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JennyRS

My fish keep dying

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A little bit of history on my tank... I've owned saltwater tanks and clowns in the past. I moved houses so was out of the hobby for a few years until October of 2016 where I started up a 5g nano which was set up for a year and a half before upgrading to an 11g in fall of last year. I have not added any new live rock to the tank since start up, and have used some dead dried rock I had from my old setup that i rinsed thoroughly prior to putting it in the tank. I've got a very small sandbed, about 15lbs of rock, one turbo snail, one red leg hermit, an emerald crab and various soft and lps corals (mushrooms, zoas, blasto, acan) and a flame tip anemone that split earlier this year around Jan. I do weekly water changes using r/o fresh/premixed saltwater. Just tested params this week and was as follows: ammonia and nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 20ppm,  ph 7.9, calcium 480ppm. Equipment I have stocked in the tank is a HOB filter, koralia 240 power head and a heater that I cant remember the brand. My problem is that this year I have lost 6 clownfish (platinums, Wyoming whites, snowflakes) and I have no idea why. They were healthy, eating daily, active etc. And will die overnight. My corals and cuc are all healthy and happy. I just recently did an overhaul of the tank to see if I had any nasty critters and all I found were bristle worms, a brittle starfish and a peanut worm. Does anyone have any ideas as to why this could be happening? I'm at my wits end and cant afford to lose any more fish. My last pair of wyoming's were my favorite and I'm just beside myself 😞

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6 minutes ago, JennyRS said:

A little bit of history on my tank... I've owned saltwater tanks and clowns in the past. I moved houses so was out of the hobby for a few years until October of 2016 where I started up a 5g nano which was set up for a year and a half before upgrading to an 11g in fall of last year. I have not added any new live rock to the tank since start up, and have used some dead dried rock I had from my old setup that i rinsed thoroughly prior to putting it in the tank. I've got a very small sandbed, about 15lbs of rock, one turbo snail, one red leg hermit, an emerald crab and various soft and lps corals (mushrooms, zoas, blasto, acan) and a flame tip anemone that split earlier this year around Jan. I do weekly water changes using r/o fresh/premixed saltwater. Just tested params this week and was as follows: ammonia and nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 20ppm,  ph 7.9, calcium 480ppm. Equipment I have stocked in the tank is a HOB filter, koralia 240 power head and a heater that I cant remember the brand. My problem is that this year I have lost 6 clownfish (platinums, Wyoming whites, snowflakes) and I have no idea why. They were healthy, eating daily, active etc. And will die overnight. My corals and cuc are all healthy and happy. I just recently did an overhaul of the tank to see if I had any nasty critters and all I found were bristle worms, a brittle starfish and a peanut worm. Does anyone have any ideas as to why this could be happening? I'm at my wits end and cant afford to lose any more fish. My last pair of wyoming's were my favorite and I'm just beside myself 😞

 

Were the fish all from the same store? 

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No, One pair from a guy who was selling platinums on a website which this one I was not surprised although they lived for 3 months and then passed within a week of each other. The other 2 were from different lfs that just suddenly died overnight after having them for 3 weeks, despite looking healthy happy hosting the nem.

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Stay electrical charges in the tank? ( I really don’t know, I’m a newbie... just a thought.)

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13 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Stay electrical charges in the tank? ( I really don’t know, I’m a newbie... just a thought.)

Yes this could also be possible, I plan on testing for that later today.

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Wouldn't electrical current kill the cuc and effect corals?

 

Here is a big probability.

 

If you added fish that had a parasite like brook, velvet, etc and they died in the tank, without having a fallow period of 8 weeks, all other fish you add would get infected and die.

 

I would qt any fish you buy and let the tank go fallow for 8 weeks and see if that's the cause.

 

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7 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Wouldn't electrical current kill the cuc and effect corals?

 

Here is a big probability.

 

If you added fish that had a parasite like brook, velvet, etc and they died in the tank, without having a fallow period of 8 weeks, all other fish you add would get infected and die.

 

I would qt any fish you buy and let the tank go fallow for 8 weeks and see if that's the cause.

 

That seems sensible, but wouldn’t a fish parasite cause symptoms first? Sounds like all of these fish have appeared healthy then died suddenly during the night. If she hadn’t already taken the tank apart looking for some kind of hidden predator, that’s what I would have thought to look for...

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16 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Wouldn't electrical current kill the cuc and effect corals?

 

Here is a big probability.

 

If you added fish that had a parasite like brook, velvet, etc and they died in the tank, without having a fallow period of 8 weeks, all other fish you add would get infected and die.

 

I would qt any fish you buy and let the tank go fallow for 8 weeks and see if that's the cause.

 

Also, I would think that stray voltage could potentially affect fish first if it’s passing through the heart or nervous system of the fish...

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Yes this was my thought as well as having a predatory shrimp or something similar but they looked great the night before ( no ich, no frailed fins, not skinny) and then the next morning before lights on I check the tank and they are belly up at the bottom of the tank. I'm almost tempted to record the tank at night. This is a picture I took of them a few days before they died.

IMG_20180720_001956_645.jpg

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They look very healthy. I would think you would see other death in the tank if it was something other than parasite. Who knows what types of parasites are evolving. I would go fallow for 6-8 weeks as Clown mentioned and give it one more shot. Maybe with just 1 at first.

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There are internal parasites that don't necessarily have visual symptoms.

 

Velvet and brook can also kill swiftly.

 

There is also fish that are caught using cyanide which can die with no signs.

 

 

Predators are possible. Most of the predators would also have gone after the hermits as well as they are easier to attack.

 

 

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I’d agree with brook being a possibility. However, there are usually signs. White mucus, clamped fins, no appetite, etc. 

If it were a predator, there would be signs of damage. Have you seen any? 

As for cyanide, that’s pretty much ancient history. Besides, all fish listed were fancy clownfish, which eliminates wild caught as a possibility. 

Stray voltage you can feel if you reach in the tank without shoes on. At least you can on a concrete floor. I don’t know about carpet. Besides, it would have to be a lot to kill a fish. 

You say all the deaths occur overnight. Do you have a tight fitting lid on the tank by chance?

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1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

There are internal parasites that don't necessarily have visual symptoms.

 

Velvet and brook can also kill swiftly.

 

There is also fish that are caught using cyanide which can die with no signs.

 

 

Predators are possible. Most of the predators would also have gone after the hermits as well as they are easier to attack.

 

 

Yeah, but I don’t think those clowns are wild caught. 

23 minutes ago, RayWhisperer said:

I’d agree with brook being a possibility. However, there are usually signs. White mucus, clamped fins, no appetite, etc. 

If it were a predator, there would be signs of damage. Have you seen any? 

As for cyanide, that’s pretty much ancient history. Besides, all fish listed were fancy clownfish, which eliminates wild caught as a possibility. 

Stray voltage you can feel if you reach in the tank without shoes on. At least you can on a concrete floor. I don’t know about carpet. Besides, it would have to be a lot to kill a fish. 

You say all the deaths occur overnight. Do you have a tight fitting lid on the tank by chance?

Beat me to it. 

 

I never understood why stray voltage without a path to ground would affect the tank. I’m not saying it doesn’t though. 

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I do cover at night but it is not tight fitting. I have only ever had one jumper on me in the past. Both fish were found at the bottom on top of the sand and after taking them out of the tank and looking at them they had no torn fins or bits of flesh torn. Funny there has been an occasion or two when I've stuck my hand in the tank and felt what I could describe as a shock (we have lamanate floors upstairs) but that could also be just static discharge (correct me if I'm wrong). I'm very paranoid since my first fish loss that I'm constantly looking and inspecting the fish for signs of anything sketchy so that's why I'm stumped as to why.

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Like I said, stray voltage would need to be pretty significant to kill fish. I’ve had several heaters meltdown, or malfunction. I have no idea how long they were like it, but nothing died from them. One was the heater hinted at in the article linked. That was at least the better part of a day. When I walked in the house I could smell it. After several large water changes, everything was back to normal. Other than having the anemone split from one to seven in about a week. The other was a crack in the shell of the heater. There was no indication of anything being wrong, other than the tank never getting up to the set temperature. This went on for several weeks. Not to mention many freshwater tanks I’ve had with stray voltage through the years. Never have I experienced unexplained death from them. 

 

There are parasites, as clown mentioned, that can show no symptoms. However, having both fish go from fine, to dead overnight, doesn’t point to a disease, or parasite. Every fish is different. Immune system health, or responses, differ from fish to fish. I’d suspect it if one died, then another several days later. 

 

Without evidence of predation, I’m thinking two possibilities. Stray voltage, however unlikely, could be the problem. The other is IMO, the most likely, without further evidence. That being oxygen depleted overnight. With a lid, a small hob isn’t going to exchange enough oxygen to counteract the natural drop in oxygen levels at night in a closed system. Over the course of several days it will get cumulatively worse, not to mention the stress on the fish.

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7 minutes ago, RayWhisperer said:

Like I said, stray voltage would need to be pretty significant to kill fish. I’ve had several heaters meltdown, or malfunction. I have no idea how long they were like it, but nothing died from them. One was the heater hinted at in the article linked. That was at least the better part of a day. When I walked in the house I could smell it. After several large water changes, everything was back to normal. Other than having the anemone split from one to seven in about a week. The other was a crack in the shell of the heater. There was no indication of anything being wrong, other than the tank never getting up to the set temperature. This went on for several weeks. Not to mention many freshwater tanks I’ve had with stray voltage through the years. Never have I experienced unexplained death from them. 

 

There are parasites, as clown mentioned, that can show no symptoms. However, having both fish go from fine, to dead overnight, doesn’t point to a disease, or parasite. Every fish is different. Immune system health, or responses, differ from fish to fish. I’d suspect it if one died, then another several days later. 

 

Without evidence of predation, I’m thinking two possibilities. Stray voltage, however unlikely, could be the problem. The other is IMO, the most likely, without further evidence. That being oxygen depleted overnight. With a lid, a small hob isn’t going to exchange enough oxygen to counteract the natural drop in oxygen levels at night in a closed system. Over the course of several days it will get cumulatively worse, not to mention the stress on the fish.

I was actually going to mention oxygen. 

 

Lack of gas exchange with a closed lid with lack of flow in the system could lead to death of fish. 

 

 

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Even if it is a screen? There is air flow and the koralia pointed toward the surface to have that agitation. And there is the odd night I forget to even put it on. I will have to test for that stray voltage tonight so I can rule that out for sure. What about ph? If my ph was swinging too much at night could that be a cause?

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WWell, if it’s a screen, that MIGHT rule out oxygen depletion. Depending on how long, and how well the house is sealed up. However, that’s usually a winter problem. There is always surface scum that also impedes oxygen exchange. Tanks without overflows tend to have a harder time keeping oxygen levels from dropping. Besides, a korallia 240, isn’t really much in the way of surface disturbance, being as wide and gentle, a flow pattern as they produce. So, it’s still a possibility. 

 

Ph swing would have to be really drastic to kill both fish. That comes from lowered oxygen. However, it’s usually the lack of oxygen that kills the fish. Not the altered ph. 

 

Now this may be turning into something of a mystery....

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Hmm yes indeed. I will have to test the ph again tonight with lights out and see where it's at. The heater is around the same age as my tank because I had to get a new one at the time of startup so that's why I didnt think it was faulty, same as the koralia. If I had a smaller nozzle powerhead pointed at the surface would that help?

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How about some kind of toxin getting introduced into the tank, but only sometimes... like a cleaning chemical or spray? Something at night?

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Test the ph first thing in the morning. Before the lights come on. That’s when it will be at its lowest. 

 

Age of the heater doesnt matter. An old heater tends to stick on, or off, or just not work. It’s faulty equipment, that causes the problem. Heaters just happen to be a common piece of equipment that something happens with. 

 

A more direct blast at the surface would help with gas exchange. However, a better solution would be that, as well as eliminating any and all surface scum. If you do have significant surface scum.

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8 minutes ago, banasophia said:

How about some kind of toxin getting introduced into the tank, but only sometimes... like a cleaning chemical or spray? Something at night?

This is certainly a possibility. However, fish have livers, which filter toxins from the body. Inverts do not. So, if that were the case, the inverts would likely be dead, too.

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I only get the surface film if the powerhead comes loose (suction cups) and is no longer pointed at the surface. I recently took that one out temporarily during the overhaul of the tank, I'll have to put that back in. Ok. test ph in the am before lights on and test for stray voltage tonight when I get home if I can find the meter. 

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Definitely a mystery.

 

Check all your equipment.

 

Check heater for cracks, wires for fraying which both can cause stray voltage.

 

You said you did an overhaul in the tank. What did you do? 

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