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Old 09-09-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
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Problems

Over the past week or so, most of the fish in my tank have died. I have no idea why, since everything I know how to test for has been perfect for a couple of months, and I've done multiple readings recently.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.2-8.4
Alkalinity: 4.5 mEq/L
Specific Gravity 1.024-1.026

I have no idea what could be wrong. I called the LFS and they weren't any help. I plan to take a water sample up there to test, but I'm having car trouble and the earliest I can possibly make it up there is tomorrow night. If you want more details if you're trying to diagnose what's wrong, the link in my signature has all of that.

At this point, I'm just wondering what's best for the remaining fish. The only way I can get them into an established tank that I know is good would be to give them back to my LFS, which is a last resort. I've been seeding a small HOB filter for a little over a week now in my refugium, so it is possible for me to put all of my LR aside, and get all the fish into a 20G QT tank with that filter, but I don't know if that will even help. The fish left that have a real chance of making it are 7 damsels and 1 pseudochromis.

I have a feeling the answer is to give all livestock back to the LFS and start completely over from zero, but I want to know if there's any other option for my fish, my LR, or either of the filters I have set up at this point.

One more thing, I'm going to be on vacation starting this Saturday for a week, so anything drastic that I do has to be done before then.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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how long has the tank been running and wats the temp?
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Started the tank at the beginning of July, so more than two months.

Temperature goes between 78 and 79.5 F
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:42 PM   #4
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when was the last fish added? it may have brought a disease into the tank if it was a recent add. as far as vaction do you have no one you can trust in your area to keep a eye on it?
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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Last time anything was added was August 21. I added 50 lbs of cured LR on August 29, which was bought from marcorocks.com and cured in my garage. More measurements on that and details are in the link in my signature. The more recent stuff is at the top.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:55 PM   #6
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did your fish start dying after the new rock was added on the 29th or how long after? did you notice any sudden change in water quality when you added?
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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adding alot of lr at one time is not something good imo some would say otherwise but anything happining fast in a reef tank is not good even if its for the better you could have had alot of die off from the rocks when they went into the tank or either something could have been on the rocks when was the last death?
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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Didn't notice any changes in water quality when I added anything, all of the levels for everything I can measure have been at zero for over a month.

First death was on September 1. It started one every couple of days, and just tonight I noticed three or four got a lot worse, a couple of them already dead when I got home from work.

There are no corals in the tank yet, I wanted to wait until the tank was a lot more stable to add them.

I cured the LR for 8 days in a trash can in my garage before adding it to the tank, and I took measurements every other day during the process (they're on the link also). I saw a spike in ammonia, and nitrite, and they went down to zero before I put the LR in the main tank. If there was die-off, then I would assume I'd see a spike in ammonia, right? I've tested everything twice in the past couple of days and ammonia has been low enough that I think it's zero. (the lowest reading I've ever seen on this test kit, even with new SW, was in between the color for 0.25 and 0, but not entirely yellow.)
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:07 PM   #9
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it sounds to me if you have never seen any type of amonia or nitrate spike in your tank you may have never finished your cycle are you sure it was cylced before you added fish? even a pros tank has a little nitrate most of the time? maybe others a little more knowledgeable will chime in......... thincat if your reading this wats your oppinion?
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:11 PM   #10
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well I asked here about that a while back. The consensus is that since I had so few fish in a 150G tank + 15G sump/refuge that I had a mini-cycle and should continue to add slowly so I wouldn't see a huge spike. It would make sense that 50 lbs of LR might have been too much to add, but if all of my fish are dying you'd think I'd see something measurable in my ammonia, right?
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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yea i dont think your tank has cycled yet imo it does not appear it has to me
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:37 PM   #12
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Just took another ammonia reading.

http://www.adamhorton.com/files/ammonia.jpg

This is the same shade of green I've gotten for every other measurement, including that for new SW that's never had any fish in it.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:41 PM   #13
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Were the fish acting at all sickly prior to death? What was the condition of the corpses?
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:51 PM   #14
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how many fish are alive now? and wat type?
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:56 PM   #15
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ok i read you have damsels and chromis left is that correct? if so let me change my last question wat type of fish was it you had? damsels are amoung a tough fish as i belive the chromis are as well they can survive even the most hardest conditions of all alot of people use them to start there tank off because they are cheap and hardy its one way to get your tank to cylce other than the fishless cycle using a dead shrimp which creates a amonia source to start the cycle......
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHorton View Post
Just took another ammonia reading.

http://www.adamhorton.com/files/ammonia.jpg

This is the same shade of green I've gotten for every other measurement, including that for new SW that's never had any fish in it.
You're still using tap water, correct? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia before adding the salt mix? If you're still using tap, I'd point the finger there. Also, on your website, you mentioned "cloudy water"... that normally implies a cycle - the "cloud" is a bacterial bloom. That too would imply ammonia present.


I know that doesn't help you with the question of what to do with the remaining fish, but just thought I'd comment about the ammonia.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:52 AM   #17
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I use tap water, and I get the same measurement of ammonia for that as what's in the picture.

The fish the have died already are a diamond watchman goby, a maroon clown, a blenny, and several other damsels. The goby actually jumped out of the tank, and he wasn't acting weird or sick at all. The clown acted sick and just disappeared (I assumed he got eaten, since I couldn't find his body anywhere. Same with the blenny. The damsels that died act sick for a while and some of them I'm able to find, but some of them disappear. There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the bodies when I do find them.

I know damsels and chromis are tough fish, which explains why they've lasted this long, but all of these guys have lasted through the small ammonia spike I got when I "cycled" the tank, which is higher than what I'm reading now. Why would all of my fish, including the damsels, be dying now if they were fine before?

Anyways, unless we can come up with something better, I'll probably take the fish back to the LFS tonight after work. What should I do with the LR? When I start the tank up again from scratch, I'll probably cycle it with LR, so I guess I should try to keep this stuff wet?

I did notice less cloudiness when I turned the lights off for a while which made me think it was algae, but ammonia makes sense for that. Except for the fact that my ammonia tests show no ammonia.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:51 AM   #18
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Based on your picture, the statement 'Ammonia: 0' from your initial post is not accurate. Though not 'that' high.

If I remember correctly, at the time you were setting up the tank you had far less fish than what have died right? I don't remember you starting w/ 17 fish

8 days for marco's pre-cured base rock sounds about right. Even with .25 your tank and it's inhabitants should be able to absorb that. No meds or cleaning of the filters, cleaning the sump, additives or anything?
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:03 AM   #19
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If the fish were exposed to higher ammonia concentration for little bit of time their gills could have permanently damaged causing them not to work properly.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:12 AM   #20
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Here's a complete list of all fish added to the tank:

July 5: 1 clown, 7 damsels
July 19: 1 diamond watchman goby
July 24: 5 damsels, one died after a day or two
August 9: 1 damsel, 1 pseudochromis
August 16: 3 damsels, 1 blenny, 1 cardinal
August 18: the cardinal died, and two damsels died
August 21: 1 cardinal, died a couple days later
Sept. 1: goby jumps out, a bunch of other fish start dying/going missing

I checked the tank this morning, I'm only able to find 5 damsels.

The only things I've ever put in the tank as far as water and additives go are water conditioner, Instant Ocean, and tap water. No additives or anything like that.

I think twice over 2+ months I've rinsed out the mechanical filters on the HOB part of the filter but other than that, no filter cleaning either.
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