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View Full Version : Arrrghhh! Stupid clownfish keep commiting suicide!


ScubaSteve
04-15-2013, 01:07 AM
This is ridiculous...

I set up a 14G BC back in December with the intent of having a pair of clowns. I got a pair on Boxing Day. A couple weeks later one of them jumps in the back chamber and gets sucked into the pump. I make a cover for the back (covers half the back area) and get another clown. A couple weeks later a clown gets into the back area and maroons himself on the strainer in the middle chamber - parishes. Get another clown. Make a cover that covers the full back area and seal it to the tank with tape. Two weeks later I find a clown sucked into the pump - again. No idea how it got there. Like seriously... I have no idea.

So the one poor clown left was in the tank all by itself for weeks (save for a few snails and corals). Finally had a chance to run out to JL yesterday and got a picasso clown. Our existing clown was SOOOOOOO excited to have a friend. I don't think I can say I've ever seen a happy fish. This was a happy fish. Damn near brought me to tears to see it so happy and excited. Instantly paired up and were fast friends. It was a great night.

Today the tank was getting a bit warm (we have no control over heat in the house and we're on the top floor - great combo) so I opened to front feeding flap for a bit to let the tank evaporate and cool. Went back 10 minutes ago to close it and our original clown is stuck and dried to the couch! WTF!!!!!

Seriously, I don't get it. Are tank-bred clowns so inbred they are retarded? Or are the fish gods just determined to only let me have one clown?

mrhasan
04-15-2013, 01:25 AM
Sorry to hear about this :( As far as i know, clowns are pretty strong swimmers and pumps generally can't suck them in. Maybe you always keep on getting bad clowns? Or perhaps the cube is just haunted :twised:

daniella3d
04-15-2013, 02:08 AM
I am not surprised. There should be a lot of aggressivity at the begining. You may think that they are best friends but they are probably fighting for dominance and who's going to be the female.

If you get clowfish about the same size you will always have this problem, and eventually you run the risk of having 2 females kill each other.

Best way to go is to buy an existing couple already established with the much larger female. I had a very nice black ice that jumped after a few months of being in the tank and they seamed to get along ok but eventually there was some aggression and now the black and white female is alone. Will I pay another 90$ to get another black ice? nope...not even 20$ to get another black and white. She would probably harrass it to death again. Clownfish are ok alone, and surely better alone than a pair of them fighting for dominance.

If you absolutely want another clownfish, make sure you pic one smaller than your existing one...or even better do as I did and take the existing fish OUT and into a quarantine tank and put both fish together in the new tank at the same time. By the time the quarantine is over there is a good chance they will have formed a pair and the existing one will not be so territorial in a new tank. When you return them both to the main tank they will not be fighting if they have formed a pair, at least we hope so.

DigitalWeight
04-15-2013, 02:37 AM
I feel your pain man - woke up this morning and while looking down I noticed a weird orange blob beside the toilet. Sure enough, one of my clowns jumped to its death and managed to flop about 5-feet before it have up (poor thing - I was actually pretty sad). Off to Home Depot to DIY a net cover.

slakker
04-15-2013, 02:52 AM
yep, mine were lucky, they jumped into the pump area 1/2 dozen times and I was able to rescue them... once into the strainer area, but had enough water and flow to stay alive until I noticed. Then I main a partition from a piece of acrylic that spans the length and is about 1 inch high... they haven't been able to make it over that since then.

mike31154
04-15-2013, 05:24 AM
Yep, haunted tank man. I had the same issue with Lawnmower Blennies. Not a pairing issue, but 3 of them met their demise in various fashions. As much as I'd like to have another due to their cool personality, I'm resigned to the fact that my tank will kill it, so no dice.

I do have a pair of spawning maroon clowns though. No sump or overflow for them to get into, but they're so established in their territory around their BTAs, it would take something pretty radical for them to commit suiicide.

ScubaSteve
04-15-2013, 11:16 AM
I am not surprised. There should be a lot of aggressivity at the begining. You may think that they are best friends but they are probably fighting for dominance and who's going to be the female.

If you get clowfish about the same size you will always have this problem, and eventually you run the risk of having 2 females kill each other.

Best way to go is to buy an existing couple already established with the much larger female. I had a very nice black ice that jumped after a few months of being in the tank and they seamed to get along ok but eventually there was some aggression and now the black and white female is alone. Will I pay another 90$ to get another black ice? nope...not even 20$ to get another black and white. She would probably harrass it to death again. Clownfish are ok alone, and surely better alone than a pair of them fighting for dominance.

If you absolutely want another clownfish, make sure you pic one smaller than your existing one...or even better do as I did and take the existing fish OUT and into a quarantine tank and put both fish together in the new tank at the same time. By the time the quarantine is over there is a good chance they will have formed a pair and the existing one will not be so territorial in a new tank. When you return them both to the main tank they will not be fighting if they have formed a pair, at least we hope so.

The new fish was much smaller than the existing fish - like 65% the length. There was no aggression. The smaller fish submitted right away (did his little seizure dance) and they were fine all night and all the next day. It was the big fish that jumped. The new fish is a totally pussy made no charges at the big guy.

These aren't my first clowns and I've been follow all the typical rules for clowns. Just... Haunted tank as Mike said.

Rogue951
04-15-2013, 03:53 PM
off chance of stray voltage?

Ryan7
04-18-2013, 04:33 AM
The new fish was much smaller than the existing fish - like 65% the length. There was no aggression. The smaller fish submitted right away (did his little seizure dance) and they were fine all night and all the next day. It was the big fish that jumped. The new fish is a totally pussy made no charges at the big guy.

These aren't my first clowns and I've been follow all the typical rules for clowns. Just... Haunted tank as Mike said.

Did you consider after the first 3 jumped, that maybe the tank is too small to house two clowns that are not already paired?

Please share your "typical rules" for clowns?

Rogue951
04-18-2013, 04:36 AM
edited for edit.
=)

Ryan7
04-18-2013, 04:43 AM
sorry, that was uncalled for, i deleted that portion of my post.

I just hate hearing these stories of people replacing fish after fish, without even knowing why they are not having success with the fist one.

Zoaelite
04-18-2013, 04:43 AM
Not sure why people find it appropriate to use that word (regardless of the butcher grammar). You have a whole dictionary full of descriptive words, stop being offence it doesn't add to your argument.

ScubaSteve
04-18-2013, 06:30 AM
sorry, that was uncalled for, i deleted that portion of my post.

I just hate hearing these stories of people replacing fish after fish, without even knowing why they are not having success with the fist one.

Hey dude, I get what your saying but coming on here like that is uncalled for.

I go to great lengths to take great care of everything I own (one tank is built specifically for two fish I own and this one was done specifically for the clowns). The people who know me know how obsessive I am about taking the best care possible. I do a ton of research to make sure I'm doing the best possible work. If it wasn't for past experience with clowns in this exact tank, I'd maybe agree with you, but we did well in the past (with maroons) and I've taken even greater care this time around with everything I've learned over the years.

The fact that I lost one fish is heartbreaking. The fact that I lost several kills me. When the first fish got into the back somehow, I machined a custom acrylic guard to cover the back. ****, I've done two different designs! I've changed return pumps and flow patterns to keep waves from potentially pushing them over the back wall (the first pair liked to sleep near the top back corner and I suspect that a ripple in the water could have easily pushed it over the edge). I completely sealed the back area (or so I thought) and yet one got into the back (I still don't know how). There has been little to no aggression between fish (I work next to the tank all day and can say this for certain), so I haven't been able to say that was the cause. Saying I don't know what caused the lack of success with the first one is BS because I've spent a ton of time to try to determine and fix the cause (which I thought I had), and I spent a ton of time watching them throughout the day/ night to watch for aggression and other behavioural problems to rule this out (I pick clowns of different sizes to minimize this). I went for several weeks watching the lone clownfish in the tank to make sure their weren't any other stressors and, when I felt it was safe, finally added another. The fact that the old fish (which was twice the size of the new fish, whom submitted to the old fish right away) jumped blows me away. I was shocked as hell... Hence the thread of frustration.

I haven't exactly just been throwing fish in there all willy-nilly without thinking about what I'm doing. I hesitated for a long time to add another fish but eventually did so because I was seeing negative behavioral changes in the other fish from being kept in solitary confinement for weeks. I've been putting in more effort than the average ****ing reefer on this tank.

I understand it's dissappointing to hear about fishing dying. Believe me, I'm disappointed. But coming in here like that isn't called for, especially when you haven't been here to see what's happening.



So a few points to answer other questions from people:
- I've had a pair of maroons in this tank in the past without issue. Both came in when small and paired in the tank

- aside from the first pair which squabbled when I first put them in for a day or two until they sorted stuff out, there has been no aggression. I literally work right next to the tank all day and haven't seen any aggression

- no stray voltage that I have measured.

- I have guard which covers the whole back area

- the clowns are the only fish in this tank and there are only a few snails, hermits, a conch and SPS colonies

- tank gets weekly water changes and has immaculate water (for the sake of the SPS colonies)

cblair
04-18-2013, 07:13 AM
Well said scubasteve!! I've had a couple clowns recently do the exact same thing even though my tank has a screen top. It's frustrating and sad. Anyone who has the time and funds to set up a reef and take care of it everyday, should understand that it can be devasting to loose livestock. I know for myself I take it personally almost to the point I question if I'm doing the right things... And that's what's great about these forums. You can gather all the knowledge and experiences of other reefers and try to do something about it. You shouldn't be put down for caring about your reef.

naesco
04-18-2013, 08:48 PM
Hey dude, I get what your saying but coming on here like that is uncalled for.

I go to great lengths to take great care of everything I own (one tank is built specifically for two fish I own and this one was done specifically for the clowns). The people who know me know how obsessive I am about taking the best care possible. I do a ton of research to make sure I'm doing the best possible work. If it wasn't for past experience with clowns in this exact tank, I'd maybe agree with you, but we did well in the past (with maroons) and I've taken even greater care this time around with everything I've learned over the years.

The fact that I lost one fish is heartbreaking. The fact that I lost several kills me. When the first fish got into the back somehow, I machined a custom acrylic guard to cover the back. ****, I've done two different designs! I've changed return pumps and flow patterns to keep waves from potentially pushing them over the back wall (the first pair liked to sleep near the top back corner and I suspect that a ripple in the water could have easily pushed it over the edge). I completely sealed the back area (or so I thought) and yet one got into the back (I still don't know how). There has been little to no aggression between fish (I work next to the tank all day and can say this for certain), so I haven't been able to say that was the cause. Saying I don't know what caused the lack of success with the first one is BS because I've spent a ton of time to try to determine and fix the cause (which I thought I had), and I spent a ton of time watching them throughout the day/ night to watch for aggression and other behavioural problems to rule this out (I pick clowns of different sizes to minimize this). I went for several weeks watching the lone clownfish in the tank to make sure their weren't any other stressors and, when I felt it was safe, finally added another. The fact that the old fish (which was twice the size of the new fish, whom submitted to the old fish right away) jumped blows me away. I was shocked as hell... Hence the thread of frustration.

I haven't exactly just been throwing fish in there all willy-nilly without thinking about what I'm doing. I hesitated for a long time to add another fish but eventually did so because I was seeing negative behavioral changes in the other fish from being kept in solitary confinement for weeks. I've been putting in more effort than the average ****ing reefer on this tank.

I understand it's dissappointing to hear about fishing dying. Believe me, I'm disappointed. But coming in here like that isn't called for, especially when you haven't been here to see what's happening.



So a few points to answer other questions from people:
- I've had a pair of maroons in this tank in the past without issue. Both came in when small and paired in the tank

- aside from the first pair which squabbled when I first put them in for a day or two until they sorted stuff out, there has been no aggression. I literally work right next to the tank all day and haven't seen any aggression

- no stray voltage that I have measured.

- I have guard which covers the whole back area

- the clowns are the only fish in this tank and there are only a few snails, hermits, a conch and SPS colonies

- tank gets weekly water changes and has immaculate water (for the sake of the SPS colonies)

Hey man, he apologized.

ScubaSteve
04-18-2013, 08:53 PM
Hey man, he apologized.

I know. I saw that after the fact. I started writing that before he changed his last post. It hit a raw nerve at the end of a ****ty day, so it probably came out more blunt than it should have, so, for that I'm sorry.

Ryan7
04-18-2013, 09:20 PM
All previous posts aside.

I think the reason you are having soo many of the clowns jump is due to the size of the tank and maybe how it is aquascaped.

Regardless of whether you have had success in the past with this size of tank and clowns, and all the others who claim the same, it is a very small area for the fish to react to each other.

Even if the are paired together, the non-aggressive dance they can perform leads them into quick darts and short chases within the area.

Likely one clown is reacting to the other by darting aside, but with no room to dart to, it sadly ends up going up and out of the tank.

If you insist for your tank to work for you, might I suggest the following;

-upon adding another new clown, rearrange your aquascape a little, this may help as neither fish would have a pre-claimed territory, and will likely look to each other for safety.
-if the clowns tend to huddle toward a certain area of the tanks top corner, try suspending small rocks there for them if possible.
-debating on the tank size, often another fish can take the clowns focus away from each other and on the 3rd tankmate, although it should be less aggressive then the clowns themselves and something that is not a purching fish but a swimmer.
-not sure if its possible with your system or concept, but an anemone could help also??
-you are doing the right thing by having one larger then the other, continue this.

Better luck in the future.

ScubaSteve
04-19-2013, 12:14 AM
All previous posts aside.

I think the reason you are having soo many of the clowns jump is due to the size of the tank and maybe how it is aquascaped.

Regardless of whether you have had success in the past with this size of tank and clowns, and all the others who claim the same, it is a very small area for the fish to react to each other.

Even if the are paired together, the non-aggressive dance they can perform leads them into quick darts and short chases within the area.

Likely one clown is reacting to the other by darting aside, but with no room to dart to, it sadly ends up going up and out of the tank.

If you insist for your tank to work for you, might I suggest the following;

-upon adding another new clown, rearrange your aquascape a little, this may help as neither fish would have a pre-claimed territory, and will likely look to each other for safety.
-if the clowns tend to huddle toward a certain area of the tanks top corner, try suspending small rocks there for them if possible.
-debating on the tank size, often another fish can take the clowns focus away from each other and on the 3rd tankmate, although it should be less aggressive then the clowns themselves and something that is not a purching fish but a swimmer.
-not sure if its possible with your system or concept, but an anemone could help also??
-you are doing the right thing by having one larger then the other, continue this.

Better luck in the future.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Ya, I've rearranged the rocks a bit each time I added a new fish to avoid territorial issues. Again, other than the typical squabble between the first pair I haven't seen any aggression amongst the others (and like I said, I sit next to the tank all day and night... but then again, it does only take one fateful charge when I'm not watching). And oddly, aside from one small clown (the first to go) it seems to be the bigger ones that have jumped in the back or out of the tank. I really don't think they're running from a submissive, smaller fish (I do see the smaller fish doing their weird seizure/submission dance). I'm not saying it's not aggression, just saying I haven't seen any signs that that has been the issue.

You're right though, it could be their regular dance, or even the vigor with which they go after food.

I have been considering adding both a dither fish of some sort and an anemone. The nem will come in a couple months; I wanted to make sure the tank was rock solid before adding that. As for fish, I thought about adding a clown goby... something that wouldn't dominate the tank, tends to be bold enough to hang out in the open and there are a bunch of SPS colonies to perch in... but it's a percher and I wasn't sure if that do the trick. Thoughts? I had a six-line wrasse in the past with the maroons and... it worked ok but both of those fish have strong personalities. I want to keep this tank more peaceful and let the clowns have the run of the joint.

Ryan7
04-19-2013, 05:04 AM
A good dither fish might be a cardinal? they swim in open water, and shouldn't be aggressive if there is only one.

An Azure Damsel could also work (bule damsel with yellow belly, not the the yellow tailed ones) I have found these to be the only non-aggressive damsels, but might act differently in small systems.

Other then that maybe a chromis (bicolour or blackbar tend to accept a little less swimming room then typical greens, and are more related to damsels when it comes to eating. Greens tend to want to be fed like anthias, which may be difficult in small systems.

I think an anemone would be a good bet once they adopt it, it would stop the clowns from hovering in top corner of the tank together (I don't know why but they always seem to do that instead of finding a home in the rocks) it will give them some more room away from the surface when they do their thing.