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Old 04-23-2004, 02:29 PM   #1
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cow fish died :(

I have a 20 gallon fish only tank with live sand. I finished cycling the tank for about 8 weeks last weekend. I returned my damsels and bought a small cow fish (1.5") and a mandarin goby (2") and a starfish.

I'm new so I was sort of well I guess the word is stupid. I didn't check if the fish ate at the store and I didn't do a fresh water dip before I put them in the tank.

My cow fish died last night. It hadn't been eating all week though it nibbled on the sand in the tank and tried to eat air bubbles off the hose to the air stone. I tried to feed it flakes and formula 1 frozen food.

Anyway, the cowfish is lost but I'm worried about the goby now. I've been reading that they don't do well in fish only tanks. The goby hasn't been eating the food either but he seems to pick at the sand sometimes. The guy at the fish store said that he's feeding on algae from the sand. I also think that I saw some white "slime" on him but I'm not sure if I'm being paranoid or if its real. I gave him a fresh water dip for about 2 minutes this morning.

I'm going to measure my water levels today but they were perfect before I put the new fish in.

Anyway I'd rather return the goby to the store than kill it. Any suggestions?


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Old 04-23-2004, 04:10 PM   #2
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I would recommend you return the mandarin to the LFS. IIRC, he should probably only be placed in a very well established tank with a hardy pod population.

IMO, a 20g is too small for him. He'll wipe out your pod population in no time, and will most likely starve to death.

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Old 04-23-2004, 04:27 PM   #3
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Ok I guess I'll do that. I told the people at the LFS so many times about how old the tank was, how many gallons, etc and they said that he would be ok for it.

Anyway, any ideas as to why the cowfish died? I'm thinking about getting another one at some point if I can get a clown fish to live in the tank.

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Old 04-23-2004, 04:48 PM   #4
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One thing you need to do is learn not to depend on what the LFS tells you. Do your OWN research before you go so that they cannot talk you into buying what you shouldnt be buying. Research would show you that mandarin fish most often starve due to the fact they depend on copepods to live and it takes a LONG time to get enough pods established in your tank to feed them.

The requirements for Helmet cowfish are a minimum 70 gallon tank...they like meaty foods such as chopped squid, clams and live brine shrimp. They are also toxic when they die and you can lose other tankmates quickly.

The same applies for the longhorn cowfish, although minimum recommended tank size is 125. They eat both meaty foods and vegetable matter.

If you havent done so already, you may want to do a decent water change......and read up on fish before you buy them.
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Old 04-24-2004, 04:26 PM   #5
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Do you have any LR in the tank? Your going to need rock not just sand. A FW dip is not gonna help anything IMO. Giving the fish a FW dip is just going to stress it. Your going to need rock in their for bacteria to grow on. I would suggest some green chromis as your first fish, they dont get large and are very peaceful. 3 Would be a good number to start with.
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:00 AM   #6
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It takes years of experience and a well established tank that has been set up and running with excellent water quality for 7-8 months before adding a starfish. They require high quality water, good flow and plenty of lr and diatoms to eat depending on the type.

A mandarin goby will need small live food like copods that are in the sandbed to survive or they will starve.

A word about LFS employee's, some of them are like used car salesmen. Other's are happy to give lousy advice that they firmly believe. It is amazing to overhear what advice some "clerks" will give to someone asking about a species that is best kept by an expert.

It is a shame but I think that with high mortality rates the LFS clerks see, kind of makes them numb to the fact that with their bad advice or letting someone less knowledgeable take home a fish that should have been left in the wild in the first place. It's money.......remeber sw fish have no guarantee like fw fish have for the first couple of days at most LFS. Thanks for letting me get on the soap box.
50 gallon saltwater fish only...1 mated pair yellowtail damsels, neon dottyback, tomato clown, huma trigger, lemonpeel angel, 12 stripe wrase, bi-color blenny, dozen or so hermit crabs-scarlet and mexican, cerith snails, turbo snails, orange linkia starfish, 50 plus pounds of purple-pink coraline encrusted rock and a few mushrooms.

Redsea prism protein skimmer, 404 Fluval, UGF with two 201 powerheads.

7 gallon tank with 6 pounds of live rock and countless brittlestars, 5 hermit crabs, snails and 1 False Percula Clown fish and Camel Back Dancing shrimp
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:16 PM   #7
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A FW dip is not gonna help anything IMO. Giving the fish a FW dip is just going to stress it.
I disagree a little, the change to lower salinity is quite easy on most fish because their osmo-regulatory system is constantly trying to expel salt anyway. I don't think it is better than proper quarantine procedure, but for those that refuse to do so it is better than nothing for removing potential parasites. Some fish don't take to them very well, but in my experience it has been the exception rather than the norm. I figure with all the stress of being caught, sitting in a holding tank, shipping, holding tank again, and finally the trip to the customer's home...the stress of a 5 min dip is relatively minor.

I agree with everyone too lucas that the LFS has stretched you way over the means of your tank. Even a experienced aquarist would have trouble keeping a mandarin in a 20g. There are a bunch other fish that are just as cool and will be able to live healthy lives in your tank. If I were you, I would create a "wish list" of fish you find on the net and screen them by the members here for suggestions.
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Old 05-15-2004, 11:59 PM   #8
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Those 2 fish en that small of a tank was not a good idea...
Ask how big they get first. I want a cowfish so bad but I only have a 55 gallon tank. I know it would take a long time for him to grow but I don't want to have a foot long fish in my tank finding a place for him to go !

Also is this your first tank?
The smaller the tank the harder it is to care for. Things happen faster in smaller tanks. My 55 is my first salt tank and things can happen pretty quick in there... I can only imangine how fast stuff can happen in that small of a tank.

I am fighting the urge for a Nano cube FOWLR for my bunkroom here at the fire station. That would ROCK ! But I work 24 hour shifts, and I can only imangine what can happen in the 24 hours that I'm gone ! I'll set one up in a few years maybe...

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