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Discussion Starter #1
So I did a water change last night in my saltwater tank. I pre mixed my water the day before and I added a water treatment as well. Before I changed my water I also put a heater and a spare power head in the buckets, tested my water for correct pH and salinity. I figured that there would obviously be some disturbance in my tank with this project but this morning I woke up and my two damselfish had changed to a darker color and were laying on the bottom looking like they were gasping. Things got worse - they started swimming erratically and were getting blown around by the power heads. When I came home from work one was laying on the bottom and he ended up dying. Now the other one is drinking around the surface. I have no idea what I could've done. I put an air stone in to aerate the water. My firefish seems to be alright...eating, swimming normally. Anyone have any idea what is wrong?
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So I did a water change last night in my saltwater tank. I pre mixed my water the day before and I added a water treatment as well. Before I changed my water I also put a heater and a spare power head in the buckets, tested my water for correct pH and salinity. I figured that there would obviously be some disturbance in my tank with this project but this morning I woke up and my two damselfish had changed to a darker color and were laying on the bottom looking like they were gasping. Things got worse - they started swimming erratically and were getting blown around by the power heads. When I came home from work one was laying on the bottom and he ended up dying. Now the other one is drinking around the surface. I have no idea what I could've done. I put an air stone in to aerate the water. My firefish seems to be alright...eating, swimming normally. Anyone have any idea what is wrong?
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what are your parameters?it sounds like ammonia poison.
 

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Yeah that's what I thought at first but my tests are showing nothing for ammonia, nitrite or nitrate and a pH of 8.1. My water is also at about 400 for calcium and 9 dkh for alkalinity.
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Yeah that's what I thought at first but my tests are showing nothing for ammonia, nitrite or nitrate and a pH of 8.1. My water is also at about 400 for calcium and 9 dkh for alkalinity.
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test you water from the source aka tap or after ro/di system.if there is any ammonia that could have killed them even tho its not showing up now cause you're tank ate it by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ah I see....I will do that. I guess the well had a bleach treatment a few weeks back that I didn't know about
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Have you watched those Damsels chase each other prior to your WC? I always advise against those fish, as they will chase each other to the point of death. But, one never knows. If your other fish is fine, thats what my guess is. They killed each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah they chased each other a little bit. Mostly one that was slightly bigger chased the other one but they were healthy before. The bigger one actually died first. Additionally as the night has gone on my firefish isn't doing so well either. I figured he was just stressed because he was swimming and he ate but now I'm not so sure. He doesn't seem to have any strength. I changed like 10 gallons out of 55 so just under 20 percent. I'm at a loss and its looking like a newby move cost me my tank. Sucks
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I'm thinking that had to be it. Also I did some serious reading and if your water has chloramine in it and you use just a dechlorinator in it you can end up removing the chlorine but what's left is ammonia. Definitely not making that mistake again. I find it odd that my snails and hermits seem to be totally unphased by all this but at least it isn't a total loss. I knew they were more delicate than freshwater but I had no idea it was that easy to kill them. :oops:
 

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i have my salt water tank up for 4 months or so and i still havent did a water change.1 because the bio load is next to nothing at the moment.2 im saving for a ro/di system.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dude honestly I think I should've just left it because I tested my water before my change and I had zeros across the board. Plus my calcium and alkalinity was fine too. Everything you read though online is saying water changes every week or two weeks.
 

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I usually do 5% Water Changes once every month or maybe every other week (depending on the size of the tank) just to replace trace minerals. Water changes in marine aquariums do not have the same effect as in freshwater aquariums.

In freshwater aquaria, Ammonia is excreted by the fish in the form of respiration, urine and feces. This ammonia is broken down by oxidizing bacteria into NitrItes. These nitrites are still harmful to fish, but Nitrobacter bacteria break it down into NitrAtes, which are not as harmful to fish in moderate levels. Through regular water changes we reduce the nitrates to manageable levels in the aquarium, but never near zero ppm. That would take a 100% water change every week, and that would be stressful the fish. I do a 25% water change (5 gallons) in my twenty fresh on the first Saturday every month that begins with a two (hence this month it will be the 22nd).

In Marine aquaria, we are trying to achieve ZERO ppm on Nitrates. So when the nitrogen cycle turns NitrIte into NitrAte, the cycle cannot end there. Nitrification reduces the buffers in an aquarium, lowering Alkalinity. So Nitrates have an adverse effect on water quality, making it hard to keep Calcium and Alk in check. Since water changes alone only change the percentage of Nitrates in the system (never reduce them to zero without a 100% stressful wc), we need to attack the problem beforehand.

Your live rock has deep-seeded denitrifying anaerobic bacteria that breaks down nitrates into Nitrogen gas that leaves the system naturally. A ddep sand bed (4"+) also harbors this denitrifying bacteria that breaks down nitrates into nitrogen gas. These two things coupled with a protein skimmer (which removes Dissolved Organic Compounds, eg urine and feces, before they are broken down by the nitrogen cycle. Activated Carbon also removes DOCs, but is a controversial method) can reduce and maintain a reading of 0ppm nitrates (or at least to a reading that is less than 5ppm).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have a bunch of rock and like 2" sand bed. So basically with my skimmer and rock and sand I really shouldn't need to do these water changes unless I am low on minerals. I don't have any corals....def waiting on those following this episode....so nothing is really consuming my minerals. The longer I have this tank the more I'm being convinced that if I properly set it up and have adequate biofiltration its going to essentially run itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Man alive...shows how much false info there is out there. Literally every book and most articles I've read say water changes every other week and big ones. If I'd left it alone I'd still have fish as I was under 5 ppm for nitrates. Left me with 4 snails and 5 hermits.
 
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