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View Full Version : Help, sick fish maybe?


wookie
09-02-2010, 07:14 PM
I've got a 55 gallon brackish tank. 3 puffers (2 GSP's and one Figure 8) and 5 Monos.

Tuesday night (8 days after my last water change) I scrubbed some algae off the tank walls (postponed water change for another less busy day) and then fed the fish bloodworms and little krill bits and they didn't seem to excited to eat. I didn't notice or think anything of it until the last 36 hours when the problem seemed worse.

Wednesday morning I went to feed them again and they totally ignore the food. Normally the Monos go ballistic at feeding time, darting back and forth and all over the place. It's quite entertaining to watch. This time they just swam back and forth through the food. This food was bloodworms and krill (different source this time). The figure 8 seemed to eat fine, but the GSP's were also a little weird. More black than usual, they didn't seem to brighten up from their sleepy state like usual.

So I panicked a bit and changed 10 gallons/18% (making sure to get out all that food that wasn't eaten from last night or Wednesday morning) also thinking it had been 9 days now since my last water change. Before taking out the water I grabbed a sample to take with me to the pet store for testing.

The pet store tested the water when I went at lunch and said ammonia and nitrates (or nitrites??) were pretty much at zero, said I didn't need to worry about changing my water as much as I have been as the tank seems pretty good. Okay, that's great.... But what's the problem then? Suggested a pro-biotic additive that is good for ick, and some other stuff. A red bottle for fresh and salt water. Added the recommended dose Wednesday when I got home.

Wednesday night same as usual. The 2 GSP's seemed sleepy and were darker than usual, seemed to be doing some weird darting around every now and then. Figure 8 seemed fine. The Monos weren’t as groupie as usual and seemed off.

Fed them a small amount Wednesday night. Same result. Very little interest. Except from Figure 8. I think he's fine. GSP's might have eaten a bit but seemed pretty disinterested.

Thursday morning tried some brine shrimp. Same result, Monos ignored it totally, swam through as if it wasn't there. Figure 8 happily seemed to be eating here and there. The GSP's seemed a little interested, still a bit black on the bellies and darker overall. Still seemed to be in their sleepy state.

I did notice the mono's seemed to be hugging really close to the live rock (one small chunk) almost like they were cuddling it and hiding from the power head current. As well, the GSP's were still doing a random twitch every now and then, but this time I seemed to be able to interpret it as almost rubbing their sides against things. Like plants (fake), the bottom, the filter, the blue bubbly thing, almost as if they had an itch and the twitch was them trying to scratch themselves (the twitch I noticed before but didn’t' decipher). This could also be me imagining things as I'm looking too much into this.

Any suggestions or ideas?

Thanks so much for reading the long story!

EDIT: Just wanted to add, due to the fact the tank was quite clean before I did the water change I'm assuming I'm not overfeeding. As well we've had them for a while (added two monos about two weeks ago) and this is totally new behaviours. :(

Llamarama
09-02-2010, 08:00 PM
I can only speak for the GSPs as I have 2 but I know mine turn black based on mood it seems as the water parameters are consistent but I also notice my puffers often shove themselves between the rocks as well as between the filter intake and the glass looks like fun to me and I've had them about a year and I'm positive they're not sick. How old are your puffers? Once they reach about 2 or 3 inches they don't need to be fed every day either

wookie
09-02-2010, 11:34 PM
I can only speak for the GSPs as I have 2 but I know mine turn black based on mood it seems as the water parameters are consistent but I also notice my puffers often shove themselves between the rocks as well as between the filter intake and the glass looks like fun to me and I've had them about a year and I'm positive they're not sick. How old are your puffers? Once they reach about 2 or 3 inches they don't need to be fed every day either

Yeah, ours always have changed based on mood, they're usually sluggish in the am, and a bit darker, or lighter, almost camouflaged into their surroundings. But this black suddenly is throughout the day vs. when just waking up, or having been napping.

Also they're greedy little pigs - and the change has been sudden. Although one of the GSPs suddenly looks okay right now... Regardless if it wasn't for the Monos being weird right now as well I'd just brush it off as puffers being puffers - but include the monos not eating and I'm a little nervous.

Thanks for the replies.

wookie
09-03-2010, 07:38 AM
WTF...

So tonight, not much having changed... two monos die.

One starts swimming sideways, being weird, darting around, then BAM, upside down cold/dead. Like a massive heart attack. A quick spaz then instant death.

About 20 minutes later another one.

We originally had the three puffers. Then a month or two later the 3 monos for a few weeks then added two more about two weeks ago. I'm pretty sure those two additions are the ones that died today.

I'm not sure how to describe the current tank activity. Maybe they're doing better... maybe not, it's hard to judge right now.

The two GSPs seem almost completely normal (I think, again, tough to judge).

Llamarama
09-04-2010, 06:32 AM
:( sorry to hear

wookie
09-04-2010, 05:06 PM
:( sorry to hear

Thanks,

I've now lost 3 more Monos and Two puffers. Well, just one puffer - the other one is grabbing air at the top and pretty much dead.

$%#$!!!

Fish store figured it was a parasite, suggested bringing salt up to 1.02 to kill off the parasite. Said it would shock the first a bit, but hopefully they'd survive and it would knock out the parasite. Yeah - that worked....

Got up this morning, the puffer that died was the fish in the best shape during all this. Clearly he didn't appreciate the salt, the other puffer that is pretty much dead, they weren't in great shape - but I'm surprised the Mono is okay still.

I think the fish store just wiped out two of my three puffers with their suggestion.

I'm kind of sad as I feel quite bad for them. But all the work/time/effort/money that's going into this stupid tank is almost as painful.

:cry::question::cry:

Seafan
09-04-2010, 05:23 PM
Sorry to hear about your losses and trouble with the tank. Just curious, what was your salinity at before you increased it? Unless it was a really huge increase from what you originally had it should not have been the change in salinity. I had monos and gsp's for the longest time a while back and I took them from freshwater, (which the store I bought them at had them in) to reef in a matter of a couple of weeks with absolutely no ill effects. There is more of a chance of hurting the fish if it is a decrease in salinity too quickly. It really sounds like a water issue to me with lack of oxygen, I would definately buy your own test kits, as when a petstore tests your water, if it's one of the chain stores that is, They are pretty inaccurate. Remember a tank can look clean even with huge amounts of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and these fish seem especially sensitive to these. Have you been testing and changing water out after each loss, as this could potentially create a spike in parameters as well.

Seafan
09-04-2010, 06:12 PM
Just one more note that might help you out a bit. You might try this sight;
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/monofaqs.htm

This is a couple of quote's from this sight;
"Do review circulation, oxygenation, and water temperature. Monos are classic "surf zone" fish and they are hyper-sensitive to stagnant, oxygen-poor water. Given enough oxygen, they're tough as old boots, but if the water lacks sufficient circulation, they turn grey, gasp, and sicken very quickly"

"Monodactylus can be converted to marine conditions quickly. I'd use the drip method across an hour, as if they were swimming through an estuary, but yes, you could in theory dump them straight in."

Monos also require a ph of 7.5 to 8.5

Hopefully you are using reef salt or equivalent, and not aquarium salt as there is a difference.

I would definately rule out ich if your salinity has been high enough brackish as ich does not fair well in brackish water.

I wish you luck and hope you can get your tank turned around soon :biggrin:

wookie
09-04-2010, 07:38 PM
Thanks for the posts. I used salt in cups, placed it in the tank and let the salt slowly disolve. I've been told to do this by a number of people as it's slow.

I had the water tested at Pisces in Calgary.

I'm not sure about oxygen but there's a air pump attached to a blue ball that does tons of little bubbles, I've got a Eheim pro filtering the water and getting good flow and we bought a powerhead a month or so ago to have good flow. I thought that was all enough to keep the oxygen levels up.

Thanks again for the reply.

One GSP left, he actually ate some snails today and bloodworms, but he looks grey and unhappy and the one mono, laboured breathing and not eating still.

Gotta go, will give more feedback on water changes, my ride is here.

wookie
09-05-2010, 12:38 AM
I did change the water quite a bit over the last week as things were getting out of control. I don't have a quarantine tank or had any options. Fish were sick or getting sick and the best guess was the water changes.

wookie
09-05-2010, 05:05 AM
Here's the sole Mono remaining. You can see something going on badly with his skin. The other ones progressed like this - but never as bad. I think they died before it got that ugly.

Sigh . . . . I'm thinking this will be the end of my aquarist days... The GF is choked/sad about how much time has gone into this and money and of course losing the nice fish, only to have this happen and pretty much nothing we can do but watch.

http://img715.imageshack.us/img715/3066/img00092201009042158.jpg



http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/4050/img00091201009042158.jpg

Seafan
09-05-2010, 05:13 AM
Hi, you didn't say which salt it was that you were using? Aquarium or actual salt water salt? Do not let it desolve in your tank, always premix your salt in some kind of a bucket get it to proper salinity, and ph, and aerate it, even if it is only for a few minutes, but hours is better than minutes. It's a good sign that your puffer has started to eat. Hopefully your mono starts to come around soon too. You have decent flow by the sounds of it, but if your mono is still labored in his breathing I would add an extra airstone if you can. Good luck again, hope it turns around for you.

Seafan
09-05-2010, 05:17 AM
Hi, sorry I didn't see your last post before I replied. I wouldn't rule out salt or ammonia burns as the culprit. Others on here may have an idea if it maybe something else. Again dissolve salt out of the aquarium and definately a good idea to have your own test kits to monitor your own water.

wookie
09-05-2010, 05:19 AM
Thanks for reminding me, sorry I forgot.

Yeah, glad he's eating, the mono looks rough, don't think he's making it... and with 2 of 8 left and maybe 1 of 8.... Doesn't bode well for the future of the tank.

Marine Salt. "Coralife"

This time it dissolved in the tank, often during prior water changes I'd do it in a bucket with unchlorinated water.

Thanks again

wookie
09-05-2010, 05:21 AM
Hi, sorry I didn't see your last post before I replied. I wouldn't rule out salt or ammonia burns as the culprit. Others on here may have an idea if it maybe something else. Again dissolve salt out of the aquarium and definately a good idea to have your own test kits to monitor your own water.

Yup, thanks..

Hi eyes look a little puffy/cloudy too..

Maybe it's a salt burn, but I doubt it as I have never expereinced that before and I didn't "go to town" with the salt at the time.

Thanks for the replies.

Llamarama
09-05-2010, 05:50 AM
just wondering...with all these water changes have you been making sure that the new water is the same SG as the water in the tank? what are you using to measure the SG? I would guess salt/ammonia burns as well maybe invest in a $30 kit that tests the main stuff...the API one is cheap...isn't the most accurate but gives a decent picture of whats happening...what kind of test was the LFS using? i've seen petsmart use stips to test and they don't give anywhere near accurate results

wookie
09-05-2010, 04:33 PM
just wondering...with all these water changes have you been making sure that the new water is the same SG as the water in the tank? what are you using to measure the SG? I would guess salt/ammonia burns as well maybe invest in a $30 kit that tests the main stuff...the API one is cheap...isn't the most accurate but gives a decent picture of whats happening...what kind of test was the LFS using? i've seen petsmart use stips to test and they don't give anywhere near accurate results

We used a hydrometer, $20 at Pisces...

I really don't think it's salt/ammonia burns, this started a long time after the most recent water change. 9+ days. The symptoms being experience now are just worse than what was going on before. Also I had the water tested after the first 2 died, having changed out 18% and the water tested well. They used chemicals to test and mixed the water up in test tubes (not a piece of litmus like paper like petland).

Zoaelite
09-05-2010, 08:17 PM
Possible case of marine velvet, could you get us some better photos? If it is this is something you will have to treat urgently.

Do the fish almost look like there coated in flour?

Seafan
09-05-2010, 08:53 PM
Possible case of marine velvet, could you get us some better photos? If it is this is something you will have to treat urgently.

Do the fish almost look like there coated in flour?

Not really too likely it is marine velvet as the tank nor the fish have ever been up to full salinity or even close to it by my understanding anyways.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/bracsystems.htm
quote from above article "However, because brackish water is generally hostile to both freshwater and saltwater parasites, things like whitespot and velvet are actually very rare in brackish water aquaria."

I'm not saying monos and brackish fish can't get salt water diseases or even fresh water, but they must be living in a suitable environment for the parasite.

wookie
09-07-2010, 12:16 AM
Possible case of marine velvet, could you get us some better photos? If it is this is something you will have to treat urgently.

Do the fish almost look like there coated in flour?

Not really, maybe a bit pastey... Too late for more pictures anyway. The last mono died on Sunday and the last puffer I think just packed it in :(

Not really too likely it is marine velvet as the tank nor the fish have ever been up to full salinity or even close to it by my understanding anyways.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/bracsystems.htm
quote from above article "However, because brackish water is generally hostile to both freshwater and saltwater parasites, things like whitespot and velvet are actually very rare in brackish water aquaria."

I'm not saying monos and brackish fish can't get salt water diseases or even fresh water, but they must be living in a suitable environment for the parasite.


Nah, the highest it ever got was 1.15 or 1.16 maybe. Until the LFS told me to bring it right up to Marine salinity to whipe out whatever was hurting them...

Too bad I think it just finished them off.