I had a horrible experience recently when I bought some new fish to add to my tank.
I haven't bought any new fish for over a year, so I'm a little rusty. I usually take my fish guide with me, so that way I can make sure I get good fish (meaning reef-safe, aquarium compatible fish, not those that should be left in the ocean). Okay, so I forgot my book, first mistake. I bought a gorgeous power blue tang. I had a regal tang a few years ago, but a heater malfunctioned and the tank temp dropped, she never recovered from that and passed on. So the powder blue is really pretty, about 4" long and looked healthy.
Also, I fell in love with a beautiful wrasse, I was told later it is a Hawaiian cleaner wrasse. I know, I know, I messed up! I bought it, without having done my research. The lfs
told me it's eating well. (Fortunately it is eating and doing well). Kicked myself when I got home and read about it, it should have been left in the ocean, almost impossible to keep in captivity, almost certain death for the fish. This little guy is actually eating the nori I put in the tank for the new tang. He's also eating mysis and other stuff, so he's doing okay. But I did break the cardinal rule and bought a fish that should never be in captivity. Okay, so that was my second mistake.
Here's the third one: I always set up my incubation tank using half water from my big tank and half freshly made salt water. Well, I had just done a water change on the big tank. I don't usually vacuum the sand, but the nitrates were a little high, so I did this time. Well, I guess I kicked up a bunch of dead stuff from the sand and it caused an ammonia spike, which I didn't see until later. Of course I did not realize this because I had already done my water testing, water change and set up the incubation tank. The fish in the big tank were fine, larger water volume, more live rock, nitrogen cycle working well, just a very slight spike that I found after a second ammonia test, after I realized there was a problem with the sick tank.
In the 10G sick tank, I had plenty of live rock in the tank, but it wasn't working. I panicked! I immediately did a 30% or so water change, not much change in the ammonia reading there. So I went out and got some Amqel+ and added that. Next morning, more Amquel and another water change. Then to top this off, the heater in the sick tank didn't seem to be working right. So I have ammonia readings which are too high and water which is too cold. I eventually figured out that there was nothing wrong with the heater, it was a digital thermometer problem, same theremometer I always use, but it was reading low. So I threw that out and used a mercury thermometer. But this wasn't until after my husband heated some of the tank water to get the temperature up. The water temperature is now too high, and I still have the ammonia problem. I did more water changes and slight themperature adjustments over the next couple days, but things were not getting better.
These poor fish, new to my world and being tortured! So I had two choices: Give up or take the chance and put them in the big, stable tank. I chose the latter, because I wasn't going to let these fish die. I realize I exposed my current tank inhabitants to illness, but I figured what's the worse that could happen? If they all get sick, they will all go into a freshly set up sick tank and get treated, at that point I was willing to risk it to save the lives of the poor new tortured fish.
It's been a week and a half now and the two new fish as well as the old tank inhabitants are all doing fine. The've gotten use to each other and are all eating fine, even the wrasse.
Man! Am I lucky! Before you say it, I know I made a big mistake and I have learned from "them." Hopefully others will learn from this and not make the same mistakes. I feel like such a rookie! Lesson learned.
Edit: As a side note, I'm now having to cure the live rock I put in the sick tank. I guess the ammonia affected it and all kinds of stuff is dying off it. It had such pretty purple coraline algae on it too.