Why do your marine aquarium life forms die!

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Why do your marine aquarium life forms die! Empty Why do your marine aquarium life forms die!

Post  liquidg on 21st August 2012, 7:02 am

There are many contributing factors to consider!
Firstly at purchase-
The fish you want may have been stored poorly by the wholesaler or held badly in holding tanks by the collector and there isn’t much you can do about these except to be vigilant when buying the fish you want ntreat it very well once it gets into that bag and from then on.

The next and this is quite common, the damaging trip home with your new fish.
If the water in the bag gets warm, oxygen will become unavailable and the fish will stress greatly and gills will become possibly permanently damaged.
The next is did the lfs person add any ammonia neutraliser in the water, along with two thirds oxygen to one third water in the bag?
Its good if you bring your own ammo lock or similar with you and get them to add  a few drops to the bags water to lock up the toxic ammonia for several hours from the fishes waste giving it a better chance at survival.
The bacteria that brings on ammonia is from with in your fish!

When you get it home, do a water swap from your tank to the bag, while the bag sits in your water temperature acclimatising.
Try to do it slowly say a tea spon amount per 5 mins or there about.

With a nano you are dealing with a small space of an aquarium and no real external chambers to add control to your water quality.
The next is the aquarium and bio filtering styles that most base their hobby on is nothing like the oceans function in any way, yet many treat it as if it is!
From that you must realise you have to be extremely vigilant and with a small amount of water with most control measures in that tiny amount of living space water, even more so!
Lets look at it this way, where in your home are your complete air purification measures or what goes down the drain, how is it purified at your home, no where right!
Nature out side of your home or massive sewerage treatment plants does all of that for you, where are those areas for your aquarium?

The ocean is the same as your living space, pollutants get taken away and processed or it is just gotten away from your home, like it happens for the oceans reefs!
Out side your door it is a very large world to either get rid of the crap manufactured in your home for both air and water as it happens in the ocean.
The ocean has a tiny amount of reef compared to open ocean where most pollutants natural or manmade are processed or dumped, so either it deposits the crap in the depths or converts it once it is moved “away from the reefs”.

Given some time your new tank will be slightly more conducive to marine life transitions from shop to tank, usually once symbiotic protists are more pronounced and that happens by the usual slow methods after 4 to 6 months.

Here is a checklist to figure out what happened and is possibly still happening!

1.Did you harm the fishes gills via life threatening PH reactions by not making sure the water in the shops tanks that the fish came from was exactly the same as the water in your aquarium and I don’t mean acclimatising them, I mean was it exactly the same?
You see in that bag the PH after just five minutes on the way home the water is becoming life threatening.
Then you put them into your new inadequate bio system and in such a small space of extremely detrimental fluctuating conditions, you need to make it a spot on for that transition to work for delicate fish life.
They die from this, this is most common killer of new marine pets and they will die from one hour to two weeks on average; some times it takes longer from collapsing gills to kill the fish.

The way to check on this is if the fish is still constantly breathing quickly the next day, if so it will most likely die.

2.Did you make any changes to flow in your aquarium during, before or after the fish went into the aquarium?
In a newish aquarium your cycling bacteria is extremely unstable and dependant on where and what the quality is of the water that is circulating around the bacterium’s position.
If it changes the bacteria in that position will die and affect ammonia levels briefly and PH both affecting available oxygen and there will be excreting of toxins as they die and your fish will take these into its flesh and organs via constant drinking of the water that it lives in.

3.Did you change lighting times or actual lighting from a week before introducing to two weeks after introduction?
This affects cyano bacteria and they will expel spores that are quite toxic and algae will manufacture co2 then ammonia as it dies and the deaths of many photosynthetic protists, these will all affect PH and there goes available oxygen to name just one disaster from all that.

4.Have there been any changes in temperature near or after introduction?
This is an over all disrupter!

5.Did you do a water change near to introduction?
This will act on the aquariums PH and adversely affect a new aquarium greatly, so gently PH buff when doing water changes on new aquariums several hours before introduction!


For marine and freshwater aquariums there are bacteriums (a community of bacteria) that converts-oxidises any and all dead organic matter to ammonia-nitrite-nitrate-nitrogen.

In a marine aquarium, once it is matured the bacterium is mostly replaced by protists, mobile and semi mobile that feed on the original oxidising bacteria, reducing them to extremely low numbers and the protists take over the oxidation of most of the process.

All juvenile protists and bacteria and many other micro life forms are capable of free swimming with the use of organelles or flagella, they are used in a whip like manner to achieve locomotion, sought of like a tail.

This is your biological filter and the first and for most killer of marine aquarium life is the disrupting of this initially bacterium and later on the protist community that allows  adverse levels of ammonia, which is any ammonia, this poisons the fish internally and ruins your invaluable PH stability.

Anything that is non-living in your aquariums water after 5 days will carry a substantial amount of a bacterium or a protist community that is now part of your bio filter.

Bacteria of this type is semi stationary and some of the adult protist types are quite slow in moving.

These life forms are totally dependant on oxygen-aerobic and water stablilty, when you move live rock or anything in the aquarium it is now not in the path of the oxygenated waters it once was and some of the bacterium-protists will die, creating some or a lot of ammonia.

The next is if you remove something from the aquarium that has been in there for at least a week and wash it in tap water, you just killed off all the bio life forms and reinstated this pump-sponge-rock-sand-plastic,what ever with these dead micro creatures into the aquariums water that are now becoming ammonia.

Also over feeding your tank life will make more ammonia then your bio filter may be able to handle.

Nitrite and nitrate.

These enter the blood by the immense amount of water each day drunk by marine fish and nitrite will kill them quite quickly or rendering them open to parasitic attack or the blood will become toxic and they will loose control of their mobility, either way nitrite will kill them in hours to weeks, nitrate will kill them in weeks to months.
0 nitrites is needed and very low nitrates are needed.

Toxins in your water.

These can be from any smell in the house at all, anything you can smell or even one's you can not smell will enter the water and then enter the tanks life forms.

Any coloured plastics or UV protected plastics are not to be trusted in the water and will over time kill your fish as the plastic leaches toxins and they enter your tank life.

Any non-ferries metals will rust or corrode and kill your tank life if left in the waters or if they can obtain condensation and drip the toxins into the waters.

Any electrically malfunctioning tank appliances that can give you a slight shock as you touch the waters can adversely affect tank life by ruining PH.

Abnormal conditions.
If tank life can with stand up to 25c and you apply 29c as an example, the stress will eventually kill them by adreno-cortisol poisoning or parasitic attack.
Find out what your tank life forms need in temps and apply these.

Some life can be blinded over time and be damaged in other ways by high lighting strength.
Find out all you can about what you are putting into what conditions.


This substance is actualy phosphorus,we test it as phosphate and at the end of any kind of dead tissue as it breaks down and is a by-product of internal activities of most life forms consumption.

Any levels will harm all algae symbiotic life forms as is all corals and that includes anemones,cyano is nothing to do with algae and will thrive with phosphate levels of any kind,inorganic or organic.

Inorganic phosphates are from tap water and after the nitrite cycle.

Phosphates are not overly harmful to non-algae symbiotic life forms but still not good for them over the long term.

Carbon dioxide.

This can come from algae on your glass,refugium,in the corals, when lights are off or from the air in your home, sealed houses have enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in them, that’s what your pets and we all expel as we breathe and your tank water absorbs this.

Plus heating of homes in any way creates a lot of carbon dioxide.

This gas gets into your water; your fish and the tanks PH will become unstable with it present.

More to come!!!!

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