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Old 10-01-2006, 04:05 PM   #1
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Damage Control

So this isnt fun at all... 5 of my 6 fish have died in the last week. Im at college and I just come home on the weekends and do water changes, while my dad feeds them during the week. Last weekend I noticed they looked a little iffy, so instead of the normal 5% I did a full 20% change. My dad checked all my parameters during the week, kept on the topoffs and everything with the water was perfect.

I come home friday and 2 fish are dead, so I do about a 20% wc (despite all tests showing water was fine) The fish all seemed to have something wrong with their skin and some of their fins were ragged. My goby appeared to have his skin like pealing off him. Every one of them was breathing pretty heavily, clownfish was panting and swimming at the top. Since my parameters were fine I figured Id start adding garlic xtreme to help boost their immune systems. This morning (sunday) I woke up to my clown, royal gramma, and goby dead, but my yellow tang looks 10x healthier. His fins look better already, skin appears totally normal (A little more pale than usual) and hes breathing a little steadier.

On top of that, and further proof that it wasnt water issues, no inverts have died. My mushroom coral has grown more in the last couple weeks than the first 5 months i had him, and my polyps are growing pretty fast as well. Feather dusters are all fine, hermits are enjoying their free meals when they get to the fish before I do, snails are all fine

So my question now is... what do I do next? How do i pinpoint exactly what happened? How do I know my tank is safe to move on? Is there any way to prevent this in the future?

Oh and just as an explanation of my tanks, I have a 65 gal fowlr and a 15 gal reef linked to the same sump. 2 of the dead fish were in the 15 gal and 3 were in the fowlr

Beware the clapping monkey...
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:33 PM   #2
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Just a guess but maybe your oxygen is low. Do you have a glass top? do you have PH pointing up for surface aggitation. The fins messed up almost sounds like a bacterial problem. Did you QT these fish before you put them in?

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Old 10-01-2006, 05:39 PM   #3
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How old is the tank and how long have the fish been in there before the signs and deaths?

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Old 10-01-2006, 07:52 PM   #4
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Damage Control

(despite all tests showing water was fine)
I could be wrong, but with this deaths, it doesn't seem like the water is fine. You may have expired tests, can you check with your LFS to confirm the tests?
clownfish was panting and swimming at the top.
Sounds like a possibly O2 problem, the fish is not getting enough O2. What kind of lid to you have? How much surface ripple? How many phs, you have running?
That tang might be causing problems, how big is he?
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Old 10-02-2006, 11:39 AM   #5
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It is probable someone used an aerosol in the house. Any aerosol can cause a reaction like this, just some more than others. Carpet fresh, room deodorizers, air fresheners, furniture polish, bug spray... you get the idea. The products in question do not even need to be sprayed in the same room to be a problem. Central heat and air will spread it around everywhere. Aerosols contain toxic metals.

The only other possibility would be if there were some metals or minerals leaching out of algae magnets or out of hose clamps or maybe rusty hinges.

Toxic metals cause the flaky skin you are describing, and the mysterious fish loss. Run lots of carbon, and eliminate all possible sources of metals.
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Old 10-04-2006, 10:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!
(sorry it took so long for me to get back to this)

On to your comments: I double checked the water at my LFS and it was fine, the tank was started shortly after christmas and all of the fish were at least 6 months old (I had been doing so good for my first tank) I seriously doubt it being an O2 problem because the way I have my sump set up, I had to put in 4 baffles to stop it from sending loads of bubbles to the tank. The tang definately couldnt be the problem, he was always a beautiful healthy fish, and actually was like buddies with my clown.

Then on to afishyonados comment...... I checked my algae magnet when i was cleaning the tank and bam the whole pad is like redish/brown from the rust of the magnet. At the time i didnt think much of it, just took it out and threw it away, but if what you say is true... DING DING DING i think we have a winner. Also, my mom hired a new cleaning lady without me knowing, and I never got to talk to her about stuff near the tank, so that could be another possibility as well. I just called my dad and told him how to run some carbon on my HOB so that might help if its still a problem

Thanks for all the help guys, I think ive gotten it all sorted out now. I have been on the phone with my dad every night checking up on my last fish, he says hes looking much better. Hopefully he'll hang in there.

Beware the clapping monkey...
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control, damage

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