Ask the WWM Crew
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Re: Help Needed!! Mysterious SW fish losses, whlse.... now
low DO 7/2/12
Won't bask 7/1/12
<Hi Lisa, Sue here with you.>
Our family was given a wild RES recently & we pretty much bought him the Mercedes model tank (tank, lights, filter, landing, etc.).
<Sounds great! Just make sure one of the lights is specifically UVB; UVA alone is not enough.>
Problem is he won't stop swimming. Is this normal? Shouldn't he get up on the landing to bask under the light? We are concerned he is getting too tired. Any help would be most appreciated!
<It’s very common for them to become anxious when they’re placed in a new environment. He should start to calm down in a few days. You also want to make sure that there is enough of a temperature gradient between the water and his basking spot so that he’s encouraged to get out of the water to warm up and completely dry off. Many sites unfortunately recommend too warm of a water temperature. Water temp should only be around 68-70 degrees F; basking temperature in the 88-90 degree F range.>
<You’re welcome, Lisa. Sounds like you’ve already done your research, but since you’re a new turtle mom, I’m also going to give you a link to our basic care guide so you can make sure you have all the bases covered as far as his care needs. Read it over and feel free to write us back if you have any more questions!
Bubbly Fish? SW, poss. emphysematosis
I have not contacted you in some time and I hope that all is well. Been a warm New England autumn so far over here, not great for biz, but the service
end of things is buzzing along!
I have a question for you today in regards to some of the fish in my quarantine system here at the store. We run a quarantine process on all new arrivals here of about a month or more if needed. Part of the process is a couple of weeks of hypo. Last week I began raising the salinity and have noticed over the past few days that a few of the fish in the system have developed some buoyancy issues.
<Mmm, what species vs. not what species are thus affected? At what relative size/s?>
This has only affected a handful of fish in the system, but I have lost a few and all of which seem to be tank raised. Various clownfish, a couple of gobies and some harptail blennies. What I am seeing with all of them is a slightly bubbly appearance to the abdominal area and I just witnessed today one of the clownfish appeared to excrete a couple of bubbles. All fish appear otherwise healthy. Other fish in the system are showing no signs of this. Do you have any thoughts on what I may be dealing with here?
<Likely "the bends"... Emphysematosis... Your pumping system is entraining air somewhere on the intake side. See here re in pond fish: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm
and the linked FAQs file above... NEED to find/isolate the (likely) pinhole allowing air to get mixed in under high pressure... and fix>
Could this be some sort of an internal infection that perhaps the T.R. fish are having trouble with that the wild caught ones have a natural immunity to?
<Not likely, no>
As always any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Michael P. Gillespie
Aquatic Creations LLC
Re: Bubbly Fish? Gas bubble dis. poss. 12/8/11
Thank you for the information and guidance on this. Since receiving your e-mail I have redone my intake plumbing on the external return pump for the system. The fish that were showing signs of stress actually appear better as of today, but I am still seeing small air bubbles in the water. Can you recommend a good way to check the plumbing on the return grid to see if there is an air leak along the way?
<Mmm, yes... spray (just water) in a clean bottle for spritzing for detecting bubbles... along and at every joint... Sometimes you can use a short piece of flexible tubing, one end at your ear, the other at these junctions and actually hear the air coming in... Lastly, using silicone grease along the joined areas of plumbing with your finger and watching if the bubbles are still coming out can be useful>
Unfortunately, I do not have a dissolved oxygen kit on hand
<Actually, it's not the DO, but just the small bubbles themselves that are trouble>
at the store to compare where we would have started from before re-plumbing to now, but I would assume that the issue is still present with the presence of the bubbles in the water.
<Mmm, not necessarily, no>
I do have a kit on order and will be making this a regular part of the testing schedule on all systems in the store.
<Do also check to see if larger bubbles are somehow getting pulled into the pump/s intake/s... best to discharge water into sumps in such ways (dissipaters, bags, underwater) that such bubbliness is discounted. Cheers,
Michael P. Gillespie
Aquatic Creations LLC
Re: Bubbly Fish? 12/13/11
Thank you again for all of the tips. The quarantine system is 3 MARs systems tied together and they seem to dissipate fairly well in the sump with a nice slow roll of the bio-wheel. I was not able to hear anything with the hose trick, but will try using some silicone lubricant when I get it in.
<Do disconnect all threaded pump fittings on the volute and re-do with new PVC using aquarium Silicone (not pipe dope or Teflon tape)... this is the single most common source of these issues... vibration wearing down the softer threaded fittings, allowing air to be entrained>
Is the lubricant safe to use with the taped threaded fittings?
<Yes it is>
I would assume so, but want to ask as I have never done it before. I understand now that the DO is not the problem, but would it be a reasonably reliable indicator of a problem should I see an unusually high reading?
<Not necessarily, no>
Michael P. Gillespie
<And you. BobF>
Re: Bubbly Fish? Poss. emphysematosis, solved 12/18/11
Ah, again many thanks! Looks like I am back to the plumbing again! I have never used silicone for threaded connections before.
<A stock trick of the trade>
How long do I need to wait before running the pump once the silicone is in place and the plumbing is redone?
Since the initial re-do on the plumbing there has been no losses and the remaining fish in the system are showing no signs of problems.
I have also since purchased a dissolved Oxygen kit, but had tested after the plumbing was done. I understand that this will not be a reliable indication, but the results of the titration test is 7ppm.
<About sat... Saturation that is>
Michael P. Gillespie
<And you. B>
Oxygen problem... Mmm, something
Help/Seawater changes in a 29G FOWLR
Low DO likely, SW prob. 4/19/09
Naso Tang (Second attempt) HELP!! Hlth, temp./sys. 3/8/09 Hi Guys, <Joey> In a bit of a panic and I'm hoping and praying you guys can help. <Will try> 150 US GAL Reef tank(with 50 GAL sump) , inhabitants are as follows: 1 x yellow tang approx 4 inches doing very well, nice and thick eating well good coloring and shape. 1 x powder brown tang doing amazingly. Beautiful specimen, eats well with no abrasions and is just my pride and joy. 1 x one spot fox face rabbit fish. Again doing very well and about 4 to possibly 5 inches in length although not nearly as "massive" as the tangs 4 x blue green chromis. All doing well and between 1 and 1.5 inches 2 x ocellaris clowns hosted in the same sebae again doing very well (1 = 2.5 inches , 1 = 3 .5 inches both very hearty) 1 x blue devil damsel doing well 2 inches 1x lemon (or yellow damsel) doing well but very very small I would say about 1 inch long Various corals of all types, leathers, SPS's , LPS, Softs, etc. About 200 LBS of Live Rock (lots of rock very large structure in the middle of the tank 5 inches or aragonite mixed with crushed coral bed 50 gallon sump with 1/3 as fuge . about 5 inch sand bed down there and about 30 pounds of live rock Above display I have an algae scrubber that is in the process of being established Lighting is : 2x 250W 14000K MH , 2 x 54 Watt T-5 FLO 420 NM , 2 x 54 Watt T-5 FLO 460NM, 9 white 1 w lunars and 9 blue 1 watt lunars. Water parameters are all very good . There is one item that I'm not confident on however which Is water temperature. I have been running my tank at about 83 degrees at night and it peaks at just under 86 (85.8 - 85.9) during the day. <I'd lower this, allow it to be a big lower... a good five degrees F. or so> There seems to be 2 schools of thought on this. The mid to upper 70's crew and the "keep it as NSW temps of where the fish came from" crew. Because these are reef animals mostly from the south pacific or Indonesia I thought it would make sense to run it at this temperature. <Ahh, no... see WWM re... I've written and debated extensively re this topic... much better in almost all cases for temperature to be lower... Don't have the time to hash over again here. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/heatrat.htm and the linked files above> At any rate here is my issue and why I'm so concerned, well call it scared as honestly that's what I am right now. A while back I introduced a very healthy looking Blonde Naso into my tank (no QT and trust me I understand all the reasoning behind doing the Qt I just haven't had an opportunity to set one up yet although I definitely need one and it WILL get done believe me!) <I hear you> The fish was perfect in the store and eating well. I brought him home and initially he was okay (for the first few minutes) but when I tried to feed he did not show interest. Then he began to show "black" coloring. And when I say black I mean it was frightening at first since I had never seen a fish turn completely black like that. Almost like he had donned a ninja outfit. No heavy breathing or other behavior that would lead me to believe he was stressed so I thought maybe those are just his night colors? <Yes.... can be... and patchiness, lighter blotches... But in a word: stress... from?> I did some searching and didn't really find anything leading me to believe that NASO's have "night" colors <Oh, indeed they do. Large Naso lituratus (though I don't condone/suggest this) are collected for ornamental use at night time... sitting/laying on the bottom... Have seen many times> so I began to really be concerned. For the next few days I continued to try without success to get him to eat vigorously. He would eat the occasional passer by seaweed the others would let slip but nothing more than that. I thought maybe he was getting bullied but didn't really see anything to support that. <Often subtle...> Then about the 3rd or 4th day he began to get a white cotton looking crust around his lips. <Oh, might have been damaged in collection, holding shipping... not uncommon> It would almost drift in and out of his mouth occasionally when he breathed. Almost as if he had a fake mustache that wasn't quite staying on? This went on for another 2 days and finally he passed on "I assume" because he never came out of the rocks structure. <Ah no... the question might be... "what caused this fish to go into the rock structure?"> My Cleaners all disappeared for a day or so and all reemerged later on at the same time. It was about a week when I finally gave up all hope that she was alive. I did some research and found that perhaps the stress of the move caused her to get a fungal infection that ended up leading to her demise. I did some asking around at the LFS and it turns out that she had just been brought in that same day when I bought her. A mistake I will NEVER make again. I should have asked but saw her eating which gave me a false sense of security. <You're learning> This time I put a slightly bigger and much thicker specimen in to my tank. Same 2 hour acclimation process. Very healthy and eating although he had been at the LFS for about a week. Eating well as well. I put her in last night and immediately began to see the same type of behavior as the last including the "Black" coloring. I am very very scared now that she will go the same way the other one did and I just can't figure it out. Why the Naso? <Mmm, one important factor that you've mentioned... temperature... and its effect on metabolism AND dissolved oxygen... need to lower...> I have bought all my fish from the same place and all are doing amazingly well? Not to mention the powder browns are supposed to be more difficult to care for than the Naso's ? <... needs more DO> Or at least that's my understanding. BtW I have tried soaking the food in garlic and also tried Zoecon with ZoÃ« mixture. (have tried brine, pellet, flakes, and seaweed of green, purple, brown and red varieties although I understand they have a preference for the brown) This time no fungus looking white stuff around the mouth (YET!) but I have noticed whitish markings on her skin . She had those from the store and they kind of look like just character marking... just abrasions perhaps. But I'm not sure. I really don't want to lose her . I would be very grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you very much for your time. Very Gratefully, I tried to introduce Joey Freyre <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Micro-bubbles/gas-bubble disease 2/15/08 Hi, <Hello Ryan> I've been breeding marines for a while and I recently set-up a 10 x 55g system to house the majority of my common broodstock (clowns, Dottybacks etc.) and I have been having a bit of a problem with micro-bubbles. I have tried many things to try and rectify this problem and am starting to suspect that I purely have too much flow going through the system. I have 30,000 LPH at 2m head height, coming from a large Onga (aussie brand pool pump) magnetic drive pump. <Mmm... I would use something else... you don't need the pressure this device produces, nor to pay for it> I am going to order another smaller (23,000 LPH) <Again, I'd look into something with a different flow/pressure profile... see an outfit that sells pumps for other purposes than pools> to see if this fixes the problem but in the meantime I am concerned about the broodstock I have already added to this system. How serious is gas-bubble disease for marine fish <Very> and what kind of exposure to micro-bubbles over what kind of period of time causes this? <Just a small exposure in a period of minutes can be deadly> Are can't seem to find a definitive answer. Even on your 'bubble trouble' FAQ's one person is told that micro-bubbles really are anything to be concerned about where another is told that they could kill your fish. <Have seen the latter on a few occasions... There are papers written on the topic, gear devised to out-gas water...> I can't see any obvious physical problems with my fish. The micro-bubbles seem to come out different returns depending on what I fiddle with and while it doesn't seem to bother some fish in others it seems to really disturb the fish, decreasing their appetite and causing them to withdraw into their tanks/decor. Thanks in advance, Ryan. <Do look for "college level" general texts on aquaculture... both the issues of gas embolism/disease and aeration/gas saturation. Bob Fenner>
Oil on top of water maybe from yellow head Jawfish?? Iodine article almost complete. 9/13/07 Bob and or crew. <James> Sorry for the delay on the iodine article. I have had a summer of tank issues as had my associate (mostly temperature fluctuations but also the following question). I have lost some frogspawn colonies and his corals have seen better days with a dramatic temperature shock when the heater burned out attempting to maintain tank temp on a cold night with a fan left on from the hot day. <Yes> Before going away I prepared some frozen food for my mother-in-law to feed the fish. I used the usual thaw and decant the pack liquid method and thought I did a reasonably good job of removing the excess pack juice and oils. Upon return there was a layer of oil on surface of the 24 gallon tank (the 75 gallon tank cleared up much easier). I first blamed the food as one brand of frozen matched the general consistency and odor/color. This was discarded. It has been two plus months and the problem continues to persist. Despite skimming the oil off with a plastic container and letting the top layer drain into the cup the oil continues to return. I parted ways with the Condylactis anemone (to reduce tank load) and have increased the frequency of small water changes. Temperature fluctuations have been a big issue all summer with inconsistent air flow and 5 degree F temperature swings sometimes occurring despite my best efforts and abilities to keep the upstairs air conditioned or windows open when conditions allow. Could the oil on the top of the water be from the Jawfish (stress response perhaps)? <Mmm, no... Could be from another endogenous source but much more likely from an exogenous... Simple cooking oil use, aerosol in closely contained indoor environments very often entail such coatings... Can be an important impediment to gas exchange... I'd keep wicking off with plain, white, non-odorized paper towels...> Bob, please send me an email with some contact information to send the iodine article. <Oh! Can send along here as an attachment or my personal addr.: email@example.com> Writing it has been a struggle to keep it both an easy read yet stay true to the science behind the halogen family. <Ahh!> My associate has done the testing and is less than impressed with the test kits thus far. <Heee!> One of his former occupations was water testing in an environmental lab. Again, sorry for the delay. Thank you. James Zimmer <No worries. Bob Fenner>
Power Outage/Oxygen Loss - 10/28/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Last weekend, a fuse blew in the room where I keep my aquarium. My girlfriend came home from work to find the temperature at 73 degrees (I keep it at 79) and all the fish gasping near the surface. <<Lack of oxygen...either the power had been of for quite some time or the tank has an excessive bioload>> She turned everything back on and the fish came down from the surface and the temperature gradually rose back to normal (I realize that a slower increase in temperature would have been preferable, but I wasn't available to deal with the situation at the time). <<I see>> I came back after being out of town for 3 days to find that my pygmy angel had been killed by ich (no surprise) and my red general star was pretty much just a pile of goo. <<Hmm...I wouldn't think a temporary drop to 73-degrees to be all that problematic. I have heard of/experienced lower drops during extended power outages without loss of life>> What I'm concerned about now is that my snowflake eel and my Sargassum frogfish are both still very lethargic and not eating (the temperature drop/rise happened 5 days ago). The eel barely comes out of the rocks; but when he does, he seems very weak and sluggish--and not at all interested in any food I offer. The frogfish has been laying around on the bottom--often on his side--gasping regularly and not eating. Is there anything I can do besides sit and wait at this point? How long should I expect for it to take for them to return to normal if they're going to recover? <<I think there is something else wrong here. Have you performed any ammonia/nitrite testing? The fact your fish were gasping at the surface suggests massive oxygen depletion, I'm betting your biological filter was severely damaged and the fish are being poisoned. A series of large water changes and the addition of a bacteria culture (either seeded from another healthy system or a commercially available product) should help>> Also, the frogfish looks pretty uncomfortable; is there a point at which I should consider euthanizing him rather than letting him starve to death or suffocate or something? <<Maybe, but hard to say when...do try the water changes/bacteria first...and soon!>> The temp is back to 79, SG is 1.024, alkalinity is about 130, pH about 8.3, nitrates <10. Thanks. <<Regards, EricR>>
A damsel problem In my marine biology class, we recently got 4 blue damsels, 1 yellow tailed damsel, and 2 4-striped damsels in. They were distributed blue blues to each tank, the yellow in one, and the striped in the other. Within a few days one blue damsel in each tank got the "lockjaw" that I have been investigating. They were each in separate environments for about 2 to 5 days, so I don't think it has to do with the environment, and it hadn't injured itself on anything. Both fish had died by the next day. We dissected one and nothing was stuck inside to prevent the mouth from closing. Today another blue fish has this same lockjaw, and we don't know what to do to cure it, if there is a cure. So unfortunately we assume it will be dead in the morning. Could you email me back with what you think the problem is and the solution, if there is one. Thank You -Paul Hooper <Mmmm, don't know of this ailment "lock jaw" in Pomacentrids. Some do die shortly after arrival (all are wild-collected) with their mouths "stuck open"... perhaps a manifestation of these specimens inability to generate sufficient oxygen, or loss of osmotic integrity... consequent to poor, rough collection, shipping trauma. Fishes have very high (relative to terrestrial Tetrapods) hematocrits (packed cell volumes) and live in a world/environment much less oxygen concentrated (at most about 7,8 ppm of O2)... and can have real troubles if the availability of oxygen drops, other influences to its uptake occur (e.g. drops in pH, elevated ammonia in shipping containers, slime wiped from their bodies...). Much more could be mentioned as possible sources of mortality, but I strongly suspect these anomalous losses are due to environmental stressors. Bob Fenner>
Suffocating fish Hi Please help my fish they seem to be suffocating, gasping and rapid breathing at the surface. <Not good. Time for action, NOW. Look to removing any possible surface film... a floating scum that may have originated from cooking oil, other aerosols... by dipping a pitcher at an angle, wicking off with clean, white paper towels (non-scented and non-printed)... and very possibly a substantial (25%) water change/s> There is lots of surface movement on my 300 liter tank as I have 2 x 1200 liters per hour power heads plus Eheim external filter and an internal filter all turning water over about 10 times per hour , the oxygen level seems to dip at night when the lights are off. What can I do to increase the level of oxygen in the tank? <Increased mechanical aeration like a long airstone (and pump...) along an inside edge... adding a lighted (photosynthetic) refugium (a sort of live sump), tying it in (with plumbing) to this system...> I have all the power heads and filters with the aerators on the end. The fish have been in the tank or 4 nights now and the problem has just started. <Oh! It may well be that your system is still "cycling"... do you know much re ammonia, nitrite....?> Though the aerators were not on the ends of the power heads to start with. The fish have also lost most of there colour within the last few hours going almost see through. I also have a protein skimmer going constantly. Please help with any suggestions. Thank you very much. Ben <Is your system cycled completely? How long has it been set-up? Do you have a local shop or other pet-fish friends that might come and look at it? Bob Fenner>
Death by anoxia Hi Bob, <Lynn> Sorry to bother you again, but I really need to know something and I don't know anyone else that can answer it for me. Here's the scoop. I bought a powder brown tang (white face) from the pet store. They kept him there for 6 weeks for me and he was fine the whole time. I then brought him home and as usual I put him in a 40 gallon quarantine tank and started hypo. which I did for 4 weeks (all the time this fish had beautiful color and healthy and eating) When the four weeks were up I started to increase the salinity. I know about increasing it slowly over a week or more. I would take 4" out of the tank and add a mix of 1.020 water. I did this morning and night for two days and then on the morning of the third day I accidentally added mix from another bucket that had salinity of 1.027 (had to catch a airplane and was in a hurry). The same 4" though. When I returned that night...the fish was dead. I feel horrible and was sure that it was my fault. Then I also realized that the hang on AquaClear 300 filter was not running (motor had crashed) I keep a glass lid on the tank and now I'm wondering if he would have died from lack of oxygen? or from my increase in salinity? Which do you think was more likely <Much more likely a lack of oxygen> Thank you so much, this is probably stupid as the fish is dead. but I just feel so bad about it and kinda would like to know if it was all my fault or not. thanks so much Lynn <Bob Fenner>
Low oxygen? Hi Bob, How can you tell if there's enough dissolved oxygen in a system? <Hmm, a few ways... the best is to carefully observe your livestock... their breathing and swimming behavior is indicative... There are also meters and test kits for this vital material in solution... And the lack of gas exchange, dissolved oxygen is a very common problem in captive systems... from lack of aeration, too little surface area, films at the air/water interface, too high temperature (increasing metabolic rate, decreasing gaseous solubility).... many more> I've got a 55-gal FOWLR w/ 1 maxi-jet powerhead, Eheim canister filter, and CPR BakPak skimmer. The top of the tank is pretty well covered with glass so I'm concerned that there's not enough opportunity for gas exchange with the air. Do the bubbles in the protein skimmer take care of the aeration? <They help tremendously, yes> Will improving circulation (with another powerhead) de facto increase the aeration? <Yes... especially if it is oriented to disrupt the surface, entrain air...> I tried using the airline attachment for my powerhead, but it put out too many bubbles. Thanks for your help. Suzanne. <I like your curious mind and attitude. Press on. Bob Fenner>
Questions on new tank Bob, I've set up a new tank (in Mid-may of this year). Its a 75 gal (4 ft long, 18" front to back) with 100 lbs Fiji LR and a red sea Berlin skimmer in the sump - no other filtration. I'm having a couple of problems with it though: 1) I get fine (pin prick sized) bubbles in my tank from my return. Its not the skimmer (I've tried running w/o it). I've tried different water pumps, and nothing seems to get rid of them. Currently, I have a MAG-DRIVE 7 pump (with prefilter sponge) for the return pump. I thought the sponge would eliminate the bubbles, but it doesn't - the sump doesn't appear to have any bubbles when the water gets to my pump. Any suggestions? <Yes, and a concern... do check the screws around the volute/impeller with a driver... you may have an air intake problem there... at any length you need to find, cure the source of the intake> My corals (polyps, SPS, LPS, leathers) and Lysmata shrimp are all doing well, but I still want to eliminate the fine bubbles. (they can only be seen when close to the tank glass - within 2 ft). I thought the bubbles would hurt my sps the most, but they seem to be thriving (mainly Acropora). <Not problematical with much besides fishes... read over: http://wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm On gas-bubble disease... an account about pond fishes... same principle> 2) I've lost some fish (2 fire gobies, 1 Kole eye tang, 1 bicolor goby) and I don't know why. <Oh, oh...> They all die within weeks after starting to work their gills rapidly. The day or two before death they become lethargic - lay on bottom - and get very pale around the gills. (ammonia/nitrate/nitrite all at 0). Oxygen is near saturation (6-7). I have a Australian clown that's doing fine and a mandarin goby that is doing ok also, except for the next item. I always dip (freshwater/blue) all my new fish for 5 - 10 min.s. Could this be some parasite? <Not likely with such a disparate mix of species... I do suspect gas-bubble problems here> Any ideas on the cause or suggestions to cure? <Find that leak... with a water/damp paper towel applied to sections of the plumbing, fittings mainly ahead of the pump, though could be after... to see where the air entraining stops...> 3) The mandarin goby is plump - when I first got him, he was pretty thin/sickly looking (My live rock has so many amphipods/copepods that they keep plugging my prefilters - a nice prob to have I guess), but he has white spots. It doesn't look like ick, rather, it looks like someone took an eraser and rubbed some of his pigmentation off - leaving white marks - mainly centered around the back of the head. Any ideas on what this is, how to treat? <Need to know more about the appearance, cause... Would treat with cleaners at this point.> Lastly, are SPS corals really suppose to be difficult to raise? <For some people I guess... given decent water quality, strong lighting, they grow like proverbial weeds for the most part> I've only been in the hobby for a year, and was always under the impression that they were difficult, but in in my experience, they seem to be fairly hardy - much hardier than LPSs/fish/leathers. I've got many different Acroporas and a couple Montipora capricornis and the worst luck I've ever had with any of them is if the Alk/ca drops too low, they stop growing until the levels are elevated - then they take off again. LPS corals always seem to be very susceptible to physical or infectious injury, in my experience. <Such are generalizations re SPS... Bob Fenner> Thanks again!
Questions on new tank - GPD Bob, Thanks for your response on GPD (gas bubble disease being the cause of fish death due to many fine bubble in my tank from my return pump) - I never would have focused on that w/o your advice. I read the article at http://wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm as well as a few other web pages I found after searching for GPD, but they ended up raising more questions/confusion (and here I thought that I was getting past the 'ignorant newbie phase' with my 2nd tank) that I hoped you could answer: <Best to be able to call on the aforestated "phase"... to always remember our child-like behavior... it is indeed always with us... and valuable> 1) I'm assuming GPD is caused by rapid changes in super saturation of gases of all types, not just oxygen. <Yes... changes in saturation/degassing generally associated with thermal and pressure changes> Oxygen saturation just happens to be the most convenient component to measure in order to determine dissolved gas changes- is this correct? <Hmm, okay... and a valuable measure for other purposes> 2) I'm assuming GPD is caused by 'rapid changes' in dissolved gas levels, and not the absolute levels themselves - correct? <Well, actually too much change in "undissolved gasses"... as in air/bubble growth/expansion within living tissue> If so, how much can the gas levels change in a period of time and still be considered safe (i.e. 1PPM O2 per hour?). <Think we may be talking about two different things here... any over saturation of any gas is trouble though... let's say 8 or more ppm of oxygen in a rapidly warming medium...> 2.5) If its the 'change' in gas levels that's the main culprit, is there a max safe level of 02 - regardless of how gradually it is obtained? <Ah, both... The analogy of a cold coca cola (tm) on a warm day being opened and shaken is useful here... imagine the inside of your fish (or yourself!) consisting of the Coke (tm)... You'd be better off in an equally pressurized environment, a cold one, one of similar total dissolved gas, or not shaken...> (I found a web article on GPD and salmon that indicated detrimental effects start at 105% saturation and fatalities start at 140%). <Yes, this is so> 3) If its rapid changes in dissolved gas that causes GPD, I'm assuming if I have a leak in a return pump, that I don't want to fix it too fast (i.e., it would cause a rapid decline in the dissolved gas resulting in another wave of GPD on my tank - when the saturation levels drop). Is this correct? <Not correct. You want to fix it ASAP... the fish are in the unpressurized world they have to be in... the extra gas is "the intruder"...> If so, can you recommend a way to slowly eliminate the bubbles instead of all at once? <No need to do this... repair the source of the air entraining immediately.> 4) Your web page article on GPD indicated that algae/photosynthesis could also cause GPD. Is this something to be concerned about if someone adds macroalgae to a 24/7 lit sump to an existing tank? <No... this scenario is mostly a concern in/with ponds... with very fast changes in lighting (the sun), copious amounts of filamentous algae, rapidly increasing/changing temperatures> If so, how do you add macroalgae to a sump to an existing tank in a safe manner (i.e. start out with a 4 hr/day light period, and slowly increase over a month, or start with small amount of plants and let it slowly grow)???? <Not a concern> Does photosynthesis (via lighted sump/macro algae) only cause GPD in extremely rare situations? <Exceedingly rare cause in aquariums> 5) Assuming that a skimmer isn't returning bubbles in its outflow, can high powered downdraft (i.e. ETSS), and needle wheel skimmers that are skimming 4-6 times the tank volume each hour cause GPD? <Yes... in some circumstances... one of the reasons their discharges s/b directed to a sump w/o livestock, or otherwise be fitted with a diffuser/accumulator of bubbles> Can they cause it if they suddenly break down by causing rapid loss of dissolved O2/gas (if so, how long would this take in an average - sorry for the vagueness - stocked tank - hours, days?). <Can be caused in minutes> 6) lastly, can you recommend a good O2 test kit? I'm using the Salifert kit, but its hard to distinguish between the 5/7 PPM levels (very similar shades). <Hach, LaMotte... better to use titration rather than colorimetric assay. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!
Having more problems then I can figure out... too much life, too little water, oxygen... Hi, I have a 37 gallon salt tank, and I have more problems then I can deal with. I am using an Eclipse 3 as well as a UGF with two powerheads. I have about 11 pounds of Fiji live rock, and I do a five gallon change out every week. Here is the problem: with the exception of a yellow tang, a small snowflake eel, and a crab, every fish that goes in there dies. I have spent close to 500 on fish, everything from triggers and lion fish to boxfish and groupers, and they have all died. Can you think of anything that would cause this sort of problem? Also, as of late the Tang has lost and regrown fins, and now one of his eyes is covered in some sort of crap that is making it bulge. I wonder if it is the live rock or the Eclipse, or a combination of both. On my last aquarium I had a Fluval and no live rock, and everything worked like gang-busters. No dead fish, nothing. Not even during the cycle. Do you think that the use of a bigger powerhead running the water from the UGF into a UV sterilizer would do the trick here? Ian >> From your list of what lives and what you've lost I can almost assure you of the root cause... and of a/the best route to solve the problem... You have suffered from a lack of gas exchange... not just gaseous solubility of oxygen... but a whole array of conversion and diffusion problems... inherent in your set-up (as you seem to imply... in comparison with your previous set-up). The life in/on your live rock, that becomes situated within the area of your substrate, and the "macro" life (tang, etc.) all are "breathing"... but there's not enough mechanical aeration and extraction of microbes, bio-important-molecules to support more large "gas users"... They've been dying from the ill-effects of poor gaseous exchange and metabolite build-up/concentration. Cutting to the chase, what I would do to solve all this in one piece of gear is to install a protein skimmer (tricky, but it can be done with Eclipse's) over the back... or better into a sump... A UV would help, but would not solve the problem... Bob Fenner Disease question... env. likely Hi Bob, I sent you an email (2) days ago and have not received your reply. Please let me know the answer as soon as possible since the longer I wait, the more chances that my fishes will die. I have a 105G tank with most Tangs and Angels. One of the Tangs (Sailfin), and one of the Angels (Imperator) started to act abnormally. They slow down, breath just a little bit harder (not faster), and have not eaten for 2.5 days. There is no sign of disease that I can see. I did a partial water change (5) days ago and did another one a day ago. I tested the water and everything (PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Alkalinity) looks OK. I had the same thing happened to my Naso Tang more than a week ago and it died after (2) days of not eating. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks, jt >> Thank you for writing... and sorry to be a "bit" behind. (am out on Maui, diving, taking pix.... touristing). What you describe so well, is very, very likely a matter of "environmental disease".... a lack of gaseous exchange... a few things can be done, immediately: lower your specific gravity... take out some of the marine water and replace it with just fresh... you can safely drop the spg a few thousandths today... and this will appreciably increase gas solubility... Going forward, do add a mechanical aerator... an airstone, and/or one or more powerheads.... The big clue here was the order in which the livestock you list were mal-affected... The Naso require/d the highest dissolved oxygen.... The situation may seem confusing in that it "happened all at once".... but there are many "things afoot" in a captive aquatic system... sometimes the microbial make-up in a system will greatly increase their use of gasses.... and much more possible... do the above things NOW. In the meanwhile cut back/don't feed your fishes. Bob Fenner
Algae? I set up a RR 180 gal tank about 6 weeks ago. I have the live rock (250 lbs), two damsels, one tang, and two gobies. I am using a compact fluor lighting system (6 X 95 W) which is on about 14 hrs per day. Small pink-silver bubbles are appearing all over the tops of the rocks nearest the lights, and they are spreading rapidly. They are individual spheres and look almost like air bubbles attached to the rocks. What am I dealing with, and what should I be doing about it? The tank has gone through a brown algae stage and is now primarily green and purple/pink. The ammonia level is very low ("0"), and I am using a wet/dry system with a protein skimmer off the sump. Thanks, Steve >> Hmm, likely this is either "just" a mix of successive algal forms that are photosynthesizing so vigorously their gasses are getting trapped beneath biofilms... Or could be a massive emergence of "Bubble Algae", most called Valonia in our interest... At this point, I would do nothing to these bubbles per se... but would add your "cleaner uppers" who will do a great deal to them (hermit crabs, snails if you'd like, blennies, Tangs, Mithrax crabs.... many other possibilities> Maybe take a read through my various "Algae" and "Algae Control" materials stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com for more. Bob Fenner
Wanted to add... Just wanted to add, that the fish appear to have problems breathing. The first couple hours they seem fine, then appear to breathing heavy (gulping with mouth and fins). They do not lose color. What could this be? I have always been careful that no soap got in the tank, and it is in a bedroom, and nothing is sprayed (haven't dusted since I setup the tank). Please advise! Cory >> <Ah, possibly just anoxia/hypoxia (low, no oxygen), coupled with the livestock "being new" (osmotically challenged), maybe added with other chemical insults I listed... Bob Fenner>