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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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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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BdLp.... can you elaborate as to what is the correct way to do this so others can learn too?
 

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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?

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.

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.

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.
 

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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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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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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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After reading posts here, I suddenly want to start to at least a 55g tank. Seems I wont be enjoying it much with only 20g tank, in as much as having plenty of fish and corals is concerned :(
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After reading posts here, I suddenly want to start to at least a 55g tank. Seems I wont be enjoying it much with only 20g tank, in as much as having plenty of fish and corals is concerned :(
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I would go at least to a 75, if not a 90. The fish you can keep in a 55 is almost the same list as you can keep in a 20...
 

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Hi Wake and Eric... can I share something the LFS told me about SW? Gosh I hope he didn't lead me astray... Some day I also want to start my first SW, which is why I hang out in here... And I needed to upgrade my turtle home in the mean time. 75? or 90? (I only have 5' of space not 6' for a 120).
He said the 75 was the borderline for cost.... as soon as you go taller to the 90 you change everything equipment wise. So more/double the lighting cause the tank is deeper and this is expensive, sump rather than skimmer... that sort of thing. Did he advise me right Wake? There is an exponential cost division line at the 75 gallon point?
And if yes... if cost is somewhat of a factor then I agree get to the 75 gallon if you can. If money is no object... hey go for it.
 

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BdLp.... can you elaborate as to what is the correct way to do this so others can learn too?
it would take me a month of sundays to do that! LOL

my suggestion is to search the archives here and read all you can. i know a lot of it will be pretty technical stuff but before you jump into a bigger tank (figuratively, of course), there are so many things you need to know.

i've been back in the hobby for just under 1 year after being out of it for 20 so my experiences are pretty limited at this point. heck, i'm still learning all of the new ways of doing things. twenty years ago, it was acceptable to cycle a tank with damsels or clowns. not so much any more!
 

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Hi Wake and Eric... can I share something the LFS told me about SW? Gosh I hope he didn't lead me astray... Some day I also want to start my first SW, which is why I hang out in here... And I needed to upgrade my turtle home in the mean time. 75? or 90? (I only have 5' of space not 6' for a 120).
They make this 150 gallon tank in a 3' model: Marineland 150 Reef-Ready Cube

He said the 75 was the borderline for cost.... as soon as you go taller to the 90 you change everything equipment wise. So more/double the lighting cause the tank is deeper and this is expensive, sump rather than skimmer... that sort of thing. Did he advise me right Wake? There is an exponential cost division line at the 75 gallon point?
And if yes... if cost is somewhat of a factor then I agree get to the 75 gallon if you can. If money is no object... hey go for it.
I don't think that the 75 is borderline. It is dependent on if you want to do Reef or FOWLR. A reef will require better lighting (but I would buy the same fixture as far as a Reef went in either a 75 or 90) than a FOWLR to help coral produce zooanthelle. A Reef should have better filtration, but if you have excellent fitration on a FOWLR that is not a crime.

A sump and skimmer do not do the same thing, and I recommend both on tanks bigger than 29 gallons (but you can have either a sump or skimmer, or both, on any size tank). The sump is just an area below or behind the tank that is basically a 'holding tank'. It houses the heaters, skimmer, refugium, supply pump and any other equipment you don't want seen in the display. Read this: Understanding Sumps. The skimmer, on the other hand, is used to remove Dissolved Organic Compounds before they break down into nitrates in the system.

So to answer your question JB, I do not think there is a divisional line between 75 and 90. I think the bigger line is between Reef and FOWLR.
 

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Thanks Wake... sorry Eric I didn't mean to hijack but if you are learning too... :lol:
and I knew he would help (make me more confused!) give you more perspective on tanks and upgrading.
 
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