Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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killjoy391 10-22-2007 12:47 AM

Feeding help
i just bought two ocellaris clowns and a royal gramma about a week ago for my nano tank and they seemed to be doing ok. but the larger of my clowns hasnt been eating. ive tried frozen mysis, frozen brine, flakes, and pellets. the royal gramma and the smaller of the two clowns only eat the brine and are living happily and healthy. the large clown hasnt really eaten anything. he has tried all 4 but spits them out. i can tell he is lookin for something to eat but he just wont eat. is something wrong with him or im i just not giving him wat he wants? wat should i try feeding him? please help! i dont know how much longer he can last without food! he isnt looking too good!!!

bettababy 10-22-2007 12:22 PM

You said this is a nano tank... how many gallons? What are your water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and calcium? Sometimes when water quality isn't ideal it stresses the fish enough to cause them to stop eating.

Once we determine that the tank situation isn't causing the loss of appetite, I can suggest a few other good and healthy food choices that most clowns and gramas will eat without problem. I can give you a heads up on some of the foods they are getting at the LFS's, too.

BTW, the larger clown would be female, the smaller one male.

killjoy391 10-22-2007 09:19 PM

its a 12 gallon

ammonia .15
nitrate 30
Nitrite 0
pH 8.4

ive never tested for calcium?

bettababy 10-22-2007 10:58 PM

For starters, thats actually a lot of fish for such a small tank. Anything more than 2 of those fish would be considered an overload, and it is beginning to show in the water quality already.
Calcium is very important to check in saltwater. All of the animals need a specific level of it in the water in order for their bodies to function properly. If your LFS does water testing this should be a common test for them to do for you... if not, I would suggest getting yourself a calcium test kit asap.
If you need help finding a reliable kit, let us know and we can guide you from here as much as possible. The only "good" one that I'm aware of is put out by Sera... and is rather easy to perform if you can count drops accurately. the color changes are quite specific, also.

There are a lot of things that could be causing your clown to stop eating. One could be the ammonia level, one could be the elevated nitrate level, one could be calcium related, one could be from stress from any or all of the above. At this point I would say you'd want to begin doing small water changes, about 2 gallons each day. It will be important to bring down that nitrate level and ammonia level asap but without harming the animals.

It is quite possible that one or even all of your fish has gone through some kind of growth spurt, however small... but in a nano tank it will have a harsher effect much faster. The first thing I'd suggest is relocating 1 of those fish or getting into a slightly bigger tank (25 - 30 gallons would support all 3 fish). A royal gramma will average about 3 - 4 inches full grown, and for the ocellaris clowns the female can reach 5 inches, and the male about 3. If there are other animals in the tank such as inverts... crabs, shrimp, corals, anemone, etc... that is more waste level in the tank too. A 12 gallon tank just can't handle that. When fish don't feel well, one of the first signs is that they stop eating and then activity level tends to slow down/change. The water changes will help for a temporary fix and to get them healthy again, but ultimately, either 1 has to go or the tank has to get bigger.
What kind of filter are you running? What media is in it? What foods are you offering? How often are you feeding? How much at a time? How much live rock is in the tank? What are you using for substrate, sand or crushed coral? What is the temp? Are you adding any trace elements to the water? Is there a skimmer? Is there an "oil slick" on the surface of the water? Is there a power head in the tank?

Sorry for the number of questions, but the more you can tell us the faster and more effectively we can help you and your fish. You'll really want to put a rush on checking that calcium level, though. Nano tanks are great, but the rate of change/fluctuation in them is incredibly fast, so time is of the essence.

killjoy391 10-23-2007 08:12 PM

well im running the three stage filtration with the bio and mechanical. there is carbon, sponge, ceramic ring, and bio balls. offering brine shrimp. once sometimes twice a day. enough for the shrimp and the two fish to eat within a couple minutes. theres 12 lbs of live rock with live sand. temp is about 76. no trace elements no skimmer. a little bit of oil slick. and no powerhead. its seems like i have alot of problems here.

bettababy 10-24-2007 05:14 PM

I wouldn't jump in and say you have a lot of problem, though I do see a few that are "fixable" if you take care of them promptly. As I stated, that's a lot of fish for that size of a tank... so you may want to consider parting with 1 now before the problems become overwhelming for either you or the fish. the other option is to upgrage to a larger tank.

I am still interested in knowing the calcium levels in this tank. A series of small water changes (1 - 2 gallons) every other day should help to get you though the water quality issues for a bit, but the fact that you have an elevated nitrate level and an elevated ammonia level tells me that either something interruped your biological filtration, a fish has had a growth spurt, feeding is a bit too heavy, or a combination of the 3. Elevated ammonia and nitrate levels will cause a fish to stop eating. All fish are affected differently by changes in water quality, but eventually, all will have problems if you don't start working on fixing it now. The oil slick on the surface of the water is organic protiens that the filter isn't going to remove. In a nano tank they have to removed using paper toweling. If you set a piece of paper towel on the surface of the water, then as soon as it gets wet thru most of it, swipe it off the water's surface quickly. This will catch the protiens and remove them. It may take a few pieces/swipes to get most of it, and this should be done daily in a tank of that size.

Let me know how else I can help, and I'll wait to see what the calcium levels show before we begin working on the other problems or potential problems.

killjoy391 10-24-2007 10:09 PM

ok i will. thanx for your help

killjoy391 10-25-2007 11:27 PM

well i did a water change yesterday and added Marine Max and Nitromax Marine. and today my large clownfish was eating! idk wat i did different or wat but he seems to be ok now!

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