Clown laying on sand bed rapid breathing- is he dying?

maxemorris

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I have a 15G tank with a built in sump, a large live rock arch, and a 1” sand bed.

Livestock I have a pair of semi storm clownfish (paired), a blue leg hermit crab, a mushroom coral and a duncan coral (both still frags).

Temp: 79° F
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Alkalinity: 180 ppm
pH: 8.4
I had a skunk cleaner shrimp die a few days ago that I believe accounted for the ammonia and nitrate. I did a 3G (20%) water change right after his death.

ISSUE: My large female clown has been laying against the sand bed and the glass since last night. Sometimes she will come up and swim like she is totally fine, but always goes back to laying down a few minutes later. No fluttering or twitching.

I got her about a week ago and treated the pair with API Melafix (tea tree oil). I don’t think this is an ammonia problem because the male who is half her size is swimming fine and is displaying no issues. I got the corals last night (when it started) but I feel that’s simply a coincidence. I’ve read that it’s common for them to lie down, but this is the first i’ve seen her do it. I may have over fed them live brine shrimp, that seems to be the only explanation I can think of now. There’s no uneven floating or any swimming patterns of swim bladder. There a small dot on her side could it be a parasite? I attached a video.

HELP!
 

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maxemorris

maxemorris

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Hi,
How old id the system? Your tank might still be cycling. I can't open your picture/video. Maybe someone else can comment and help you.
The tank is about 4-5 months old and is fully cycled

UPDATE: She is now swimming around the tank totally fine. I’ll add another comment if anything changes

Thank you!
 

wwcgroupie

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hopefully the 20% water changed helped wouldn’t hurt to do another one.

also clowns do have strange sleep behavior. you wouldn’t be the first person to think a clown was ill every time it takes a nap.
 
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vetteguy53081

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The tank is about 4-5 months old and is fully cycled

UPDATE: She is now swimming around the tank totally fine. I’ll add another comment if anything changes

Thank you!
Great to hear as I just saw posting. I am guessing ammonia spike and may have subsided (at least for now).
What test kit(s) are you using ?

Test then do water change
 
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maxemorris

maxemorris

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Great to hear as I just saw posting. I am guessing ammonia spike and may have subsided (at least for now).
What test kit(s) are you using ?

Test then do water change
I am using strip test kits, yes I am aware they are inaccurate. This is my first saltwater tank and I live a few minutes from my lfs that tests my water for me weekly. I only use the strips to ease my stress when they are closed.

I believe the source was my skunk cleaner shrimps death, and the fact I may have overfed them live brine shrimp trying to get them to eat for the first time.
 
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maxemorris

maxemorris

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UPDATE: The clowns did great throughout the day, and everything seems to be normal again. I did catch her laying down again after the lights are off, the owner of my lfs told me this is very common and is fine as long as it’s at night with the lights off- his clowns do the same.

From my understanding this is common when there is not an anemone to host the clowns, so they lay in a safe tighter area of the tank to feel secure.
 
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maxemorris

maxemorris

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The owner of the lfs also said the “parasite” looks more like a knick or mark where the clown injured itself.

I feel good that everything will be okay for now. This hobby is sure stressful!

Thanks everyone :)
 

vetteguy53081

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UPDATE: The clowns did great throughout the day, and everything seems to be normal again. I did catch her laying down again after the lights are off, the owner of my lfs told me this is very common and is fine as long as it’s at night with the lights off- his clowns do the same.

From my understanding this is common when there is not an anemone to host the clowns, so they lay in a safe tighter area of the tank to feel secure.
My clowns spend a great amount of time towards top of tank as I have 9 and never lay. An anemone should NOT send them into depression or pouting behavior.
 
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