Everything is dying, help me please ...

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by fellers, May 27, 2009.

  1. fellers

    fellers

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    I have a 20 gallon tank that has 7 pounds of live rock, 2 blue foot crabs, 2 clown fish, a sebae anemone and a mandarin. Well had all that. I got my water premade from ashop. acclimated the way he told me to. bags sat for an hour then slowly added water from my tank to the bags to mix them slowly. then after 20 minutes of adjusting I put them in. They all looked good except the mandarin which had some slime on him.
    The sabae is a dark tan and looks good. But it will not eat the food I dropped with a tube to it's mouth. The mandarin died, and 1 clown fish died. Niether would host with the anemone and still have not after 18 hours.
    i also had a peppermint shrimp that died 3 minutes after being released to my tank. I think the crabs might of even died. I checked my ph balance and it is at 8 to 8.1
    I am under powered for light and have a suction filter that drops a waterfall of water back into the tank.
    What should I do to save my anemone and remaining fish. This is my first tank and I am at a loss as to why everything is dying. Kind of depressing but I will not give up...
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  2. fellers

    Dwhitt1981

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    How long has the tank been up and running?
    You have to many fish and you need about 20-30lb more live rock for starters. That tank should have no more than 2 fish max. From the info I have got so far.
    The anemone need good lights and good steady water quality tank. At least 1yr of running.
    I would return the fish and the anemone and get some LR. What kind of filter are you running?
    As for the mandarin they aren't for a new tank or anyone new to the hobby.
     
    Dwhitt1981, May 27, 2009
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  3. fellers

    fellers

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    I got pre treated water and ran it for a week with the live gravel and the live rock.
    I will return the things as you say and get the live rock.\
    Is there any fish i can start with for the 2? and can I put a emerald crab in it?
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  4. fellers

    fellers

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    the filter is a tetra whisper ex
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  5. fellers

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Can you post your parameters? salinity, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, etc. Definitely check your levels, and do a water change. With all the deaths, you may have ammonia.

    Sorry to hear about your loss...but i'm sure the seasoned hobbyists here will mention that the mandarin isn't meant for new tanks....it needs to be in an established tank because they feed on pods. unless you supplemented it would've gone hungry anyway.

    Another thing you might want to do in the future is do a drip acclimation -- it's a process that takes 1-2 hours. 20 minutes wouldn't be enough time to acclimate them. i believe there's a section in the articles about drip acclimating. You should read it....i've never had issues with my fish stressing out using this process. Also, you shouldn't put the water they came in into your tank...it's best to scoop them out with your hands into the tank...lfs's tend to have copper in their water which kills crabs and shrimp. But anyway, the acclimating process is definitely important because sudden change in salinity, temp, ph, etc is really bad on already-stressed fish. I know my lfs tends to keep their salinity a lot lower than my tank. Since they died soon after putting them in, they may have reached max stress with the major change.

    When you say pre-treated water, what do you mean?
     
    wontonflip, May 27, 2009
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  6. fellers

    fellers

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    the guy at lfs mixed the water and told me it was ready to go. I think time to change shops. seems he wanted sales only. He told me the Mandarin is simple to take care of lives well with anemones and is very hardy. hmmmm
    how do I test the minerals like you said? What do I need?
    I seen the drip acclimation and will do that nextph is 8.1 according to my pool strips
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  7. fellers

    Dwhitt1981

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    With the right amount of LR (1-2lb per gal) you can get your cycle going without using fish.Which is good because most of the time your fish die when going through your cycle. As for filters I've been told that sumps are the why to go. If you are going the use a HOB I would say keep a close eye on your water,do plenty of water changes, and invest in a good skimmer.But if you can get a bigger tank for you main tank and use the 20 for your sump.That way you have room for your skimmer,a refuge,heater things like that all in the sump. It can be placed under your tankand out of site.
     
    Dwhitt1981, May 27, 2009
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  8. fellers

    Dwhitt1981

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    I think ready to go in his terms meant ready for your tank. To start its cycle. It will take several weeks to cycle. go to the articles on the top over the page. There is a lot of good info in there about starting a tank.
    As for testing the LFS will have test kits. Get the basic kit and make sure it is for saltwater.
     
    Dwhitt1981, May 27, 2009
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  9. fellers

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Test strips aren't very reliable, and your pool test strips are probably even less reliable because your tank is saltwater. Not sure, but I know it can't be good. I use the API brand test kit -- don't get strips; get the drops. I think a complete test kit is around $30. Now, you have to test your salinity. Some people have hydrometers which are cheaper, but give false readings after a year or so. Most suggest getting a refractometer. I got one for around $80, and it's so reliable and more accurate. I believe there are cheaper ones, though.

    As for rocks...you really only need one good live rock for a tank your size, and you can just buy some base rock. Don't even bother with bags of sand that claim to be 'live'.....i made that mistake. hehehe. They're no different than regular bags of dry sand.

    I also hope you have good lighting for your anemone. they require very strong lighting to survive. i don't have anemone, but from research, i know you need lots of light.

    But definitely start off by getting a complete test kit that tests ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, and salinity. You may need a water change, maybe 25%?

    Don't fret. you'll get your tank back up and running. Just be patient. Don't buy anymore livestock until your parameters are good. When you do, I think a clown or 2 is your best starter. or a goby. But no more than 1 or 2, I would think. you don't want to crash your tank again by putting in too many. Wait a few weeks before adding any more.

    By the way...we're all guilty of that impulse buy...but you run the risk of getting a fish that won't do well in your tank...or will eat your other fish LOL... my lfs is totally awesome, but even with them, i have to do my research because i have to remember that even though they're reputable and so friendly and helpful, in the end, the money is the bottom line. If you do your research and go in the store with an idea of what you want, you'll be fine. Think of it as buying a car :)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
    wontonflip, May 27, 2009
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  10. fellers

    steelcity

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    just out of curiousity, was the water that the guy at LFS gave you actually saltwater or was it just RODI freshwater?
     
    steelcity, May 27, 2009
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  11. fellers

    fellers

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    ? does not taste salty, lol if that helps. I am going to get a test kit, salt water ppm checker, and a tube to siphon water for a 20% water change
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  12. fellers

    fellers

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    what is rodi WATER?
     
    fellers, May 27, 2009
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  13. fellers

    daugherty part time reefer

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    oh man your tank needs to cycle first. the ammonia will be first than nitrite than nitrate after you test the first two and after they spike which could tank a few days to a few weeks then drop to 0 the cycle is over and then you can add one fish. than in a couple week add another. you could get away with three or so small fish. the lfs was more than likely selling you pre made salt water which for you it is cheaper to buy a bucket of salt and get ro water from walmart or a water store and mix it your self. here is what you need to test the water. if you make your water your self you jhave the control on what it is made of. if they add copper to the water and you dont know it say good by to your inverts or if they dont put enough salt in the water you have a set of new problems. the other thing is that when you top off water due to evaperation just add fresh water not salt water. only add saltwater when taking water out like as in a water change. hope all this helps and sorry for the spelling.

    something to test the salt levels so one of these the refractometer's are the best

    testkits1 Testkit2 you will need bothe these to test all the emements that you need to

    as for the nem you need to have a stable tank and powerfull lights for one to survive. the shrimp more than likely died because of ammoina and nitrite in the water they are very sensitive to water quality. and also need to be aclaimated very slowly over an hour. all inverts are more sensitive than fish to changes in water. manderans are a fish that usually only eat live food that is produced in the tank and with out a larger tank that is mature with lots of live copopods in it they will starve to death is a short time.
     
    daugherty, May 27, 2009
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  14. fellers

    daugherty part time reefer

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    daugherty, May 27, 2009
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  15. fellers

    stagofdoom Phi Kappa Psi

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    I think everyone has got you covered.

    as for the LFS guy he was definitely trying to sell you stuff. You never put a Anemone in a new established tank, they need a mature tank to survive. And if it has already died then it could be the reason everything in your tank is dieing, they release deadly toxins when they die.

    The mandarin also needs a mature tank to be able to eat, because it eats pods.
     
    stagofdoom, May 27, 2009
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  16. fellers

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    oh, yeah...if it didn't taste salty, that would explain the instant die off of your livestock. I think it might have been miscommunication between you and the lfs. Maybe they just assumed you would put salt in the water he gave you. You might want to buy some salt....but before you do that you need someway to check your salinity...so if you can afford it now, buy a refractometer. If you can't afford it yet, just get an elcheapo hydrometer...but invest in a refractometer soon.
     
    wontonflip, May 27, 2009
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  17. fellers

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    First thing first, anything left that is alive in your tank, please take back to the store. I don't think, at this point, that there is much hope for anything to survive because you just seem to have too many problems going on at once.

    You need test kits. You don't know if you have saltwater or freshwater in your tank. This is probably the most basic thing you need to know, and if you have freshwater, it would explain why everything has died.

    Next, you need to let your tank cycle for several weeks before you can add ANY animals. You cannot just add a fish (or many fish, and especially inverts, which are more sensitive than fish) when you first set the tank up. After the tank is done cycling you should only add 1 fish every 3 weeks or so.

    Next, a mandarin is not a beginner or hardy fish. They have very specific feeding requirements that are difficult for most hobbyists to meet. This leads to many mandarins starving to death in tanks. They should not be kept in small tanks, or new tanks, both of which yours is.

    Same for anemones. They require extremely strong lighting -- stronger than most corals. They also require very stable water conditions and mature, established tanks that are at least a year old. They are extra dangerous to keep because if an anemone is sick or dying, it will likely kill everything else in the tank.

    You were given some extremely horrible advice by your fish store, who just wanted to make some quick cash off of you. Don't ever shop there again.

    I really think that the best thing to do at this point is to find new homes for all your remaining animals ASAP, keep your rock and sand, drain your tank, get more rock (you need 1 to 2 lbs per gallon), get a protein skimmer (the filter you have is not appropriate sufficient for a saltwater tank), and READ READ READ READ before you put water in it and start all over again. Start from scratch, and you can get it right and not have a "death trap" of a tank, as you so aptly put it in another thread :)

    Good luck, and please feel free to ask any more questions you have -- I hope we have helped.
     
    Bifferwine, May 27, 2009
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  18. fellers

    Sharkie The Damsel Defender

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    I used the "saltwater for dummies" book when I started my tank :) it was really really helpful
     
    Sharkie, May 27, 2009
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  19. fellers

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    AW MAN
    If it dont tast salty,it probably aint salty.
    I think everybody has you pretty well covered.
    But I'll throw this out there.Even though anemones are awesome animals,They have no place in a reef tank.Especially if you like your corals.Anemones should be kept in a tank of their own,where they wont do any damage to anything else if they happen to decide to move.
     
    yote, May 27, 2009
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  20. fellers

    fellers

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    Well come to find out after bringing in a water sample to a new LFS. Great knowledgable guy. Young dude to who knows his stuff. The water from the other guy was supposed to "salt, and balanced", He said. When we tested it is was pretty much fresh water.
    I now have all the test kits and hydrometer. With the guidance of the LFS I made my own salt water and did a 90% water change.
    My snail came to life almost immediately. Unfortunately I lost 2 clowns and a mandarin(which should never have been sold to me, beginner).That really was a bummer because my son loves finding nemo and he named the 2 marlin and nemo, lol poor lil guy. He is 3
    Parameters: Salinity now 1.020 taking out 2 gallons and adding some higher concentrate salt water.
    Nitrates: 5.0
    Nitrites: 0
    ph: 8.1
    amonia: 0.25 added bacteria from lfs guy to drop amonia count.
    I just really hope my sebae pulls through or is ok. I can't tell. Looks a dark tan with darker brown on the end of arms,legs or what you call them:D
     
    fellers, May 28, 2009
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