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Old 01-20-2004, 12:03 AM   #1
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eye bubble on fish..help-is this a disease?

I have 2 yellow tailed damsels and one of them overnight has developed what looks like a bubble over one of its eyes. You can still see the eye inside. It is still active and acts like nothing is wrong. i checked all of the levels and they seem to be fine. This is a new tank that has been cycling for about 3-4 weeks now. The only thing I have done differently lately is I was wokring in the sump last night installing a skimmer which I have yet to complete. I thought maybe with me stirring up the sump water he may have gotten something in his eye. Also he is eating normal as well from what I can tell.
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:22 PM   #2
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The fish most likely has popeye. Being in a cycling tank (which fish are not needed for), there is most likely many reasons for this. Best suggestions is a few 15% water changes every other day and start feeding the fish with vitamin fortified foods such as Selcon or Zoe.

Reducing the impurities and poisons in the tank combined with the increased nutrition should allow the fish to fight this on it's own. Normally this is quite effective in an established system but may not be as effective in a tank that is still cycling. At the least it will take longer than normal to heal and be very sure to watch for infection.

If the eye becomes noticabley larger or densely clouded it would need to be treated with an anti-biotic in a proper quarantine tank. Removing the fish would be extremely difficult though due to not being able to use a net. Any increased irritation to the eye could very easy cause the fish to lose it.

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Old 01-20-2004, 03:00 PM   #3
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From my research I have found out the following:
This condition, "pop-eye" can be caused by either bacterial or environmental.

Reason is that when I had acquired my yellow-tailed, I had one of them that developed this condition in identical circumstances. I had them in my QT tank. After researching the condition I figured that it was an environmental injury (caused by the fish accidentally bruising itself). As the damsels are feisty, they were always chasing each other. I left them alone, no treatment and by the time I transferred into the display tank, the condition was almost completely gone. Since then they have all been doing fine. So I would suggest that this sounds very similar and as Steve said watch it and not worry about it unless it gets worst or the fish behavior changes. Then you may want to consider a treatment. Otherwise I think you do not have anything to worry about. HTH
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:14 AM   #4
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Had the same condition with a clown fish I rescued from someone who wanted to be rid of him. Hence his name was "popeye" After having him for about a month, it went away. But he was our alarm clock--when something wasn't quite right in the tank, we would know from his eye. So don't worry about it, it'll go away. We know how ours got his "condition", let's just say it was carelessness from the previous owner. But still watch him closely...Good Luck.

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Old 01-21-2004, 09:24 PM   #5
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Well to my dismay he died. I came in from work and he was upside down and occasionally was breathing but barely. After I got him in the net he stopped breathing totally. Guess I will have to rely on my last yellow tail to finish the cycle. He seems healthy and all of my levels are good. He has acted strange from time to time in the 4 weeks I have had him. Guess the stress got to him. May get some LR to help cycle as well.
Thanks for all of the advice.
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:06 PM   #6
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Guess I will have to rely on my last yellow tail to finish the cycle. He seems healthy and all of my levels are good. May get some LR to help cycle as well.
What exactly are the levels?

As I said it is not neccessary to use fish to cycle the tank. If after 4 weeks you are still getting high levels I would suggest returning the damsel and just get the LR to continue fueling the cycle. If you keep the damsel, I hope you are doing water changes to keep the NH3 and NO2 at acceptable levels.

Never add LR to an established system or one containing existing animal life . Always cure it seperately.

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Old 01-21-2004, 10:17 PM   #7
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I know off the top of my head the ammonia is around .25 but as far as the nitrate/nitrites I dont know for sure. I always take my water to be tested by a friend of mine that has a reef and FO tanks at a LFS. I am not doing water changes to this point. The tank is about 4 weeks old. Everything that I have tested are within limits. I really think the damsel that died had something wrong with him other than cycling my tank. I feel bad that he died but hindsight is 20/20. I am new to saltwater and didnt know you could cycle a tank with LR otherwise I would have went that route.
Also I did have to take out about 3-5 gallons the other day to correct a slight salinity rise but other than that, no water changes per say.
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:30 PM   #8
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At 4 weeks quite honestly you should not still have any ammonia and the tank seems to be progressing quite slowly. Ammonia is one thing but nitrite is just a leathal. How do you have the tank set up?

I would be quite suprised if the nitrite is not extremely high at this point. FWIW, I do not think the damsel's eye problem was unrelated. Yes it can be for the most part caused from injury but doea not cause death unless severely infected. I would suggest either the water changes to reduce the poisonous levels or returning the damsel but I leave that choice to you.

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Old 01-21-2004, 11:22 PM   #9
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Again keep in mind this is a 125 gallon tank. I have done freshwater for 3 years and know about nitrates/nitrites. Just did a water test and think this is what it is....(think as I use a mardel 5 in 1 and I think the saltater chart I have is from an older test kit.)
The ammonia is .25. The PH is 8 and from what I can tell the nitrite is between 2-3 and nitrate is around 2. Just installed a Aqua C skimmer yesterday so this should help with some of this.
Also most tanks I have dealt with take at least 4-6 weeks to cycle and some as long as 8 weeks. As far as set up I have 3 subm pumps for water flow, a sealife system wet/dry with a mag 12 return back to the tank, and an Aqua Remora (outside sump) with a mag 3 driving it. Also have crushed coral as substrate about 3 inches deep. (dont have it level across the tank---more in some spots and less in others).
Also all Im doing since I am new to this is using a local salt aquarium for advice. Again I didnt know I could use LR to cycle. Didnt ask this question. Wish I would have.
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Old 01-21-2004, 11:40 PM   #10
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Also most tanks I have dealt with take at least 4-6 weeks to cycle and some as long as 8 weeks.
No argument on the time table but ammonia will not typically last throughout the term of the cycle and is usually abated in the first 7-10 days. Nitrite on the otherhand can take several weeks if not longer.

I just find it odd that you still have an ammonia reading with only two damsels as the waste producing element. Even with the amount of CC, this should not be happening. Also FWIW, that amount of CC will be a detriment in the long run. CC tends to be rather waste "consuming" and may lead to water quality issues down the road. If you like the look of the CC I would still suggest reducing the amount down to 1-1½" depth which should help alot with trapped detritus and foods.


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