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Quarantine Tank Emergency - Issue with Royal Gramma


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This is my first salt water tank. I'm currently running a 30 Gallon quarantine tank for all of my new fish. I have a 25 gallon Waterbox peninsula.

  • Two clowns (3 days in QT)
  • Royal Gramma (10 days in QT)
  • Springeri Damsel (10 days in QT)
  • Bluespotted Watchman Goby (10 days in QT)

Everything was going well minus the Royal Gramma chasing the Springeri. But I remedied this by rearranging the PVC pipe to break line of sight. 

However, this morning, I couldn't find my Gramma. Looked all over and eventually found it behind my hang on filter upside down. I gently pushed it out and it slowly righted itself and swam around "normal" for a bit then began hiding under the PVC, which it totally normal, then it moved to the corner of the tank and on it's side. At this point I quickly sanitized a little ceramic log thing from an old tank, carefully corralled the Gramma into it and put it in the corner. So it's dark, one way in and out, and more "secure" than just under the PVC. Everyone else seems fine. 

Some potential sources of issue for the Gramma:

  • Did a 50% water change on Friday
  • Accidently overfed frozen food on Saturday

Current parameters:

  • Salt - 1.025
  • Alk - 7.6 dKH
  • Phosphate ULR - .54
  • Ammonia - <.02 ppm (I have a one of those hang in tank Ammonia Alert things, my quarantine is next to my work desk, so I can monitor it for 8 to 9 hours a day)

Steps I've taken to attempt to "fix" the tank or save the Gramma:

  • Added some Seachem Prime to detoxify any toxic ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  • Did a quick 3 gallon water change to clean the overfed frozen food and the newly added Prime.
  • Added less water back in to allow the hang on filter to agitate the water more incase it's an oxygen issue.
  • Added more Prime incase the water change spiked my PH re-toxifying ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

This is my first go around with a tank. I was fairly confident going into this, but now all my confidence is completely gone. I've debated taking the fish from my QT to the display tank since it's been cycled and running for almost 3 months now. But I now have zero confidence in my display tank setup even though on paper all the numbers are good.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Are you medicating with anything or just doing an observation period?

I wouldn't move anything to the DT, as you'll risk contamination if it's a disease.

Any other visual/behavioral signs from the Gramma or any other fish (skin/fin condition, scratching/flashing, eating/feeding)?

Check out the Humble Fish site for QT and disease info, if you haven't already:

https://humble.fish/

Good luck!

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No medication, just observation. I didn't trust myself with meds to use them properly. 

I used the Humble Fish and the BRS QT series to build my QT tank.

The picture I attached is the Humble QT tank example that I mirrored. Mine is basically a spitting image. Only major difference is because my clowns were so small I put them in an isolation tank in the QT.

 

QT Tank example.jpg

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29 minutes ago, Lifer said:

Are you medicating with anything or just doing an observation period?

I wouldn't move anything to the DT, as you'll risk contamination if it's a disease.

Any other visual/behavioral signs from the Gramma or any other fish (skin/fin condition, scratching/flashing, eating/feeding)?

Check out the Humble Fish site for QT and disease info, if you haven't already:

https://humble.fish/

Good luck!

 

  • Eating - Everyone has appeared to eat pretty well, nothing I was concerned about. The Gramma was actually the best eater out of the bunch, hasn't done much of that since this all began.
  • Skin and fin - Everyone looks ok. The Springeri which is normally blue with black stripes is still black from the trip home, which is normal when they get stressed, but the blue has been slowly returning. Nothing on the Gramma looks wrong.

The gramma just came out of the little log I put it in and its attempting to make its way around the tank. It just skimmed along the bottom on its side then did a full loop of the tank upside down; it just swam behind the HOB. 

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Sounds like you've got the QT dialed pretty well.  Can't say I can point to a specific disease based on the symptoms you've described, but that seems more likely than an ammonia/nitrite spike.

Definitely frustrating when all seems to being going well and something like this happens.  Been there, for sure.

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Sounds like you are going the right direction, however if they're all on the same tank the count starts from the last fish you introduced, but im no professional by any means. I add a bubbler to my med/qt tank. Also keep a eye on that ammonia forsure. Either way good luck, I recently lost a tiny engineer goby in observation, it came in super skinny and would eat anything live,flakes,pellets.  I was sad but I was refunded so its ok.

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1 minute ago, islandVib3s said:

Sounds like you are going the right direction, however if they're all on the same tank the count starts from the last fish you introduced, but im no professional by any means. I add a bubbler to my med/qt tank. Also keep a eye on that ammonia forsure. Either way good luck, I recently lost a tiny engineer goby in observation, it came in super skinny and would eat anything live,flakes,pellets.  I was sad but I was refunded so its ok.

Yes, I restarted my timer when my clowns were introduced. I'm just crossing my fingers I won't need to reset again if the Gramma dies.

I may pick up a bubbler. What I did tonight just in case it was a gas exchange issue was half submerge my powerhead for a little bit to get the bubbles flowing. 

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20 minutes ago, Curelessjr said:

Yes, I restarted my timer when my clowns were introduced. I'm just crossing my fingers I won't need to reset again if the Gramma dies.

I may pick up a bubbler. What I did tonight just in case it was a gas exchange issue was half submerge my powerhead for a little bit to get the bubbles flowing. 

Yea I put my bubbler right under my return so it flows throughout the tank. I have a sumped 20L with a 10g sump lol. Then I add a hang on in sump and a drop in uv light and heater in sump.also dont trust the ammonia badges.  I've found they aren't accurate. Also make sure you don't cross contaminate any of your tools.

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54 minutes ago, The ReefBox said:

I am gonna go out on a limb and say it was likely an ammonia thing or hill issue    I don’t fully trust the ammonia badges if you have a test kit. Give that a check 

Even with using Prime?

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Thank you all for the responses even though the outcome wasn't ideal!

I'm picking up a sponge filter today to add to the tank just incase the oxygen levels aren't sufficient. While I'll continue to test ammonia, I'm going to do daily 10% water changes and adding prime to the system when refilling rather than just waiting to see ammonia increasing. Then a larger water change if ammonia reaches a higher level. 

Hoping this alleviates all problems moving forward.

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You can use media also to help with ammonia, I use a ton of ceramic rings,also sometimes during the observations stage i add a small piece of cycled/seeded rock but remove for medications and re sterilize afterwards. Also ceramic rings are easy to sterilize kinda like rock.

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