View Full Version : Mass death of Invertebrates

06-19-2013, 12:24 PM
Good morning all,

I live in Puerto Rico and have a 55 gallon salt water aquarium. I get all of my water from the ocean and dilute it slightly with distilled water (salinity here is quite high) so that the water is on par for what the store bought fish are used to. Any hand caught fish are placed in a quarantine tank for a while, then once they seem to be healthy they are placed into the big tank. That being said I haven't had any issues with my tank... up until last night. I had 2 banded coral shrimp, one pederson cleaner shrimp, and an arrow crab in the tank for a long time with no problems. Then, yesterday I went to the fish store and bought a scarlet cleaner shrimp and an anemone. I have never put supplements into the tanks (except for Melafix Fish first aid if I see a nic or something on one of the fish, still no problems); however, while talking to the store attendant she convinced me that I needed a calcium supplement and some Purple Tech coraline color stuff (both Kent Marine brand) for live rock and for the anemone. We checked all of our water levels and added the recommended dosage of each last night. I wake up this morning to find all of the previously listed creatures dead and additionally my royal gramma fairy basslet. All of my other fish appear to be fine. I got all of them out and checked the water levels, and all still seems normal. I think my problem was taking the attendants advice in the first place, you know the whole saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it", looks like I tried to fix something that wasn't broken. :-/

I feel horrible that I killed all of these, I have never had this happen. I loved my cleaner shrimp and really want to successfully keep an anemone in the tank as well. If anyone could help give me some suggestions on what the heck I did wrong it would be of great help!

Thanks a ton!

06-20-2013, 01:01 AM
Its a shame that adding these things was detrimental to your tank. Neither of those products were necessary, but by the same token they shouldn't have been fatal, either.

Was the dosing equipment you used ever used for anything else? Usually copper is the culprit when invertebrates alone die...is there any way your tank, supplements, or equipment could have been contaminated by copper?

A good rule of thumb is to never dose what you haven't tested for. Unless you have tested the water for a particular parameter (eg for calcium), and found it low, it really shouldn't be dosed as you can mess up your parameters by dosing components you don't need, or, at the very least, simply be wasting money on supplements that may just precipitate out of the water uselessly.

06-20-2013, 03:21 AM
+1 to the above

You basically double dosed two different types of a calcium additives as the purple-up is another type of calcium additive. Without even knowing your current calcium levels, the store employee was completely wrong to suggest dosing them. When your calcium level gets to high (which it most likely did as you gave a double dose), it will reduce you alkalinity level which will make your pH stable. In most low demanding set-ups, you may never even need to add any supplements with a good water change routine and a good quality salt water, with the ocean certainly can provide you

Your anemone will not consume any calcium out of the water as it has no skeleton at all. It just need a good amount of light and good & stable water conditions

The below links can provide you with some more detailed information.



For now, I would suggest larger water changes (around 25%) every second day for the next week or so to help bring your parameters back in line