View Full Version : Clownfish death

10-09-2014, 03:04 AM
Yesterday was a sad day in our two month old tank. We lost all three of our juvenile clownfish. All other inhabitants are doing fine. Did I feed them to death? The tang, inverts, anenome, and zoas are fine. Tang was super hungry tonight. Phosphate level is a little high but everything else is perfect. The clownfish didn't look sick the just lost there ability to swim normally and then died pretty soon afterward all within 12 hours. 3/3 of them. I switched to pellet food from the fish store a couple of days back. They are the only ones that ate that food. Any ideas? Thanks

10-09-2014, 04:02 AM
clownfish are usually bombproof, did you notice any fighting between your fish?also i think it might be a little early to be adding an anemone to your tank.

10-09-2014, 04:44 AM
Since your tank is so new I'd be testing for ammonia - and right now :surprise: and probably would be doing big (25-50%) WCs if you can't test
If you need to buy an ammonia test kit and some ammonia binder stuff, such as ammo lock or something similar, so be it
Test for ammonia

With a new tank, you need to monitor your NH3, NO2 and NO3 during the cycle
During the 'whole' cycle you can count on losing critters, so you don't add any

Why did you add so many so soon ?

Once the cycle is complete, you add 1 or 2 critters
Then, when that cycle has gone around again, you add 1 or 2 more

I wouldn't have added fish so soon :surprise: and would have stuck with crabs/snails to start with

10-09-2014, 04:48 AM
Sorry to sound tert, but you need to learn about the nitrogen cycle and how it applies to our saltwater critters that we are responsible for :wink:

You can't just stuff them into a tank and expect them to live ...

10-09-2014, 07:00 AM
Hmmm, I am new to saltwater. The anenomes came with the first rocks that were given to me and frankly I am shocked they are still alive. They are bubble tips. The tang was purchased to control algae growth which has worked great. The ammonia and nitrate levels seem fine but tested only at the local fish stores. I have changed 50 percent of the water. I am gathering that everyone is thinking that it was more of nitrogen cycle issue than an over feeding / phosphate issue?

10-09-2014, 07:11 AM
the phosphate won't kill the fish, it will only feed the algae. and i have never heard of a fish eating itself to death, so follow gregzz advise and check your water parameters . ammonia is the most toxic so i would start there

10-09-2014, 02:30 PM
It's possible the clowns weren't going to make it for whatever reason and it was out of your control. Poor capture/shipping methods, genetics

It is a bit strange that all 3 went and nobody else, but they may have been too sensitive or sick to begin with

Just remember that each time you add somebody you'll get a mini-cycle

10-09-2014, 04:05 PM
Were all three bought from the same source at the same time? If so they prolly were infected with something when you bought them.

10-10-2014, 01:46 AM
Hey there. I just wanted to say that when i started out I had the same thing happen with clowns. The biggest thing I can attribute my loss to was a lack of knowledge. One thing i found and this is my own personal experience is big water changes are bad. Especially with a new tank. You have to imagine that your whole tank is a living organism. When you take a large amount of water out all the beneficial organisms and bacteria are now replaced with a large amount of clean water that has no life in it. I know its really hard to stand back and watch a tank that is full of rock and nothing else but it is a truely necessary step in saltwater. IMO you should start with a clean up crew. A tang is not a starter fish for cleaning a cycling tank. He might survive but I can assure you he's not happy. Really try to slow down and watch the tank. You'll learn lots from that too. I just recently set up a new tank after being out of saltwater for about 4 years and I'm taking it slow. You will see small changes as the tank starts to cycle. Algae growth, copepods, and little 'bugs' and organisms in the rock are what I'm iust starting to see now, which tells me my tank is starting to cycle. All my rock came from a well established system but it's still taken almost two months for me to start to see the 'small life' in the rocks. Take your time and don't give up. A couple extra months here and there is nothing in the big picture. Saltwater is a big learning experience that just keeps on with suprises and lessons. Good luck with your tank and I'm sure you'll find lots of people here to help you out when you need it.

10-10-2014, 04:48 AM
My first post for you was rushed and narrow-minded as I was focused on a 'new tank' and so forth

Let me start over ...

First of all, I've only had a SW tank for about 2-1/2 years, and I started keeping freshwater fish 40 years ago, so take what I say with a grain of salt (or 2).

No offence to Skimmin, but large water changes (or any size for that matter) don't remove any significant amount of beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are attached to 'surfaces' and not floating around in the water column with nothing to do.
What WCs do is remove toxins/excess stuff that mother nature would normally take care of, and your skimmer/socks/reactors can't do for you. They also help replenish essential elements that are used up by your tank inhabitants.
As long as you match all the water parameters, WCs aren't harmful.
But you can't just add, say, 50% new water if it's not 'aired out'.
WC water needs to be aerated a bit before use to off-gas stuff and such. This doesn't mean you need air stones, but just a pump of some kind to turbulate it enough to cause gas exchange.
This will help bring the pH to where it should be as newly mixed water is kinda out of balance (for lack of understanding). I think New Salt Water (NSW) is lacking oxygen ... ?

Think of WCs as more of an 'airing out your house after a stuffy winter with the windows closed' kinda thing.
Or better yet, that swimming pool that all the kids have been peeing in.
Would you feel better jumping in after someone has changed a bunch of the water ? :surprise:
It's good to do. You just have to decide how much and the frequency that matches your budget/schedule.
Don't go nuts and do 50% every week. Read up and decide for yourself.

So your tank is only a couple months old.
1-How did you start it ? Describe your build as far as adding water (RO or Tap) and how you mixed the salt.
2-Do you have sand ?
3-Tank temp ?
4-Salinity ?
5-Did you test for NH3, NO2 and NO3 after the LR was added ?
6-Did you keep testing until the NO3 was near zero ?
7-How long did you have the tank running for with the new Live Rock before you added any critters ?
8-What critters did you add at what times ? As in how many days/weeks apart ? For instance, snails @ week 4, then some crabs @ week X, then the Tang @ week X, then the Clowns @ week X ....

You said the pellet food was only eaten by the Clowns and you got it from your LFS
9-Does it smell fishy (it should) ? If it smells moldy, or has no smell, return/toss it.
10-How big were the Clowns ?
I've heard of smaller fish choking on food and suffocating.It's probably not the case with you losing 3 at once, but not unlikely if they were small enough.
11-How long were the Clowns in the tank for before they died ?
12-How did you acclimate and introduce them to your Display Tank ?
13-How long after your WC was it before the Clowns started their death rolls ?

As Borderjumper asked;
14-Did all the Clowns come from the same source at the same time ?
15-What food did you feed the Clowns ? (describe the pellets, and anything before the pellets)
16-What do you feed the Tang ?

17-Do you have an ATO system ?
18-If not, do you check your salinity frequently ?

As I eluded to in my last post, sometimes critters are captured in ways that will cause them to expire and, sadly, quite quickly. Sometimes the capture methods will affect their systems in ways that they will live years, but nowhere near their life expectancies. And the way they are shipped etc comes into play too.
It's a crap shoot when you buy fish ... :sad:

Try your best to answer my 18 questions (some in detail) and we'll all see if we can help you out :wink:

Again, sorry I didn't help you out much to start with and this is my way of making it up to you

Canreef is a great resource you can count on and my initial contact with you is a poor example

Good luck !!

10-10-2014, 05:38 AM
Even though I just started a tank again I had numerous sucessful salt tanks over course of 5 or 6 years. I'm by no means saying I'm a professional but I do know that by leaving stuff alone and allowing time for natural progression I had excellent sucess in every one of my tanks. I will stand by what i say. I can assure you large water changes can deprive your system. I'm not sure of the science behind it, maybe someone who knows can chime in here. If you change out 100% your water you can cycle a tank that has been running for years... The water and what's in the water is very important too. It's a madder of opinion but I always had great success with smaller water changes and leaving things alone. Again this is my opinion...