Just please help me!

SereneMarine

New member
Tank up and running 6 months, had a few recent crisis and now my clowns and goby won't eat. Would someone experienced PLEASE help me fix this. My heart loves these critters and I am so worried.

Water parameters were good at the beginning of these events.

1. While doing my weekly water change, I now know why, my heater exploded. There was actually fire in the back chamber of the tank. I unplugged everything, cleaned it up (including all the carbon that spilled into that chamber) and then added additional fresh salt water to compensate for the loss of that section of water. So I ended up with about 6 gallon water change in a 30 gallon biocube.

2. In the meantime I overnighted a new heater from Amazon as I am in a rural area and there was just no way to immediately get a new heater. Had ordered a blenny and a chromis from liveaquaria.com before the heater crisis so they came the same day as the new heater. Heater installed and up and running while the fish floated in their bag. Temp stabilized, drip acclimation started. Released fish at appropriate time and everybody was doing great.

3. Day 2, had a massive ammonia spike in the a.m., 2.0. Did a 3 gallon water change immediately, left for work and when I got home the ammonia was down to 0.25. Added some Seachem Stability. BUT NOW, MY CLOWNS AND GOBY WON'T EAT.

4. Day 3, ammonia still at 0.25 in a.m. Did 2 gallon change and added another capfull of Stability. Clowns and goby still won't eat, won't eat pellets or frozen soaked in garlic. And another sign of problems to me is that my pulsing xenias are tight and not pulsing.

I think I know what is going on, I think the temp in the tank dropped too low during the night when the heater was lost. What I want to know is how if there is a way can I speed this recovery process along without stressing the fish further? Will they recover? Is there more that I can do?
 

XxRingoxX

New member
Prime is what seachem makes to detoxify ammonia. Picking some up would be a good idea if you're showing ammonia.
 

spieszak

New member
There is nothing that is OK about having ammonia at all.
Don't worry about the heater or anything else, get the ammonia to 0. Water changes and amquel or prime. Once that is at 0, you can work other things. They aren't going to eat with ammonia. It sits and burns their gills. So, imagine it this way.. you are in a room filled with smoke, you aren't breathing well, and you really don't feel well.. Want a candy bar?
Take care of the ammonia, the rest will fall into place.
 

SereneMarine

New member
Spieszak, I am watching it very diligently. I understand the implications. Once I get the ammonia in check, will they be OK or is it a death sentence?
 

spieszak

New member
They will likely be fine... just get the ammonia taken care of... then keep things stable.
Mind how much you are feeding now too, because if they aren't eating, that is just adding to your ammonia problems.
 

SereneMarine

New member
Thank you. I just hope the combination of things wasn't too much all at once. I do love them so and worry about them.
 

spieszak

New member
I understand that. You have to take your time though, fix the ammonia... you will see them perk up when you do. After that, you may need to work through what else is going on, but you can only really deal with one thing at a time.. otherwise the combination of things you are changing is likely to make things worse.
Unless you keep your house really cold, the tank will be fine without a heater for a few days. Just keep calm, get the ammonia down, and figure out the next step when its time for the next step.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Also, once you do get through this, do a water check, especially alkalinity. sb 8.3/9.3
 

DaveWJunior

New member
Do you have a spare tank (or even a clean bucket), heater and airpump/airstone? Make a few gallons of new salt water and let it sit with the airstone and heater for a day. Transfer the fish into the bucket/tank until your ammonia/nitrites are under control in the display tank. Do a 30-50% water change on the clean bucket/tank every day (or 2 at the most) and put the old water into your display tank.Sounds like your tank may be going through a mini cycle again.
P.S. If you DON'T have a spare heater, clean tank/bucket for emergencies/quarantine, and airstone....... GET THEM!! You'll need them someday.
 

spieszak

New member
For the love of pete, don't trap/catch/transfer fish to a new container where ammonia is just going to build up again because there isn't any biological filter. that is a complete waste of effort way more stressful on everyone.. manage the ammonia best you can, stay the course, and you'll be fine. What you are doing now is just about the same as cycling with fish, its not the right thing to do, its not pleasant but its well to late to change it now, unless you have someone to take the fish. The bucket is no better than the tank after 4-5 hours and probably worse.
 

scubadan206

New member
Sometimes when electrical components fail and expose the insides, heavy metals can leach into the water and substrate. Do your water changes, and possibly add a bacterial culture like Dr.Tims, or Bio-spira. If all else fails and you can't keep things happy look into products that can remove or detoxify heavy metals. Some can't be removed with W/C alone and many you can't test for either. Good luck. Sounds like you love your fish.
P.S Quarantining is also a good idea. Ick can kill off your fish just as fast as ammonia.
Daniel. :wildone:
 

DaveWJunior

New member
For the love of pete, don't trap/catch/transfer fish to a new container where ammonia is just going to build up again because there isn't any biological filter. that is a complete waste of effort way more stressful on everyone.. manage the ammonia best you can, stay the course, and you'll be fine. What you are doing now is just about the same as cycling with fish, its not the right thing to do, its not pleasant but its well to late to change it now, unless you have someone to take the fish. The bucket is no better than the tank after 4-5 hours and probably worse.

Are you saying that freshly (within the past 24 hours) mixed salt water will have a heavy ammonia buildup within 4-5 hours? I've been running bare non-cycled quarantine tanks forever and routinely let them run for 48 hours or sometimes more with no filtration. Never had a problem with ammonia.
 

scubadan206

New member
No I don't think he meant that. If you left fish in new saltwater for days on end, it wouldn't be new for long. Nor would the fish be alive for long. It's just the first point in a thought process.:uzi:
Go ahead and finish the thought spieszak.
Daniel.:wildone:
 

spieszak

New member
Are you saying that freshly (within the past 24 hours) mixed salt water will have a heavy ammonia buildup within 4-5 hours? I've been running bare non-cycled quarantine tanks forever and routinely let them run for 48 hours or sometimes more with no filtration. Never had a problem with ammonia.

I'm saying you will see ammonia start to build within 4-5 hours with that many fish in a bucket... you are talking maybe 5 gallons compared to a normal type QT of 20 or 30. So, on a scale of 1/5 to 1/4 the volume. Take that much water out of the tank that is back into a cycle, and replace it, and your bio filter will begin to heal and pick up on the rest. The amount of trauma caused by moving the fish in this case, and moving them into an unstable environment, is more likely to cause harm than just managing the ammonia in the tank. Amquel, prime, and water changes... whatever is needed, but I can only think of a single reason to put the poor things in a bucket...that would be immediate relief, which they would need a heck of a lot more of after the chase...
People cycled that way for years. its not a pleasant thing, but it doesn't have to be deadly, and it can be managed. Stress needs to be managed too.
 

Crooked Reef

New member
Get some poly filter as well and run it in the filter area. It will absorb any metals that may have gotten in there from the heater. I would also suggest getting some cyclopeeze if you can find it. It is like crack for clownfish and may start a feeding response quicker once the ammonia is taken care of.
 

SereneMarine

New member
Update

Update

Update: I just kept very diligently changing out 2 gallons of water, sometimes twice a day and would add the "stability" by seachem as instucted by my mentor. When the clowns became a little more active I offered them frozen food soaked in garlic and thank the Good Lord, they started to eat. I did loose my goby, he looked rather red under his "skin" so I know he suffered from the ammonia. But the clowns are back to normal and by that I mean the female is kicking the little male's arse all over the tank. Most days he's only allowed a small area to swim. lol

I am still checking the ammonia twice a day and it is 0-.25, doing water changes as necessary. My xenias stopped pulsing and that was my first indication something was wrong days ago when I was begging for help. They still are not pulsing but look alive.

Thank you all for your help and advice. It was a heartbreaking few days but it seems the clowns are gonna be ok and they were my main concern. I'm in no hurry to add fish again, I think I'm gonna concentrate on my corals and clowns for awhile.
 

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Crooked Reef

New member
Nice looking clowns. What test kit are you using. API can show .25ppm in different lights even when there is no ammonia present. I can walk from room to room and get different readings. I'm not saying that you shouldn't trust the test but your biggest indicator should be your livestock as well.
 
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