Sadness over death of fish.

AVamosi

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Hello, all! I am a new reefer, my partner and I just started down this path about 6 weeks ago, got fish about 2 weeks ago (after the tank cycled), and since then we just had our second fish die this afternoon! We are finding this emotionally difficult to deal with, especially with the causes of death. Currently we have a 75 gallon tank, and our remaining fish are two Gladiator Clown fish, Cardinal Pajama, and Engineer Goby (all juvenile fish).

The first death was our juvenile sweet little baby Blue Hippo Tang. We were given the okay to get a beautiful Diadem Dottyback (from our fish store guy). Unfortunately we didn't do research and trusted him. Less than 36 hours later the Dotty took a big chunk out of Baby Tang's tail, and she was dead about 10 hours after that. Later we learned we should've put Baby Tang in the sump to be safe and relax till we got that hell devil out (she was officially evicted that next morning). The aquarium store guys said just to watch Baby Tang to make sure she eats, nothing else.

Latest death was our tiny little Clown Goby, which was split in two after a rock formation collapsed. I don't know anything about stacking rocks, but we are feeling especially hurt because the guy that comes to maintain the tank set the rocks up a second time. He had to take them out to get the Dotty, than restack them. I was not there to watch how he did it.

We are both feeling frustrated because these deaths seemed like they could have been prevented, especially since we put it in the hands of others. I will now have to restack them myself again tonight. We both love animals so much, and there has been so much death, and now understand that it happens. The purpose of having somebody come maintain our tank every two weeks (till we could take over with the APEX system) was so we didn't kill any fish, and we've lost two already! I am so sad now, they were so cute, and had so much personality, and even had great fish names! I am finding this particularly hard, and keep imagining these two fish last moments and thoughts, right before they died, and how they felt or if it hurt.

Sorry for the long post, but how do you deal with fish death?
 
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Biglew11

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It does suck and I feel bad for the fish. Importantly you learn from your mistakes and do research so you know if a fish is compatible or not. A good lfs will be honest and tell you if a fish is compatible or not. Or if it will be ok in your size tank, blue hippo gangs get about 12" so will be too big for a 75 unless you absolutely know you were going to get a bigger tank, or trade it in.

Unfortunately some lfs only care about a sail and will tell you it's ok just to make that sale. It's really hard to know if some one is being honest at the lfs or not. The best thing if you see a fish at the store you like that you know nothing about is to leave it there so you can research it. Don't worry about it not being there when you go back to buy it. They'll either have that fish. Another of the same fish or can probably order one for you.
 
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AVamosi

AVamosi

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It does suck and I feel bad for the fish. Importantly you learn from your mistakes and do research so you know if a fish is compatible or not. A good lfs will be honest and tell you if a fish is compatible or not. Or if it will be ok in your size tank, blue hippo gangs get about 12" so will be too big for a 75 unless you absolutely know you were going to get a bigger tank, or trade it in.

Unfortunately some lfs only care about a sail and will tell you it's ok just to make that sale. It's really hard to know if some one is being honest at the lfs or not. The best thing if you see a fish at the store you like that you know nothing about is to leave it there so you can research it. Don't worry about it not being there when you go back to buy it. They'll either have that fish. Another of the same fish or can probably order one for you.
Yes the plan was to trade her in when she’s too big in a few years or upgrade the tank if I could convince my partner!
 

CanuckReefer

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Hello, all! I am a new reefer, my partner and I just started down this path about 6 weeks ago, got fish about 2 weeks ago (after the tank cycled), and since then we just had our second fish die this afternoon! We are finding this emotionally difficult to deal with, especially with the causes of death. Currently we have a 75 gallon tank, and our remaining fish are two Gladiator Clown fish, Cardinal Pajama, and Engineer Goby (all juvenile fish).

The first death was our juvenile sweet little baby Blue Hippo Tang. We were given the okay to get a beautiful Diadem Dottyback (from our fish store guy). Unfortunately we didn't do research and trusted him. Less than 36 hours later the Dotty took a big chunk out of Baby Tang's tail, and she was dead about 10 hours after that. Later we learned we should've put Baby Tang in the sump to be safe and relax till we got that hell devil out (she was officially evicted that next morning). The aquarium store guys said just to watch Baby Tang to make sure she eats, nothing else.

Latest death was our tiny little Clown Goby, which was split in two after a rock formation collapsed. I don't know anything about stacking rocks, but we are feeling especially hurt because the guy that comes to maintain the tank set the rocks up a second time. He had to take them out to get the Dotty, than restack them. I was not there to watch how he did it.

We are both feeling frustrated because these deaths seemed like they could have been prevented, especially since we put it in the hands of others. I will now have to restack them myself again tonight. We both love animals so much, and there has been so much death, and now understand that it happens. The purpose of having somebody come maintain our tank every two weeks (till we could take over with the APEX system) was so we didn't kill any fish, and we've lost two already! I am so sad now, they were so cute, and had so much personality, and even had great fish names! I am finding this particularly hard, and keep imagining these two fish last moments and thoughts, right before they died, and how they felt or if it hurt.

Sorry for the long post, but how do you deal with fish death?
At the start is difficult, I won't tell you otherwise....a well acclimated start up has its issues. I had quite a few die early on in the hobby. It helped me learn an awful lot. Those deaths don't go in vain at all, they are tribute to the fact you learned, and are growing within the reef tank world. Keep going ...buy the cheaper ones and nurture them. This will take years (of tears) to get it right.
 
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kichimark

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I have been in this hobby since the mid 90's and I have had my share of losses along the way. It is never easy but as others have mentioned, it is a learning experience. Just know that you have the best of intentions and will learn from this. Come onto the boards if you want some opinions from those who have been there and done that since as mentioned, some stores want to sell their items. I used to go around to different stores and ask the folks a question I already knew the answer to just to get a feel for what type of operation they were running. Those who were honest with me, I became a loyal patron.

Since you are knew to this I will tell you the greatest advice I have ever been given and learned, patience. Take things slow and research. Also, try not to become to dependent on others or even systems (they can fail too) for the care of your tank. No one is going to care for your tank as much as you.

AND BTW ---- Welcome to R2R
lilo and stitch hello GIF
 
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Weasel1960

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Sorry to read about your loss, always hurts no matter what type of pet. As others suggest, learn from your daily experiences but don’t give up. Suggest looking into the Aquascaping threads within R2R and the videos on BRS to learn about stacking rocks to make them safer for your livestock.
 

13Reefer

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Hang in there, sorry for your loss. This hobby has its challenges; but like others have said it can be so rewarding. All the best
 

Spieg

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Sorry to hear about your little friends. Some LFS staff really know their stuff and some are pretty clueless and just focused on making a sale... you'll learn to tell the difference after a while. I've never known anyone that actually hired someone to maintain their tank (must be nice to have that luxury!), but I suppose the same holds true here too (might be worth looking for another maintenance person or learn to do it yourself).
 
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gentlefish

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I am so sorry that this happened to you. It is important to me that you feel that your fish are not merely a financial investment, but living, feeling, breathing pets, and you would like them to do well. Sadly in this hobby loss is more common than we all care to admit, and many reefers did experience catastrophes down to tank crashes and loss of all their pets. (Twice myself, velvet, toxic Dino’s...I nearly left the hobby - twice)
The best advice I can give is realizing that diseases are very common. If you do not want to loose everything, at one point protect yourself with a dedicated quarantine/hospital tank. Do your own research and ask questions in this forum. Never impulse buy and always question the motive of the vendor. Work towards a goal, a list of well compatible fish with little to no aggression.
I am sorry that what happened to you can not be undone. Reefing can be very painful. Only time can heal these wounds.
 

Dark_Knightt

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I sadly lost my ORA mandarin a few days ago. It was a fish I really loved because I had always wanted one, but it ended up starving, and I took that to the heart because that just meant that it was 100% my fault it died... smh. But, as everyone will tell you, its impossible to learn without failing once or twice. or a few more times. It is how we learn what works, and what doesnt. I think its a good thing to grieve for a fish, because it means you see at less than just an animal or a pet but more of a friend. :) Im sorry for your losses, best of luck to you.
 

andrewkw

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There are 2 kinds of fish death for me.

First my long term fish. I recently had a flame hawkfish die of dropsy - not exactly common or preventable. He was very personable and fun to watch. I "only" had him 3 years so he wasn't with me that long and while I was upset about it for a few days got over it pretty quick.

Next death actually hurt more. Labouti Wrasse - had 1 10 years ago. Lost that one in a crash. Got a new one which looked super healthy but died 1 day into QT. Just a fragile fish. I don't think he had any disease, but the stress of shipping and possibly temp fluctuations did him in. Now he wasn't really my pet yet, but I absolutely love wrasses and haven't kept any for some time. The first day watching him swim my mind was already racing about getting more wrasses again. Then the next day he was dead and that all crashed again. Brought back feelings of when I lost all my wrasses close to 10 years ago. He was also moderately expensive. For the Hawkfish I am sad he is not around. For the wrasse I am sad I never got the chance to enjoy watching him in my reef.

It's important to remember these are just fish. Yes we love them, we love having them but they are fish. It is very important we respect and value their lives but also be able to move on in an appropriate amount of time which of course will differ from person to person. Even higher up pets, or people we have to get over too. Death unfortunately is such a big part of life.
 

vetteguy53081

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The fish you mentioned losing are ones not ideal for a new tank which will go through chemical swings and blooms.
Thais bit of fish in a short amount of time.
Utilize this time to test and monitor water and become familiar with testing and chemistry and don’t stock or let impulse get to you over next 6 weeks
 

joec

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Take the time and effort to quarantine all your fish and there will be a lot less heart ache

There are no short cuts, and not quarantining is a short cut. Its not a sprint, its a marathon
 
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