Sudden fish deaths

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Good Morning,

I'm new to the forum but I have been keeping reef tanks on and off for around 15 years. I have had an issue with sudden fish death over the last couple of weeks that I can't understand or find any information on so have joined to hopefully receive some advise.

Little about my system:
Red Sea Reefer Deluxe 250
2 x ReefLED90
Bubble Magnus Curve 5 Skimmer
Reefer Factory Thermo Controller with titanium heater
TMC 4000 return pump
Reef Factory 3x doser
MP10 powerheads

Tank has been running approx 5-6 months and parameters as of last night were
Salinity 35ppt
Temp 25.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Alk 8.8
Cal 450
Mag 1350
Phosphate 0.06
PH 8.2

2 weeks ago I had a Damsel die, I removed and checked for illness and there seemed to be a couple of whitespots but I couldn't be sure as the CUC had been doing their job on it. I checked the remaining fish and have continued to each day for any signs of disease but cant see any issues. Over the last couple of days I have lost 1 clown, 1 damsel, 1 cleaner wrasse and this morning a regal tang with no obvious signs of disease or parasites. I now only have a single clownfish left that is behaving normal but it has some stringy things either from its fins or from the body that almost looks as though its got some clear-ish GHA attached, difficult to tell as the lights are not on.  I would remove into a QT and treat but I'm not sure what this could be or what the wider issue is although I'm not confident it will be there when I get home later.

All corals are fine which include a large torch colony, 2 large frogspawn colonies, large hammer frag, small torch frag, small hammer frag, Acropora frag, and assorted zoa's. I have read through the fish diseases but there is nothing that stands out and its something I have not experienced before so hoping someone would be able to help?

Jonny

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Reply #1

Hi @Jonny welcome to ReefBase

Sorry to hear about the losses. 

Can you get a picture of the clownfish with the stringy things? (might need to turn the tank lights to white only temporarily).

If you're going to put the remaining fish in quarantine,  NT Labs Marine AntiBacterial will deal with a lot of different problems (despite the name) as it has acriflavin and formaldehyde in it,  another similar product is Seachems Paraguard.
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Jonny

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Reply #2

Hi Andy,

Thanks for replying, I have just spoken with my wife and unfortunately the Clown has now died. She said there was nothing noticeable when she removed it, I have got a little bit of algae that's dyeing off at the moment and the strands I noticed did kind of resemble that or I was thinking it could be slime from the fish?

As I have no fish left I guess that leaving the tank for a few weeks would be the best course of action to ensure that if there are any parasites they will dies off. I still have cleaner shrimp and emerald crabs though so not sure if fish parasites or diseases can stay with these?

Jonny

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Reply #3

Hi Andy,

Thanks for replying, I have just spoken with my wife and unfortunately the Clown has now died. She said there was nothing noticeable when she removed it, I have got a little bit of algae that's dyeing off at the moment and the strands I noticed did kind of resemble that or I was thinking it could be slime from the fish?

As I have no fish left I guess that leaving the tank for a few weeks would be the best course of action to ensure that if there are any parasites they will dies off. I still have cleaner shrimp and emerald crabs though so not sure if fish parasites or diseases can stay with these?

Jonny

Bad luck @Jonny 🙁 I've been there, it's gutting to lose them without knowing why.

Seeing as you don't know the cause, I would follow humblefish's advice on the following link and do "6 weeks IF 27C/80.6F can be continuously maintained"
https://humble.fish/community/index.php?threads/fallow-periods-going-fishless.32/

If you can't get the tank to 27c, then 11 weeks instead of 6.

Inverts like shrimps crabs etc can stay in the tank.
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Reply #4

Bad luck @Jonny 🙁 I've been there, it's gutting to lose them without knowing why.

Seeing as you don't know the cause, I would follow humblefish's advice on the following link and do "6 weeks IF 27C/80.6F can be continuously maintained"
https://humble.fish/community/index.php?threads/fallow-periods-going-fishless.32/

If you can't get the tank to 27c, then 11 weeks instead of 6.

Inverts like shrimps crabs etc can stay in the tank.

Thanks Andy, that's really useful.

For some reason I had 10 weeks in my head but 6 is good for me. I will gradually increase temp to 27 although i'm not sure my LPS and SPS will like it.
I'm quite sure that it is a disease or parasite problem, thinking back I had a Goby die after a couple of days in the tank a few months ago so this could possibly be where its come from as there have been no recent additions of fish.
Another thought I have had is oxygen, skimmer runs 24hrs and I have a splitter on the return outlet for surface agitation which I'd have thought would be adequate?

ajm83

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Reply #5

Thanks Andy, that's really useful.

For some reason I had 10 weeks in my head but 6 is good for me. I will gradually increase temp to 27 although i'm not sure my LPS and SPS will like it.
I'm quite sure that it is a disease or parasite problem, thinking back I had a Goby die after a couple of days in the tank a few months ago so this could possibly be where its come from as there have been no recent additions of fish.
Another thought I have had is oxygen, skimmer runs 24hrs and I have a splitter on the return outlet for surface agitation which I'd have thought would be adequate?

Wouldn't have thought it was oxygenation if your skimmer is running 24/7,  have you added anything to the tank recently (even corals, inverts etc) ?
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Jonny

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Reply #6

I added an Acro last week, gave it a dip before putting it in but as I don't have a QT tank it went straight in afterwards.
Before this the last addition was the regal around 4 weeks ago, all other fish have been in the tank since jan/Feb.

Just sat watching the tank, bit sad when there's no fish activity :'(.

marine_newbie

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Reply #7

If lack of oxygenation I would have expected the pH to be low, but 8.2 is good

Sounds like it was a disease. Really sorry to hear. I think your coral will be fine at 27. Keep feeding when fallow, reduced quantities.

I’ve never done fallow, do you need to keep any eye on parameters? Keep skimmer going?


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Livvie

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Reply #8

I thought it might be worth mentioning although it’s prob not this but... have you checked that no one in your house has used any perfumes/aerosols/air fresheners/plug ins/etc. in the room of / near your aquarium? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even scented candles can be really harmful to aquatic life.


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Jonny

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Reply #9

I thought it might be worth mentioning although it’s prob not this but... have you checked that no one in your house has used any perfumes/aerosols/air fresheners/plug ins/etc. in the room of / near your aquarium? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even scented candles can be really harmful to aquatic life.


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I did think of this, we don't have scented things in our house as my son has allergies but the tank is situated in the kitchen. Could cooking be an issue?

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Reply #10

I did think of this, we don't have scented things in our house as my son has allergies but the tank is situated in the kitchen. Could cooking be an issue?
Honestly I work I a pet shop and I did have one customer who had practically the exact same issue as you - water reading were good, etc. yet sudden unexplained fish death. Turned out she was keeping her tank in the kitchen. Only difference though is this was a freshwater aquarium. Maybe someone else might add to this?
Best of luck to you


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ajm83

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Reply #11

I added an Acro last week, gave it a dip before putting it in but as I don't have a QT tank it went straight in afterwards.
Before this the last addition was the regal around 4 weeks ago, all other fish have been in the tank since jan/Feb.

Just sat watching the tank, bit sad when there's no fish activity :'(.

It could have been something on the base/plug the acro came on, or something the regal already had before it got to you. Shame.

Did you decide what you are doing with restocking?  Are you leaving it empty for a bit?
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Jonny

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Reply #12

It could have been something on the base/plug the acro came on, or something the regal already had before it got to you. Shame.

Did you decide what you are doing with restocking?  Are you leaving it empty for a bit?

Hi Andy,

I'm leaving it for the 6 weeks and not really though of stocking yet. I will probably start with a couple of tank breed clowns or cardinals. The only good thing to come out of this is a reduction in phosphate so I'm just going to aim to keep this stable and not too low until I can add fish again. What would your thoughts be on still adding corals during the 6 weeks?

I thought about the kitchen being an issue but as corals are unaffected then its safe to say this isn't the problem.

Jonny

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Reply #13

You can but if you want to be thorough, the 6 weeks starts over if you add anything to the tank.  Depends on how much you trust the source of the corals...
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Jonny

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Reply #14

You can but if you want to be thorough, the 6 weeks starts over if you add anything to the tank.  Depends on how much you trust the source of the corals...

Yeah your right, just my eagerness for something to fill the void taking over  lol
Given me the chance to get stuck in scrubbing the corners with a toothbrush this evening, found what I think was a big zoa eating nudi too. Never actually seen one that has taken on resemblance of the coral, needless to say its gone and zoas got another dip

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