Clownfish keep dying. why?

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Plague

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Aug 4, 2010
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Miami, Fl
Yeah I got off the phone with him and had a big conversation. We both realized that most of the time we would completely forget to ask if it was wild caught or tank bred. The thing is, most of the fish stores around here are horrible. The only place we can trust is petco but they are closing down their saltwater tanks so we can't buy from there. At this point he doesn't trust his tank or fish enough to buy from online. He decided to quarantine his next fish in his quarantine tank for a month and let w/e is in his tank die from not having hosts. He is going to use copper in his quarantine to help. He just recently got "pods" w/e that is and says that is a good sign.

We would get the salinity measured but none of the stores use a refractormeter. He has a master test so he knows his levels are fine. The only problem he has is his inability to keep his ph stable. It usually moves from 7.8 to 8.2. I did convince him to only get one clown at a time until he establishes it before killing more fish. lol
 

ToeJam

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Jan 9, 2009
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The only place we can trust is petco
:hitting: HE did not just say that!?!??!?!??


As for PH that's another list of questoins.

1. IS he testing at odd times? PH should be tested at the near end of photo periods (lights off end times)

2. IS the top of his tank sealed by glass cover?

3. IS the room its in a stuffy place with great insulation.

Most common problem off the top of my head is air circulation the tank resides in. Sometimes combo of having a glass cover and lack of fresh air exchange for the tanks water on the surface.

I have read some posters in the past in here opening up some windows to let some fresh air in to rooms. (having a house sealed up tighter than frogs booty).

Hard to say at this time.

I really wish I could see the list of equipment on that tank..and even pictures if you can sneak one in with your phone.
 

RiVerfishgirl

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Jan 15, 2007
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Where I was coming from was that the studies showed the slightly lower salinity environments were actually better for the fish. While Reef Tanks, prefered the higher end salinity readings.
I would have to see specific studies to make a determination on the data. I know that some diseases/parasites are less able to survive at lower salinities, and sometimes lowering the salinity temporarily can raise slimecoat production, thus helping fight off some parasites/diseases, but I don't know that keeping marine fish in a lower salinity long term is more healthy across all species of fish. Sounds like the statement that a neutral pH of 7.0 is the best for all tropical fish, which is not true, and also tends to ignore other water parameters.

I've seen studies on specific fish species who live in very stable environment, that note issues with osmoregulation when kept in lower or higher salinities than their natural environment. So I would be hesitant to apply information about lower salinity-vs-higher salinity being healthier to ALL marine fish species.

But like I said, I have not seen the specific studies that you mentioned.

He just recently got "pods" w/e that is and says that is a good sign.
Copepods/amphipods are a sign that there is sufficient food for them. Not necessarily a sign of a healthy tank. Copepods can live in some pretty tough environments when given sufficient food.

I'm not saying that they aren't generally beneficial, which they are, just that their presence doesn't mean his tank is sufficiently healthy to house fish. We already know that if something in the water is harming the fish it's not been harming crustaceans (which is what copepods and amphipods are) because he has shrimp. So their presence really doesn't tell us much about that situation.

We would get the salinity measured but none of the stores use a refractormeter. He has a master test so he knows his levels are fine. The only problem he has is his inability to keep his ph stable. It usually moves from 7.8 to 8.2.
The pH swings aren't good, but it's unlikely they're causing all his issues. And pH going up and down isn't uncommon especially with the presence of macroalgaes, and especially if they are not on a 24 hr, or reverse light cycle (main lights on during day, refugium lights on at night).

He also needs to be checking his alkalinity, especially with macros in the tank. But even without them he should be checking. You cannot ignore alkalinity in a marine aquarium.

And he's going to have to get a decent refractometer if he wants to know his actual salinity. The run of the mill hydrometers just are not going to give an accurate reading, and possibly a drastically incorrect one.
 

Ace25

www.centralcoastreefclub. com
Oct 3, 2005
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pH going from 7.8-8.2 is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Too many people stress over pH and 99% of the time it is a non issue. It takes a lot of effort/neglect for pH to become a problem. I go 7.8-8.2 every day.. some times I can go 7.6-8.4 in a day and still no issues with "difficult" fish and SPS corals.
 

RiVerfishgirl

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Jan 15, 2007
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pH going from 7.8-8.2 is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Too many people stress over pH and 99% of the time it is a non issue. It takes a lot of effort/neglect for pH to become a problem. I go 7.8-8.2 every day.. some times I can go 7.6-8.4 in a day and still no issues with "difficult" fish and SPS corals.
Same here. It's nearly impossible to maintain a perfectly stable pH, and not generally necessary either.

Then again if he's not checking after the lights have been turned off for awhile it may be dropping more than that and he doesn't know it.

But honestly, I think it's going to be hard to pinpoint the issue when he's using tapwater, because it could contain so much stuff we don't test for. If the tank was maintained using strictly RO water then we could at least eliminate that as the issue.
 

Plague

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Aug 4, 2010
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Miami, Fl
Well he has always checked the ph with lights on, at least when I'm at his house. Not sure about when I'm not there. He usually runs his daylight bulbs for 8 hours and the super purple, super blues for 10. The refugium he built runs during the night when the tank lights are off and for some hours when the daylight bulbs are on. Not quite sure on that one.
 

ToeJam

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Jan 9, 2009
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Let's steer back on track...

Hearing the tests are fine without numbers isn't good enough for me. Far too often we get this in forums and when we see the tests ...things are not as good as we were told. So that is the reason I asked for actual test results.

How old is this tank again?

There is something obviously wrong with the water...what is the questing.

To lose 12 fish that are known to be hardy ...that is just wow. If the conditions of the water were "Fine" .... one of these 12 should have survived at the very least.

YOu also say the water source is the tap... has that been tested?

Just to eliminate this source, why not ask him to make a batch of RO/DI water and do a 80% water change. Be as exact as you can with amount of water and scoops of salt. I have found most of the time its been on the money for me with instant ocean salt. Salinity measured out perfect.

What I am trying to eliminate is current water conditions...just remove as much as possible...completely change it out for something you know for sure is a pure clean water source with as accurate salinity as possible in this situation.

Wait a few days, and try putting a Damsel in for now. If that Damsel dies, thats some scary stuff cause then I am stumped. It's hard to cause a Damsel to die =).
 

jasonG75

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Jun 1, 2010
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:hitting: HE did not just say that!?!??!?!??

I think he did.... That's why I am a FIRM very FIRM believer is beginners NOT attempting nano setups, they ARE VERY hard to maintain. 12 freaking Clown, after the 3rd I think I would have sought advice.


:eek:mg:
 

Plague

O.o
Aug 4, 2010
718
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Miami, Fl
I think he did.... That's why I am a FIRM very FIRM believer is beginners NOT attempting nano setups, they ARE VERY hard to maintain. 12 freaking Clown, after the 3rd I think I would have sought advice.


:eek:mg:
The only reason I said that is because the LFS down here are horrible in terms of keeping their tanks. He doesn't want to buy online because he doesn't feel the cost of shipping is worth it. Petco down here does a pretty good job of keeping there tanks.


He is going to let the tank run empty for a month or 2 with only the invertebrates to let w/e is in the tank die. Like I said, he is unsure if it is him or the horrible stores here. We went to a farther one yesterday and most of their clowns were sick and this was a new batch. It varied from breathing heavy, to not being able to fight current, visible ick, open wounds. If I could I would take pictures of these stores to see why even I don't believe it is all his fault, but it would be a huge gas investment.

Either way the tank isn't going to be touched for some time just because of all the money he has lost paying for clowns. Personally, I think the first batch of clowns left something in the tank that is deadly and he hasn't left the tank empty long enough for w/e is inside to die. Did I mention one of his maroon's "jumped into another dimension"? We both are convinced that the body is still in the tank because we couldn't find it in his room for over a week. We sifted through the sand the 2nd day but couldn't find a body. All his parameters are at zero except nitrates which were last at 15ppm. He hasn't been able to test KH because he has no method of doing it.

Our tap water has the following numbers (note it's been raining so much down here the numbers are all funky right now):
chlorine: undetectable (our water sources uses chlorine not chloramine)
ammonia: undetectable
nitrite: .5ppm
nitrate: undetectable
GH: 75ppm
KH: 120ppm
ph: 8.4 or higher
 

RiVerfishgirl

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Jan 15, 2007
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The fact that your tapwater has nitrites is worrysome, because that means it possibly has some type of runoff causing it, which leads me to believe there could be other contaminants.

What city do you live in? I should be able to look up what the numbers are on a lot of other stuff, and whether or not there are other contaminants listed. But either, way I'd be switching to RO/DI before adding anything else.

[Edit: I assume you're in Miami, from your profile, but if you're in a township or outlying area or something I'll need that info to look anything up]
 
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