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Old 03-10-2008, 07:16 AM   #1
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Unhappy Month old tank Please help

Heres a breif history on me and clown fish. My 3yr old is Nemo crazy. I have had fwts for about 6yrs and a turtle tank for 3yrs before that. but never had time for a swt. Recently due to illness, I'm no longer able to work so my husband decided to surprise me with a swt. We were told (at the LPS) the only testing equptment was a hydometer and that if we cycled the tank with live sand for 24 hrs that we could go ahead and add 4 fish (2 small clowns, a pta, blue/yellow tailed damsel, and a neon damsel) the next day. Safe to say this was disasterous. with in 48 hr both CF were dead. I called the LPS and was told they would give a discount on the next CF I got. So two weeks later I went back and got another CF and a coral banded shrimp. Well I went from 2 damsels, a CF, a pta and a CBS to One damsel and a cbs. I've done some research and know that I was played the fool and plan to get some test strips today. I have a few questions.

1. What are the Prams. I need for clown fish?
2. Are CBS really agressive enough to kill fish the same size and bigger than they are?
3. The last cf had white stuff around its mouth is that an illness?


You proubly think I'm terrible but I do need help.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:18 AM   #2
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Forgot to add

The white stuff showed up on it less than 24 hr after we got it.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:51 AM   #3
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DO NOT GET test strips. Get quality testing kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to begin with. You will also want a phosphate test kit.
DO NOT go back to that lfs othe than to get your money back. They gave you terrible advice.

Water parameters for a salt water tank (fish only) shold be pH of 8.2 - 8.3 (tested at the same time each day, just before lights out); ammonia of 0, nitritites of 0, nitrates below 40 and phosphate of of 0 (or below .03). Salifert and LaMotte are probably the best test kits you can get and they are pricey. SeaChem makes a multi-test kit that is good to start with.

Tell us how big your tank is and list all equipment (manufacturer and model) that you currently have. Also tell us what lighting you have.

You need to properly cycle a tank and that could take 4 weeks or more. Please go to the articles section and read up on the fishless cycle.

Once cycled you can start adding fish SLOWLY, like one (maybe 2) new fish per month.

CBS will generally not kill a fish. Other shrimp, yes.

The white stuff around the mouth could be a fungus or bacterial infection. Did you see any aggression between any of the fish?
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:16 PM   #4
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Welcome to the site. I would find another LFS. I generally purchase my dry goods online, since they are waaaaay less expensive than the LFS. I sounds like your fish died due to poor acclimation and putting them in a highly toxic tank (don't feel too bad, you didn't know any better and your LFS led you astray). Like Cmor said, a SW tank needs to be properly cycled. Once your cycle starts, ammonia should spike and drop while nitrItes start to spike (both of these are highly toxic to your critters), after the nitrItes spike, they should start going down as your nitrAtes will start to rise. When you have no ammonia or nitrItes do a large PWC to reduce your nitrAtes and you will be ready to add fish. Again, don't be too hard on yourself, at least you came to the right place and now we can help you enjoy your tank. The only thing we ask in return is lots of pictures! So ask away.....
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #5
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OK Cmor I have an 18 gal (24in L x 12in W x 16in T) flat back hexagon tank with glass hood and 60hz 50wt lighting all from Marineland. Filtration 20lbs live sand, Whisper internal powerfilter 10-30, and a biopro sk-40 air driven protein skimmer good for up to 70 gal tank.


We didn't see any aggression, but after we added the last cf and the cbs the neon damsel's (one of the origional 4 which was doing great) tail was ripped to shreds and when it died the cbs was eating it and the cf too. Is that Normal for them to do that?
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:18 PM   #6
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We live in a very rural area and the only other fs is 2 1/2 hours away would a portable airrator work in getting them home before acclimating them or would it be better to order the cf on line? What is the best way to acclimation them. With FW I always just floated for 20-30 min and net and release. Is this the same with SWF? Or is there a better way?

I'll post pics as soon as I get everything fixed. Now all you would see is an empty tank filled with saltwater and fake coral.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:46 PM   #7
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Hi Susie. Here's a good article about three different acclimitisation methods. Personally I use the drip method.

Acclimating Tropical Fish to Your Fish Tank

I also don't float the bag, just in case contaminates found their way onto it. It is always possible that the person at the LFS who handled the bag has hand cream, or has grubby hands. Also, what if the LFS uses some sort of spray around the place and it got on the bag. I realise I'm paranoid, but it is for good reason.

and here is a thread from another forum that has a step-by-step.

www.fishforum.com.au |Aquariums|Discus|ADA|Fish|:: View topic - Acclimatisation Procedure

Mods, if this posting a link to another forum is not allowed, I'm sorry and please feel free to remove it. I just haven't found anything such as this in ours.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:49 PM   #8
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I would bring all the dead fish back to the store and ask for my money back. Good thing you found this website!
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:15 PM   #9
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IMO you need to start over and cycle the tank. The fish are totally stressed out. Read in the article section about the Fishless cycle. Also your LFS has no clue. Check with the folks here first.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #10
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Fish survive overnight shipping so a 2 hour ride is no problem. I agree that you need to slow down, cycle the tank and basically start this from the beginning. Orderign online may be a better option for you based on your lfs.

An 18 gallon tank is much harder to maintain than a 30 or larger. You should only keep a couple of fish in a tank that size. A pair of clowns would be fully stocked IMO. If you decide on going a different way you should consider adding only 1 fish at a time and then waiting 3-4 weeks before adding another one.

I'm not sure what a pta is. If it's an anemone, skip it. Your tank is too small, too immature and does not have enough light for one to survive.

Take some time to plan out what you want to do and come back to let us know your plan. Think and research the needs of the fish you would like to have and remember you are limited to only a couple of fish. SW holds much less oxygen than FW. The gas exchange of CO2 to OS takes place at the surface of the water, so you want to see the surface rippling, not flat.
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