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Old 03-20-2011, 12:09 PM   #1
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So there! Now I've done it.

I think I just screwed up my tank. I set it up in October. Did everything by the book. After adding some inverts, clean up crew and a few coral frags, I felt confident that everything was progressing well enough so yesterday I bought my first fish - perc clownfish.

I checked out a new LFS that was recommended to me. I should have known better than to buy anything from the place because I had a crummy feeling, walking in. It was the kind of place that looks like a grimy science lab with experiments in the tanks, you might know the type.

I saw what looked like a healthy clownfish. I asked what they fed it. They said flakes. I asked if they would feed it so I could be sure it was eating and they said no. Yes, I should have walked out but I didn't. The lighting was very poor but I could tell the fish had bright colors, seemed to be swimming around ok, no clamped fins or signs of distress. So I bought it.

I brought it home, acclimated it slowly, netted it and released it in the tank (yes, I should have set up a QT tank but I haven't. Since it would be the only fish in the tank, I thought it would be fine). Mistake number 2 or maybe 3, I'm losing count.

So I get it under my intense metal halide lighting and realize that I made a huge mistake. It looked like this:



I don't have an expert eye for fish disease but I don't like the look of those spots. So I'm thinking it has ich. Am I correct? The picture is blurry. It was moving constantly and the camera flash was harrassing it so this was the best I could do. I can read up on ich remedies but I would like an expert opinion that this fish might have it.

Here are other problems that I'm having.

1. This fish isn't navigating the currents very well in my tank. I didn't realize that the water movement was intense but watching this fish move around is a painful sight. A few minutes ago, I saw it get slammed into a piece of LR. I've moved the powerhead to stop this from happening but damage may have been done.

2. I saw a thin thread dangling from a gill. I'm thinking this is probably a parasite. I can't get a good picture of it, I've tried. Any thoughts?

3. So now that I've introduced a sick fish into my tank, how do I fix my mistakes? Like I've said, it is the only fish. I don't want to go back into that store because I doubt I would get a refund, this fish would most likely die there and I don't want an exchange because I think the fish there are cared for very poorly.

I'm doing a 20 percent water change this afternoon. Should I do more? As I said, I don't have a QT tank yet. I think the stress of moving the fish again might kill it anyway. Copper based treatments are out because of my inverts. I could jack up the water temp, right now it is about 78 degrees.

On a positive note, the fish is active and exploring. It has not eaten but it has been here less than 24 hours.

Any suggestions? I got the impression that fish would be the easiest creatures to care for in a reef aquarium and that is not the case for me, at this point.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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I think setting up a QT would be the best thing. You don't want to treat the DT. I've had to deal with flukes, HLLE and some sores but all in the QT. I've questioned the QT routine a couple of times but after a royal gramma ended up with flukes I thought I'm so glad that didn't happen in the DT. I think most important thing is a varied diet of home made food enriched with garlic and Selcon or the like. If the fish can fight it on its own it's the best.

At this point though I think setting up a QT is the way to go. It's probably not what you want to hear but I think that's what's needed. It doesn't look like ich to me but more a fungus. Not sure if that's because of the blurry picture. Try getting a better picture. Set up your camera in front and use the self timer so that you're not in front of the tank chasing the fish around with a lens/camera...Do you have a remote release for the shutter? If not use the self timer. You probably won't get him/her in every shot but it might work out better.

Steve

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Old 03-20-2011, 12:38 PM   #3
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that's not ich.
Marine Fish Diseases and Parasites
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:15 PM   #4
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Thanks Steve. Within an hour of my post, the fish died. I feel awful.

I understand that I bought a sick fish. A QT tank would have improved its survival chances. But I think what killed it was getting slammed into the LR, by the waterflow. It died shortly after that incident. I saw it happen and it was a massive body slam.

So it's pretty obvious that I can learn a lot from this experience. Is there a good link detailing out how to build a QT tank? I only have a 60 gallon tank so I'm don't think the QT tank would need to be big since I won't have larger fish. What size would your recommend?

The way the water flow moves in my tank appears to be a critical issue, also. I thought it was fine but the only free swimmer I have in there is a peppermint shrimp. He has no problems but the clownfish was struggling - and maybe because it was diseased, it was a weak swimmer. I don't know. I don't feel solid on the way the water moves in the tank now.

I did a 30% water change after the fish died. I have no idea if there are now parasites in the DT. I think whatever was hanging off the gill was a parasite but I didn't see it on the fish, when I removed it.

I studied that patchy area closely before I disposed of the fish. It was very bumpy. It looked like the tissue was bulging around the discoloration. It didn't look good.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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I would not frequent that LFS again. They were hiding something when they would not feed it.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:53 PM   #7
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I would not frequent that LFS again. They were hiding something when they would not feed it.
You're right but I stupidly bought it anyway.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:11 AM   #8
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Sadial, I'm sorry about that. I hate it when I lose a fish. You can learn from the experience as you said. In my case my resolve to do better and react quicker gets stronger. The link to marine fish diseases and parasites is a great one from Doug.

As for my QT setup I have a 10 gallon with a heater, a bio wheel filter, a thermometer and the light canopy that came with the kit. Originally, the system came with another type of HOB filter but after some advice on here I picked up the bio wheel HOB filter. I also have a pvc tube or two in there so that the fish has somewhere to hide. You want to keep this as simple as possible so that you can observe the fish the best that you can. You want a bare bottom so that you can clean it regularly so that the water conditions stay the best that they can. Along those lines with one exception I've always put Instant Ocean's Bio Spira in there which in my experience helps with the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Obviously it's not going to be as pristine as your DT but that's where the water changes come in. While there is a fish in QT I do PWC's in there every second day, or third day at the most. Between the Bio Spira and water changes I seem to get the best that I can get in there.

The only exception that I have done to the above setup is the one for my jawfish which is in QT right now. After a couple of days I realized he wasn't happy just hiding in the PVC tube and needed a more "claustrophobic" home. So, with some advice, I ended up getting a long plastic plant to give some shade (I pulled most of the stems off the base) and a tupperware container filled with crushed coral. He's much happier now and I think it will give him a better chance because he's less stressed but I also maintain the QT conditions.

Hope that helps. If there is anything else just ask away...

Steve
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:29 AM   #9
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Something else I just thought of. You really want to make sure that you don't cross contaminate from the QT to DT. I use a different net, siphon tube and small measure cups (that I use for feeding) for both systems. If I need to do work in the DT I do that first then do the work in the QT. I also just noticed in my picture that I didn't mention. I have a small filter/mesh bag filled with ceramic stones that holds beneficial bacteria. Usually I drop this bag in my sump/refugium so that it's colonized and then use it in the QT...but never back.

I know all this adds a bit of cost but when I think of all the $ and more importantly time and care, I spent on my DT and with each addition the chance of endangering the DT the $ make great sense.

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:58 PM   #10
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Thanks for your condolences, Steve. I don't want this to happen again.

I'm going to try to model a QT tank after your description. It appears to be straight forward and I should be able to set something up this weekend. I like what you have done with yours. You raised an interesting point about cross contamination that never occured to me. Out of curiosity, if the net is allowed to completely air dry, is it still questionable? Nets are cheap enough that it's easy to keep them separate, I was just wondering.

I had initially thought the QT tank was optional but I have changed my mind after this experience and reading further up on them. You're completely right. Given the amount of time and money we sink into our tanks, it is crazy not to protect that investment with one.

The only other question I have at the moment is how to work with the water currents in my tank. I'm convinced that I have a problem with the waterflow. I don't want another fish to get smacked into the LR again. However, I think I will post that in a different thread in the "Getting Started" section. I'll take some pictures of my tank and see if anyone can point out problem areas. I might do that in the next few days.

Thanks for your help. And yes, Doug did post a good link. Toward the bottom of the page, it had information on QT tanks that was useful and I have bookmarked it.
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