All fish, especially clowns acting strange, lethargic

jennilikes311

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I have a Nanocube HQI 28 gal tank, running almost a year. This is my first tank and I have not had a problem like this so far. I have 2 ocellaris clown fish (1 orange, 1 black), a royal gramma, a diamond goby and various hermit crabs and snails. The last fish we added was the gramma a few months ago and everyone was doing fine. All 4 fish would swim together at feeding time and all had a healthy appetite. I came home yesterday from work and noticed my clowns especially acting strange. They usually "greet and follow" us when ever we are near the tank, but instead they would hover in the back of the tank under some rocks. Our goby was also laying near them with his mouth open the whole time. When I tried to feed them last night, none of them came out to eat when before they gobble the food up. I checked my water last night and ammonia and nitrite were 0, pH 7.8 (low I know), nitrates 60 and spec gravity 1.025 temp stable around 79F. I had completed a water change 3 days before. I went ahead a did 8 gal water change last night and now the pH is back to normal and nitrates at 30. Today my clowns are laying right next eachother under the same rock in the sand. The black clown did eat a little bit of the food that came to him and my orange one did not eat. This is just very odd behavior coming from usually very "social" fish. Also, if this information helps, I've noticed our clowns trying to host our frogspawn over the past week or so and our gramma has been displaying "aggressive" behavior toward them (opening his mouth very wide) when they are hosting. Do you have any idea what could be going on? Could they be mating? Could the frogspawn have stung them? Like I said, I've only had a saltwater aquarium for around a year and have never had anything like this happen. Thank you!
 
Also, if this information helps, I've noticed our clowns trying to host our frogspawn over the past week or so and our gramma has been displaying "aggressive" behavior toward them (opening his mouth very wide) when they are hosting. Do you have any idea what could be going on? Could they be mating? Could the frogspawn have stung them? Like I said, I've only had a saltwater aquarium for around a year and have never had anything like this happen. Thank you!

That could be it. If you can get them to keep eating, they should be fine. Try soaking the food in some garlic to entice them to eat.
 
Nitrates of 60 is super high, even 30 is still on the high side for a tank that's been set up for a year. What are you using for water? I'm wondering if the water you used for the water change a few days earlier was contaminated and had high nitrates in it? Also, any chance someone used cleaning chemicals near the tank (windex, pledge, etc), or put their hands in the tank with lotion on? Even spraying cleaners near the tank can wreck havoc... I'd do another water change again tonight to continue to bring your nitrates down while you try to find the source of the high nitrates. Levels as high as 60 can kill even fish....
 
Are all the inverts and corals acting/looking normal? Is it just the fish that are being weird?
 
Nitrates of 60 is super high, even 30 is still on the high side for a tank that's been set up for a year. What are you using for water? I'm wondering if the water you used for the water change a few days earlier was contaminated and had high nitrates in it? Also, any chance someone used cleaning chemicals near the tank (windex, pledge, etc), or put their hands in the tank with lotion on? Even spraying cleaners near the tank can wreck havoc... I'd do another water change again tonight to continue to bring your nitrates down while you try to find the source of the high nitrates. Levels as high as 60 can kill even fish....

Nitrates that high aren't detrimental to fish, a lot of people that keep FOWLRs have their nitrates in the 100's. it's only bad when you start keeping inverts and corals.
 
Thanks Brian - I had though nitrates of 50 were the upper limit for fish. Learn something new every day!!
 
Nah, I'll see if I can find and link the article but, they're not as toxic to fish.
 
Nitrates that high aren't detrimental to fish, a lot of people that keep FOWLRs have their nitrates in the 100's. it's only bad when you start keeping inverts and corals.

I disagree. Some (I say some) fish are sensitive to high nitrates.
 
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