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Saltwater Fish

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
One of the pieces of coral I've always wanted to have in my tank was a Torch Coral. I just loved how it's sweeping tentacles would sway in the flow of a reef tank.

After we sold our 240 gallon tank and decided to start new with the 55 gallon tank, I knew I wanted a Torch Coral right away. We went to check out a local coral store and were blown away with their selection. After browsing for a few minutes I found the perfect little Torch to take home.

The torch has been a great coral in our tank. It always catches your eye, and our little Black Ice Snowflake Clownfish has even decided to host in it.

I really can't wait to see the Torch Coral grow and prosper in our new 470 gallon reef tank as well. Make sure to check out this page often for updates on the Torch Coral as it grows.


November 02, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Ok so I know the last few days have been very sad and full of death, but just one more sad story to tell. Also hopefully this will be my last post about a fish passing away for a long long time.

I always wanted to add a Purple Tang to our 240 gallon mixed reef, so when a opportunity came up for me to purchase a young Purple Tang in great shape at a low price I couldn't pass it up. My new tank was going to be done soon anyway, so I didn't see anything wrong with taking the plunge.

I got him home and put him into our 20 gallon quarantine tank with new filters and a 50/50 mix of display tank and new saltwater. He seems pretty happy and eat like a pig. After a few weeks I noticed that he was starting to develop HLLE (Head and lateral line erosion). I did some research and decided that the area I was keeping the Purple Tang in was too dark with inadequate lighting and no natural sunlight.

I then borrowed a 40 gallon tank from my tank builder and put a bunch of live rock that had been curing for a few months in with the tang. I also put in two new filter pads. Which I soon read were probably causing the HLLE from the type of carbon they used.

Frantic I then tore out the carbon and rinsed the filters extremely well and did a 50% water change. My tank build didn't come to an ended and we hit a bunch of road blocks along the way. The best ways to fight HLLE are with better nutrition and better water quality. I feed the Purple Tang everyday with vitamin soaked nori and mysis shrimp. He ate like a pig but his HLLE never seemed to improve. I knew this was because of water quality, the lack of a skimmer, poor filtering of the HOB filter, no cleanup crew and heavy feeding didn't help that mater.

I was shocked that the little guy held on for so long, but one day I found him swimming very strange and having problems staying upright. I then took it upon myself to do a 50%+ water change and really clean every inch of the tank with a siphon. It was all in vain and the Purple Tang died the next day. It was crushing on us. I felt so bad I was forced to keep the fish in such a badly filtrated tank for nearly 5 months. The HLLE, stress, water quality etc... just ended up getting the better of him.

I do plan on getting another Purple Tang, but this time I'm hoping to quarantine for only 4-6 weeks and just look out for any signs of infection. If all goes well, he'll go into the 240 with my existing Yellow Tang. I will also be quarantining another Yellow Tang separately, so I can add 2 Yellow Tangs and 1 Purple Tang for 3 Zebrasoma Tangs going in simultaneously to cut down on tang warfare.

I've learned my lesson this time and will only be buying the new Yellow and Purple Tangs after my 240 is up and running with no leaks or other issues. I will no let this happen again to a fish...


November 02, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
The thrid time we encountered a loss of fish was a pretty strange situations to say the least...

Right before Christmas time we met my wife's father and his girlfriend for dinner. After sitting down we were told that our Christmas present was in their car, but we should take it home soon. After eating we went out to their car and we saw our present.

Our present was a Sailfin Tang, 3 Yellowtail Damsels and a Fire Shrimp. I was shocked and pretty upset, but you can't really tell them to take the fish back, since they probably wouldn't end up living. We decided to take them home and hope for the best.

At this time we still weren't quarantining new fish and had to add all of the fish right to the display tank. The fish all seemed fine, minus one Damsel that was very light in color and missing some of his fins.

Now up until this time our little 55 gallon tank was doing pretty well and I was actively looking for a larger tank to upgrade to. The current livestock was a Niger Trigger (gave away to my tank builder), Yellow Tang, Ocellaris Clownfish and a Skeletor Moray Eel. Everybody got along just fine and I hadn't seen any signs for alarm. No ICH, Flukes, etc...

We acclimated all of the new fish and let them free in the display tank. Instantly the Yellow Tang took interest in the Sailfin Tang and started chasing it. The next morning the sickly Damsel was found dead at the bottom of the tank. Soon after another Damsel passed away. Around this time we noticed ICH spots on the Sailfin, also some of his fins were frayed.

I knew this wasn't going to work out in a small tank and started looking for a new home for the Sailfin, but it was too late. The Sailfin passed away soon after the first signs of ICH. I had to later also get rid of the last living Damsel after it wouldn't stop chasing the Yellow Belly Blue Tang and Black Ice Clownfish I added a few months later. The Fire Shrimp although being best friends with the Skeletor Eel soon became Trigger bait.

Now after all the deaths and first signs of ICH in my tank we decided to visitor the store where the fish were bought. It wasn't a LFS, but rather a general pet store far North of us. As soon as we stepped inside I got so upset. This place had snakes, lizards, puppies in tiny cages, etc... Their saltwater fish all had ICH and the tanks didn't seem kept up with. So no wonder these fish died and brought disease and tension to my tank. The day the Sailfin died, the other fish seemed normal again. Removing the tension between the two Zebrasoma Tangs suddenly fixed the moods of the rest of the fish.

Now for the gift that keeps giving, soon I had flukes pop up in the tank. Was pretty easy to get rid of, but still.

This was a horrible lesson of why you can never accept livestock as a present and why every single thing that goes into your tank needs to go through the proper quarantine procedure.


October 31, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
The second crash we went through after we started keeping saltwater fish was a huge one.

The first signs that something was wrong in our tank was that the water started to smell really bad. Normally there is hardly any smell from a saltwater tank, so that was a bit odd. A few days later I noticed that our Flame Angelfish started to lose his vibrant red color. The next day it was at the bottom of the tank dead and had even less color. At this point I was pretty much lost as to what happened.

A few days later the same thing happened to our Spotted Mandarin and it suffered the same fate. I could not figure out what was going on. I read everywhere and couldn't figure out what was happening. In no time our Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse passed away as well. I was just so lost at this point.

Soon after our Black Ocellaris Clownfish start acting weird and swimming at the bottom of the tank. That morning I went to a trusted LFS and asked the owner what his thoughts where. He blammed the live sand we used and also that we were using treated tap water. That day I took the remaining fish (Ocellaris Clownfish, Black Ocellaris Clownfish and Skeletor Moray Eel) and inverts out of the tank. I tore the tank down and removed all of the water, live rock and live sand. I added in crushed coral and RO water, with half of the water being from an established tank. I also added in some liquid bacteria.

While I had the rock out of the tank, I noticed that two pieces smelled terrible. These were the two newest pieces I had just bought recently. It looks like the rock had not been cured and the LFS did not tell me this when I purchased it. I threw the bad rock away and added the remaining livestock in.

That night the Black Ocellaris Clownfish died and I felt terrible for our Occellaris Clownfish who had paired with it. The Eel and other Clownfish pulled through and are still doing good to this day. This crash taught me the hard way about uncured live rock and what it can do to your fish.

The next crash I had was a few months away, and it was from no real fault of mine, minus not quarantining fish. I was put in a very bad position and the result was some fish deaths... more on that later...


October 30, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
I knew that keeping a saltwater tank was not easy to do well, but if I knew the learning curve involved beforehand I don't think I would have bought a tank.

Our first tank was a 55 gallon tank with a heater and a hang on the back filter. Needless to say this is not the best setup for keeping a thriving reef. The first fish we bought after our tank cycled was an Ocellaris Clownfish and a Blue Tang. Yeah the store was really smart to sell us that Blue Tang for a 55... but whatever. From day one the little Blue Tang had Ich on and off, nothing major but you could see a spot every now and then. For the most part though it was very happy in the tank.

Still knowing nothing about keeping a saltwater tank, I thought I'd upgrade my filtration and buy a big Eheim canister filter and a AquaC Remora hang on the back skimmer. This setup if just fine for a super low bioload system, and I plan on leaving it on the 55 gallon holding tank. I am just running live rock rubble in the canister though.

Anyway back to the story, I got my new skimmer and filter and proceeded to rip off the old hang on the back filter and it's nice and full of bacteria bio wheel and install the new filter and skimmer. On top of that I put in some newly mixed saltwater. I didn't know how to mix water back then and used a pump to mix the water instead of a powerhead or two and the water was always like 50% mixed when I put it in.

I didn't think much about it at the time, just thought I was making the situation better... cloudy water and all. The next day we woke up and the blue tang was barely swimming and being drug around the tank by a cleaner shrimp. It then got away and swam into a rock and died. It was extremely sad for my wife and I.

That day I figured out that hooking up a brand new filter (including the included filter media... UGH!) and removing the old filter full of bacteria pretty much set off a little cycle in the tank. The baby Blue Tang just couldn't take the change.

Luckily putting that old filter back on later that day and letting it run with the new filter for a few weeks fixed that crash. Only the Blue Tang passed away during that mistake, but soon to come was a huge crash with hundreds of dollars of fish taken out... the cause of that was live rock... and I'll talk all about that in a day or two.


October 30, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Here's one thing that is hard for me to accept when it comes to reef keeping... the coolest fish are normally the biggest dicks!

There are three fish I would love to keep in my new large reef tank. They are the Achilles Tang, Sohal Tang and Crosshatch Trigger. While the Achilles isn't too bad, it's still a lot meaner than say a Powder Blue or Mimic Tang and will attack other Acanthurus tangs in a reef. The other two might just be too mean to introduce into our tank, and if we decide to, they would have to be the last fish added in.

The Sohal Tang is a beautiful fish, but they are notorious for being the most aggressive tang. Not only would they attack other tangs in the tank, but they have also been known to chase divers. I keep on trying to tell myself that if I got one it would be a model citizen, and for every bad story I hear about them I hear two other people say they are fine. The other problem is that a 240 might even be a bit too small for a Sohal... I guess I'll have to see down the line. Maybe if I get a baby 1-2" Sohal and the Achilles and Purple (another tang dick) Tangs are large they'll put him in place. Hopefully when the Sohal grew up it wouldn't take out it's aggression on it's now smaller bullies.

Of all the reef fish I would love to keep but have to pass on are Triggers. I had a stunning Niger Trigger in our tank for a few months, but he started to take out shrimp and I got scared her would start to pick on smaller fish. Around the time we were going to take out baby Yellow Belly Blue Tang and Black Ice Clownfish (also tiny) out of quarantine and put them into the display tank I gave away out Niger to my tank builder.

I read that some triggers including the Crosshatch Trigger play nice in reefs and thought I would end up with one in the new tank. Naturally I did more reading and heard stories of them taking out smaller fish, so I took that off the list. Since our little Ocellaris Clownfish has been around since day one there was no chance of having him eaten by a larger fish. Too bad such a stunning fish... I was even able to find a source or two that could get a Crosshatch at a very low price...

Oh well it looks like a nice and peaceful tank over hear... I won't even mention when I thought about looking into Dragon Moray Eels...


October 26, 2012 by Peter (1 Comment)
For the longest time I've always wanted to keep a Moray Eel. Before keeping a saltwater tank, I had dreams of keeping a Green Moray.

After coming down from the clouds and realizing that keeping a 6 foot plus man eating eel in anything smaller than a 1000 gallon system would be nuts, I started looking for alternatives. I for the most part like rare things that other people don't have. From cars, to trees and now fish... it's just something I do. My wife would say to a fault ;-)

The first rare Moray I looked at was the Dragon Moray, which only grew to just over three feet. Once again after more thought, I realized that I'd like to keep a Moray that wouldn't eat all of my fish. So I started looking at Morays that weren't fish eaters. The normal list of crustacean eaters came back including that Chainlink Moray, Snowflake Moray, Golden Dwarf Moray and Zebra Moray. All were a bit too common for me, minus the Golden Dwarf, so I kept looking.

I then happened across a post talking about various rare Morays. One that caught my eye was the Skeletor Moray Eel. Not only was it named after the villain in He-Man, but it was a crustacean eater and rare. It also has a very unique and appealing coloration to it. So it was off to the races for me to find this rare eel.

Now I ran into a problem, seems this eel is very seasonal and was impossible to find. I happened to find one in New York, but the LFS owner wanted $1,000 for the eel. I also was offered a full sized Skeletor on Reef Central for $800, but wanted to start with a small eel. Finally somebody on Reef Central told me that he had bought a Skeletor Moray from Live Aquaria's Divers Den and was sent a Tesselata Moray Eel instead. He told me that they found a replacement Skeletor for him and two more were also coming in.

Before this I had even reached out to various divers in the Pacific around Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to see if they could find the eel for me with no luck, so now knowing Divers Den had two extra Skeletors was a godsend. I contacted them right away and was told they had them, but couldn't sell them to more or let them know when they would go for sale. I watched Divers Den like a hawk everyday around 5PM and finally on November 15, 2011 it came up on Divers Den and I snagged it. Without even looking at the size or price I bought it

The Skeletor Moray soon arrived and we got him into his new home (no quarantine... go us!). He was a thin little guy and was about 7 inches long. He's got a lot fatter now and is around 20" long now. He loves him some frozen shrimp with Zoe added to it. He has been extremely happy in his home and has left all of our fish alone. Some shrimp have gone missing, but I think I'll blame the Niger Trigger (Gunner) on that one... We'll make sure to keep you up to date on Skeletor's growth in our reef with updated pictures and videos as well. Below is our Skeletor featured on Divers Den.


October 23, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Since we will be setting up our new 240 gallon reef tank in the very near future, I thought it was be good to start posting about our first reef tank beforehand.

In the next few posts I will be detailing this tank in far more detail, but we bought the tank of a whim one lazy weekend afternoon after watching tanked. I've always wanted a saltwater tank, but when I was growing up my parents said it was too expensive, so I ended up keeping freshwater cichlids.

Having Tina watch Tanked and get interested in the hobby was all the excuse I needed to drop everything and go to the local fish store (LFS). We bought a 55 gallon all in one bundle and some live rock and were off to the races.

After letting the tank cycle, which seemed like forever at the time, we went out and bought our first livestock. Not knowing anything, we ended up with an Ocellaris Clownfish (Nemo), Blue Tang (Dory - In a 55 gallon... nice one LFS), Hermit Crabs and a cleaner Skunk Shrimp.

Needless to say we had no idea of all the ups and downs and time commitments involved, but we'll get into that later.

Here is a quick video of our tank shortly after adding our new livestock... Nemo is still with us today and has gone though all of our major newbie crashes... he's a true little rock star.


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