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Sudden Multiple Deaths! Please Help!

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Sudden Multiple Deaths! Please Help!
Old 03-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #21
 
If I understand you correctly the reason the sandbed must be under 1" or over 4" is that under 1" there isn't an overabundance of nutrients that the bacteria can't break down and over 4" there are enough denitrifying bacteria to break down the nutrients that get trapped in the sandbed without there being a negative impact on the entire system? Please be patient with me-this is a new concept for me. Also please clarify what you mean by removing the biomedia-which biomedia. Unfortunately, the only test kit for alkalinity I could get from my LFS was a dip strip (awful, I know) and it reads somwhere between 200-300 (it's not possible to get a better reading than that-the color is supposed to be green and is actually blue so I just went with the shade). I will go to our other LFS tomorrow (they're not open today) and see if they have the kits there. The purple serpent is dead now, too. I think only one of the snails will survive. How long would you expect it to take for the tank to recover, if we continue our same regimen of changing the water every week and increase the live rock and sandbed (I don't want to decrease it because of the horseshoes)?
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:30 PM   #22
 
Looking at the purple algae post reminds me that about a month ago the tips of some of that hair algae were turning purple like that...but only in a few spots, not all over the tank. One of the spots was right behind the xenia that melted.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:28 PM   #23
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePsychLynne View Post
we use a standard wet/dry filter with the white/blue filter pads.
That biofilter.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:35 PM   #24
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePsychLynne View Post
If I understand you correctly the reason the sandbed must be under 1" or over 4" is that under 1" there isn't an overabundance of nutrients that the bacteria can't break down and over 4" there are enough denitrifying bacteria to break down the nutrients that get trapped in the sandbed without there being a negative impact on the entire system?
Almost. At over 4'' there are different TYPES of bacteria in place which function in different ways. One of these are denitrifying bacteria that lower Nitrate by turning it into Nitrogen Gas, which leaves the system naturally. But yes, at under 1'' the bed remains stirred well with sand sifters and nutrients generally do not get trapped.

I am concerned that you will not be able to successfully have a 4'' sand bed with Horseshoe Crabs. Their constant stirring will prevent the proper oxygen levels from being attained deep in the bed.

I hate to say it, but I think you would be best removing the Horseshoe Crabs or staying below 1'' depth.

In the next day or so someone is going to suggest that you use light defuser (eggcrate) to separate the sand layers so that they can not be stirred by the crabs. I have seen this idea cause serious problems when used in conjunction with a deep sand bed using a PLENUM. The light defuser slows water flow down to such a serious degree that calcification can occur and the bed can bind into rock. It isn't pretty. I have no experience when the light defuser is used without a plenum.

I would expect it to take 4 to 6 weeks for the system to stabilize. Yes, I would continue doing partial water changes until ammonia is zero.

Still concerned about alkalinity. Those dip strips aren't worth much.
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:03 PM   #25
 
Hopefully I will be able to give you a better reading on alkalinity tomorrow. How often do you feed your fish?
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #26
 
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I feed several small feedings per day. You will get a lot of differing opinions on this topic.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:43 PM   #27
 
I'm having trouble with the alkalinity test I've been running. It's a Red Sea brand and the start point is blue. When it changes to purple that's the alkalinity and you use a formula to convert it from mEq to dKh. If it turns pink it's 'over dose" and you repeat the test. I've done the test three times now and each time it goes from blue to light green to orange. I've been adding one drop at a time like it says so I don't over dose by accident. I've followed the instructions exactly and I get the same number so I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or if the colors on the test card are off. Anyway I get the slight green change at .75 which equals 8.4 dKh. That's is the best i can come up with at this point. I think that's low compared to what you said in your other post (10-12)?
Also, the mushroom is still drooping but doesn't appear to be decomposing. How long would you expect it to take to recover?
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:27 PM   #28
 
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Alkalinity of 8.4dkh is low, but within acceptable range. I would prefer that you keep it at 10 to 12, but many hobbyists keep it at 8 to 10.

How are things coming along with the water? Ammonia & Nitrite? pH?

I just realized, if you have been doing some large water changes to solve this situation, then that alkalinity has been increasing, which means it could have been much lower a few days ago. Just a thought. We may never know. But this could certainly have been an issue and allow for a rapid pH drop and rebound.

The mushroom could take a week or longer to act normal, after the water is back to normal.
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:38 PM   #29
 
Actually, I just finished doing some tests and I'm not really impressed.
Nitrates-30
Ammonia-0.25
pH-8.0 maybe 8.2
Phosphates-0
Calcium-360
Nitrites-0
Copper-0
SG-1.022
Temp-78.2F
What is causing the drop in pH and how do I bring it up? I read somewhere Arm & Hammer but how much? Can I use Purple Up to boost the calcium? Is a KH test the same thing as alk? I'm sorry for the barrage of questions-if I don't ask when I'm thinking about them I'll forget!
As an aside, yesterday, after only 24 hours, the protein skimmer was half full of greenish-looking gunk which normally doesn't happen in a whole month. I emptied it and today the stuff in it is basically clear-hopefully this is a good thing. Oh, one more question-is it possible that something we didn't know we had died and caused this problem in the first place? I only ask because the ammonia is 0.25 after a 90 gallon water change. On the bright side-the water is crystal clear and the remaining fish (and one snail) seem to be doing really well.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:25 PM   #30
 
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I'm curious about the ammonia. Have you ever had a zero reading with this particular test kit?

I don't see a pH problem. 8.0 to 8.2 is not bad. Your calcium and alkalinity are both a little on the low side, so a slight adjustment to both should correct the pH. I would use a 2 part buffer to accomplish this, or Kent Marine Super Buffer DKH and Liquid Calcium. I do not recommend Baking Soda because it is just not as good of a buffer long term as a commercial grade. A good buffer will contain carbonates and bicarbonates, as well as other buffering ions, not just sodium bicarbonate.

I have never used Purple Up, but do not see a reason for you to try it at this time. Lets get the basics fixed first.

I'm happy to hear the skimmer is producing. This is a good thing. Hopefully we are starting to see some nutrient removal and will see this ammonia level settle down soon.
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