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Old 03-29-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
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I am at my wits end

Alright, I bought a pre-established 120 gallon tank. I have about 300 lbs of live rock, and I have been adding coral as I go. All of the sudden while I was out of town, my fish got in real bad condition. I had my nanny watching out for them. Right before I left, I did a 50% water change because my nitrates were high. I messed up with the slainity though. I was reading the wrong side of the measure thing and had it at like 1.016. I know, BIG mess up. The fish were also showing signs of Ick at the time, so I started dosing the tank with Ich-Attack. My nanny did as well while I was gone. When I got home, it was obvious that they had gone into a secondary infection. I am going to be honest.... I don't know what the secondary infection is, because it looks as if it could be so many different things...


Well, that night we got home, I started working on getting the skimmer bacak to working right and so on. While I was doing something incredibly simple up top in the tank, I heard a loud BOOM. Ends up, my sump cracked, and my heater busted when it hit the air. I was screwed. I had to shut down my whole system, and with my fish already sick, they just couldn't handle it. I went to bed in tears feeling helpless. The next morning, I woke up to all of my fish gone, and just went back to bed for the day depressed.

I had my great fish store owner who has become my friend come out and she built me a sump that next day. I got it up and running and all of my corals, shrimp, and crabs were ok. I let the tank run for a week or so, and then bought a pair of black clowns. Like clockwork, within 36 hours, they VERY quickly showed skin problems and cloud eye, and overnight they died.

I tested the water... all was fine except the calcium was a little low. One thing though that I have read about here that i have not been resting for is phosphate. I let the tank sit for another few days. I added another set of clowns, a brown tank, a yellow tang, and a yellow tang. Again, Like clockwork, about 38 hours, they start showing up sick. Then go downhill sooo fast. Before they show up sick, they are perfectly fine. Swimming around swiftly, eating like crazy... everything. There is something in the tank that is taking a while to make them sick, but it is very aggressive once it hits. Hospital tanks are not even working, but just the opposite.

I love my tank, I love my fish, and it is just killing me that I don't know what it wrong. I will list what I have been using below.

Ich-attack
Kent Marine Rx-P every other day, even though my anenomies hate it
Then Melafix, and PimaFix alterantely every other day

I have a protein skimmer, A pack of rocks to make sure that the amonia is under check and I also have been increasing the Slalinaty at a pretty good rate but not too agressively. It is up to 1.024 as of today. I know it isn't very cool to see a sick fish, but I am putting up a picture of my blue tang so that maybe someone will be able to give me an idea by looking at it. ANY help is very appreciated.

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Old 03-30-2009, 12:33 PM   #2
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First things first, quit dosing your tank with meds. It sounds like you have a few conflicting meds that can be harmful if mixed.
I would run carbon to get the meds out of the tank.
How old is the tank?
It sounds like you may be adding too many fish and your boifiltration is not able to keep up with the heavy bioload.
What are your ammonia.nitrItes reading?
What kind of test kit are you using?
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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First things first, quit dosing your tank with meds. It sounds like you have a few conflicting meds that can be harmful if mixed.

Thing is though, I only put them in AFTER the fish are sick. So what is making them sick?

How old is the tank? It has been up and running for 2 years... I bought it about two months ago.

It sounds like you may be adding too many fish and your boifiltration is not able to keep up with the heavy bioload.

If I waited though for two weeks after the first batch of my fish died before adding just two clown fish, wouldn't it have had time to filter?


What are your ammonia.nitrItes reading?

ammonia none, nitrates, none, Nitrites, none

What kind of test kit are you using?
API Saltwater Master Test Kit... but does not have a phosphate check in it... which for some reason I am a little suspicious about.
When I have done water changes, I do it from Tap.

I have a predrilled, bioballs in the side of the tank, I run a skimmer and clean the collection cup very well every day.

about 300 pounds of live rock... which I would have thought would be enough to filtrate in itself, but then I do have the out coming water flowing over the filter as well.

ALSO, my coral and my shrimp are doing fine... whatever this issue is, it is only attacking my fish.


Here is my tank
[img=http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/9540/p3300036.jpg]
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:13 PM   #4
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I was thinking more or less like Roka... there's too much changing too quick in your tank to really nail down what the problem is. Between the shotgun approach to meds, the overloading when trying to restock ("another set of clowns, a brown tank, a yellow tang, and a yellow tang"), very low salinity, and someone else taking care of your tank when you weren't there... there's just so many things that could be going wrong.

I'd take a giant step back, take a deep breath, and decide whether or not you think the tank has ich. If it does, then you're going to want to leave it fishless for 6-8 weeks to break the cycle and kill off whatever parasites are remaining. Throw some fish food in every week to keep the bacterial filtration alive if you go that route. After that time period, then I'd just add a couple fish at a time - after a proper quarantine period in a quarantine tank.

As you mention, since your inverts are doing fine, the issue probably isn't water quality. For that same reason, I don't think phosphates are your problem - the corals would be having issues long before the fish if that were the case. You're using a dechlorinator with that tap water, right?
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:25 PM   #5
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Well, at first when I got the tank, I just had the fish that had been living in it.....

After I went out of town and had the issue, I only put two clown fish in there.

I was thinking ick as well, but because I was so freaked out I was checking them like every hour lol. It seemed to just go straight to the skin eating looking stuff. If there is something in there that would cause that... what would it be??? Or what could it be??????

I also had read that lowering the salinity might help to speed this process up over the six weeks or so,however, I was worried about what my coral and live rock can take as far as higher temps, and lower salinity.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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Well, at first when I got the tank, I just had the fish that had been living in it.....

After I went out of town and had the issue, I only put two clown fish in there. ...
Guess I misread your post. Sounded like everytime you lost fish, you restocked it with a bunch all at once.

Regarding ich... whatever you use to really and truly kill ich will kill inverts too. Going the hyposalinity route (low salinity), you need to keep fish in 1.009 water for 4-6 weeks after you see all the white spots drop off. No inverts will survive that. Also, raising the temperature is often mentioned because it supposedly speeds up the life cycle of the parasite. But it does nothing to kill it. Copper-based meds and hypo are the best normally available methods to kill ich.

From what you describe, it doesn't sound like ich. Not sure what... maybe marine velvet? You might google that and see if it describes what you're seeing.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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Ya, this is a complete mystery to me. Hard part is also.... I have 300 lbs of live rock that I don't want to kill lol. I seem to be at a dead end. If you will scroll up to my first post, i have a link to a picture of my last fish that died with this last group I bought. I know it isn't a pretty picture, I hated even taking it. I knew though that if I was going to get this figured out and not murder anymore fish that i needed to take it for people to look at and give their opinion on. I live in Savannah. I am currently strongly considering looking to see if we have a marine biology something around here with as many colleges as we have... and let them deal with my tank.
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:03 PM   #9
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That is the problem though, i don't think it is ick, because it kills them within less than like 12 hours of looking sick. They show no signs of white dots on their fins or anything. Now, their fins will erode quickly, just as their skin does. I mean, you can literally see it floating off of them.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:10 PM   #10
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I don't have my book at home, but if you have access to a bookstore, get DR Untergasser's Handbook oif Fish Diseases. There is a specific disease where the skin will flake off like that. My guess is Marine Velvet (I believe there is another one too). Ich won't kill that quick, but peeling skin is one of the end results in a heavily infested fish, along with other secondary infections.
My guess would be the different meds. When I was new, I mixed two meds and killed mt poor clown in less than 2 hours.
Have you considered a QT?
What is your pH?
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