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Old 11-05-2013, 12:51 PM   #1
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55G FOWLR at the office is not doing well


Recently someone from our company donated a 55g fowlr tank, and employees have been adding saltwater fish. It's uncontrolled, so people have added lions and triggers and clowns and damsels in odd orders.

The good news is it's motivated me to learn about the hobby and I'm going to make myself a tank at home. And it's a great gathering point (like a water cooler) in the office.

The bad news is these sick have been dying, eating each other and getting sick.

I took a few pictures of the fish, and am hoping I can get some hard and fast recommendations to right things so these ones don't die too. If they don't make it, the company may pull the tank out.

Here's a rough timeline on the stock and recent casualties:

* 55g FOWLR
* tank up for about 2 months, cycled for ~2 weeks
* has live rock and lots of red algae
* added 2x ocellaris clowns and a banded shrimp to start
* added 1 week later: 2x fire gobies, a cardinal, a blue damsel and a (hawaiian?) trigger
* added 1 week later: a puffer and a lion fish
* 1 clown eaten
* added 1 week later: a domino damsel and a lunare wrasse
* added 2 feather dusters
* domino damsel eaten (presumably by lion)
* 3 more domino damsels added
* 2 dominos eaten (they disappear each weekend when employees aren't as diligent about feeding)
* added 1 week later: a sweetlips
* added a uv sanitizer
* then after a week, we had several bad days in a row in which:
* other domino disappeared
* other clown died
* sweetlips died
* lion died!
* feather dusters seemed dead so we removed them (they hadn't bloomed in over a month) because we thought they were just ammonia
* only 1 goby ever comes out, they may both be dead

At this point we have the trigger, the wrasse, the puffer, the shrimp and the blue damsel and maybe the hidden gobies. The puffer has looked really bad (curls his tail and is cloudy & spotted) but his color has come back some. The trigger looks bad. The damsel & wrasse seem healthy and energetic.

Other notes: people have fed them freshwater guppies, is that bad and could it have had an effect? Trigger & lion tear these things up.

Thanks for reading this far. If you have any tips about how to right the situation to save these fish, or any other recommendations, please feel free. ty.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:49 PM   #2
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Unless it can be enforced that 1 person takes ownership of the tank, and is responsible for all fish additions, feedings, etc, then I would say the tank has to go. It already seems like a bunch of people not knowing what they're doing aimlessly adding fish not even close to being suited for their tank mates, let alone the tank being too small... I feel bad for the fish.

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Old 11-05-2013, 04:03 PM   #3
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Yeah...this is bad...it really needs to be one person in charge. Where to start...

What are the water parameters? How often is water being partially changed? Bad water could be killing fish, especially when you hear a tank cycled in two weeks. Tanks don't cycle that quick. When a tank is cycled, I usually suggest a fish every three to four weeks so that the beneficial bacteria levels can grow with the increased bio-load. Too many too quick creates ammonia and nitrates, which are toxic to fish.

The smaller fish were likely eaten by the lion. If it can go in their mouth, they will eat it.

For stocking a tank, look at places like liveaquaria.com They have suggested tank sizes, compatability charts, etc. Ask here too. Get the trigger out of there. Tank is too small and they are too aggressive. The puffer should really be in a larger tank too. The Sweetlips needed a huge tank (they get over 2' and need a 500g)...but sounds like that is gone already.

Doing it the way it has been done will end up with a bunch if dead fish.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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For treatment...it looks like Ich. There are two cures, which are copper or Hyposalinity. Both should be done outside the display tank, which means purchasing and setting up a quarantine tank. You get them out, leave that tank fallow for 8 weeks to let the Ich die off due to no fish to host it. The fish in the other tank get treated, hopefully survive and go into a disease free tank.

Anything outside hypo or copper does not cure Ich, so do not be fooled into believing that. There are more in depth articles here and on the Internet that explain on detail what to do, why and how.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #5
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hi guys, i'm happy to report that we've taken some of the advice here and stopped the addition of new fish and put 1 person solely in charge of the thing. they've cleaned the tank and it's doing better but the puffer & trigger look like they have ich and algae is still growing fast. we're reducing the photo period and i'm going to throw some CUC's in there even though the trigger will eventually eat em.

the guys at work tried a quarantine treatment method -- fish goes to quarantine in some medicated water for 5 mins then back into the main. not sure. i'll have to suggest they quarantine for 8 weeks and/or move the trigger & puffer out

thanks for the help and input, we'll keep at it.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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at this point, medicating fish in a qt tank isn't going to solve the problem. the only sure fire way to rid the tank of ich is to get all fish out of the dt, treat the fish with either copper or hypo, then let the dt sit empty for 6-8 weeks.
IMO it would prob be in the best interest of the company, and the fish, to just either sell it or donate it to a responsible hobbyist. it seems at this point that the damage has been done and you are fighting an insanely uphill battle to right the tank. I wish you the best of luck
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:19 PM   #7
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Take a look at this link as it has some very good reading about ich and how to proceed with it.

Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon irritans - A Discussion of this Parasite and the Treatment Options Available, Part I by Steven Pro - Reefkeeping.com

It is an uphill battle BUT it is one that can be won with a bit of work.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:22 PM   #8
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Agreed that the fish need to be removed and treated. Anything other than copper or hypo in a QT and leaving the display tank fallow for 8 weeks is going to leave Ich in the tank.

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