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Old 10-21-2005, 02:08 AM   #1
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wrasse is dying slow long death, other fish acting funny

This is a reasonably new aquarium(under 3 months). It is 22gallons, i am running a millenium 2000 and an aqua clear filter on it. Both filters supposadly should be able to support the aquarium by themself, or so i was told. Water levels are mostly ok, nitrite is a little bit high but has been falling slowly(its at about .025ppm). Other levels look ok. Now the problem: After i added the second filter to try to get my nitrite levels to diminish, the wrasse stopped eating. He became very inactive also. about two days ago he started to eat a little bit again, but now has taken a drastic change for the worse. He looks horrible, his lips seem to be pealing, and he wont eat anything or move around, he's just laying at the bottom of the tank breathing heavily. In the same tank i also have a clownfish and a yellow tang. They were seamingly fine until today, when they didn't eat near the normal amount. In addition, the yellow tang's top fin is starting to look a little ragged, almost like something has been picking at it. None of the fish have shown any signs of agression at all. Please help, i dont want to loose all my fish to whatever this is. thanks,
Ryan
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:43 AM   #2
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What are your levels reading now?

I'm going to be frank and honest...you have the wrong fish for your tank and too many too soon. We'll get to that later. Right now what you want to do is an immediate water change....25% first shot. Wait a few days then start doing 10% every two to three days. Add a bio additive like NitroMax Marine and use Prime Water Conditioner. Increase aeration. This will help boost bio activity and safe guard the fish from further toxification from any nitrites...as well as ammonia and any nitrate. Check pH. If it is low and ammonia is up, take care of the ammonia levels first before raising pH. A low pH transforms ammonia into the less toxic form ammonium. Raising the pH before lowering ammonia will cause that ammonium to turn back into ammonia and cause further damage.

You will need to think of taking out a couple of your fish. For starters, tangs do not belong in small tanks. I never recommend tangs for tanks under 75 gallons. They are open water swimmers and very active. They need lots of room. Also, tangs should go into a well established aquarium. Three months is far too soon. Six months or more is best.

Depending on the type of wrasse, most just like tangs, should never go into a small tank. They are jumpers and very hyperactive fish. Small species like the yellow coris or green wrasse, six line wrasse and the like are ok in a smaller tanks but should have live rock.

The filters you mention here are the very minimum and not widely recommended for marine set ups. You would be much better off with just a skimmer or a refugium instead of power filters.

Another note...aggresive behavior can occur while you are not looking and mostly at night while you are sleeping. When the lights go out, these animals look for a place to sleep...and will fight for the better spots. You are dealing with wild animals and will not always get along especially in a small tank.

Take this ordeal as a lesson. You might lose that wrasse. Usually when a marine fish is that down, it's too late, but you can always try. The wrasse should go into a hospital tank. The tang needs a much bigger home. It would be ideal not to bother at all with tangs with a 22 gallon. If I were in that situation, I'd take the tang back to the store. If anything, the clown is ok, so long as he or she can get through the toxins. Clowns are pretty tough.

OK...some questions....

How often are you feeding and how much?
What kind of substrate do you have?
How often do you change water and how much?
Do you have live rock?
What are today's test results on pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and salinity?
What water source are you using for the tank? Filtered like RO or tap water?
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:01 PM   #3
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well, neither the wrasse or the tang made it through the night. the wrasse i was expecting, but i didn't expect to see the tang dead this morning. I have two peices of liverock, with a sand bottom. I change my water at 25-30% at least once a week, and like i said the only level that is a little bit high is my nitrite. I have been using prime, and i feed them a combination of flakes and these little frozen cubes of differant sorts that come in a plastic bag(i forget what they are called off the top of my head, but they are supposed to be a good variety for the fish). I also have a little bit of seaweed in the tank at all times, too. When i was at my LFS asking about suppliment filters i was told that the aqua clear would work as a skimmer as well and that the little white cubes that are in it act like the bigger "balls" of bigger tanks. I have sucessfully run a 5 fish setup in this tank before running just off the millenium for 1.5 years and never had a fish die on me, maybe i just got lucky. Alright, so now i need to save this clownfish. He is still eating(thankfully), but last night i saw him scratching up against the liverock, so i'm thinking he's going to be next to get sick. What can i do to save him other than the water changes?? thanks,
Ryan
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Old 10-21-2005, 02:24 PM   #4
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i just got back from the lfs. i brought them water to check just in case i was mistaken in something. Turns out my nitrite is considered normal, but my Ph was too low, he said right around 8.0 so i bought marine buffer(supposed to safely raise and maintain the PH at 8.3) I also picked up copper sulfate in the event this is being caused by a parasite. Down to one fish now-the clownfish. If he makes it through this ill let him be the only fish in my tank for at least another month or two. thanks for the help,
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:39 PM   #5
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I will also be frank and honest, if your LFS told you that the aquaclear would act like a skimmer....they either lied or are not clear what a skimmer does. There is no foaming column in a HOB filter, and any media does not remove waste from the water column (just traps it within the water).

As mentioned, you went too far too fast. I would remove the last fish and have the LFS hold it for you or purchase another one later. Allow your tank to age and naturally reach an equilibrium again without the constant bioload, feeding, etc. that may keep it off kilter. Any nitrites are dangerous, I will assume that your tank either was not cycled (nitrogen cycle) or that you added to much too quickly and had a spike in ammonia and nitrites. Both are very toxic to fish and lead the one of the leading killers "new tank syndrome" that unfortunately is completely preventable.

I would go out and get a good reference book from the list at the top of the page and use that for your knowledge base while your tank works itself out. Relying on your LFS is probably going to lead you on a continued path of failure, given the information you have provided thus far.
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:43 PM   #6
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Hope you didnt use the copper. Not with live rock. IF you use copper in your system you will never be able to have any inverts...no crabs, shrimp, starfish, tube worms, coral...any. It will contaminate your system.

Your LFS does not sound very reliable when it comes to proper information. Aqua Clear or any HOB do not skim for proteins. One o the better inexpensive skimmers will be a Prism. they have two sizes. The smaller would be ideal for your size tank. They cost about $100. Worth every penny. If you can afford it, CPR BAk Paks and Via Aqua filter/skimmers are good too. They range between $250 and $300.

If you are not going to give up the clown, then you need to do what was mentioned in my previous post...a lot of small but frequent water changes. Scratching is a sign of stress or parasites. In a tank with live rock and live sand, you do not use copper. Copper is ok in a hospital tank, not the main tank. To treat the tank, other than emptying it of fish for a few weeks you could use garlic additives as a food soak or directly into the tank. Yhis stimilates appetite but it also wards off passengers from the fish. The fish doesn't taste good to a parasite.

You can also give the clown a freshwater bath for 5 minutes. HAve freshwater in a bucket set at the tank's temperature and make sure it is conditioned. Place the fish in there for no more than five minutes. Do this every other day for about a week along with any other treatment. This shocks parasites off the fish. Works on most marine fish. Some fish like wrasses should not be FW dipped at all. Clowns are tough and can handle it.

A hospital tank would be a good investment. It can also double as a quarantine tank for new fish. A simple five or ten gallon tank fitted with only a heater, thermometer and a sponge filter with something for the fish to hide in. No substrate. Hospital tanks need to be bare.

pH sitting at 8.0 depending on time of day really isn't much of an issue to worry about. Though it is a sign ammonia could be on the rise. Always check ammonia when pH is lower.

Basic water change routine should only be about 15% once every two weeks. 25% to 30% weekly is too much. Drastic changes like that should only be done for emergency situations like fowled tanks. Marine fish are not adapted to drastic changes of their water chemistry. The ocean is vast and because of it's massive volume, experience very little change. Most freshwater fish being they come from rivers, streams, and lakes, where there are natural drastic changes are adapted. That's why marine fish are harder to keep in captivity. If you've done the initial 25% water change, then continue with 10% every two to three days for a week or two along with adding a bio additive like NitroMax Marine. Test the water. If all is balanced, then water changes can be done less....15% once a week, then as you fit a skimmer, that routine can drop to 15% once every two weeks.

The following webpage has information about water parameters for marine/reef.

http://tricitytropicals.com/index.as...Action=Custom&ID=1

Let us know if you are going to keep the clown or not. As mentioned in my previous post, take this situation as a lesson. It's a bummer to start any aquarium off wrong, but it's not entirely your fault for receiving bad info on fish keeping from your LFS. Stick with us and we'll guide you along to a successful tank.



Let us know if you are going to keep the clown or not. Then we can proceed with balancing the system before adding anything alive to it.
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We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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Old 10-22-2005, 12:41 AM   #7
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any detectable nitrite is unacceptable. very poisonous to fish, like ammonia

steve r
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:24 AM   #8
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I first want to thank all of you for the helpfull advice. I didn't read the post saying not to put copper in the tank before i did it, but i'm not necessarily worried about invertibrates etc, i'd be quite content with a few healthy/happy fish. I'm also not overly concerned about it killing the liverock, because the liverock in florida is junk right now anyways due to all of the hurricanes. The nitrites are back down to zero, and the PH is around 8.1-8.2. I did decide to keep the clown fish, and he seems to be quite healthy. As soon as i open the lid to feed him he's up at the top waiting, and he attacks the food as soon as it enters the aquarium. He also likes to swim against the flow of the filter pretty much all day, i keep telling him he's not a salmon. When he decideds to leave the filter flow he doesn't have any problems swimming and is breathing fine as well. The scratching against the rocks has also stopped. The only abnormality that i've noticed is that when it sleeps it tends to stay in one of the top corners of the tank. That could be normal, i dont know. Now, regarding my filters, i have a millenium 2000, and an aqua clear 20. I dont plan on having any anenemies or invertibrates, like i said i just want to have between 3-4 smaller fish. I dont have a huge budget by any means, but i got hooked on saltwater aquariums a while back, so freshwater just wont do it for me. What is confusing to me, that hopefully you can help me understand, is that in the same tank i'm running now, with only the millenium 2000, i kept allive two wrasses, a yellow tang, and a zebra damsel for over 1.5 years without any issues whatsoever, before my sister came and transported them with her to texas. (she has a 65 gallon plexi-glass tank). Thanks again for the constructive help.
Ryan
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:30 AM   #9
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oh-forgot to add: I've been using Prime water conditioner since day one, and i also bought the bio-start 3000 or whatever it is called. Claims to alleviate new tank syndrome. Obviously it doesn't work as well as i was led to beleive. Approx how long do i need to wait at this point to add more fish, one month, two, three? The wrasse was kept happily allive for about a month or more before i added more fish, and thats when it all went to crap. What fish would be happy in a smaller aqurium like this, any wrasses(i really like those lil guys). I"ll definately check back before i add anything more, you guys definately seem more knowledgeable then my LFS, i think i'm going to find somewhere else to go get aquarium supplies now.
thanks again,
ryan
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