View Full Version : Received My New Australian Tusk

11/26/2008, 08:08 PM
Well, I received my new Australian Tusk from petsolutions.com. Overall, my thoughts on petsolutions are mixed. The specimen as you can see from the below picture is very nice and fairly small at about 4 inches. Moreover, they packed it pretty well in a styrofoam cooler with a nice amount of water. However, although there were a few heat packs in the cooler, apparently no where near enough. The packaged water measured at 62F when he arrived. Upon arrival he was swimming a bit in the bag which may me feel hopeful he was in good shape. I immediately opened the bag and started to slowly remove small amounts of water from the bag and replacing equal amounts in the bag from my tank. After about 1/2 hour of doing so, I placed a small heater in the bag to slowly bring up the temprature. I continued with the water swaps between the bag and tank for about 2.5 hours. I then added him to quarantine. He swam about a bit then found the cave I built for him. He hid in there for about three hours and now has moved up a bit more into the open in a pearching position on the back glass. He is breathing pretty hard which wories me. Also, there are strange looking large white marks on the lower portion of his side. They do not at all look like ich. They are fairly big, and almost look like maybe abrasions of some kind? Any ideas what these marks are? Not the greatest picture, but I think you can see them fairly clearly. They are the cluster of marks on his orange stripe toward his tail. Diagnosis help, and if applicable, suggested treatment would be appreciated.

http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/3229/1000238ak1.th.jpg (http://img512.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1000238ak1.jpg)

11/26/2008, 09:50 PM
I cannot f**in believe it. I turned on my lights for the first time since his arrival, and he went nuts swimming franticly bashing himself against the side of the aquarium. He then went on his side and jerked violently a few more times. His breathing slowed, and he died a few minutes later. I still can't believe it. It appears like the lights spooked him so bad he had a heart attack and died. I just checked all my parameters which are perfect. No ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. PH 8.3, salinity 1.24, temp., 78.4. I am so ****ed. I did not turn the lights on until he was in the tank 5 hours after a 3 hour acclimation. I am so ****ed. I cannot for the life of me figure out what went wrong.

11/26/2008, 10:07 PM
Dude, don't know what to say....make sure you call the store ASAP and leave them a message and an email if nothing else until Friday. Pretty fish...for the marks, who knows. About the lights, yeah fish sometimes don't like the dark to light thing that much, but to swim hard enough to kill itself....haven't seen that. Normally they dart and hide, but now continue. Sorry man.

11/26/2008, 10:07 PM
Well that sucks. Tusks dont seem to ship well, I've read quite a few stories of HT doing very poorly in shipping. I got mine off Diver's Den, Australian version, beautiful fish. They shipped VERY well, even for them.

Mine never ate and died eventually. I tried everything.

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear your fish died. How is the "return" policy where you ordered?

11/26/2008, 11:56 PM
Wow man, I'm sorry to hear that. :( I've heard of similar things happening, but that stinks. I hope the place will cover it even though it was 8 hours after arrival. Lots of places usually only guarantee the first couple hours...

With the 3 hour acclimation, did you add anything to deal with the ammonia? After shipping, the ammonia in the bag tends to be extremely high and a 3 hour acclimation could have really hurt him. Maybe the stress of that plus the lights caused him to freak out, if it wasn't just the lights.

11/27/2008, 12:03 AM
i have kept mines successfully, when u add it to a tank was there any other fish with it? HTF should be in a tank alone till they are bold enough and eating well. HT fish do not do well if its being harrased by other fish...wells sorry to hear this best of luck

11/27/2008, 03:31 AM
Stuart, I'm so sorry to hear it! It sounds as though the fish was very stressed and came in possibly sick, so it's hard to know what caused it to die.

Let us know how petsolutions treats you.

I had an Australian HT in my 5' 120 for many years. In 2002, during an ice storm in winter, we lost power for about 4 days, and the water got very cool. I thought the tusk was dead - it was wedged in upside down and at an angle in the rocks, and had that really bright color fish sometimes get as they die. I held off from pulling it out of the tank - it was hard to get to and too big to flush. A few hours later, when the power was on and the tank warmed up, it was swimming just fine. I lost that fish (all my fish but a moray eel) in 2005 to a disease outbreak.

Since then, I've tried several HTs and lost them all soon after purchase. Although they are a tough fish when acclimated, they seem to be poor shippers (as someone mentioned) and really susceptible to getting sick from stress.

When/if I get another one, I'll either purchase locally or get it from Diver's Den. While the fish from Liveaquaria coming in from California are usually very good, with poor shippers or delicate species, I prefer DD because they follow a strict fish health program like no other I've seen, anywhere. When they ship a fish, it's healthy going out the door, giving it a huge advantage and much greater chance of survival than fish being shipped from anywhere else.

11/27/2008, 08:55 AM
Petsolutions has the same 14 day as liveaquaria..besure and notify them..i have only dealt with them on a DOA and it was only a 6 dollar fish so i dont know if you need the body ornot on the higher dollar fish..but i had no trouble on the 6 buck fish.. good luck and sorry to hear of your loss

11/27/2008, 08:55 AM
Wow, Stuart, very sorry to hear this! Very strange though, never heard of lights causing a such a drastic reaction. I agree with lisa though, my money is on the fact he was stressed or sick already. I am very interested to hear how the seller treats you re: this. Again, very sorry.

11/27/2008, 10:21 AM
Thanks for for the nice replies. As far as any ammonia in the shipping bag, I never tested the shipping bag water so I do not know if that was the problem. Also, he was added to quarantine alone with no other fish. I did notice that the shipping water was very cold so I checked its temp and it was 62F which I am sure did not help things. I acclimiated him very slowly over three hours using a shot glass to swap water from the shipping bag and the quarantine tank. He must have been shipped in several gallons of water which filled over 1/2 of my five gallon bucket. I did this slow acclimation because it was recommended by petsolutions because of the fragile nature of the fish. I also brought the temp up from 62F to 76F over about 2 hours so as not to stress the fish. He went into quarantine and looked good and swam normal upon intially hitting the water and then found the cave I made for him to hide in. He seemed fine for another 5 hours after acclimation and even moved out a bit of the cave and pearched up on the back glass exposing more of his body. I then decided to turn on the lights to see if he would swim about at all. If he did, I was planning to offer him some food. Once I turned on the lights, you know the rest of the story. Immediately after his death, I checked all my parameters which were literally perfect. The quarantine has been up and running for 3 weeks before I added the tusk. Moreover, the qurarantine bio media was sitting in my sump for 3 weeks before I set up the quarantine. Plus, the quarantine had a little rock from my display refugium. It must have just been the stress of travel combined with the low temp of the shipping water that got him sick. Those strange dots posted in the picture above may have been some manefestation of illness, but I have never seen any illness look like that. Puzzled and ****ed. I should be able to get the purchase price refunded, but I will, of course, have to eat the shipping. Not sure I want to try a tusk again. Absolutely love the fish, but I do want something that will be hardy and not so delicate. I have taken several digital photos of the dead fish and literally froze his dead body in a ziplock. I will call petsolutions tommorow about a refund.

11/27/2008, 12:44 PM
Sorry for the loss; but glad there is a guarantee. IMO, there is no excuse for 62 degree water. But, anyone can make a mistake. (could be a Fed-Ex problem, leaving it in the cold too long) I'm curious to hear how they handle the problem; they have some interesting stuff on sale at times. I've had 3 Aussies shipped to me from LA (lost one in Katrina) and all arrived well and thrived. BTW; swf.com has a drip acclimation video that I've been using and really like; but when you have 62 degree water, I think you need to move faster, like you did.

11/27/2008, 01:24 PM

You have me wanting to try again with your success stories. I am struggling on whether to do so. I did, however, not move all that quickly with acclimation. I removed a shot glass of water from the shipping bag and swapped it with an equal amount from the quarantine tank in 5 minute increments for about 3 hours. There looked to me to be at least 3 gallons of water in the shipping bag in that it substantially exceeded 1/2 of the water volume in my 5 gallon bucket. I would think that this is slow enough. I was just wondering if you thought this was too quick under normal circumstances should I decide to try again? Also, since you seem fairly experienced with these fish, I was curious if you had any opinion on what the cluster of large white spots were as shown in the picture in the first post on this thread?

11/27/2008, 02:12 PM
Wow I'm sorry to hear that. It's terrible for people like us that CARE about the little guys who go through this, unlike many LFS workers who just look at them as stock for the store.

I had a beautiful color morph dogface puffer get stuck at the airport for two days in Denver because of snow conditions and when he finally got here he was in very cold water and one of his eyes was totally white. I just floated the bag to bring up the temp first...forget about acclimating until the temp was right.

He actually lasted a week but finally died and DD refunded my money. It doesn't pay for all the heartbreak and pain you suffer from working so hard to save a fish only to have him die but it helps.

This story makes me glad I got my Australian HT from a local dealer. I don't know where you live but maybe a store near you can order one?

11/27/2008, 02:19 PM
Just a BTW, those white spots are normal coloring of the fish, nothing you need to worry about. My HT was about 7" when he passed away, he had probably 20-30 easily visible spots down there.

11/27/2008, 03:18 PM
Do you have any local stores that you can get fish from? I would MUCH rather pay more at a shop then get something online that I cannot look at or see if he is doing OK before I bring him home.

A better way to acclimate is to drip new water from your QT/display into his bag. That is a lot less stressfull then taking water out via a cup. This will slowly raise the h20 temp & also get him use to the new water in a much less stressfull way.

bummer though.... such cool fish!! whimpy but so cool

11/27/2008, 04:27 PM
Fish die in this hobby; that's just a fact. Often, we'll never know why; but this incident still sounds like a problem with the shipping company to me. Many folks have no idea how many fish die between the reef and our tanks; and many are lost at the lfs.
I've bought every fish (lots) I've had for many years online for many years and will never do it any other way. The price, guarantee, and the overall quality of fish is far superior to any lfs I've done business with. There are some great lfs; but they are finding it hard to compete. The fish from online dealers usually make one less stop than the fish from any lfs, a big plus. Owners or employees of the online dealers make regular trips to collection sites and I'm convinced they do a superior job of monitoring collection practices. (With a 14 guarantee, they have to.) I've talked to folks from at least 3 online dealers over the years and their knowledge is really impressive. I'm not trying to sell anyone anything; but I've never had a bad experience buying online. I've lost fish, sure. But lfs fish are lost as well. I know I'm not alone on this issue and mine is just an opinion; based on a lot of experience. In a world of online forums; a shoddy online dealer would fold up shop in a hurry, but they are flourishing.
BTW, I think Fed-Ex is the best at shipping livestock. If you have a "hold at location" Fed-Ex office near you; you can have the fish shipped there and pick them up at 9AM. Also the post by viggen above describes the video acclimation clip at swf.C; an excellent,easy way to acclimate.

11/27/2008, 06:20 PM
I have considered buying locally. Despite the more expensive price and greater difficulty finding it stock, I cannot get a 14 day gurantee from any local shop like I can online. When buying such an expensive and fragile fish, certainly provides some finanicial comfort. However, the shipping on these guys from what I have read seems to result in a lot of fatalities which makes me feel kind of like a smuck trying again on line. Don't really want to turn this place into a concentration camp for tusks. Not sure what I may due. I did notice a nice indo on drivers' den.

11/27/2008, 08:58 PM
I guess it depends on what LFS you have. For me I feel the mailorder places charge to much for their fish & as always you do not know how healthy it is untill it arrives. The lfs I use has better prices then just about any online retailer I have seen plus the quality is better. Like the tusk that you purchased, to me that was expensive especially when you add shipping ....

I have a wholesale license where I can purchase fish from a few companies however I use a local shop for all of my purchases :)

Petsolutions is located not to far from me

11/28/2008, 11:06 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13826503#post13826503 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Stuart60611
I turned on my lights for the first time since his arrival, and he went nuts swimming franticly bashing himself against the side of the aquarium. He then went on his side and jerked violently a few more times.

Sorry about the fish. I've had this happen a few times with some of my very skiddish clowns, and I would all but guarantee that is why your tusk died.

I had to change a tank in a hurry a few months ago and in trying to catch a large 5" clown, she banged into the sides of the tank several times. Once in the new tank her respiration was quite elevated which I attributed to her fleeing, but it never returned to normal and she died about eight hours later after a few body torquing convulsions. Before dying, I could see a slight color change in her eyes which was produced by the blunt trauma from banging into the sides of the tank.

Another incident, I had a heater go on a tank where the water dropped to 65 with a pair of AU clowns in it. The large female was uneffected, the small male was barely moving. I placed two heaters in the tank and he recovered nicely with no ill effects. I don't think the cold water had anything to do with it especially since some of AU waters run 72 degrees anyway.


11/28/2008, 11:30 AM
IMHO, you do not want to get the indonesian HT. Not only are Australians much more beautiful(again imho) with the blue fins and rear body, I have read in numorous different places that they are MUCH more hardy. More resistent to disease and probably ship better as well.

I didn't do the science to back that up but I have read that from more than a couple different sources. Besides the Aussies look much nicer.

My GF and I saw that juvy indi HT on DD and the first thing she said was "That doesn't look nearly as nice as yours." And she doesn't really know much about fish...

11/28/2008, 12:35 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13834157#post13834157 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Snausy
IMHO, you do not want to get the indonesian HT. Not only are Australians much more beautiful(again imho) with the blue fins and rear body, I have read in numorous different places that they are MUCH more hardy. More resistent to disease and probably ship better as well.

I didn't do the science to back that up but I have read that from more than a couple different sources. Besides the Aussies look much nicer.

My GF and I saw that juvy indi HT on DD and the first thing she said was "That doesn't look nearly as nice as yours." And she doesn't really know much about fish...
I agree completely. Aussie HTs are also heavier and more robust--they almost look like a different species than the IO variety. (But, IMO, the IO is still a gorgeous fish.) Plus, Australian fish are caught & handled more carefully---and the chances of getting a cyanide caught fish from Australia are almost nil. IO tusks have a rep of being cyanide-caught more than most species, because they live on the reef wall, they are hard to net-catch. Most Aussies are caught on tiny, barbless hooks by divers "fishing".

11/28/2008, 03:34 PM
Well, although the fish died, I can confirm that the petsolutions responded in a highly professional and honest manner. They credited me the full purchase price for the fish, plus credited me my shipping. They further indicated that the 62F shipping water temperature was unacceptable and stated that they were going to look into why that happened on their end. Not much more you can ask from a company.

11/28/2008, 03:56 PM
Great to hear they made the situation right, shows the care about return business.

11/28/2008, 07:17 PM
Glad to hear it. Like has been said; fish can die anytime for unknown reasons. Refunding shipping is almost unheard of; I think I'll pay more attention to what P.S. has to offer in the future. I thought they'd be concerned about the cold water and hope they can fix the problem. BTW; what shipping co did they use? I have a FedEx "hold at location" site 10 mins away and have my fish sent there. They are kept inside and I get at 9AM. If they were delivered to my door (even by their premium service), I don't get them until 2-3PM. I live in the boonies.

11/28/2008, 10:47 PM
It came UPS, but I shipped it to my office which is several blocks from my home. I got it pretty early late morning.

At this point, I am leaning against going the tusk route again. I want something a bit more hardy. At my current stocking level, I can pretty much going full blown aggressive or more semi aggressive.

My stocking thoughts to finish out the system are the following:

a) pinktail, red tail, or golden heart trigger;
b) kole or tomi tang;
c) flame hawk or flame angel;
d) cuban hog;
e) pinkface, paddlefin, or banana wrasse; and
f) single yellow striped maroon clown or single/ pair of alardi clowns

Maybe be one big fish too many (tigger,hog and wrasse plus my existing trigger may be too much and will have to eliminate one) and not sure about risking multiple triggers generally. Also, I am not sure about the clown(s), nor too attached to having a tang. At one point I was considering a large angel, but they too seem pretty fragile, many large for a 125, and only a few of them seem suitable to house with aggressive tankmates. Blueface caught my eye, but he also seems not too hardy a fish, and may a bit passive to co-exist with aggressive fish.

11/29/2008, 05:10 PM
: :( Truly that Sucks Man.