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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

My name is Michael. My girlfriend and I bought a new 55 gallon saltwater fish tank together on July 4th and added fish on July 5th, 2006. It cost an arm and a leg, but when we went to the pet store to buy fish the freshwater fish just didn't cut it in terms of variety.

We started with 12 fish, a mix of what we later discovered were Blue Devil Damsels and Black Domino Damsels. We just took home what the pet store told us we needed. A few days later, all but one of the black domino damsels were dead. The last black domino damsel lasted a few days but was greatyly outnumbered and seemed intimidated by the blue devils. When "blacky" became pale and died, we went and got five more fish to keep the tank stocked to twelve as the pet store suggested, even though an expert had said the pet store was wrong and we should limit the damsels to three while the tank was "cycling".

We added two Pink Damsels, which looked more salmon color than pink, one Sargent Major Damsel, and two Yellow Tailed Blue Damsels to the tank. The Blue Devil damsels already in the tank immediately attacked the new fish. One pink damsel was dead the next day, presumably killed by the Blue Devils. The Sargent Major Damsel, "Sarge" (RIP), became discolored and died a day later, along with one of the yellow tailed blue damsels.

Currently, we have four of the original Blue Devil Damsels left, one Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel, and one Pink Damsel that has been torn to shreds by the Blue Devil Damsels, is missing major portions of its fin, and isn't likely to last very long. We think our tank has begun to cycle because there appears to be some kind of red algea growing on the white plastic coral.

Does anyone have any idea how long we have to wait before we add larger fish, like a Porcupine Puffer, for instance?

Thanks,
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Last night my girlfriend had to flush the Pink Damsel. It had chunks missing from it when she got home from work, and was still fighting to live, but we couldn't let it suffer anymore.

Shouldn't pet stores be held accountable for selling you fish they know will eat each other, especially when you tell them you are a beginner? :evil:
 

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Red is not good nor is black you should have green growing which is natural and healthy. You should wait at least a month to add fish if you have added substrate with live bacteria in it you can add fish in 5 to 7 days. This is what I learned when I attended a saltwater lecture. You also need to check your levels and your temp.Temp should be 75F to 80F, gravity 77F, salinity 1.020 to 1.030, pH balance should be 8.0 to 8.4, nitrates lower than 20ppm with less than 5ppm being required for most. You can check these by buying a hydrometer.

I found most of my information be searching online but then attended the saltwater workshop held at Petco.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all of the info, Jazmine. How often should I be testing the water for those levels?

Also, the algea is definitely red. It is growing on the plastic coral and the sand. The sand supposedly had special bacteria meant to help the tank get started. Is that what you meant by substrate?

Thanks,
Michael

Jazmine said:
Red is not good nor is black you should have green growing which is natural and healthy. You should wait at least a month to add fish if you have added substrate with live bacteria in it you can add fish in 5 to 7 days. This is what I learned when I attended a saltwater lecture. You also need to check your levels and your temp.Temp should be 75F to 80F, gravity 77F, salinity 1.020 to 1.030, pH balance should be 8.0 to 8.4, nitrates lower than 20ppm with less than 5ppm being required for most. You can check these by buying a hydrometer.

I found most of my information be searching online but then attended the saltwater workshop held at Petco.
 

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For the red algea, you need more oxygen in your tank. If you have an air pump, put an airstone on it. Or put in an air pump w/ an airstone. Or try changing 25% water like 3 times a week. If you have coral and invertebrates, you can add a growth enhancer formula which should combat the red algea.

For your substrate, you should add Stress zyme to help the bacteria develop. I've never set up a saltwater tank so I don't know if it's safe for saltwater, but someone at your local fish store can tell you.
 

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fish stores cant be held accountable because I have never gone into one where the people knew what they were talking about, they are businesses and opperate like them, also your tank does need to cycle, which means that you need a period in which you buy your new tank to which you fully stock it, in this period you should only have like 2 damsels which will help the good bacteria level grow
 

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You should check your levels once a week also if your water appears murky. If you suspect there might be a problem I would also check your levels. These will temporarily change when you add new fish.

Yes when I refered to the substrate I was talking about the sand, this however has nothing to do with the red algea, red is not good it should be green. So I would suggest taking dasmall1's advice.

One other thing I forgot to mention in your post your fish got New Tank Syndrome this is why "blacky" became pale. The symptoms are loss of coloring,hiding in corners with clamped fins, and lying near the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for the advice. I think it may be brown algea instead of red- I was told that red algea would look like grease while brown algea would look powderish. They said brown algea is a sign of a healthy tank. Hopefully that is the case because we're getting more and more of it!
 

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Hi Michael,
The same thing happened to me... I thought it was red algae, but it was brown algae. If it is a new tank (under 1 month) it is expected to grow a certain amt of brown algae. This is normal and will eventually be replaced with green algae.

Good luck!
TikiFish
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi TikiFish,

I let it go, thinking it was brown algea, but now it appears to be creeping up the sides of the tank and it does look greasy. It's all over everything- sand, ornaments, filter, etc... I hope I don't have to take out everything and wash it off :cry:

Tikifish said:
Hi Michael,
The same thing happened to me... I thought it was red algae, but it was brown algae. If it is a new tank (under 1 month) it is expected to grow a certain amt of brown algae. This is normal and will eventually be replaced with green algae.

Good luck!
TikiFish
 

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Michael, test your water for nitrates and phosphates those are the 2 leading causes for algea, for good water you should have less then .01ppm for phosphates and the lowest possible for nitrates. For the nitrates when it starts to go above 20ppm thats when The problems with algea. I have had that problem before and what I did was water changes every week till I got the levels where they should be. You don't want to use water that contains phosphates or nitrates either or you will be putting them back in. Then I would clean off the algea, you won't be able to get all of it. I left a little bit of it and what happens is once all the nutrients that the algea lives of is gone its replaced with another one. It will take a few weeks and it can get a little fustrating to.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, usmc121581. Yesterday I went out and bought t wo types of tank cleaners - a pad attached to a rod that you scrub the sides with, and a magnetic device that you attach to each side of the tank and then move it over the problem areas to scrub. I also took the fake coral ornaments out of the tank and ran them under tap water. The tank looks much better! I had the water tested very recently and was told that all of my levels were fine except for one which was a little high, but I will have it tested again soon and change the water as necessary.

Are any types of algea "good"? That is, is green algea, for instance, the sign of a healthy tank? Or are they all indicative of problems? If it's good, how does one "get" it?

Thanks,
Michael

usmc121581 said:
Michael, test your water for nitrates and phosphates those are the 2 leading causes for algea, for good water you should have less then .01ppm for phosphates and the lowest possible for nitrates. For the nitrates when it starts to go above 20ppm thats when The problems with algea. I have had that problem before and what I did was water changes every week till I got the levels where they should be. You don't want to use water that contains phosphates or nitrates either or you will be putting them back in. Then I would clean off the algea, you won't be able to get all of it. I left a little bit of it and what happens is once all the nutrients that the algea lives of is gone its replaced with another one. It will take a few weeks and it can get a little fustrating to.
 

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What I did was as I scrapped the tank glass of algea I tried to suck as much as possiable, did the daily water change (if your test come up High) I also bought a UV sterlizer for the parasites and algea that's loose in the water. A UV Sterilizer (UltraViolet) is used to cleanse the water by killing bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms.(In case you didn't know)
It just takes time and patients. Green algea is good, now how you get it I could never find out. If you recently changed the lighting system, that will cause an algea outbreak to. If you don't mind How big is your tank, what kind of lights do you have and how long has it been set up for.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi, that's what I did - scraped the sides of the tank with the device the pet store sold me. Worked like a charm, though I wasn't able to clean the filter or heater with it.

I haven't heard of a UV sterilizer. Is that a good thing to have? Can it harm the fish?

The tank is 55 gallons. We've had it since July 4th. The light is whatever kind of light came with it... I assume it is a regular flourescent bulb.

usmc121581 said:
What I did was as I scrapped the tank glass of algea I tried to suck as much as possiable, did the daily water change (if your test come up High) I also bought a UV sterlizer for the parasites and algea that's loose in the water. A UV Sterilizer (UltraViolet) is used to cleanse the water by killing bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms.(In case you didn't know)
It just takes time and patients. Green algea is good, now how you get it I could never find out. If you recently changed the lighting system, that will cause an algea outbreak to. If you don't mind How big is your tank, what kind of lights do you have and how long has it been set up for.
 

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Hi, a UV sterilizer I think is the next best thing to a protein skimmer. What is going on with the algea is that it's a new tank so it will get algea build up. But just keep up the cleaning and the testing(so that you can keep an eye on the nutrient build up) and eventually you will start to see a little bit green algea.
 

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Ahh, okay, so if I have a protein skimmer I don't need a UV sterilizer? We have a protein skimmer, we just haven't put it in yet because we weren't sure the cord should be submersed, but somebody posted here saying it should be and it makes sense. I'm going to put the protein skimmer in this weekend.

usmc121581 said:
Hi, a UV sterilizer I think is the next best thing to a protein skimmer. What is going on with the algea is that it's a new tank so it will get algea build up. But just keep up the cleaning and the testing(so that you can keep an eye on the nutrient build up) and eventually you will start to see a little bit green algea.
 

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See what The protien skimmer does is take all the organic matter out the water before it can be broken down further, and the UV sterilizer does is burn the genic structure of bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms so they can not reproduce. It's good to use the UV when you see sign's of sickness or disease. You will start to see inprovements with a protein skimmer.
 

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Hello,
I am new like Michael and after reading the posts in this thread, I feel like I am in the right forum.

I am new like Mike. I just also bought a 46 GL tank. I currently have a Fluval 304 filter, a heater, an air pump. I would like to set up one like Mikes.

After reading this thread, I have several questions:
1. What is UV fertilizer? Is it a liquid substance? Or is it a light bulb?
2. Is it ok to have UV fertilizer and protein skimmer at once?

I thank you for all your help. This forum is good to learn from. Hope to hear from you soon.
THanks.
le9569
 
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