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Old 01-15-2006, 11:53 AM   #1
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3 deaths in 3 weeks

I've had my 45G FOWLR setup for 6 months now. My livestock selection has been 2 False Percs, a Royal Gramma, a Coral Beauty, and a Firefish. I have had 2 peppermint shrimp, 4 Nassarius snail, 20+hermit crabs, an Emerald Crab, and 10 turbo snails.

About 3 weeks ago, I notice one of my peppermints was missing. Unlike most people's peppermints, mine stayed out in open view all the time so I'm pretty sure he's not hiding. He was quite large and I had had him from another tank I had before for about 9 months. I blamed his death on old age and never worried much more about it. The other peppermint is doing fine.

2 weeks ago, my Coral Beauty went missing. Never found a dead body or anything. This one bothered me a little. I tested all my water parameters and nothing seemed wrong there. I searched AA for any information on what could have happened and settled with the answers of: "Sometimes, fish just die", "It was maybe eaten by a crab while sleeping", "It was sick because of poor diet (too much meats, not enough veggies." I finally accepted that death and started researching replacement fish to take its place in my tank.

Now this morning (2 weeks after the Coral Beauty death), my youngest/smallest False Perc is gone. Now I'm very concerned. The only thing I can say about this fish is that it was added to the tank a few weeks after my 1st clown was there. The fish that died was smaller than the original and definitely a juvenile (as recommended when adding a second clown fish). I can't say the 2 got along great, but they were tollerant of each other. Every once in a while, the bigger clown would intimidate the smaller into a corner. If the fish got more than 10 inches from that corner, he would be forced back there. This didn't happen all the time, but it would happen. None of the fish ever showed any battle scars from fighting, but I do see how 5 months of this could stress the fish out.

I always feed every other day, Formula 1, Angel Formula, and put some seaweed on a clip for the angel. Even with the clowns bickering, everybody ate when fed. I do have to note that a day or 2 after to CB died, that my royal gramma had issues with my firefish. He would chase him a little and actually could be seen with his mouth wide open. Only lasted a day, nobody got injured, and they seem to ignore each other ever since.

Now for the facts, 45G FOWLR with 50+ lb's of live rock, SG always at 1.023, every test for 3 weeks has showed Ammo=0,trites=0,trates=20,ph=8.2, alk=normal(between high and low). Using Red Sea test lab. Temp around 78. I have 15X circulation provided by PH's's and a Fluval 304 full of LR rubble. I do a 5G PWC every Saturday. 1 thing I do wrong here is that the new water is at room temp (72) when added to the tank. This could cause the water temp to drop about 1 degree in 5 minutes. I have read where people say this is fine but just wanted to make note of this.

All inhabitants look fine and healthy. Nobody has ever shown any health problems. They swim around the tank and just act normal. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-15-2006, 01:40 PM   #2
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Do you have a sump/refugium? What I am getting at is...what kind of plumbing do you have in the tank? Fish can get stuck into the smallest places. Do all of your powerheads have protective covers on them?

Do you have an open top? Could they have jumped and been gobbled up by a cat or dog?

How much LR do you have and where did it come from? Have you added anything new within the past month or so?

Are you saying that your top off water or your water change water is at a lower temp?
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Old 01-15-2006, 04:19 PM   #3
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No sump/fuge. PH's have either a prefilter sponge or a grid style intake cover (what comes with a MaxiJet). Intake tube to canister filter has same type of grid cover. Tank is covered. Those are the only ways in or out of the tank and all should be covered.

LR was stated above but it is 50-55 lbs of Marshall Island and Khaleni(sp?). Nothing added except 3 scarlet crabs.

Lower temp water is for PWC. I seldom have to top off since the aquarium is covered and I just have NO lighting.
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45G Reef - 65#'s of LR, 3" sand bed, Fluval 304 filled with LR rubble, (2) MJ900, SeaClone 100 protein skimmer with MJ1200
Fish - Ocellaris Clown, Royal Gramma, Purple Firefish, Coral Beauty, Blue Neon Goby
Coral - Xenia, Devil's Hand Leather, Toadstool Leather, Green Hairy Mushrooms, Zoanthids
Inverts - (2) Peppermint Shrimp, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, (5) Turbo Snails, (4) Nassarius Snails, (10) Blue Leg Hermits, Emerald Crab, (3) Scarlett Crabs, some small starfish(hitchhikers)


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Old 01-16-2006, 11:28 AM   #4
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I would "scout out" the tank a few hours after lights out for possible hitchiker crabs and the like. It could also be these fish have jumped out and may be under furniture etc... if you have any 4 legged pets, you may never know. IMO, 3 scarlet hermits are not enough to finish off a fish the size of an engel before it's noticed.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I highly doubt they jumped out due to the tank being fully covered. As far as 3 scarletts finishing off the angel quickly, please note the 20+ other hermits in the tank also.

Everybody still seems to be doing fine, I don't think I'll ever solve this mystery. Since I haven't found anything that's killing/eating the fish or the wormhole to the alternate universe that they are going through.

I'll also try looking for hitchikers that could do that kind of damage to an Angel.

BTW, how big of a crab would it take to takle a 2 inch CB? If it is possible that a 3/4 inch crab could, can somebody recommend some fish that could possible fight them off if attacked.
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45G Reef - 65#'s of LR, 3" sand bed, Fluval 304 filled with LR rubble, (2) MJ900, SeaClone 100 protein skimmer with MJ1200
Fish - Ocellaris Clown, Royal Gramma, Purple Firefish, Coral Beauty, Blue Neon Goby
Coral - Xenia, Devil's Hand Leather, Toadstool Leather, Green Hairy Mushrooms, Zoanthids
Inverts - (2) Peppermint Shrimp, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, (5) Turbo Snails, (4) Nassarius Snails, (10) Blue Leg Hermits, Emerald Crab, (3) Scarlett Crabs, some small starfish(hitchhikers)


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Old 01-16-2006, 07:50 PM   #6
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The crab wouldn't need to be too large but typically larger than ¬ĺ". It's not so much a size difference as it is a undefended "target". The fish at night are more commonly unaware of their surroundings or have "shut down" due to the lack of light. They are otherwise helpless for the most part.

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Old 01-22-2006, 12:18 PM   #7
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Just a note. I have loss fish to that hole of mistery only to finally find stone crabs hinding in my LR. I found them by taking a pen light at night about two hours after lights out. Sure enough they come out. So do mantis shrimp and fire worms, Alot of bad creatures come out at night. The main killer of my blenny was a 3/4 in red stone crab. The lawnmower blenny was about 3 inche and was pulled right into a small hole. In the back of the hole was the crab. I have manufactured a small spear to go crabbing at night and for about 8 months now have not found anymore. good luck in finding an answer.
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