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Killer on the loose?


Nate213

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So about a month or so ago, I lost my Midas Blenny. Fat & healthy one day, gone the next. No carpet surfing, just disapeared. Then a few days later my zebra goby was gone. Today something killed my Kole Tang. When I got home from work I messed around and cleaned part of the tank and moved some things around. When I was done with that I played some PS3. After my wife got home at 7, I checked the tank. Our Kole tang was picking some Algae off the clip and swimming around as normal. An hour later at 8pm I fed the tank and realized the Kole tang was missing. I saw a group of snails & hermits at the front of the tank picking on somthing. It was my tang. (flame) And the weird thing was, it was almost entirely gone. The eyes and guts were gone and it was pretty much a skeleton with a little bit of skin. So the question is, what could kill it? The other fish are 2 clowns, one jawfish, a flasher wrasse and a fairy wrasse. The Kole tang was small (about the same size as the other fish). For inverts I have snails and a few small hermits. No starfish, no predatory crabs. Any ideas on what could be the culprit?

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Couple months ago the same happened to a friends tank... He found a 20 inch worm thing (looked like the tremmors monster). Had to pull apart his whole tank to get it out.

 

Also read (I think here somewhere) of one of the members pulling out a 7 foot one that was living in his pvc structure!

 

Good luck

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First off water params: Everything seems normal. I have been very stable the last few months since I added a calcium reactor.

Temp 77F

PH 8.1

SG. 1.024

Ammonia undetectable

Nitrites undetectable

Nitrates < 5 ppm

Phospates < 0.2 ppm

Alk 8 dkh

Calcium 390 ppm

Magnesium ? Test kit ran out.

 

No new rock for 3 years and the last coral or fish was added more than 4 month ago. I haven't seen any shrimp. How can I find a mantis if there is one hiding out?

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Come back into the room a couple of hours after all lights out with a dim red flashlight. Park yourself in front of the tank for a while and watch. If there's a badguy hopefully you'll see it... if there isn't, it's still an enormously cool way to spend an hour or so :)

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I doubt it would be water chemistry related if it died so suddenly without any previous symptoms. My guess is it has to be a predator. Nothing could eat up a whole fish like that in less than an hour unless it was taking big chunks out of it's prey.

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I agree with andy and Michael, you have a mantis, more than likely, have you added any colonies without doing a dip on them lately? I have no idea how fast a mantis will grow, but, yeah.

 

Also, have you heard any strange popping sounds coming from your tank? kinda like the sound a pistol shrimp makes, but meaner?

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I agree with andy and Michael, you have a mantis, more than likely, have you added any colonies without doing a dip on them lately? I have no idea how fast a mantis will grow, but, yeah.

 

Also, have you heard any strange popping sounds coming from your tank? kinda like the sound a pistol shrimp makes, but meaner?

 

Every coral I have added to the tank has been a small start on a frag plug. There is no way that I got a mantis hickhicker on any corals. It must have been there since I got the tank several years ago. How fast do they grow?

 

I havent heard any popping sounds.

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I would agree with everyone else that this seems like a mantis but if you haven't added anything besides frags on plugs then then that really doesn't fit.

 

There are two types of mantis, smashers and spearers... I know very little about them but from what I remember smashers generally live on things like snails crabs etc. Yes they can crack thin glass but that's not really common. I do believe these kill fish but it's not as common as the spearer.

 

The spearer type of mantis are the type generally known to primarily live on fish, for a mantis to survive three years without having things like this happening more often I find it hard to believe you have a mantis...

 

You can try something meaty with a large mouth coke bottle with the top cut off and reversed or something similar, this way they climb in to go after the food but cant get back out.

 

There are lots of tricks to catching a mantis, if you can locate his hole or what rock he's living in you can remove the rock and use a mixture of soda water and fresh ro water, the ph spike should drive him out of the rock... Do this in a bucket obviously...

 

To find him your going to have to do as andy said and search for him at night... Mantis are extremely smart little critters and can be very elusive.

 

But in all honesty I have my doubts about you having one in your tank since this just begun and you haven't been experiencing casualties like this over the past three years...

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  • 1 month later...

So the mystery continues. I got rid of my pesky clownfish at the feb meeting. They were super aggresive to me and I saw them picking on the jawfish. I was thinking maybe they were responsible for the Kole death, since nothing else really fit.

 

Since then everthing has been good until I lost 2 more fish this week. Im now down to two. The jawfish and a small flame hawk. My fairy wrasse decided to turn into a jumper and become carpet jerky early in the week. Then last night my flasher wrasse kicked the bucket. I was gone on company business for the last 3 days, and I came home yesterday. The wife said the flasher wrasse was eating and swimming around as normal in the morning. I found it near death on the bottom of the tank. It was fat and healthy in appearance without any visable damage. Found it dead this morning. I immediately checked and rechecked all the water params and found nothing unusual. Corals have good PE and look healthy. Im stumped. Is this just a string of bad luck, or is there some disease / parasite that causes sudden death in otherwise healthy looking fish?

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  • 9 months later...

Im stumped. Just got another Midas Blenny and it disappeared before 48 hours was up. For the past 9 months, I have run nearly fishless. I have taken out nearly every rock and run the coke bottle trap for many nights. I cant find evidence of a Mantis, but I sometimes hear clicking noises. Every time I have heard it, i jump up and run to the tank. Most of the time there is a snail in the corner of the glass knocking his shell around, but sometimes I cant find the source.

 

This is driving me nuts. I have three fish in the tank - 2 small clowns and a small flame hawk. Anything else I add lasts less than a week before it disappears without a trace. It doesnt seem to matter if I QT or not. I have tried both ways. Im convinced now it is not a parasite or water quality problem, but something in the tank. Maybe a small black hole that sucks up our fish?

 

I think Im going to tear the thing completely down and start over.

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Are your clowns picking on any new fish that you are adding?

 

If they are they could stress a new fish enough for it to cause issues.

 

I havent seen the clowns pick on anything. My last set was a terror, so I got rid of them, thinking they were the issue. The new pair are really small. The big one is less than an inch long. Also this problem existed before this particular pair of clownfish.

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I havent seen the clowns pick on anything. My last set was a terror' date=' so I got rid of them, thinking they were the issue. The new pair are really small. The big one is less than an inch long. Also this problem existed before this particular pair of clownfish.[/quote']

 

If the clowns are that small, I would be suprised that they have not been taking, if it is a mantis.

 

Are all the MIA fish blennies and the like? Since they go into the rock more so then clowns would. It still could be a mantis.

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If the clowns are that small, I would be suprised that they have not been taking, if it is a mantis.

 

Are all the MIA fish blennies and the like? Since they go into the rock more so then clowns would. It still could be a mantis.

 

Yep, all the missing ones have been smaller rock type blennies, gobies and several wrasses. That is why I got back on the mantis as a suspect.

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I know I know!

 

I would almost put money on a Eunicid worm!! I have seen the same thing happen in many tanks and it always ends up being a Eunicid worm. Nasty little things and hard to spot. You shouldnt have to boil all the rock. Just take it out piece by piece and let it sit for 5 or 10 mins or so. Any worm or mantis will come to the surface area. After the wait inspeck each rock very carefully and you should catch the culprit. Word for the wise though, be very carful. What ever it is, if its killing your fish it can inflict a nasty wound on you my friend!!!

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Ya they're smart little buggers, To many times I have pulled rock out just trying to find rock crabs or emeralds and had them tuck back into a rock and hold on making me think that "theres no way it could be in these rocks" only to find out later much later that they were indeed in the rock. Its possible you just didn't locate it hiding in a particular piece of rock hiding. If it is a mantis. Hope you figure it out. Now i'm so dieing to see what it is.

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Do you have a cat? If you do he might be eating the fish after they jump. It sounds like all your missing fish are jumpers, except the tang but that could be a coincedenc. From what you said about the kole being eaten any smaller fish that died would most likely be eaten by the cuc over night. Are all these fish coming from the same store? Are all the fish known to be less than hardy? Clowns with out an anemone seem like easy prey especially small ones so it seems unlikely that they would not fall victim to predation when a kole tang did? One thing about clowns is they are very hardy another is they are not jumpers. I think this is a perfect storm of bad luck.

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