I bought 3 chromis yesterday, and a blackray shrimp goby. I acclimatised the fish using some airline from the tank using the drip method and a heater over about an hour. Two of the Chromis hung around on the right hand side of the tank for about an hour, then became very active and started eating copepods. The third Chromis went straight into hiding and didn't come out for about 4 hours. He ate a bit and seemed fine, started swimming around with the other two. This morning I couldn't see him, I was starting to think he was dead then he came out this afternoon and didn't look right, had a bit of a yellowish tinge to it and was swimming at a bit of an angle, being thrown about quite a bit by the current. Then he started sticking to the filter inlet, and now he's kinda floating around the tank doing little loops, almost dead I think.
Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 30 (this seems to have come back up from 10 in 2 days) pH ~8.3
I've netted him for now and left him near the surface to stop him getting battered about in the current. I've also added 3/4 capful of prime to detoxify the nitrates.
Gill movement is very rapid and he's moving about a lot, but seems to have no coordination. Any ideas? Other fish are still eating and swimming as normal. Goby seems a bit angry, keeps popping out of his cave and warning off the Chromis (mouth open).
That's the shortest lived fish I've ever had. Gave him a whack to the head with a scerwdriver. I know it seems harsh but he wasn't going to make it, I could see dark red patches forming which is a sign of organ failure, and being in that much pain a blow to the head is instant. I've tried the clove oil method on another fish and thought it very long and drawn out.
RIP fish (he/she didn't even have a name yet!)
I read that these fish don't travel well and given my decent water params I think he either had a previous condition or the stress from transit hit him hard. I've also noticed on other forums that a 50% survival rate is often the case with these fish, in terms of the process from collection/breeding to transportation to the shop then transportation to the owner's tank (this last part is usually the part they pass on, especially after lack of food etc or picking up diseases at the LFS). I don't think I'll be buying any more.
The other two fish are doing well, although one has two little white spots. It's not white spot as it hasn't spread across the body and the spots are too big for whitepot, with a cauliflour like texture. I think it could be lymphosystitis, but it hasn't really spread in 3 weeks so I'm just keeping an eye on it.
I have since introduced a blackray goby and a Scooter Blenny (my fave - I have got him feeding on mysis). These fish are getting along great, eating plenty, and the Blackray is awaiting his pal (the Randall's pistol shrimp) which shouldn't be too far behind.
I also bought two Banggaii Cardinal fish last week, but unfortunately it didn't go well. The first one was on deaths door by the time I got it home, and died after acclimatising and 2 hours in the tank. The second seemed OK, and came out to feed after lights out, but the next morning he was lying on the sand breathing rapidly, only for the two shrimp to come out and drag him under some LR. :(
I can't say I've had a very sucessful start with marines, lost 3 out of 7 fish, but as far as I know I don't think I have done anything wrong.
I'm sorry to hear about your losses - it is an awful feeling to bring new fishes home onyl to see them perish.
I think there might be two problems with your system. First, you don't quarantine the fish (and since one of them seem to have an infection of some kind I would not add anything until you're sure that's gone). Secondly, I think you're adding too many too soon - a rule of thumb is 1 fish per month (or pair of clowns etc). This is so the filtration can adjust to the new bioload through a new minicycling. So I'd get a quarantine tank up and running ASAP, move the poorly chromis to that and then wait, wait and wait a bit more. I know it's frustrating, I'm currently upgrading my system and have to hit myself in the head to avoid moving the fish over too soon.
I don't agree, although you are right - I do need a quarantine tank, but that can't be the reason for the fish deaths, seeing as A) The chromis were the first fish to be added to the tank, they did not need to be quarantined and B) The second fish died shortly after the acclimatisation period, and was already swimming sideways/laying down before adding it to the tank (and as far as I know there is no disease that would take a hold of a fish that quickly anyway.
Secondly (and don't take this the wrong way) I know what I am doing RE the nitrogen cycle, after keeping cichlids for a while and setting up temporary quarantine tanks dozens of times, I've become pretty good at it. My Live Rock started cycling by itself, due to die-off from transportation, but to make sure it was prepared for extra bioload I added a large prawn every 2 days. I monitored the tank parameters after adding each fish. I saw no ammonia spike after adding the cleanup crew (~week 3), 3 damsels (~week 5) goby (week 6) and Blenny (week 7). There isn't even a spike now after having one of the cardinals die in the tank. Live rock seems to me a lot better at coping with fluctuations in bioload than the ceramic media in a cannister filter. I do have a lot of it, and a fair bit of rubble in the rear chambers too. I know it seems odd that I'm an advisor and I'm going against general rule of thumb (one fish per month), but when you are confident enough to make your own call you don't really have to follow general rules any more. Sorry if that sounded big headed :S I do double check aparameters before purchasing new stock, as sometimes it can take while to notice any difference in the cycle after adding stock (at least that was my experience with FW).
For emergency use I have a bottle of Prime, which stops toxic ammonia in its tracks, it's great stuff, but I only rely on it for emergency use - it's not an alternative to good housekeeping and monitoring.
I am not sure whether it is worth me getting a quarantine tank, seeing as I plan on completely stocking the tank within the next few weeks, and all of the fish come from the same system in the LFS anyway, so they will have already shared the same water. I probably should, but I guess I'm thinking of a way out, as I already have another big FW tank and quarantine tank, and cichlid fry tank, so it's getting crowded in here, plus I'd have to buy more live rock for a quarantine tank, it's just too expensive as I've already spent about twice what I've spent on freshies in my first 2 months of keeping marines! :S
I have just jumped ship and procured a quarantine tank! I have 2 clowns, 4 green chromis, 1 seargent, 2 regal blue tangs and cant now risk introducing new fish without quarantining...yes before anyone makes observations my system is suitable...
I decided rather than have a 'cheap' tank hidden away with all equipment hung on to go full works with a nano...will run it as proper tank/live rock/sane/critters etc but able to introduce new fish as and when, if after 6weeks all ok then bingo...over they go :)
Had quite a good deal at not so LFS tank/live rock/sand/heater etc etc... :)..all running and set up with some water change from existing system. Not the best nano out there but eh its a compromise between full system and quarantine only tank...and I don't want full nano otherwise it'll end up as a new tank and not the original idea..quarantine :)
sorry to hear about your fish...but as you say its a damn expensive hobby..what about some photies of all those tanks! :)
Fluval Vicenza 260L/55Gal Marine with Aquaworld MT50 quarantine Nano tank
I know you know what you are doing , but you are stocking far too quickly. One fish a month is about right , maybe two small ones at a pinch , it lets the LR catch up with the bioload ( adding extra prawns won't help , but will give you ammonia spikes ) .. the bacteria appear slowly in the LR.
You can't rush it , seriously ...
Can you just clarify please , in the last 3 weeks , you have added 5 fish , of which two have died ?
Sorry to hear of the deaths , but if you stock slower , you will end them.
A QT tank is a good idea too.
Keep your friends close , but your anemones closer ....
Week 1: Filled tank & added LR. Week 2: Tank had "cycled" although only with dieoff from LR, so added a prawn once every two days. I maintained this until there were no spikes and ammonia was steady at zero, it took about another 2 weeks.
Week 5: Added 3 damsels. Tested readings before adding them, and ~ 4 hours after. One of the three damsels did not look well even before it entered the tank. In the LFS it looked fine, but after travelling home to my house (~50 minute journey) it didn't look good. The other two were fine. The damsel died the next day. I checked water again, amm 0, nitrIte 0, nitrAte 30, salinity 1.026.
Week 6/7: Added a goby and 3 more turbo snails. Goby settled in well, eating anything that floated past, although took him a week to really come out from under his rock at feeding times. I had a turbo snail die. Monitored ammonia/nitrIte afterwards for 3 days - ammonia constant 0, with a tiny spike in nitrite.
Week 8: Added Scooter Blenny. Kept him in a net for a while to ween him on to frozen mysis, but he didn't need it, accepting mysis straight away. Great fish, lots of character and very active. He is fine still (this was about a week ago I added him).
End of last week (Week 9): 2 Banggaii Cardinals added. One was already pretty much dead and the second one only just made the night.
So, 7 fish have been added over 4 - 5 weeks, with 3 of them pass away. The LFS is new with Marines, and I'm just wondering if they are having some problems with their stock, as the fact I'm losing fish has nothing to do with my water quality, I know that for sure. I know that the Banggais were added too quickly without really waiting long enough after the blenny was added, I think that was a mistake on my part, but it didn't kill the fish, they weren't around long enough to have made any impact on the cycle, and I did check the readings again after removing them and all was fine (0).
Acclimatisation always done over 1.5 hours - 2 hours on the drip method.
I don't know what killed the fish, but I know it was nothing to do with the cycle, although I'd agree I added the last 2 fish too soon.
QT tank is not doable atm, not until I sell the FW tanks, there just isn't space, and I physically and financially can't do it. I knew this before I got the tanks and was prepared to take the risk and deal with any consequences of not quarantining.
I stand by what i said , you are stocking far far too quickly.
The tank cycles with the die off from the LR , you don't need to add anything else , hence why if you get the rock from one tank to the other within a few minutes you can ( if you are lucky ) have an 'instant cycle' because there is no die off.
Acclimatisation time is good.
There is a reason that everyone recommends a fish a month using the berlin method , LR with skimmer , and that is because it works . You cannot rush it , no matter how tempting it is to , and i know that its frustrating because everyone wants a nice well stocked tank to look at , and you will in time , but you have to take it easy or you will have a lot of heartache ( as you are proving ).
It's easy to blame the LFS , importers , this or that , but at the end of the day if there is a clearly identifiable thing you are doing wrong , then 99% it will be this causing your fish deaths.
Remember the old adage that i tell everyone ?
Nothing good happens quickly in a marine tank. Sorry.
Keep your friends close , but your anemones closer ....