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Old 10-31-2005, 02:21 PM   #1
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Problem with Lion Fish

I have a 40 gal. salt water tank. Filtration includes a Whisper bio-wheel, an under gravel filter system hooked up to a Tetratec Deep Water pump, and a 30 gal. air pump hooked up to some oxygen tubes to help circulate water and air. This is a fish only tank with coral substrate and no live rock or live plants.

I always do a 50% water change about once a month with a good rinse and cleaning of everything in the tank. I also do a 25% change sometime in between cleanings to remove fish waste. Right now I am just using tap water with Prime water conditioner because it seems to be working fine for now. Levels in the tank seem to be ok, except for nitrate. pH is about 8.0, Alkalinity is 200ppm, Nitrite is at 0ppm, Ammonia is at .25ppm, and Salinity is at 1.021-1.022 and the temp. is steady at 80 degrees.

In the tank is a Red Volitians Lion Fish, a (Panther) puffer, and a yellow tang. I have had the Lion Fish and the puffer in the tank for about seven months, and I introduced the Tang last, about six weeks ago. I'm sure this seems alot for a 40 gal, but they seem happy and active.

Everything has been going great, up to last week. I noticed that green alge has been growing under the hood where the light sits. I usually just clean this twice a month, everything still seems great. At this time Nitrate levels are around 10-20ppm, this is also why I try doing several water changes a month. Well, last week the Lion Fish started to worry me. He usually eats three nice sized silversides three times a week. Usually he becomes verry active and aggressive when it is feeding time. He defineatly is the first to eat over the others, no choice about it. Last week he only ate 2-3 silversides in total. He seemed to have diffuculties getting them down too. I had to leave them alone for the first time last weekend, when I came home, the nitrate levels were at 80 ppm! The tang was sickly pale in color and the Lion Fish's eyes seem to be a bit cloudy. I immediately did a 30% water change, used Prime water conditioner, and started adding Biozyme, bits at a time. The puffer seems to be fine through all this and the tang is now back to color, but the Lion Fish still won't eat, and the eyes are still a bit cloudy. He seems to still be moderately active , and I don't notice any strange behavior. I'm keeping an extra close eye on everthing, But I need some help in what I'm doing wrong or what I need to do to help the Lion Fish.

This is my first salt water tank, I love my fish and thought I was doing an alright job. Can you guys help?
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:36 PM   #2
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The ammonia should be 0. It is lethal to fish in the smallest amounts. I would keep going with the water changes, but probably not 50% at a time. Maybe 20% a day until you can get the ammonia to zero, and the nitrates down. Is it possible that there are some uneaten silversides somehwere in your tank, causing the ammonia? When you get the nitrates under control, the algae should lessen. Sometimes tap water (depending on its overall quality) will cause nitrates to jump). A RO/DI unit is a good choice for water, and there are some on Ebay rather cheap. Good luck!
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Problem with Lion Fish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Wald
I have a 40 gal. salt water tank. Filtration includes a Whisper bio-wheel, an under gravel filter system hooked up to a Tetratec Deep Water pump, and a 30 gal. air pump hooked up to some oxygen tubes to help circulate water and air. This is a fish only tank with coral substrate and no live rock or live plants.

I always do a 50% water change about once a month with a good rinse and cleaning of everything in the tank. I also do a 25% change sometime in between cleanings to remove fish waste. Right now I am just using tap water with Prime water conditioner because it seems to be working fine for now. Levels in the tank seem to be ok, except for nitrate. pH is about 8.0, Alkalinity is 200ppm, Nitrite is at 0ppm, Ammonia is at .25ppm, and Salinity is at 1.021-1.022 and the temp. is steady at 80 degrees.

In the tank is a Red Volitians Lion Fish, a (Panther) puffer, and a yellow tang. I have had the Lion Fish and the puffer in the tank for about seven months, and I introduced the Tang last, about six weeks ago. I'm sure this seems alot for a 40 gal, but they seem happy and active.

Everything has been going great, up to last week. I noticed that green alge has been growing under the hood where the light sits. I usually just clean this twice a month, everything still seems great. At this time Nitrate levels are around 10-20ppm, this is also why I try doing several water changes a month. Well, last week the Lion Fish started to worry me. He usually eats three nice sized silversides three times a week. Usually he becomes verry active and aggressive when it is feeding time. He defineatly is the first to eat over the others, no choice about it. Last week he only ate 2-3 silversides in total. He seemed to have diffuculties getting them down too. I had to leave them alone for the first time last weekend, when I came home, the nitrate levels were at 80 ppm! The tang was sickly pale in color and the Lion Fish's eyes seem to be a bit cloudy. I immediately did a 30% water change, used Prime water conditioner, and started adding Biozyme, bits at a time. The puffer seems to be fine through all this and the tang is now back to color, but the Lion Fish still won't eat, and the eyes are still a bit cloudy. He seems to still be moderately active , and I don't notice any strange behavior. I'm keeping an extra close eye on everthing, But I need some help in what I'm doing wrong or what I need to do to help the Lion Fish.

This is my first salt water tank, I love my fish and thought I was doing an alright job. Can you guys help?
Any amount of ammonia is lethal, as suggested already. The undergravel filter is a nitrate factory and could be some of your issues with those levels.
I'm not sure I understand your maintenance routine. You clean everything in the tank with a good rinse? If you rinsed it with tap water, you are killing all your good bacteria and every time you do that, your tank has to recycle.
The lionfish sounds like he may be stressed from the addition of another fish to an already to small/cramped enviroment. The cloudy eyes is usually an indication of degrading water conditions also caused by a over loaded system. I would suggest that you double up on your water changes with well aerated salt water (preferably letting the water mix overnight) and see if things improve. If the eye condition appears to clear up (sometimes water changes are enough) and the lion is still not eating, there might be something bigger going on.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:01 PM   #4
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I only change about 5 gallons a week in my 55...... 40 and 55 gallons are actually small for saltwater systems, and i think that changing more than 10 percent a week could be too stressful on the fish.... like too much flucuation in ph, or other things.....and if your throwing tap water in right away even if you added stress coat or something.. Anyways i just brought my lionfish back to the store because although they said it would be fine, after researching it i realized that my 55 was just too small, the bioload from the lionfish is too much for a 40-55 gallon system thats why I'm gonna start up a 150 so that i can enjoy the fish i like..
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Old 10-31-2005, 11:59 PM   #5
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Really like pevious stated your whole bioload is to great. As Joey said the lionfish needs more room.and the tank is too small for all those fish. I know your LFS told you that it would be OK but he accomplished his agenda. The immune system comes down in cramped quarters and ammonia goes up as stated earlier post which is leathal. I suggest maybe return to LFS or sell to someone with bigger tank. But your lionfish will need to be put in QT and treated first. Good luck. You could also buy a bigger tank but I`m not in your wallet.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:29 AM   #6
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ammonia (the poison that ruined me)

Thanks for all the posts submitted. This morning I checked the levels, and the ammonia is still at .20ppm and nitrate at .25ppm. I did another 5 gal. water change this afternoon and added some more Prime to help the ammonia. When I got home tonight, the levels are still .14-.16 ppm for the ammonia and .20 ppm for the nitrate. His eyes are still cloudy and they do not seem to be getting any better. His color is a bit pale but at least he is still quite active. I am going to set out another 5 gal. tonight for tomorrow. I guess he is just too big for this tank and will have to be re-located to a larger system. I just with my fish guy would have told me a bit more about this when I bought him. I also wish I knew about this place to help in research too. This is so sad, he is my favorite fish and a great center-piece to my tank. He is the reason I started this expensive hobby. Buying a 100 gal. tank is just not in my budget right now, I have a little boy on the way, so the fish are now second priority. Thanks for the help everyone!

Since we are on the subject of ammonia here anyway, I have another question pertaining to fish food. When I feed cryl to the puffer, he consumes half of what I give him and shreds the rest to pieces during the event. I try to net out what I can, but most of it is so shredded that it just gets cycled into the tank. When I feed him fresh shrimp, same thing happens. Is uneaten nori bad for the tank too? Any suggestions?
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:31 AM   #7
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I'm going to get rid of the tang, buy a large skimmer, and hopefully find a 75 gal. tank so I can keep my Lion Fish! I gotta do something here! Thanks everyone!
Mike
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Old 11-01-2005, 06:51 AM   #8
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What you describing about the puffer is one of the reasons such a small system won't work. The three fish you have are huge waste producers and messy eaters. This is just compounding your problems. The wasted food is helping degrade your water. You could try some nassarius snails to help keep that stuff cleaned up but there is a chance the puffer may peck them off over time.
Just a side note, even with a 75, unless you get rid of the puffer and tang, you still don't have room. The lionfish is gonna get to 12+ inches, the puffer 12" and the tang 8". Even getting rid of the tang (the only one that would do well in a 75g), you still aren't gonna have adequate space for the lion and puffer. I would suggest no less than 100g but preferably larger. Keep in mind in the future, when buying fish, you have to go by adult size for rather or not they are gonna be able to live in your tank. Also, be sure to completely cycle your tank before moving your fish into the new system. I believe this is alot of your problems with your degrading water as well. Here are some articles for you to read that may help, and I would also suggest picking up a copy of Robert Fenner's book, the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Great book for beginners.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=15

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=16

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=17

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=10
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Old 11-01-2005, 04:38 PM   #9
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In the meantime, you can safely do (and should do) much larger than your current 5g changes. I would get a 30-35g Rubbermaid trashcan (or similar) and start mixing much larger changes of say 50% or so making sure to mix, aerate, heat to proper temp, and buffer if necessary (PH) the water for 12-24hrs before adding it to the tank. Right now, the export of your fish is overwhelming your filtration and water changes, the only help would be the increased water changes and/or an efficient protein skimmer until you can find homes for the different fish.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:18 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all of your posts, It's been five days now since my lions has eaten last.... I found someone at my LFS to take the yellow tang (why I had him in there in the first place...?), I have now been doing 10 gal. water changes once a day. Water conditions seem to be pretty close back to normal. Nitrite is at .0, ammonia is at .0ppm, nitrate is at 10ppm, Alkalinity is 300ppm, and PH has always been at 8.2, salinity is at 1.023, and temp is steady at 80. Right now, I am just running a 40 gal bio wheel until I can get a protien skimmer. The Greenmaji suggested the 120 coral life supper skimmer. I won't be able to purchase it probably until next week.
Yesterday, the Lion was very active, especially after I got the tang out of the tank. He just seemed like he was doing his own thing like always. I thought with his aggressiveness that he maybe hungry for he always begs for food. I tried to induce him with a silverside (which is his favorite) and he had no interest in it what so ever. I saw some posts in the sick saltwater articles and noticed Fluff mentioned that soaking his food in garlic extract might entice him to eat something, so I'm going to try that tomorrow. His eyes are still cloudy, but they don't seem to be as bad today. Tonight, he seems fairly weak, after all its almost been a week since he ate last. I was at the pet store and noticed that penicillin gel helps against cloudy/bulging eyes, but I'm hesitant to start adding more chemicals into the main tank. I already used Prime water conditioner this week to help get my levels back to normal. Should I QT him and give him the penicillin? I still need to do some research on QT's for I have not had any problems till now, but the penicillin treatments are a four day process. I don't know if he will even take it, he's not really interested in anything right now. I was also wondering what kind of vitamins and in what forms should I be giving my fish. I hope you fish pro's will continue to post helpful suggestions until my stressful deliema dwindles.
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