Questions--questions......

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by fishmom, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Sorry--this might get long but I have many, many questions just to get comfortable with where I am after the "disaster".....

    I will give the really short version to get up to date -- then the questions.

    Bought a "used" 55 gallon tank with minimal live rock and few fishes. Everything made the "move" ok ....(*note* NASTY looking crushed coral)...and actually "seemed" to be doing quite well for a month or more after the move. Added 25+ pounds of Live Rock (over several weeks). Noticed a brown "mess" take over the place--on the beautiful live rock and glass...on the coral bottom .....but also noticed the fish seemed to be snacking on the "hairy looking stuff".....but also added "clean-up crew" (snails, tiny crabs) Began to notice the nitrates beginning to creep up...not an alarming level..but noticable difference....did 10% + water changes each week (duh--tap water) but nitrates stayed slightly elevated.

    This next incidence may have started the whole disaster domino......2 damsels just "went missing".....could not find them ANYWHERE !!!! Looked and looked....picked up rocks (many, many times).....searched through tubes (with a flashlight) ...opened up heater tube...looked EVERYWHERE...no little fishies :(

    Hubs thought the filter was likely nasty (and possibly the critter parts made it that far) and we carefully "cleaned " it...did not disturd the Chem-stars or Bio-rings--but rinsed the new filter pads and foam and ONLY replaced every other one of those.

    About 2 weeks later I did buy 2 new fish....and everyone was happy --(sound of doom) then I noticed several snails were "missing"--empty shells (???). So, maybe the wrasse found them tasty--no idea what happened....but still others were thriving and sliming around....doing their nasty jobs.

    2 weeks later (72 hours ago) I noticed the yellow tang "jumping" suddenly and darting around the tank......checked the water again and (oh-no!!) AMMONIA !!! Worked and worked doing massive water changes (25+ gallons) each day but feared "stirring up" all the crap was making it worse.....over 48 hours the whole tank was dead.... :(

    Lost yellow tang, malanarus wrasse, koran angelfish, and my fav little clown fish :faint:

    NOw, 3 days later I have a tank with the live rock still somewhat covered in brown stuff....nasty crushed coral I plan to replace with nice sand......a couple of snails and a couple of little crabbies left.....Boo-Hoo......

    Question: mainly for the benefit of the live rock and "system"....
    1) will the live rock be "OK" in the tank while I re-work the filter system to protein skimmer?

    2) should I have lights on ?? or off??

    3) What can I do for the next month or so (please--be specific--day to day, week to week) to get this mess turned around and start fresh after Christmas ($$$)?

    Thanks.....
    ~debi~
     
    fishmom, Nov 24, 2010
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  2. fishmom

    Smitty

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    That brown stuff everywhere is just diatoms...which is totally natural and normal, especially in new tanks.
    1) The ricks will be fine in the tank while you get things under control.
    2) The lights on or off is your preference, but you should probably leave them off majority of the time to help kill some of that algae off.
    3) Remove the crushed coral and replace with sand, and then just let your tank cycle thru and settle back down. You should think about removing that filter also, it's not gonna help the situation and possibly add to the high nitrates.
    Stop using tap water, and switch over to r/o-di water...your tank will thank you for it. It's gonna take some time to get everything squared away, but in this hobby, patience is key. Don't worry, we're here to help you along the way. :)
     
    Smitty, Nov 24, 2010
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  3. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Thank-you Smitty.....that is the kind of simple, gentle info I need........

    Why didn't I find you guys 2 months ago...UGH!!!!:frustrat:
     
    fishmom, Nov 24, 2010
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  4. fishmom

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    Also, becareful with your future fish selection. A few of the fish you had before were really too big for a 55g, that can end up causing poor water quality as well as fish deaths from stress.
     
    BL1, Nov 24, 2010
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  5. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Thanks.....I really love the "wobbly" character of the clown fish......I had a "Clark II clownfish"...he was soooooo adorable!

    Would have loved to get a few more clownfish, but was told that I could only have "one" of any type fish. When the time comes I will ask aboout compatable fishies....and certainly be MUCH MORE careful in my choices!
    Thanks again.....
     
    fishmom, Nov 24, 2010
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  6. fishmom

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    Unfortunately, unless you have a really large tank the chances of different clowns not killing each other is really rare.
     
    BL1, Nov 24, 2010
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  7. fishmom

    tankedchemist

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    clarkii are mean if you let them pair up. There are tricks to getting two clownfish in one tank... it's not that unusual. however, with the larger clowns (clarkii, maroons, etc) I personally wouldn't pair them up. When they get big, they already get pretty mean, and pairing only exacerbates that....

    Sorry about your crash, but it sounds like you're heading in a better direction now. I totally agree with Smitty, but I'd like to add to #3-- remove all wet/dry media, not just the filters. you mentioned "chem stars" and "bio rings", and while I"m not familiar with those things, I do know that most non-live rock (ie, artificial) media like that only trap gunk. So get rid of that.

    Also, how much live rock do you have in the tank total? In addition, do you have a refugium?
     
    tankedchemist, Nov 25, 2010
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  8. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Okay--When I remove the crushed coral.....and replace with sand......can I place the existing live rock back in the tank "upside down". Currently the 'tops' of the rocks still have the diatoms / brown gunt all over the tops, but the sides and bottoms look pretty good. Will I hurt the rocks or bury the brown stuff and cause more problems in the future?:question:
     
    fishmom, Nov 26, 2010
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  9. fishmom

    Smitty

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    Nope, you don't have to do that, the brown diatoms(algae) will eventually disappear and your rocks will start coloring up with pretty corraline algae colors(pink, purple,red,green). Just make sure you do like Yote mentioned and place the rock on the bottom of the glass and then put the sand in around the base of the rock. The reason for this is to keep the rocks from shifting while on the unstable sand, causing the potential of your rocks falling. Also, when you pour your sand in, try using some sort of funnel to get the sand to the bottom, or else, use a cup to pour the sand by lying the cup down of the floor of the tank and pouring it out, both methods will reduce the cloudiness of the water while pouring in sand.
    I forgot to mention, after you take all the crushed coral out, do a good water change to remove all the bad gunk and crap out of your water so it doesn't settle under your new sand or behind the rocks. Good luck. :)
     
    Smitty, Nov 26, 2010
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  10. fishmom

    andersoned14

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    IMO, you could put those rocks in anyway that you like the way they look. Don't be suprised if diatoms cover everything in your tank again. There will most likely be silcon in the sand you are adding that will fuel the diatoms. Just wait it out it is part of the growing pains.
     
    andersoned14, Nov 26, 2010
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  11. fishmom

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Just want to add that you should use an argonite based sand, not play sand from the hardware store. Argonite sand is sold at the pet stores and the bag will say argonite on it. It is a carbonite based sand and not a silicate based sand like the stuff you find on the beaches of the great lakes.
     
    bjohanson1234, Nov 26, 2010
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  12. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Would I be out of line if I just lost most of the old water and made up a massive batch (50% +) of new water--either purchased distilled of RO water?
     
    fishmom, Nov 26, 2010
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  13. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    Thanks--I have "argonite" sand on the shopping list (my "black Friday list") along with some dry/base rock and a huge jug to refill RO water till I can get the RO filter...
     
    fishmom, Nov 26, 2010
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  14. fishmom

    Smitty

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    That wouldn't be an issue at all, doing a massive water change now will help remove a lot of stuff out the water you don't want in there. :)
     
    Smitty, Nov 26, 2010
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  15. fishmom

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    You are a true reefer now:mrgreen:

    I ask for new bulbs for my tank every year for christmas. Every year, my family says"we bought you bulbs last year" and every year I have to tell them "The bulbs only last a year and it is 60-80 dollars I dont have to spend" They would rather just buy me a sweater that will sit in the dresser drawer until the maths get to it.
     
    bjohanson1234, Nov 26, 2010
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  16. fishmom

    fishmom Certified Hospice Nurse

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    My hubs is at Wal Mart at this moment.....(hahahahahaha:rofl:) looking for bottled RO water. He bought empty jugs and filled them from the Glacier Water vending machine....is that truly RO/distilled water? OK for the tank???
     
    fishmom, Nov 26, 2010
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  17. fishmom

    Smitty

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    Yep...that water is good for the tank. I get my water from the lfs and jewel-osco.
     
    Smitty, Nov 26, 2010
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