Tailspot Blenny suddenly died, and Goby has disappeared.. Can't figure out why

Saltbøtta

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Hello! I hope this is the right place for this question. So, my tank has been up and running since october, and the Goby has been there since december. A few weeks ago I got a tailspot blenny and it has seemed healthy. Suddenly, when I woke up yesterday it was lying on its side in the sand, and died a few hours later. I haven't seen the Goby either since the incident. All the corals appear healthy, same with feather dusters.

So, did they kill each other? Any thoughts? Is it possible that I forgot to wash my hands after smoking and nicotine poisoned my tank? Or after petting my dog?

Nitrate is 2
Phosphate is 0,03
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite is 0
 
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Jay Hemdal

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Hello! I hope this is the right place for this question. So, my tank has been up and running since october, and the Goby has been there since december. A few weeks ago I got a tailspot blenny and it has seemed healthy. Suddenly, when I woke up yesterday it was lying on its side in the sand, and died a few hours later. I haven't seen the Goby either since the incident. All the corals appear healthy, same with feather dusters.

So, did they kill each other? Any thoughts? Is it possible that I forgot to wash my hands after smoking and nicotine poisoned my tank? Or after petting my dog?

Nitrate is 2
Phosphate is 0,03
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite is 0

Welcome to Reef2Reef!

Are there any other fish in the Aquarium?
If the fish had been fighting, the one that died would usually have ripped fins, and the "winner" wouldn't be missing.
If the corals look good, you can usually rule out major water quality issues.
My guess is that the tailspot blenny carried a disease into your tank and died form that, and then the goby did as well. Now, if you still have other fish in the tank besides those two, then that isn't what happened.

For future reference, this link explains what sort of background information is helpful for us to have about your tank:

Jay Hemdal
 

tharbin

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First, welcome to R2R!

Are they your only two fish?

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Saltbøtta

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Thanks for your replies and welcome!

Sorry, should have made that clear. Yep, these were my only fish, in a 20 gallon tank. Sad day!

Is there a chance that there is disease left in the tank? I think I'll wait a while before adding any more fish.. Hoping the goby will make an appearance.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Thanks for your replies and welcome!

Sorry, should have made that clear. Yep, these were my only fish, in a 20 gallon tank. Sad day!

Is there a chance that there is disease left in the tank? I think I'll wait a while before adding any more fish.. Hoping the goby will make an appearance.

It may be a disease issue. Since you won't know which disease it was, looking at the worst case, you may need to leave your tank fishless for 75 days, so that any resting stages of the parasite have died out from lack of a host. However, going forward, you run the same risk with any new fish that you buy. I suggest people quarantine their new fish, but I understand that is difficult to do if you have just one small aquarium. Are there any dealers in Norway that will quarantine new fish for you? We have a few companies here in the US that do that.

Jay
 
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Saltbøtta

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I asked my LFS if they quarantine their fish, and they said they do, which is why I didn't suspect disease. I had a very serious session blasting cyano off of rocks just the night before they died, could it have released some toxins?
 

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I asked my LFS if they quarantine their fish, and they said they do, which is why I didn't suspect disease. I had a very serious session blasting cyano off of rocks just the night before they died, could it have released some toxins?
That could have changed the water quality - possibly the dissolved oxygen. That might have killed the fish. The key there is if the fish had no symptoms prior to that and suddenly died/vanished right after the cleaning, then hat is suspect. Still, I would have expected any event that kills fish like hat would also affect invertebrates.
Jay
 
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Saltbøtta

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Thanks for the help!

The fish didn't die before the day after the cleaning session, but other than disease its the only thing I can think of. They were eating well and appeared to be healthy before I started cleaning the cyano. I guess I'll never know for sure, probably best to be on the safe side and wait 75 days?
 

Jay Hemdal

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Thanks for the help!

The fish didn't die before the day after the cleaning session, but other than disease its the only thing I can think of. They were eating well and appeared to be healthy before I started cleaning the cyano. I guess I'll never know for sure, probably best to be on the safe side and wait 75 days?
I think so. That is the maximum time for a fallow period. In some cases, the needed time may be less, but it is difficult to determine.

Here is a discussion on shorter fallow periods:


Jay
 
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damsels are not mean

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I do think some disease is what happened here but often in nano tanks oxygenation is an issue and if it is, it's possible the fish succumbed to it, even if the stress from it was a slow burn. As things in the tank grow they consume more and it's possible things got to the point where the two fish didn't have enough oxygen left do be healthy. Again I doubt this is the issue but I would hate to see you go fallow for months and then not have the problem solved.

What is your filtration like and how much does the water ripple at the top? Is the top closed or open?
 
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Saltbøtta

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Should have plenty oxygenation. It is a waterbox 20. Running additional bio media in the back compartment. In addition to the return pump i am running 2 tcm reef tide 4000s, which are placed fairly high in the tank and contributing to surface movement.
 

damsels are not mean

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Should have plenty oxygenation. It is a waterbox 20. Running additional bio media in the back compartment. In addition to the return pump i am running 2 tcm reef tide 4000s, which are placed fairly high in the tank and contributing to surface movement.
Good to hear.
 

threebuoys

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Has the goby shown up yet? Another possibility is the goby jumped out of the tank. I had that happen and eventually found the dehydrated body on the floor behind the tank. Of course, your goby may have buried in the sand and died too.

It sounds like you only had the blenny for a week or two. Was he fairly fat when you got him? I've had problems with some new fish being malnourished. At first observation, they appeared to be eating but when I watched more closely, some just nibbled at the food and then spit it out. For that matter, you've had the goby for a month(?). What were you feeding the fish? The goby may have also succumbed to malnutrition, although it is suspicious if the two fish died within a day of each other.

I would try to find the goby to confirm he is in fact dead. You may notice a rise in your ammonia or nitrates if his body decomposes in the tank.

Good luck, and welcome to R2R. You will find much useful information here.
 
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Saltbøtta

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I've considered that, but I do have a lid. When I first got the Goby, he managed to get into the overflow several times so I had to make a DIY shield to keep him out, which has been effective. And I have looked in the back but he's not there.

Regarding food I have been spotfeeding them with O-megavital pellets from Tropic Marin. Im confident that the blenny was eating, but now that you say it, it may have been taking the food from the goby, which became harder to feed when it had competition, but appeared to get a few pebbles in each day. Maybe the Goby starved and killed off the blenny? That said, I haven't measured any ammonia spike. Its very sad, I've taken great care to feed and do regular water changes. Never had this happen before! I cannot see the Goby in the sand, so I have assumed it died under the rocks in its cave. Will have a look around when I do my water change today.

All snails and corals are still doing good.
 
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dmsc2fs

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The timing may be a bit off, and I am not an expert in this area. One possible explanation is that when you added the Goby it was pregnant from a bonding where you purchased it from. Goby will wall themselves inside a cave to drop their young and not come out for 10-20 days.

Again, I'm no expert on this, I was just doing a bit of reading on bonded Goby's recently and I recall this part of the breeding cycle.
 

tharbin

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I don't think you ever mentioned what kind of goby you have but most gobies, and many other species, can go missing for weeks at a time. If you don't see a body or the remains of one it is never save to assume it is dead. I've put fish that I found carpet surfing and totally dried-out looking back in a tank and watched them recuperate. Jeff Goldblum was right: "If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is."
 
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