All fishes dead - what could I have done?

balajeek

New member
Been reading a lot of forums online and its time to join forums and learn from my mistakes made and get help from fellow reefers.

Sad day today (actually every day since last 10 days), here's my last few months.

I am fan of marine fish and reef and wanted to be success-full, but till date it ain't happen yet. In my small apartment i started to have fish tank (originally bought it for fresh water, a 10gal) but changed mind and give it a try on pico reef after learning other peoples do it, setup is all good with live rocks corals and pair of maroon clown, changed water every week and all is well for 5+ years. even though loosing corals once a while for no reason i know, i just replace them and continue (I would say lack of my knowledge in maintaining the water parameters which i know now, i think) . So overall is good.

Moved to bigger house, it was just easy to move the 10 gal without any distraction, I added a small blue damsel for fun becaz the clowns just hanged around the same place and months later all were still fine like it was before. Now i thought why can't my dream of setup of decent size reef tank, I wanted to be successful in the setup so i took enough time to research read and take notes, here is how it started:

- Got Red Sea 350 Reefer tank, 71gal (93 gal total),
- quality live rocks, some rocks (dead) that had saved from past, some dry rocks
- in June 2018 started rock curing in plastic bins, monitored thru out the curing stage (i even baked the dry rocks before starting the process for an hour to be sure)
- setup the tank mid July with live sand reef snow flakes 3-4" sand bed
- Kessil A360WE two of them, and Kessil H90 Refugium light
- Bugglemaggus protein skimmer
- Sicce return pump
- Neptune apex 2016 setup (pretty much most of their stuff, WAV, DOS, FMM, LSM"¦) (its so awesome though with tech)
- Two little fishes phosphate reactor

With all the above i took enough time to research, read and setup this new tank. I was proud of myself when i finished it, I was starring at it as i liked it so much. BTW, i decided to pick the route with no water changes at all and just maintain water parameters using dosing and other supplements and only maintenance would be cleaning devices, all inspired by a youtuber named NewYorkSteelo and FarmerTy from *********. Also before i can move my pair of clown to the new tank, the bigger clown (3" size) died, and I don't know why, I wished it stayed to see my new setup for her.

Anyway, end of July I moved my entire setup including the live rocks, sand, and one clowns and damsel from my 10 gal to the new tank, added 20 gal of Nutrisea sea water along with my mixed salt water. All was good an stable until mid Sep 2018, Neptune Apex really helped to keep track of all water parameters, i checked with Hanna checker for Alk,Phos,Ca,Mg,Ammonia and Nitrate, every parameter is absolutely in range. I entered the phase of brown alage and added the proper clean up crew including Serpent and bristle sea star, days later all alage is cleared and the clean-up did a good job and my tank looked very clean. (so far I haven't setup carbon reactor yet, i have one ready to setup)

My plan is to have fish only tank for a year and see how well i can maintain the water parameters and then start introduce LPS and SPS a year later.

Oct mid, i said to my Wife and daughter we can add fish and we went few places in different days to find some

- Sep 16th: First stop at Ocean Gallery in NJ: we bought Foxface, Flame Angel
- Sep 19th: Been search for find my lost big maroon clown and found it in Aquardise NJ, 3"+ and looked good (I expected some fight with my small clown when i introduced but they were happy and hanging together to my surprise)
- Oct 13th: stop at Absolute Fish, a very famous in NJ, we got yellow tang, blue hippo tang and Royal Gramma. (also looked so great)

Tank setup looked great with all these fishes swimming around and friends/neighbors when visited said its spectacular and I was proud of myself.

But it didn't last long:

Oct 15: my daughter said that the small clown fish is missing, we were looking and found the serpent sea star eating them along with other snails joining the serpent. I wasn't sure if the clown died and serpent took it or serpent grabbed him while sleeping. 1st death in the tank. two days later to replace the dead small clown i went to Aquatic Obsessions and bought a nice very active maroon clown 1 1/2" size (wild caught) while i was there i saw Bluestreak cleaner wrasse cleaning other fishes and the store person told me about the cleaner so got two of them at the same time.


Oct 20th: Royal Gramma was spinning with the water flow and noticed is not well and minutes later it died (since i got it i was hidden inside rocks and never came out)

Oct 21st: First sign of symptom that we noticed white spots on Blue tang, Yellow tang, I have heard about Ick and by end of the day i see both the tangs where covered with lot of white spots and yellow tank was just hiding under rock for very long time, just came out to eat thats pretty much it. I was online researching how to get rid of the ick, different people have different solutions, confused, finally picked Seachem Metroplex and focus and soak with food and feed for immunization. also gave them seaweed, It did and all ate them, started feed twice daily

Oct 22nd: Yellow Tang dead in the morning and blue tang looked bad with lot of white stuff and by night i knew its next

Oct 23rd: Blue Tang dead in the morning. since all the fishes i got from Absolute fish on Oct 13th where dead and we doubted they had the ick already and we didn't know (but it looked very good when we bought it at the store). Then i started watching all other fishes very closely to see any signs, i found one or two spot on Foxface in the gills and big clown fish gills tails or torn a bit and also noticed fungus like brown patch in gills on big clown fish. I researched online and it sounded symptom of brooklynella. At this time i got series and realized something seriously wrong in the tank, a disease and if don't treat them soon all will be gone.

After all my research i decide to do this as per this forum. https://www.ultimatereef.net/threads/emergency-disease-fighting-101.830752/ treating with Chloroquine phosphate. I looked everywhere and i was not able to get or find this prescription drug, but finally one fish store carried "œNew Spectrum Ick shield bath powder" which is Chloroquine phosphate. so far i was only searching and buying and didn't add anything to the DT yet.

Oct 25th: Big Maroon Clown, Cleaner Wrasse dead (wife called and said not doing good and min later its gone)
I started the setup of hospital tank, in so hurry had to pickup a 20 gal tank, salt and all necessary items to move other fishes soon to the tank. while i was doing it my wife called and said the small wild caught clown is not doing good, i told her to catch it and give a fresh water dip and put it a separate container with Metroplex + Kanaplex medicine in the water, she did.

Oct 26th: when i return home the clown was doing ok and i started setting the hospital tank while my wife moved all the fishes to that small 6 gal container. 5 hours later the setup of the hospital tanks was ready and moved all the fishes from the 6gal container to 20gal hospital tank, added the Ick shield powder (Chloroquine phosphate) 0.6 grams as per instruction.

Oct 27th: Small Maroon Clown died in the morning in the hospital tank

Oct 27th: FoxFace in the night

Oct 28th: Flame Angel and Wrasse, saw in the morning dead.


Today 28th my hospital tank is empty, and the effort we put to save them did not help saving the rest of the fishes. Forget to note, while moving all the fishes from the display tank we couldn't catch the blue damsel at all and its still in the DT and i see no sign of any ick to him, but I believe the parasites is still present in the display tank.


WHAT DID GO WRONG?
I knew one big mistake i made, I took so much time to see every detail in setting up the tank but I ignored to quarantine store bought fish, Its too late when i realized that.

The reason i am telling my story is to understand what had happen, was something wrong with my setup (I doubt), does one of the fish got the diseases into my tank that lead to take all other lives? or in effort of saving the last 4 fishes i tried Chloroquine phosphate treatment went wrong and killed the rest?

I had fishes for 5 years and i had seen minor ick occasionally come and goes in few days

Please share your thoughts, after all this I am not ending my hobby, i consider a lesson learnt and will proceed with my setup.

What i plan to do now is try catch the one left damsel from the DT and put it in Hospital tank so the DT can go thru fallow time to parasites to die off (as i read)
and leave the tank running without any fish for a month (even though there are snails, crabs and star fish), am I right?
 

Uncle99

Crab Free Zone
Premium Member
Ick is deadly and will take out each fish until nothing left.
It multiplies at an alarming rate and will never stop until their is no fish.

I think you may underestimate this diease, and many others that certainly transfer from fish to fish.
QT is vital. it gives time for us to review the health and take appropriate action if required. Once in the tank....well....your done....


When I read your post, I see some agressive fish (maroon, tangs) in a small 71g tank.
I see good equipment, but you can't just buy and toss in, then, when something happens, the procedure for diagnos, treatment is not clearly understood.

Hyposalinity works great on Ick and it's free!

I got the impression that Ammonia may have been a contributor outside the DT.

The process of building, QT and introduction of the fish and the order of introduction must be followed, especially with tangs, or stress occurs, leads to weakness, leads to Ick, leads to death.

I have the same size tank but for clowns I use ocellaris, and they, plus the gramma, a fire fish, a Anthias, and a mandarin were all in the tank living well for a year before introducing a small yellow and small blue, simultaneously. Absolutely no agression and I know thatnI will have to upgrade in a couple of years to,maintain the tangs.

This does happen quite more than you think, but most goes unreported.

Time to start over, but go slow, starting with your DT which must remain fishless for 72 days to break the Ick cycle. A month is NOT long enough......72 for safety.....or death will return again.

Hope that helps somewhat...

I like the fact that you don't give up.....we have all been there before.......good luck......
 
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kizanne

New member
as fast as he was talking sounds more like OODINIUM (VELVET).

Also do better research on your fish.
Blue streak cleaners almost never survive from lack of food. They eat parasites. A tank can't support one yet alone 2. Clowns and damsels can get aggressive as well as angels. and that was a small tank for them. A maroon clown will eventually become really aggressive in my experience.

Tangs are recommended for 100 gallons and up. Sure you can fit one in a smaller tank but 2? Ick is often worsened by stress and poor nutrition.
 

kendrid

New member
I agree that you probably have velvet, not ick. Those deaths are way too fast for ich unless the fish were unhealthy.
 

balajeek

New member
The favorite fish for mine is the maroon clown and I want to have a pair with hosting anemone and i want to see it grow to 5-6" (i am crazy right), I did keep in the past with small fish even smaller tank. I understand my new 71gal is small for tangs but my wife likes them so i get small and deal later when it gets bigger (may be give it to someone and get small again), am I making huge mistake in my selection!

when guys said maroon are aggressive, you mean in the long run when they get bigger? because it seem peaceful with my current tank even the tangs and angels and damsel

Any other clown other than ocellaris is not aggressive in my 71gal?
 

Uncle99

Crab Free Zone
Premium Member
Velvet should have killed them all within 48 hrs, but these fish died over two weeks, one by one, that is why Ick was suspected.
 

balajeek

New member
Velvet should have killed them all within 48 hrs, but these fish died over two weeks, one by one, that is why Ick was suspected.

Its more like every day one fish and two/day towards last 2 days

I was reading more about Ick Velvet and Brook, and the symptoms more in line with Velvet.

- if you can count the white spots on your fish then its more like Ick, if not its velvet more like powder coated looking fish.
- fishes swim against the powerhead (unique to velvet)
- erratic swimming behaviour.
 

tjm9331

New member
Even if it was velvet, I would still get the damsel out and leave the tank fallow for 72 days just to be on the safe side.

Before you do that though I would recommend emptying and cleaning your 20 gallon QT tank. clean it with white vinegar then let it sit dry for 3 days, after that add fresh saltwater, heater and hang on back filter then get your damsel out and in QT.

The issue may be though that even if your damsel isn't showing any signs of illness he could still be a carrier. So I would tread lightly when adding new fish in the QT. I would leave the damsel by himself for at least 30 days, if he still looks good and no marks on him after that then get your pair of clowns and put them through a tank transfer method for 12 days and then add to your QT for the remaining 30 days of the fallow period treating with prazi-pro during that time.

If the fish are still healthy after the fallow period has completed then you should be in the clear.
 

saveafish

New member
That's not all that big of a tank. Looking and reading, going over notes I've wrote over the years. I'd say you got excited and added way too fast. Ammonia is your killer. You adding that fast with the size caused it to spike. That's why the slow die off. One dies, causing more of a spike. With each death it increases. Tangs are ick magnets as it is. Tank spiking lessens the immune allowing the ick to take over faster.
In all added way too fast, way to big at a time. Slow down.
 

balajeek

New member
That's not all that big of a tank. Looking and reading, going over notes I've wrote over the years. I'd say you got excited and added way too fast. Ammonia is your killer. You adding that fast with the size caused it to spike. That's why the slow die off. One dies, causing more of a spike. With each death it increases. Tangs are ick magnets as it is. Tank spiking lessens the immune allowing the ick to take over faster.
In all added way too fast, way to big at a time. Slow down.


thanks for your response, when the first fish died the first thing i did is check Ammonia and Nitrate and results are 0/0, just to double check i did with API and RedSea test kit and i did continue to check 2nd and 3rd day too with 0/0. I remove the dead fish in no time.

I agree i was adding it too fast, even though i had read and know i need to add stock slowly and give time for the tank to keep up, but at that time it somehow forgot about it.
 

Wunderpus

New member
This is a good lesson to use a QT tank, as others mentioned... It's also a nice time to let the tank season and build up your invert collection :)

I'd wait AT LEAST 1 month before adding any fish. At that point, I'd add 1 (hardy fish) and see how it does for at least 1 week. Also, the addition of cleaner shrimp is NOT a bad idea...
 

balajeek

New member
Finally, yesterday I was able to catch the one left blue damsel. He is one strong fellow put him in he QT where i previously treated with Ich Shield power (CP %unknown, should i increase the dose). It was not easy at all to catch him, he gave a hard time moving inside rock caves, a DIY trap i placed for week he did not even care, only the snails came in and ate the food, so i had to think and came up with an idea, took two big plastic cover and covered it around the rock structures so he does not hide inside, then using the fishing net my wife catch it in 5 min try.

So my 76 days countdown starts from today.
- Should i add the carbon reactor now (I haven't setup one yet)
- Feed every other day becaz there are clean-up crews in there !
- Turned the main lights off and everything else same.
- since I have nothing really in the tank should i still continue the dose of Ca/Alk?

Do you recommend after a month or so i start stock up coral collections or wait for 76 days?

As always i greatly appreciate your feedbacks and its really really helpful. Thanks.
 

tjm9331

New member
I'm sure there's plenty of detritus in the tank to sustain your clean up crew but a feeding once a week wouldn't hurt.

I wouldn't bother with the carbon or CA/ALK especially if you have no corals yet, even if you have 1 or 2 corals you shouldn't have to dose just yet.

No need to wait the 76 days to start adding more coral, this is probably the best time to start adding them actually.
 

Uncle99

Crab Free Zone
Premium Member
i'm sure there's plenty of detritus in the tank to sustain your clean up crew but a feeding once a week wouldn't hurt.

I wouldn't bother with the carbon or ca/alk especially if you have no corals yet, even if you have 1 or 2 corals you shouldn't have to dose just yet.

No need to wait the 76 days to start adding more coral, this is probably the best time to start adding them actually.

+1.....
 
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