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Snowflake eel

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    Posted: August 31 2016 at 8:05am
I have a small snowflake (8" or so) that had been in the tank for a while....I have noticed some of my smaller fish have vanished over the last month or two. Notably cleaner wrasse, starry blenny, flasher wrasse. All about 2" or so, I feed the eel krill every other day-maybe every third day. And 3-4 good sized bits of krill. I never see the eel acting aggressively except towards emerald crabs. Just wondering if anyone has experience with these eels.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 9:35am
Possible but not likely that a smallish Snowflake Eel has been eating them.
How often and with what are the fish being fed?
Does the eel come out looking hungry when feeding the fish?
Is there a Rock Crab in the tank?
What about Temp, Alk and Ca levels?

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote laroc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 11:44am
I'm snow flake is an animal. I had to seprate him from and female maroon that about 5 in. He just wouldn't leave her alone. So smaller fish depending on the nature of the beast. I would say more than likely. mine loves to hunt and he/she is about thumb thick and footish long and strong. Had fun moving him.
Always be leery of a fish farmer...wait or is it a pig farmer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 4:30pm
Mark- the temp stays around 78, 8.7-9.1 alk, Ca is 375-425
I feed Reef frenzy daily with pellets in the morning, sheets of seaweed every other day. When the eel is out during the day it swims around, doesn't chase anything. I try to keep it well fed. No rock crab, just hermits and one small emerald(unless the eel got it as well)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 6:23pm
Did you check behind your tank? I noticed a lot of little fish like to freak out when they see the eel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 6:31pm
The tank is a closed system with a lid. None of them were really acting much different when I added the eel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 31 2016 at 8:14pm
Hmmm, "a closed system with a lid". What kind of lid? Are you saying the tank is partially or fully sealed from the surrounding air? If so, makes me wonder if low pH might be causing some difficulties for the tanks inhabitants, including stress and death. Unfortunately, pH drops especially low at night when algae is using O2 and producing CO2.

A Rock Crab is not something we purposely add and it's rarely ever seen. It usually comes to our tank very small and grows large in the tank. It hides in the rocks during the day and comes out at night to eat whatever it can find and catch, including fish and inverts, including patches of Zoanthids and other coral. To try and see it, use a weak flashlight at night.

Eels usually feed during the day, so if it isn't waiting in ambush or chasing the small fish, I doubt it's the reason for the disappearances. Small fish can die and be eaten by hermits, bugs and worms (bristleworms too) overnight.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - August 31 2016 at 8:17pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 01 2016 at 3:20am
could still be hiding in the sand.. some can be gone for a month without ever being seen. but as mark said, could have died and been eaten.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 01 2016 at 1:15pm
Mark-tank is a red Sea max 250, fully closed...It her fans that blow outside air in, I also have the Water turning over pretty well.... As for the fish...I don't know. When over had inhabitants pass on before there is a big pile of crabs and snails on the carcass.
I'll have to look for a rock crab when they lights are off. Cannot say whether there are bristle worms around or not
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 01 2016 at 1:16pm
phys-what could be hiding in the sand?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2016 at 11:52am
Okay, so it's probably not a pH problem. 
Oh, a Red Sea 250. Have you checked all the back sump areas, especially the bottom of each compartment? Might have to move things around because fish will hide anywhere they can. Like was mentioned, fish can be easily frightened by the Eel and even if there are only slits between the cover and the back, those small fish can end up back there.

Just in case, some of the last things I would ask are: 
What other fish are in the tank? 
and 
Would you like to share a pic to see if we can notice anything?

It's fairly common for there to be a succession of fish deaths.

I've run out of questions.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2016 at 4:01pm

Other fish are: blue tang, yellow tang, tomini tang, sailfin tang, coral beauty, 3 bar gobies, six line wrasse, blue jaw trigger, 2 maroon clowns, diamond watchman goby
Also have brittle starfish, tiger tail cucumber, urchin, hermits, snails, etc
Nothing in the back of the tank😩

Edited by Cowan - September 02 2016 at 4:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 03 2016 at 7:20am
Oh wow. Shocked That's lot of fish for that 65 gal tank. Bigger fish with tough temperaments and a lot of coral too. Also, the Trigger, the Eel and the Brittle Star, because of their predatory nature, added to the overcrowding pressure on the community. Even though you might say they didn't seem aggressive, they were definitely passive aggressive.  Any of those three could have "seized the day" and taken a small fish at the right opportunity. 

I cannot see any fish in that pic. All the fish are hiding. That's a sign of tank stress.

Even Maroon Clownfish, being the most aggressive of their kind, will relentlessly intimidate other fish to the point of giving up. "Somebody had to go" so they drew lots as to which ones had to die. Wink Of course they didn't really draw lots, but I'm really serious that these fish were overcrowded and, just like people who need their space, some of them stressed and because they couldn't leave the confines they simply faded away. 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but these are the facts as I see them.

Also, that number of animals in such a small enclosed space, fish and inverts(coral are inverts), really put the pressure on the oxygenation of the water. Because at night algae take in O2 and give off CO2, the pH is going to drop to stressful levels, perhaps as low as 7.5, especially in calm areas of the tank around the rock where fish bed down. In spite of the air pushed into this sealed tank by a fan(hopefully it doesn't turn off at night) and the powerhead pushing water (frankly, I don't see as much water flow as is needed) all the demand for O2 is just not enough for all those animals at night. They suffer. It's no wonder that smaller or weaker fish passed away. 

Just throwing out a likely scenario, the low O2/high CO2/low pH situation may also be stunting coral growth. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that later on, with less fish and more gas exchange from removing the lid, removing the fan attachment on the left, pointing that nozzle toward the surface and substituting two stronger in-tank powerheads, that the entire tank pulls out of the doldrums and begins to be more vibrant than you knew possible. Smile 

This is my 2 cents. Others may have differing opinions.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - September 03 2016 at 7:33am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 03 2016 at 7:27pm
Hey Mark,
I appreciate the info. I'll test the PH before the light come on tomorrow. I can't see the trigger I have bothering anything, he really is a wuss.... He's the first to hide when I open the lid to feed. The fan runs at night as well. The fish not being in the picture is strange, I took more pictures of the track but I can't upload them. I'll text then over to you. I also took s short video to show the water
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 05 2016 at 2:16am
Some fish like wrasses will hide in the sand at night and also when they feel threatened. Gobys can burrow under rock and just "disappear" for a long time until they pop out of nowhere.

That said, I'll have to agree with Mark. That's a lot of fish. The fact that you have gobies and wrasses already, there may not be any room for any others if you add them so they can stress out and die... and then get eaten over night. On top of that, the eel likes to burrow so you're looking at even less space for the rest of the fish to hide at night.

I'll second the lack of oxygen.... closed systems don't flow air very well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 06 2016 at 9:51am
There may be good "potential" water movement but I'll be more specific in what I see. I could be wrong but that looks like a Koralia on the right. They are very popular powerheads but don't move enough water for my liking. The pumps in the back are fairly weak as well. More than anything, though, I see a water surface that is so flat it's like a mirror. That's okay for a freshwater tank that imitates a lake, but it's not good enough for an ocean reef.

I hope you don't mind this constructive criticism. You seemed to be coming here looking for answers. Be careful to have an open mind to honest advice from people that have been at this for a long time.  We are trying to help you find the answers for how to make this tank do better.

A fish that hides from humans does not have anything to do with how it treats it's tank mates. In human terms, the school bully may often be the kid that hides those actions from adults. A fish that is eating it's tank mates may not be as responsive to feedings from the hobbyist. Just throwing out some ideas about fish behavior. Smile

Even if the pH tests okay, remember, I said that the pH near the fish where they sleep at night may be the issue. I don't typically bother with testing pH. Instead I set up the tank so there is really good gas exchange, proper water movement and enough room for all the animals. These are things that can't be "tested" in the usual sense.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cowan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2016 at 9:33pm
Mark, the pump is a Koralia, I have tried a few different places in the tank but haven't found a great spot where the water moves well all around the tank. I have moved it into a places where the corals just get beaten up.
Did the video play that I sent over to you?
I have now taken the pump in the right and aimed it straight up, the pump on the left had been aimed higher as well. I have tried to create more movement in the past but I ended up with tons of salt creep building up on the lights and it has fallen into the tank. Finding a delicate balance isn't easy 😡
I do appreciate the help and am always open to learning how I can be a better keeper of my aquatic friends
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2016 at 10:05pm
Would you like a visit and consultation?
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