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Old 03-16-2005, 04:14 PM   #1
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HELP!!! 2 dead fish

Two fish were healthy and eating when I put them into my tank, and then three days later stopped eating. 3 days after that, they leaned over on the bottom and died.

One was a PJ cardinal, the other a Bangghai. The Bangghai was AGGRESSIVE on the first two days, then after the third night, stayed in the background and kind of cowered.

There were no white spots.

There were no growths.

Traumatized by my mantis shrimp? (I'll believe almost anything at this point)


There was no rubbing against the bottom.

If it is some sort of bacterial disease, will allowing my tank to remain fallow (fishless ... I still have my inverts) for a month be sufficient to solve the problem?

Will a month be long enough for other parasites (other than ich, for example)

I'm really growing quite frustrated ... any ideas?
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:42 PM   #2
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Any measurable ammonia?
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:46 PM   #3
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When I added a new piece of LR, there was enough ammonia to casue a color change in the test, but not enough to reach the first color level (.25).

Do you recommend a month without fish? Would that help solve a bacterial problem if indeed there is one?

I just finished hooking up a sterlizer, too, but I don't want it to kill the growth of coralline algae, assuming is kills those spores in the water.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:50 PM   #4
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I would suggest setting up a qt and starting over. The time the new fish spend in qt will give the main a good fallow period.
Not sure what was wrong, but a fallow period sure couldn't hurt.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:53 PM   #5
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Will do. I'm just concerned that whatever the agent is in the tank will still be there. What do you think of this plan during the fallow period:

UV sterilization (24/7) - will it inhibit coralline?

More frequent water changes.

My inverts are all seemingly happy. Are they enough to sustain the biological filter? Snce they seem ok, can I add a couple new ones?
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:06 PM   #6
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I think that is a very good plan. Chances are it was not communicable with the lack of physical symptoms as you explained, but it should IMO more than suffice.
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Old 03-17-2005, 12:27 PM   #7
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A Newbie Perspective

I'm new to the saltwater fish/coral hobby, but without seeing any signs of parasites, or other early/trace signs of diseases, you may want to check your screening levels. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, SG, Alkalinity are the most common, but the one that caused "mysterious death" in my tank was the carbonate hardness (dKH).

My definition of "mysterious death": Got a new fish and w/in 2 weeks it was dead. Ate for the first week, hid and looked stressed the second. Did a 10-20% water change which did not help.

The dKH of a saltwater tank should be between 8-12 (10-12 is strongly suggested). If you use tap water that is soft (or even bottled water) your dKH could be too low - this was the case with my tank. A low dKH causes pH swings that can be fatal to some fish. Your LFS should sell dKH test kits for $10-$15 and Kent Superbuffer-dKH for ~$10. This should be a much cheaper approach that starting a 10 to 20-gallon QT (especially since your main tank is only 30-gal).
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90-gallon marine tank with a couple clowns and sailfin tang. Several invertes including 12 emerald green crabs, 20 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, 6 turbo snails, and a BTA. Protein skimmer with 100-pounds live rock, Total 495 watts lighting w/2-MH, power compacts and lunars. Ammonia & Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 10, specific gravity: 1.025. Using Sea-Lab 28 and Kalkwaisser to maintain calcium at 400 ppm.
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:30 PM   #8
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Believe me I checked my water REPEATEDLY, using two DIFFERENT test kits. My alk is 3.5 meq/l , which corresponds to 9.8 dKH. That's what's so frustrating.

I'll keep watching everything, of course, but the QT tank I think is a good idea IN GENERAL, without regard to the size of the main tank.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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