Keep losing fish

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
Hey guys, sorry in advance for the long-winded post, but I'm just going to lay everything out in hopes to get some ideas.

I started a 20g waterbox cube a few months back. I went through the proper routine and was very patient with everything. I had a 16g a few years ago and was patient with that as well. With that said, this new tank has been a much bigger headache. I didn't lose any fish with my old tank, just ended up breaking it down when we moved.

Anyways, to the issues. I slowly added livestock as time went by and things became established. I started with a CuC, a clown pair and a couple of shrimp. Eventually, I added a six line wrasse.

Eventually I found the clowns dead (not at the same time). I asked my LFS and they didn't seem to know since all of my parameters were stable. Throughout the next month or so I added a blenny and another clown pair. The blenny jumped out (even though I have a lid), and the clown pair died as well (again not at the same time - a few days apart).

I was at a loss and told my LFS I didn't want to keep going through this as something was obviously wrong.

They guessed that maybe the wrasse was bullying (even though I never noticed anything). They suggested leaving him in there by himself for a few weeks and seeing if he survives. He was completely fine the entire time so we chalked it up to him killing the others so I brought him back to the store.

I waited a month or so to let anything that might be wrong flush out and then most recently added a pink skunk clown pair and a goby. I noticed after about a week, one of the skunks was hiding under the rocks. He was still eating and acting normal, but just wasn't coming out. Of course with my paranoia after everything, I was scared he was on his way out. Sure enough, he was under the rock dead this morning.

Having said that, throughout all of this, my CuC and my shrimp have been perfectly fine. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they would be more succeptible to dying if something was wrong in the tank. Is that a wrong assumption? It's a cleaner shrimp and a blood shrimp.

At this point I'm more frustrated than anything. As I mentioned, I didn't have any issues with my other 16g a few years back, and this has been a nightmare so far. I'm not giving up and going to be patient, but I also don't want to keep throwing fish in a death trap.

I also have a few easier corals (according to the store). I have a green trumpet and some GSP. The GSP looked amazing the first week or so, but it's been receded for a few days now and isn't opening up. Also, the trumpet has looked terrible for a few weeks now.

I go to the store at least once a week if not twice and have been asking them every question in the book and they're lost as well. My parameters have been fine every time I test. See parameters below.

I also noticed a potential algae bloom in the last week or so. My watersock has been super dirty everyday and I'm seeing a lot of stuff on the rocks and walls. I turned my lights down to try to combat that. Is there anywhere I can find an easy light schedule that will give me success? Also, the water has been cloudy.

I'm having them come out as a service call this week, not for any maintenance, but really to just look at my entire set up and see what's wrong. I want them to look at it as if it was their tank and how they would set it up at their house.

Again, I apologize for the very wordy post but just wanted to lay everything out and see if anything blatant could be happening.

I started doing too many water changes. Was doing 20% every week. LFS told me to back off and do 20% every two weeks. The fish always ate fine, which added to the confusion, Bc the store said if they were sick or anything it would be slow and they would stop eating. In every case where a fish died, they had eaten perfectly fine within a day.

Thanks so much for any insight.

20g waterbox cube
AI prime HD light
Aqaimai pump
Watersock
Icecap skimmer
Icecap ATO

Parameters
Calcium 420
Alkalinity 9-10
Phosphates 0
Nitrates 0-5
 

Uncle99

Crab Free Zone
Premium Member
Hey guys, sorry in advance for the long-winded post, but I'm just going to lay everything out in hopes to get some ideas.

I started a 20g waterbox cube a few months back. I went through the proper routine and was very patient with everything. I had a 16g a few years ago and was patient with that as well. With that said, this new tank has been a much bigger headache. I didn't lose any fish with my old tank, just ended up breaking it down when we moved.

Anyways, to the issues. I slowly added livestock as time went by and things became established. I started with a CuC, a clown pair and a couple of shrimp. Eventually, I added a six line wrasse.

Eventually I found the clowns dead (not at the same time). I asked my LFS and they didn't seem to know since all of my parameters were stable. Throughout the next month or so I added a blenny and another clown pair. The blenny jumped out (even though I have a lid), and the clown pair died as well (again not at the same time - a few days apart).

I was at a loss and told my LFS I didn't want to keep going through this as something was obviously wrong.

They guessed that maybe the wrasse was bullying (even though I never noticed anything). They suggested leaving him in there by himself for a few weeks and seeing if he survives. He was completely fine the entire time so we chalked it up to him killing the others so I brought him back to the store.

I waited a month or so to let anything that might be wrong flush out and then most recently added a pink skunk clown pair and a goby. I noticed after about a week, one of the skunks was hiding under the rocks. He was still eating and acting normal, but just wasn't coming out. Of course with my paranoia after everything, I was scared he was on his way out. Sure enough, he was under the rock dead this morning.

Having said that, throughout all of this, my CuC and my shrimp have been perfectly fine. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they would be more succeptible to dying if something was wrong in the tank. Is that a wrong assumption? It's a cleaner shrimp and a blood shrimp.

At this point I'm more frustrated than anything. As I mentioned, I didn't have any issues with my other 16g a few years back, and this has been a nightmare so far. I'm not giving up and going to be patient, but I also don't want to keep throwing fish in a death trap.

I also have a few easier corals (according to the store). I have a green trumpet and some GSP. The GSP looked amazing the first week or so, but it's been receded for a few days now and isn't opening up. Also, the trumpet has looked terrible for a few weeks now.

I go to the store at least once a week if not twice and have been asking them every question in the book and they're lost as well. My parameters have been fine every time I test. See parameters below.

I also noticed a potential algae bloom in the last week or so. My watersock has been super dirty everyday and I'm seeing a lot of stuff on the rocks and walls. I turned my lights down to try to combat that. Is there anywhere I can find an easy light schedule that will give me success? Also, the water has been cloudy.

I'm having them come out as a service call this week, not for any maintenance, but really to just look at my entire set up and see what's wrong. I want them to look at it as if it was their tank and how they would set it up at their house.

Again, I apologize for the very wordy post but just wanted to lay everything out and see if anything blatant could be happening.

I started doing too many water changes. Was doing 20% every week. LFS told me to back off and do 20% every two weeks. The fish always ate fine, which added to the confusion, Bc the store said if they were sick or anything it would be slow and they would stop eating. In every case where a fish died, they had eaten perfectly fine within a day.

Thanks so much for any insight.

20g waterbox cube
AI prime HD light
Aqaimai pump
Watersock
Icecap skimmer
Icecap ATO

Parameters
Calcium 420
Alkalinity 9-10
Phosphates 0
Nitrates 0-5

What the temp and salinity and mag numbers?
6 lines can be problematic.
 

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
Temp has been within a half a degree of 78 at all times. Salinity has been between 1.024-1.026. Not sure on the mag. I don’t have a kit to test that but can have them do it at the store. They might have already tested it but I’m not sure.

They were pretty adamant that it wasn’t a water quality issue.
 

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
I get it from the LFS. I figure with a smaller system it’s easier to get it from there every couple of weeks versus making it myself.
 

wrott

New member
Check acclimation method.
Get rid of sixline, it could be a carrier of parasites and could be aggressive.
I don't think 3-4g WC / week is too much for a 20, especially if you are having algae problems.
 

FishAndPhysics

New member
Read the acclimation sticky. You do not need to and should not drip fish. If the salinity of their bag water doesn't match your tank, prepare a small volume of fresh saltwater, well aerated, and net them in, and drip that.
 

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
The other clown was dead this morning. So frustrating. Was perfectly fine and eating just yesterday. I don’t get it.

Could it be something with the way I’m feeding? I’m feeding frozen reef nano food. I break off a piece in a small Tupperware and then get some of the water from the tank in there to help thaw it out. Then I swish it around until it all breaks up then I put it into the tank.

Could the food be too cold? Overfeeding? Something from my hands getting on the food?

Again, the two shrimp have been in there since day 1 and are perfectly fine. They devour the same food the fish do.

No signs of sickness on the fish either. Nothing on their skin, acting normal (for the most part), eating regularly, then boom dead. So frustrating.
 

Dmorty217

Saltwater Addict
I'm assuming that you're not QTing anything? I can't believe the LFS hasn't mentioned anything about disease to you... If your water parameters are fine and the salinity and temp is good then you have a underlying disease that is killing your fish. Diseases don't always have visual indicators other than behavior
 

ROB2005

Reefing Is My Passion!
Just a suggestion, test for ammonia in your tank. Ammonia, if present is lethal to fish. Also look into QT'ing your fish from now on
 

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
Thanks guys, I have an ammonia indicator on my tank and has never shown anything. If there is a disease, how do you treat that? Would the shrimp and CuC be able to survive that while the fish wouldn’t?

Thanks again!
 

dkeller_nc

New member
A few questions.

How certain are you that your refractometer is correctly calibrated, and you're getting an accurate specific gravity? One way to verify this is to compare your numbers to the store's.

How do you manage water evaporation? What's your water source, and have you ever tested it for the presence of ammonia or chlorine?

What specific gravity is the fish system at the store you frequent? Many LFS keep their fish at a reduced specific gravity, sometimes as low as 1.012 - 1.014. It's going to be dang near impossible to acclimate a fish at that specific gravity to a normal reef tank at 1.026 all in one go. The fish will definitely be oxygen starved, and possibly permanently damaged.

It is not impossible that you have cryptocaryon irritans (saltwater ich) or amyloodinium ocellatus (marine velvet) in your tank. In the case of ich, the parasites can infect the gill tissue of the fish without any other external signs (i.e., the "white spots" on the flanks of the fish). If the fish's respiratory system was damaged by too fast an acclimation between the LFS specific gravity and your tank's, a gill infection may be enough to push them over the edge.

Marine velvet is something that is often times not easily visible on an expired fish. This is a direct quote from Live Aquaria's description of velvet: "Many fish die from this disease without ever showing any visible skin changes."

Here's the Live Aquaria page.

The bottom line here is that in the absence of any testable water quality issues, and fish that are healthy and not acclimated too quickly, you have to suspect a disease process. And that means setting up a quarantine tank for new arrivals.
 

UCF_BRAVES_FAN

New member
Thanks a lot for the insight. I have an ATO and I get the RO water from my LFS. I use that to calibrate my refractometer.

They're going to send someone out this week to take a look and see if they see anything that would cause what's going on.

The owner seemed fairly confident that with over a month fallow period with nothing in the tank that it would help cure anything that might be wrong in the tank.

He said if necessary they'll send off the water to test for any kind of bleach or contaminants that wouldn't be coming up in the normal water tests that would cause all of this.

Hopefully it's all straightened out soon.

Thanks again.
 
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