Dead fish in new tank

Dec 2, 2013
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#1
I just started my second saltwater tank on Oct. 19. It is 28 gal. I have lost in one week an angelfish, a clownfish, and two blue damsels. My 3 green chromis and lunar wrasse survived but I moved them to my other tank. My ammonia is zero. My pH is about 8.1. My salinity is normal. Temp is 78-80. Everything seems normal like my other 20 gallon tank which all the fish are surviving just fine in. I did a 10% water change but still lost two fish after that. I have been adding bacteria with every change/issue. What am I missing?
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
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Northern NJ
#2
did you cycle the tanks correctly? they take about 2 weeks to cycle and then you add fish slowly - one or two fish per month or so. the key is to always use live rock. make sure you have enough rock in your tank. 1lb/gallon is good.

what kind of angel did you have in the 28gal? only pygmy angels are appropriate for those size tanks.

keeping more than one damsel in such small tanks is not recommended because they are aggressive fish and will fight with all other fish over territory.

Lunar wrasse grow to 10" and are not recommended for small tanks at all - they need huge tanks.

it sounds like you may have overstocked the tank and it was too much for the beneficial bacteria to handle.

you can use this website to figure out appropriate stocking for your SW tanks:
AqAdvisor - Intelligent Saltwater Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
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Northern NJ
#3
you can use base rock too, but make sure maybe about 1/3 of the rock is live rock if you want the cycle to happen faster.
right now, adding bacteria like you are doing is a waste of money since live rock already comes with everything needed. you just need to be patient and test the water to see when the cycle is finished, then stock VERY very slowly. these are small tanks. killing them is very easy as they are not forgiving in overstocking.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
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Cleveland
#4
Sure sounds like ammonia poisoning to me. I would question the accuracy of the test you did. What brand? Maybe try retesting for ammonia. How about your levels for nitrite and nitrate?

Did you ever have an ammonia spike since the tank has been set up?
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
3,682
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Cape Cod
#5
The obvious question - what symptoms (if any) were the fish showing prior to death? What behavior were they displaying?

That was quite the mix of fish in a small, new tank as the others have said. Specifically, there are a pretty good number of more aggressive fish, noticeably the lunare wrasse - more so in a small tank. I wouldn't be surprised if it was also a combination of bullying and/or stressing to the point of sickness by the mix of fish in the small space. That added to the new tank and possible water stability issues would be my primary suspect.