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Old 01-12-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Can't keep fish alive

OK so here's the deal. In the last two months I've had the following fish in my tank:
sleeper goby, 2 firefish, royal gramma, ocellaris clown

The only one that is still present is the ocellaris clown. I've searched high and low, as much as I could without ripping the tank apart, and absolutely cannot find any bodies. I know that one of the firefish was consumed by an open brain (That I've since gotten rid of)...but I can't for the life of me figure out what the heck happened to the other fish! I don't believe it was acclimation related - they all went through a nice gentle acclimation and seemed to have been fine for a couple of days (gramma disappeared after about 4 days, goby after about 3 weeks, firefish after 2 months...the one that wasn't consumed by the brain, obviously)

Water params: Sal 1.024, PH 8.4, Alk (dont recall exactly, but it was safe), calc 520ish, trites 0, trates under 5 ppm, phates, under 1ppm. Is there something else I Should be testing for? The only thing I can put together is that all of the fish that have disappeared tend to be "hiders" - they found a spot in the back left corner of the tank where they liked to chill...whereas the clown, as clowns tend to do, is constantly out, swimming, and doing his thing all over the tank.

Anybody have any thoughts? Only other stuff in the tank: around a dozen nessarius snails, a handful of turbos, 9 red legged hermits. I've caught site of a couple large bristleworms, but they've never shown any tendency to go after anything swimming that I've seen...

As far as corals, I have GSP, caulastrea, zoanthids and palythoas - all of them are doing fine, so I suspect my water quality is not the culprit. Is it possible that I have some kind of hitchhiker I've not seen until now (tank has been running for around 3 years, with a break and rebuild about 4 months ago) that would be actively taking out my fish? They were eating okay while still visible, but sometime overnight they just seem to be going *poof*!

Any suggestions greatly appreciated - as much as I love the corals, my wife is getting frustrated by the lack of "Swimmy" life in the tank.
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firefish, ocellaris clown fish
caulastrea, green star polyps, palythoa, zoas
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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Not sure why your fish are dying but u probably can't find them because your nassarius snails & hermits ate them after death. Mine snails ate every trace of an adult bangaii cardinal fish in 3 hours, leaving no evidence
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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Not sure why your fish are dying but u probably can't find them because your nassarius snails & hermits ate them after death. Mine snails ate every trace of an adult bangaii cardinal fish in 3 hours, leaving no evidence
That was my initial thought as well...I just dont understand why stuff keeps vanishing! Very frustrating.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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How aften do you feed????? And how do you acclimate?
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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You may have an aggressive clown, my friend has a clown that is a fish killer, it took a while for him to catch it in the act. My clown on the other hand is very friendly w/ tank mates but I have 1 blue damsel I can't catch that likes to pick on my cardinals. Just throwing ideas out there.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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You may have an aggressive clown, my friend has a clown that is a fish killer, it took a while for him to catch it in the act. My clown on the other hand is very friendly w/ tank mates but I have 1 blue damsel I can't catch that likes to pick on my cardinals. Just throwing ideas out there.
Yea unfortunately the clown doesn't seem to be the culprit - couple of those disappeared before he was in there.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #7
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How aften do you feed????? And how do you acclimate?
I feed twice daily - once with marine pellets, once with brine or mysis - making sure everyone gets something they like.

As for acclimation - I float the bag for 15 minutes or so, then do a slow drip over the course of 40 minutes or so. I'm probably over cautious with it considering I buy my salt water at the LFS where I buy the fish - so the water is theoretically the same. I also only introduce fish the day after I've done my PWC to make sure the water is about as pristine as it can be.

I'm still wondering if its a hiker...I also have a peppermint shrimp in there but can't imagine he'd be doing anything? Just seems odd that the clown, the one "wiggly" fish I have, is the only one who's making it.

Corals all look great, so I still can't imagine that it's a water quality issue.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:05 AM   #8
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Do you have any brittle stars by any chance?! They will snatch up resting fish and eat them. Also, have you looked under/behind your rockwork to make sure there are not any molts? You could have a monstrous crab that hiked in and has been in hiding all along! My LFS has maintenance accounts, and one of them asked the store to help them move, they found 50 molts behind their rock going from the size of a quarter to the size of a baseball!!! No wonder that guy couldn't keep any fish!
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:51 PM   #9
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I have that same problem. I did find 2 hary crabs that hitchhiked in.the biggest was the size of my thumb. I've was also told I could be my red serpent star. Not sure if you have one of thoes but thats the next thing I'm getting rid of.
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