Water Chemistry Problem?
Thought it maybe the PetCo so I went to my LFS which is where I get the majority of my fish and had them select a nice/active medium Niger Trigger which I added and acclimated in similar manner. He too died within 36hrs. That was 2 weeks ago.
On Monday I did a 20 gal water change with perfect water parameters of clean salt mix (no contamination) of the tank and even cleaned the sand bed as well. Test results tank #1 are above. Again fish (Asfur, P tang, Clown tang, Marron clownfish) were doing wel l.
Today as a test I then got 2 small green chromis & 2 small damsels (which are usually nearly invincible) and added them to the tank. 2 of 4 died within hours.
Once again all other main fish (Asfur, P tang, Clown tang, Marron clownfish, 2 sand sifting starfish) were all okay/feeding and swimming around as before.
Added coral banded shrimp to tank #2 today; which is my most active tank now containing a Queen/blue angel (juvenile), med foxface, med yellow tang, clarki clownfish, percula clown, coral beauty, and 3 chomis green and 1 damsel, and 3 sand sifting starfish. He died within a few hours.
Tank #2 Specific grav=1.026, Alkalinity=High 2.9-3.6, Ph=8.6, Amonia=1.0 ppm, Nitrate=20, Nitrite=0.0 water temp=78-80 C (55g FOWLR, water ionizer, Hang on bag filter/Protien Skimmer, 100g Canister filter, sandstone areo, 3" sand/coral substrate)
HELP....is it me; my tank, my water; my test kit; my sand? Do I need a new test kit, another water change, is there something I am NOT testing and missing? I've heard about 4 different explanations from LFS foks that I have no idea what to do now. :-(
adding more fish wont fix the problem esp. damsels. there are a few issues i see prior talking fish. the canister filters are most likely doing more harm then good. you have a nitrite reading which isnt a good sign either. the basics of filtration on a saltwater tank are a qaulity skimmer ( read online reviews as some are garbage ) good flow, enough live rock, a 4-6" SAND BED ( crush coral traps debris just like a canister filter ) or shallow sand ( less then an inch ) or even no sand at all. any other depths of sand cause issues so this is important. small water changes every week or two are beneficial for fish ( and corals )
good feeding patterns are key too, as you dont want to introduce excess nutrients. i pre-rinse alot of my foods in RO water and only feed every 3 days or so.
sumps are very good as they add extra water volume, they are also a great place to put skimmers/heaters/phosban and carbon reactors and a refugium with a macro algae like chaeto.
i have the above on my reef and have 0ppm nitrates at all times, even after feeding.
now, you say you added a triger when you already have one in the tank? this may be the first suspect. you should also QT your fish prior to adding them to your display tank for atleast 3 weeks but safer 4. this is so you can observe health and eating habbits.
damsels IMO are the worst fish to buy as they are small but terrorize large fish and usually any new additions afterwards. when you go to get them out, goodluck.
there prob. are better places to find a fish then petco. it may also be wise to look for a local reefing club in your area to learn new things, meet new people, and find cheap equipment.
what are you testing salinity with and your other readings? what exactly is a "water ionizer" and "sandstone areo"
how long have both setups been setup? look into drip acclimation for fish/inverts and livestock.
welcome to the forum.
Prior to your recent round of water changes, how long had it been since your last water change? During the gap between water changes, what additives were you adding?
Another issue I see is that you are floating the bag. (CO2 is release threw the plastic, but the process of floating the bag prevents this) Floating is a bad practice, and depending on the amount of water in the bag compared to the fish, it has the potential to cause your situation. Although I would be surprised to see this same experience occur several times in a row.
At this point, having read your other threads as well, I think you have an issue with the water. Remember, there are literally hundreds of different ions that make up saltwater. We only test for a handful, because they are the most toxic and affordable to test, but it is certainly possible that you have other ions in your water that are out of balance or reaching toxic levels. I still believe a series of water changes, spread out over a 90 day window, is the best answer to this sort of problem. The use of activated carbon during this time period would be advisable as well.
sandstone areo=is a stone airstone. water ionizer is something one of the LFS experts suggested. Here it is www.ecoaqualizer. It is on my 2nd tank which is doing pretty good right now and has the healthiest and most active fish.
Tank#1 (problem tank) has been up and running for 13+ mos now. I didn't add two Niger triggers at the same time; I added one which promptly died and since it was from Pet Co and I've had varying results with their fish (other than damsels) I went ahead to my professional LFS and got another one. Added him and and he also died 2 days. I have been testing my salinity with a swing arm hydrometer; but yesterday pickup up a floating hydrometer and am thinking of getting a refractometer (sp) to get the best results. Am using an API liquid test kit to test all my numbers/parameters but other than ph, sp gv, nitrate, nitrite, Amonia, and Alk am not sure what else to test and/or how? LFS also has kits to test things such as copper, O2 sat levels, Ca+ so should I invest in those too?
As for now will just monitor things and do a 5-10 gallon water change weekly for the next 4-6 weeks and add nothing other than a few blue legged hermits and sand sifter stars to help police the sand base as you suggest/indicate. As for a sump/refugium not sure if I have the space under the tank/stand. Been looking at them though and plan to do so when I get my 150gal tank next year probably.
Any additional thoughts are welcome! :)
The link above is broken, but here is a nice link to get an idea of what the ecoaqualizer is: Reefs.org: Where Reefkeeping Begins on the Internet - Eco-Aqualizer Testing. I have no experience with Redox, so I can't speak to the unit at all. I can say that there are certainly aspects of this hobby that could be useful, but are not mainstream. Perhaps this is one of those concepts. Also, in this particular study conducted by reefs.org, they found no change in Redox Potential over a 2 week test on this product.
Update so far no more losses although my clown tang is swiming funny back and forth where he was hiding prior to thie most of the time in his rock cave normally; water remains "stable" if you can call it that. Am debating whether to remove him to the quarrantine tank or not as it's water temp and content are probably much different than the main tank and I don't want to stress him any further and kill him. Thoughts?
Clown Tangs are very sensitive, so I would avoid moving him unless all parameters are equal and you have visual evidence of disease.
Unfotunately I lost my clown tang as I found him dead and decaying at the tank bottom last night after work ! :( RIP. As I said he'd been acting strangly swimming at the top of the tank back and forth and really acting strangly for about 1 week now. Didn't remove him as you suggested but whatever is going on in the tank he couldn't weather it I assume. The remaining fish are doing oka and are feeding and active w/out any ill effects or problems so whatever is going on they seem to be immune or hardy or adjusted to it.
I believe its the water too SO I will leave them alone(marron clown, P.Asfur and Purple Tang) and continue my weekly 10% water changes with fresh seawater thru Aug like you suggest. Only other change to the tank other than the water change this week was I added about 10-15 additional pounds of live aquacultured rock and a few hermits (doing well also). NO FISH. Thoughts?
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