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View Full Version : Fish dying/dead - Heavy Breathing - Need Help


apex82
03-16-2011, 05:31 AM
What a f'n day.... Just set up brand new aquarium controller and new wavemaker pumps YESTERDAY to prevent a tank crash!! Woke up this morning to 9 out of 10 fish lying on sides, breathing heavy and on their death bed.

Specs- 75g w 30gsump, refugium,euroreef skimmer

First checked temp, 78, then parameters, everything fine, no ammonia or nitrates, good alk,calc, phosp and ph. No power outage during the night and 2500 gph flow agitating surface so no issues there...

All sps doing fine, as well as hammer good, frogspawn good but pulsing xenia and kenya tree of all corals are dark grey, withered and basically dead. All inverts are fine as well, as far as I can tell. Cleaner shrimps still cruising around acting normal as all the snails and crabs.

At this point I see my coral beauty(fav. fish) go upside down and drift across the tank... bad f'n morning to say the least. I did an immediate 30 gallon water change( All I had mixed up) and got another 30 gallons mixing. During this time I ended up flooding the laundry room with about 10gallons of water from a hose missing bucket (FML).

As I write this... I moved my blue throat trigger and 1 chromis to a 10 gallon tank with fresh mixed saltwater with air pump and heater. They were dying anyways might as well try something. The rest are in main display still breathing heavy... however the clowns and lawnmower blenny seem to be doing a little better.

I need some help in diagnosing the main issue at hand...

What could affect every fish in less than 10 hours causing them to breath heavy and die with no physical damage or marks. I think this weeds out almost all parasites and bacterial infections? There is no evidence of any velvet, bubbles in gills, inflamed gills etc.


The only thing was changed the day prior was two new powerheads(very similar to the ones being replaced),reefkeeper lite with the temp probe in the tank and a top off of freshwater with a little dechlorinator added before I hit the sack.

The only scenario I can think of is some type of contamination of the water via extra chlorine in water system due to excessive rain when I did the top off or my wife was cleaning bathrooms with Tilex a few rooms away and it drifted into tank via air...? I am lost...

At this point coral beauty and 1 chromis are dead. Ones that are breathing heavy and most likely wont make it:
Flame Hawk
Blue throat trigger
Butterflyfish(forgot name)
Ignitus Anthias
2 x chromis
Spotted dragonette

Sorry for the rant it has just been one of those days... :cry: What should I do...? Just do another 30g change in the morning and hope for the best?

christyf5
03-16-2011, 05:35 AM
Dechlorinator?? how much did you put in? That stuff is terrible. You can't just let your water sit for 24 hours prior to a waterchange?

edit: I bet its the Tilex. That is some noxious ****. You shouldn't have that anywhere in the house let alone close to the tank. I sprayed febreze in my hubbys hockey gear then zipped up the bag and it was in the same room as the tank. I lost a bunch of stuff the next day. Never again. No chemicals near the tank!! God, Tilex is enough to knock a human out let alone a fish tank!

PoonTang
03-16-2011, 05:38 AM
Only think I can think of is keep up with the waterchange and as much flow as possible. Sounds like an oxygen problem more than a poisioning if the inverts are still good.

PoonTang
03-16-2011, 05:39 AM
...or what she said

apex82
03-16-2011, 05:40 AM
Ya I always let the saltwater sit for 24 hours before a change... however I just needed to add a little freshwater top off and did not let that sit for longer than a minute with some dechlorinator added.

christyf5
03-16-2011, 06:08 AM
1. no dechlorinator for sw tanks. period.
2. no tilex in the house. get something more environmentally friendly or close the door and run the bathroom exhaust fan for at least an hour. that stuff is nasty

Aquattro
03-16-2011, 06:25 AM
With that kind of flow, it's not going to be a O2 issue. I'll vote for the tilex as well. Carbon won't hurt either.

mws
03-16-2011, 07:18 AM
I didn't have to read the entire post, I know what is the problem
The only thing was changed the day prior was two new powerheads

Lost an coral beauty angel overnight and both tangs was hiding and gasping for air in a morning. All I did is added a new powerhead and I washed it under warm water. After searching the net and coming across reefers with same problem, this is got to be the coating on them.
Now I run all the pumps and powerheads in a bucket of warm water and vinegar for a few days, before they go in a tank. Keep changing the water in a bucket, the first change will have a oily film on top.

As for now do a water change in a tank, rest of my fish was back to normal with in two days.

apex82
03-16-2011, 09:00 AM
Wow... thanks for that. I didn't even wash them with water before putting them in. I checked manual and nothing was mentioned, so I went for it. I guess at this point I am wondering if I should remove them and replace with the koralia 3's? Or the damage has been done and just let it work itself out and do another big wc tomorrow morning?

So no more Tilex(wife actually went to bed at 7pm with migraine after using it), no dechlorinator and wash anything plastic with water and vinegar before placing in your tank.

es355lucille
03-16-2011, 03:46 PM
The lady that cleans our home office used tilex all the time, and the floor cleaner stuff was just as bad! Never had anything happen with the tank though....good thing......but we have since changed the cleaning products to vinegar and water.....that other crap was killing me!!! (asthmatic) so it can't be good for a any tank.

Thats sure a nice to know about the pumps....I have brought pumps home and stuck them in the tank without thinking there might be an oil product or whatever on them!

So no more Tilex(wife actually went to bed at 7pm with migraine after using it), no dechlorinator and wash anything plastic with water and vinegar before placing in your tank.

phreezee
03-16-2011, 05:07 PM
Powerheads leaking voltage? Do you have a grounding probe?

This happened to me :(

apex82
03-16-2011, 05:14 PM
I thought possibly leaking voltage... However wouldnt I get shocked? I also have everything running off a GFCI and figured it would be tripped with any stray voltage when I put my hand in the tank? No, I do not have a grounding probe.

mws
03-16-2011, 05:29 PM
Powerheads leaking voltage? Do you have a grounding probe?

This happened to me :(

It has nothing to do with voltage. Brand new powerheads are coated with the staff what is not toxic to the fish directly, but can reduce oxygen levels. And of course some fish is more sensible to low oxygen levels then others.

Same thing with sea hares. If harassed it may release a purple fluid into the water, which is not toxic, but may reduce oxygen levels and make some fish to suffocate.

If this is the case adding a air pump would probable help fish to recover.

apex82
03-16-2011, 07:39 PM
Okay I added an air pump for extra aeration. I just assumed having 2000 gph pointed at surface achieved same result?

PoonTang
03-16-2011, 11:45 PM
Update?

apex82
03-17-2011, 01:39 AM
As of now most are getting better. I did another water change of 20 gallons today and jammed about 3+ cups of carbon in mesh bags into the sump. The flame hawk and clownfish pair are almost back to normal. Moved the trigger and 1 chromis back into display after I saw flame and clowns eating. However, dragonette, trigger, 2 chromis and anthias still hiding and breathing heavy, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I am hoping they might eat tomorrow. I am relieved no more deaths, hope it stays that way. So good news for the most part except for butterfly fish came down with major attack of ich...

ScubaSteve
03-17-2011, 02:04 AM
So good news for the most part except for butterfly fish came down with major attack of ich...

Butterfly with ich? Man, that sounds familiar :neutral: I've been battling that for a month now...

Glad to hear the others are alright. I feel so bad when I hear of these things happening.

Wayne
03-17-2011, 02:10 AM
Wow... thanks for that. I didn't even wash them with water before putting them in. I checked manual and nothing was mentioned, so I went for it. I guess at this point I am wondering if I should remove them and replace with the koralia 3's? Or the damage has been done and just let it work itself out and do another big wc tomorrow morning?

So no more Tilex(wife actually went to bed at 7pm with migraine after using it), no dechlorinator and wash anything plastic with water and vinegar before placing in your tank.

Did you pull them and wash them? Or are you going to ride it out?

daniella3d
03-17-2011, 03:36 AM
is it possible that something was in your tap water? sometimes the water company add chimical, especialy at this time of the year. It is not a good idea use tap water for aquarium use as I have seen it happen and read about it, some chimical killing all the fish in the aquarium. Depending on the dechlorinator, they should be very safe for saltwater. I know Seachem Prime is safe for satwater and I used it before without any problem.

9 fish in a 75 gallons is a bit overcrowded I think. It could have been a factor into your fish death by lack of oxygen maybe.

apex82
03-17-2011, 05:18 AM
I have not taken the powerheads out and washed them yet. If they are not better by tomorrow, I will.

Ya I talked to water company today and they have been doing a "flush" in area the past while... however they said the chlorine has not been increased that much. I am using prime and has been fine in the past...

Do situations like this take awhile to fizzle out? It has been two full days since the episode, not sure if they should be back to normal by now? I have changed about 50 gallons of water on a total volume of 95 gallons or so. As far as bio-load, skimmer is rated for much larger tank with a heavy load and most of the fish are smaller than 3 inches. I am not sure how it could be lack of oxygen? I have tons of flow agitating the surface with an open top, is this not adequate? Thanks for all the help and suggestions!

apex82
03-17-2011, 08:23 PM
Day 3 and tank looks empty... All fish hiding and not eating except for 3 out of 9. Albeit there breathing is better than 2 days ago I would still consider it abnormal and rapid. Breathing before was large wide mouth rapid gasps while today mouth is staying more closed but still seems like excessive breathing. I am not sure what to do at this point... If everything was better should they be back to normal by now? Or does an event like this take a week or so for them to start eating and swimming around again due to the stress?

I just don't know if I should try more things( more water changes, different powerheads, take fish out) or if water is okay now but it just takes longer than 3 days for them to start eating and not hiding....

silentcivilian
03-17-2011, 09:06 PM
At this point could just be a stress related thing. You may just have to let time tell, hope the damage is done and the rest will mend itself.

mws
03-17-2011, 09:49 PM
If no one is worse at this point I would just give them time.
Keep the stress levels low and hope for the best.

apex82
03-17-2011, 10:57 PM
Alright, just changed another 30 gallons so thats puts it up about 80 gallons in 3 days on a total water volume of 95 gallons(almost 100% water change). I took out the new evolution powerheads are soaking in vinegar and replaced with my old koralia 3's. I think thats all I can do and hope for the best...

mws
03-17-2011, 11:05 PM
Plag them in and let them run in a backet for a day. Make sure you rinse them well from the viniger bifore putting them back in your tank.

Wayne
03-17-2011, 11:13 PM
Best of luck and hopefully your not looking at a bateria infection caused by who-knows-what

BlueWorldAquatic
03-17-2011, 11:28 PM
Best bet, forgive me if someone has already mentioned it.

Put stability in the tank, and ImmunoVital to help the fishes immune system

Ken

apex82
03-21-2011, 04:25 AM
Day 5 and almost all fish have recovered! Only problem is with the crash causing stress the butterfly got a real bad case of ich... I didnt think he was going to make it so I did a fw dip few days ago and now he is eating and swimming well. Trigger has got ich as well, but they are eating like pigs with mysis,pellets,flakes soaked in garlic guard and selcon. I think they are all going to make it, its a miracle. Thanks for all the help guys!:biggrin: