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Old 09-19-2003, 09:42 AM   #1
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Fish are dying! I did everything right!

Maybe someone can give me some advice! We set up our 55 gal. tank with 46lb. of live rock - followed the directions of the fish dealer perfectly. Waited about 6 weeks, tested the water, recorded the test results, visited the fish dealer every Sat. with my little written results, etc.
Finally, last weekend we were ready for fish. He said "three small fish." We chose a tiny clown (just like Nemo, named him Nemo), one tiny Hippo Tang (Dory) (My daughter is 7!), and the half fuschia, half yellow minnow like fish. We did the drip line, didn't put the fish store water in our tank, etc. Nemo stayed in one spot by the rock, hardly ever moved from that spot, wouldn't eat. Occasionally he would move to another rock but never swam until the fourth day wildly up at the top of the tank and then DEAD. Now, 2 days later, the Tang is dying (Tang has been rubbing himself on the rocks since we brought him home! Don't think this is good). The other fish is fine. My question - is it my tank or were these sick fish to start? I feel really guilty, my daughter is in tears! Need some objective advice. thanks
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:10 AM   #2
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to me the Tangs problem sounds like the dreaded Ick. If she is scratching on rocks, she is trying to rid herself of the parasite. I would take her out and quarantine her, or if there is no other invertabrates in the tank then you could just treat the tank. But of course, quarantine is the best answer. Also, something I have tried. I do not have room for an additional tank to quarantine fish. But the LFS happens to be a good friend of mine, and he has taken my fish and treated for me. Of course, I trust him, and we are 50/50 so far. Saved one and lost one. But, hey, that is just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:35 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. Little blue tang is dead now. Is this unusual for two out of three fish to be sick when you buy them? They had to be sick when they came, it hasn't even been one week!
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:49 AM   #4
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couple things, if you have a SW tank you need to test your water yourself regularly until you have learned enough about your individual system to maintain it to a point where levels dont change drasticaly over the week. Buy a good set of test kits. I prefer Salifert, but any brand is better than nothing.

you want 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and around 20ppm nitrates should be ok for you for now because you don't have any corals/anenomes etc. Check your pH 8.2 ish is what you want, specific gravity 1.023-1.025

Definitly follow Macatua's advice on a quarentine. We have an article here on how to set up a quick and easy Quarantines. I would avoid "treating the whole tank" even though you don't have inverts, as the treatments will ALWAYS remain in the system and make it difficult to EVER have inverts.

You also might want to check out ourRecomended Books section. Having them on hand is almost better than having us on hand ;o)

post back your test results and we'll work on where to go from there.
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:03 PM   #5
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Also, I don't think the fish were necessarilt sick before you bougth them. Tangs are very susceptible to Ick, especially when stressed. When a fish is moved, it becomes stressed. That is why a proper acclimation is necessary. However with Tangs, for some reason they are extremely susceptible to Ick. So I don't think it was the fault of the LFS, simply a fish that got Ick and couldn't recover.

BTW, I am sorry for your losses. Tell your little girl that we all know it is very sad to lose our fishy friends, but she will find a new pal soon
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Old 09-19-2003, 03:32 PM   #6
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your half fuschia half yellow minnow like fish sounds like a royal dottyback and they ar very hardy. i agree with what eveyone said about tangs they are prone to get ick.the clownfish however is usually pretty hardy.
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:52 PM   #7
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Is the ick something they develope themselves or is it a parasite or bacteria? Could it get the ick and die within five days? He bacame very faded this morning, yesterday he was still very blue!

We will go to the fish store tomorrow, they are very helpful there and know what they are doing. We will try again!
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:13 PM   #8
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i'd wait at least a week before you add anymore fish because ick can live 3 to 5 days without a host. ick is a parasite.
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Old 09-22-2003, 06:55 AM   #9
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Actually.. once you've had a death from ich.. you should leave the tank "fallow" without a fish host for the parasite for at least a month, if not 6 weeks. Ich is a parasite that lives in three forms.. a cyst (like an egg) that hangs out in the bottom of the tank (it can stay in this form for some time), then a free floating "bug" seeking a fish .. and then in an attached "alien" form.. it attaches to the fishes body, but most especially the soft gill parts, and proceeds to eat the fishes' respiritory system, thus killing the fish. If indeed your fish had ich, the scratching behavior you noticed was an attempt by the fish to scrape the itchy parasites from it's skin. Other culprits could be : Marine Velvet .. much the same as ich, although moves much faster.. same treatment recommended: Removing all surviving fish to a "treatment tank" See the link mentioned before) treatment of the hospital tank with copper medications (although this is not recommended for clownfish).. and leaving your display tank empty of fish (invertebrates are fine) for a month to 6 weeks. The Ich and velvet parasites are invertebrates and are killed by copper.. but if you treat your display tank with copper, all the "good" invertebrates you might want to add later (shrimp, lobsters, corals, ect.) would quickly die as copper can never be completely removed from a tank once it is introduced (thus the treatment tank). The other culprit could be an outside contaminate: Perfumes, nicotine, chocolate chip cookies Prevention: Wash your hands and anything else going into the tank with clean water (not soap), complete drying of hands.. or use dedicated rubber gloves, tight fitting cover.. NO METAL utensils used near or in your saltwater tank. Treatment: Make sure you have activated carbon in your filtration system.. this removes most harmful toxins.

Hope that helps: Also.. I question the wisdom of placing a Hippo tang (or any tang) in such a system. Hippo tangs can grow to be as big as 12" long and need a large amount of space to swim.. once your tank is stabilized.. why not try one of the dwarf angels instead? Just as colorful.. but don't grow as big. Stick with it.. I promise.. you will get through this.. we all have had run in's with parasites.. We are all still here
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:57 PM   #10
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what do you guys think about a fresh water dip? i have several friends that swear dipping a fish that has ich or gill flukes will cure it. the fish can only tolerate a minute or two in the fresh water, but the parasite can't tolerate any fresh water. i've never done this myself, but i wish i could have at least tried this on my now dead blue spot jawfish.
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