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Old 08-22-2003, 04:23 PM   #1
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Mysterious Fish deaths..

Hello all,

This is my first post, yay! Although, the post isn't for me, per se.

My friend and I setup new 90 Gallon Marine thanks in March of this year. My friend has been successfully keeping saltwater fish in another 90 gallon tank for years, so he's not new to the game.

Here's the problem. His new tank has been doing terrible since day one. He has had a super high mortality rate. He started out with 4 green chromis' and they are still doing fine, but every single fish he has added since then have eventually died off. Some would last for weeks, then croak. Like his current Firefish (which are apparently hard to keep). He still has 2 out of three original firefish. Some fish simply die the day after. Some fish that are supposedly bulletproof like damsels have all gone to fish heaven.

He has been very carful with aclimating using a pipet to drip. He feeds his fish a combination of mysis and Formula One. All the fish that have died were eating just fine.

About 20-40 lbs of Live rock. Argonite sand bed.

We've tested his water with test kits, brought the water into the LFS for testing, did water changes. Both the LFS and the test kids say water is Fine.

So, we are at our witsend. He is down to a lunar wrasse and porcupine puffer which he just added a few days ago, a tomato clown added last night, two firefish added two months ago, green chromis' added during tank setup/cycling. He is about to give up on this tank and sell it, so he's open to any suggestions. My first thought was, his water must be bad, but if it was bad, then all the fish would've eventually died, and sooner. He still has fish from way back, and the LFS says water is OK, so weird.

Is it possible that something is lurking in his live rock that is killing his fish at night? I told him to first try increasing his Specific Gravity (gradually) to 1.024. If that doesn't help things out, then do a fresh water dip of the live rock.

A sample of fish he's tried and died:
Emperor Angel
Percula clowns
Scooter Blennies
Lawnmower blenny
Fox Face
Cleaner Wrasse
Red Sea Wrasse
box puffer ( I know, the can be poisonous when they die, so he quarnatined it while it was on its way out).

Tank stats:
90 Gallon All-Glass
2x maxi Jets (1200 & 900)
Eheim 2217 Canister filter
Heater
NO flourencent lights.
25% Water changes once every two weeks.

Test kits and LFS say water parameters are OK.
Specific Gravity: 1.019 ( I told him this is low, so we are going to bump it up gradually to 1.023/1.024.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I said origially that we both set up 90 gallon tanks. This is my first salt water tank so I'm rather inexperienced, but I've learned lots (mostly from the forums and my tank is doing superbly. I have lost very few fish, and have starting with easy soft corals. Thanks to all the good advices that I've read out there!

K.
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Old 08-22-2003, 04:44 PM   #2
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could be a sea cucumber in the live rock
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Old 08-22-2003, 04:57 PM   #3
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Would the sea cucumber ever come out? Could I bait it somehow, or would it hide in the rocks indefinately? Also, if it were a sea cucumber, would it be poisinging the fish, or attacking them?

K.
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Old 08-22-2003, 05:10 PM   #4
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If a cuke, nuked the tank...all the fish would be dead.

What other filtration is in the tank? I think the levels are climbing after the addition of new fish, once the fish (or other fish) dies from the elevated ammonia levels and is removed...the ammonia that has now stopped climbing is dispatched by the bacteria present on the filter, but it is not enough to deal with the rising ammonia level, if I'm making any sense.
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Old 08-22-2003, 05:16 PM   #5
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I think he is also adding too many fish too fast. In a 90 gallon tank, I wouldnt think he should add more than one fish every 2 weeks.
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Old 08-22-2003, 05:31 PM   #6
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I totally agree, that early on, he was adding fish way too fast. I will remind him again that he needs to get back to bascis. Thanks!

The only other filtration is a protein skimmer that runs 24/7. Same skimmer that I have that works well in my tank.

What about stray voltage? I've read various posts on that, but I'm not sure how to test something like that.

K.
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Old 08-22-2003, 08:50 PM   #7
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How is the water being added on the 25% change? Temperature, ph and other elements are normally different in the new water and should be added slowly.

Are the water changes because of the high Nitrates?

What kind of water are you using for your changes?
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:19 PM   #8
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I believe he mixes his water in a huge bucket. The new water (from tap) is tested for matching temperature and salinity to his aquarium. Once the tub of mixed water has appropriate parameters, he slowly poors the bucket of water into the tank. Repeats as needed.

The water changes are just due diligence. Is 25% every two weeks too much? What is recommended?

K.
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:31 PM   #9
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I have started letting my water siphon through a small air hose. I am not sure if the water changes could be the problem, but I do know on my tank the fish seemshappier when I let the water drip slowly. With a 3 gallon water change, it takes about three hours for the water to drip in.

I personally think 25% water changes are too much, but many more experienced would disagree. I change more if my nitrates are high and if they register < 10ppmm I avoid the change altogether. I do supplement to keep my calcium, alk and ph on the mark.
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