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Old 11-25-2004, 04:59 PM   #1
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damsel in distress?

Hi, we have two domino damsel fish and a scooter blenny in a 55-gallon tank. For the last couple of days one of the dominos has been a reddish brown in color, instead of black, but turns black when frightened. They're eyes also look like they have clear "capsules" over them. Does anyone know if this is a problem, or normal behavior?

I've tested the water and everything is good, pH 8.4, specific gravity 1.023, nitrates 20, nitrites 0, ammonia 0, temp 77 degrees.

I'd appreciate any input, as I'm pretty new to this and don't know if this is something to worry about, or not.
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Old 11-26-2004, 12:01 PM   #2
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The color of the fish is not always a sign of poor health but can be an indication of stress or aggression. Color fading can also be a reaction to lowering of light. I don't understand what you mean by clear capsule either. Bacterial problems or parasites will result in a dull haze or clouding of the eye.

Please check out the sticky at the top of the forum "Before posting about sick fish, please read!!" and answer as many of those questions as possible. Somewhere down the line there may be a clue to a problem that may or may not be there.

What time of day was the pH tested?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 11-26-2004, 12:22 PM   #3
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Steve,

We've had the fish for about five weeks, bought at the same time and put directly into the tank, only other tank mate is a scooter blenny that we have had for about five months. They eat frozen brine shrimp and have been eating well. We use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals liquid test kit and the parameters, including pH were taken yesterday at about three p.m. It is a 55-gallon tank, no live coral or sand, wet/dry trickle filter and protein skimmer.

The fish have no signs of disease, spots, cloudy eyes, etc. Their eyes look much larger than they did originally, almost as if there are clear magnifying contacts over them.

They are not flashing, rubbing, etc. However, last week they were chasing each other a lot and the one that is discolored now kept coming back to the same spot in the tank and swishing the sand with his fins, moving fins and tail very quickly, etc., then would chase the other one again; we thought they might be atttemping to mate. This lasted a couple of days, then the one lost its color and I noticed the eyes and they have, since then, been repeating this behavior off and on. Yesterday our scooter blenny hid himself in the sand all day, finally coming out last evening. Today he is again hiding and when I turned the light on this morning to feed them, one damsel was hiding behind a rock formation and the other was in a coral. Usually they all come out at the first sign of light in the tank because that is when I feed them.

I hope this helps in your assessment, and we'll appreciate anything you have to say about this, as we are quite worried.

Thanks,
Toni & Kevin
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Old 11-26-2004, 09:42 PM   #4
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You don't have any serious problems but there are a few "issues" to resolve that will improve things.

First off I should have mentioned this in the first post, Domino damsels are among the most aggressive ,nasty and downright meanest of the species. In all honesty, you should only keep one in a tank that size. Personally I wouldn't keep them in anything other than a large tank with other aggressive species, large wrasses, triggers, lions and such. They can actually bully a more docile fish twice their size until it's dead. That will be a large part of your problem. With damsel species it's really hard to tell if the behavior you describe above is purely mating or simpley one showing submissivness towards the other. The more hiding places and territories available the less aggressive the behavior will be. As long as the more dominant of the two does not literaly attack the other you might be able to wait it out. If the aggressive behavior gets worse, one should definately be removed.

The scooters behavior is quite normal for a "casualty of war". It's their way of hiding when feeling threatend (or at night to sleep) but as long as it does not continue for much longer it will be fine.

The only other issue is the food. Adult brine unless heavily fortified or "gut loaded" prior to harvest is basically nutritionless. The color of you fish aside from stress is directly related to the food source. The more vitamin enriched the healthier the fish. A good suggestion would be mysis, fortified marine flakes and soaking foods when possible in a liquid marine vitamin a few times a week. I would also do a search on this site for "blender mush".

I would also suggest you read up on <<quarantining>> all new arrivals prior to adding them to the display tank.

Cheers
Steve
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