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FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease/Losses 8

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, Establishing Nutrient CyclingMarine Water Quality, Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Marine Environmental Disease 1, Marine Env. Disease 2, Marine Env. Disease 3, Marine Env. Disease 4, Marine Env. Disease 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 10, Marine Env. Disease 11, Marine Env. Disease 12, Marine Env. Disease 13, & FAQs on Environmental Disease By Cause/Types: Environmental Deficiencies, Oxygen/Gas Problems, Poisoning, Mis-stocking: Psychological Challenges, ( Aggressive Behavior, Territoriality, ), Physiological Challenges (e.g. Metabolites, Allelopathy, Stinging), & Troubleshooting/Fixing

Diabolus' Dropping Like Flies   3/3/06 Dear Bob, <Garen> I'm about to lose my freakin' mind here. <Too late for me, save yourself!> I had a diabolus Scorpionfish die about 2 weeks ago due to something other than water quality and I believe that something to be Ich!  I know that those in the Scorpaenidae family are pretty resistant to this parasite but I've had a fuzzy dwarf and a diabolus die, and in the days leading up to their death they both had breathing troubles that got progressively worse. <I would even consider Amyloodinium here...> The diabolus, starting about 4 days before his demise, began perching on live rock near the surface (he never did this before) and would occasionally dart to the surface as if trying to get air.  Now my last remaining diabolus is having the same breathing troubles (1 breath per second!!!) and he just began perching on live rock (never did this before either), it seems as if he is having some balance issues (ever so slight) and is not eating at all like he used to.  I know that you aren't a big fan of UV sterilizers, but as a precautionary measure I installed a TurboTwist 9 watt sterilizer (can only help I guess). <... Can't hurt... and I've used, and sold hundreds over the years...> Can I treat with copper (Cupramine by SeaChem) and if so, what amount and for what duration? <Mmm, can... I would turn off the UV while this copper is present... and first, I'd get, use a dissolved oxygen meter, test kit... and/or try swiping, removing the surface part of the system water, adding aeration... DO may actually be the only problem here.> I don't think that dissolved oxygen is a problem because I have a SeaClone 100 and 150 (modified) and a Magnum 350 canister filter on the tank. <Even with these...> The tank is a 46 bow and has a Cheekspot Scorp (3 inches), a Maroon Clown (5 inches), a Diabolus Scorp (4 inches), and a Gulf Toadfish (5 inches). <Too much... even sedentary fish life for this size, volume system...>   BTW this is most definitely not their permanent home, but seems okay right now for their current sizes.  Water Parameters: pH-8.3 / Ammonia-0 / Nitrite-0 / Nitrate-20ppm. <The nitrates are even a bit problematical here... I'd endeavor to keep them under 10 ppm... hard to do... adding a refugium...?> Also, I am trying to find plans for a DIY ozone unit for the skimmers.  Are you aware of any links to such plans? <Mmm, maybe see Ozreef.org re> What company makes a good ozone unit available for purchase? <Sanders and Coralife are my faves... there are others: http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_uv_ultraviolet_sterilizers_ozonizers__index.asp?CartId=> Thank you for your help! Sincerely, Garen <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Overheated tank  - 3/1/2006 Hi, I have just got back from holidays and found that my tank had been overheated for two weeks (when I got back it was 31c) <Yikes!> and was the temperature was also probably varying by several degrees a day. Almost all of my corals have died (except for a few Zoanthids and Corallimorphs) and my flame angel looked like it had been dead for at least a week and was decaying in the tank (the person who was taking care of the tank must not have seem him). The tank is now overgrown with thick bright green algae as well as some purple algae, both of which look like Cyanobacteria to me, covering all surfaces. I have done a 50% water change and will do a few more over the coming days and have also added a lot of activated carbon to the sump. My plan is to let the tank recover for a month or two before adding any more life. <A good plan> However, I'm pretty sure most of the life (shrimps, worms etc) that lives in the live rock is dead so I'm wondering if it's a good idea to purchase any more at some stage - any advice? <I would wait a few weeks here... surprising just how much life can/does survive such trials> I've read your articles and FAQs on problem algae and since half the life in the tank is gone and the filter is the same, I'm hoping that the algae will slowly disappear once all the nutrients provided by the dead fish and corals are dissipated given that the temperature problem is now fixed - do you agree? <Yes> And are there any other strategies you can think of that would help get my tank back to being suitable for invertebrates (which were generally flourishing before)? Many thanks <After the few weeks (3-6) I might add a goodly amount of new/fresh live rock... placed strategically atop the existing... Bob Fenner> Equipment/Power Heads Killing Fish   2/26/06 I got up this morning and found my beautiful large purple tang sucked into a powerhead. <Yuk.> Two weeks ago, I lost a clown in the same way. <Yuk again.> I've placed the caps <What do you mean by caps, the plastic screen?> on but it seems like it's not working.  What should I do?  I have 5 powerheads and at this point, I want to throw them all out!  What do you guys recommend as internal pumps? <These power heads must have some awful suction power.  I'd get some Hagen Aqua Clear Quick Filters to hook on to your power heads.  They come with a filter insert but wouldn't have to use it.  I've used these when I had anemones to prevent getting sucked in should they decide to move.  Drs. Foster & Smith sell three packs for about $19.00.  James (Salty Dog)> Nilesh

Clown and Mandarin spots   2/23/06 I'm resending this message, as I have not seen a reply and would really appreciate your help!!! <Thanks for re-sending... I don't recall ever seeing this> I've attached two pictures, sizes 366 KB and 387 KB. Are they too big and might that be causing a problem? <Some folks do report getting "bumped" due to pix... but I don't think it's (just) the size... summat to do with our ISP... but I don't know what. These are fine> One thing I failed to mention (perhaps because I dread the scolding that I'll get) is that I don't have a quarantine tank up and running and have never used one. I did do a fresh water dip on the clown when I first suspected a parasite. <... too late by then... your system will have become infested.> I try to feed the tank well (2-3 times a day). I combine Formula One, Mysis, Vitamins, garlic, and sometimes Cyclop-eeze, food pellets, flakes, or a cube from a frozen variety pack. I put the mixture in a bowl in the refrigerator and give small amounts at each feeding. Thank you, Kristi Clown and Mandarin spots     I am wondering if you could help me identify two separate conditions in my tank. I have a gold striped maroon clown fish (picture attached) that has a white spot in front of his dorsal fin. He has had it for over six months (quite a long story...I purchased live rock which was shy of cured and the clown soon looked like a parasite was eating away at his flesh. It had an open wound on his side. That wound healed, but a new one opened in front of the dorsal fin. It looked like a "fleshy", white wound with a thin stick protruding from the back.  I thought it was perhaps the first dorsal fin bone or a parasite. <Does look like a persistent sore/open wound and likely the first dorsal fin spine...> It was as if the wound was moving around his body). The wound will appear to improve, but then worsen, though I haven't seen the protruding bone/parasite for months. This clown is hosted by a bubble coral. My thought is that the parasite is gone, and that the wound isn't healing properly. Without a slime coat on the wound, could the bubble coral be causing the inflammation? <Yes, a possibility> Also, I purchased a green mandarin dragonet (picture attached) two weeks ago. I realized that he was a bit thin and that's a red light, but he ate whatever they fed him at the LFS. He is eating well and very active. A few days after being introduced, he displayed grayish patches. They are not white and powdery. The patches are not in the same place each day, and some days he has more patches than others. It appears to me that the spots get worse throughout the day. Can you please tell me what you think might be ailing my tank inhabitants?  THANK YOU!!!! <This also looks like a recurring environmental insult...>     I have a 75 gallon reef aquarium that has been established for 2 1/2 years. I have been maintaining it for a little over a year. Metallic Foxface, noted clown and mandarin, 2 Bartlett's Anthias, pink watchman goby, and 2 cleaner shrimp. Nitrites - 0, ammonia - 0, nitrates - less than 20, PH - usually around 8.0. PH has been fluctuating quite a bit in the past few weeks. I have been putting in more than usual Kent Marine Superbuffer-dKH to keep it up at 8.2. Calcium is over 500, so I believe that is why the PH is low. I do weekly 5 gallon water changes. <... I would increase the percentage of water changed, drop the Kent product, allow the calcium to drift down to 400 ppm or so, and look into a salt mix that will get you alkaline reserve... and start using activated carbon... Bob Fenner>

Emperor angel problem   2/23/06 Dear Bob and colleagues Please help I have a 100 gallon home display tank and a 200 gallon sump). There has been a sudden chain of events causing an issue with my tanks members, especially the 3 year old emperor angel. My water parameters are as follows;pH8.2 , ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20ppm ,SG 1026 and temperature 24.7 centigrade. These were taken this morning before tank lights were switched on. Other hardware includes Deltec AP850 skimmer, phosphate (ROWAphos) fluidized filter and wet/dry filter (maybe why I cant get lower nitrates!) <Likely, yes> Following an ich outbreak on my C. Lunula, I treated the system with Myaxin solution for 5 days, but still lost him unfortunately. It has resulted in the emperor showing very distressed symptoms (rapid gill movements, loss of appetite and hiding away but no obvious bodily ich signs). During this period I lost an Anthias with no obvious causes but the remaining tank members seem fine (comprising 2 Hawkfish, purple tang, blue tang, green Chromis and 3 convict blennies). The soft corals showed minor irritation but seem fine now. When I switched the UV sterilizer(30Watt) back on, did this result in any toxic shock chemicals? <Not likely> I have now  tried a 30% water change and the addition of carbon filtration to try and improve matters but I am still most concerned about my emperor. Are there any further suggestions you might offer? Best regards Dave K from the UK <Not from the information provided. Have you read on WWM re this species? Please do so: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/imperator.htm And the linked files above. Hopefully something will "pop up" here re your situation. Bob Fenner> "The soft corals showed minor irritation but seem fine now. Are there any further suggestions you might offer? Best regards Dave K from the UK" <Actually... on a moments reflection, the problem is likely the negative reaction you list re the soft corals... These are very likely poisoning your system, consequent from the Myxacin... I would add a good deal of activated carbon to your filter flow path, and execute a series of 10-20% water changes every few days to dilute their effects. BobF>

-Stung Angel?-   2/22/06 Hi, <Hi Tom> Last week (Tuesday) I received a mail order adult Red Sea Emperor Angel (7-8").  It showed up with rapid breathing which continued through acclimation and the next 12 hours in the quarantine tank.  Over the next day or so it started swimming around and is now behaving normally and eating everything in sight.   <That is good to hear.> The problem is that on the second day a small pink pimple started to develop on the body near the front left side of the dorsal fin (near the head).  There are also a few other much smaller discolorations (darker pink/purple; flat) in the same area.  The "pimple" has grown to 1/8" and the top turned white (the other spots haven't changed; perhaps smaller). <Hmm sounds like welts from being stung.> I don't know if it has anything to do with it but during the first 24 hours it spent most of the time laying on its left side often on top of mushrooms and Zoanthids (possibly some majano anemones) in the quarantine tank (where it remains).  Reading through information on the site leads me to think it may be a parasite but I am not sure.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks. <Yep, it's welts from being stung probably, Zoanthids pack a serious sting to them, and I am amazed that the angel did not move away from them.  Can you remove the corals and polyps in the q/t?  If you can I highly recommend it, put in some larger diameter PVC pipe pieces or base rock that you can remove if need be.  It's easier to treat the q/t that way if it is a parasite.  Just watch the fish, and keep feeding it good foods and seaweeds, it will help speed up that recovery.  Glad you are using a q/t, just incase it is a parasite, but it sounds like a coral sting.  Just remove those corals, or if you cannot, cover them with egg crate or something to protect the angel while its in q/t.> <Justin (Jager)>

Pink sore on green Chromis... env. dis.    2/17/06 Hi all <John> I have a 250 litre (c.60 gallon) tank with a 40 litre (c.10 gallon) sump that I've been running for about a year.  Last addition was over four months ago.  Contains: 2 tangs <Too small a volume for....> 4 green Chromis 1 Banggai cardinal 1 orange-spotted sleeper goby 1 pygmy angel 1 tomato clown 2 cleaner shrimp 'big pile' of rock, mushroom leather, small bubble, clove polyp, anemone (aka clown sleeping bag) ... 2 romantic starfish and about a zillion starfish babies... and one or two very shy red-clawed hermits and some slug-like hitchhikers <Good descriptors> Equipment: UV, skimmer, refugium in sump, 2 powerheads in tank + return pump, metal halide 10 hr/day, night light in sump. Has been going really well, zero mortality since a heat wave last July, but this evening my daughter spotted a 2-3mm raised pink sore on the smallest Chromis.  Behaviour (the fish, not the daughter) is normal, so far.  He fed fine this evening. Parameters a little off as I've been topping up with RO but not changing very frequently: NH3 = 0 NO2 = 0.3 <Mmm...> NO3 = 100 (yikes!) <Yeeikes!> pH 7.8 <A bit low> SG 1.025 (more RO needed!) <And buffer, and water changes...> Any idea what this sore might be? <Environmental and social stress> I have no QT/hospital tank - what could I do in the main tank? <Fix your water quality> What is the size and time lag of water changes I should do to get that nitrate down to acceptable levels? <Posted... and not the entire approach I would take...> Thanks for your time and help! JC <Do start those water changes, reading re Nitrate control/reduction. Bob Fenner> Dust Cloud Killing My Fish - 02/15/06 Hello WWM, <<Howdy>> I frequent your site on a very regular, and have only had to ask couple of questions over the years - thanks to all of your helpful articles and FAQ's. <<Welcome>> But, I haven't found any answers to my current problem.  I have a 120 gallon tank with: approximately 140 pounds of live rock, 1-2" of 1-2 millimeter aragonite, a Aquaclear 901 and a Seio 802 powerhead, and a T1000 protein skimmer.  I was having a little trouble with nitrate levels, so I started  building a sump/refugium.  I added 4" of sugar-fine aragonite to the refugium, and hooked it up to the main tank. <<Mmm...as this is a stocked tank, did you rinse the sand first?>> And, as I guessed, the tank because very cloudy for the next day. <<Indeed>> It's been two days now and the corals have yet to open-up again, but more concerning is how this change has affected the fish.  The Tangs started to breath very heavily, and today, the Powder Brown died showing no ailments to his body.  The other tang (a Regal) is still alive, but looks like it may pass-away soon too.  He however, is showing physical manifestations; light-colored areas show up on his body, but they'll go away later in the day. <<Stress>> What's happening here?  All my levels are normal, with the exception of ammonia - there was a little spike at 0.5 ppm.  The LFS's don't have any good answers.  I am totally at a loss for what is wrong with my tank. <<Stress is the killer here, caused possibly by reduced oxygen levels and fluctuations in pH/alkalinity, other chemical processes, when you let the "fines" (the very fine dust-like particles) in the new sand bed invade the display tank in heavy concentration.  Some may tell you you're not required to rinse the sand first; and on a new empty system this is usually the case, but I always recommend rinsing sand before adding to an established system...I have seen this kill fish before.>> This refugium project was supposed to help the eco-system, not kill it.  Please help. <<The refugium will be of help Derek.  If the dust cloud has not settled yet, disconnect the 'fuge and give the sand a good rinse.  At the very least, I suggest you perform a large partial water change.>> Thanks. Derek <<Sorry for your loss. Regards, EricR>> <Not> Strange total loss in marine tank   2/14/06 Hi there <Hello> Please could you try and help. I have a 400 litre marine tank that has been running now for 10 months. I use simple filtration system with live rock and a protein skimmer, in the tank I also have two small pond pumps to promote better circulation. <... do check these... the screws that hold the volute on particularly... and the "drive shaft" may be troublesome... rusting> I only use live rock as décor and make use of 5 39w fluorescent lamps, 3 white and 2 Aquablues. I introduced fish, invertebrates (shrimps, crabs, anemones, snails) and some marine plants to the system after the suggested waiting time with success - unfortunately two new clowns a few months later brought white spot in <Learn, adapt/adopt the discipline of quarantine my friend> and most of the fish died, the damsels survived. After the necessary medication the tank was back on track and all was well again. <... you treated the fishes in the main tank... with the invert.s? The disease/parasite is still present> In December during a beach holiday, I collected (with the necessary local permits) a few plants and animals (snails and hermit crabs) from the ocean and brought them back home. One week after introducing the new plant and animals <Need to be quarantined...> to the tank everything started dying. The fish showed systems of fin rot, and loss of swimming ability, dying slowly but the plants died over night. All that survived was an anemone, a tub anemone and the snails - including my cowry. The two anemones look very bad and almost hanging on for dear life while the cowry has never looked this good or this active. <A useful clue> It's now one month after the death, I have done a mayor <Hail to the chief!> water change, have been adding extra supplements and have done all the necessary test's for ph, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate with all the test registering with in the recommended levels, the temperature and salt levels are fine. One thing though, long stringy green and red algae has become a huge problem, covering all the live rock and pumps. Last weekend I introduced a damsel which died before morning, today I added a squirrel and a clown - they both died with in 6 hours of introduction, with out showing any signs of rapid breathing.  I also have noticed an increase in "salty smell" from the water - but this could simply be as we are now in mid summer. I am no giving up, I suspect poison but do not have a clue where to start or what else I can do. From your website I read something about live rock "dying" and poisoning the system - could this be possible? <... more than the LR decomposing here likely... I would remove all purposeful livestock (to a new, smaller system that you can/will use for treatment and quarantine henceforth), and dump most all water out of the main tank, refill and leave fallow for a few months... to rid biological, chemical problems... hopefully. If this doesn't "do it", I'd dump all again, and bleach it...> Please, please could you assist as I am now at the end of my wits and my pride and joy has become my biggest head and hart ache?    Best Regards Zandre Rudolph <... Do consider what is written above. You have made some critical mistakes... avoidable... but not easily corrected at this point. Bob Fenner>

Copperband Butterfly acting lethargic  - 2/11/2006 Hello WWM Crew!  First, let me thank you for your site and great information.  I have been reading for the last 2 hours or so (not for the first time!) but haven't been able to spot the answer I'm looking for.  So if I've overlooked it somewhere please do not think ill of me. <Mmm, no. And if you have ideas on how to arrange the content here, to make it more readily accessible, assimilable, please do speak up> I have a 75g tank w/a 30g sump that has been up for about 2.5 months with LR, and fish and inverts for about 6 weeks.  I let the LR cure for two months prior to putting it into the tank, and it seemed to cycle during that period.  Since setting up the tank, I had my original cycle and my NH3, NO2 and NO3 have all been staying pretty much at 0.  Ca was low at about 320 ppm but I managed to increase it to 450 over the last 10 days.  I add a small amount of Iodine (<5 ml) once a week.  Same with Kent essential elements.  I change out about 10 gallons per week with fresh saltwater.  My SG=1.025, Ph=8.2, KH=11.  I have about 75-80 # LR in the main tank, maybe another 15# in the sump, and am running UV and a protein skimmer.  I run a 1200 gph pump from the tank through the sump and have a 2nd closed loop system w/a Squid and an 850 Eheim pump. total flow in the tank seems pretty good.  I have one pearly Jawfish, one Sailfin blenny, 2 clowns, 1 blue tang, 1 Copperband butterfly, 2 Turbos, several Astreas, several Trochus, and about a dozen total hermits (blue, red and scarlet).  I overfed a bit when starting out and have some algae growth and a little Cyano started in the areas out of the main current.  I am getting these under control now but still am working on cleaning it up a little.  Last week 2 emeralds died within a day of each other, and two Turbos mysteriously bit the dust.  All the inverts and fish seem healthy with the exception of the butterfly.  So I guess I have two questions.  Any idea why the emeralds and snails would have died? <Mmm, possibly from some sort of "imbalance" from the addition of the supplements... though these should be discounted due to your water changes... or a biological agent/poisoning in situ> And now for the big question!  My Copperband, who I love dearly, went from being perfectly normal and eating well one day, to laying on the bottom, gasping and not eating the next. <... am gravitating more to the latter stated cause> He was eating Mysis and then decided one day he would only eat live brine shrimp.  (I guess even fish love McDonalds, eh?) <Don't supersize!> Anyway, I tried a variety of things to get him back on Mysis but he just wouldn't eat.  Eventually he showed what I was told by my LFS is a Lymphocystis growth on his lower lip. <Environmental/stress related/direct> I was told to not worry about it as it would go away on its own in a month or so, <Yes, good advice> and it never seemed to bother him eating.  So in an effort to keep him well fed while getting rid of his wart, I kept giving him brine shrimp though I added Zoe and Zoecon vitamins and a garlic elixir to the shrimp as well as feeding them to gut load then before feeding.  Unfortunately he seems to now be in bad shape - drifting around the tank, wont eat, and even looks somewhat emaciated even though he ate as recently as last night.  I haven't noticed any cysts on him and his color is good.  He looks normal with the exception of his laying on the bottom on his side and slight pumping of his gills.  Is it possible for him to starve to death eating brine shrimp? <Yes... not uncommon> Could he have some sort of parasite? <Yes> Would a freshwater dip help him? <Not likely> Also, it seems that I noticed the tang scratch the LR a couple of times when I first added him to the tank about 3 weeks ago but he is fine now, and he was fine at the LFS for the week they had him. <They do this...> Did I introduce a parasite to my tank with the tang? <Possibly... am sure you're aware of the benefits of quarantine> I know - I should have isolated him first but it seemed sort of foolish since I had just bought all the other fish from the same LFS the in the previous couple of weeks before.  Sorry for the long note but I wanted to make sure you had as much info as I could remember to type! Thanks in advance - Rob <Mmm, I would add a unit/pad of Polyfilter in your filter flow path here... allow the calcium concentration to drift down into the upper 300 ppms... and suspend the addition of supplements for a while. Bob Fenner> Re: reef problems... Just crowding   2/6/06 Sorry for the grammatical errors last time. I was in a rush. The problem is that all my fish are twitching out of control. My clownfish will go on his side completely and will shudder and twitch- as if he was having a seizure. My hippo tang is doing it also- but not my blenny. All of my inverts. are o.k. also. The twitching all started when I added a second clown of the same family to the tank. Any ideas as to what is causing these behaviors or how to fix them? My tank is twenty gallons- long version with a power filter and skimmer and the current live stock is: two clownfish (ocelarious), one hippo tang (less than the size of a quarter), a small blenny, a button polyp colony, banded coral shrimp, and a clean up crew consisting of about five hermits and three snails. -thanks <... way too small... your problems are rooted in crowding... behavioral and physiological... You need more room, period. Bob Fenner>

Urchin mysterious death-poisoning of tank  02-05-06 Dear Crew,    <Dawn>   My tank recently crashed. Most everyone was saved, except the fish, who perished very quickly.  It happened while I was at work;  my housemate reported tank looked great at 3pm. It was cloudy / milky by the time I got home 3.5 hours later, fish were dead, and most everything else was severely stressed.       I suspect the death of a Diadema setosum or Antillarum (not quite sure which it was) is what triggered the crash. <Could, yes> I think it died, (it hadn't been well for some time, it had dropped it's spines 3 times in recent months), and in turn created a toxic soup that caused tank crash.      I do not have good facts for this, just my suspicions.  I've been researching for info re: toxicity of urchins in the tank once they die, but having very little success.        I did find this on WWM, but little else in the Urchin articles and FAQs - "There are no absolutely reef safe urchin species IMO... too much chance of mysterious death-poisoning of the system" ~ Bob Fenner.        My questions:      What leads Mr. Fenner to the above conclusion?   What can you all tell me about the death of sea urchins poisoning a tank?   Could you point me in the direction of additional information?      Thanks in advance and kind regards,      Dawn < http://www.google.com/custom?q=urchin+poisoning&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Urchin mysterious death-poisoning of tank  2/6/06   Thank you for your quick reply.      <Welcome>   I had done that particular search (and others as well) on WWM and read the articles / FAQs that came up prior to posting my question.  The first hit on the search results is the one from which I drew Mr. Fenner's quote.  I have in addition done much looking on the web, thinking it must be common enough that I would find many sources of info.      There is a great deal of info surrounding being poisoned by mechanical injuries involving urchins, but I am having difficulty finding info about the death of an urchin poisoning a tank.      I've also approached local LFS', all of whom profess they've not heard of such a thing as a dead urchin poisoning a tank.      Would it be possible to give a quick outline of your understanding of the issue of urchin death poisoning the tank?        Thanks again,      Dawn <Just this: that these events are positively correlated anecdotally. Bob Fenner>

Sea slug Toxin? Oh yes  02-05-06 Morning guys! <Too cheerful...!> Just found your web sight and it's now booked marked! <And the site too?> I've been searching all over the web trying to find an answer to my problem! About a month ago I purchased a beautiful sea slug. A week later I found it dead, caught in my filter. <Yikes... am trying to put away the pix from the last trip... and am on to the Opisthobranchs... and reading re just how toxic some of them are... no wonder they can be so gorgeously colored and not predated, eh?> A week later all my fish except for one damsel were dead! ( Niger Trigger, reef beauty, butterflyfish, cardinal, yellow tang) I forgot to mention that my tank is a combo reef/fish 50 gallon. My soft coals and one Anemone were not affected nor were the cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs and turbo-snails. I immediately suspected the death of the sea slug and sure enough read that these slugs secret a defensive toxin. <Yes... but not so much a secret to the fishes they're found with... just in the confines of an aquarium...> I performed a 50% water change and replaced all my filters. I let the tank "stand" for 3 weeks then introduced one blenny to the tank. Within 36 hours it died! It's skin was sloughing off and fins looked as if they were dissolving. <Yep> My question is; should I completely start over with new live sand and live rock??? ( the rock is still very purple in color) or let the tank recycle for a longer period of time???? HELP! Great sight, Jim <Mmm, if it were me, mine I'd try adding a good quantity, quality of activated carbon in your filter flow path, let another few weeks go by and try some other "test fishes". Bob Fenner>

Question: Inexplicable Marine Losses   2/1/06   Hello WWM crew,    <Bernard>   I have used your website for a few years now and find it to be an incredible resource for those in our hobby.  I thank you for that.  I've got my first question (or set of questions) for you, since I find similar FAQ's, but not exactly.  I apologize for the lengthy email, but I thought the more details, the better.  I really want to know what's going on with my tank...      My tank:  100 gal w/ 30 gal sump, ~100 lbs of live rock.   I've been in the hobby on and off since the late 80's or so, and for the past 3 consecutive years.        Going back ~5 months, my tank had been established for about 2 years w/ great coralline growth on the rocks, healthy fish (yellow tang, 2 maroon clowns, blackcap Basslet, flavivertex Pseudochromis, six-line wrasse, others), healthy inverts (numerous hermit crabs, snails, 3 rose BTA's, 2 cleaner shrimp, and 1 blood shrimp), and corals (numerous zoo's, mushrooms, 1 gorgonian and 1 frogspawn).  The tank was amazing and it ran itself, except for a 20 gallon water change every other week (10 gals every week if I'm not being lazy).  No predators in the tank whatsoever - I had no deaths in ~1 year.      Then, the coralline started bleaching and the frogspawn started to retract and disintegrate. <... not uncommon... "something" became rate-limiting> This happened to be during a prolonged heat wave and I didn't know at that time how sensitive the frogspawn was to heat.  Shortly after I saw the frogspawn fading, I left the country for 3 weeks with my fingers crossed, and with my tank in the hands of a mildly experienced marine aquarist to do feedings and water top offs.  Things did not get better with the frogspawn and as it died, it took everything in the tank with it, one by one. <Maybe... or perhaps coincidental>   Unfortunately, I was on safari in Africa, and my friend thought that I wouldn't have email access, so he didn't bother emailing.  By the time I came back to town, to put it mildly, my tank was a disaster area and my friend was very traumatized because so much had died on him.  I did my best w/ massive water changes, but it was too late.  I managed to save one hermit crab.      So, before introducing anything new, I wanted to ensure that my water quality was good and that the beneficial bacteria had a chance to rebound.  I let the tank sit for ~2 months, empty, w/ everything still running.  When I checked the water about 2 months ago, everything was good, so I started introducing fish.  Over the first month, I introduced 1st: a tiny 1.5" royal Gramma, 2 tiny 0.5" tomato clowns, 3" lawnmower blenny, and cleanup crew (hermits, snails).  One of the tomatoes perished almost immediately, and then a week or two later, I introduced: one 1.5" tomato clown, and one 1.5" hippo tang.  Then, about 1 week later, I introduced a 3" Scopas tang, one 1.5" Sixline wrasse, and one 2" Banggai cardinal.  Over the next couple of days, the Sixline and the cardinal disappeared.       Then I started to see signs of ich on the hippo and the Scopas.  So, I picked up 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, acclimated over 1 hour, and both were gone by the next day.  The ich was mild on the hippo and Scopas and came and went, so I thought (incorrectly) that it was done.  I then saw some great-looking Anthias and ended up picking up 3 Bartlett's and 2 more cleaner shrimp.  I acclimated all longer this time - about 1.5 hours - and all dead by the morning.  Once again - I checked all the parameters on the tank and it all looked fine - zero nitrite, very low nitrate and zero to very low ammonia (even after the deaths), 8.5 pH.  I'm very bummed at this point and the ich has re-surfaced.  The ich got worse over the following week or so, and the hippo passed away.  I ended up getting 2 more cleaner shrimp trying to control the ich and to save the Scopas.  I acclimated the shrimp over 2 hours this time and for the first couple of days, they seemed fine, only to disappear after 2-3 days.      Since then, the Scopas has died, as has the royal Gramma - both to ich.  I moved the Scopas to a q-tank treated w/ copper, but too late, apparently.  All that is left is my cleanup crew and the 2 tomatoes.      I think tank aggression might be the most likely cause of my losses? <Mmm, not likely the principal cause here> The Scopas the largest fish by far but was very mild - NEVER showed any signs of aggression whatsoever.  I saw the hippo chase the Gramma, the smaller clown, and the lawnmower blenny.  I saw the larger tomato chase the smaller clown on a few occasions, and it seems that the larger tomato might have been the "mean one" the whole time?      So what gives?  I can't find anything on your site that points to my smoking gun.  I am 99.9% sure there's no mantis or other predators that would have come on my live rock - as I mentioned before, my tank was stable for a very long time (prior to my crash) w/ some very small fish and I experienced no losses whatsoever.  I haven't added any new rock at all.  And, if the tomato was the bad apple, would he have killed all of my cleaner shrimp too?  Perhaps I didn't have enough iodine in the water for the shrimp?  I haven't been dosing.   <Mmm, not likely>   For now, I have removed the clowns to my Q-tank and there are no fish in my main display - only the cleanup crew.  I will let that tank lie fallow for 4-6 weeks to kill off the ich. <Good>   In the meantime, I want to figure out what went wrong before I introduce a single thing.  I may trade in the two clowns as I think the bigger one was a "bad guy", and I will quarantine all new arrivals from this point forward.    <Amen brother>   Sorry for the extremely long email.  I appreciate any help you can provide.  I am terribly disappointed with what has happened to my tank - basically 2 complete disasters in less than six months - easily the worst things that have happened to me in all my time in this hobby.      Thanks for your time,   Bernard <The first disaster event was likely triggered by what many call "old tank syndrome"... a loss of ready soluble chemical make-up, and/or biological diversity... most easily avoided through renewal/replacement of carbonaceous materials (substrates, decor, rock) on a periodic basis once a system is about a year and a half old. The second, continuing on, was resultant from a lack of quarantine, introduction into this aged make-up. Bob Fenner> Allelopathy, Cuke   2/1/06 Several questions real quick... I have e-mailed you twice with no response, so I wont put a lot in this e-mail in case something happens. If you need more info, please ask :) I have had a Cuke, (Cucumaria sp., family Cucumariidae, order Dendrochirota....pink and green cucumber) for over a year.  It was placed in a 150 gal reef set up.  It has been doing wonderful!  It was feeding normally, etc.  I had to do some rearrangement with the live rock in order to add new....that was about 3 weeks ago.  Ever since I had done that my tank looks depressing.  You know, just the feeling that something isn't right.  Water quality was good....tested more than usual just to be sure.  My Cuke began looking very different from what it had. It typically had a very strong shape, it's tentacles would extend fully while eating et al. It has its spot up near the top of the tank right beside the current.  With the movement of the current it still held strong.....until the rearrangement.  It looked like a gooey mass of pink and green with its tentacles barely protruding, one may extend fully. The current looked like it was going to wash it away into nothing.  Then it began to shrivel up, looking no bigger than the size of a little pinky finger. The color began to fade and still is.  I didn't want any toxic nonsense to take place in my main display, so I moved it last night into a 20 gal set up.  The color is still fading and I don't know what is taking place.  Have you heard of this happening, and is there any advice you could offer?   <Mmm, I think you were smart to move this animal... though as a species it is one of the more innocuous...> I guess I lied about this being quick, sorry.... along with my cucumber's odd behavior.....after I did the rearranging, some of my corals took a beating...  I had 10 colt corals, ranging in size (just beginning to grow, to big and beautiful) that died....every single one of them died!   <! Their demise is very likely directly related to the lapse in health of the Cucumber... and more> *sigh* the lessons I shall learn.  And I had a leather coral which was about the diameter of a baseball...it had had a spot in the center that wasn't doing well to begin with....it is still alive but I don't think it is going to make it...it looks worse, one side may have the chance to make it, could I cut off the dying part or would that cause more stress? <I would move it to another system... stat! If you have one> If I did remove that part how could I go about doing that? <Covered on WWM> Did I witness allelopathy in my tank?! <Of a sort, yes> I am not extremely familiar with this, but I think I've got the gist of it....If there are any resources that talk more about allelopathy could you please refer me to them or tell me of any known websites. Thank you, and sorry for the super long e-mail!!! <This phenomenon is all around us... and a part of every system... and gone over and over on WWM. Put the term in the Google search tool... Bob Fenner> Very sick Clown   1/31/06 Hello.  I love your site -- very educational and excellent for research.  I have had a 90 gal FOWLR set up for two years with very little fish loss.  I have a long horned cowfish, a dogface puffer, coral beauty, yellow tang, and a Clark's clown. Parameters: specific gravity 1.025, 0 nitrite/0 ammonia/nitrate 40-60 ppm.  Wet/dry w/out bio balls.  Can't get nitrate lower. <... there are means> Have tried for over a year.  I know I have big eaters here. <Yes... and a dearth of denitrification> Problem today --  I am highly upset because my clown (I have had all of these fish for one to one and half years) has ragged fins, loss of color, swimming on side and upside down near top of tank. <Trouble...>   I haven't seen much of him last few days, all of a sudden he appeared this sick. His behavior is extremely out of character.  He has never been sick before.  I did recently one month ago purchase a new VHO white actinic bulb, leave it on 10-12 hrs per day.  Also had an outbreak of brown algae which covered the rocks, clumped in the sand.  Did a 25% water change yesterday.  The yellow tang has a brown circle spot on its side also, looks like an "o". <Good description... stress marking... you've likely seen something similar if/when turning the lighting on during the night>   What medicine is the best course for the clown? <... none. Not a pathogenic disease... but environmental> Please advise whether you think this is bacterial?  I would do anything to save this fish.  Am setting up quarantine now.  Thank you in advance for your compassion and quick response.  I have a good aquatic store staff but sometimes get conflicting info.  Thanks, M. Lee <The simplest, fastest measure to take would be to move these two fish to another up and going system if you had such. The "real" troubles here are crowding and too-much incompatibility... the Cowfish is variably toxic in confined space... and the nitrate being elevated... What would "solve" the apparent disease issues here are more volume/space, dilution (water changes), chemical filtration (mainly carbon), the addition of erstwhile filtration (including anaerobic digestion... the best? A DSB in a tied-in sump/refugium...). You are faced with the decision, choices here of improving these animals world or translocating some of them to new ones. Bob Fenner> Michelle Soapfish poisoned tank   1/31/06 I've had a yellow-lined grouper (Soapfish) for 7 years with no problems.   Several weeks ago I had to do a rather large water change (60%) <... too much> and introduced some new smaller fish. <Oh oh...>   Sadly, it seems I've had to basically start over with balancing the tank.  The grouper stopped eating, my new Huma trigger and yellow tangs died two weeks later, even after treating with copper (for parasites) and later an antibiotic for my 10-year old maroon clown who appeared to be suffering.  A few days ago, the Soapfish/grouper developed some sores which secreted puss.  I briefly took him out today and treated him with wound control (BIG MISTAKE) and put him back in.  Immediately, he emitted a white cloud of toxins (grammistin?) <Yes, likely> that I was unaware could happen until my online research tonight.  Two damsels died, clown is barely hanging in, and the grouper is weak.   Treated the tank with Prime and added a poly filter...is there anything else I can do to save the fish and tank (it's been healthy for so many years)?? <Keep changing water... add good quality activated carbon in the filter flow path...> I cannot find any information on treatment, and I'm worried about doing another water change so quickly.  Any advice would be appreciated. <I would if at all possible, resist changing more than about a quarter of volume in any system at one time... and that with pre-mixed/stored synthetic (if not using natural). Sorry to hear/read of your travails. Your note has likely saved many people similar anguish re keeping of Grammistids. Bob Fenner>

Re: Soapfish poisoned tank   1/31/06 Thank you for your response, Bob.  Sadly, the grouper died last night; however, the others seem to be doing okay (we think the Prime & PolyFilter helped) and did a 25% water change this morning and pulled the filter (should I add it back in even though I'm told it pulls the "good stuff" out too?)   <Sorry for the delayed response... was out giving a pitch over the weekend, and we are evidently being crushed with queries> The reason for the large initial water change was a tank location move and complete cleaning. <Ah... better to return, replace much of the previous water in these cases/scenarios> Looking back, the new fish probably introduced bacterial and parasites (it has been at least 3 years since any new fish have been introduced to the tank) -- even though I treated for both of these, the combination probably just stressed the old guy out too much.  Unfortunately, I was completely unaware of his toxicity.  Thanks again. <A good way of putting all this. Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> My never ending money pit..... Poss. issues with synthetic marine decor   1/31/06 Hello, <Hi there> My name is Matthew and first off let me say I love your book when I purchased all my aquarium supplies it was one of the first things the store clerk had me put in my cart, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Every time I buy something for my tank I always thumb through the pages to see what your opinion is. Anyway here is my dilemma.... I have a 75 gallon bow front tank. At this time I have 1 Hippo Tang (2 to 3 inches very healthy) 1 Niger Trigger ( 3 inches) newly acquired seems very healthy likes to hide in the live rock and eats all the time. 1 Clarki Clown ( 2 inches) seems healthy Numerous hermit crabs ( a mix of red legs and zebra a little of everything) Snails ( a mix of everything algae eating I could find) 1 small queen conch and 1 chocolate chip starfish. <I do hope your trigger leaves these invertebrates alone...> I have about 35 - 40 lbs of live rock, 2 inches of sand and crushed coral, 2 power heads (300 gph) 1 Rena canister filter ( 375 gph) and a CPR Bak Pak protein skimmer with the built in bio filter. About 4 weeks ago I purchased a faux anemone, I read the package to read any care instructions to find out that you have to wash it very good to make sure there is no residue that may affect your protein skimmer. I rinsed it for about 1 hour and then put it in my tank . Later that night my protein skimmer overflowed with water, I turned it off rinsed it out and put it back on my tank. For two weeks straight I ran this skimmer at the setting which it had been out the entire time I owned it. It always ran fine collecting waste. For two weeks I ran the skimmer no waste. I opened the water intake more for two more weeks no waste. the whole time doing my Monday water changes and readings. 8.2 ph, 0 nitrite, 10- 20 nitrate, 0 ammonia and 1.022 - 1.024 salinity. All this skimmer wanted to do was dump millions of are bubbles into my tank. Looking on the internet a lot of people had a lot of different opinions about un dissolved micro bubbles in your tank and the affect it may have on the oxygen exchange. Thinking there was some sort of weird chemical in my tank, from the faux anemone, <I would remove this... see if this curtails the excess bubbling> I have been running Kent Marine Carbon in my canister for almost two days. Also for those two days I have been running my newly acquired CPR Bak Pak (no waste yet just micro bubble in my tank) the skimmer seems to be working fine the entire chamber is filled with micro bubbles but no waste. I don't know what to do algae is overtaking my tank red slime and green algae. I have 384 watts of power compact lights 2 96 watt white 2 96 watt blues. What is your opinion what should I do? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Matthew McGlynn <I have heard some disturbing input re some of the material, manufacture of synthetic decor... I hope you will not have real trouble... but I would remove this and see. Bob Fenner> Marine set up ... op.  - 1/30/2006 Hi, <Hello Dennis> I'm Dennis.  I know you must hate people that are new to the aquarium life cause we miss the most basic of things. <Need to understand what you are doing before taking the leap.> But I have read and re-read several of your FAQs and can't seem to find the right place for help.  Here is my dilemma. A friend of mine gave me his little 10 gal. salt water tank and everything that it would take to get started. <What is everything, filters, etc??>  It even came with one little fish (sorry but I don't know the different species yet). <Oh Boy!> We left the sand in it and about 3 or 4 gallons of water.  It already had two live rocks in it also. We made up our own salt water and added it to the tank (of course after we removed the little guy).  We added another piece of live rock and changed all the filters.  We stirred up the sand a little and then ran it for awhile (until everything cleared up).  We rechecked the salinity and made sure the temperature was perfect.  Only after everything looked perfect did we set off to the local fish store.  Along with the help of the most knowledgeable person in the store we picked out three of the most colorful fish in the place and three snails. <Couldn't have been too knowledgeable selling you three fish for a ten gallon tank and I'm afraid to ask what they are.> We were ready (or so we thought). We brought the fish home placed each bag in the tank so the water would slowly come up to speed, rechecked everything and only after believing everything was right added the fish to the tank. Everything was perfect.  The kids really enjoyed watching the beauty of the colorful fish swimming around.  They also enjoyed naming each one of them.  Even the snails were busy climbing all over the rocks and glass.  Everything seemed fine for the first four days.  Everyone enjoyed the peace and serenity of watching our newly found friends.   I noticed that the water didn't seem to be as clear as the first day plus the sand seamed to be getting a little brown. <Bacterial explosion>  So I wiped the sides down with the little magnetic cleaner that you slide up and down the sides of the tank and stirred up the sand so the filter could take over cleaning the water.  I mean I really stirred up the sand. <Bad move.>  It got real cloudy and dirty. <Oh the sweet smell of hydrogen sulphide.>  It was my understanding that it was okay to stir up the sand with the fish in the tank. <Should only vacuum sand during water changes to prevent exactly what happened in your tank.>  Is that usually the way you do it? <Above> It seemed to be after I did this that I started having trouble. On the 5th day one of the fish started acting sluggish and by the next day it was on it's last legs and another one started looking bad.  I rechecked the specific gravity and it seemed high (about 1.030). <I thought everything was perfect.>  So I made up some additional salt water and then transferred the fish so that I could stabilize the tank water.  When I put the fish into the new water they seemed to perk up. <You mean you switched these fish from 1.030 to 1.024 or whatever with no gradual acclimation?> I figured this must have been the problem. While I changed some of the old water in the tank with some new salt water (about 2 gallons) and was waiting for everything to clear and stabilize two others bit the dust. <Not surprising.> After everything looked okay I put the remaining clown fish back into the tank.  It seemed okay although not up to the same standards as when we first brought them home.   Now we are going on seven days and the little clown fish is always staying at the top of the tank.  He keeps putting his mouth out of the water and is not eating very well.  My assumptions were two fold.  One, maybe there is not enough oxygen in the water<More than likely.> and two, maybe the water was two cold (thinking warmer water rises). <Too cold?? Aren't you using a heater?> So I lowered the water level just a bit so the recycled water would create more bubbles when returning to the tank and I constantly monitor the thermometer to make sure it is dead center of the green. I've told you everything I can think of.  Can you give me some ideas of what I could be doing wrong?  I know it sounds corny but I feel terrible taking these beautiful creatures from an environment where they were alive and healthy only to bring them home to meet their demise.  Any help would be appreciated.  I really want to identify what ever problems I may have created so I can go get some more fish with the confidence that I'm not taking them to meet their maker. <Dennis, you should have came to this site first before you even set the tank up.  Many of these problems would have been eliminated.  Lets start by going to this link and reading.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm  Do search/read related articles listed above the article title.  Hold off buying anymore fish until you get a grasp of what your doing.  Ten gallon tanks are more suited for two small fish at most.>  Thanks in advance ! ! ! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dennis (the not so kind to fish guy) <No, the guy that needs to know more about taking care of the fish.>

Desperate help with purple tang  - 01/23/2006 Hi guys, I recently got a purple tang added to my aquarium. i have a 90 gallon with a Picasso, tusk, and a snowflake eel. I was treating the tank with MelaFix for what I believe was fin rot. <Not a good idea...> it was a 7 day treatment, i added my tang about 4 days into the treatment. i tested the water and noticed that the PH dropped to about 7.8. I got it up fast with sea buffer, back to regulation. However my purple tang developed some weird dry looking circular spots on his body, and some around his face. there pale and definitely doesn't seem like ich. I have no idea what it could be. I thought maybe it was either because of the low pH, or less better water quality during the end of the medical treatment. Do you guys have any idea's? Thanks Again Sam <Remove the "fix" with activated carbon and all should be well. Bob Fenner> Turbo snail death, aggressive sally lightfoot crab, orange peel Pseudochromis attacks... too much incompatible life crammed in too small a world   1/18/06 Hi, <Hello there> I have a month-old 30 gal with lots of rock, holes, passages and lanes to swim, 7 small fish, a cleaner shrimp, medium sally lightfoot crab, ~10-15 hermits, two larger Turbos and a few smaller snails. Fish seem happy. Tank seems to be stabilizing; ammonia low now for several weeks. <Should be zip, nada, non-existent> However, the bigger Turbos keep dying and the ones that aren't dying seem week. <Every weak?> Is there a link or page where I can find general treatment of what snails like and don't like, etc.? <Yep... learn to/use the Google tool or indices on WWM re> On a couple other issues, the crab chased the shrimp a couple days ago and I suspect it may be eating hermits. <Is likely... this tank is too small...> I've been seeing what appear to be hermit crab legs here and there, like right below the electric blue crab shell which hasn't moved for days and I can't tell if it's still in there - unless they're molting, but the legs look too colorful for a molt.   <Good point> Hate to return the crab because it eats lots of algae, but I don't want it to eat everything else. Should I return it? If so, is there a way to catch it without pulling the rock out? <Mmm, let's skip a few steps ahead, and say you should get a larger (by at least twice this volume) size system> Got a 2-inch 'Orange Peel Pseudochromis' a few days ago. Described as "more peaceful than many other Pseudochromis" www.petsolutions.com/Orange+Peel+Pseudochromis-I-133950L-I-C-40001904-C-.aspx <Mmm, don't list the species... some are unholy terrors> ). Nevertheless it's surprise attacking all the other fish. <This tank is too...> I saw it take a little chunk out of a bottom fin on a 2" clownfish. Attacked a smaller clownfish and although it left no visible mark, the clownfish twitched for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile a normally sociable neon goby was missing for 12 hours. Could the pseudo be venomous?  Should I take it back? <Uh, um, yes.... or separate otherwise, pronto> Got an eel-like blenny a week ago; hides on the bottom behind rocks and never comes out. Do they ever get sociable? <A pholodicthyid? Not really> Thanks, Russ <You... need... a... larger... tank. What line comes to mind from the old Popeye cartoons? Oh yeah, Olive Oil and "Go to the window". Bob Fenner>

Flooring Work With an Existing Tank 12/31/05 To Whom It May Concern: <<Hello Carol - Ted here>> I have a 65-gallon reef tank.    It's located in a room with a 23-year old carpet which I desperately need to replace, particularly since it is too ratty to tolerate anymore cleaning and I have horrible asthma which it is exacerbating.  I do not want to dismantle the tank.  I've had someone suggest tiling around the tank, which is probably impractical.  (If I ever had to move I'm not sure how to explain a nicely tiled floor with a noticeable rectangle of ratty carpet in the middle of it.)  Is there any way around this mess? <<Sorry. If you want to replace the carpet under the tank, I know of no other choice but to take the tank down so that you can move everything while the flooring work is being done. While it is a lot of work, with planning, temporarily moving things out of the way is not that difficult. Thanks, Carol <<You're welcome. Good Luck - Ted>>

Re: Flooring Work With an Existing Tank 01/01/06 Hi Ted, <<Hi Carol>> Okay, given what you've told me, is there any way to avoid killing everything?  What's the best way to avoid shock?<<Moving your tank out of the way while working on the floor or moving a tank across town require many of the same things. Please see the articles and FAQs on moving tanks. For starters, read <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm>. Find one or two large containers to hold the water, rock and animals. Find an out of the way location to temporarily hold the containers and the tank. While the flooring is being worked, you will need to maintain temperature, water quality, etc., etc. Be sure to monitor the water quality and remember that partial water changes can help smooth over many issues.>> Thanks, Carol <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>> Hypersalinity and Wrasse Death - 12/21/2005 We had our first fish loss and was wondering why. <Ok> On Saturday, we picked up a Cirrhilabrus solorensis for our 40 gallon aquarium. The LFS has salinity of 1.021 and we are at 1.024 to 1.025. (I'm trying to bring it down slightly with water changes). The wrasse was at the LFS for 2 weeks. We acclimated for 65 minutes, <Not long enough. Should have been adjusted over a couple of days at least.> then a put in a drop of a blue solution that the LFS gave me in the past fish purchases (a mix of 3 solutions, no copper) for a minute. The wrasse was not bothered. <Even though, it would be better to learn the name of this "solution" for a better understanding of its use/ applications.> In the tank he went. (Yes, no QT). <A little QT time would have been a perfect place for a slow acclimation.> He then ate a meal of flake food and a meal of mysis shrimp that day. The wrasse was a half inch bigger than any other fish, but seemed to be a bit of a wimp. The Gramma loreto chased it out of the Gramma's favorite cave; no contact, but the typical big opening of the Gramma's mouth. The "alpha" Chromis viridis took a couple of runs at the wrasse. The Amphiprion ocellaris, the other Chromis viridis, and the 2 cleaner shrimp ignored it. The wrasse found a cave that nobody ever liked, so I figured it was fine. I didn't see it for a day, and tonight during my water change I noticed it dead in the thick group of macro algae. There were no signs of disease or wounds. On Sunday night, my readings were: nitrate / nitrate/ ammonia 0, phosphate 0.08, calcium 500, alkalinity 13.4 (it had been low in the past and I brought it up in the past week), <A bit too much huh?> temp is always 77-78.      Was my acclimation too fast for the specific gravity difference? <Yes.> Was the intimidation by other fish a factor? <Not likely, it takes much longer for that. Many signs (degrading health, not eating, Etc.> Could it have gotten tangled in the macro algae? <Not the cause for sure, perhaps the result of corps meets current.> Was this a delayed shipping effect? <Possibly. Maybe the fish was already weak.> Any hunches would be appreciated. <I do believe it was the sudden increase in salinity, perhaps pH (I don't see that one). Be careful with you calcium and salinity levels. Your in the "storm conditions" zone. May have carbonate precipitation soon. - Josh>

Water Quality Issues and Poor Advice/Husbandry - 12/15/2005 Hello! <Hi there Jeri!> I have been searching your website for answers to my questions.  I have had some luck, but want to get a little more specific answers. <I'll see what I can do.> I have had my 150 gal. saltwater tank set up for around 4 to 6 months. I started out with 6 damsels, one of which 1 is still alive. <These were used to cycle? I hope you've found our info. on fishless cycling now.> I have since added a Percula Clown and a Yellow Tang. After a short while the tang developed red marks on his sides near his tail (looks like a bruise). I went to my local pet store and asked them about this. They suggested maybe one of the others was picking on him. I have seen no evidence of this. <Could be the case. May also be from shipping/handling stress, poor tank conditions. Best thing for now is proper diet, optimal water quality and careful observation. May or may not need to do "something more". Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ytangdisfaqs.htm and beyond to prepare.> I left the pet store with two more fish - a Pearlscale Butterfly and a Flame Angel. <Why? With your current issue, adding more is not good. And QT!? I've not seen this mentioned.> Both seemed to do well after some territory issues. The Damsel thinks he owns the place and all new inhabitants suffer a couple days of bullying. <Maybe more than the Tang could handle. Any LR in this tank to help the fish "find a happy place"?> The new fish have been in my tank now for about 1 or 2 months.  Everything seemed to be good until today.  I noticed the Pearlscale just kind of sitting in a corner.  When I approached the glass he darted away so I thought I was worried about nothing.  The next time I saw him he was in some decorative rocks lying on his side and breathing rapidly. He was also a really nasty shade of gray.  Within hours he was dead. <Happens often with Butterfly fishes.> I decided to test my water (which I have been more than a little lax with). <This on top of no QT!?> I keep one of those ammonia testers with the suction cup in the tank at all times. <I would use actual tests.> It says the water is "safe" and I checked my alkalinity and it tested at about 8dKH.  I also tested my pH.  The card that came with this test kit has shades of yellows, greens and blues to check against.  The sample I tested turned orange.  There isn't even an orange on my card!!  I called the guy at the pet store and he suggested my pH level was too low and that I should use a buffer to bring it up.  The instructions on the buffer I have from an old tank my husband had a few years ago said to put in a teaspoon for every 20-30 gallons of capacity.  I added about 6 tsps.  Now I am hoping that this guy was right - I am not sure how much I trust this store, having had problems with them in the past. <This was a mistake. Did you not at least ask if they would test it for you to confirm. You can't dose tanks based on "possible" but only if you have a definite result. Please review the maint. and testing FAQ's in our archives. Put the power to control these situations in your own hands, not a store you don't even trust. They apparently know that if your fishes die you'll just come buy more (bonus!). Look to reputable online dealers or other sources if you've already had problems here.> There are not too many choices in my area, so you have to take what you can get. <Common misconception keeping poorly run business open.> All of my test kits and the buffer have been around for quite some time. Do test kits get old and unreliable? <Yes.> After reading some of the articles on your site, I am left wondering how much smells and such around the home can affect the fish and to what extent.  I have some holiday potpourri that I put out last night. It is quite aromatic which makes me wonder if it could have affected my tank (which is in the same room). Or is my problem the pH? <Likely more than just the pH. I do not however feel it was the "scents". Learn and practice the proper maintenance, test your water and eliminate these variables.> Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated!! Thank you!! Jeri Reeve <I can't actually offer any more than the above for lack of information (which I feel is the biggest of your problems now). I don't mean that condescendingly but you've left yourself at the mercy of others. Not wise in this hobby. - Josh> Reef tank problem  12/12/05 Hi Guys, I have heard you guys were great from my father, I have had a 20 Gal. reef tank for about 8 months, the tank has back pack wet dry/skimmer on it, as well as a refugium ( with miracle mud, and various types of macro algae), the lighting is the new model CoralLife PCs with the moonlights delivering a 130 watts to the tank. The tank has about 27 to 30  lbs. of live rock and a 3 to 1 inch sand bed depending on the area. My tank was perfect and I had it running at the max of is bioload, I believe? <You were way over the maximum load.>I had a small Sailfin tang, 6-line wrasse, Fiji damsel, dwarf lion, yellow watchman goby, and a few hermit crabs, 5 Astrea snails, 2 peppermint shrimps, one cleaner shrimp, and one coral banded shrimp, and two emerald crabs, and a queen conch. I also had 3 colonies of zoo's, purple rim Montipora, Montipora digita, a lot of Xenia, and a small leather. About a month ago I saw a very small hippo tang and against my better judgment i bought him and put him in my tank, I also added the refugium at the same time, he was fine for about a week then I noticed he had an outbreak of Ich, soon after fish starting dropping off, the Sailfin was the worst and everyone told me to flush him, the lion died, yellow goby, hippo also perished. The Sailfin ended up pulling through and is now completely healthy. once that was under control all my Xenia died ( I assume bacteria infection), this was a surprise because they were so healthy and were spreading like crazy. I tried to remove as much as possible, soon after my purple tip Anemone  died <Another cause.  Dead anemones in a tank that small will cause a wipeout.  Anemones are not easy to keep to begin with yet alone in a overloaded 20.> the night after that all the zoos closed up and all the other corals bleached out. So my question is what might have caused this? Was it bio overload and the tank crashed? <Very much so!> Is there any chance that the bleached corals will come back to life?<Unlikely> And if so what can I do to help them? Is there any way the refugium and the miracle mud had anything to do with my disaster? <No, without it you wouldn't have gotten as far as you did.> The tank was always healthy and livestock did extremely well until now. Any advice on this would be great and I appreciate your time! <In a 20 gallon tank, four small fish would be about the max.> thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jason Joseph Dyin' Lion, or Just A Glitch? Grossly Overstocked System!  12/5/05 I'm fairly new to the saltwater tank hobby I just purchased a 65 gallon tank with a U.V. sterilizer, Eheim canister filter and protein skimmer. The ph is 8.2 and everything else is 0.  The salinity is 1.024 and the temp is 76.2. I just bought a 7 inch lion-fish and within 4 days he started shedding his skin; he eats and swims just fine but I'm worried that it has a disease or something, can you please help me. I also have 50 pounds of live rock and 80 lb. of sand and two Clarkiis and a Saddleback and a Picasso Trigger a Snowflake Eel and Yellow Tang all small of course. <I hate to start off with a bit of a "scolding", but the tank is WAY, WAY overstocked, both now and for the long run. You have fishes in there that are not only aggressive, but are very messy eaters and prodigious producers of metabolic waste. You need a tank of at least twice this size, probably a lot more, to sustain this population for the long-term. Enough said about that.  With regards to the Lionfish- this type of "shedding" is not entirely uncommon, and the fish will often do this when under stress (such as while acclimating to a new environment). In the absence of other symptoms, I'd simply be cautious and observant here. No further action should be necessary unless symptoms dictate. Again, please rethink your long-term stocking plan for this tank, and embrace some sort of quarantine protocol. It's all part of the learning curve, so hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Lockjaw -Too Hot to Trot! - 12/01/2005 Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you today, as Bob is out of the country. My apologies for the lateness of this reply; seems like we're all a touch uncertain about a few aspects of your problem....> I may have a catastrophe in the making.... I have a 125 marine tank with fish only (no invertebrates). I recently did a water change and a few days later I noticed that the temperature was very hot. My thermometer only goes up to 86 degrees and it was way off the chart.  <Yikes.> I'm not sure how long the temp was at that point - maybe two days or so. Ouch!  <Very bad, depending upon that temperature....> I believe that one of my two heaters failed "ON".  <Very frustrating! I lost most of my stock one winter when my heater failed "off".... that sure taught me a lesson about having a redundant heater....> Like one of your other readers said, fish can't handle high temps and they also can't handle large temp swings <Right.> so I split the difference and placed zipper top bags of ice in the tank to bring it down to 86 degrees and then I let the tank "cool off" at its own pace until it reached the 75 degree level. It took about 24 hours before it got to 75 degrees (I hope that wasn't too fast).  <Too fast for my tastes - and should probably aim for more like 78 or thereabouts.> None of my fish are dead yet but I don't think that I'm out of the woods. Some of my fish are as zippy as ever - they are eating and swimming as they always have (damsels, small percula clown, powder blue tang) But....from bad to worse..... *My fox face is swimming slower than usual and is eating - but not as vigorously. *My Heniochus Butterfly (SP?) and large percula clown are moving very slowly. Their breathing is slow and their mouths appear to be "locked" -that is, they don't seem to be opening and closing their mouths at all, they are just open.  <Odd.... I'm not sure what might be the cause of this....> They also don't eat. <A very bad sign.> *My Hippo Tang appears to have bumped up against the faulty heater. He has a large black patch the size of a quarter on his side (behind is stomach).  <Mm, it would take a lot more than just bumping up against the heater to cause a burn - he'd have had to really lay against it for a while. This may just be from the stresses incurred from the temp swings.> He is hiding all of the time and is also not eating.  <Also bad.> <<None of this is surprising, however.  The rise in temperature is actually less stressful than the drop of more than 10F in a 24 hour period.  Prepare for disease to manifest, nitrifying bacteria to die off (would suggest having some BioSpira on hand if test results indicate a break in these cultures).  Marina>> He now likes to prop himself against objects to stabilize himself. The question is, what do I do now? I did a water change 3 days before the failure. Should I do another? <I would, yes.> How can I help the fish to recover?  <Maintain optimal water quality. Offer very high-quality, tempting foods. Watch the badly affected fish VERY closely for signs of bacterial infections (I'm concerned about the black patch on that tang, here).> <<I would actually forgo food for a day or two, observe.  Remember, a hungry fish is a healthy fish.  Marina>> Why do the fish have "lock jaw"? <To be entirely honest, I do not know.> I am a bit old school in that I have had great luck for the last 15 years with my under gravel filter. My question is, what about bacteria in the gravel bed acting as the biological filter? Are the "good bacteria" in my gravel bed still in tact or are they fried?  <They're probably still mostly unaffected. Be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate ideally less than 5ppm but certainly less than 20ppm.> Biologically speaking, what happens to fish when they get too hot?  <Their metabolism speeds up, ammonia becomes more toxic and damaging, eventually organs can "shut down".... ultimately, they can die. Marine fish especially are used to more constant, regular temperatures in their environment. Big changes, or sudden changes, can be entirely fatal to some less hardy fish.> Do fish regulate their body temp? How?  <No. Their body temperature will be that of their environment. They are cold-blooded.> Any other advice? <Just as above.... Maintain optimal water quality, monitor your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity.... and, of course, temperature.... and observe these fish very, very closely for now.> Thanks much! -Mark <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Pink cloud  11/19/05 Hello. I have a 55 gallon reef tank with a 15 gallon refugium containing Caulerpa. <Something like this> I have about 80 lbs. of live rock, which has been in there for 2 yr.s. I use a protein skimmer and a DSB in my refugium. My nitrates have been undetectable for months. The tank is moderately stocked with various LPS, one SPS, a carpet anemone, <Doing!> some mushrooms , polyps, and a few other inverts. My green bubble coral had been thriving for 2 years but may no longer be. The flesh seems to have torn from the skeleton. <Can you spell "allelopathy?"> It still inflates at night and eats. Now half of his flesh is about to separate from the half still connected. Is this coral capable of growing a skeleton so to speak. <Mmm, yes> I keep my calcium levels 500 if that matters. <Does... too high> Or is this just going to foul my tank in a while when it breaks? <Much more likely, yes> I have been battling a Cyano and hair algae problem for a couple of months. I bought a dozen snails, a lawnmower blenny (which I'm assuming is dead because I haven't seen it since I've put it in, 2 weeks now) I assumed my problem was phosphates so I bought some PhosGuard. <No need to assume... can be easily tested for> I haven't tested the levels because all I read is how unreliable phosphate tests are. The Cyano got a little better, the hair algae is about the same. The other day after I did a routine water change, the tank turned very cloudy, and pink. <As in Divine?> I turned the skimmer way up and it finally dissipated about 4 hours later. What do you think caused this? The bubble? It still looks good. Thanks for your time. Corey <Some spawning event likely triggered by... too much change too soon in water chemistry. You're walking the ever thinning line with the mis-mix/blend of cnidarians here... I would be looking for larger quarters to separate them, keep those water changes up, and a sharp eye on the eminent crash about to happen. Bob Fenner>  <<Methinks you mean "imminent" disaster, dear friend.  Marina>> >Mmm, nope. RMF<

Tank in decline... Allelopathy amongst groups of cnidarians  11/13/05 Dear crew, <Steve> First off, thank you so much for all that you do for the aquarists of the world, I personally am forever indebted to your wealth of knowledge and information on this website. With that said, I'll continue on with my problem.  I'm in a bit of a quandary here with my 55 gallon reef tank. I house mainly LPS and some softies.   <Hard to do together in such small volumes> Over the last couple of days I've been noticing that my corals have been acting "strangely", I.E. not opening up all the way, and their coloring has been a bit "off". Over the last two days I've observed what looks like the polyps are coming off of the skeletons on my trumpet corals.  <Not good> The skeletons are becoming more exposed and a very noticeable white ring is visible around the bottom edges of the polyps. I'm also noticing the same sort of behavior with my open brain coral, which appears to be receding as well. My star polyps appear to be bleaching, and MOST of my Zoanthids are opening. <Winners, or least losers> Other corals such as my xenia, and Fungia seem to be unaffected and acting normal. My gorgonians appear to be fine, as do my mushrooms and Ricordea. Whatever it is, it seems to be mainly affecting my LPS corals. I've just finished running the usual battery of water tests which yielded the following results: Specific Gravity = 1.026 Temperature = 78 to 80 Ammonia = 0  Nitrite = 0 Nitrate ~ 5.0 PPM Calcium = 450 PPM Lighting has been at 260 Watts Power Compact since the start of the tank over a year ago. I have changed the bulbs within the last two months, replacing one bulb a week. I use an AquaC Remora skimmer, and about 80 lbs of live rock for filtration, as well as a sack of carbon in the skimmer return box that I change along with around 10 gallons of RO/DI water every week. Bio-load is low, <Umm, you've got to count the stinging-celled life...> with only a coral beauty angel, a clown percula, and a scooter blenny, along with a sand-sifting starfish, and a tridacnid clam at the top of the tank. None of these fish appear to be affected. My one idea as to the source of the problem is this; I witnessed my bubble coral stinging a couple of my Zoanthids the other day and thought that perhaps the Zoanthids were losing the battle and releasing toxins into the water which were slowly poisoning the rest of the crew in the tank. Is this possible? <Oh yes> I've since moved the bubble coral farther from the Zoanthids, and I'm thinking maybe I should get rid of some of these guys, as they're spreading like wildfire anyway.   <I would> Another mishap occurred about two weeks ago when I discovered that my little 1 watt moon light which was fixed (or so I thought) on my canopy had fallen into my tank and shorted out,  <?! Ooops!> thus releasing stray voltage into the tank. I removed it as soon as I noticed it. Could this be the source of my heartache and coral loss? <Definitely> I'm getting ready to do a water change, and thinking maybe I should invest in some poly filters? Any advice? <I would> It's really heartbreaking to see all of my beloved critters suffering like they are. Once again, Thank you all so much! Steve C. <Much to state here... basically the items you mention are real trouble... I would revisit, revise your "stocking plan" entirely... start trading out the mutually exclusive varieties. Notes on these groups/species compatibility are archived on... WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Stainless steel clamps 10/19/05 Hi Crew! <Howdy Steve, Ali here...> Sorry, I just sent an email regarding a different question and meant to include this one. <No worries...> I have a 215 gallon tank with a large wet/dry underneath.  Most of the plumbing is located under the main tank, in between it and the wet/dry below.  The installers (LFS technicians) routed the plumbing very neatly and efficiently, however they used metal clamps around the fittings and clear tubing.  They appear to be stainless and just barely above any water level, however because we have a cabinet enclosing the wet/dry, there is quite a bit of humidity and most everything is constantly wet.  Could this be a problem? <Yes.> Please advise because I do not want to be poisoning my fish and live rocks with metals leaching into the water as the metal clamps corrode. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Regards, Steven <Yikes Steven! It's safe to say that you should avoid any type of metal clamps on your pump connections. Granted, the stainless steel pumps will last a bit longer in a saltwater environment versus other metal clamps, however even they will still rust. Definitely not a good thing. There is also a chance that your clamps may be Zinc or Aluminum plated - this definitely a big 'no no'. I'd suggest you remove the clamps ASAP and opt for either a few strong zip-ties or plastic hose clamps. Give me a buzz down at M.D. and I'll set you up with a pack of them. Dedicate an hour or so during the next couple of days to getting under your tank and swapping those metal clamps out. I know messing around with your plumbing can be a tedious task at times, however it's important you get in there immediately and be proactive. Talk to you soon Steven, Adios! - Ali A.>

Fish having coronaries - HELP 10/18/05 I have several fish have what appear to be coronaries right before my eyes. By several I mean about 5 in the last 2-3 months, and a few scattered about in the last year. <Strange...> Many times it happens during feeding. As an example, yesterday my yellow eyed tang, during all the excitement of eating, suddenly darted around the tank and came to a sudden stop -literally - he stopped breathing and fell to the bottom. After about 15 seconds he started breathing again and "limped" away into hiding.  Today during the mid day feeding (I feed twice a day), the same thing happened. We'll see if he survives. Usually I find them dead in less than a week.  I broadcast feed a mixture of pellets and mysis and frozen krill during the daytime and at night I replace most of the pellets with frozen foods like Formula 1, 2 ... <... some good clues here> Some times it happens when something spooks one of the tank mates - they all dart for a moment - but I had two (a pyramid butterfly and a Moorish idol) that went into hyper-mode. They darted round the tank like wild fish. The Moorish idol found a corner and stayed there breathing heavily for 10 minutes. The butterfly fell on its side. The next day everyone seemed fine, even eating like normal.  Within the week they were both dead. I have lost a powder blue tang, lyre tail wrasse, my second pyramid butterfly, a blue faced angel (though in her case, she had the coronary when I caught her in my net to move her from my new fish quarantine tank into the display tank). She lasted a week in the display tank. I can't figure out what the problem is. Here are some statistics:  System configuration: 2 - 750gal fish-only tanks running off the same filter system wet dry filter with a Mag Drive 2400 circulation pump for each tank 1 sand filter with a 1.5 horse Hayward pump that pulls from the bottom like an undergravel filter <The sand filter needs to be cleaned very often... at least once a week... and thoroughly if you're using a substrate for the media... I would fill it with some sort of plastic biomedia if you want to continue its use> Very large (1-2") coral fragments for "gravel base" elevated above sand filter intakes 320 Watts of UV 1 undersized protein skimmer (I know, I plan to build a larger one) but it only has white foam - nothing very dirty <You really need two large skimmers... I'd look into, invest in Euro-Reef products> Tank Mates: Tank 1 - 2 Heniochus Butterflies, 1 Raccoon Butterfly 1 double Saddle butterfly 1 Yellow-eyed brown tang (for now) 1 Black Zoster Butterfly 1 Sailfin Tang 1 Naso tang 2 Lemon Tangs 1 Imperator angel 1 Volitans Lion (soon to be big enough to move into the other tank - If I can catch him) Tank 2 - 1 Niger Trigger 1 Clown Trigger 1 Dogface Puffer 1 Spiny Box puffer 1 Large Stars and stripes puffer - he's getting too mean - want one? 1 hippo tang Water Chemistry: 80 deg F 1.019 salinity <I'd raise this up to near seawater strength, 1.025> Ph is between 8.3 and 8.4 (I have a CO2 unit trying to keep the PH down to 3 but the monitor allows a +/- 0.1 drift) Ammonia shows 0ppm Nitrites show 0ppm Nitrates stay amazingly low at 12ppm Oxygen test at the Sand filter output @ 7ppm <An important bit of data> Some time ago I had the tank water tested for metal toxins - everything seemed fine.  Any ideas? I can't afford a portable defibrillator. Mike S. <Mmm, something keyed with water quality at play here... some sort of accumulation is triggering the loss of fishes that require high DO... I would dump the rapid sand filter entirely (use a cartridge type in its place, a few sets of cartridges for switching out... a pain, but... And get those skimmers stat.! Bob Fenner> 

Re: fish having coronaries - HELP 10/18/05 Thank you for getting back to me. Two things: 1) I didn't quite understand the acronym "DO" ... accumulation is triggering the loss of fishes that require high DO... <Sorry re... an acronym for Dissolved Oxygen... you had mentioned 7 (near sat.) as a reading... the animals lost have a need for high DO... and regular NSW spg> 2) Just some information regarding my sand filter. I don't actually use sand in the filter. I am using something called AFM from the UK - ever heard of it? Here is a link if you are curious:  http://www.drydenaqua.com/afm/applications/afm_in_aquariums/afm_in_aquariums.htm. I have had it in place for about a year 9 months. <Thank you for this. Does look like a worthy product. To reiterate, I would raise your salinity, add the skimmers... this "should do it". Bob Fenner> 

Disease/water quality 10/7/05 Hi Bob,  <James today> {300 Litre tank containing 2 Longhorn cowfish, 1 Regal tang, 1 striped Sailfin tang, 1 Copperband butterfly, 2 Percula clowns, 1 domino damsel, 1 Mandarin, 1 scooter blenny, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 red legged hermits, 1 pink lobster, 1 Atlantic anemone - before my trouble started . } I have had my present 300L (+25L wet/dry sump) system up and running for about a year now with no problems until recently. I went on holiday a month ago just for a week, and had someone feeding the fish to make sure they were looked after.  <This is where your problem started my friend. We get many emails very similar. Problem is most nannies overfeed by a wide margin. My wife in fact thinks I starve my fish. I would hate to have her feed them if I'm gone.>  On return I noticed the water level in my sump had lost around 5 litres with evaporation, (which is not uncommon with my system but topped up regularly with RO water) so I topped up and noticed a couple of days later that my ammonia level had spiked to around 1.2ppm.  I did a 60L water change and cleaned out my biological filter (siphoned) and stopped feeding. Within 48 hrs my levels were returning to normal but I have had some difficulty getting my nitrate reductor (reactor) to normal. It is allowing through 30ppm nitrates which is about the same levels as in my tank ( I know, too high! Add 2 scoops of Denimar powder as a nutrition source for the bacteria daily).   The main problem here is that after I did the initial top-up, approx 2 days later I started to notice a fungal infection developing on my cowfish. I thought let's jump on this baby quickly and treat with Octozin due to me having a couple of inverts. After no joy my LFS said to try Myxazin, which again after a full course again no joy.  After these 2 treatments I noticed my domino started to lose colour and my mandarin showed signs of what I can only describe as lesions. I asked for another recommendation and was advised on a more natural remedy known as PimaFix (an off shoot of MelaFix) and as with all medications turned off protein skimmer an UV sterilizer as instructed. Next morning I waved good bye to my mandarin in a bitter and frustrating loss.  I had a spare 180L aquarium that I was going to sell, but as an inspiration I decided to set this up as a QT, so after bringing up to temperature and adding about 1L of matured media from my own tank, transferred across my 2 longhorn cowfish and the damsel and began treatment with the copper- based Cuprazin. Last night my damsel departed on day 3 of the Cuprazin treatment (@ 12ml daily) <12ml means nothing. A copper test kit should be used to insure a safe and effective treatment level.>  and I noticed fin erosion on it, and also developing now on the smaller of the cowfish ( also the smaller cowfish has brown flecks which from reading I believe may be marine velvet ?).  My ammonia level in the QT tank had risen to 1.2 ppm so I did a 33% water change with water from my main display tank (fully matured again) and added 4ml Cuprazin to compensate for the change. Also added another Litre of matured filter media from main display tank into a Biolife filter to try to combat the levels. My copper level in the QT tank is at 0.25 - 0.5 ppm on day 4 and has a canister filter, a Juwel internal filter and a Biolife filter, bare otherwise. And to top it all I have lost 1 of my clowns this morning with what appeared to be a very minor appearing start to something fungal. Appetites on fish in all tanks now at an all time low with barely anything being consumed. Have you got any suggestions other than finding a new hobby ? :)  Yours Trevor in UK <My friend, as above, your problem started with your nanny in my opinion. Water quality was drastically reduced causing a rise in ammonia levels. The poor water quality reduces any immune system that fish may have, and in the case of saltwater fish there is little or no immune system as these fish never had to adapt to poor water quality as it doesn't exist on the reef.  Right now you have several layers of problems stemming from this.  The major concern right now is to get water quality back on top. Do you employ a protein skimmer? A very good investment. I would use a filter media such as Chemi-Pure to help remove dissolved proteins etc.  Do 10% water changes weekly using a gravel siphon to remove detritus etc from your gravel/sand bed. I wouldn't add any more medication to the display tank. The Chemi-Pure should remove any medication present now. Remove the fish from main display if treatment is necessary.  When I go on a vacation my fish eat strictly Ocean Nutrition flake food. I buy one of these weekly pill reminder containers, put the amount of food I want my nanny to feed daily into the compartments, and remind the nanny no more additional food, I don't care how hungry they look. I've pasted a link here that will be good reading for you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm.  Have patience my friend and all should be well. James (Salty Dog)>

Water Change Mistake, Specific Gravity Level 10/7/05 Hi guys, <Hello Mark.> Thanks for all you do through the WWM site. It's been invaluable to me as I work with my tank.  <Glad to her we have helped.>  I have a 58 gal Oceanic Reef Ready with about an 8 gallon wet/dry. Tonight I was doing my weekly 10% water change and inadvertently refilled with RO/DI fresh water from the LFS. Imagine my chagrin when I realized it! <Uh-oh.> My SG is now 1.021. I think it was around 1.023 before the change. I haven't run a panel on the water to check Ph, Alk, yet. The water had been buffered, so at least there was that. The question: Will my two clown fish, 20 hermits, 20 turbo snails, or live rock be adversely affected by the rapid drop in SG? <As you already know this SG is a bit low. Having said that while it is not an optimal level if you slowly bring it back to normal through extra water changes over the next few days I would not expect to see any long term damage. Should you see any die off I would expect it to be your invertebrate life not the fish.> Kicking myself for not "taste testing", <A refractometer is your friend.>

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