Bacterial Infection: Empty tank: When is it safe?

morgan_jAq

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Somehow idek how I got a bacterial infection in my reef tank. It knocked out my tomini tang, saddle back clownfish, melenarous wrasse, and diamond back goby. It was very disappointing. Tried to treat, but alas I was too late. Corals, sea hare, and cleaner shrimp are of course healthy and happy, and I have a major copepod bloom going on in my tank, so I was thinking about a mandarin, but when is it safe to add a fish? I don't want to screw any fishy up. Its been about a week since last fish died.
 
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Ludders

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I think in this case I am going to recommend doing a real deep clean and water change out and get a decent UV and you should be good to re-add fish.
Topical treatment of the water can be a little destructive on gram-negative bacteria, wiping out your good biological bacteria in the process. It's also difficult to ascertain whether you're dealing with a gram-positive or gram-negative infection.
 
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morgan_jAq

morgan_jAq

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I think in this case I am going to recommend doing a real deep clean and water change out and get a decent UV and you should be good to re-add fish.
Topical treatment of the water can be a little destructive on gram-negative bacteria, wiping out your good biological bacteria in the process. It's also difficult to ascertain whether you're dealing with a gram-positive or gram-negative infection.
this could sound super dumb, but will the uv sterilizer wipe out my copepod population? It is booming right now which is great, so I was thinking about a mandarin, but not if the uv wipes them out
 

Kal93

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Bacteria isn't like parasites. Unless you know and test for the species that killed your fish, there's no way of knowing whether it is still in your tank. Some options from least to most effective are:

1. Dose antibiotics to your system (see: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/antibiotics.283711/)

2. When used effectively, UV will reduce the number of motile (but not non-motile) bacteria, but won't eradicate them. You could DIY a UV filter with tubing and a UV bulb.

3. The only way to conclusively remove the bacteria is mass sterilization (i.e. restart your tank following drying and sanitizing all surfaces).

Also, make sure that your rockwork doesn't have sharp edges--my fish were getting scratches, which allowed an opportunistic bacterial infection to take hold
 
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morgan_jAq

morgan_jAq

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Bacteria isn't like parasites. Unless you know and test for the species that killed your fish, there's no way of knowing whether it is still in your tank. Some options from least to most effective are:

1. Dose antibiotics to your system (see: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/antibiotics.283711/)

2. When used effectively, UV will reduce the number of motile (but not non-motile) bacteria, but won't eradicate them. You could DIY a UV filter with tubing and a UV bulb.

3. The only way to conclusively remove the bacteria is mass sterilization (i.e. restart your tank following drying and sanitizing all surfaces).

Also, make sure that your rockwork doesn't have sharp edges--my fish were getting scratches, which allowed an opportunistic bacterial infection to take hold
so having a tank empty/ without fish that can be hosts for a while won't make the bacteria die off on its own?
 

Ludders

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so having a tank empty/ without fish that can be hosts for a while won't make the bacteria die off on its own?
I would say not knowing is the main issue, so we can't assume the problem has gone away by itself.
I think given the fact you probably have an established reef by the sound of it, it's going to be extreme to reboot everything.
 
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morgan_jAq

morgan_jAq

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I would say not knowing is the main issue, so we can't assume the problem has gone away by itself.
I think given the fact you probably have an established reef by the sound of it, it's going to be extreme to reboot everything.
exactly I don't want to kill any fish and my tank is very well established I can't risk that. plus copepodsss haha
 

kennyymacau

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I have been dealing with bacteria infections few times now, since I have a fowlr tank and fish sometimes fight. I normally do large water change a couple times, new sponge And rinse some of my ceramic rings in old saltwater. I never tried UV sterilizers, but large water changes does help. I also dip my fish in Paraguard for 2 hours, but if the fish is not eating and in bad condition just do 40-50% every 2 days for 6-8 days. Normally 6 days is enough
 

kennyymacau

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Do not always think medications will do the job for you, it is more than likely to stress fish out. Never use any medications that require you to turn off skimmer because I stand to the fact that bad water quality will kill the fish faster than most illness. For my tanks I run 0.25 - 0.35 copper constantly just for control if velvet every suddenly pops up.
 
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morgan_jAq

morgan_jAq

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Do not always think medications will do the job for you, it is more than likely to stress fish out. Never use any medications that require you to turn off skimmer because I stand to the fact that bad water quality will kill the fish faster than most illness. For my tanks I run 0.25 - 0.35 copper constantly just for control if velvet every suddenly pops up.

I have corals I can't do that
 

ichthyoid

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From the description I suspect a parasite outbreak, perhaps Uronema. External parasites can lead to secondary infection from bacteria, fungus, virus, etc.

Since you don’t know, I would let the tank lay fallow for at least a month. I think a UV can help, if properly used. It won’t cure a sick fish, but it will control or prevent an outbreak.

Best practice is to quarantine any new fish, or treat them prophylactically to prevent introducing disease to the main display. These require separate tanks.

You also mention an ‘explosion of copepods’. Is there macro algae in the system? If not, what do they feed on?

Here’s one reference on parasites to look over-

 
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