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Old 03-28-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
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Disturbing fish death- please advise ASAP

About twenty minutes ago I noticed my cat pawing at my aquarium*, and when I reached over to stop I saw that he was watching a flame firefish throwing itself violently around the tank. It seemed to be partially paralyzed or seizing up and was whipping its body around with all its strength. Every few seconds it would float sideways against the rocks as if it were dead, but then it would spasm violently again. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen take place in an aquarium, and I panicked while trying to find something to euthanize the fish, and popped him in the freezer. Suddenly I remembered that freezing is not really humane, so I took him back out and poured him into a bowl of fizzing alka seltzer. That worked very fast.

He was the only fish in the aquarium since a pistol shrimp killed the other firefish and I removed the shrimp and shrimp goby. There is a tiny (smaller than a dime) mushroom anemone in the same tank, and it seems to be thriving.

The shrimp goby (seems fine) was with the firefish until three days ago, and could now be contaminating my larger tank. The firefish was very healthy and happy at first, then became more skittish after his mate died. After I removed the shrimp and goby, the firefish stayed shy and spent a lot of time in the rock work, but came out when the room was calm.

*Aquarium is 29g Oceanic Biocube w/ liverock replacing bioballs. Purchased used and established 10 days ago with sediment and filter material from my 8 months established tank. My measurements seem great: Salinity 1.022, pH 8.4, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate .25,Temp 75. Nothing seems far enough off to cause this.

The only things unusual about this aquarium was that 1) I used a lot of a substance called "Prime" (a water conditioner) when changing the water and 2)the Oceanic Biocube water level was low which caused it to spew out microbubbles all last night and most of today. The firefish was out of sight this morning, but I thought it was just afraid of the bubbles.

Thank you for any advice or theories.
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:15 AM   #2
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You say you used "a lot" of Prime. How much is a lot? More than recommended on the bottle? Are you using the Prime because you're using tap water in the tank?
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:45 AM   #3
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Yes, I use tapwater. The water in our area is pretty good and I hadn't had trouble before. I use Prime every time I do a water change (I usually do all the aquariums at once) to control chlorine. I did an extra water change last week, meaning that without considering it I gave this aquarium twice the amount I usually would in a week.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:20 PM   #4
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that is weird! I can't help you as I have never seen that happen, but when I was at my fish store today I had a conversation with another customer & the guy helping me where they said freezing was the most humane way because it just slowed down their metabolism & they went to sleep peacefully. is it not?! how does the alka seltzer work? I was just wondering for future reference.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:16 AM   #5
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If you dont have a volt meter get one... There could be stray current in the tank..
Invest in a new test kit ...
How old is the tank ?
Also I echo Kurts question how much Prime is alot ?
As for the freezing method it is a bit mean .. it use to be thought it would cause them to sleep and die but they have found that the fish gets ice crystals on its gills and it frost bites them it is also thought to be painfull... Alkaseltzer cause the fish to blow up in side also painful. There is an oil that you can get it is called clove oil can be gotten at most health food stores it is used to anethatize a fish before adding something such as vodka. Or you can use an item called ms222 .. Here is a link to euthanazia of fish
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-...ize-a-fish.htm
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:53 AM   #6
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sadielynn, thank you for a most informative post.
T.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:12 AM   #7
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sadielynn- thank you very much for that I bookmarked it.

JonnyKhan - did you figure out what happened?
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyKhan View Post
Yes, I use tapwater. The water in our area is pretty good and I hadn't had trouble before.

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2004/chem.htm
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:46 AM   #9
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I guess it depends how cold the freezer is. When im ice fishing i just toss the fish on the ice out side of my shack and it seems to work very quickly. So i would vote freezing being humane enough.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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I guess you didn't read the whole article:
Unacceptable methods of euthanasia are: freezing, boiling, chopping, removing the fish from water, using a seltzer tablet, slamming, pithing, decapitating, or flushing down the toilet. These methods are slow, torturous, stressful or violent. Clove oil followed by vodka is both inexpensive and humane. The fish goes to sleep like we might before an operation, and simply doesn't wake up.
I prefer this over all the others:
MS 222 [Tricaine methanesulfonate]:MS 222 is frequently used as anesthetic and a sedative for aquatic animals but in larger concentrations is the preferred method for euthanizing aquarium fish. It is approved by the FDA and considered humane by the American Veterinary Medical Association. It can be purchased through your vet or online. A bath with 250 mg of MS 222 per liter of water is adequate. The fish should be bathed for a full 10 minutes to assure death.
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