Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jtandrews 03-14-2007 09:41 AM

My fish keep dying
I recently setup a 55gal saltwater tank and every fish I have put in it so far has died (3 damsels on 3 separate occasions). I believe the problem is mainly my own stupidity; I painted the tank on the outside and some of it did in fact get inside the tank, I used spray paint, because Home Depot told me it would adhere better to glass, but in retrospect maybe that wasn't the best idea. Anyways I went over the interior with a razor blade/window scraper when I did notice it and I'm pretty sure I got it all out. Since then I've put in about 60lbs of live sand and about 30lbs of live rock. The fish do fine for the first 4-5 days and then I find them lying on the bottom of the tank respirating, losing color and shortly thereafter they die. I had the tank mixed with the salt water for about a month with an Eheim 2215 Canister, AquaClear Powerfilter 500 and 2 Aquaclear Powerhead 50s. The temperature is constant between 77-79, ph is 8.3, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite all registered 0 during any tests I have ever done, gravity is 1.025. I've done about 3 30% water changes over the past few weeks. There are a few snails I've noticed on the live rock and also a decent sized crab in one that have been in the tank since the start and they seem to be doing fine. I also have a Current USA Satellite Dual 1016 light that I leave on for 10-12 hours a day. I should also mention that I feed the fish 3 times a day sparingly and they eat everything fine up to their demise. So I think thats everything....what should I do? Is there someway I can clean the tank, I read some stuff about a mild bleach solution to clean the tank, but haven't come across anything that sounded too certain...Or could it be something else I am overlooking other than contamination? I'm pretty sure it's not my tap water I use it all the time in my freshwater tank and I've never had any problems, and I always use stress coat in new water anyways and age it for a week or so. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Melissa 03-14-2007 09:59 AM

if it was something serious your live rock, snails and crabs wouls have dies as well. do you acclimate your fish your water or just dump them in the water?

jtandrews 03-14-2007 10:05 AM

Sorry forgot to mention that, I always acclimate them doin the drip method for an hour or two and then I do freshwater dip with methylene blue

bettababy 03-28-2007 05:38 PM

During that hour or 2 of acclimation, how often are you adding tank water to their water? how much are you adding at once?
There are a few things going thru my head right now, but I want to do some research before approaching any of them here.
You said your nitrate is also at 0? When your tank cycled with the sand and live rock before adding the fish... did you see a nitrate level at the end of the cycle? Are there any other symptoms other than the fish suddenly laying at the bottom gasping? Have you noticed color changes in the fish? Have they rubbed against rocks and such, scratching themselves? Do they spend any amount of time at the surface gasping before going to the bottom? And, also, being damsels... are they chasing each other around and doing any fighting for territory?
The more info you can provide the faster we can help.
I agree with Melissa that if it was contamination from the paint then your inverts would likely have died even before the fish. Are you sure you're getting healthy fish to start with? What foods were you feeding the fish?

bettababy 03-28-2007 08:47 PM

What are the calcium levels reading in this tank?

jtandrews 03-30-2007 04:06 PM

I normally just take airline tubing and clip it with one of those black paper clip things and just let it drip very slowly for about an hour. When the tank cycled the nitrate level did go up and them came back down to zero. When the fish start floating on the bottom they turn black like they do when they're scared (blue devils), I haven't seen them up at the top gasping, they just start respirating rapidly while swimming then they sink to the bottom on their sides, and none of them really chase each other, any more than normal anyways. I've tried fish from three different stores and have also tried multiple kinds of food because at one point I thought it may be that as well...freeze dried blood worms, frozen blood worms, marine flake food, small pellet food, etc. I did take a calcium reading, the number escaping me at the moment, but it was within normal levels. I'm at work now otherwise I'd check again...

bettababy 03-30-2007 04:51 PM

If you could check calcium levels and post those, that would help a lot.

bettababy 03-30-2007 08:54 PM

Also, can you post carbonate levels and I'm wondering if you are using water from any type of water softener on your tap?

Mrmofo 04-01-2007 06:30 AM

i had the same problem, do the fish have white stingy poo close to death or even it hangs out of them while they r dying?do they hang around the return water from the pump?my salt is at 1.022 and nothing has died since...i dont know but does anyone else have a salt level like that?

Andre 04-01-2007 08:09 AM

when you guys are having problems you should instantly state all of the paramaters of the tank if you trully want help. bottom line when people ask for calcium levels or carbonate it doesnt matter. We need info to help.

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