Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   yellow tail blue damsel missing! (

bad mom 06-19-2009 10:49 PM

yellow tail blue damsel missing!
My son got a new fish last week. It was his dream to have a saltwater tank and I made his spend a year with a freshwater tank before he did saltwater.
He finally got his saltwater tank set up and we got him one blue damsel for a start.
today he went camping with his dad and voiced his fears of leaving the fish. I promised everything would be Ok and he went off happily. He said he was bonded with the fish.
Then I cleaned the carpet in his room. I did not bump the tank but the noise obviously scared the fish a bit. I did not worry though - I barely looked twice. I left his room and did not go back for several hours.
When I did go up to feed the fish - there was no fish. It is not anywhere in his tank! I am afraid it jumped out - some how getting around the cover. But I could not find it. It was not in the filter. Its gone.
Now I could run off and buy him another one and he would not know. Except that this particular fish had a damaged eye and I doubt I could find another like it.
I feel really bad. I dont know what to do.

Is tank suicide typical with damsels? There is a good chunk of live rock in the tank - any chance he is just hiding?

wake49 06-20-2009 06:14 AM

He is probably just hiding. He is still new to the tank and adjusting IMO.

You might want your son to join this forum. It is a good place with lots of knowledgable people offering good advice.

Did your son buy a test kit? If so, can you test the water and post the results? Water parameters are very important to the health of a stable marine system. How big is the tank? Did you throw food in the tank even though you couldn't see the fish? Maybe try to lure him out...

Please post as much as possible about the system. The more we know about the size of the tank, the substrate, the quality of water and the filtration system, the better we can help.:-)

bad mom 06-20-2009 08:58 AM

Thanks for the reply. Thankfully he was found! He as hiding. I had no idea a fish could hide so profoundly in a 5 gallon tank.

Oh yeah - I know, 5 gallons will be tough. Our local shop has been really helpful in helping us set up and they are helping with testing. They are also providing the water for now.

The set up is really bare bones. The tank is a typical off the shelf freshwater set up that we had from another experiment. It has a whisper, over the tank filter, basic self regulating heater, compact florescent light in the canopy. The substrate is live sand and there is a 4 lbs chunk of holey live rock.

We set up the tank with the live sand and let it run a week alone. We added the live rock and fish last week.

This is a real budget enterprise. I plan to upgrade the filter and add a powerhead as I have the money. We will also let the tank be as it is for a month or so.

My son's future plan for the tank is to add a blenny. Personally I would like to go the nano-reef route but skill is an issue :)

By the by - the live rock came with a small patch of sponge. I don't know the variety - it is soft and creamy colored with fine pores. I do not know if it is alive. any way to determine if it is alive?

Our first change in the tank has been a light bloom of reddish algae. Is this a problem? If so - how do we treat this?

Tanks for the help (sorry for the typo pun)!

wake49 06-22-2009 08:29 AM

I'm glad to see you found him.

For starters, 5 Gallons is REALLY small... According to (click on the underlined), this fish needs a minimum of thirty gallons. I would not add any fish to this tank, and would upgrade as soon as posible.

The more successful hobbyists will tell you that a filter is unnecassary, and I agree. I use a protein skimmer, Liver Rock (about 1.5 lbs per gallon of water), and Live Sand (4-6" Deep). A whisper filter will collect debris that will be broken down into nitrates, and cause problems in the aquarium. You will have to clean the filter pads in the filter at least one or two times a week.

The sponge (please post a pic to help identify) probably did not survive any type of transfer into your aquarium. Sponges cannot come into direct contact with the air; they must remain submerged in water. I had one that was a hitchhiker on a rock of zoas, and it just spread over the zoas, suffocating them. I had to cut it off and try to salvage the few polyps that made it.

The small algae bloom sounds like diatoms. These are a natural process in the marine aquarium. Is it just on the glass, or on the rocks also? On the glass it can just be wiped off; on the rocks leave it be. Please post a pic of this bloom also to help us identify it.

Do you have any snails or crabs in the tank?

And did your son buy a test kit for this aquarium? Water quality is very important, and regular testing is crucial. I would like to know the parameters of your water. Test for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, ph, salinity and temperature, and post the results. The more information we are given, the better we can help.

Welcome to the forum!

onefish2fish 06-23-2009 01:33 AM

i would have to agree that 5 gallons is a small setup. dont get me wrong, people do nano tanks and reefs but personally i wouldnt add any fish ( regardless of its max size/bioload ) to a 5 gallon tank. the issue isnt only with the size of the tank but also that the damsel WILL be territorial and aggressive esp. in a tank this size and since it was added first. i dont suggest anymore livestock until you upgrade.
the filter is alright granted the pad gets removed and cleaned every other day or so. you could also just run the filter without a pad for water circulation which IMO is your best bet. the smaller the tank, the faster things can go wrong.
welcome to the forum. im glad you came bringing questions and concerns, now maybe we should change your name to "good mom" :wink:

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