View Full Version : I need help; what is killing my fish

07/20/2017, 03:52 PM
I tried this another way and didn't really get an answer. The 3 LFS I've talked to are worthless. Maybe there isn't a good answer.

I have a 150 gallon tank. It is about 19 months old. A little over 3 months ago I added 3 new fish in 2 days. Yep I didn't quarantine them. I tried using a quarantine tank on 8 different fish and all of them died in that tank. The tanks wasn't over loaded (I don't think) since with those 3 I had 10 fish total. In less than a week I lost 8 of the 10 fish. The only one I saw (I was out of town on business for most of this) was a Lion fish. He ate the first day then stopped eating and died in about 3 days. I couldn't see anything on him. He had been in the LFS for about 3 weeks and they had him eating frozen food before I bought him. I checked the water parameters and the only thing a little out was the PO4 at around .08. I know it should be lower but I didn't think it would cause the death.

Over the next few days more fish started looking bad and died. My GF who was home taking care of things said a couple had their eyes get white. She said the one seemed blind and that if she put food right in his mouth he would eat. She said a couple looked like they lost their color and got grayish. Other looked fine to her and just disappeared.

A snowflake eel and a blue dart fish where all that survived. I checked the water again when I got back. I had a slight amount of NO3, I assume from so many fish dying (some didn't get recovered before being dragged into the rocks). And the PO4 was still at .08. I lost a kole tang that had been with me since I started the tank, 2 clowns again both long time in the tank, 2 cardinals one long time one new, a blenny over a year in the tank, a wrasse that was new, a blue dart and a couple others I can't remember now.

The 2 remaining fish have been happy healthy and eating for the past 3+ months. The corals I have are growing better than ever and the inverts are all doing well. On Saturday afternoon I bought a small clown. I checked the water the Salinity was at 33, low I know and I'm slowly raising it but not a killer I didn't think. The PO4 was at .04 which is as low as I've ever been able to get it.

I put the fish in and he ate that evening. Sunday morning he seemed to be swimming erratically up and down the water column and didn't eat. Sunday afternoon he looked like some of his fins were a little ragged but not awful in fact had I not been paying very close attention I would not have thought anything of it. It is also possible there was a little fine (and I mean very fine) white dusting. Again nothing I would have noticed had I not just put him in and was paying very close attention. Monday morning he was swimming normally near the bottom of the tank and Monday afternoon he was dead. I never found the body.

Bottom line is I have no idea what killed the fish and I have no idea what to do. Does anyone have any thoughts?

07/24/2017, 11:39 AM
The problem with not quarantining (I've learned the hard way) is that it really is hard to tell if the fish was sick when it came in or if something in your water killed it.

The biggest headache with quarantine is ammonia buildup in the QT tank. I've had success with heavily dosing Stability and biospira, both because in my experience Biospira has bacteria that do very well with ammonia, but not nitrite and Stability brings down nitrite very quick but seems to struggle with Ammonia, but YMMV.

Anyway, I didn't mean to digress there. My thoughts would be that your initial fish loss where you lost the 8 fish was probably some disease or parasite that was brought in by the 3 new additions. The symptoms (looked healthy before dying or had cloudy eyes before dying) may indicate flukes, but it's hard to tell.

Outside of that, if you think your water chemistry may be an issue, it might be worth getting it tested professionally. I just found out about this but haven't used it. I was thinking about it since my over 2 year old reef tank has really gone south lately.


Anyway, sorry I couldn't be of more help.

07/24/2017, 12:35 PM
I'm one of the lucky ones that didn't QT and never seemed to have an issue. But, that was always with small tanks and because I didn't know better.

Given how quickly they died it sounds like it could have been velvet maybe? I'm not a fish disease expert by any means though so hopefully someone who knows more will jump in.

In regards to QT, if you haven't yet, I highly suggest you look at some stickies on QT procedures, what meds to have on hand, and what meds to apply proactively. I will be using the tank transfer method(TTM) for all fish going into my 220. This includes the 3 fish I have in my 60 cube as I never QT'd them. They're healthy and have all been with me for at least 2.5 years but I want the new tank started with a clean slate. So QT it is.

I don't think PO4 is the likely issue. I lost a fish due to an alk swing, but never to PO4 and I've had PO4 higher than .08 unfortunately.

In a tank your size, QT is a must as one sick fish can take all or most of the rest out. You could go 10 fish and get lucky that none of them has anything too bad then get hit again with one that will take everything out again.

Good luck in the future though and sorry for your losses.

07/24/2017, 03:15 PM
I would guess velvet here. Eels Have a thick slime coat so chances are he is not affected hence him still being alive. As for the dart fish, I don't really know. I would assume he might be next.

You have experienced first hand the wrath of not qt'ing. I would take this as an opputrtuinity to set up a qt and let it cycle for some bit. Even though eels don't really get parasites he would need to come out and be placed in qt imo and treated with CP. Your tank would need to go fallow for 6 weeks for velvet.

In your qt where 8 fish died, were they being treated for anything or observed?

07/24/2017, 06:09 PM
I actually had one of the LFS come over to my place and test the water. They got basically the same numbers I did. They said the tank looks great.

I was not treating for anything when they died.

The other fish all died back in March so i'd think if he was going to go he would have by now.

I decided to try one more fish. They thought the small size of the fish might have been part of the problem. Anyhow I bought a foxface last night. So far it seems fine.

08/14/2017, 03:58 PM
Update -- So it has been 3 weeks since I added the Foxface. He is doing great and eating like a pig. I guess I'll chalk it up to one of the mysteries of life.

Clammy Davis Jr
11/26/2017, 10:19 AM
I bought a 2.5" Dwarf Lion, who had eaten my slightly smaller Clown during the 10 days before it died. I checked the water's parameters the date of purchase and 2 days before it died.

My 55 gal FOLR has been running for a little over 5 yrs and I've had no issues keeping fish "happy" and...alive.

Besides unseen disease/parasites, are Lions (Dwarfs) just that feeble?
Are older/larger (~6") non-Dwarf Lions typically hardier?