Resolved Fish sudden rapid Breathing, 1 fish died

Discussion in 'ASAP' started by CY48, Jan 20, 2012.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. CY48

    CY48 Plankton

    Jan 19, 2012
    Edit: It's been a week since my fish went from healthy to dying overnight. I believe my tank is now back to normal and all my fish are healthy. 1 fish died but the others lived. I'm still not sure what caused it; the tank was stable for over 6 months. My LFS tested my water and suggested my ph was a little high, 8.5, so I did slow water changes until I got it below 8.0. I also suspect it was stray voltage that might have caused the problems as I had just replaced a powerhead. Out of paranoia I unplugged everything except for the filter and one powerhead. I did plug in the skimmer for a couple of hours during the day, though. I finally did test the water and was getting readings of 7-14 volts so I bought a grounding probe. I don't know if it was high ph, stray voltage, or something else that caused this but I hope it doesn't happen again!

    Things I did:

    • Wednesday night - replaced a powerhead (maxjiet 600 to hydor koralia 550)

    • Thursday afternoon - noticed fish had rapid breathing, did a 25% water change. Thursday evening flame hawkish died.

    • Friday afternoon - fish are still breathing hard but look a little better, added fresh carbon. Friday night I unplugged everything and only left the powerfilter on and 1 powerhead.

    • Saturday, fish looking better did another 25% water change over time to slowly lower ph

    • Monday, fish back to normal, tank back to normal, added grounding probe

    Hello all,

    I come to you guys for help as I'm at a loss. I've lost 1 fish and 3 others are in danger. Here's some background:

    30 gallon saltwater aquarium FOWLR.
    Been running for over a year, has been stable for a long time with no sign of disease.
    1 Flame Hawkfish, died a few hours ago...
    1 Bicolor Angelfish, breathing rapidly, not moving
    1 Bicolor Blenny, breathing rapidly, hasn't come out of his hole
    1 Yellowtail damsel breathing rapidly, staying in his cave
    2x Clownfish healthy and normal

    Paramters that I can test:
    Nitrates 10ppm
    Nitrites 0
    Ammonia 0
    PH 8.0
    Salinity 1.024
    Temp. 77f

    Aqueon power filter
    Aquac Remora skimmer
    2 powerheads
    25 pounds of live rock
    2~inches of live sand

    Wednesday night fish were fine and healthy. The next day when I saw them in the morning I noticed my angelfish was breathing hard, I was worried but had to go to work. When I got home in the afternoon I noticed all the fish except for the clowns were breathing rapidly and not moving much. I tested the water and everything was great. I did a 25% water change (about 7 gallons) and decided to wait it out. My hawkfish died an hour later. It's now 2:30 a.m. and the angelfish and blenny are looking bad.

    I see no obvious sign of disease and can't figure out what's wrong. There were a few things I did change before this. Wednsenday night I replaced a powerhead (maxijet to a hydor koralia) and added some truelumen lunar lights. I left the lunar lights on all night if that could affect the fish.

    The only things that I could think of that I have changed and could have caused this are:
    Lunar lights?
    When I was deciding on a position of the new powerhead It moved a bit of the sand on the surface, nothing major but anything's possible.
    Something toxic in the powerhead? I did rinse it before putting it in, though not very thoroughly.
    Stray voltage from the new powerhead? It's off right now.

    Those are the only things that have changed. It's strange that the clownfish and crabs/snails are fine but the other fish are dying. I'm debating whether I should do more water changes

    I hope I can save my fish but I would like to know why my fish went from healthy to dying overnight. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  2. Click Here!

  3. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Sorry to hear of your loss.

    Stay voltage definitely comes to mind with new equipment. A decline in oxygenation also come to mind, personally I would bump up the O2 as much as you can and run some new carbon.

    2:30 am makes me lean towards an oxygenation problem as well, there is less available O2 at night with the number of fish in that tank oxygenation needs to be at a prime. The weakest fish will go first.

    If you can get someone to do an ORP test like the fish store I would try that as well and perhaps in the future stock a little leaner. Everything was fine for along time but when stocked heavily one little thing can send it all over the edge.

  4. ingtar_shinowa

    ingtar_shinowa Giant Squid

    Jun 13, 2009
    Billings Montana
    Add a powerhead pointed at the surface of the water to increase agitation and O2 levels.
  5. CY48

    CY48 Plankton

    Jan 19, 2012
    Hi Corailline, thanks for the answer.

    I'll get some new carbon and take some water to my LFS today to get it tested.

    I just woke up and the blenny, angelfish, and damsel are still alive but breathing hard. However, the angelfish is actually upright and attentive this morning, last night he was floating on his side.

    I thought I was aerating the water enough with a skimmer and a powerfilter disturbing the water surface. The new powerhead I had installed was also placed near the surface so it was making a lot ripples.

    Would adding an airstone help?

    Edit: This afternoon when I got home for lunch and added some fresh carbon. The angelfish was still breathing hard but he was swimming around. The blenny and damsel were still breathing pretty hard but not as bad as last night. This evening the angelfish looked better, he still isn't 100% but his breathing is almost normal and he's active. During feeding time the blenny and damsel didn't come out; the angelfish came to the food but only ate a little bit. The clownfish are still fine and eating. The main guy at my LFS was out of town but should be back tomorrow, I'm going in the morning to test my water and get his opinion. I pointed my powerhead even more towards the surface for more agitation. I'm hoping they look better in the morning.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  6. brunoboarder244

    brunoboarder244 Torch Coral

    Jul 15, 2011
    Bronx, NY
    i dont think its O2 with the powerheds and a skimmer listed, the tank is a little full so i mean it could still be an issue but I would lean more so toward stray voltage being the probable cause, maybe pull that new powerhead and see if anything improves also maybe look for patterns on the fish for disease/infection etc...velvet strikes quickly and those are some symptoms of velvet but thats not a definite