That age old newbie question: why did my fish die

Savas

New member
Well it finally happened, I am two months into my tank and suddenly, wham!!!, I have a major die off. My wife and I almost cried this morning. And to think last night I ran all my water tests and they came back normal (or close) and I made no adjustments to my tank. I am down-hearted and just trying to understand how to not have this happen again. I actually and foolishly thought I understood water chemistry... I am just bewildered by the whole experience.

Here are my water parameters from my Fish Log last night:
Temperature: 78.4
Salinity: 1.023
Ph: 8.4
Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia: 0

Here is what died:
1 Condylactus Anemone
1 Clown fish
1 Flame Fin Gobi
1 Neon Blue Damsel
1 coral banded shrimp


Here is what survived:
my corals (at least as of today because my green fuzzy mushroom coral has 6 out of 22 split mushroom heads)
1 black stripe damsel
3 hermit crabs
1 snail

I did a 20% water change this morning and tested the water to the following parameters:
Temperature: 76.1
Salinity: 1.023
Ph: 8.2
Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia: 0

Any thoughts on the cause and how to prevent it? Should I do another 20% water change tonight?

I have an Aquapod 24 with 25 pounds of live rocks.
 

Shagsbeard

New member
Too many fish for a new tank. You shouldn't be adding any fish for the first month, and about one fish a month after that. Most say no anemones for the first year... they're actually very difficult to keep in ideal situations.
 
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dc

Moderator Emeritus
Premium Member
I agree slow down. I'm not sure I'd put that anemone in the tank at all. If the anemone died first it could have killed the fish.
 

Shagsbeard

New member
Now... some advice as to what to do...

Get quality water tests for ammonia and pH. Those test strips are almost impossible to use accurately, unless you use them 20 times a day... like a fish store clerk. There's lots of things you should be testing for, but these two are essential. Invest in a set of Salifert tests and you wont be sorry.

Let your tank tell you when it's ready for a new fish... don't try to force it. You can get an anemone later, but try a more hardy soft coral first. Mushrooms and such are a bit more forgiving than an anemone. Clowns do not need an anemone to be happy. Most will ignore it anyway.
 

Savas

New member
Thank you all for the good advice. I sincerely appreciate the advice.

The anemone did die first... It actually died last night. My clown fish just loved that thing. That is what actually prompted my full water test. I have the Marineland test kit - test tubes and reactant, not strips and I feel comfortable testing the water. I took some heavy duty chemistry class in college...

It is very hard to keep it slow, but I will try. My wife and kids are want a colorful and lively tank and since it is in the kitchen, it is hard to keep it empty. The lack of instant gratification is probably the hardest part of the hobby.

What exactly does age bring to a tank?
Are there any other tests I should be doing? I also test for calcium.
Should I do another 20% water change this evening?

I bought aged live rock from a lfs that has a great reputation - the live rock was from a tank they were closing down.
 

papagimp

COMAS Rocks!
Could there have been a massive temp decline throughout the night? My tank drops about 4 degrees at night, if it dropped a few more, I could easily see death occuring. How long was the dead anemone in the tank for before you removed it?
 

Tomorleans

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9860649#post9860649 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Savas
Thank you all for the good advice. I sincerely appreciate the advice.

The anemone did die first... It actually died last night. My clown fish just loved that thing. That is what actually prompted my full water test. I have the Marineland test kit - test tubes and reactant, not strips and I feel comfortable testing the water. I took some heavy duty chemistry class in college...

It is very hard to keep it slow, but I will try. My wife and kids are want a colorful and lively tank and since it is in the kitchen, it is hard to keep it empty. The lack of instant gratification is probably the hardest part of the hobby.

What exactly does age bring to a tank?
Are there any other tests I should be doing? I also test for calcium.
Should I do another 20% water change this evening?

I bought aged live rock from a lfs that has a great reputation - the live rock was from a tank they were closing down.

I'm in the same boat right now. Except I only have two chromis's. Last night I noticed one hanging around the bottom and breathing hard. This morning I noticed it has a wobble when swimming. I fully expect it to be dead when I get home.. I went to fast with the tank. It's so hard not to.
 
A

Azial

Also it could be oxy dep in the middle of the night. Especially once a die off occurs it can trigger a chain reaction. Make sure one of the AP's jets is stirring the surface if it's not for good oxy transfer.
 

Tomorleans

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9861909#post9861909 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Tomorleans
I'm in the same boat right now. Except I only have two chromis's. Last night I noticed one hanging around the bottom and breathing hard. This morning I noticed it has a wobble when swimming. I fully expect it to be dead when I get home.. I went to fast with the tank. It's so hard not to.

Well, it's true. I found one dead when I got home.. I guess I need to play the waiting game a little better..;)
 
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