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Old 07-19-2007, 05:40 AM   #1
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New Clownfish not eating/moving!

Hi everyone,

I just setup a new saltwater tank as per instruction form the fish store. We have tested the water and everything is great. It is a 20Gallon tank, with around 3 lbs of liverocks.

After around 5 weeks of running the system, we were told that it's ready to buy the fishes. So we picked up 2 percula clown, and a tiny blue leg crab.

The first day, they follow each other very well, very active. We were told not to feed them the first day, so we didn't. Here comes the second day and I have fed them a little of frozen brine shrimps, and the bigger one ate normally while the smaller one barely had any. If any, it would have been just a bite.

Since then, the smaller one has been hiding in the corner of the tank (bare open, not under the rock), not moving much and not eating either. It would swim right up to the food and turn around as if it's going to harm it. Meanwhile the other one is eating more and more each day, and swimming happily like before. The small one, however would start to swim when you trigger it somehow, and then goes back to the same spot. Often times, it points it's head downward and swim.

I brought some water sample to the store again to examine it, and turns out everything is still normal. I was advised to do a 10% water change and clean the filters, and with those being done just tonight, nothing has changed. The store told me they are not sure of what's happening either but that's the only thing they can advise me to do. During the middle of water change, when the 10% of the water was out, it got out of the corner the whole time. Right after the water change, it goes right back into the corner (different corner).

Having that said, being a aquarium newbe, I am very hopeless. I am really hoping it's because of the environment change, but I have a strong feeling that it's not. There's no visible change on the body of the clown, and they are not fighting either. Up until this point, the bigger clown still swims around the smaller one, acts like as if she's protecting him.

I should also add that it seems like the little clown is breathing through his mouth.

I need some help from you experts before it dies (It's been around 4 days)

Million thanks!

Chris
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:46 PM   #2
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Hi Chris. It seems that the clown is not yet comfortable with its surroundings. THey may take some time to get used to the tank. As for the swimming in the same spot, my tang did this for about a week or so. Then he began to swim around the tank some more and eventually began hosting a rock. With the eating thing, try dry pellets for him. He may not like brine shrimp? Give it some time and dont freak out. I would say to ask here first for advice before going to your LFS. Most of the time the people that work at some LFS are just there for a job thats going to pay the bills and really not care about the livelyhood of the animals. Just be patient and I am sure that he will come around.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:07 PM   #3
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Maybe I misunderstood, but it sounds like you're not doing your own water testing. I'd suggest that you pick up some test kits (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate) and test your own water. Having your fish store (that sold you the fish) test it and tell you "everything is normal" leaves a lot of questions. Not saying your fish store is not being honest, but YOU'RE the party that has the vested interest in the health of your fish.

There are a lot of questions that come up:

- What exactly are your water parameters? (Not just "OK" or "Good". How many ppm of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are in your water?)
- How did you acclimate the fish to your tank? (Drip? Float the bag? Float and transfer a bit of water every 10 minutes or so?)
- What other means of biological filtration do you have on the tank? 3 lbs of live rock in a 20 gallon tank is pretty sparse. What type of filter do you have that you're cleaning?
- How did you cycle the tank?

While I agree that it kind of sounds like the fish is still just settling in, after 4 days it seems like it should be eating and starting to act more normal. But as long as you're relying on your LFS to do water tests for your, you're kind of at their mercy.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:08 PM   #4
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Add some Garlic Guard or equivalent and Zoe (vitamin) to your food. Both liquids will help trigger stonger feeding reactions.

Having said that it could also be that the fish isn't doing well and not just reacting to a new home. That is a pain becuase you want a pair. It happened to me and I just caught the remianing one, returned it to the lfs and got another pair. I was too chicken to buy another male or just plain smaller one hoping they'd hook up.

Another thing I've noticed with clown pairs IME is that when the male is sick (yet I can't tell yet), the famle will chase him away from the food and not let him hang out. Sure enuf days later, I could see the evidence of illness. I remved the male, treated him until healthy and retunred him to the tank. All has been well now for 3 years.

Good luck and keep us posted.

BTW, welcome to AA!!
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:40 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the reply and the welcoming!

kurt, you are correct. I am not testing my own water, but I will pick up my own testing kit tomorrow on my day off.

What exactly are your water parameters? (Not just "OK" or "Good". How many ppm of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are in your water?)
According to the guy at the store, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, around 3-5 nitrate, 8.0 pH.

How did you acclimate the fish to your tank? (Drip? Float the bag? Float and transfer a bit of water every 10 minutes or so?)
As I was instructed by the guy at the store, I floated the bag in the water for around 30 mins, and adding water that's already in the tank to it, wait for another 10 mins and let them out to the tank.

What other means of biological filtration do you have on the tank? 3 lbs of live rock in a 20 gallon tank is pretty sparse. What type of filter do you have that you're cleaning?
I have 2 filters, and just 3 lbs of live rock. Here's a picture of the setup:


How did you cycle the tank?
I did water change last night by taking 10% of the water out, used that water to rinse the filters material. Then I added back the prepared water with adjusted salt and tempurture back to the tank.

For the garlic guard and Zoe, do I purchase those from the pet store?

Just an update, I am not sure whether it's a good sign, but the smaller clown doesn't stay near the bottom/corner that much anymore, and start to swim around the tank a little more. I haven't tried feeding them yet for today.

Thanks again,
chris
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:05 PM   #6
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When you get your test kit please post your numbers. This will go along way in helping us to help you. Did you cycle the tank at the begining. Here is a link on how it should have been done. It sounds like from your answer that you are a little confused on the subject.

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

More LR would help as far as more biological filtration. And last but not least



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Old 07-20-2007, 01:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melosu58
When you get your test kit please post your numbers. This will go along way in helping us to help you. Did you cycle the tank at the begining. Here is a link on how it should have been done. It sounds like from your answer that you are a little confused on the subject.

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

More LR would help as far as more biological filtration. And last but not least



Welcome to AA
Thankssss!

When I first setup the tank, I just added the sand on the bottom, add the water in, mix the salt to the right level in there. After it running for around 3 weeks or so, I have added in the live rock, which we were told that they have been cured already. That alone ran for another 2 weeks and change, then we tested the water there and we were told that we are ready to add a fish or two.

I have tried to feed them again, looks like the little one is a LITTLE more interested in the food, it tries to eat one or two, but spilts it back out right away. Is this an indication of "not liking" the food? my LFS said "No Clowns won't like brine shrimps" and I actually have doubt about his statement.

Should I try another type of food?
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:48 AM   #8
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I don't think food is your main issue. From the sounds of it, you haven't cycled your tank. Running the tank for 3 weeks didn't do anything to establish the bacterial colonies you need. You need an ammonia source to "kick start" a cycle, and it didn't have it. 3 lbs of live rock, even cured, in a 20g most likely did not supply enough bacteria. In addition, it sat for 2 weeks without any "food". Bacterial colonies need an ammonia source to survive. Without anything actually in your tank, it shouldn't be a surprise that your levels were zero. Sounds like your clowns are now your ammonia source, and your tank will probably start to cycle. Watch your ammonia levels and have a fair amount of saltwater mixed up to do water changes to keep the levels down.

Regarding the brine shrimp... clowns love it. But it's not the most nutritious in the world. A better choice would be Mysis Shrimp, and a good quality flake food like Prime Reef, or Formula One or Two.

PS... Looking at your tank picture again, that's just too clean of a tank to have already cycled! You probably will start seeing some brown "dust" show up on your sand. Those are diatoms, and normally occur when a tank cycles. Some snails will take care of cleaning that up for you, but don't add them until you are absolutely positive your ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero.
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:56 AM   #9
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is there anything that you would recommend me to do rather than just keeping an eye on the ammonia levels and do water changes?

I am actually kinda upset about how the LFS didn't educate me about all these, wasted 6 weeks of my time and didn't get things the right way. Worst of all, I do not like to put fishes into a tank that I am not 100% confident about, which in this case i trusted the store and the fishes are suffering.
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cy88
is there anything that you would recommend me to do rather than just keeping an eye on the ammonia levels and do water changes?

I am actually kinda upset about how the LFS didn't educate me about all these, wasted 6 weeks of my time and didn't get things the right way. Worst of all, I do not like to put fishes into a tank that I am not 100% confident about, which in this case i trusted the store and the fishes are suffering.
Unfortunately, many LFSs are not in the business to educate. They should be, but don't. If your fish dies, they sell you more.

If once you test your water and if it does have ammonia and nitrites in it, you could take the fish back to the LFS and cycle your tank. That's another option. Other than that, you're pretty much stuck doing daily water changes trying to keep the ammonia in check while your tank cycles. You can add a couple bags of Purigen (a Seachem product) in your filters to try and keep the ammonia/nitrite levels down - that definitely would help things. I've used Purigen when I overloaded my quarantine tank once and ended up with a mini-cycle and along with daily 20-50% water changes (with properly aged water at the same temp as your main tank) it kept things down to bearable levels.

Again... get a test kit and check your levels. Maybe (hopefully) I'm all wrong on this, but I have a gut feeling that if your levels are fine now, they won't be in a couple weeks. I really do hope I'm wrong. Perhaps others will chime in...
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cy88
is there anything that you would recommend me to do rather than just keeping an eye on the ammonia levels and do water changes?

I am actually kinda upset about how the LFS didn't educate me about all these, wasted 6 weeks of my time and didn't get things the right way. Worst of all, I do not like to put fishes into a tank that I am not 100% confident about, which in this case i trusted the store and the fishes are suffering.
Unfortunately, many LFSs are not in the business to educate. They should be, but don't. If your fish dies, they sell you more.

If once you test your water and if it does have ammonia and nitrites in it, you could take the fish back to the LFS and cycle your tank. That's another option. Other than that, you're pretty much stuck doing daily water changes trying to keep the ammonia in check while your tank cycles. You can add a couple bags of Purigen (a Seachem product) in your filters to try and keep the ammonia/nitrite levels down - that definitely would help things. I've used Purigen when I overloaded my quarantine tank once and ended up with a mini-cycle and along with daily 20-50% water changes (with properly aged water at the same temp as your main tank) it kept things down to bearable levels.

Again... get a test kit and check your levels. Maybe (hopefully) I'm all wrong on this, but I have a gut feeling that if your levels are fine now, they won't be in a couple weeks. I really do hope I'm wrong. Perhaps others will chime in...
I am going to start with frequent water change for now, will run to the store for the test kit tmr.

Having that said, you do not suggest me try another type of food right? I am just under the impression that as long as the fish eat, at least they will survive (of course with acceptable quality of water), but as you mentioned before, food shouldn't be the main issue here.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:17 PM   #12
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Having that said, you do not suggest me try another type of food right? I am just under the impression that as long as the fish eat, at least they will survive (of course with acceptable quality of water), but as you mentioned before, food shouldn't be the main issue here.
I would try something other than brine shrimp. I've heard some compare fish eating brine shrimp to humans eating popcorn - it's tasty, but you can't really stay healthy eating it all the time. Frozen Mysis Shrimp would be a better choice, in my opinion. That, alternating with maybe some of Ocean Nutrition "Formula One" pellet food (the small pellets) would probably be good. Those were the first two foods my clown ate. And as noted earlier, if you soak the frozen in a couple drops of one of the garlic preparations, such as GarlicGuard or GarlicExtreme, it could stimulate their feeding response. Just don't over do it though - too much garlic seems to confuse them at times and make them shy away from the food.

You are correct though - as long as the fish is eating, it's not going to die of starvation. But without a good balanced diet - just like us - it's going to be susceptible to disease and have a weaker immune system.

Another thing you could do is get a couple really good books and start reading up. A good "intro" type book is Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium". It give a great overview of the basics and I though was really easy to read. After that, pick up Bob Fenner's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". It's more in depth, not as easy of a read, but has volumes of good information.

When you do water changes, make sure the water is at the same temperature, salinity, and pH as your main tank. It takes a day or so for the freshly made saltwater to "settle down" and have a stable pH and salinity. It's best to make up a batch of saltwater, stick a heater and powerhead in it to keep it aereated and at the proper temp, and let it sit for a day. You can do this in a 5-gallon bucket, a big new/clean Rubbermaid toter, or even a new/clean garbage can.
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:13 PM   #13
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I would try something other than brine shrimp. I've heard some compare fish eating brine shrimp to humans eating popcorn - it's tasty, but you can't really stay healthy eating it all the time.
I compare it to a plate full of twinkies at supper every day LOL. The key though when it comes to feeding is Variety. I feed mine mine Vitamin fortified brine, mysis, flake, and other frozen foods like emerald entree. Variety is the key.
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Old 07-21-2007, 01:10 AM   #14
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Tried mixing with garlic, no luck.

from my LFS, they told me they might be trying to pair up, is there any truth to that?

I also got a test kit from them.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:48 PM   #15
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Tried mixing with garlic, no luck.

from my LFS, they told me they might be trying to pair up, is there any truth to that?
Could be... but I don't have any experience with pairs. Maybe someone will address this.

Quote:
I also got a test kit from them.
... and your ammonia/nitrite levels are... ?
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Old 07-22-2007, 06:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cy88
Tried mixing with garlic, no luck.

from my LFS, they told me they might be trying to pair up, is there any truth to that?
Could be... but I don't have any experience with pairs. Maybe someone will address this.

Quote:
I also got a test kit from them.
... and your ammonia/nitrite levels are... ?
Hi,

PH is around 8.0 - 8.2
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite is 0
Nitrate is ~15
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:12 PM   #17
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ur level looks good... but i think you should be done trying to learn things from LFS... also I think that you ned more bacterias in your tank so you might want to add more LR soon and if money is the problem, look up on craigslist around your area and there's usually people just trying to get rid of theirs so u can get it for dirt cheap there.. HTH and good luck with your fishies
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:38 PM   #18
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ur level looks good... but i think you should be done trying to learn things from LFS... also I think that you ned more bacterias in your tank so you might want to add more LR soon and if money is the problem, look up on craigslist around your area and there's usually people just trying to get rid of theirs so u can get it for dirt cheap there.. HTH and good luck with your fishies
Hi,

Money is not an issue, I will definitely add more LR to the tank soon.

In terms of the clown, the store offered an exchange, however I said I wanted to try some dry flakes first. Guess what? It works! The clown gone crazy for the flakes and he's active again. I am going to try it again today and make sure it wasn't a "one time" thing.

Keep everyone posted! Thanks for all the help so far!

Chris
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:12 PM   #19
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Glad to hear that it worked. As I mentioned earlier you just have to try variety. In the future make sure you dont buy fish unless you see it eat first. This is always my practice so I dont get a fish that wont eat.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:09 PM   #20
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Glad to see that it's not an ammonia/nitrite issue keeping it from eating! After a day or two of flake, try frozen mysis again. I bet it'll eventually go after it.

I'd still keep an eye on your ammonia levels. The fact that you have nitrates of 15ppm pretty much means you cycled (assuming you're putting in 0ppm nitrate fresh water), but I'm just not understanding how you did it.
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