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sick clown?

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Brad&Miranda

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2004
Messages
4
Location
Seattle
Hello

I'm worried there may be something wrong with our new Clown, but since I'm an extremely new saltwater tank owner I would love to hear that I'm jumping to conclusions.

We got a nice pair of tank raised perculas last Thursday. The female seems to be just fine, but the male does a lot of thrashing, and occasionally lies or swims on his side at the surface of the tank.

The water parameters from yesterday's tests are PH 8.2, temp 74, Alkalinity 3.5), although the specific gravity is a bit high (1.025). Also I did a 10% water change yesterday, and topped the tank off with RO water this evening.

I can provide more specific information if anyone asks (equipment, etc.).

Thanks,
Brad
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Brad & Miranda, Welcome to Reef Frontiers!!

Have you tested for ammonia or nitrite, yet? (nitrate is another good test to run if you haven't done so). How long has your tank been running (i.e. when was the tank set-up)? What do you have in the tank...live rock - how many pounds?; any other inhabitants? Your specific gravity is great for a reef tank, although I feel your temperature is a little low for that specific gravity. Let us know a little bit more about your system, and what your other water parameters are.
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
Welcome to Reef Frontiers! :)

How do you feed your fish? Do you feed them flake food or other food that floats on the surface of the water? Sometimes fish will gulp in air when they feed at the surface and become, well, inflated, lol.

Constipation will also make fish float at the surface. I've had good luck feeding fish small pieces of petite peas, broccoli and/or fresh garlic to help unplug them. Clownfish tend to not be big on veggies, but if the fish miss a couple of regular feedings, they'll be more tempted to try veggie matter.

Just throwing out some ideas!

Alice
 

Beckmola24

Hawkfish
Joined
Mar 17, 2004
Messages
1,112
Location
Columbus, OH
I actually had a clownfish that slept on the surface. He would lay on his side and sleep at the top. It was also the male. He was a bit stressed for a few weeks from the female. It stopped after they paired. Don't know how long you've had them. After a few weeks though he finally settled down and started acting normal. Don't know if that helps or not. My female would sleep vertically with her head facing the substrate in one of the corners. I had odd clowns. =)
 

uwscotch

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2004
Messages
190
Male clowns can be a little quarky, but if he is on his side and not in a continual "Look at me, let's mate" dance, then I feel as though he could be suffering from constipation as mentioned. The other time I've seen a behavior like that is a SERIOUS pH shock. Screws everyone up, upside down swimming around, summersaults etc. From your param. you're tank seems fine. I agree with the temp being a little low, salinity will be altered a bit if you get the tank up to 78-80 or so. Test your nitrogen levels like Nikki mentioned.

Best
 

Brad&Miranda

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2004
Messages
4
Location
Seattle
Thank you all for the welcome, and the advice . . .

The tank is 55 gallons, and I'm running a prizm protien skimmer and a power head. I've got about 40 lbs of live rock, one peppermint shrimp, and three hermit crabs.

My nitrate was zilch when I tested it on the 27th (before the water change), and I just picked up an Ammonia test.

I have been feeding them at the surface (mysis shrimp).

The tank has only been filled with water and live rock for about 2 weeks, and the clowns and inverts were added on the 24th. I was expecting to wait a month before adding fish, but our dealer told us to bring a water sample to him in 3 days. He said it was great and that it was ready for fish.

Beckmola, have you checked your tank? We may have your clowns! Our female DOES hang in the back corner of the tank facing the substrate, and the male lies on his side at the top.

I'm sure I've got a bit of the "First Time Fish Dad" syndrome, again thanks to everyone for the advice.

Brad
 

Beckmola24

Hawkfish
Joined
Mar 17, 2004
Messages
1,112
Location
Columbus, OH
lol. That's funny =) My male finally found a cave to sleep in after awhile but the female always liked the corner. I also had the syndrome at first. =) Just remember, they aren't called clownfish for nothing! They are always up to something odd.
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
A couple of suggestions, if I may. :)

I would add at least one additional powerhead for water movement and aeration. In my old 55 I had three in addition to the circulating pump. I had two PH's on each end of the tank, pointed at each other, though one a little higher to ripple the surface of the water for good aeration. I had the third pump towards the bottom to help lift detritus into suspension for the skimmer to remove.

Also, your tank is very new, in the sheme of things. I wouldn't add any additional livestock, other than a few snails or such, for a month. The bacteria in your tank needs to build in population to such a level that it can handle the additional bioload with outgoing into the red.

I hope the clown is just acting funny. ;)

Alice
 

Brad&Miranda

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2004
Messages
4
Location
Seattle
Hey everyone. Again, thanks for the advice, I would have checked in sooner but my parents, brother, sister (her husband and their 2 and 1/2 year-old twin girls) were all visiting last week. Needless to say Miranda and I had our hands full.

My water tests have been fine, and I will be adding a 2nd powerhead (thanks Alice for the suggestion) this week.

The clowns are still very much with us, and are spending a little more time down around the bottom of the tank.

Dan, you ARE the man. If we ever get in a bind I'll take you up on that offer!

Oh, and when does the shop reopen? We stopped by this last tuesday, and the sign said "on vacation."

Again, thanks for all of the good suggestions.

Yours, Brad
 

Terry B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
162
Hi Brad,

As one of the others already suggested the problem may stem from the fact that your clowns have not yet bonded as a pair. Typically the male (smaller of the two) is stressed out as the female asserts her dominance. It is usually best to keep several clowns in the same tank until they form pairs. This seems to reduce the stress and the frequency of injury induced by the female. over time (if the male survives the abuse), the female becomes more and more accepting until they become a bonded pair and the aggression stops. If the male has enough room to stay out of her way then he will probably be fine. In a small tank the male has no way of escaping the aggression and can suffer serious wounds that can become infected with bacteria. If the female is friendlier in the evening and lets the male get closer at night then that is typical for these clowns when forming a pair. She will be nasty again in the morning and the cycle continues for a while. Keep a close eye on the male for injuries, or illness.

Cheers,
Terry B
 
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