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FAQs about Toxic Water Conditions: Foods/Feeding

Related Articles: Marine Toxic Tank Conditions , General  Marine Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Toxic Situations 1, Toxic Situations 2, Toxic Situations 3Toxic Situations 4Toxic Situations 5, Toxic Situations 6, Toxic Situations 7, Toxic Situations 8, Toxic Situations 9, & FAQs on Toxic Water Conditions by: Unknown Causes, & Endogenous (from inside, e.g. Internal, Organic Causes): Nutrients, Venomous/Poisonous Tankmates, Wipe-out Syndromes/New Tanks e.g., Exogenous (from outside, External, Inorganic, e.g. Metals), Marine Algaecide Use/Chemical Control, Toxic Copper Use Situations/Troubleshooting, Insecticides, Cleaners, & Troubleshooting/Fixing,


WATCH YOUR GUESTS - Party Pooper - 09/16/2005 Hi Guys! <Hi, Terry!> Your web site is wonderful.   <Thanks, a lot of work goes into it.> I was hoping you could help me.  I have 29g Marine Land aquarium with about 28 lbs of live rock in it, heater, and a Berlin airlift skimmer.  I have had it set up for two years without (thankfully) any problems.  I have 1 blue damsel, 1 clarkii (my two original inhabitants), 2 peppermint shrimp, and had a coral beauty which I added a month and a half ago. This past Sunday morning - 3 mornings ago, I found all this junk about 1/2 an inch thick lining the perimeter of the tank.   <Yikes....> I had people over the night before and found that someone dumped over half of a .35oz container of freeze dried baby shrimp (freshwater fishy treats) into the aquarium, I'm not sure exactly at what time.   <Oh. My. God.  Do your guests always manipulate your belongings and put your pets in harm's way like this?!> I immediately scooped out as much as I could, thinking, "wow, at least I found it in time".   <I would've been thinking, "Wow, I'm glad that person isn't in front of me right now, or I'd probably be in trouble."  Also....  after having been there all night, I doubt you were "in time" to beat the drop in water quality that is sure to follow such an act.> I scooped a little more out on Monday, <More?  Yeah, you need to be testing your water quality and doing some serious water changes.> but the fish were eating like normal (except for the angel who just grazed the live rock as usual).  This morning before school I noticed that the damsel was eating all by himself and found my Clarkii breathing heavily and lying at the bottom of the tank behind the filter tube.   <Not at all surprising.  This fish is suffering ammonia poisoning.> I moved him into my 6 gallon eclipse "hospital" tank.  -I have never used this as a hospital tank, I have had it 8 months with potatoe-bits of live rock and sand with lots of silly amphipods and tiny snails.  I was late for school so I only "acclimated" the clarkii for 5 min.  I noticed he had film over his eyes and what looked like some fungus on small parts of his abdomen.  When I got home after 8pm he had 1 eye swollen ...Popeye.   <From the poor environmental conditions he just left.  You can add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the tank at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons (so just 1 tablespoon in this 6g tank) to help reduce the swelling.> His left pectoral fin is ripped, almost seems chewed, but doesn't have any white or discoloration or signs of fin rot.   <All just environmental.  You absolutely need to test water and do serious water changes....> He is moving his bottom jaw very rapidly, 4x per second, I'm not sure if this is a sign of labored breathing.   <His gills were burned, possibly even permanently damaged, from the ammonia.  Increase aeration in the quarantine tank to help him be able to breathe as he recovers.> He ate some flake food and is swimming around the tank cautiously, <VERY good signs....  You may have gotten to him just in time.  Time and good water quality will tell, here.> no longer laying on the sand, but seeming distressed.  Should I use Maracyn?   <No, nothing but pristine water quality, and *possibly* Nitrofurazone, as this can help with ammonia burns.> Should it be for bacterial infections or fungal, or both?   <Neither.  This is just environmental disease at this point - but you must watch closely lest he develop secondary infections from his deteriorated condition.> Will this kill the amphipods, snails, or other organisms in my small live rocks?   <Likely to harm them....  don't medicate unless it's absolutely unavoidable.> Is there some thing else you recommend?  Also, immediately after pulling the Clarkii I found that my Coral Beauty had passed on.   <Not surprising.> I never noticed any odd symptoms from her, but I got home after the timer turned the lights off last night, (so I didn't check them yesterday).  Could all that food have spiked my ammonia and nitrite levels that quick?   <Oh, yes.  Without a doubt.  Please educate your guests responsible as to what happened, and that they are to never do such a thing again.> I unfortunately let my brother borrow my testing kit so I can't check my levels until tomorrow.   <Then at the very least, do a MAJOR water change.> Should I take the damsel out (if I can catch him) and change 50% of the water?   <Or more.  Same on the 6g.  If you can get the levels down in the main tank, the damsel can stay put.> If I cannot catch him, how much do you recommend I can safely change? <50% or so now, and again in several hours.> Please help, Mr. Clarkii and the damsel are part of our family. <Hurry up and do your best!> Thank you so much, and sorry for the lengthy email, Terry from MD <Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>

Prime reef Have you ever heard of toxicity problems associated with Prime Reef flake foods? <Hmm, no...> Although I can hardly believe it, this food has killed in a spectacular fashion, many of my fish, mostly hawks. By spectacular I mean the fish immediately goes into convulsions, swimming wildly without control until dead a few seconds later. I also lost a Sailfin tang the same way. I've ruled out any other possibilities by water changes, salt mfg. changes and dechlorinator changes. These deaths occurred in different tanks at different times with only one thing in common, the food. All occurred immediately after consuming Prime Reef. If you have any corroborating information please let me know. Thanks. <This is my first exposure with any reports of this sort... have you contacted the manufacturer? Had your food sample tested by a lab? I would do both. Bob Fenner>

Re: potassium and prime reef Hello Bob. I wrote you earlier today describing the violent deaths of many of my fish immediately after they had eaten Prime Reef flake food. As I was reading the ingredient list on the can, I noticed at least two sources of potassium. I soften my water supply with potassium chloride salt to remove the calcium which carries an excessive amount of radium.  <Really? Fascinating...> Do you think it is possible that excess potassium in the aquarium water when combined with the food might have a toxic effect? <Quite a thesis... but no... not likely as far as anything I know...> Has anyone ever studied the effects of potassium on marine tropicals?  <Am very sure there are such studies... an essential nutrient... you could/will cause a stir with adding another "test" here...> Is the amount of potassium found in water softened with KCl dangerous to fish?  <If not dangerous to... than not likely to your livestock...> If you can offer any information I would really appreciate it . Thanks again. <I can only refer you to existing texts on "Fish Foods", encourage you to pursue a search of the scientific literature on toxicity of Potassium, its salts... on aquatic life... go see a college reference librarian with your query. They can/will help you with a computer search of existing knowledge. Bob Fenner>

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