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Old 10-15-2019, 08:02 PM   #1
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Clown Fish Gasping

Hi there everyone. Iím not necessarily new to saltwater tanks. I had one for several years till about 6 years ago. I started about 2 months ago the journey of a new tank. Iíve set up a 29gallon which has been cycled. Yesterday I chose to introduce the first fish residents. I did two O. Clown fish which were a bonded pair. Brought them home, acclimated them and then kept the lights off all day/night till this morning. From last night and all day today, Iíve observed they are both gasping frequently. The both tend to stay very close to the surface in a back corner. The smaller one ventures around but the larger one will not leave the surface area unless itís feeding time. It only occasionally pops itís face out of the surface. Now my parameters appear normal. nitrite undetected, nitrate undetected, ammonia undetected, Ph 8.0-8.2 (have been working to get it steady since the fish were introduced). Salinity tested at a 1.025. Heater is set to 78 degrees and Iím using a Marineland penguin power filter with bio, mechanical, and chemical filtering. The power filter is definitely agitating the surface for oxygenation. Could it be not enough? Also Iím using a live sand substrate and have a few medium sized live rock. Iíve fed them twice with frozen brine and they go crazy for it.

My mind is leaning towards the Ph, the surface agitation, or perhaps lighting? Something is stressing them out. Any thoughts or suggestions? Feeling a little bummed having issues on day one. A lot has changed in 6 years.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:39 PM   #2
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Welcome back. Is your tank heavily planted? Seems a little odd to see 0 nitrates on a fully cycled tank. What are you using to check parameters? Seems like you need more aeration.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:16 PM   #3
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I’m using the API marine saltwater master test kit. No plants in tank. Nitrates reading jumpers between the 0 ppm to .25 ppm reading. Usually the color is somewhere in between so I could be anywhere between 0-0.25. I should have included that information, I apologize. I was holding off on installing power heads because I did invest in a filter that is slightly over powered for the tank itself. It’s a 30g with a filter that works for up to 50g. I wanted to test the outflow strength with fish first but I could install a power head and have it pointed towards surface.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:25 PM   #4
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Just performed a full test again. Ph 8.0. Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, and Nitrate 5.0 ppm. I’ve used Kent Marine Pro Buffer dKH for Ph today. Will include daily till Ph is higher.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:28 PM   #5
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Have you considered using an air stone? Also, are you using a separate thermometer to measure the water temperature?
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:57 PM   #6
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The issue here is CO exchange. You need a powerhead in the tank to move water around. Air stones and filters do a poor job of this and cause unnecessary salt creep.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:51 PM   #7
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I agree. Get the power head in there soon. Point slightly to surface.
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