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Old 08-23-2003, 06:29 PM   #1
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Lionfish looks poorly - please help

I have just joined this forum --- nice to find something so helpful.

We have a saltwater FO tank, installed and maintained by the LFS. We have had the tank about a year, without any problems. We do not test the water ourselves: the gentleman from the LFS does that when he does the maintenance, water changes, etc. We have a clown fish, lionfish, four small blue fish, a bliny (sp?), and assorted snails, crabs, and a small starfish. We feed them TetraMin Pro and every three to four days I treat with something called Nitramm-out which I understand removes ammonia.

We feed the lionfish small pieces of fresh shrimp, purchased from the fish store. He's partial to Honduran shrimp --- the expensives ones. We wash them thoroughly, and then cut a small piece which I dangle in front of him on the end of a barbeque skewer. He tells us when he's hungry by actively swimming at the top of the tank. He usually eats every two days, but sometimes is hungry enough to eat every day.

The gentleman at the LFS has been late in doing his regular service visit (his father recently died). In the last couple of days, we've noticed that the lionfish is on the bottom of the tank (he's never really hung out there before) and he looks like he's leaning to one side. He seems lethargic, although will swim up a bit once in a while. He's not eating.

We called the LFS and --- as this is a bank holiday week-end in England --- they couldn't come out to service us until Tuesday. But they suggested we bring in a water sample to be tested, which we did straight away. Apparently the ammonia level is fine, but the nitrate (or is it nitrite?) level was high. They asked us if we could do a partial water change. They said that the levels look like we may have overfed in the past.

They gave us a large bucket of salt water, and my wife and I struggled for the first time with suction hoses, etc. But we managed to remove a little more than 1/3 of the water in the tank, and replace it with the "new" salt water.

All the other fish were (and still) appear to be fine. But the lionfish is still resting on the bottom, and not eating.

Any suggestions on what might be causing this, and how we can help him? I've read the other postings on this forum, and it seems we're feeding him what others feed lionfish. We have tried the small silver fish (purchased frozen, and then thawed) but he doesn't like them. Hey, I'd prefer fresh Honduran prawns if I were given a choice...

The water testing today showed me just how my wife and I are about the aquarium. Can anyone suggest a testing kit that will be able to give us the information we need? How frequently should we test the water?

I apologize for seeking expert help from the forum when I am obviously so ignorant myself. I attach a photograph I've just taken: he is actually a bit upright in this photo, which is not his recent stance. Most of the time he has been horizontal on the sand, about a 1/2 inch or so above it. When he saw me coming with the camera, he "stood" up to attention.


Thanks for your help....

Craig Walsh
Worcester, England

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Old 08-23-2003, 06:38 PM   #2
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Did the lion become lethargic after a feeding? Could have been overfed, do you remove the shell when you feed the lion?

Need to know whether it's nitrate or nitrite, one is poisonous, one is not.


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Old 08-23-2003, 07:13 PM   #3
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Hi, Kevin ---

Many thanks for the quick reply. Yes, we remove the shells --- wash thoroughly, and then just feed him the tail meat of the shrimp (throw the head, etc. away). He's been lethargic after feeding before, but never this lethargic or for this long. I've never seen him just rest on the sand at the bottom of the tank before.

Sorry, I don't know if it was nitrate or nitrite. I will call the LFS tomorrow (if they're open) and ask.

Again, many thanks.

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