Damselfish in distress? Help

  1. Sandlotje Initiate Member

    Two days ago I set up my saltwater tank. The basic parameters are fine -- I have it at 80 degrees and salinity is perfect. The same day I purchased three damselfish, and I have noticed that one of the three is just sitting close to the bottom of the tank "gasping" for water. I'm kind of worried about it because it didn't seem all that interested in eating when I fed them this morning. Perhaps it's just stressed out? I put in a bubble wand that I had laying around thinking it might be a good idea to up the o2 saturation. What do you all think is going on?
  2. cm11599ps Well Known Member Member

    You need to give us your water parameters. If you're asking for help then you cant simply state your numbers are fine or perfect. We need ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity and pH.

    What size tank is this? Do you have rock? Do you have substrate?

  3. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    :animal0068:I have moved your thread to the Damselfish section of the forum.

    Thanks and best wishes for your fish!

  4. Sandlotje Initiate Member

    Sorry Ken for posting twice in the wrong forums. Thank you for being polite about it. Meanwhile, the little fish passed away over last night. To take his spot I got a clownfish which is very active and all the fish appear happy at the moment, so hopefully this will continue. The clownfish looks like he's chasing his reflection all around the sides of the tank, so I hope this works out well. :)

  5. cm11599ps Well Known Member Member

    Hope everything works out for you. Please provide the requested water readings when you get a chance.
  6. Sandlotje Initiate Member

    I would, but I don't have anything to test with yet and ill have to wait about two weeks to get one, bit as soon as I can I will :)
  7. cm11599ps Well Known Member Member

    You say you have 2 lbs of live rock in a 29 gallon tank that has been up for less than a week. You also state that you currently have 3 fish and a starfish in your tank. You also don't have a test kit and you state you know about the nitrogen cycle.

    You should really have about 40 lbs of live rock in your tank and ditch your Aquaclear filter. Your live rock will be your filtration. You should also purchase a test kit ASAP. Your tank is not cycled and you will most likely encounter more deaths in the coming days/weeks. You should look at trading in your current fish for an API saltwater test kit.

  8. Sandlotje Initiate Member

    Thank you for the advice. I suppose I'll go ahead and purchase that test kit today. Hopefully they will have it in stock (I'm sure they will). I do have one issue regarding the live rock -- at my store it's ~7/lb for their least expensive live rock, so 40x7=$280 + tax for the live rock, which I don't have to spend at the moment. I do have live sand, so I'm hoping that will help out a little.

    The other fish seem to be doing great, they're very lively and roaming around continuously during the day; although this is only day 3 (or 4?).

    You made a point that is very interesting regarding the filtration -- I had no clue live rock could act as a filter. How would the fish get oxygen without the HOB filter? Through a powerhead I guess?
  9. cm11599ps Well Known Member Member

    Exactly. You can point a powerhead towards the surface of the water to oxygenate the water. You should also remove the bubble wand because that will cause a lot of salt creep where the bubbles pop at the surface.

    I understand the point about live rock being expensive but this is an expensive hobby. Your fish are most likely OK because your ammonia levels are still low. As you continue to feed your fish they will poop and the food and poop will slowly decay and create toxic ammonia levels. This could very well be what caused the damsel to perish and your other fish may be following its lead. This is especially true because you have such a small tank that is not cycled and you have that many fish.

    I started my tank on 3/19 and didn't add my first fish until 5 weeks later, once the cycle was over. My tank has been up for almost 4 months and I still only have 3 fish and no deaths.

    People can and do use HOB filters so I'm not going to say you can't use one.
  10. Sandlotje Initiate Member

    I have some good news and bad news. I'll start with the good news -- all the fish are great! -- Even the star fish that I was worried about (because I never know if it's eating) is trolling around the bottom of the aquarium, and the new clownfish has settled in perfectly with the other fish. The bad news is I still can't get the test kit because I don't have enough money quite, but it's in my list of priorities. They sell it for $59.99 + tax, and I'm still recovering from the $350 that has gone into it already over the past week for initial setup. I have no regrets so far though. :)