, since replaced with new RO-DI rig) might have
been the culprit.
<Mmm, possibly... I'd be checking the checker/test kit as
The surviving inverts appear to be in limbo (not getting worse but not
getting better either). BTAs are "cautiously open". I remain
concerned at persistently low pH (hovering around 7.9) despite the
frequent water changes and infusion of new aragonite sand last
<Buffer the new/make-up water. Use SeaChem's fine line>
I've had the Kalkwasser drip off for about a month now.
<Mmmm, see WWM. Am not a big fan of in general>
Will try to manually bump up the pH slowly using buffer up while
I'm trying to sort out the chemistry but again, it feels like
something basic is out of whack. Algae remains a problem but nitrates
are slowly dropping (down to 20ppm today). Am periodically checking
ammonia and nitrites to ensure the system isn't cycling. I am
concerned about an as-yet mysterious water quality problem affecting
things at a microbial level.
<Thank you for this report, sharing. BobF>
Toxic Water Conditions - Can't Figure out what is
wrong to fix. 10/5/09
Hi WetWebMedia Crew,
<Hey Thai! JustinN here, out of retirement to help you out!
I have had a bit of an issue of late over the water quality of my tank
and cannot seem to work out what is wrong, hence have done nothing
except water changes to keep water quality high.
<Sounds reasonable, lets see what we can do!>
My stats are as follow: Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10 Ph 8.1 and
Salinity is 1.022.
<Looks good so far.>
It is a 375 gallon and understocked in my opinion. Tank consists of 1
yellow tang, 9 yellow tank fusiliers at about 3-4 inches, 3 green
chromis and a niger trigger at about 2 inches.
<I would agree with this assertion, sparsely populated given the
great volume of water available.>
The issue is that I've notice the fusilier tails have gone black in
some places and darker than it's usual bright yellow. 1 fusilier
has cloudy eye, 1 has pop eye as well and they seem to be burning as I
notice small red
patches on a few of them.
<Sounds like a higher potential case of aggression here, considering
your previous readings, assuming their accuracy..>
The Yellow tang is fine, flicks around a bit and has been doing it for
the last week. No visible signs of disease and his body is absolutely
perfect apart from some minor damage due to the flicking.
<Relatively typical of the species -- though is often a precursor to
further parasitic issues.>
The trigger and chromis are normal. I have added carbon in the past
week to try to remove any toxic metals and am using Seachem. I also
have Seachem's Cupri ion metal removal and am planning to add that
to the sump as well.
<Have you previously treated with a metal solution/chemical
'cure-all' that would merit this? These products are not
something I would consider a detriment to add occasionally, but unless
you have introduced the metals, this is an unwarranted worry.>
I'm feeding the fish new life spectrum pellets and Nori.
<A fine meal for most the species -- though I do recommend something
more meaty for your trigger. He'll love you for it!>
I use tap water and Red Sea Salt mix for water changes. I also have a
67 gallon tank ready to go and can use my Eheim 2217 which I have been
running in on the new tank for bacteria.
<If there becomes a directly diagnosable issue here, I'd
recommend using this set up as your quarantine/medical administration
tank. No sense in disturbing your large display if its not
The media was thoroughly cleaned before I hooked it up. Please advise
or direct me to the right links as I been reading all day but can't
find anything similar to what I am experience. Feel free to ask if
any details. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in
<My only remaining thoughts at this point still point to in-tank
aggression. Yellow tangs have an occasional penchant for being
bully-ish, and triggers most typically are aggressive. I'd keep an
eye on the day-to-day activities of your livestock, perhaps a pattern
of aggression may emerge.. -JustinN>
Reef problems 9/17/09
I am hoping you can shed some light on the situation I am going
Let's just say it's been a tough go on the reef. First my
Wrasse took a floor dive and then my Blenny got stung by a bristleworm
and eventually gave way to what I believe was an infection that became
serious. Well anyways my tank has been running for 5 years. In the last
3 months or so my leather corals have been shrinking in size and not
fully extending their polyps.
At first I just thought this was shedding but they still have not shed
and continue to shrink on a daily basis. There is no die off and am not
sure what is going on.
<Something, someone bothering>
I also had a very large Pocillopora colony which bleached from the
bottom only leaving the tips alive. About 5 months ago I switched my
lights from Ushio 10k bulbs to the AirWaterIce 12k bulbs. I do not know
if this is the cause but I know the PAR can be less with the higher
Do you think this is possible?
The bulbs were running for a few months before this started so I am
kind of reluctant to pin it on this and spend the money on new bulbs. I
have tired increasing the flow in my tank by adding another Koralia 1
thinking it was a flow problem. Still no improvement. I now have 4 in
my tank in each corner along with my mag 12 on the return (90 Gallon).
Allelopathy can also be an issue, I suppose,
but I do bi-weekly water changes, skim heavy, and use carbon.
My parameters all check out as well, PH- 8.3, DKH - 9, Cal- 375, SG -
I know the calcium is a little low but my tank seems to saturate
calcium at a high rate. I am sure this is related to my magnesium
levels as I use instant ocean salt,
<Has proven an inconsistent product in recent years... I'd test
but wouldn't think this is the problem. Do you have any ideas what
I can look for?
Should I try moving things around? Change the bulbs? Add a couple
triggers and groupers and call it quits?
<None of these. Please read:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
I Can't Keep a Fish Alive SW Systems Fish health
and Likely Toxic Water
Possible Ich\Crypt\Inappropriate stocking Reading, lots of
6 months ago I decided to buy my 6 yr old daughter her first fish
and that's when I became "hooked".
<welcome to the hobby.>
I ended up with my first fish tank and my first saltwater
A 55 gallon tank, a BakPak2R+ skimmer, Emperor 400, 2 power
heads, Live Rock 80lbs & my test kits show my Nitrates 0,
nitrites 0,(or)0.25 ammonia, 0,
<Big problem right there. Nitrites need to be zero and remain
High PH 8.0
<pH is a bit low. 8.2 - 8.4 is preferred.>
Phosphate 0.0 (or) 0.25 Salt Gravity 1.022. I feed mysis Shrimp,
blood worms, awexotics flakes (a food made locally here in town
where I live) it has kelp-Spirulina-color with garlic...made from
fresh kelp direct from Alaska high in added Spirulina high in
omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids garlic added for parasite control
industry leading color enhancer, zero nitrates and extremely low
ash and phosphorous.
<Other than the nitrite and pH, that sounds fine.>
I'm afraid however, I've just about given up already.
Fish die in my care and some within a day or two.
I haven't been able to keep one fish going for longer than 2
or 3 weeks.
<Something is seriously amiss.>
I'm afraid to go back to my fish stores for fear that they
won't sell me another fish I'm so embarrassed.
They're probably keeping track of how many I've bought so
as to make sure I'm not over stocking my tank.
I don't have the courage to tell them that the ones before
have all died. I have to drive out of my area just to find other
new fish. I feel so bad.
Right before a fish would die I'd notice white spots looking
like sand that showed up after it was being harassed by another
<Ahh, Marine Ich Have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and here:
After it stressed from all of the chasing the white spots would
show. I was told that these
spots were signs of stress and fish die from stress and
<Not even close. You have been given incorrect
A local shop sold me live rock that had just come in from Fiji. I
think they might have been in too much of a hurry to sell it
however because it wasn't cured all of the way before they
sold it. I didn't realize that.
My fish started to die and I just thought it was bad luck or bad
choice of combination on my ignorant part (again) so I kept
reading up on things until the wee hours of the night researching
information and selecting what I thought were the right fish but
they all died too. Finally another fish store owner, after
hearing my sad pathetic story about my tank said that it was the
live rock wiping out my tank and killing off my fish.
<If the live rock was still cycling, yes it was - it was
giving off ammonia and nitrite.>
A store sold me two maroon clowns and bagged them together and
when I got them home one of the clown fish had fins that were
chewed up and shredded!
<Not at all surprising. Maroon Clowns are very
They must have fought the whole 5 minuets it took me to get
They didn't last in my tank either. I put a cardinal in my
tank and one survived and the other died the second it hit the
<You need to read about Quarantine and Dipping procedures. It
keeps diseases like ich out of your tank Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm and here:
I don't understand that.
Seems I either buy fish that don't mesh with each other and
they fight to the death or fish that just don't make it.
<You need to stop adding fish.>
I would like more than just 4 fish in this tank. Perhaps
freshwater fish that are small would be a better choice to give
me a tank filled with beautiful fish to watch rather than 4 or 5
fish. I haven't met any beautiful freshwater fish though.
<There are several, but that is for another letter. :)
I had a coral beauty and I bought a Bicolor Pygmy Angel and they
both died with in 24 hours. The coral beauty lived 2 days but
when I put the angel in the next day they were both lying dead
next to each other.
<A very bad idea to put two dwarf angels together in the same
tank. Read here:
Now I've been reading about quarantine tanks and Dips and
although I don't know why these fish died I do think that I
would have been able to prevent some possibilities by
understanding the importance of both of these.
The store I bought my present fish from checked a few fish books
behind the counter while I stood there and told me I'd be
"just fine" with my 55 gallon tank when they sold me
the following: 1-Panther Grouper, 1- Lunar Wrasse, 1-Porcupine
Puffer and 3 Blue Green Chromis.
<Nyet, Nein, Non, No, no, a thousand times no.>
Well I can now tell you that I won't be "just fine"
and neither will these fish.
I'm going to have to donate these fish to another store or a
zoo!. The Wrasse probably won't live longer than 3 months in
captivity and the Panther will out grow my tank faster than my 6
year old daughter outgrows her shoes. The Chromis fish look okay
and the Puffer, well his face is about as pathetic looking as
Cute but a sad and sorry face. :-)
<The puffer will not do well in a 55 either. will get too big
It's odd, at first I was embarrassed to go back to the stores
because so many of the fish had died in my care.
I didn't want to show my face I felt so sad and ashamed.
But now, I'm not so sure that the stores are all that
"concerned" about the "fish" after all?
<Some do, many do not.>
I had a goby but I couldn't find it. I lost it, can you
believe that. I am so bad I actually lost a fish in my own
tank! In a rock somewhere I think. I took out the live rock to
move it around and the goby was gone. It finally showed up dead
lying in the sand. I'm pathetic I tell you.
<You are learning - the hard and expensive way, but yo are
I've been up to 3:00 am night after night reading your
website and trying to learn everything. Saltwater fish might be
to delicate and expensive for a rookie like me.
<No, you just need to learn.>
Maybe I'll do better with freshwater fish. Maybe it
doesn't matter what kind of fish I pick.
My question for you at this point is, I'm wondering if
perhaps it's not about the kind of fish but more about
something else that makes this a successful experience.
Is that possibly true?
<Rule #1 NOTHING good ever happens quickly in a saltwater
All this work on my tank and testing equipment and filters and
such makes me want to ask, is having a successful aquarium a
constant ongoing delicate balance between water conditions, food
types, species and knowledge or is having a successful aquarium a
delicate balance no matter what, simply because we're trying
to keep this species in captivity?
<It is a delicate balance always. When properly set up, it
isn't difficult. Do have a read here:
For me, I haven't gotten off to a very successful start.
<But we can always learn and correct our mistakes.>
<My pleasure, do write back if you have other
Re: I Can't Keep a Fish Alive QT, Ich Attack use.
Thank you for your response and information, links and time.
I read the information you offered and more. In the meantime the
Chromis died and at first it looked like they might have been
crushed by rock but I thought it was too odd and coincidental to
happen to both.
Then the 3rd one showed signs of injury or fungus on his back.
Suddenly my nitrites went from 0 to .25 and I noticed the puffer
had the white spots looking like sand all over the eyes and
<It seems as if your tank is going through a series of mini
I took a photo of both the puffer and the panther. (attached) You
can't see anything on the panther because he's so white
himself, but he takes a nice photo nonetheless) As for the wrasse
well, he's hard to photograph but he does like to lie beside
the Panther for some odd reason so I might get my chance.
I bought the "Ich Attack"
<Not the best choice for medicine. I would go so far as to say
it is useless . Copper or Quinine are the only methods that
and took out the filters that you normally use when you run the
Emperor 400. (These have carbon in them I assume tucked in behind
the blue filter material so I'm assuming the filter must be
run without these and with water only) and I left the skimmer on
and put the Ich Attack in the tank.
But then I realized that I had read that this would not do any
good because of my live rock. Not only would my live rock render
it useless but my live rock might no longer be any good either
after doing this. I went back to my reading and went out to the
store and purchased a 10 gallon tank as it was late at night. I
set up the tank and placed the Wrasse the Panther and the Puffer
in the tank after I had checked the water levels and salt levels
and made sure all was at the 0 level and salt was at 1.022 and
High PH 8.4.
<Very good recovery on the mistake.>
The Puffer didn't make it however as of today.
<Sorry to hear this.>
The Wrasse and Panther are still in the QT. Meanwhile in my 55
gallon I took the opportunity to vacuumed the sand (another thing
I'm not quite sure the best way to do).
<Not so different from doing it in a FW tank.>
When you say leave the tank "fallow" do you mean leave
everything turned off for days and let the water sit until it is
time to return the fish back to the tank and this will help kill
the ich in the tank as well?
<Leave the filtration system running, but with no fish for 4
When should I change the water in the main tank to flush out the
Ich Attack that I put into the main tank that got all over my
<Since you used Ich Attack, I would not worry too much. It
will filter out - just do your normal water changes.>
I'm on my way now back to read up on how long to leave them
in the QT and levels for acclimating them back into the main
Currently in the QT tank the levels are Nitrates 0, Nitrites 0,
Ammonia 0 High PH 8.5 and Salinity 1.019 and the temp is 81
If these two fish don't make it I might not keep this tank as
a saltwater tank but turn it into a freshwater tank and start
again from the beginning.
<It is easy to get frustrated. Just go a bit slower.>
I'm having success with my 10 gallon and 29 gallon freshwater
tanks here at home for some reason and haven't replaced any
fish and I tend to them weekly. I must have stocked them right.
Either way, I enjoy taking care of the tanks and their water and
find it therapeutic to test and change the water once a week and
sometimes more just for the fun of it, I admit :-)
<Enjoy the hobby .>
Re: Attn: Bob Fenner...... Reef trouble... hlth. diag.
Hey! As always thanks so much for getting back to me. I just found out
that the snails I purchased are indeed wild caught.
So yes Im suspecting that's were this had to have started. Cause
everything was fine before this. With the exception of a 5 inch Monti
cap that I added a few weeks ago. Nothing else was added until the
snails. Before these snails everything was fine.
Last night I did a 3 to 4 min freshwater dip on both clowns. They seem
to be doing a lot better. I took a flashlight and shined it in the
dipping bucket and I could see what look to be white spots floating on
But also there was small dark specks to..which if im not wrong is black
ich. Is this correct?
<Not likely, no>
But Im mainly worried about my Orchid Dottyback. He wont come out of
his cave...and I shined a light in there to see if he was still alive,
which he is, but he's not looking too good. He would have to pick a
cave that's in the largest rock in my tank. I think I will try to
get him out today and give him a freshwater dip with methyblue. I have
the hospital tank up and running. I have Seachem Paraguard, is this a
good medication for the hospital tank?
I also thought about moving the clowns in there, until they start
I will do a large water change today. Should I take all of those wild
caught snails out?
Please let me know..and thanks!!!
Re: Attn: Bob Fenner... ****Update***... Reef
trouble... hlth. diag. 9/2/09
Just thought I would update. I finally got the Orchid Dottyback out of
his cave and I gave him a 5 min freshwater dip with methyblue. I then
put him in the hospital tank...where he fell to the bottom, breathed
very heavy for about a min and then died. I had the parameters on the
hospital tank almost an exact match to the main tank. Im just not sure
if he was just too far gone or if he went into shock or both?
Both my clowns were still looking lethargic , so I then decided to move
them both to the hospital tank.
The male is right
side up and seems like he's doing ok, the female is laying on her
side a lot and seems to have trouble staying right side up. She will
swim for a second and then lay on the bottom. What would cause her not
be able to stay right side up?
<... don't know. Stress likely>
I dosed with Paraguard and then again today. It has been 4 days since
they last ate. I will soak a tiny bit of food in garlic and see if they
will take any tonight. Is this normal for them to lose interest in
<Please read on WWM re Amphiprionines>
and will they start eating again at some point, hopefully if they start
to get better.. Also is the methyblue
better just for dips, or can I use it for the hospital tank too? or is
it better to just stick with Paraguard for the hospital tank?
<I'd stick with the SeaChem product solo>
My bristle tooth tang, Banggai cardinal, yellow tail damsel seem
I did a water change last night and then again today.
I will continue doing water changes for the next couple of days. I took
all the wild caught snails out of the tank. So If the snails did bring
pathogens into the tank what would be my next course of action?
<Wait and hope>
Before this mess, I actually was getting ready to move everything into
a bigger tank in about 3 or 4 weeks. I wanted to use the 50 gals of
water from this tank too when I do the change over.
Would it be ok, or should i totally discard this water and start all
over when I change tanks?
<I'd start all over. B>
Possible Oxygen Issues? (Maybe'¦but I
don't think so) -- 08/04/09
Hey guys, Jen again,
<<Howdy Jen again>>
Bob commented on a complete and total loss I had with a reef tank about
4 weeks ago.
It's been about 7 weeks since the crash and since then I've did
a major overhaul in the tank.
<<Ah yes'¦and a prime opportunity to makes
I can only assume that I lost most of the beneficial bacteria, so I
changed most of the water over the first 3 weeks, stirred sand,
replaced media, added a custom carbon canister (about 10lbs of
<<You haven't stated the size of this system but I imagine
this is much more than what is needed here'¦and maybe even
enough to be 'too aggressive' for the system. Not to mention
the expense of changing out this much carbon on a two-three week
basis'¦really, any longer than that and this becomes a huge
detritus sink. I am a fan/user myself of carbon on a continual basis as
a useful adjunct to your filtration system, but in smaller quantities
(1/2lb -- 1lb), and changed-out frequently (every 2-3
to try and combat maybe some kind of toxin,
<<Was this identified as the cause of the loss? Or maybe just an
assumption of an accumulation re>>
and then added more live rock. In the weeks and weeks after all the
work I've watched the tank cycle and now I'm back down to
acceptable levels - no ammonia, no nitrite, almost undetectable nitrate
<<Mmm, this tank is still cycling then'¦all should be
pH was a problem initially, I assume of the addition of so much
but now has been buffered and has been stabilized for the past 3
<<Likely because the carbon is now
So onto the question. I purchased a damsel to help cycle the tank
<<There's no real practical reason for such 'live'
cycling of a system. Much better, and just as useful, to simply add a
bit of flake/pelleted food to the tank every couple of days until the
Nitrogen cycle is completed>>
(yes will return the little guy later on - he's not a keeper)
<<If it survives'¦>>
and acclimated him using the drip method. I lost him in less than 3
Extremely heavy frantic respiration. I tried again a few weeks later to
the same result.
My question is - could I possibly have extremely low DO levels because
of the crash and then subsequent die off?
<<Not for this reason alone'¦not with the time
that's passed, the water changes, good water movement (a
skimmer?)'¦ I suspect your test kits may not be accurate
(time to 'test the testers') and you still have toxic levels of
Could this have pushed my system extremely anaerobic and that the cause
of the loss so quickly after acclimation?
<<Again, with all that has passed I think this is unlikely. Even
had this been the case right after the tank crash'¦once
'cleaned up' as you have done, and with the return of water
motion, the system would very quickly return to its 'aerobic'
Also could the carbon be taking out dissolved oxygen as well?
<<I've been pondering that myself, but only because of the
'amount' of carbon you are utilizing. There does seem to be
some thought that carbon can be used to remove dissolved
oxygen'¦as in a special filter utilizing activated carbon
fiber to remove DO to reduce corrosion in steam
generators'¦but this looks to require special adjuncts to
the process (other added reducers/chemicals/application processes), and
is not simply the addition of a measure of activated carbon. I in no
way want to discourage the use of activated carbon as a chemical
filtrant for the home aquarium, but like anything else, I suppose it
can be overdone. With that in mind, I would reduce the amount of carbon
in the canister filter to a pound or less...and add a couple cut-up
Poly-Filters in place of the bulk of the carbon for increased/improved
chemical filtration'¦or even replace the carbon with the
Everything with the tank tests well and I cannot figure out why else I
would have this loss.
<<Do be sure the test kits are good/fresh>>
We've even went so far as to test random occurrences like
electrical current to make sure there is no other problems here. I do
not want to put any more fish at risk here and really cannot figure out
another issue...so could this be a possibility?
<<Maybe'¦ Reduce the amount of carbon and see. But
please, don't add any more fish until you've determined the
efficacy of your test kits, and ALL Nitrogenous compound readings are
If so, I've already added an airstone in the sump and I have plenty
of water movement and disturbance at the top.....
<<Then I do think it 'is not' a reduced DO issue, though
I still think you don't need that much/should reduce the amount of
carbon utilized. Look to other causes for poisoning of the system here,
Thanks for the insight!
<<Happy to assist'¦ EricR>>
sudden death of certain fish in tank... SW dis.
hello, i have a possible problem.
<I see them... Grammatical... Beginnings of sentences are
capitalized, as is the personal pronoun "I"....>
setup is 100 gal, fish and rock only. live sand, with canister
ph is 1.023-1.024, no ammonia, nitrates or nitrites. Ph has been around
8.0-8.2 since initial cycle.
tank has only been up for 4months. stocking consists of Foxface rabbit,
yellow tang, blue regal tang, single long-fin Bannerfish, two clown
fish, three assorted damsels, crabs and cleaner shrimp.
Here's the problem, noticed two days ago on Bannerfish small white
fungus on very end of fin,
LFS said just to pluck them off, just a fungus growth. did that and
fish seemed okay, all fish ate today and
were normal selfs,except the Bannerfish. he was hanging around the
bottom, breathing labored, and just not swimming like normal. came back
six hours later, and Bannerfish, yellow tang, and Rabbitfish all dead
in corner of tank.
<... A common trait amongst these? Oxygen need... high DO>
All the other fish seem okay, acting normal, swimming, and being their
Moved blue tang to Q-tank just in case, and taking water sample to LFS
for further testing. retest on
water at home showed ph=8.2, no nitrates or nitrites, no ammonia
present.SG is at 1.023. I was unsure if the dying Bannerfish could have
killed them all, or if the problem lies elsewhere??? thanks for your
answer, and love the wet web.....Jason
<Use it then: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/16/09
I have a 180 Gallon established fish tank. I found my yellow tang dead
and the other fish not eating and breathing heavily. They were all fine
when I went to bed and in the morning they were not. I checked all
levels in the
tank and even went to my LFS to have them check the water, and all
levels are spot on.
<I find it hard to believe an LFS could do better testing than an
individual... and what does "spot on" mean?>
We did a 25% water change at the suggestion of the LFS. I am at a loss
as are they as to what is going on. I am so upset of losing my fish had
him for three years, also I have my other fish for over 4 years never a
problem with them. Any suggestions as to what else I can do or what may
be the problem.
<Take a deep breath, and check your pH, nitrite, and ammonia. This
sounds like a chemical problem. Could something have been spilled in
the aquarium? Use any new chemical products by the tank?>
I see no signs of illness on them they look clean on their gills, I am
very stressed out watching them breathe like that. Should I leave the
tank light off for them does this calm them down?
<No. Maintain normalcy.>
And one last question, is it possible for the other fish to stress out
over the one that died since they were tank mates, I know that sounds
crazy, but they were all hanging around the tang, they did not even
move when I was taking her out of the tank?
<No, these creatures do not form these sort of anthropomorphous
Thanks for your Help!
<Deb, I'd redo those water tests, and keep an eye on the rate of
respiration of the fish. It sounds like some sort of poisoning, for now
I would recommend adding some carbon in case there is a foreign
chemical at work here, and continuing water changes until the fish
Re: Devastating Tank Loss: Overstocked tank crash.
Nothing really to refer. 7/13/2009
<Hi Melissa, sorry for the delay in writing back, I've
been in Montreal for the last week or so.>
I am writing back to give an update because we have had a small
Our TR clown has pulled through. His recovery from being on his
side and gasping the entire day after the equipment disaster, to
swimming around this morning has been a wonderful surprise.
I haven't yet seen a fish come back from this. When he was on
his side we thought him gone and were going to scoop him out but
he swam away and kept at it, something about him gave me hope
even though I really know better. He was very healthy and fat
before the rescue operation, I suppose this aided in his ultimate
I did a huge water change 40%; the ammonia & ph are 0,
nitrates cut down by half at 0 and nitrites 0. As of this
morning, all corals (2 torch, a frogspawn and mushroom are open
and looking good so far). Also I grabbed a bit of water last time
I was in the LFS and tested it when I got home, I was amazed at
the PH levels being off my charts; is this normal? Everything
else tested at 0's.
<Depends on how they make up their water.>
As an answer to your question the extra "emergency"
fish were in our tank for close to three weeks, not even regular
water changes kept the levels down. One other thing that you
mentioned regarding how it would have been better to take the
fish back to store, but we really don't have a store that
will take them back. When I took out the chromis, I had no idea
where to take them and stopped at a Petco where they surprised me
by taking them as a donation. But years ago I had some fish that
needed a home when my tank cracked and the local stores there
wouldn't take them.
<I can understand their position as well, as they do not want
to potentially introduce disease to their tanks.>
I finally found one even though they still gave me a very hard
time. Had I known they would not come through and get their
animals back I would have set something else up. Live and learn,
at my animals expense!
So I thank you for your time and again wanted to celebrate the
survival of a very tough TR clown. Now I have the levels back to
safe levels, got the spg up to 1.024 (the spg is hard to keep up
in this system, funny as years ago we had 100 gal+ tanks and we
had to add fresh water to keep this down) and eventually get a
new cleaner shrimp or a pair and get back to enjoying our tank
I also attached some photos of my torch coral as there is a large
"something" on the side. It is hard like the base, but
it separates from the base ever so slightly. I tried to show the
side so this can be viewed, but wasn't very successful. I
included the pics anyway. I would appreciate your comments/info.
I tried to search but the general terms I used didn't locate
anything similar and I didn't have any more descriptive
<Hmm... will refer to others more knowledgeable on
Tank Loss: Additional Crew follow-up: From MikeV
Can someone look at the two pictures of the Torch Coral I
haven't seen anything like that before.
<Am looking at right now Mike. My comments below. BobF>
I am writing back to give an update because we have had a small
Our TR clown has pulled through. His recovery from being on his
side and gasping the entire day after the equipment disaster, to
swimming around this morning has been a wonderful surprise. I
haven't yet seen a fish come back from this. When he was on his
side we thought him gone and were going to scoop him out but he
swam away and kept at it, something about him gave me hope even
though I really know better. He was very healthy and fat before the
rescue operation, I suppose this aided in his ultimate
I did a huge water change 40%; the ammonia & ph are 0, nitrates
cut down by half at 0 and nitrites 0. As of this morning, all
corals (2 torch, a frogspawn and mushroom are open and looking good
so far). Also I grabbed a bit of water last time I was in the LFS
and tested it when I got home, I was amazed at the PH levels being
off my charts; is this normal? Everything else tested at
<Mmm, normal? Yes... marine systems that are "large,
stable" enough, can/do recenter themselves... bio-, chem-, and
As an answer to your question the extra "emergency" fish
were in our tank for close to three weeks, not even regular water
changes kept the levels down. One other thing that you mentioned
regarding how it would have been better to take the fish back to
store, but we really don't have a store that will take them
back. When I took out the chromis, I had no idea where to take them
and stopped at a Petco where they surprised me by taking them as a
donation. But years ago I had some fish that needed a home when my
tank cracked and the local stores there wouldn't take them. I
finally found one even though they still gave me a very hard time.
Had I known they would not come through and get their animals back
I would have set something else up.
Live and learn, at my animals expense!
So I thank you for your time and again wanted to celebrate the
survival of a very tough TR clown. Now I have the levels back to
safe levels, got the spg up to 1.024 (the spg is hard to keep up in
this system, funny as years ago we had 100 gal+ tanks and we had to
add fresh water to keep this down) and eventually get a new cleaner
shrimp or a pair and get back to enjoying our tank again.
I also attached some photos of my torch coral as there is a large
"something" on the side.
<The green, uniform area?>
It is hard like the base, but it separates from the base ever so
slightly. I tried to show the side so this can be viewed, but
wasn't very successful. I included the pics anyway. I would
appreciate your comments/info. I tried to search but the general
terms I used didn't locate anything similar and I didn't
have any more descriptive terms.
<I think this is likely an algal colony/growth... from
opportunistic chances, ongoing changes, trauma in your system... I
would not "treat it" in any way... Will likely cycle out
in time on its own. Bob Fenner>
Chronic problem of fish not eating... from only one
I'll make this as brief as possible.
<Please... take your time>
I have had my 90g reef tank set up for about 5 months. I was careful to
do it right... fully cycled with no fish, lots of live rock, adequate
skimming etc. The first fish into my tank were a pair of Ocellaris
Clownfish, followed the next month by a Banggai Cardinal. They were fed
the exact same diet they were fed at the LFS.
I also took care to acclimate them properly, as I have with every
Water testing is done twice a week and I have never had any water
issues since the completion of the cycle.
Over the first few weeks, the Clowns gradually tapered off and stopped
<Were these wild caught (as opposed to tank bred)? Not atypical
losses if so>
I didn't notice it early because they appeared to be eating; only
when their health deteriorated did I closely examine what was going on.
They would approach food, mouth it, and then drop it. As time went on
largely ignored food. Soon after the Banggai went in, I lost both
After making sure my tank was not to blame, I obtained another pair
from a different source, observing their eating habits closely while in
quarantine, and they are happy and healthy to this day.
The exact same course of events occurred with the Banggai. I started to
doubt myself, and tested everything even more. No water issues. The
Banggai was replaced, from the same store that the second pair of
Clowns came from. He's fat, active and happy.
The only thing I could think of was that I didn't witness those
fish eating at the store. I gave the store one more chance and bought a
<A very social species>
It ate heartily... until it got home. It died while still in
quarantine; it would not eat. None of these fish showed any signs of
ich or any other disease... the only visual clue was emaciation near
the end. I tried every food available, and eventually they wouldn't
even take live brine shrimp.
<Please read re Sphaeramia, Artemia on WWM>
I later learned that several other members of our local reef club have
had the exact same thing play out with fish from this store. Had I not
spoken to them, I would still be looking for where I had failed. For
it's worth, the store is SW only, and is clean and generally
well-regarded, and the owner is helpful and knowledgeable.
I tell this story not to seek ammunition with which to cause trouble,
but rather to learn.
Can you offer any guess as to what the problem could be?
<Not sufficient data presented to make much of a guess here>
On a happier note I'm glad to report that all my livestock (from
LFS #2) is doing beautifully. My system is home to several happy,
healthy fish, is maturing well and bringing lots of enjoyment to our
Thanks for any insight.
<See my questions above... and info. re water quality tests... I
would not condemn the source here just yet. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chronic problem of fish not eating... from only
one store 4/22/09
The fish, according to the LFS, were fed on a rotation of Ocean
Nutrition products: Formula One flakes, small pellets and frozen. I
already had their flakes and pellets, and I bought the frozen with the
fish for the
purpose of duplicating their diet.
<Did you actually see these fishes eating these foods there?>
The owner stated that the fish were tank bred, but of course I
can't prove or disprove this.
<Mmm, maybe ask to see the invoice...>
I specifically asked because of the near-endangered state of Banggai in
the wild. If they had been wild caught I would not have purchased
Water testing (with API kits) has consistently shown zero ammonia, zero
nitrites and between "almost zero" and 5ppm
<NO3 I take it>
depending on time since the last water -change. Ph is stable at
I have not measured for calcium, mag, etc because I only keep soft
corals and they are growing well.
<These might be involved in your fish losses>
These test kits are in the near future for me, however.
When I stated that the PJ turned down brine shrimp, I misspoke. I meant
to say Mysis shrimp, which I added to the diet in an attempt to find
something that would be accepted.
<I see, and agree>
I did search for the articles you mentioned, and read what I found...
I'm not sure if you are directing me to a specific piece of info,
but from what I could tell the environment was acceptable. The bit
about PJs needing
groups I didn't know, but would it be possible to have been a
factor even during the quarantine period?
<Mmm, no... in fact, can be problematical, due to crowding>
Should the "school" always be purchased, quarantined, and
stocked at the same time? If I've missed the information you were
trying to direct me to, my apologies.
<If parallel systems/quarantine were practical, this would be
ideal... otherwise, serial...>
If I can supply you with more information, please let me know.
At this point, I think my system is doing quite well, but I will always
feel like I have missed something obvious unless I can figure out what
happened early on.
<Well... it could be that there is/was a quality difference in the
animals you initially purchased from the one dealer... My intent was/is
simply to point out that this isn't necessarily so, given the data
presented. At any
length, I do concur with your decision to "vote with your
feet" (and wallet) and patronize shops that agree with your
values. Thank you for this follow-up, sharing. Bob
The Fish Rapture, a new chapter to the "Left
Behind" series perhaps....: 3/30/2009
A while ago, I finally got a promotion, so my virtually-empty tank
could finally have some work done on it again, only I received a severe
problem that plagued me the last time I was able to stock the tank:
A few fish deaths, I've understood; some I've even chalked up
to hobbyist error. However, there was a case of two Chromis that quite
literally vanished in the fall. No bodies were ever found in the tank
or the room, and I just accepted it. This weekend, I've been struck
again: a tiger sleeper goby (Valenciennea wardii) and a Chromis (C.
viridis), who just entered the main system on Friday.
<How much live rock is in your system? Have you heard any strange
snapping or popping noises coming from the tank?>
The Goby slid into the tank and was hopping about when I had gone to
bed on Friday. I have not seen him since. The Chromis was fine all
weekend, munching happily on the food I gave him and a few copepods he
<No Quarantine, so we cannot eliminate sick\diseased fish as a
Today, I accidentally hit a rock with my hand, and the resulting
configuration had me worried about the stability of some of the
aquascaping, so I dismantled the rock work. During the time, I never
found the Goby.
<Hmm.... could be hiding in the rock.>
I literally pulled out every single piece of live rock: no sign of him.
Understand that the top of the tank is covered except where the water
pours back in from a hang-on skimmer and a powerfilter. It is
physically possible to jump through these narrow spaces, so I looked
around. I pulled aside every single piece of furniture in the room,
checked under a radiator, and even brought in a cat, who normally
isn't allowed in the room, to "smell out" the corpse. No
<The fish law of Antimatter. a 1 inch guppy can vanish in a 1 gallon
bowl and not leave a trace. What else is in the tank? Any crabs\shrimp
While I was looking for him, the Chromis, who had been swimming
peacefully in a rock-free tank, vanished. Again, I restarted my search
frantically, and again I was met with frustration. There's no way
the Chromis could have jumped through a tiny opening, flopped away, and
now be undetectable, but there you have it.
<How about in the filtration system and\or in\under the tank
The tank was shared with the following: 5 Astrea snails, 1 Nassarius
snail, 1 Tridacna crocea, a pair of 1/2 inch hermits (Clibanarius sp
maybe?) and 1 Ophiolepsis superba. This is, of course, in addition a
small army of various amphipods, copepods, and Asterinas. I don't
see any of these as real trouble makers.
<Not troublemakers, but they can eat a dead fish very
After moving furniture and dumping the live rock back in the tank
rather unceremoniously (too frustrated to try to arrange it at the
moment), I'm at my wit's end. If they aren't in the tank
and they aren't in the room, and if the door is always closed to
keep out the cat, then where can these animals possibly be?
<As frustrating as this can be (I've "lost" a few
Jawfish this way.) We need to look at all possible causes:
1. There is an unwanted hitchhiker in the tank killing your fish
(Mantis Shrimp, Green Brittle Star, etc.
2. The fish are dying and are consumed by the rest of the critters in
the tank - with crabs, a brittle star, and all of the other life, a
small fish body can vanish in a few short hours.
3. The fish are jumping, and landing where you cannot see them - Like
inside the stand or under the stand. If there is space under your
stand, these usually collect dust - the wet fish gets coated in the
dust and vanishes.
4. Fish escaping through the central filtration system (Overflow, etc.)
I've been the victim of Chromis being sucked into powerhead intakes
in the amount of time it took to remove the filter foam and put the
plastic screen on it. (less than 5 seconds.)>
<I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you, but it has
to be one of the above four.>
Maxi clam and Regal tang death, troubleshooting, too
new sys. 3/23/09
Good evening WWM,
I just purchased a Maxi clam two days ago and it was doing great. I
woke up this morning and found one of my blue legged hermits eating the
clam and it was almost an empty shell.
I check to see if I had any pyramid snails and I didn't find any. I
am not sure what killed it. I would think even if a hermit decided to
make it a meal the clam would of just closed up.
<Mmmm, maybe not enough>
I am not sure if it died and the CUC was doing its job and when I woke
up, they were on the clam to take the blame. I was distraught as this
is my second death in the same day. I purchased a Regal tang and it was
doing great for the 2 days that I had it as well, until I found it
pumping its gills very hard and it was laying on the sandbed on its
<?! No quarantine? Trouble...>
Of course my CUC was right on task picking at it. The only thing that I
saw on the Regal was a small clear spot on its tail, which I thought
may have been caused by the other tangs in the tank at the LFS.
My water parameters are fine. Salinity is 1.024, NH3 is 0, Nitrites is
0, Nitrates is slightly elevated at 17ppm. Tank is about 2 months
<Mmm, very new... I would hold off for another month before adding
I have a blue sided fairy wrasse, 2 green chromis, 2 fire gobies and a
black finned goby. When the tang died, ich did display on the abdominal
part of the fish. Im assuming since Regals are known for ich, the ich
didn't display until the host died forcing it the superior part of
<... likely your system is infested... The Crypt to show if/when
there is sufficient stress...>
After Googling all this morning, I did find that many people also had
the same fate I had, but there seemed to be no decisive answers. I know
WWM isn't an all knowing,
but I was hoping maybe you can share some hypotheses on what may have
taking place. This is definitely are learning experience and it truly
hurts me that this happened. Is this something I should go back to the
LFS and get my money back or is this my fault or an act of God.
<More an act of Howard>
Thank you for your time!
<Read on my fellow pet-fish enthusiast... You don't mention the
size/volume of this system, but I would take the investigate, then buy
approach here to further livestocking adventures. Bob
Inverts dying 3-15-09
<Evening, Mike here tonight>
Got an emergency...it appears all my inverts are in crisis. I did a 10
gal water change yesterday (55 gal tank 30 gal refugium 2 years old). I
used RO water w/ Instant Ocean (the usual). I noticed last night a
limpet crawling out of the tank..checked pH 8.2, SG 1.025 after awhile
he submerged some . This morning a conch was dead, hermit crab crawled
out of shell, Ceriths and limpet crawling out of tank, starfish eating
conch...fish are ok. checked all water param.s...Ammonia 0, Nitrate and
Nitrite 0, Ca 360 (I'll increase), dKH 10.
<Nothing amiss among these>
What am I missing? I'd do another water change but since this
started after the water change yesterday I'm not so sure.
<Possibly use a different water source...how much use have your RO
I have been fighting Bryopsis for a few months now and Cyano (almost
<Hmm...this sounds like a heavy metal poisoning. Add carbon and a
poly-filter if you have it, and see if that makes a difference. Another
water change with known contaminant-free water would also be a good
idea, especially with the die-off you're experiencing. I'm
going to CC Bob/the crew on this email to see if they have anything to
<M. Maddox><<RMF would premix the IO... leave set,
circulating for days ahead of use... perhaps test for alkalinity,
biomineral content ahead of applying>>
Re: Inverts dying 3/16/2009
I mixed it last Tues aerated it and did the water change on Fri. I
checked it for Ca (360) and dKH (8). Wouldn't the filter membranes
have filtered out any heavy metals?
<Yes, the Polyfilter should have. B>
Marine velvet... No, and too little data period
Hi there crew, really hope you can help with the problem I'm
having, it started off about three weeks ago now, first i lost one of
my stocky anthias, his tail had been pecked at slightly and then over
the next few days unfortunately the fish deteriorated and died, my
other anthias then died a few days later with no signs of any damage
discolouration or disease,
<Often these shy, retiring, schooling fishes will/do follow each
i wondered if they had been fighting as they occasionally did and that
it was the result of this.
<Oh! You only had two? Almost all species need to be kept in larger
Around a week after this my orange shoulder tang (juvenile) began to
get a grayness to it's body and the beautiful yellow soon became
very drab, again another fish lost and me very distraught of losing
three fish in such a short space of time, i had been doing regular
water changes and kept a tight eye on all my parameters everything kept
coming up fine.
Everything was fine and no problems fro a while then i noticed my
female cinnamon clown (paired) started to get marine velvet, it started
as a small white circle about 1cm, the next day i come down and
<Mmm, not the etiology... Don't "start"... all fishes
"get" at same time... from "somewhere"...>
couldn't believe the state of the clown it was covered completely
with it peeling off in places, i went to the LFS with water samples and
everything came back fine with slightly high phosphate i was told not
to worry about, but changed phosphate remover anyway.
<... see WWM re HPO4>
I was told to fresh dip the clown,
<... what for?>
i wasn't to happy about it but the state it was in it looked like a
last resort, i done two dips and the clown picked up and looked
<... but replaced the animal in the infested system?>
i came down this morning to find the clown sucked on to the side of my
Tunze and again another loss. I have never been so distraught and have
never encountered problems like this in the seven years i have been
keeping marine, my emperor angel is know showing signs of colour loss
and my female Bluethroat trigger is showing very light signs of
whitespot. i had put Oodinex treatment in the tank
<... No! Not in the display tank...>
for three treatments while all this was going on and also fitted a
spray bar and continued adding aragamight. Please help as i really am
feeling a failure and am wondering what else to do. ?
My corals and other fish look great including my large yellow tang and
even my cleaner wrasse
<Another source of stress>
which would usually be first to perish if conditions weren't great.
I'm close to knocking it all on the head because of this, i feel
like an amateur who hasn't got a clue.
i have a 100gallon tank
nitrate 30 max
<Too high... and what of Mg?>
Thanks and regards
<... need more real data. There is something "toxic" going
on in your system... but can't discern from the info. presented.
Please read through here to get an idea of what we're looking
http://wetwebmedia.com/environm.htm (the linked files at top)... I
would run a Polyfilter, GAC... at the very least. Bob
Re: marine velvet. SW dis trblshtg. f' --
03/02/09 Hi again Bob and firstly thanks for the quick reply
really appreciated. I had a read of most of the threads on disease and
some of the things have really opened my eyes. I have had a think of
what I have recently done on the tank before all this started too, I
gradually changed the lighting over to all new arcadias, 3 x 30w whites
1x 30w blue and 1 x 18w white (small light across end of bullnose
tank). I also changed the filter media (Fluval rx5) new po4 remover,
<... again... see WWM re> carbon to remove treatment (and yes I
did add treatment to display tank) :( and as much as i don't like
to admit i no longer have quarantine due to lack of space, currently
looking at putting one into the garage though. I also gradually changed
the media over in the filter to live rock rubble, but left in the old
sponge filters. I do partial cleans on the filter media every 2-4
weeks. In the list of parameters what are you referring to as to high?
<The Ca at 460 ppm> the Mg is reading 1200. My LFS said he has
got a tank in the shop i could temporarily house the fish in till i get
this sorted but if this is stress related is this good practice moving
fish out then back again? <No, it is not> I feed the fish a
variety of frozen food mysis, cockle, squid, krill, occasionally add
cockle in shells or clams for triggers, also add Kent ZoÃ«
and Zoecon to food as supplement for triggers also clip on Nori for
tangs and angel and always make sure any left is removed. I have 60kilo
of rock with cabbage coral, zoos, xenia, clove and some varied colours
mushrooms. <... could well be that your fish losses are resultant
from interaction of the above. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. Last
time... I would NOT run phosphate chemical filtrant in the presence of
Cnidarians> I'm running 2 x 3200 marea and a Tunze 6100 on
controller of 30% - 80% at about 15 sec pulse also 4ft spray bar
running of inlet from fx5. Tank stock is pair of bluethroats, emperor
angel, <Needs to be in more than a hundred gallon system> yellow
tang cinnamon clown, Falco hawk and small tobacco Basslet, plenty of
snails and a large long spine urchin. Anymore info i can give or need
to check please say and I'll get back. <You just need to read,
comprehend what the possibilities are here, observe your
livestock...> The lighting is currently timed at coming on around
7:30am until 5:30pm then moonlight LEDs are running constant through
until lights on again. I'm running a red sea skimmer and have done
for last 4 months due to Deltec mc500 going on the blink. Thanks again
Mysterious salt water fish death -
Hi and thank you for receiving my e-mail.
I have a 60 gallon salt water tank. The water test results are always
There are four fish that have been in the tank for over a year and are
but every time I add a new fish it dies in about two weeks. Any new
fish added to the tank is fine in the beginning and never shows any
outward signs of a problem until suddenly they die. No obvious
symptoms, unusual spots or damage of any kind.
<Most likely one of two possibilities here... Some sort of
chemical/physical water quality drift that your other fishes have
become accustomed to, or them killing the new arrivals...>
Could you please shed some light as to what might be happening and how
to prevent it?
<More data please. Bob Fenner>
Marks appearing on fish 12/23/08
Hi WetWeb crew,
I've just noticed some pale blemishes on my ocellaris clowns
and a lesion on my Centropyge eibli and was wondering if you have
any idea's about their origin.
They don't look like any of the common diseases I'm
familiar with but then I'm no expert.
<Mmm, your pix are so blurry that I can't make out what
you're referring to here>
A couple of days ago I had a long overdue and fairly aggressive
tank overhaul which resulted in a lot of fine sand/detritus being
put into suspension, I spotted the angel lying on its side
struggling to breathe
so I moved it into a quarantine tank and thankfully within a few
minutes it was respiring normally and swimming around fine, I
left it overnight then returned it to the tank in the
Today I've noticed a pale, raised lesion on its
ï¿½chinï¿½, do you think
this could just be damage from it exploring its new environment
or something more sinister?
<Likely the former... an "owee">
The clowns have pale patches on their sides and lips which look
distinctly different from that on the angel as they are flat and
look more like a loss of pigment? All fish are feeding fine.
<This last is a good sign>
The tank is 280l with roughly 35kg of Live rock and has been
running for 2 years. Inverts are, 2 scarlet hermits, 2 large
Marshall island hermits a few Ceriths and a few aiptasia (not for
long!). The 3 fish mentioned above are the only
vertebrates present at the moment and I've had them for over
3 years now.
Water parameters are as follows:
sal - 1.025,
temp - 24c,
NH4, NO2 and NO3 undetectable,
pH is low at 7.8 but I've just added some extra coral sand to
<Mmm, you may want to add, switch out some live rock here as
well... to bolster solubility of alkaline materials, add
biomineral, restore biodiversity...>
Many thanks in advance,
p.s. Photo's attached, apologies for the poor quality!
<I think your fishes are likely fine... as you suggest... that
they have suffered some traumas in the cleaning up. Bob
HELP! I'm out of ideas: what is going on with my
tank? SW... troubleshooting dis. 11/24/08
<Hi there Shelly>
I have a new 29-gallon fish only tank with artificial rock and live
It was Filled on 7/22/08 - added fish on 7/24/08 - Cycle completed on
10/12/08 (78 days total, start to finish).
My filtration consists of a Penguin 350 (350 gallons per hour), a
powerhead that rotates (at the top of the tank), and an aeration strip
across the back. (bubble bar).
All have been there since I set up the tank.
I currently have the following creatures:
Fish: 1 Percula Clownfish, 1 Pink Spotted Shrimp Goby, and 1 Banggai
Cardinal. All are juveniles.
Inverts: 2 blue-legged dwarf hermits, 2 red dwarf hermits, 2 turbo
snails, 1 chocolate chip starfish.
<This last... may be trouble, problematical...>
Tank readings as of this morning:
Temperature: 80, gravity: 1.023 Â¼,
<Mmm... the Star needs more/natural concentrated water...
ammonia: zero, nitrites: zero, nitrates: 15, pH: 8.1, alkalinity:
MY QUESTION: (finally!)
My clown (who I added two days after I filled the tank and lived
through the whole cycle) is gasping at the bottom of the tank and not
eating. He had a friend, another clown, who died two days ago.
(gasping, not eating, then died).
The Banggai is also breathing rapidly. The goby is fine (eating like a
pig, collection shells, no gilling) as are the crabs and the starfish.
I also had a Royal Gramma who died about 1 week ago. The dead fish
showed no signs of ich or being killed, etc. - they just died. I do a
20% water change every 5-7 days. I don't rinse the bio-filters and
I alternate switching out the two carbon filters weekly. (left 1 week,
right the next). The test kits I use are API test-tube kits (the
individual tests for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates). I use test
strips to double-check my results. I also purchased a third nitrate
test kit yesterday and got the same results as above: 15. I vacuum the
gravel when I do the water changes and I know there is nothing dead in
the tank anywhere, so I am out of
ideas as to why my fish are dying and my inverts are fine. I am SO
WHY are my fish dying and why are all my inverts, including the
chocolate chip, doing great????????????
Thanks very much for your help. I SO appreciate having you guys around
<Mmm... the "stock" guesses given the data/circumstances
you list so well are low dissolved oxygen (DO) and/or some sort of
fish-specific toxicity... the fact that the lower DO requiring fish is
fine (the Goby) and that none of the dead fishes showed other poison
identifiable behavior, leads me to suspect low DO... you can/might do a
few things re here... Lower your water temperature (to the low to mid-
70's F.... which will reduce metabolic rate and allow for greater
gas saturation... Or move some of the life out, elsewhere, which will
lower the load/demand for oxygen. Also, I would get in the habit of
toweling or dipping off the surface water of this system during weekly
water changes... to discount the poss. that some sort of film (oil,
aerosol...) is coating your water surface, interfering with gas
diffusion. Please read here re:
and peruse the files linked above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Marine System/Fish Death 11/18/08
I hope you have been well!
<Hello Michael, I have been, thank you.>
With the economy crumbling around our ears, its seems as though many of
us have hit on hard times!
I hope you are fairing better than the rest of us
=) (If user are able to support your site, please do let me know! I
would love to be a semi "contributing" user hee hee)
<There is an Amazon ï¿½begging
bowlï¿½ at the bottom of the homepage if you
Sir, I wanted to ask you a follow up question and hope I am not being
too much of a nuisance. =(
<No, good to hear from you again.>
I previously sent you the basic details about my tank but I am more
than certain that you probably go through a ton of messages a day so I
had better start off with a quick recap =)
My Tank Details:
I reside in Hong Kong where the weather is constantly hot and humid...
I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank with no sump. I use fine aragonite
substrate (roughly 1 inch deep) and have roughly 50 pounds of live
(bought over a period of a year). In addition, I have two external
canister filters (both relatively large), one hang on back skimmer
(pump), one metal
halide lamp (150W), two wave makers (Tunze), one external chiller (I
believe this was made for 100 gallon tanks) and one high speed fan to
help with the
heat. In addition, I have a 20 gallon tank which I use to mix my salt
and rid my tap water of chlorine (I mix the water/salt with an internal
water pump over the period of one week). I run my tests for salinity
and PH levels regularly but am unable to test for other chemicals due
to a lack of English language products in my neck of the woods *(this
is on order now! Will be
testing eagerly very shortly!).*
<Yes, I do remember this, the test kit issue!>
In addition, I do a 15 gallon water change
every week *(as per your advice I have increased this to about two 15
gallon changes per week)*
In addition, I would like to add more details so you can better
understand my situation, I really do hope that I am not boring you with
too many details!
<The more details the better, gives us here the picture of
Sumps are not an option for me as I live in an apartment and I have
literally no room for anything more than what I have now... (400 square
apartment will do that you anyone hee hee). Tank is a full set sold by
a company called Ferplast, fixed lid that is not removable... hence my
inability to be as flexible as I would like... =(
Anyways~ now on to my questions =)
I have been struggling with my setup for quite sometime... I have no
problem keeping my fish alive and healthy in addition to some inverts
(cleaner snails, abalone, cleaner hermits, harlequins, starfish) but I
would like to optimize my system in the hopes of improving the overall
quality for my beauts! In addition, I would like to purchase equipment
suitable for a much larger tank as I will eventually upgrade my tank in
the near future (perhaps
next March, sump included hopefully).
I have two canister filters which are not easily accessible... which in
turn limits the frequency of their cleaning... would you recommend I
get rid of
these altogether (Would add pumps or wavemakers to increase water flow
lost from removal of two canisters)?
<I would get rid of them, little benefit for the trouble.>
I have not gotten rid of them as they are quite large and I was hoping
that the increase in water volume would be beneficial... however, I
fear that in the long run.. these will hinder my success more than they
will help my cause.
<When you get your nitrate test kit you will know soon
I am currently using an air pump to increase the oxygen levels in my
tank as I previously lost my beauties due to skimmer failure (currently
using a Dymax skimmer but will upgrade this soon to either Euro Reef or
your colleagues recommend!). Is this okay for my fish?
<It sounds like the extra aeration would be beneficial in this
system. I would opt to add one of the powerheads you mentioned before,
aimed towards to surface for agitation.>
Thank you once again for your kind advice Sir! I greatly look forward
to hearing from you soon!
<My pleasure my friend.>
Once again, I apologize for all the questions... I search and I search
but each scenario seems to differ from case to case!
<No problem, it does vary.>
Thank you for everything and have a wonderful evening!
<Welcome, and a good day to you too. Scott V.>