Fish dying within hours.

Raincoatman

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I must be missing something. My Red Sea 130 AIO has been setup as a mixed reef and running for about 10 months now. Initially had velvet with some fish and went fallow for 3 months. Newly introduced fish were quarantined and treated with copper. New fish did well for months in the DT and then suddenly died. Heavy breathing was the only symptom. Was able to save a clownfish by transferring him back to the QT after an H2O2 bath. After another fallow new fish, as well as the original clown, were reintroduced after quarantine. All did fantastic in quarantine. But, all struggled when placed in DT. Notably they all had fast gill rates after a few hours in the DT. Some have survived and look just great. Others, 3 springer damsels and a sleeper goby have not. I had a salinity mismatch between the display and QT that I thought killed the damsels. I adjusted that and after 30 days in QT I moved a sleeper goby to the DT. Looked great. Sifting the sand and swimming normally. 3 hours later the labored breathing started. After 5 hours it died.

Something is off here that I can't figure out. The fish that are in there now, a clown, green chromis, and algae blenny look fantastic. Is it just bad or weakened fish? Common denominator here is every fish did really good in the QT. No breathing issues upon introduction. As soon as they were in the DT they had issues. My parameters are all within range. Only difference between QT and display is with nitrate. QT has about 30ppm and the display has 0. Temp, SG, ammonia, are the same.

Just frustrated and taking the fun out of this as I'm afraid to put any more fish in this tank.

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

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Miami Reef

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The oxygen levels might be low on your tank? Maybe just add an air stone to see if that makes a difference, either way it can’t hurt to add it to the system.
That’s a good call! I noticed the powerhead isn’t even pointed to the surface.

OP: you NEED the surface of the water to have erratic ripples to release excess CO2. That is a must!
 
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Isopod80

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Adding an airstone to a reef tank will cause microbubbles which can harm and at the least, irritate fish and corals. Not to mention excess salt creep. Surface agitation with a powerhead is a much better solution for gas exchange.
 
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Raincoatman

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The oxygen levels might be low on your tank? Maybe just add an air stone to see if that makes a difference, either way it can’t hurt to add it to the system.
The surface is so turbulent in this tank from the return that have to be careful it doesn't splash out. The skimmer is a tunze 9001. Thousands of bubbles created by that. The fish in the tank do not breathe heavy at all.
 

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Raincoatman

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This is so strange! And your corals lookgood too!

I know you said you quarantined them, but did you ever see your fish scratch against the sand/rocks?
No. I'm not 100 percent positive but I do not believe this is parasite. The deaths are immediate like a toxin. But no other fish, coral or invert is effected. I had the same crabs and snails for months now with no casualties. If it was ammonia I'd see it in the other fish. I don't know what would kill a healthy fish, of different species so fast and leave the others unscathed.
What does the surface of the water look like right now? Is it flat?
It's moving. Almost too much.
 

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Raincoatman

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Do you run carbon on the DT, if not perhaps consider. Maybe some got into your DT.
I run a small bag of brs carbon in the overflow along with a small bag of chemipure elite. I change the carbon out at regular intervals. The carbon is the bituminous type. I would think any toxins would be neutralized.
 
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Raincoatman

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Agree, do your power heads break the surface ? Are you running a skimmer
The return breaks the surface pretty good. The skimmer is a tunze 9001 and produces a lot bubbles. I don't test for dissolved oxygen but think it good based on the breathing rates of the other fish. If was just isolated to one fish I would be thinking I just got a bad specimen. But this same scenario has played out with several fish now.
 
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Raincoatman

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What frustrates me the most is getting a fish from an lfs, quarantining it for 30 plus days with meds with no issues and then to have it die within hours. Is it fish quality from the lfs? Maybe. I know it must be assumed that any new fish is diseased. That is the way I approach any new specimen. Until I treat it and the fish proves to me that it is healthy I do not transfer it. I could chalk this up to beginner mistakes but I've kept fish for awhile, even having a saltwater products license while living in South Florida 30 years ago where I was able to collect fish in the morning and put them in my reef in the afternoon. Never an issue. I'm not an expert but I know what a healthy fish looks like. Something is amiss here that eludes me. I appreciate all the input. Thanks.
 
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Raincoatman

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Perhaps some toxin within the live rock you have in DT? Just thinking out loud I guess, but I can see the quandary you are in.
Yeah I was thinking the next step may be ICP testing to cover all the bases for both the inverts and the fish. Also need to test my RODI water too. But the QT uses the same water so not expecting anything there. The fish reaction is like a toxin so you may not be far off.
 
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