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Dead percula clowns?

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Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:26 am
ZWytt Level 3 Member
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Location: Saint Paul
I set up a 60 cube with eco-rock, cycled for 2 months or so with damsels and decided it was time for some cooler fish. Water tested perfectly before I brough home a pair of tank-bred clowns. They were doing great - eating mysis and flake, no signs of stress - for the first week and a half. All of a sudden, I found one dead some morning. The other disappeared two days later with no indication of sickness or distress. They were the only fish in the tank with some hermits and snails.

Any speculation as to why the sudden deaths?

Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:59 am
storrisch User avatar
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What are all of your water parameters
Garrett B.

Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:57 pm
ZWytt Level 3 Member
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Posts: 85
Location: Saint Paul
I keep the temp at 79 and salinity at 1.025 with pre-mixed saltwater. Not sure of the exact parameters but everything was normal when they were puchased and started dying (this was a couple weeks ago).

Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:50 pm
afishyanado Level 4 Member
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I bet that there is something wrong with your water chemistry. If you don't have a test kit it is pretty difficult to know if things are less than ideal. Here is where your values should be:

Ammonia: 0 ppm - Toxic to livestock if not 0

Nitrite: 0 ppm - Toxic to livestock if not 0

Nitrate: 0.0-30 ppm - Can be toxic to livestock if too high

You can take a water sample to most local fish stores and they will test it for you.

My other guess is that the fish may have been sick and when you introduced them into the tank and whatever they had killed them. I have found that One big help in preventing illness in my tanks is to NEVER add the water in bag from the store to your tank this is important because most fish stores have such a high fish turnover in their tanks that there is a very large risk of introducing disease into your tank.

Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:12 pm
ZWytt Level 3 Member
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Posts: 85
Location: Saint Paul
Ammonia, nitrites and nitrate were at 0, as tested by the store when I purchased them. Good point about adding the water though - I sometimes too and sometimes don't, but this time I did. Still seems odd that they would look so healthy for 1+ week and then keel over, but I also realize tropical fish can be a crapshoot depending on where you get them (mine were from LFS).

Thanks for the replies.

Post Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:14 pm
storrisch User avatar
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Location: Uptown - Minneapolis
After adding the clowns you are increasing the bio load as well. I doubt that's what sparked the death but without more specifics I don't think it'll get narrowed down. I suggest going to buy some quaility elos test kits.
Garrett B.

Post Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:22 pm
fullthrottle Level 1 Member
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I added 2 maroon clownfish to my 75 there was 2 damsels iv had fo a while and they picked and pester the clowns to death in about a week I was gonna get rid of the damsels but kept hoping they would work it out

Post Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:35 pm
TheKid Level 1 Member
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Posts: 10
afishyanado wrote:
I bet that there is something wrong with your water chemistry. If you don't have a test kit it is pretty difficult to know if things are less than ideal. Here is where your values should be:

Ammonia: 0 ppm - Toxic to livestock if not 0

Nitrite: 0 ppm - Toxic to livestock if not 0

Nitrate: 0.0-30 ppm - Can be toxic to livestock if too high

You can take a water sample to most local fish stores and they will test it for you.

My other guess is that the fish may have been sick and when you introduced them into the tank and whatever they had killed them. I have found that One big help in preventing illness in my tanks is to NEVER add the water in bag from the store to your tank this is important because most fish stores have such a high fish turnover in their tanks that there is a very large risk of introducing disease into your tank.

However internal damage starts at 23 ppm in nitrate. You won't see the damage immediately but it will do nasty things if kept too high too long.

Post Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:41 am
pomacanthus User avatar
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"TheKid" can you quote your source for that information please? Ive never heard that stat before and Im curious if its accurate. Thanks because if its valid I have a lot of water changes to do lol

Post Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:42 am
pomacanthus User avatar
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Location: Rogers

Let me be clear the question is directed towards the "anything over 23 ppm causes internal damage" you have me curious...

Post Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:49 am
pomacanthus User avatar
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Location: Rogers

you never posted your pH? The easiest test and most pertinent. Ive imported thousands of TRC directly from Sustainable Aquatics (breeder) and I can tell sometimes, not often some within the batch will die without explanation even in perfect water chemistry. I don't think its Brookenylla because the don't exhibit symptomatically but Ive seen it happen numerous times in my quarantine system. So who knows judging by your limited water parameter information your water looked fine.

Ive acclimated fish into 100+ ppm Nitrate in service accounts and kept them alive for many years that way. When you have secretaries who overfeed commercial aquarium accounts (despite repeated and numerous lectures) there isn't much of an option. Nitrate has been proven to cause cancer in labortory animals over extended periods of time (many many years) but never has been shown to kill a fish or any other animal short term. If you have excessive Nitrate more likely your other parameters are way off due to lack of water changes most commonly pH drop.

Post Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:00 pm
ZWytt Level 3 Member
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Posts: 85
Location: Saint Paul
Interesting thoughts on the Nitrate. And yes, I've definitely seen people let their tanks go yet the fish remain alive...

I don't remember the exact parameters anymore, after all this was from 2012. But I've experienced occasional loss of saltwater fish since then - sometimes clearly my fault, other times they seem to die without explanation as with the percula clowns. Perfectly healthy and happy for a week or two, then dead.


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