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Anthias post-mortem


Derry

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So here's the story... Last Friday, I bought three juvenile lyretail anthias. I brought them home, did the standard acclimation stuff and dropped them in my 20-gal QT. I've had mixed results with prophylactic dips, so I skipped dipping them. All three started pecking at frozen mysis that evening, and by Monday morning, everyone was eating well. So far, so good. However, on Wednesday evening, I thought I saw some dusting on one of them. The next morning, I confirmed the dusting with a magnifying glass, with early signs now showing on a second fish, and determined that I had a velvet outbreak on my hands. I pulled the carbon and started treating with CopperSafe, but by yesterday evening, the velvet had definitely gotten worse, with all three fish showing symptoms. I set up a fw dip, with a temp and pH matching that of the QT tank, and dipped each fish for about one minute (they started listing onto their sides pretty quickly, and I was afraid to leave them in any longer than that). Unfortunately, this morning all three were dead.

My question is, what could/should/might I have done differently throughout this process that would have lessened my chances of ending up with three dead fish this morning? They all looked great at the LFS. All three had been eating well for several days. Should I have just let the CopperSafe run its course? Was a fw dip the right thing to do to increase their chances of beating the velvet? The only good news in all of this is that I had the good sense to have a QT set up instead of dropping them in my DT and killing ALL of my fish. Any advice from the more experienced folks out there are most welcome.

Thanks!

Derry

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Not exactly sure what "outing" a shop will provide us besides possibly upsetting a sponsor. Generally if you have a large volume shop such as our big 3, problems are generally with the fish themselves and not the shop. If you go into a shop that looks to not have good husbandry standards and buy some fish you get what you deserve. On the defense of RCA consider that the fish may not have been there longer than a couple of days before purchase, especially Anthias, and especially lyretail anthias. Anthias are the hot fish right now and I personally think the lyretail are the nicest. They don't last long at the shops.

I'd be worried that it was easy to overdose medicines in a 20g tank. I prefer to dip my fish and corals when in doubt. When I've felt the need to QT I remove the fish from the QT tank and dip them in a separate bowl with the medicine in that. While they soak I tend to remove all the water from the QT and replace it. That way the medicines do not compound within the tank.

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Sorry, didn't mean that as a knock on RCA, just an honest answer to an honest question. Jake and co. at RCA have been really good to me, and I don't blame them at all for what happened to my fish, for the reasons you cited above.

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So here's the story... Last Friday, I bought three juvenile lyretail anthias. I brought them home, did the standard acclimation stuff and dropped them in my 20-gal QT. I've had mixed results with prophylactic dips, so I skipped dipping them. All three started pecking at frozen mysis that evening, and by Monday morning, everyone was eating well. So far, so good. However, on Wednesday evening, I thought I saw some dusting on one of them. The next morning, I confirmed the dusting with a magnifying glass, with early signs now showing on a second fish, and determined that I had a velvet outbreak on my hands. I pulled the carbon and started treating with CopperSafe, but by yesterday evening, the velvet had definitely gotten worse, with all three fish showing symptoms. I set up a fw dip, with a temp and pH matching that of the QT tank, and dipped each fish for about one minute (they started listing onto their sides pretty quickly, and I was afraid to leave them in any longer than that). Unfortunately, this morning all three were dead.

My question is, what could/should/might I have done differently throughout this process that would have lessened my chances of ending up with three dead fish this morning? They all looked great at the LFS. All three had been eating well for several days. Should I have just let the CopperSafe run its course? Was a fw dip the right thing to do to increase their chances of beating the velvet? The only good news in all of this is that I had the good sense to have a QT set up instead of dropping them in my DT and killing ALL of my fish. Any advice from the more experienced folks out there are most welcome.

Thanks!

Derry

Sounds like you did what most anyone else would have done.

There is a crapshoot going on when you buy any fish really.

Anthias are some of the most demanding, and although velvet is a bit rare, it does happen and is mostly fatal.

Sometimes quarantine tanks are not the best way to go with certain fish. I am going to say that with tongue in cheek, but

it's true for fish that have been through hell, (capture, bucket, no feeding).. to get them into a natural setting quickly.

Most marine fish carry / exposed to pathogens in the wild, - so they almost all come "with" some amount of this stuff already in/on

them from the Ocean. - (Similar to us humans -we all carry many virus all the time) the reason they survive this in the ocean. mostly

is the same reason we survive --> our immune systems are always at work keeping them in check.

Shipping / Capture stress lowers the immune systems ability - like you or me going out in the rain all day and coming in with our hair wet..

we are going to wake up sick, and the pathogens population then explodes until our immune systems start fighting back (if they can).

SO: sometimes - if the fish is looking good in the LFS, - and if it's a really expensive fish, and if it's eating, and not showing undue stress

at the LFS, then you should be able to get it home and into an environment that it feels strong in.

Sometimes - the whole bare-bones isolation tank thing for fish is just not so good an experience, and they freak out and get sick from depressed immune system because of simple stressing-out because there's no LR/sand or "buddies" or anything recognizable to them in the isolation system.

A fish under these conditions may react like you or I would if we were "captured by aliens" and placed in a tiny glass room with them leering through the walls at us.

Yes, we might not sleep at all, and we might be so freaked out we get sick pretty fast and die.

So - after years, what I have learned to do (for me) is this: I observe fish at LFS, - ask how long they been there,

make a quick calculated risk decision, and bring em home and drop them in the tank with all the other fish, and immediately feed

heavily the entire tank as a diversion to the other fish, and introductory meal for the newcomers..then it's "lights out early tonight boys".

so everyone goes and hides in the usual bed-down locations for the night to give the newbies some rest before the 1st real full day in the tank hits them.

I know, I know, - this breaks with all conventional rules of isolation, but I seem to have had better success with - especially the more easily

frightened small fishes this way.

I think getting them into stable environment quickly is the trick for best success rate.

Of course - even this is no guarantee. - but, I has worked better for me than the isolation method for the smaller fish.

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Sorry for any ignorance on this matter, I haven't spent anytime looking into quarantine tanks. I did have some thoughts and questions and wanted to know what the experienced people thought.

After reading this thread I'm curious if anyone that uses/has used isolation tanks has anything else in them to help distress new fish. I've heard pvc pipe is common. Maybe some live or fake rock and fake coral that can be thoroughly cleaned if necessary? This could give them places to hide and sort of feel at home. Perhaps leaving one or two hardy and friendly fish in there also although you could wind up effecting this fish(es) also.

Oh, and my two cents. RCA rocks!!!

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My QT is something of a hybrid. It's got about 1" of substrate and about 15-20lbs of base rock so the fish are a bit more comfortable, have places to hide, etc. Yes, the rock can affect dosages by absorption, etc., but I'm willing to monitor the med levels and adjust the dose as needed in order to provide a QT that's more comfortable for the fish than your typical, bare-bottom hospital tank with a terra cotta pot or PVC.

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My 2 cents

My QT tank is a 10 gallon tank, has been up for 1 year with 1-2 inch sand bed, live rock, chaeto, xenia, mushrooms, snails, and at the moment 1 very small geometric hawkfish (I am letting him live in therefor now). Esentially a nano tank, which I also feed to keep pod population up. The hope is that now any new additions are not going to be stressed out. I can get them eating and if any problems start I can take the appropriate actions. If I need to treat them, I have a separate 1 gallon tank, that I fill up with water from the QT tank and treat them and then back to the QT tank. This is basically what Eric Borneman recommends.

Troy

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  • 1 month later...

I have been buying fish for well over a year at River City and almost every purchase has gone flawlessly until about a month ago. I made an impulse buy and picked up a beatiful flame angel. He had only been at the store about 4 days--definitely an impulse buy!

I say that because I don't QT fish-- I've had great luck buying them at RCA or off other fish enthusiasts, but this didn't turn out to be the case with this fish.

I'm coming to the end of some type of parasite cyle in the tank--what's visible on the fish anyway--probably still have the parasite in the tank. In addition to the Flame angel, I have lost a tomato clown, a niger trigger, a royal gramma, I think one blue damsel--I haven't seen him for several days and more than likely a foxface (he's in a small QT that I set up a few days ago, but I don't expect him to make it).

Think my best bet is to go back to buying the fish from the store after they've been there for at least a few weeks.

Thing is I had intended to buy a nice (very small) hippo tang. I put him on hold and the day I went back to get him he had ich so I left him in the store and got a credit. I came back after a week in hopes of buying him and he was either sold or didn't make it. Long story short I bought the flame on impulse. Put him in the tank and he lasted about 6 days ...after he died ....fish one after the other have followed....

Lesson learned--I'll go back to my old policy of buying the fish that have been at the store for a while or off of folks who are selling fish on this site or other local sites.

Mike McDermott

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