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Old 07-25-2013, 03:37 AM   #1
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Sick Maroon Clown - Can't Swim Up!

Hi, I'm new to this forum and in desperate need of help. I'm an experienced scuba diver but certainly not a fish owner until 2 days ago (scary to read I know). A friend is moving and I gave her Oceanic 28g biocube a new home with multiple live corals, star polyps, hermit crabs, slug and most importantly 6+ yr old maroon clown. The fish is hilarious, like a dog rolling in the grass the way it rubs all over the mushroom coral pads (see my profile pic), though very aggressive, eats ALL the food immediately and bullied the new emerald crab when he first arrived. Suddenly tonight however, I came home from a long day gone and she was laying in the bottom corner of the tank. I thought sleeping...until I saw her attempt to swim. Can't see any torn fins etc, she can't hardly swim to the top of tank anymore, bumps into everything, falls to the bottom with a sad little thud as if she's too tired to swim higher and just drops, runs into the glass and coral as if blind, won't touch her food... All of which is completely out of the ordinary for her. The worst part, while I've been researching and planning to get a saltwater tank and clown fish- I did NOT expect to get one this soon and without any knowledge of care. I can basically check saline levels and know how to change water/clean the tank, but have no knowledge of checking Ammon, Nitrate or other levels yet. Most importantly don't know how to help this poor fish that once thrived. I can't even give you guys most the information you asked for when posting new threads (sorry)! I have all the existing supplies, just don't know where to start. Does anyone know what these fish symptoms sound like or how I can help save her?? (Then secondary once she's ok, help me not kill anything else and learn to care for this tank?) Help!! I'd even be willing to provide my number if someone wanted to talk me through something to act fast tomorrow!
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:14 AM   #2
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Where are you based? First thing to do is a water change. Where do you get your water from? With any sick fish the first port of call is a water change. If you have relocated the tank did you move it with water and livestock in it? My guess is an upset sand bed during the move which has caused a mini cycle (ammonia) if you have a local fish store close to you pick up an API saltwater master kit ASAP and post your readings here. It will have amm, nitrite, nitrate and ph. If amm is present you will need to be doing water changes frequently to keep them from harking the fish...
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:27 AM   #3
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Bumping into glass and corals sounds a little like HLLE you should research that. Although the day before you said she was fine. Hmm I agree with the previous post. Definitely need to test your water.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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When you go to the lfs take a ziplock bag with a small cup full of water and they will (or should) test the water for you. Use RODI water for your water change.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:25 AM   #5
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Thanks guys! I'll check to see if I have the water testing supplies in all the stuff the previous owner gave me and will try to figure out how to do a water test before I do the water change. She's unavailable otherwise I'd be calling her. I was actually told to do one on Saturday anyways, but then noticed the sand was murky yesterday morning and was going to bump the change to today. When transporting, we drained the tank about 2/3 the way leaving sand and some coral bits in the bottom, removing live rock and fish/crabs/slug, using the drained water for their buckets, then drove very slowly (only a mile away) then set back up using the same water in hopes to be less stressful on the fish. We tried not to stir up sand when pouring water in but I noticed the filter was suddenly filthy last night and replaced it. I'll do a water change first thing today and report back! Oh and I'm in Southern California on the coast and get my salt water from a local tropical fish store that gets it from Catalina Island (near here) but mix it with fresh water cause ours is too salty.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:26 AM   #6
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Oh excellent idea! Yes if I can't figure out the water testing I'll bring to my local store to do!! Thx!
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #7
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I just came out to change the water and noticed about 10 tiny white creatures that look like tiny snails or slugs (about the size of a sewing pin head) crawling all over the walls of the tank (they definitely weren't there before...not sure if its something to be alarmed about.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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Picture would definitely help. How is the fish now? Notice any on the fish. Could be ich although not sure you would see them on the glass
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #9
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Picture would definitely help. How is the fish now? Notice any on the fish. Could be ich although not sure you would see them on the glass
I'm trying to get a good pic of the white little things. They are pretty quick climbing the glass. They seriously look like teeny white snails if I can get a good one Ill post. None on fish.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:04 PM   #10
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[QUOTE="Bectan01;2578563"]Where are you based? First thing to do is a water change. Where do you get your water from? With any sick fish the first port of call is a water change. If you have relocated the tank did you move it with water and livestock in it? My guess is an upset sand bed during the move which has caused a mini cycle (ammonia) if you have a local fish store close to you pick up an API saltwater master kit ASAP and post your readings here. It will have amm, nitrite, nitrate and ph. If amm is present you will need to be doing water changes frequently to keep them from harking the fish...[QUOTE]

Ok before the water change test results were: Ph 7.8, Amm .2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10... Not sure what it all means other than Ph is low and amm/nitrate are higher than maybe they should be.
After the water change the fish is definitely feeling better and all feisty again. Need to do another water test later, then figure out what to add to make it better (if anything).. What do I do if any of the levels are higher or lower than they should be? Is there a chart of sorts I can refer to - add this, add that?
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:26 PM   #11
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With that bit of amm present you are seeing a mini cycle. Keep doing water changes that's all you need to do, do not add anything to the tank, you shouldn't need to. As a general rule you need to see 0 amm, 0 nitrite always in a cycled tank. If its a reef aim for 0 nitrates however some corals can tolerate 5, fish only can be 10ppm. Try and aim for 8.0 for your ph but most importantly make sure it's stable. Try and test every day for the next week to see the fluctuations. Tell us a bit more about the set up, type of filtration?
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:10 AM   #12
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With that bit of amm present you are seeing a mini cycle. Keep doing water changes that's all you need to do, do not add anything to the tank, you shouldn't need to. As a general rule you need to see 0 amm, 0 nitrite always in a cycled tank. If its a reef aim for 0 nitrates however some corals can tolerate 5, fish only can be 10ppm. Try and aim for 8.0 for your ph but most importantly make sure it's stable. Try and test every day for the next week to see the fluctuations. Tell us a bit more about the set up, type of filtration?
Ok that's good to know in general. Ill keep an eye on the water. And to make sure I'm understanding, I don't need to add anything to balance the ph either, just water cycles should do it right?
For filtration...umm good question! Ha ha. There's the pump that came with the biocube and a filter inside that I just replaced. That's unfortunately about all I know off hand. Is there something specific I should look for?
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:13 AM   #13
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I'm trying to get a good pic of the white little things. They are pretty quick climbing the glass. They seriously look like teeny white snails if I can get a good one Ill post. None on fish.
Ok I got one of the little things out of the tank for a closer look and they are teeny tiny snails! It was a little shell. I didn't know they were in there. Maybe they just live in the sand..? Am I wrong in thinking they probably aren't harmful?
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:46 AM   #14
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You can raise ph by increasing the amount of oxygen exchange (open top, increase flow) is there a powerhead (fan) in the tank? Those tiny snails are harmless. What kind of water are you using? How is everything looking today?
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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You can raise ph by increasing the amount of oxygen exchange (open top, increase flow) is there a powerhead (fan) in the tank? Those tiny snails are harmless. What kind of water are you using? How is everything looking today?
First of all THANK YOU so much for ALL YOUR help!! What a fantastic forum/group this is! I don't have a fan but think maybe i should look at getting one because the temp has been steadily at 80-80.9 degrees since moved into my house. which I understand is on the high side. I definitely open the 2 top panels to cool it down, glad it may help with ph too. I use a mix of fresh and salt water (from Catalina Island near my coast) - both from my fish store. As for today the test results show no change in ph 7.8, amm down to 0 (yay!), nitrite 0, but nitrate looks like it might have gone up to about 15-20 now (see pic).. Is there any other way to get that down faster than just more wc? I also noticed one of the mushroom corals is no longer spread out wide like the others, rather it looks like a droopy green blob and even inflamed or something (see other pic).. Could that be due to nitrate levels..or stress from the move?? It used to be spread wide open like the one on the left overlapping it (taking up 3/4 of the pic) but has been droopy since I moved it in last Monday and that green center getting more swollen each day.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:41 PM   #16
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Water changes will bring nitrates down, as long as the tank is not being overfed and filtration is cleaned regularly and it is getting all of the detritus (poop) out. The coral is probably not happy with the high levels right now. I assume your lighting is sufficient for corals?
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:50 PM   #17
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Water changes will bring nitrates down, as long as the tank is not being overfed and filtration is cleaned regularly and it is getting all of the detritus (poop) out. The coral is probably not happy with the high levels right now. I assume your lighting is sufficient for corals?
I put in marine pellets daily and dried plankton every few days.. the clown eats all of it as soon as it hits the water. Every so often I will put few drops of iodine too. Should I be doing more for the rest of the livestock?
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