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3s1k

Fish always die over night. Long read and need help.

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3s1k

I can't keep fish alive overnight. No matter what I do. Can anyone help me solve this mystery?

 

IM Nuvo Lagoon 25

Kessil A360w

3 koralia PH

Grounding Probe

Media Baskets with floss in them.

Roughly 10lbs of rock

1" sand bed

 

Salinity - 1.025

Ph - 8.1 - 8.2

Ammonia  - 0

Nitrate - 0 - 5ppm

 

Only critters I have are 3 Turbo Snails and a rock with GSP. 

 

I migrated from a 29g fully stocked with all kinds of LPS corals and fish. When I moved to the Lagoon everything slow started to wither away. The GSP is all that survived over the past year and half.

 

So 4 months ago I decided to get 3 Chromis. All dead by the morning. Brought them back to the LFS with my water and they said my water was fine and gave me a Maroom clown. Next morning the Clown was dead and I felt to ashamed to go back cause I felt like something in my tank is causing this and couldn't figure it out. Temp seemed good but decided to add a 2nd heater just in case.

 

My acclimation process is to float the bag for at least one hour then I would open it up and let the water mix in for at least another hour and then let the fish out.

 

My daughter has been asking for a new fish so we went on Saturday and got a Yellow Damsel cause they are know to be hardy. Acclimated over 3 hours with the lights on acclimation mode and set him free. Next morning hes lying on the floor. We had a 5.0 quake that morning so I figured he got spooked and jumped out. I built a lid and went to the LFS and got another Damsel type fish. I acclimated for about 3.5 hours, lights off and set him free. Next morning he's upside down and again to shamed to go back to the LFS.

 

I tested the waters and got the parameters up top. I used a multimeter and got 1.5v reading which my research tells me maybe be harmless and more of a electrical "signal" coming from the 3 PH in the tank.

 

I'm about to give up and sell it all because I'm so frustrated at this point. I'm not new to reef tanks. I had a well established 120g reef tank 15 years ago. I sold it because I was moving out of state. The 29g I moved into the Nuvo Lagoon was 4 years old and doing very well. Any ideas are appreciated.

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Donny41

Did you start the tank with live rock? Sounds like you might have some type of murderous hitchhiker. 

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GraniteReefer

My acclimation process is much shorter.  Match temp, ditch as much water as possible, introduce fish with smallest amount of LFS water into tank as possible.  For curiosity sake try removing all equipment beyond necessary life support, pump and heater.  Maybe consider adding an air stone.  Then buy a fish first thing in the AM and observe, take note of behavior and if it dies respond here with symptoms.  As for murderous hitchhikers a Mantis or bobbit would eat the bodies and it sounds like you often find them.  Were they partially consumed?  Electrically I have had a skimmer pump fail and shock my whole tank, all fish lived and I was physically able to feel a shock in the water like licking a 9v.  Have you diversified your source for fish? Maybe a junky LFS.  I know you acclimated but I have bought from a LFS and got home tested salinity and it was 1.020, the fish person was embarrassed because their corals looked like hell.  Maybe try setting up a QT tank with different cheap equipment.

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WhatsReef

I second @Donny41, there's a chance it could be a nocturnal killer hitchhiker. I had a big crab with dark coloration that was real hard to spot for quite a while before I realized it and he killed some stuff over night in my first tank. He would just hole up inside a rock cave during the day so was hard to detect. Plus I think the fish would probably tend to go into his cave at night as a nice safe sleeping spot and get massacred.

 

Although on the other hand 10 lbs of rock isn't much space for hiding. Maybe try picking up and really shaking and checking out the rock just to make sure.

 

I don't the acclimation is the problem either as @GraniteReefer said...

 

That's rough man. Don't give up! It's something, you just gotta figure out what. The fish seem healthy when you get them and you're not far enough from the LFS that it's a stressfully long journey back home for the fish?

 

 

 

 

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RayWhisperer

There would be evidence of a murderous hitchhiker. Without any damage to the fish, I doubt that's the case. 

 

I agree with granite, shorten the acclimation. For fish from the lfs, they are acclimated within 30 minutes for me. For shipped fish, it's only temperature acclimation, and in they go. Ammonia builds up quick in a bag. The lower the ph, the less toxic it is. However, once you open the bag, the ph rises and gets bad, quick. 

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WhatsReef
15 minutes ago, RayWhisperer said:

There would be evidence of a murderous hitchhiker. Without any damage to the fish, I doubt that's the case. 

 

I agree with granite, shorten the acclimation. For fish from the lfs, they are acclimated within 30 minutes for me. For shipped fish, it's only temperature acclimation, and in they go. Ammonia builds up quick in a bag. The lower the ph, the less toxic it is. However, once you open the bag, the ph rises and gets bad, quick. 

The best murderous hitchhikers can kill with very little evidence... a fatal dose of insulin... an injection of air causing a brain embolism... even as hard to detect as a military-grade nerve agent simply rubbed on the skin... that's how stone crab hitchhikers got Kim Jon Un's half-brother in an airport in French Indochina.

 

See I was just thinking if anything the acclimation being slow was a plus, but I guess I wasn't aware that could be a problem. Good to know, thanks for the tip man.

 

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mcarroll

I have never seen a crab with a hypodermic needle - don't think he could grasp it properly - so I don't think that's it either.

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Snow_Phoenix
6 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

I have never seen a crab with a hypodermic needle - don't think he could grasp it properly - so I don't think that's it either.

2142386911_Crabwithknife.jpg.307c9403db5ca38beaee881a287f35d3.jpg

 

I don't think they play with needles. :wink:

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mcarroll

Don't bring a needle to a knife fight, eh? 😄

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xthunt

Id try running quite a bit of carbon, if you haven’t, and check the alkalinity. 

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Floundering_Around

My acclimation is a bit longer. I got my two clowns at reefapalooza NY and they sat in the bag for at least two days and came on the plane with me. I opened the bag, put in ammolock, dipped them, then acclimated them to my tank water over the course of many hours as I unpacked, ate dinner, etc. (like, over five hours honestly). They were then in QT for over a month. My tailspot blenny was bought from an LFS, acclimated to my water for a few hours, and is now in QT for the next two or so weeks. I don't think long acclimation time is the problem here (just my two cents).

 

If I were you, I would just let the tank sit fallow for a bit since you've had multiple fish going in and out in the span of a few days. It's gonna suck, especially with a young child wanting fish, but if you don't know what's causing it, there's no point to keep blindly putting fish in there and hoping they survive. I would also QT the fish in a different container (I use a five-gallon bucket). By introducing them to the bucket first, it allows you to medicate them, monitor them for any diseases without said diseases being in your tank, and determine if there is something in the tank that kills them in the first 24hrs or if you're unconsciously doing something.

 

GOod luck

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holy carp

Why do you have a grounding probe?  What is its material? 

 

If everything died but GSP, could there be other contaminants?  

How much and how often to you change the water?

Low Oxygen?  

What temp do you maintain?

 

We need more clues.  I'd consider sending a water sample to Triton-lab.de 

 

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Rob22

What do you use to measure salinity? Is your water the same salinity as the lfs? If they are running hyposalinity, which a lot of stores do to hide disease, a big jump can kill a fish. If the store is running hypo at say 1.017 and you are running 1.025 and you float a bag for an hour then switch half the water, not only did you give time for some ammonia build up that will start to convert to toxic fast once the air hits it, you also jumped salinity in the bag to 1.021 in a seconds time. Then a little while later you jump it to 1.025 which is a two pretty significant jumps pretty quickly. If their salinity is higher than yours it is not as big of a deal, but going from lower to higher can kill the fish. 

 

My first suggestion would be to try another lfs, but I am in an area blessed with three quality ones in a 10 mile radius of my house. You may not be so lucky depending on where you live.

 

My next suggestion would be to match a bucket to the same salinity as the lfs, unless your tank is the same. If it is, float the bag for temp match and add the fish with no water from the lfs into your tank. If the salinity is different, float the bag for 15 minutes for temp match in the bucket and put the fish in the bucket using little to no water from the lfs. The reason for this is a lot of stores also treat their fish only tanks with copper as well to combat signs of disease. You don’t want copper contaminated water into your display as it will kill inverts. At this point, and only at this point do I recommend a drip acclimation until salinity matches. Once salinity and temp matches your display, add the fish to the display. I stopped doing the long drop acclimation a few years back and haven’t lost a fish from acclimation since. It’s a good idea to use a refractometer to measure your salinity to be more accurate. 

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Rob22

Building on what Holy Carp said, have you tried running some poly filter to see if it changes color? It can tell you what’s in your tank. Was the Nuvo used or new? I have read copper can stay in the silicone if it was ever treated but I don’t know how true it is. Do you have water movement on top of the water, like rippling or a sump for O2? 

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Recci

Lack of oxygen perhaps? You need rippling at surface of the water for oxygen to get into the water. A skimmer would help with this.  Iv never had problem just dumping any fish into the tank with little to no acclimatisation so I highly doubt that is whats killing them. 

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3s1k
3 hours ago, Recci said:

Lack of oxygen perhaps? You need rippling at surface of the water for oxygen to get into the water. A skimmer would help with this.  Iv never had problem just dumping any fish into the tank with little to no acclimatisation so I highly doubt that is whats killing them. 

Yes, I have pretty good surface agitation from the 3 power heads and the 2 IM max spin things on the return pump. In the past I usually have fish out of the bag in 30-60min with no issues. I only changed my method because I was having fish die and wasn't sure if my acclimation process was the cause.

 

Here's a few photos of the tank from the front and side as a reference.

20190116_075308.jpg

20190116_075302.jpg

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3s1k
4 hours ago, holy carp said:

Why do you have a grounding probe?  What is its material? 

 

If everything died but GSP, could there be other contaminants?  

How much and how often to you change the water?

Low Oxygen?  

What temp do you maintain?

 

We need more clues.  I'd consider sending a water sample to Triton-lab.de 

 

I'm not sure on the material of the Grounding probe. Shiny metal of some sort. I have it in the previous tank and had no issues.

 

I do have a rippling agitation on the surface water.

 

I have the temp set to 75-78deg and used 2 floating glass thermometers to check. 

 

I live in Alaska and have the house temp set to 66deg. The tank is downstairs where the house gets colder than the upstairs. Another theory of mine was it's getting to cold and the temp is dropping in the tank at night killing the fish. So I borrowed the 150w Eheim Jager heater you see in the pic above to see if that helps. Temp was about 78deg in that photo this morning. 

 

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3s1k
4 hours ago, Rob22 said:

Building on what Holy Carp said, have you tried running some poly filter to see if it changes color? It can tell you what’s in your tank. Was the Nuvo used or new? I have read copper can stay in the silicone if it was ever treated but I don’t know how true it is. Do you have water movement on top of the water, like rippling or a sump for O2? 

I have some filter floss in the tank now. I was using these pads as well made by Imagitarium. I cut a square or 2 and put them in the media basket.

 

I change about 5 gallons a week of water.

 

The Nuvo tank was brand new and rinsed. Sand was new but the rocks I reused from the old tank.

20190116_121342.jpg

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3s1k
4 hours ago, Rob22 said:

What do you use to measure salinity? Is your water the same salinity as the lfs? If they are running hyposalinity, which a lot of stores do to hide disease, a big jump can kill a fish. If the store is running hypo at say 1.017 and you are running 1.025 and you float a bag for an hour then switch half the water, not only did you give time for some ammonia build up that will start to convert to toxic fast once the air hits it, you also jumped salinity in the bag to 1.021 in a seconds time. Then a little while later you jump it to 1.025 which is a two pretty significant jumps pretty quickly. If their salinity is higher than yours it is not as big of a deal, but going from lower to higher can kill the fish. 

 

My first suggestion would be to try another lfs, but I am in an area blessed with three quality ones in a 10 mile radius of my house. You may not be so lucky depending on where you live.

 

My next suggestion would be to match a bucket to the same salinity as the lfs, unless your tank is the same. If it is, float the bag for temp match and add the fish with no water from the lfs into your tank. If the salinity is different, float the bag for 15 minutes for temp match in the bucket and put the fish in the bucket using little to no water from the lfs. The reason for this is a lot of stores also treat their fish only tanks with copper as well to combat signs of disease. You don’t want copper contaminated water into your display as it will kill inverts. At this point, and only at this point do I recommend a drip acclimation until salinity matches. Once salinity and temp matches your display, add the fish to the display. I stopped doing the long drop acclimation a few years back and haven’t lost a fish from acclimation since. It’s a good idea to use a refractometer to measure your salinity to be more accurate. 

We have one really good LFS and Petco. I get my stuff from the LFS. All there display tanks have mixture of corals, fish and invertebrates so I don't think they user copper in those. They do have some separate bare tanks that they may use copper in, I'll ask next time I'm there. I'll also ask what they're salinity they use in the tanks I buy fish from or test the bag myself at home with a refractomoter.

 

I tried the drip method but the bucket water always feels so cold. So I usually just float them and cut the bag open afterwards.

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3s1k

I thought about a murderous hitchhiker but I reused the old rocks from the 29g and I removed about 10-15lbs  of the LR because the tank was cluttered and detritus was settling behind everything. The photos above are rocks I saved because they had coral attached to them.

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Coinee

If your oxygen levels seem fine and you want to try one more fish, try setting up a camera over night and keeping a thermometer in view.  That can kind of rule out temp or predation from a hitchhiker. 

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RayWhisperer

Just to address another point made about salinity acclimation. While wild fish are probably more sensetive to this, most aquacultured species are pretty tolerant. I have a friend who's a clown breeder. I've gotten most of my clowns from him. His suggestion for acclimating his fish, just net em up and drop em in. No temp, no salinity, no parameter matching of any kind. Ive done it with ALL his clowns, as well as every store that buys from him. While only anecdotal, I've never lost a clownfish from him, ever. Within an hour they are out and eating. 

 

I believe, bagging and shipping is stressful enough. Sometimes, adding more stress by prolonged acclimation may tip away from your favor.

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MrObscura

While this may not be the reason your fish are dying, acclimation does no good. It does do harm though. All it accomplishes is stressing the fish out for longer than necessary making them sit in a bag with nowhere to hide, all the while sitting in shipping water, in which any ammonia turns instantly toxic the second you open the bag. 

 

Get fish out of the bag and Into the tank asap. As long as the tank is established and stable of course. But by the sound of it you have some sort if major contaminant. 

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Rob22
18 hours ago, 3s1k said:

I have some filter floss in the tank now. I was using these pads as well made by Imagitarium. I cut a square or 2 and put them in the media basket.

 

I change about 5 gallons a week of water.

 

The Nuvo tank was brand new and rinsed. Sand was new but the rocks I reused from the old tank.

20190116_121342.jpg

I’m referring to a specific product called polyfilter. It has the ability to change color as it binds to contaminants in your tank. Blue for copper, red for aluminum etc. They likely have it at your LFS or petco. If not you can order it online pretty cheap from any of the big aquarium sites. 

 

If if you run it and it turns a color it can help you determine what your water is contaminated with. 

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