Bizarre Tomato Clownfish death. Ideas?

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BavarianBuilt

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Jul 2, 2008
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Well I'm a bit saddened today because the first fish I bought for my tank has died, and in a weird way. To start, I introduced him into my tank back in May 2008. He's always been the hardiest and healthiest fish in the tank since. When I went to take a look at my tank this evening I noticed the tomato clown was missing. So I poked around my tank and discovered him laying on his side in the sand, **** it! I quickly got my net and scooped him out. What I discovered was the most bizarre fish death I've seen. I've got a semi-aggressive tank with a bi-color pseudochromis, an engineer goby and a valentini puffer. I was expecting to see some nipped fins, or some other form of attack. All of his fins were fine. However, his belly was extremely bloated and was dark grey in color. There was also a large hole on his underside measuring about 1mm in diameter. Any ideas as to what happened? Whatever happened to him I don't want happening to the rest of my fish.

Here is my recent tank activity. I last tested my water about a week ago. Everything was just as it should be, however my nitrates were a tad high, around 15. Nothing a due water change won't help. I've been feeding my tank the same frozen food and pellets for months. I introduced my Valentini Puffer to the tank about a week and a half ago. The puffer was bought from a very reputable LFS in my area and is very healthy.

I kinda had a special thing for this fish :bummed:
 

7itanium

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maybe something bit his belly, and then it got infected?
 

TropicalNorth

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Jun 9, 2006
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Sorry for your loss.
I have had two fish die very strangely a long time ago and have never found an explanation for either. The deaths were about 2 weeks apart, not a single mark on either fish, no changes or introductions and perfect water quality. No deaths since. Sometimes I think fish just die.

Are you sure the hole on his underside wasn't just his anus (sorry if this is a dumb question)?

A few suggestions.
You did only add the valentini a bit over a week ago so that would be my first suspect. Maybe the valentini introduced an internal parasite or some kind of disease. Strange that it only affected the clown but possible. Maybe the valentini bothered the clown at night and stressed it. If the clown didn't have any frayed fins then you could probably rule this out.
Could the pellets have gone bad, too old?
It doesn't sound like a mantis/crab killed it because you said it wasn't damaged.
Some kind of internal infection, parasite or problem of some kind seems the most likely thing since anything external would have shown up on the fish in some way.
 

BavarianBuilt

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Jul 2, 2008
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Are you sure the hole on his underside wasn't just his anus (sorry if this is a dumb question)?
Not a dumb question at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is his anus, but why would it appear so large?

I'm contemplating replacing him with a Maroon clownfish now and want to be sure what happened to him won't happen to any other new fish I introduce to my tank.

As for my pellets, I didn't realize they had an expiration date. I bought them sometime this past fall, I'll check the container and see what the date is.

Thanks for the input guys.
 

TropicalNorth

Bligh..The Demander Of Attention..
Jun 9, 2006
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North Queensland, Australia
I'm not sure why it would appear so large, I don't think it indicates anything.

Deaths in marine aquariums tend to happen quickly, so if all the other fish are fine then I don't think whatever it was will spread. I can't be certain of this but its my best guess.

Sometimes dry food can get contaminated by water on your fingers. If it smells and looks normal then it should be okay (if its within the use by date).

I would keep a close eye on your fish for a couple of weeks before adding any new fish, just to make sure.
 

BavarianBuilt

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Jul 2, 2008
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Northern Virginia
Thanks for the info. All my other fish seem great at the moment. I guess this was just a freak accident. I saw a full grown tomato clownfish at my LFS a few weeks back and thought to myself "man, I can't wait for mine to get that big". Bums me out.
 
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