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Old 02-23-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
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Question Killer Damsels

I am new to all this fish business.

I got a tank a few months back and I finally added some fish there last week. I got 2 Grammas and 2 Damsels. Everything was fine for the first 5-6 days, the fish kept to themselves mostly, it is a fairly large tank I think (120 Gallons)(not too sure of the standard size), and there were no problems. Then Day 7 the 2 Damsels attack a Gramma, I couldn't see how bad it was as it spent the rest of the day in a rock. When I got up the next day I had my first dead fish, hopefully an experience I won't get too used to.

Then followed a series of mistakes, my fault. I added 4 more fish the same day I found the dead Gramma, which is today, 2 Clownfish and 2 Cardinalfish. As soon as I put them in, the Damsels attacked them. They mostly attacked the Cardinalfish. I was worried, naturally I think, and I tried to take the Damsels out. I couldn't catch them.

Then I took all the rock out to make my job easier, only I assumed the fish would leave the rock once I picked it up. I realized after taking out all the rocks that I was minus 2 fish. The Gramma and a Damsel stayed in a rock, they were out of the water for about 30 seconds but were still alive. I put all the rocks back in and just left it to stop making matters even worse.

The fish were all quiet after that, stressed I imagine. They are not fighting at the moment but there is a lot of tension. It is night and the newcomers are all stuck in a corner of the tank. Should I remove the Damsels and bring them back to the fish shop? Or will they get used to each other?


I would appreciate your advice.


PS. For all you people associated with the prevention of cruelty to animals I am trying to educate myself about fish quickly and am reading as much material as I can get my hands on.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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First of all welcome, now about your issue, i guess it is safe to say that you will experience that with Damsels. If anything, you should have started with the clowns and cardinals. One way of calming the aggression is by moving your rocks around, which is what you did, that might be the reason why things calmed down. But it is you decision what to do, in my opinion i would ditch the Damsels and do some research on what kind of fish you want first, THEN you add them in slowly and leave the aggresive ones for last.

Leo

PS. Give us more info in your tank? skimmer? how did you cycle ?
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:09 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site!
Do you have test kits? We will need to know your water parameters. I agree damsels can be aggressive, they killed my gramma in a day.
Tell us more about your tank...actual size, how much rock, how much sand, how many fish, (as asked) how did you cycle it, other critters.
Don't beat yourself up, at least you came to the right site and are asking questions.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shieler View Post
Should I remove the Damsels and bring them back to the fish shop?

Definitely yes
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:59 PM   #5
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More problems

Got up this morning and found that 1 of the Cardinals had a piece of his fin missing. Decided to bring the Damsels back. They are hard to catch. Didn't want to remove the rocks after the last time I did that. I did that fish trap with the 2 liter bottle. Took about 8 hours but I got them both. Had to contain them in the tank overnight as the fish shop was closed when I finished. They are isolated.

Then the lights went on this evening, one of the clownfish went wild, a few minutes later he crashed into the ground dead. He was bleeding when I examined the body, I don't know if it is from the fights with the damsel or when he was going wild. Things not really going to plan.

I will be down to four fish after I bring back the damsels. How long should I wait until I get some more? Can I get another clownfish now, or do they have to be put in together? Any advice as to what fish I should buy.


Got the tank info:

Volume: approx. 450 Litres
Measurements: 151 x 61 x 64 cm

Filter: Fluval 405
Powerhead: Maxi-Jet PH MP1200

Heating: Jewel Aquarium 300W Heater

V2 Vecton 400 Ultraviolet Water Steriliser

Lighting: High-Lite by JUWEL Aquarium

Protein Skimmer to be added soon

3 inches of sand
20 Kg Live Rock
20 Kg Normal (Dead?) Rock




Cycle: Not sure if I am answering the right question, but there was just water in the tank for the first 2 weeks, with all the equipment running, then the sand was added, it ran for a further 2 weeks. Rocks were then added. About 10 days later the first fish were introduced


Latest water readings:
Temp: 26.3 Degrees Celsius
Specific Gravity: 1.021

KH: 210ppm
PH:7.5-8

N02:0-0.5ppm
N03: around 20ppm

The temp was as high as 28 degrees at the start of the week

Thanks,
Greg
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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You need a better reading on pH. Thre is is a huge differance between 7.5 - 8.0. The pH scale is a logarithmic scale, meaning that every step on the scale represents a multiplication of 10.

NO2 should be 0. You did not list ammonia. Do you have a test for that and did it test as 0?
This sounds like your tank may be going through a mini cycle. What has been in the tank since you first set it up?
When and how did you cycle the tank?

Do you have a sump?
For effective filtration with LR conventional wisdom calls for 82 - 110 kg of rock.

I think the biggest problem you have is adding too many fish too soon. You want to add at a rate of about one fish every 3 -4 weeks to allow the biofilter time to meet the needs of the additional load. Please do not add any more fish for a bit. Let the tank stabilize first.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shieler View Post
Got up this morning and found that 1 of the Cardinals had a piece of his fin missing. Decided to bring the Damsels back. They are hard to catch. Didn't want to remove the rocks after the last time I did that. I did that fish trap with the 2 liter bottle. Took about 8 hours but I got them both. Had to contain them in the tank overnight as the fish shop was closed when I finished. They are isolated.
Thats great, They can be very mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shieler View Post
Then the lights went on this evening, one of the clownfish went wild, a few minutes later he crashed into the ground dead. He was bleeding when I examined the body, I don't know if it is from the fights with the damsel or when he was going wild. Things not really going to plan.
Did you buy a mated pair? If not were they the same size, or one was bigger than the other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shieler View Post
I will be down to four fish after I bring back the damsels. How long should I wait until I get some more? Can I get another clownfish now, or do they have to be put in together? Any advice as to what fish I should buy.


Got the tank info:

Volume: approx. 450 Litres
Measurements: 151 x 61 x 64 cm

Filter: Fluval 405
Powerhead: Maxi-Jet PH MP1200

Heating: Jewel Aquarium 300W Heater

V2 Vecton 400 Ultraviolet Water Steriliser

Lighting: High-Lite by JUWEL Aquarium

Protein Skimmer to be added soon

3 inches of sand
20 Kg Live Rock
20 Kg Normal (Dead?) Rock




Cycle: Not sure if I am answering the right question, but there was just water in the tank for the first 2 weeks, with all the equipment running, then the sand was added, it ran for a further 2 weeks. Rocks were then added. About 10 days later the first fish were introduced


Latest water readings:
Temp: 26.3 Degrees Celsius
Specific Gravity: 1.021

KH: 210ppm
PH:7.5-8

N02:0-0.5ppm
N03: around 20ppm

The temp was as high as 28 degrees at the start of the week

Thanks,
Greg

Before getting more fish, i would really advise you to get more live rock, or even some base rock, which eventually will become live. you have around 88lbs(40kgs) half live half dead. For your size tank, 120gals(450litres) you should have 150lbs(70kgs) of live/base rock or more. 3 inches of sand is fine, unless you plan on getting a fish that requires a deeper sand bed.

You should also increase flow by adding more powerheads, one powerhead in a 120gals is nothing IMO.

IMHO i would slow down on buying the fish, and spend the money on more rock and that skimmer. VERY important items for a healthy tank.

Good Luck, Leo
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:46 AM   #8
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I would advise slowing down on adding fish as well. Also I would have done the same as you and returned those damsels, imo the are the worst fish you can add to your tank in this hobby. I would add some more rock as well, you can get 50 pounds of reef rock for 60 bucks here Reef Rock | Pet Solutions
If your looking to add more live rock as well I would suggest LiveAquaria.com. All together with a tank of your size I think you need 150 to 200 pounds of rock, thats just my opinion. Good luck and welcome to the site
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:27 AM   #9
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The damsels are back with the LFS and the remaining fish seem much happier

I brought the water to the LFS before adding fish to be tested and they told me that it was fine. I bought an ammonia tester today and the level was 0.1. I can't get a more accurate pH reading with the test kit that I have, it is the one you dip in to the water and compare colours. It is just not accurate, the scale of the colours goes up in measurements of .5. I am looking into buying an electronic probe to measure the pH.

I need to get about about 4 more powerheads for the tank?

More live rock? I thought I had too much, I have 11 large enough rocks. The sand I have is "Living", whatever that means, does that make a difference?

I don't really have room for a sump. I know that they go somewhere under the tank, but what do they do? Is it for water change or to house the equipment?
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshsReef View Post
, you can get 50 pounds of reef rock for 60 bucks here Reef Rock | Pet Solutions
If your looking to add more live rock as well I would suggest LiveAquaria.com.
Shipping to Ireland would cost a fortune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shieler View Post
it is the one you dip in to the water and compare colours.

I need to get about about 4 more powerheads for the tank?

More live rock? I thought I had too much,

I don't really have room for a sump. I know that they go somewhere under the tank, but what do they do? Is it for water change or to house the equipment?
The color dip tests are notorious for being inaccurate. Salifert and API are the preferred tests.

water flow should be 10-20x tanks volume per hour with powerheads and a return pump from a sump if you have one.

Lots of Live rock is great for beneficial surface area for the bacteria to grow on which will help to consume your biolaod and improve water quality. Plus if you ever decide on doing reef the rocks make a great place to plant some corals.

A sump is great for getting unsightly stuff like heaters/skimmer etc.. out of the main display. People often put a center section in their sump for a refugium area to grow MacroAlgae that helps control your basic algaes The sump adds water volume to your tank which is always good The sump is also a great spot to put live rock rubble for added beneficial surface area for bacteria.
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