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Old 08-25-2010, 02:49 AM   #1
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"Cobwebs" seen on fish, now everything dead?? (issue with silicone?)

So. Yesterday was a bad day. Just when you thought you had everything under control...

This last weekend I upgraded from a 125 to a 140 gal that was much better imo. The 125 was up and running for a year since I upgraded from my old 60 that was running for 5+ years. Did the usual: saved all the water, cleaned out new tank with ro/di water, no soap, soaked all pumps in vinegar and rinsed with ro/di water. Put all LR in holding tubs filled with water to minimize any die off watsoever. Put sand in holding buckets with water. Fish in a 40 gal aux tank. They were all in there for 24 hours.

Got new tank set up, put everything back in the tank slowly, ran filters 'til water was less cloudy. Filled the rest of the tank with fully mixed saltwater from 55 gal holding tanks in my garage. Made sure silicone on new sump config was dry and ready. Moved fish in last and everyone seemed ok.

Yesterday I woke up, all fish were accounted for. BUT... my cleaner wrasse was covered in a kind of white "cobweb" thing all over his body. No white spots like ich or anything I've ever seen before. He was still moving around normally, as were all the fish.

I came home after work to find my tank barren. Only my two clowns were still alive. ALL other fish died, including my brittle star that just died today. The clowns seem fine with no spots on their bodies and no sign of distress.

Tested my water immediately:

Amm -0
Nitrite -0
Nitrate -10
Temp -80
Sal -1.025

I just have no idea what happened. All fish were perfectly healthy before the tank change. Could something have contaminated the water during the change? The only "warning sign" I ever saw was this cobweb type thing... unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of it before I took it out of the tank. The other thing I did notice was patches of chaeto from my fuge did look a bit limp compared to the rest, as if maybe there was die-off? A portion of it was left out of water for 24 hours by mistake.

Losses:
Foxface
Powder Brown Tang
Blue Tang
4 Green Chromis
Cleaner Wrasse
Brittle Star

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:54 AM   #2
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Check out vermitid snails in this link

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They were not the reason for your fish deaths.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:45 AM   #3
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Check out vermitid snails
Yeah... looked at that. Didn't think that would be any cause. Especially to kill off 7 fish in 8 hours. Thanks for the link though... good info there.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:21 AM   #4
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did you reseal the tank or add any silicone?
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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Not sure what caused the deaths, but don't Cleaner Wrasses spin a cobweb-like "cocoon" to sleep in? I'm thinking this is what you were seeing on the wrasse.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:12 PM   #6
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did you reseal the tank or add any silicone?
Yes. My sump is a 60 gal glass sump with glass baffles. I repositioned the baffles and added new silicon to seal it. It cured for 24 hours and was water tested, then dried out again, cleaned, and added to the bottom of the tank. Same silicon I used for my last tank with no issues.

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don't Cleaner Wrasses spin a cobweb-like "cocoon" to sleep in?
"Cleaner wrasses sleep in crevices between rocks or corals, covered in a slime layer that is secreted at dusk. In the morning these can be seen floating on the surface." ~~ Wikipedia

Never knew that from the Wrasses... didn't notice it before, but definitely interesting! Does leave more reasons for doubt. Also don't know what could kill off such big & healthy fish and a brittle star, but why two clowns (and an engineer goby I forgot to mention) would survive.

I did test my water yesterday from my ro/di and it did read 10ppm. Although it is higher than I'd like (and time to replace filters I'm sure), I'd hardly think this could affect anything especially if this was the same water I used to use in my auto top-off as before.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:15 PM   #7
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Is it the exact same tube you used as last time? What brand? It's the only thing that is sticking out at me right now as a cause besides maybe you stirred up something really nasty with your sand. But If you nitrates are only 10 then I doubt it was that.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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Is it the exact same tube you used as last time? What brand?
Not the same tube... got a new one from the store. GE brand clear 100% silicone II, "dries waterproof in 3 hours" one. Also used a 1/2 tube of actual (expensive) "aquarium silicone" but I've been told it's really the same thing as long as you use 100% silicone. I used this before with my last tanks with no issues. I also used weld-on 16 to bond an acrylic center overflow box to the acrylic tank but that was also allowed 48 hours to cure, water tested, dried, cleaned.

Any thoughts on the possible die-off on the chaeto? I wonder if there's something that clowns are immune/resistant to that others aren't in comparison.
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:35 PM   #9
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I don't have a SW tank, but this is an interesting quandary, so I did a little research and the closest thing I could find was this:

Brooklynella: An equally dangerous variation of Saltwater Ich, the primary difference being that Brooklynella appears as a more wispy texture to the fish, instead of the classic "salt granules" of Ich. Brooklynella is most commonly carried by Clownfish, however in many cases of Brooklynella outbreaks - the clownfish are the only survivors.

I'm not sure if this is the culprit, because I think ALL of your fish would've ended up with the "cobwebs" - and Brooklynella also doesn't usually kill that fast.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:27 PM   #10
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hmmm... Brooklynella... would mean that the clowns would host it and others would get it? Seems like this would be that the clowns would die off first... couldn't find much but didn't seem like this was an instant killer. Good to know since I so have clowns

Thanks for the replies so far!
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