Mysterious Cardinalfish deaths

Sharkbait19

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Hello,
For the third time in a row, I’ve had a banggai Cardinalfish mysteriously die on me. The first time, it made it through quarantine, but did not eat much and then died hours after it was transferred into the display tank. The second one did not make it very far in QT. This third time, I tried to do everything right, but decided to do a faster quarantine period (20 days of copper instead of a month) to ensure that it wouldn’t starve to death. Yesterday I transferred it to the display tank and it acted strange at first, but eventually began to swim around and travel across the tank. Throughout the night it was very active and acting as I’d expect a Cardinalfish to behave. Then I woke this morning to find it dead on the sandbed. Based on its appearance, it couldn’t have been dead for very long before I found it. I don’t understand why it died, however. I am currently restocking my tank after a reset, due to issues with hydrogen sulfide in the sandbed. The only other inhabitant is an orange spotted blenny. The only possible explanations I could think of are iridovirus, which seems unlikely because it was an aquacultured specimen, and I’m not sure what I should look for symptom-wise, or poor acclimation, which I’m not too sure on either, given its excellent behavior prior to its sudden death. At 0 for 3, I’m pretty reluctant in attempting this fish again, unless I can figure out what practices allow for a healthy cardinal fish or what I may have done incorrectly in caring for these fish. I had always assumed they were rather hardy fish, but based on my experience, they do not seem to be the easiest to keep alive.
I have attached pictures of the fish when it was alive as well as ones this morning.
IMG_9336.jpeg
IMG_9332.jpeg
IMG_9326.jpeg
IMG_9365.jpeg
IMG_9366.jpeg
 

threebuoys

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That's puzzling for sure.

Do you have any other Banggai in the tank that may have not wanted a tank mate? (or other aggressive tank mates for that matter).

I have a pair that's 3 years old. When I first got them, I had three. After 2 paired off, they proceeded to kill the third. I assume you have other fish in the tank that are healthy and established?
 

MnFish1

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Hello,
For the third time in a row, I’ve had a banggai Cardinalfish mysteriously die on me. The first time, it made it through quarantine, but did not eat much and then died hours after it was transferred into the display tank. The second one did not make it very far in QT. This third time, I tried to do everything right, but decided to do a faster quarantine period (20 days of copper instead of a month) to ensure that it wouldn’t starve to death. Yesterday I transferred it to the display tank and it acted strange at first, but eventually began to swim around and travel across the tank. Throughout the night it was very active and acting as I’d expect a Cardinalfish to behave. Then I woke this morning to find it dead on the sandbed. Based on its appearance, it couldn’t have been dead for very long before I found it. I don’t understand why it died, however. I am currently restocking my tank after a reset, due to issues with hydrogen sulfide in the sandbed. The only other inhabitant is an orange spotted blenny. The only possible explanations I could think of are iridovirus, which seems unlikely because it was an aquacultured specimen, and I’m not sure what I should look for symptom-wise, or poor acclimation, which I’m not too sure on either, given its excellent behavior prior to its sudden death. At 0 for 3, I’m pretty reluctant in attempting this fish again, unless I can figure out what practices allow for a healthy cardinal fish or what I may have done incorrectly in caring for these fish. I had always assumed they were rather hardy fish, but based on my experience, they do not seem to be the easiest to keep alive.
I have attached pictures of the fish when it was alive as well as ones this morning.
IMG_9336.jpeg
IMG_9332.jpeg
IMG_9326.jpeg
IMG_9365.jpeg
IMG_9366.jpeg
Isn't it true though that some (?Many) stores, etc end up exposing tank-raised to wild stock? I'm sure you've gone through the more common issues. Sorry about the fish
 

crazyfishmom

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Have you considered hyposalinity instead of copper for quarantine? How are you measuring copper levels during quarantine? Could something be off there such that you’re reaching toxic levels without realizing it?
 

MnFish1

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Have you considered hyposalinity instead of copper for quarantine? How are you measuring copper levels during quarantine? Could something be off there such that you’re reaching toxic levels without realizing it?
Just for everyone to remember - hypo salinity is only valuable for Ich.
 
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Sharkbait19

Sharkbait19

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Isn't it true though that some (?Many) stores, etc end up exposing tank-raised to wild stock? I'm sure you've gone through the more common issues. Sorry about the fish
All of them had been ordered through petco, which I believe get shipped directly through quality marine.
Have you considered hyposalinity instead of copper for quarantine? How are you measuring copper levels during quarantine? Could something be off there such that you’re reaching toxic levels without realizing it?
Measuring with a hanna checker, never went too high with levels.
That's puzzling for sure.

Do you have any other Banggai in the tank that may have not wanted a tank mate? (or other aggressive tank mates for that matter).

I have a pair that's 3 years old. When I first got them, I had three. After 2 paired off, they proceeded to kill the third. I assume you have other fish in the tank that are healthy and established?
It’s only been one Cardinal at once, currently the only other fish in the tank is the orange spot blenny. I had a lot of bad luck through the past year with other fish and losing them. Nothing seemed to show any of the same symptoms. I’m fairly certain a good number were due to aggression (coral beauty and clownfish as the main aggressors), but some fish literally would just disappear looking and acting healthy before. There aren’t any bobbits or mantis shrimp (I think).
 

MnFish1

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I believe your original thought of the virus may be correct.
 

Jay Hemdal

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All of them had been ordered through petco, which I believe get shipped directly through quality marine.

Measuring with a hanna checker, never went too high with levels.

It’s only been one Cardinal at once, currently the only other fish in the tank is the orange spot blenny. I had a lot of bad luck through the past year with other fish and losing them. Nothing seemed to show any of the same symptoms. I’m fairly certain a good number were due to aggression (coral beauty and clownfish as the main aggressors), but some fish literally would just disappear looking and acting healthy before. There aren’t any bobbits or mantis shrimp (I think).
So - I keep hearing all sorts of rumors about Banggai cardinals; that Quality Marine holds a lock on the Asian source of wild caught and farm raised cardinals, like 90% of them go through them. There is also the rumor that some being sold as “captive raised” are actually just part of the translocated population that is harvested in sea pens and shallow water outside their natural range. Then, that captive raised and wild stock are co-mingled in Indonesia. All this boils down to continued issues with the iridovirus.
I prefer domestically raised cardinals that have not be mixed in LFS tanks….bit those are tough to find because the cost of these fish is so low out of Indo.

Jay
 

threebuoys

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One of the more puzzling issues is that the deaths seem to occur within 24 hours of relocation from QT to DT if I understand correctly. All of the air bubbles in the pics suggest a lot of algae / cyano in the tank. I don't know what effect that may have on oxygen levels or other possible lethal factors.
 
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Sharkbait19

Sharkbait19

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Yes, the two that made it to the dt died within a day.
There is a cyano problem - could that drastically affect o2 levels? I also have a glass hood that could do similar (I’ve been meaning to switch to screen).
 

Jay Hemdal

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Yes, the two that made it to the dt died within a day.
There is a cyano problem - could that drastically affect o2 levels? I also have a glass hood that could do similar (I’ve been meaning to switch to screen).
Tanks with very heavy algae growth and poor aeration can develop high CO2 issues at night during reverse phase photosynthesis. This can kill fish, but is not a super commonly seen issue. If the tank has good aeration, air stones or skimmer, you can rule it out.

Jay
 

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