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liquid_wind

Mysterious death

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liquid_wind

20 g FOWLR that yesterday had a firefish, Gramma, and a small goby. All seemed to be fine, everyone eating and swimming around with normal behavior. Today I wake up to the Royal Gramma suddenly having died. I tested Ammonia (0), Nitrite (0), Nitrate (0), SG (1.025) and pH (7.7). Is this pH too low? From what I've seen so far it's still alright, and I'm only trying to keep fish at the moment anyways. I have had a couple chromis die as well, but I think that was from a bacterial bloom that has subsided and I also run UV for part of the day as well. I run a small HOB filter w/carbon and keep up on 25% weekly WCs, everything seems fine and even looks fine, which is frustrating in itself, I'm trying to just keep everything simple and basic maintenance with this tank.

 

My best guess is add an airstone, I don't like the look of them running, but maybe just run it at night? The surface does sometimes seem to have a somewhat shin covering over it that may be preventing gas exchange.

 

Any advice on what caused his early demise appreciated! I have my thoughts, but it's just that, a guess.

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thecoralbeauty

Hmm.  How sad! I'm sorry. My royal gramma is probably my favorite fish. They're cuties. 

 

How old is the system? How long had you had the fish? I try to keep myself from getting attached/getting too concerned if I've had them for under 3-4 months, as sometimes they come in old, sick, or with internal diseases or problems (I had a pintail wrasse have swim bladder issues that didn't begin to really show until month 3 of owning him). 

 

Airstone won't hurt- but the HOB filter should be addressing some of the gas exchange/surface agitation. You might also make sure your power heads are creating ripples on the surface- that helps with aeration and surface film. 

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liquid_wind

And the plot unfortunately thickens, the goby didn't make the night last night! He was the first fish in there. You're right, I do need to be less attached. 

 

I'll move the powerhead so it faces upwards more.

 

The remaining firefish is just hiding and opening and closing his mouth now. Probably not out anymore since nobody else is out and about. Wish me luck

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thecoralbeauty
53 minutes ago, liquid_wind said:

And the plot unfortunately thickens, the goby didn't make the night last night! He was the first fish in there. You're right, I do need to be less attached. 

 

I'll move the powerhead so it faces upwards more.

 

The remaining firefish is just hiding and opening and closing his mouth now. Probably not out anymore since nobody else is out and about. Wish me luck

How old is the system- and how long have you had them all?

Sorry about that. 😞 

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liquid_wind

The system is about 4-5 months old, the goby for 3-4 months, the Gramma about a month, the firefish about two weeks.

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Oldsalt01

Did u QT the fish for at least 4 weeks before adding each one? If not, I’d suspect disease is the culprit. Any obvious discolored patches or slime on any of the expired fish? Gasping can indicate flukes, Brooklynella, Ick, or Velvet. The sudden death of so many fish in a short period certainly is puzzling. Another thought: chemical contamination from aerosol cleaning products like furniture polish. Just my .02.

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liquid_wind

The goby was from a long term system I bought equipment from, the other two were not QTed, I do have a 10 just sitting at home, so I should have really. They all looked fine as far as I could see, but I didn't take any close looks as they seemed to be well. If it was disease, what can I do now? And I don't know what the office cleaning people do here in the office at night, so certainly could be. I've been meaning to get a lid, which would be good fro jumpers and that, but am a bit worried if oxygen is an issue would hurt that.

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thecoralbeauty
35 minutes ago, liquid_wind said:

The goby was from a long term system I bought equipment from, the other two were not QTed, I do have a 10 just sitting at home, so I should have really. They all looked fine as far as I could see, but I didn't take any close looks as they seemed to be well. If it was disease, what can I do now? And I don't know what the office cleaning people do here in the office at night, so certainly could be. I've been meaning to get a lid, which would be good fro jumpers and that, but am a bit worried if oxygen is an issue would hurt that.

do you have any photos of the film? or the fish?

If it was disease, let it sit fallow for a while. Though, depending on the disease, how long is debatable. For things like ich, the absence of fish will cause it to die out within the next reproduction cycle as they have no hosts to continue to live on. 

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Oldsalt01

If it is a disease then the only recourse is a fishless cycle for a minimum of 75 days to let the organisms die out without a host. Because of unknown housekeeping procedures you can never be sure what kind of chemicals may be entering the system via airborne contamination. I would definitely go for a cover. As long as you have sufficient surface agitation O2 exchange shouldn’t be an issue. Without QT you take a BIG risk of disease intro into the DT. 

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liquid_wind

As I take a second look the film doesn't look like too much currently, unfortunately didn't take any pics of the fish. I thought the firefish was a goner this morning as he was hiding with his tail out not really moving, but he's eating now. What kind of cover do you recommend? I did point the power head a bit farther up to get the water a bit more agitated. And is there any way to test for oxygen levels? It seems silly to have to look for second hand signs.

 

And I suppose I may have learned to QT the hard way, but 75 days seems like a very long time.

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liquid_wind

Well Monday morning and the firefish is still going strong, not sure if that rules out disease, or it is just resistant to whatever they had.

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Oldsalt01

It doesn’t rule it out, so I would monitor for the next couple of weeks. Personally, I would qt it for monitoring but I’ve always qt’d my fish. It’s just easier to medicate while qt’ing. I don’t medicate immediately, but qt for 4 weeks which is usually long enough for anything to rear it’s head. If something does show up, then I medicate. Those 30 days gives my new fish time to chill from transport, free from food competition, get on a regular feeding schedule, and allows me to try different types of food if I have a picky eater. My longest qt was 80 days in a 5.5g for a Clown Goby that developed flukes 30 days in, after a bout with ick. It obviously had them from the get-go, but they weren’t evident for the first month. DO NOT add any new fish for a while and seriously consider qt for them. My 5.5g is always set up, just in case a new finny friend catches my eye.

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liquid_wind

Alright, it's the only fish in the tank at this point, so pretty much QT'd. He's eating well and seems to be acting normal, but I'll keep an eye on him for a while. I'm in no rush ot add anything to this tank now, I may set up my ten gallon and use that to QT whatever I get next. Kinda tired of this mysterious issues in this tank

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thecoralbeauty
6 hours ago, liquid_wind said:

Alright, it's the only fish in the tank at this point, so pretty much QT'd. He's eating well and seems to be acting normal, but I'll keep an eye on him for a while. I'm in no rush ot add anything to this tank now, I may set up my ten gallon and use that to QT whatever I get next. Kinda tired of this mysterious issues in this tank

Welcome to the hobby. 😞 

it is sort of a QT- however, if you do need to medicate, this could be a problem, as some medications aren’t reef safe (such as copper) so depending on if you have inverts or coral... that could mean you need to move him.

 

hopefully he continues to be fine!! If not a little lonely.

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liquid_wind

In Hawai'i keeping most corals and inverts are illegal unfortunately, so it will likely always be a FOWLR. 

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liquid_wind

After a fallow period of about two weeks ago I added a Royal Gramma again, he was eating and appeared healthy for a week, but when I returned after the weekend he had vanished. I assume he passed while hidden somewhere. There was a small nitrogen amount in the tank, but I assume that's from him wherever he is in the tank, nitrates were around 5.0 ppm and pH 8.0/8.2 ish. I guess I'm having trouble figuring out if the tank has some sort of virus/disease within it, or the fish I'm adding do. Currently I'm not sure whether I should get a more sure-fire hardy fish like a clown to test it, or try letting it fallow another couple months. Is there any medications I can add to the tank to help things out while it is again fishless?

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mcarroll

There are UV filters, diatom/micron filters and reef-safe parasite medications like Rally and Kick Ich that will all cut way down on the infectiousness of anything you do have brewing.  

 

If new fish are eating when you get them, chances are they should make it with the help of one (or more) of those solutions.

 

In case it needs to be said, don't bring home any fish that are suspect in any way.  

  • Make sure you've seen them eat.  
  • Ideally you've seen them on more than one occasion too so you can have an idea whether their condition is improving or declining.  
  • Find out if the store is keeping them in copper or if they are (hopefully) conditioning them for you.  
  • If they are doing anything other than conditioning them for you, then having a quarantine tank or at least one or more of the tools mentioned earlier at your disposal will be highly recommended.

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liquid_wind

Awesome, I'll give Rally a go, ordering now. This tank will never have anything but fish, so is there anything more aggressive I can try while it's empty to make sure any potential viruses/parasites/whatever will be taken care of? I do have a UV sterilizer running now too, just tired of fish suddenly falling for no apparent reason.

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mcarroll

Getting and keeping healthy fish is the most aggressive thing you can do.  🙂

 

If you're already running UV then you're already going above and beyond.  Once the tank gets settled it shouldn't be required anymore.

 

Something to consider is that sometimes fish dying for no reason isn't due to anything that's your fault. 

 

Collection from the wild with cyanide is popular (again) and doesn't result in death until a few weeks later after capture...about the time they get into customer's tanks.  BE SUSPECT OF CHEAP FISH because collection with cyanide is much easier and faster than hand-collecting.  The best thing you can do about this is to find a local retailer that conditions their fish and avoid retailers (online or local) that use copper to mask any issues the fish may have.

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liquid_wind

Hmm, alright, thanks. The problem is I live on an island with only one LFS, a Petco, I'll stick with it.

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deetu

Hi

I just read your post and to me it really sounds like the film on top was some kind of contaminate.... cleaning solution or insect treatment. 

Someone I knew lost her seahorses because the landlord didn't tell her they were going to spray her entire apartment complex for fleas or she would have totally encased the tank in plastic. 

The firefish could have gotten used to the chemical where as the new fish couldn't handle. 

 

You said you can't have coral but can you have macros?  The plants might help but if chemical it can be absorbed into the rock, sand or plastic.  Unfortunately, starting new would be best sorry to say.

 

 Mollies are a brackish fish that will live in salt. 

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liquid_wind

Not sure if it was cleaning solution, it seemed to be there mostly only in the start when it was more unstable, I wouldn't rule it out, but seemed more like something organic to be honest. I believe I may be able to get macros, it's always tough with shipping live organisms to HI. I 'm going to treat the tank broadly for bacteria parasites and give a hardy fish a go, also after waiting a while and doing heavy water changes I think. I have been reading and looks like a lot of meds you can't use together, is there a good combo that's know to have broad coverage and be safe together. Some meds seems to only wanna say "cure" and make you hunt for what they actually are.

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