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newtosalt 03-05-2008 09:58 PM

My Mushrooms are dying! Several Questions from a newbie!
My mushrooms seem to be dying, and I'm not sure what I've done wrong. They've looked sick for a while, and I thought they might be getting stung by my torch coral, so I moved them farther away and closer to the light. I also lost 2 small Xenia that just shriveled up completely. My star polyps, both my pink and purple one and my purple and neon green one, are doing great, and my torch coral seems ok. I added an additional 4 pounds of live rock one week ago.

My water:
CA- 600 ppm (I know that's high, how do I fix it?)
KH- 7 d or 125.3 ppm
Phosphate- 0
Nitrate - 40 ppm (high because of my mushrooms??)

My tank:
12 Gallon Aquapod, Running for 8 months
Fish: 1 Percula Clown, 2 damsels, and maybe 1 yellow watchman goby. I added the goby a week ago, thought the damsel got him, saw him a day later, and haven't seen him since.
Critters: 3 electric blue hermit crabs, 1 cleaner shrimp, 5 various snails, lots of bristle worms that I would like to get rid of.
Plus: Live Rock, 2 star polyps, multiple mushrooms, 1 torch coral,
The base is a mix of live sand and crushed coral, about 3 inches worth.

If you need any more info please let me know. Thank you in advance for your help! I'm really new to salt, and have yet to find a good LFS.

Cody 03-05-2008 10:20 PM

Nitrates are very high. Do a WC to get rid of some.

Could you also post of SG, Nitrites, and Ammonia? How often do you do WC's, and when was your last? Current light fixture? Filtration?

newtosalt 03-05-2008 10:42 PM

Could you also post of SG, Nitrites, and Ammonia? How often do you do WC's, and when was your last? Current light fixture? filtration?

I have no idea what my SG, Nitrites, or Ammonia are (not part of my test kit, but they are in my freshwater kit, can I use that kit to test my salt? Except for SG-I don't know what that is.) Both of my test kits are the glass vials/liquid drops made by API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc).

12 Gallon, 54W Compact Fluorescent System - Includes: Surface skimming filtration system, 1-27W square pin Dual Daylight 6700K/10000K Daylight bulb, 1-27W square pin Dual Actinic 420nm/460nm Actinic bulb, 2 blue LED lights, cooling fan, mechanical sponge filter, 160 gph submersible pump with flat nozzle.

I know I should do water changes weekly, but it seems to happen about every 3 weeks. Feel free to call me an idiot, I know you want to! My last water change was 9 days ago. I promise I'll do another water change tomorrow.

Also, I was having a problem with too much green algee, so I went from 12/13 hrs of lights on to 8/9 hrs for a few weeks. I've since added an extra snail and the 3 bitty blue hermit crabs. I'm now back up to the 12/13 and have been for over a week, but my mushrooms seem to be getting worse.

Cody 03-05-2008 10:57 PM

SG stands for Specific Gravity. This is basically your salinity level (it sin't though). You want it between 1.023 and 1.025.

I wouldn't reccomend using the FW test in the SW. It could make your test get messed up.

I'm not gonig to call you anything. Everyone makes mistakes, espically at the begining. You will catch on.

I would think you have a good amount of Ammonia and Nitrites in your tank if your Nitrates are that high. Do 1, maybe even 2 WC's ASAP.

Was this Live rock you added cured or uncured? And what kind of water do you use in this tank? How long has this tank been running for?

Sorry for all of the questions, but we need to know this stuff.

bettababy 03-06-2008 01:09 AM

Cody, great job so far, but one thing that was missed. The water params are so off because the tank is way over stocked and add that to lack of regular water changes... I have to say, as much as you don't probably want to hear it, but some of those animals have to go, primarily the fish. That tank is suitable for maybe 1 clown and 1 shrimp goby, but nothing more than a few corals to grow in there with them, and the few inverts you have. When you take into account the actual amount of water you have in there, it's probably less than 10 gallons. Sand and rock will displace water, and the name of the tank doesn't always mean it holds that much water exactly. Do the math and you don't actually have close to 12 gallons of water.

Depending on the kind of damsels you have, most get quite large (5 - 6 inches or more) and can be quite aggressive.

It sounds as if your water quality is what is causing the most harm to the corals. What kind of water source are you using for water changes? (tap water, RO water, DI water) What is the calcium level in the source water? The first trick in lowering it is in finding where it's coming from. What kind of substrate do you have? crushed coral or sand? What kind of filter and what media is in it? Crushed coral substrate or in your filter media can raise calcium to extremes, and is often missed by many hobbyists as the source of a problem.

Knowing your spg/salinity is extremely important. Those animals have a very specific range of "safe", especially the corals. Are you doing freshwater top off's between water changes? This will alter salinity over the course of a wk or 2, and when doing water changes it will need to be adjusted with premixed saltwater to bring it back to stable. Spg/salinity should be checked anytime you take water out or put water into your tank. Your tank and any saltwater going into the tank shuold both be tested.

API makes a seperate set of test kits for saltwater. The chemicals are different, so it does you no good to try using a freshwater kit on this. You'll need to invest in the saltwater test kits asap. The things you should expect to always have on hand are: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and calcium. Others to consider are phosphate, copper, magnesium, iodine. If you obtain a copper kit at some point pay attention to whether it is for "chelated" or "non chelated" copper. It will make a difference if you ever need to medicate your fish (in quarantine of course).

For the animals you are keeping right now, at least 30 gallons would be needed, and that again depending on the species of damsels. If the damsels were gone, the 12 would be fine for the clown and a shrimp goby, or a clown goby.

If you can post pictures of your tank that would also help us with determing what the corals are reacting to. It is always much easier if we have a visual to go with the info. Some of us can recognize problems on sight just out of experience.

I'll wait to find out the rest of your info and help all I can, but you'll want to act fast if you want to save as much as possible. Mushrooms are sometimes resiliant, but xenia not so much... not when its a water quality issue as severe as this. In the mean time, lots and lots of small water changes, make sure to check that spg/salinity, and check your temp. We'll need to know that, too.

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