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Inverts Doing Well, but Multiple Fish Deaths
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Joined: 06 Jan 2011

PostPosted: 2011.01.07(Fri)15:23    Post subject: Inverts Doing Well, but Multiple Fish Deaths Reply with quote

Hi everyone! I am a new member to this forum and to the saltwater/reef tanks in general. My tank is a 20g long, 3 T5 HO lighting (2 powerchrome actinic+, 1 powerchrome aquablue+, German made). I have 1 aquaclear 50 and 1 aquaclear20 and a small venturi protein simmer for filtration. 1 koralia nano powerhead. As for my live stock, CORALS- tree coral, pulsing xenia, duncins coral, flowerpot coral, orange fungia, both species of hammer corals, torch coral, and several species of zoas. ANEMONE- 1 green bubble tip, 1 white with purp tips. And a few green majanos. I have about 10-12 fighting conches(1 inch- 2 inch). 3 nassarius snails which are breeding which is pretty cool. So.... over the past 8 months I have been slowly,stocking my tank and all my corals and invertabrates are doing excellent. For my fish livestock nothing! Not because I don't want percula clowns and gobies but,over the past 8 months I have had a black percula, true percula, Picasso percula, fake percula, orange spotted gobie, cave goby, yellow tail blenny, tail spot blennies, lawnmower blenny, ALL HAVE DIED!! Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad . Now I read this article on keeping small tanks and I'm trying what the article has said. No bacterial media in the aquaclear, just live rock as media. My parameters are just about perfect meaning my nitrate are at 10-20ppm. So anybody outhere has some advice for me would be do much appreciated and much accepted.
Percula clownfish are my favourite!!!
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2011.01.30(Sun)10:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello and welcome.

Well, if you are not finding bodies, then I would suspect a Mantis shrimp. If you are finding bodies, then I would suspect a disease or pathogen is killing them. Did these fish show any signs of stress, white spots, etc.?

At any rate, I suggest you stop buying Perculas for a while. Yes, they are often described as the "perfect" beginner fish, but in my experience, Percula and Ocellaris Clowns can be a bit more delicate than many realize. I assume you are dealing with tank raised specimens which helps a lot, but they are still more sensitive to ammonia spikes and other water chemistry issues than other species of clownfish in my experience. If you want a clown, try something more hardy like a single, tank raised Clarkii (Amphiprion clarkii) or the Sebae (A. Sebae). If you can't find one of those, you can try the absolute tanks of the Clownfish word; the Tomato (A. frenatus) or a small Maroon (Premnas biaculeatus). If you kill a Maroon, something is seriously wrong with your system.

Yes, some of these I mentioned will be more aggressive and outgrow the tank, but right now you are just testing things; you can always return it to the shop in a few months.

Moving forward; you need to slow down, and only buy one fish, like the Clarkii. Observe it carefully for any signs of stress or white spot, etc. See if you can keep it alive for 90 days before attempting any more fish. No matter how tempted, don't buy any more fish during this period. Observation is the key here, make sure you check the fish daily for any signs of trouble or anything odd.

Use this testing time to set up a permanent hospital/quarantine tank and cycle it with an undergravel filter so it will be ready in case you need it. 10 gallon will be fine, no inverts in this one however.

One additional thought; since you are trying to add fish to a small tank heavily stocked with a variety of established corals, there may a possibility of marine invertebrate toxicity; the Hauters have suggested that in some cases this can kill fish, but I'm not an expert on it. Many aquarists do not realize that corals are highly competitive animals, and they can produce toxins as a form of chemical warfare against other corals. In smaller tanks these toxins will build up more quickly. In theory it can be controlled by activated carbon and water changes; do some research on it.

By the way, your nitrate seems a bit high for those inverts in your display; most shoot for 5 ppm or less in reef systems. I would suggest a larger more robust skimmer, (perhaps placed in a sump which will increase your water volume) and some water changes before you add the clown. Hope this helps, if you have any questions let me know. I changed the titles of your threads, hopefully more accurate.
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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