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Old 01-03-2003, 10:32 AM   #1
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What's happening with my new salt tank? A Few questions

Hi all,

Various things are happening with my new salt tank I can't really explain.. nothing disasterous (yet).. but tell me what you think. First fish: A 4 " Black Volitans Lion.. a real beauty.. very aware and feeds easily. all sub and supraorbital protrusions intact.. however.. LFS broke one of the dorsal spines when netting him Was worried about him taking to dead food.. he got it first try! 2cd fish.. added one week later.. a Miniatus Grouper.. 5" from ffexpress. Fedex was late.. saw them arrive in 30 degree weather 5 hours late, threw the box marked live fish over his shoulder to come to the door also enclosed: 2 Giant Featherduster worms.. amazingly, all survived! The grouper was extremely shy at first (expected this) but has gradually become pretty active.. fast as lightening when food is introduced to the tank.. beautiful coloration. He and the lion tend not to get along too well.. I was expecting from everything I read for the lion to be the "wimp".. but no.. it's the lion who is the aggressor.. will follow the grouper around the tank in a "defensive" posture "spines out" No stings yet *fingers crossed* Both have been eating pieces of Flounder and shrimp. Messy eaters.. so the feather dusters get plenty to filter from the water. Also 3 hermit crabs that came on my live rock and survived the cycling process. Now.. first problem I noticved was a lot of particulate matter in the water.. little white flecks.. I am starting to conclude it is dust in the water from the grouper constantly moving things around.. but not sure now because of recent devlopments.. about 4 days ago.. woke up to discover huge amounts of floating mucus in the tank, apparently coming from the featherdusters, which had somehow come out of the sand and were laying on the floor of the aquarium.. no apparent damage to the tubes or crowns.. shrugged my sholders, reburied them.. next day.. same thing.. except now I notice a small hole in the soft part of the tube... I am suspecting the hermit crabs. butI thought they were compatible with sessile invertebrates?? Also.. just yesterday.. noticed the grouper agitated (coloration looking like when I first introduced him to the tank.. with lighter vertical bands on the sides) glacing off the live rock in the tank.. no visible sign of ich.. no white spots.. no velvet coat on the fish.. lion appears healthy (if a bit grumpy about the grouper being so active).. wondering what could be causing this? Temp 79 F, ammonia/nitrite 0ppm nitrate 20 ppm (was told I was safe up to 30 ppm) salinity 1.021, PH 8.2. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I would hate to lose either of my BEAUTIFUL fish (I lucked out.. both smart and perfect coloration) Should I be feeding them differently? Every other day feeding for both.
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Old 01-03-2003, 09:13 PM   #2
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What else is in the tank? Live rock? Filtration equip?
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Old 01-04-2003, 12:57 AM   #3
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Filtration : 150 gallon Wet/dry with protein skimmer.. activated carbon prefilter pad, 53 lbs live rock.. no live sand.. no DSB
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Old 01-04-2003, 10:09 AM   #4
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hmmm...the grouper could be majorly stressed if the lion is hasseling him.
My lion is huge and pretty well leaves all the tank mates alone, even when feeding. I think he is a zen lion..knows it will come to him in time.

the crabs eating the feather duster worms is a 100% likelihood in my opinion. My bluelegs will not leave mine alone. I have attempted to catch all the little buggers and toss them in the 30 gallon.

I have no idea on the milky water. Hopefully some of our more experienced friends here can help you with that.
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Old 01-04-2003, 11:10 AM   #5
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About the only thing i can think of would be to perform some good sized water changes.

The cloudy water could be an algae bloom or could be something else.

Nitrates of 20 is kind of high for a tank as young as yours. But then again you got to messy eaters in there.
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Old 01-06-2003, 09:50 AM   #6
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UPDATES:

Placed the featherdusters in some upright pvc pipe.. think this has stopped the hermit crab problem/ Did a 30% water change.. overall.. I think the fish are happier, but still noticed the grouper very light in color, rapidly glancing off substrate and decor. In fact, the coloration thing got very bad for a while.. bad enough I was thinking Marine Velvet as the culprit (EEEEEK!) but when feeding, grouper actively feeds and regains all color. Then.. I witnessed something that might explain things.. seems the lion has decided to claim the grouper's corner spot in the tank.. for the first time, witnessed the grouper trying to bully the lionout.. lionchases grouper out of corner, then traps grouper against glass and slams dorsal spines into him twice very fast.. grouper shudders, loses color and after wobbling a bit, retreats into his cave. I wonder if this has been happening often?? Fully expected the grouper to die, but no.. two hours later, color still not great, scratching on substrate still, but GREEDILY feeds..I wonder if envenomation by a lion would cause the scratching behaivior?? I am preparing another 30% watrer change.. during this one, I'm changing the decor a bit to make that corner lion unfriendly.. is this the way you would solve the problem??
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:21 AM   #7
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Sounds like you are doing everything right. Venom stings sound like the likely culprit for your grouper's discomfort. Rearranging the rock work will let them establish new territories, hopefully they aren't the same again.

Mark
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Old 01-13-2003, 03:28 PM   #8
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Update Part 2

Well.. while I beleive I was initially right about fish conflicts being a problem.. now that I have fixed that.. ICH has made an appearance, probably due to stress . I think when the grouper was getting stung and hassled by the lion, he developed Ich (although I never saw any spots on the grouper, he did that scratching thing.. went away for 2 days afterthe water changes and decor change) But then.. noticed the tell tale white spots on the Lion.. and a day after that, scratching behaivor started again in the grouper. Now.. my dilemma is this.. my quarentine tank is not ready to be used yet (a stupid error on my part) so I am left with two options... treat the tank with copper and lose my live rock, feather dusters and hermit crabs, or dose the tank with a "reef safe" preparation (I bought Kick-Ich) that has mixed reviews (Bob Fenner says you might as well use it for salad dressing for all the good it does, others here and elsewhere have had good results) I am also prepared to use garlic.. but need to find a source for the oil (health food store?) I have already increased the temp of the tank to 82 degrees.. and am in the process of lowering the sg to 1.019.. is it a good idea to mix these four treatments for Ich? (Kick Ich, lower sg, increase temp, and garlic) Do any of them work against each other?
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