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Old 09-02-2005, 01:07 AM   #1
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Blue-green chromis keep dying?

I thought these fish were supposed to be hardy?

Tank (75g) has been set up for over three months, with live rock, etc. All levels (ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity, etc) are fine.

I QTed 6 chromis for two weeks, then put them in my newly setup main tank (fed by shrimp every other day). Two fish die (I have no idea of what, I assume the cleaning crew eventually got to them). All levels test fine (and the tests work, as the reference tests turn out accurate). So then I buy two more chromis and QT them for two weeks. In that time, two more chromis have dissapeared (ie died)! I put the chromis in, and two days later (today), I see one of them belly side up, breathing hard. No sign of ich, fungus, or bacteria, but I put him in the QT anyways. I test the main tank levels, and once again everything is fine.

I have no idea of what is going on. Before I put them in the main tank they look healthy, and I always see them eating when I feed them.

The only other tank inhabitants are a gold striped maroon clownfish, 6 line wrasse, and royal gramma, all of which have been doing fine, are eating, and look healthy. I have two starfish, snails, and standard crabs you get from those "reef-cleaner packages". I also have a finger leather coral, sea cucumber, and mushroooms.

I can only think of two possibilities. One, the chromis I get from a different fishstore, and maybe they catch them with cyanide. Two, I use RidIch for the first two days of QT (the LFSs here are always infected, although I never buy obviously sick livestock), and maybe the chromis are sensitive to it?

I want a school, but I don't want to kill any more fish.
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Old 09-02-2005, 11:03 AM   #2
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First off, you need to alter you methodology. Two weeks is not nearly a long enough QT period. You need to double that. An otherwise healthy fish can stave off a full blown problem at first only to get worse as time passes. A stressed fish with a degraded immune system will often show symptoms much faster though. That can only be monitored via longer observation time. As for the Ridich, it will have no real affect on C. irritans or similar protazoa. It is however effective with the more common problem associated with Chromis which is Uronema. The RidIch treament must be done for longer than two days though. It needs to be administered every 24 hrs (5ml for every 10 gal water volume) for a minimum of 3 days after the obvious signs of parasite activity are seen.

If you want to proactively treat a fish suspect of C. irritans, you are much better off choosing hyposalinity. Better tolerated by the fish, doesn't completely destroy the biofilter and resin/carbon products can be used to aid in controlling nitrogens. Personally I would not begin the treatment until you have observed the fish a few weeks first to ensure it does not have something that cannot be treated with/interact well with hyposalinity.

As far as what the fish may have had (if anything), hard to tell as there are no symptoms being conveyed. If the fish are dieing within a day or two of entering the main display from the QT, I would suspect poor or no acclimation.

No signs of white patchs/lines on the fish, red sores, gilling, flashing, white feces, sunken belly, poor color, lethargy or anything else you can think of...?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 09-02-2005, 11:12 AM   #3
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Just curious as why you decided to add 6 fish at once... that could be a decent bioload jump for a tank that is still pretty new. Maybe they are competing for food.
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Old 09-02-2005, 01:47 PM   #4
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I would also suspect the gold stripe maroon of doing nasty things when you are not looking.
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Old 09-03-2005, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
A stressed fish with a degraded immune system will often show symptoms much faster though. That can only be monitored via longer observation time
Thanks, I will up my QT time.

Quote:
Just curious as why you decided to add 6 fish at once... that could be a decent bioload jump for a tank that is still pretty new. Maybe they are competing for food.
The tank was fully cycled for a good three months with constant feeding, and the chromis are quite small, so I figured dumping 6 of them in there at the same time would be equivalent to putting a tang in there or similiar. I constantly check ammonia and nitrite and I never saw a jump.

Quote:
I would also suspect the gold stripe maroon of doing nasty things when you are not looking.
I'll keep an eye on him.

Quote:
The RidIch treament must be done for longer than two days though. It needs to be administered every 24 hrs (5ml for every 10 gal water volume) for a minimum of 3 days after the obvious signs of parasite activity are seen.
I only used it for 2 days because I was using it prophylactically, and just assumed something was there, given the history of LSFs around here. Should I not use it at all unless I specifically see something?

Quote:
As far as what the fish may have had (if anything), hard to tell as there are no symptoms being conveyed. If the fish are dieing within a day or two of entering the main display from the QT, I would suspect poor or no acclimation.

No signs of white patchs/lines on the fish, red sores, gilling, flashing, white feces, sunken belly, poor color, lethargy or anything else you can think of...?
I use (what I think to be) the standard accumilation, 1 hour drip to double the amount of water.

The odd thing is that, with the fish I found that eventually died after I put it back into the QT, it looked 100% healthy other than it was dead. No white patches/lines, no bite marks, no sunken belly/poor color, it was simply breathing hard on its side in the main tank (which I would assume would be ammonia or nitrites, but the tests came back normal, and the reference tests turned out accurate).
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Old 09-03-2005, 02:59 PM   #6
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If possible, please post the water parameters of both your QT and display. NH3, NO2, NO3, pH, alk, temp and salinity.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 09-04-2005, 08:24 PM   #7
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Main tank: NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: 0, pH: 8.0, temp: 81, salinity: 1.025
QT: NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: ~10, pH: 8.0, temp: 80, salinity: 1.024

For Alk I have no idea what I am doing, and it always seems to be a "bluish-yellow", other than when it is saturated.

However, assuming I did it correctly (which I most likely am not), the QT and main tank were the same, 2.5 meq/L.

The pH is somewhat low on both tanks, but I've never been able to get it higher. When I was using IC (a long time ago) it was around 7.8, so this is somewhat of an improvement. I use RO water (TDS ~ 5), oceanic salt that aerates for 24 hours in a rubbermaid, I do a 10% waterchange every week, and have great waterflow in both tanks (my 10 gallon QT has a whisper 20, ok so this isn't great, but rated higher than the tank) and my main has so much waterflow you can hear it throughout the whole apartment (2 maxijet 1200s, ~400gph overflow into a 30g sump with a remora pro, with a mag 5 return into the main tank).
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Old 09-05-2005, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeAZ
Main tank: NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: 0, pH: 8.0, temp: 81, salinity: 1.025
QT: NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: ~10, pH: 8.0, temp: 80, salinity: 1.024
Nothing glaringly stands out there but it could be the way the salinity is being tested. Hydrometers being what they are (if that's what you have) are quite innaccurate. Could be the variations between the two tank is part of your problem. If there is a larger unseen difference between the QT and main, that could be your issue. Fish cannot tolerate changes upward in salinity very well at all. Increases must be done over days, not hours.

If the fish have no overt signs of parasite issues (red/white blotchs, scale loss, white spots, sheen or stringy feces et al...) this would be the next best possibility.

Quote:
The pH is somewhat low on both tanks, but I've never been able to get it higher. When I was using IC (a long time ago) it was around 7.8, so this is somewhat of an improvement. I use RO water (TDS ~ 5), oceanic salt that aerates for 24 hours in a rubbermaid, I do a 10% waterchange every week, and have great waterflow in both tanks (my 10 gallon QT has a whisper 20, ok so this isn't great, but rated higher than the tank) and my main has so much waterflow you can hear it throughout the whole apartment (2 maxijet 1200s, ~400gph overflow into a 30g sump with a remora pro, with a mag 5 return into the main tank).
Improving pH is not just a matter of water flow but more commonly CO2 saturation. If the tank or tank room cannot breathe properly, CO2 builds up thereby supressing the pH. A simple test to confirm that would be remove a sample amount and let it sit outside/on a window ledge for an hour (preferabley with an airstone). After the time elapses, test the pH, record the results and then immediately retest a sample from the tank. Chances are very good the aerated sample will be much higher. If so, you need to look at ways of improving gas exchange to the tank. More often than not removing tank lids, redirection of water flow towards the surface increasing aggitation and/or simpley keeping a window open will improve conditions immensely.

Cheers
Steve
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