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Old 03-19-2014, 01:38 PM   #1
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Qt deaths

I'm sorry if this is the wrong board - I have a couple of sudden deaths, and was looking for some help to see if they were preventable. I have a 10g qt (small, I know) set up with cf lights, an internal filter, a heater, and some rocks for hiding. I have quarantined 5 fish (2 ocellaris clowns, a firefish, a bangaii cardinal, and a yellow watchman goby - 1 or 2 at a time) in this tank with no problems. I cycled the sponge for the filter in my dt for about four weeks, during the initial dt cycle 4 months ago, and it had been running continuously in the qt since. 13 days ago I purchased a small Royal Gramma and a small (~2") Kole tang from live aquaria and began quarantining them. I changed the water (90%) the day before adding the fish. All seemed normal last night, they would both hide when first approached but otherwise were swimming around and eating well. I was feeding strips of nori on a veggie clip, as well as spirulina flakes, New Life Spectrum marine formula pellets, and frozen mysis shrimp on occasion - not all at once, I was cycling through to give variety and try not to over feed. I tested the ammonia last night, got a reading of 0, SG 1.023, temp 77F. This morning I went in to feed and both fish were dead. No signs of trauma, temp is stable. The tang has a couple of light colored patches on his tail, not sure if that is a post-mortem change - I didn't notice it yesterday. I tested nitrates today (should have done it yesterday, I know) trying to find a cause for the deaths, and they were between 10-20 ppm. This is definitely much higher than I ever get in my dt, but is this high enough to kill the fish? Any other ideas? I just hate that they died, and if it was a potential husbandry issue I would like to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Thank you for your help!
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:10 PM   #2
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Beneficial bacteria will die off if it has no food source (the ammonia) So, while it could have been cycled and taken care of the previously QT'd fish, It might not have been ready for the fish you just put in. You said the Ammonia was 0, and nitrAtes were low, did you test for nitrite? The bacteria could have been building back, but only converted to nitrite. High nitrites are also toxic.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:24 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response! I did not test nitrites, as I had not thought of the possibility of the bacteria only converting one step. I just tested them now, not sure if having dead fish in the tank for an unknown amount of time overnight would have affected it, but it tested at 0.5 ppm. Is that high enough to kill the fish acutely like that?
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:31 PM   #4
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Those levels shouldn't kill any fish. How long did the qt run without fish?
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:32 PM   #5
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About a day. I moved two clowns out of quarantine into the display tank and replaced the water one day, then the new fish came the next day and went into quarantine. That was 13 days ago.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:33 PM   #6
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Ideally, in a fully cycled tank, nitrites would be 0. My guess is that ammonia built up, but with some bacteria still probably alive, it started to convert into nitrite. Nitrite toxicity levels vary from species to species, and the size of the fish. But I assume with a 10gal tank, they were both pretty small.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Also- did you lest the test develop for 5 minutes?
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:37 PM   #8
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Yes, I timed it for 5 minutes.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:44 PM   #9
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Some fish can be affected with 0.25ppm of nitrite. And some can tolerate high levels... I'm trying to find data for the kole tang and royal gramma now.
The only thing is that it could have just come from the fish decaying, and might not have been the cause of death.
I doubt live aquaria has a livestock guarantee that's two weeks long. Did you feed anything new close to the 12 or 13th day?
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:50 PM   #10
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Oh so they were in qt for 13 days. What were the levels when they were first introduced? Is it possible for something to have gotten into the tank (chemical)?
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