Grave Mistake - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Grave Mistake

Hi all, am new here, and new in the hobby also.. I wish to share my mistakes in setting up my FOWLR. This is my first attempt though.. I bought a 20g tank, and the store set it up with everything.. Fish, rocks, and corals. I thought it was that easy, because they said it would be. Alas, after just 3 days, everything died.. Then, I tried reading a bit (yeah, I know I should have done this first). I followed the steps in setting up, and waited for a week or two.. What amazes me, is that ammonia and nitrites indicators result to zero levels. Never I experienced, to have a trace, like from what I read, that initially, you will encounter high levels of both. So when after two weeks, I tried adding two domino fish. They were ok, then after two weeks, I added another two blue damsels. This might be in a rush here, but after 3 weeks, I tried adding 2 tomato fish, and a trigger fish. Later die I realize that the trigger fish is carnivore. What amazes me though is that it eats the pellets, and seem to be peaceful with the damsels and dominoes. the tomato fish werent eating though, and after 3 days, both tomato fish died. I was afraid that others will die also.. A week had gone by, but the remaining 5 fish are still healthy, and eats like there is no tomorrow.

My questions though, how come I did not experience ammonia and nitrites increase? Why did the tomato fish wont eat pellets? Can I add more fish to my 20gal tank?

I know I made some serious mistakes here, but I'm willing to learn

Thanks in advance...
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Anyways, just to narrow it down, here's the details of my setup
20g fowl
Pre installed lightin
Skimmer (small, not the rounded one)
Small canister filte
Powerhead
15lbs live rock
Live sand
2 yellow tail blue damsels, 2 dominoes, 1 queen triggerfish
Tank been running for about 2mos
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 08:29 AM
pretty much everything you did was wrong. and your lfs should be shot for selling you a trigger fish for a 20g tank. they need AT LEAST a 300g tank.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 08:31 AM
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BdLp.... can you elaborate as to what is the correct way to do this so others can learn too?

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericrey View Post
Hi all, am new here, and new in the hobby also.. I wish to share my mistakes in setting up my FOWLR. This is my first attempt though.. I bought a 20g tank, and the store set it up with everything.. Fish, rocks, and corals.
Is this a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) or a Reef?

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Originally Posted by ericrey View Post
I thought it was that easy, because they said it would be. Alas, after just 3 days, everything died.. Then, I tried reading a bit (yeah, I know I should have done this first). I followed the steps in setting up, and waited for a week or two.. What amazes me, is that ammonia and nitrites indicators result to zero levels. Never I experienced, to have a trace, like from what I read, that initially, you will encounter high levels of both.
Did you use Live Sand? The bacteria needed for the nitrogen cycle to take place are already present in live sand and sometimes people do not even see a cycle. The high ammonia and nitrite readings might be a result of everything dying.

Nothing good happens fast in a marine tank. Patience is the key when setting up a marine tank. I personally wait a month before adding fish after I set up a saltwater tank, and longer for coral. I like my tank to be established. I can see proof of an established tank by things like a diatom bloom and the presence of microfauna such as amphipods and copepods.

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Originally Posted by ericrey View Post
So when after two weeks, I tried adding two domino fish. They were ok, then after two weeks, I added another two blue damsels. This might be in a rush here, but after 3 weeks, I tried adding 2 tomato fish, and a trigger fish. Later die I realize that the trigger fish is carnivore. What amazes me though is that it eats the pellets, and seem to be peaceful with the damsels and dominoes. the tomato fish werent eating though, and after 3 days, both tomato fish died. I was afraid that others will die also.. A week had gone by, but the remaining 5 fish are still healthy, and eats like there is no tomorrow.
BigDogs is right. That fish needs a huge tank to survive. The trigger's immune system will start to decline and the fish will probably die within a few months. This fish needs a large amount of swimming room.

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Originally Posted by ericrey View Post
My questions though, how come I did not experience ammonia and nitrites increase? Why did the tomato fish wont eat pellets? Can I add more fish to my 20gal tank?

I know I made some serious mistakes here, but I'm willing to learn

Thanks in advance...
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You should stop adding fish. This tank is stocked full and that trigger does need to be rehomed. And I hate to say this, but the three damsels are probably going to kill each other. They are a very aggressive, territorial fish. I see where Bigdogs is coming from, because this stock list is a recipe for disaster.



Nothing good happens fast in an Aquarium

My 30 Gallon Long Marine Tank
My son's 20 gallon FW Community

Last edited by wake49; 06-24-2013 at 10:43 AM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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pretty much everything you did was wrong. and your lfs should be shot for selling you a trigger fish for a 20g tank. they need AT LEAST a 300g tank.
Wow, such a mistake, am so sorry about that. Yeah, the lfs seems to be eager to sell just about anything to me. Where I'm from, sellers seem to just care about sales, not the fish's safety..
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Is this a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) or a Reef?



Did you use Live Sand? The bacteria needed for the nitrogen cycle to take place are already present in live sand and sometimes people do not even see a cycle. The high ammonia and nitrite readings might be a result of everything dying.

Nothing good happens fast in a marine tank. Patience is the key when setting up a marine tank. I personally wait a month before adding fish after I set up a saltwater tank, and longer for coral. I like my tank to be established. I can see proof of an established tank by things like a diatom bloom and the presence of microfauna such as amphipods and copepods.



BigDogs is right. That fish needs a huge tank to survive. The trigger's immune system will start to decline and the fish will probably die within a few months. This fish needs a large amount of swimming room.



You should stop adding fish. This tank is stocked full and that trigger does need to be rehomed. And I hate to say this, but the three damsels are probably going to kill each other. They are a very aggressive, territorial fish. I see where Bigdogs is coming from, because this stock list is a recipe for disaster.
So sad to know that.. Just in case, what are the hardy fish that you will recommend that will not kill each other? Actually, I see them chasing one another, but I just thought it is some kind of a territory thing..
I don't know where to relocate my trigger though. There are not too many saltwater hobbyists here :(
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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By the way, my setup is a FOWLER, not reef
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 11:48 AM
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By the way, my setup is a FOWLER, not reef
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You mentioned coral in your first post. What were you talking about?



Nothing good happens fast in an Aquarium

My 30 Gallon Long Marine Tank
My son's 20 gallon FW Community
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-24-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, you might have misunderstood, or is it just me?

This current setup of mine (the one with the triggerfish), is my second attempt. It's been running for almos 3mos now. I did not put any corals. My first one, where everything died, had evrything. LR, LS, corals, and plenty of fish..
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