Disturbing loss of clownfish

slam308

New member
Here's the basics.
We have a 24 gal Aquapod with 22 lbs of LR that's been curing and running for 2 months. All the numbers have been great for at least 2-3 weeks. We've had the cleaning crew for about two weeks and added a Chromis last week.
This past Sat. we got two O. Clowns. Both an inch or less. Acclimated them for almost an hour. Both were doing great, looked great (no tears in the fins, bright eyes, no physical signs of anything wrong.) Except for the first night when the little guy slept at the top of the tank, they've been together all the time. They hadn't eaten yet, but I've heard that's not all that uncommon.
Today, Tuesday, my husband called at work and said that the little guy was up at the top of the tank, facing upwards and poking his head up through the surface of the water. When I got home, I found him dead up against the intake to the back compartments.
I understand that stress can be difficult to overcome, but a thought occured to me and I'm really upset by it. I modified the tank and have a Maxi-Jet 1200 in place of the stock pump, and a MJ 900 attached to a Loc-line in the first chamber.
Could our little guy have been fine but just gotten sucked into the inlet because of the additional flow??? The top two grates are open on the inlet, so I don't know if that could do it. I know clownfish aren't the greatest or strongest swimmers, but could that additional flow, or additional suction in the filter intake have trapped the clownfish against the grate and killed it?
I'm really feeling guilty at the thought, but I have to ask.

Our numbers (on an American Pharmeceuticals test kit):
Ca 500 ppm
KH 179 ppm (dropped to 161.1 tonight)
PO 0
NO 0
pH 8.2

Did the tests two weeks ago and again tonight. Tested Nitrates on a test strip every other day or so and always read zero.
SG is 1.024
 

pncstod

New member
IME usually only sick fish get sucked in on power heads. Even my seahorses who are very weak swimmers have never been over come by PHs. Not saying it can't happen, I just don't think it's likely with a healthy fish. When I think of maxi jets I think of stray current, does everything else seem fine? The issue with maxi jets may have been resolved by now.....I haven't looked into them recently.

Also it seems odd that he had his head poking out of the water. I've had fish do that when they know it's feeding time....but since this is a fish that was recently added I don't think that is the case.
How is the other clown acting? Do the fishes colors look washed out or faded.......brook can take a clownfish down quick. How is he breathing? If the fish is breathing heavy or quickly it could be an oxegyn issue.....aiming a power head at the surface can help with that.
 

pncstod

New member
I just reread your post and see that it wasn't even the PH that you found him on but the inlet. Keep a close eye on the other fish. Now maybe a good time to set up a quarintine/hospital tank.
 

slam308

New member
They both looked great. Nice bright color, no mucus, no spots or holes in them. Nothing physical at all. They kinda stayed in the same place, I was hoping they were starting to host, but they did move around at times.
 

bwest

Photo Nut
Premium Member
It almost sounds to me like there could have been some ammonia present. That's the only thing I can think of when hearing that the fish was poking its head through the surface of the water.
 

cschweitzer

New member
Well, jduging by the size of the clowns, I would assume they were tank bred. If so, the chances of brook are very low. In fact, the only real way it could have caught it was being in an untreated system with wild caught clownfish and being very unlucky.

Don't think it would be too much intake...that may be able to get a small clown right after mmp, but by the time they get to you they should be able to hold their own and not get sucked up.

It could be stress related. How long were they in the store you bought them from before they were sold. Some places will get the fish in, acclimate them, and if you come on that day and want the fish, they'll sell it to you. These are bad and what I consider unethical practices. A store should always hold(or be able to hold for you if requested) a fish for at least two days when they bring them in. The only way this should not be the case is if you pick it up be fore they acclimate it. Less param changes the better.
 

slam308

New member
Well, now they're both gone. I saw the bigger one last night when I went up at 12:30, by 8 am he was dead.

Cschweitzer,
We got them the morning after the fish store received them. I didn't know better, but now I do.

I'd changed out about 4 gallons of water the night before we got them, so I don't think it'd be an ammonia issue. The water had been mixing for almost a week before I added it to the tank. RO water, Coralife salt.
 

cschweitzer

New member
Do you have a RODI TDS meter? If so, is it reading 0 PPM? How old is the RO unit? Is it possible that your RODI water allowed in some bad stuff(ie chemicals, bacteria, etc)?

Sounds like one of three problems.
1 They probably get their shipments from CA or FL. The poor fishies sit in their own waste until they get to a store, depending on weather and packing, overheated or freezing(could be perfect temp also, but that doesn't fit for my theory). The store has one of two things happen:

a)Bad acclimation process
b)acclimated into a store's bad tankwater

Then, the day they get them in and this goes on, they sell them and scooped away for another complete environment change. This causes stress which can cause death.

2 The water you used from RODI system contained some type of poison, metals, or other bad stuff (would probably harm your inverts, first, so little chance of this problem)

3 Bad capturing techniques or diseased(only pertains to wild caught fish and should not be an issue for tank bred fish). This occurs when collectors use horrible practices for catching fish, such as cyanide caught fish, hooked fish, slurp guns, or anything that can significantly alter the pressure as the fish is brought up. Net and hand-caught fish are the best way to go for wild caught fish. yes, cyanide caught fish are prettier colors, but tend to die after a month or two.

Diseases like brooklynella and ich(the two most common) are possible from wild caught fish also, but again, by size, I doubt they were wild caught. Rarely will you find diseased tank raised fish. Most breeders are aware and fairly anal about the conditions for their fish.
 

cschweitzer

New member
Also, there should be no reason to mix saltwater for more than a day, 2 max. After that the water can start growing bacterias that can be beneficial or can be very harmful. I am almost positive this is not your problem that killed these clowns, but something to take note of.
 

slam308

New member
Cschweitzer,
Wow, didn't know that about the water. I just assumed it'd be better if it "aged" longer. I'd heard that fresh mixed water was a little harsh, so...one more thing to change for the better.

The RO water is purchased from a different LFS that's closer to my work. I'd started off with tap water, so I've been doing weekly water changes with the RO to get correct that mistake.

After everything I've read on this and other threads, I'm assuming it was the stress of going from store to store to my house that did them in. The chromis has been in the tank for two weeks now and he's doing fine. He came from my friend's 5 year old tank after having been his first fish. (His tank's gotten a little more aggressive, so he wanted to get rid of the chromis.)

I just ordered two tank bred O. clowns (requested the smallest ones), two more snails, and a cleaner shrimp from LA.

Thanks for all your input. I was really starting to get that "toss the tank" feeling after thinking I'd killed two of my first three fish. My poor hubby consoled me through my crying jag this morning. But, after testing the water again and reviewing everything I've done, I guess it wasn't me. I feel so bad for those poor little guys and will NOT be going back to that LFS again.
 

pncstod

New member
Diseases like brooklynella and ich(the two most common) are possible from wild caught fish also, but again, by size, I doubt they were wild caught. Rarely will you find diseased tank raised fish. Most breeders are aware and fairly anal about the conditions for their fish.

That does not mean her fish couldn't have brook or ick......the instant those fish were put into the LFSs system they were exposed to all sorts of things. In fact there is a theroy that tank breed fish should never be in a system that has or once housed WC fish because it is believed they may be more prone to things such as brook and ich due to a lower immune system. Kind of like raising a baby in a bubble then at five years old taking him out and sending him to kindergarden.
 

pncstod

New member
slam308,
Just for the record when I was breeding seahorses the fry were very sensitive to new SW, so I would always have sw aging in my basement for water changes for the fry. It was kind of like an endless supply as I used it I would as more. I never experienced any issues with the water quality.
 
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pncstod

New member
Sorry for three posts in a row.....I have two small children and have to have internet time in short bursts.

I personally suspect brooklynella, since it happened so fast and it is easy for the new aquarist to miss the symptoms. If it was brook you should be fine adding new fish. Of course since the fish are gone there is no way to know what caused thier deaths at this point it could be anything. If it was something other than brook you have the likelyhood of loosing your new fish. I just want you to be aware of that because I don't want you to "toss the tank". The best thing you can do is get the fish right from the supplier, which is what you are doing. And setting up a quarentine tank, this way you can evaluate the fish and medicate if nessary, in the meantime disease or bacteria in your main tank has time to die off.

Just my suggestion.....

Also what is your water surface like? I suggest aiming your loc line so that it breaks the water surface a little bit. Even if it wasn't an oxegyn issue that killed your fish, doing so can only make your tank healthier.

Colleen
 

slam308

New member
So is there a best rule for minimum and maximum time to use a fresh saltwater mix?

I tried to research as much as possible before I started this, but some of these things are just beyond my knowing to ask about. I'd heard of making sure the fish eat, but never thought to question how long the fish had been at the store before we take them home.

Have any of you guys gotten clowns from LA? I'm hoping to enjoy a MUCH better experience!
 

55semireef

Moved On
One time I lost a baby Ckarkii to a maxijet 600 and clarkiis are the strongest swimmers out of clownfish. I don't think its unheard of for a O. clown to die in a battle between the sucking current of an intake.
 

reefinnewb

New member
Ive lost my Occ. to a maxijet. I had it for months, ate great, extremely active. Was doing some tank maintanence and took the screen off the MJ, next morning my gf noticed the clown was missing. I knew right away what happened. The sleeping clown must have drifted under and wham, sucked in. I turned off the pump and the fish tried swimming. Swam right into my open brain and was eaten. It could happen.
 

slam308

New member
Pncstod,
I just looked up Brooklynella. I was just a quick Google search, so maybe I'm missing something, but both fish looked exactly like they did when I got them. I didn't see any sign of mucus, or parasites. Aren't those some of the first signs?

Also, the main return that used to have a stock pump, that now has a MJ 1200, is less than an inch from the water surface. It churns thing up enough that the micro bubble drive me nuts. There's not TOO many of them, but just enough so my water isn't clear like I think it should be. Definitely some good surface agitation.
 

Nikon_Guy

New member
Bwest mentioned ammonia. I too think that is the most likely culprit based on these facts in your post.

1. You didn’t list a reading for ammonia.

2. You saw your clown poking its head out of the water. (most time a sign of either ammonia or lack of oxygen)

3. You posted a reading of 0 nitrates. It is very rare that a tank that is completely cycled has no traces of nitrates. If the tank isn’t completely cycled the chances of ammonia being present are quite good.
 
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