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17, Reef Maintenance 1,
Re: SW fish mortality... more GIGO, generalizations in, g out. Now
water chg. % 7/27/17
Thanks bob. Always wished there were more hard science when it came to this,
more in the direction of cat and dog understanding.
<Google the names Andrew Rhyne and Kathleen Wood. These two have been gathering
I will throw one more in there, misinformation, taking ideas from others and
thinking they will work for you.
Was just told by someone at a reputable online fish e-ticket that more than a 25
percent water change at a time is harmful and removed beneficial bacteria. I
always thought and still believe organic build up in a fish only set up is bad,
and the good bacteria existed on rock, sand tank, and very little in the water.
<Mmm; am leery of generalizations... Would require information on how the
replacement water was made, how the old water was removed...>
Never heard of too big of a water change in a fish only set up, as long as temp,
salinity and other spec param.s are close.
Thanks again Bob.
Substrate Vacuuming 36 Inch Deep Aquarium
I have a 350 gallon marine acrylic aquarium. It measures 3 feet top to
bottom. I need a substrate vacuum that is long enough to reach the
bottom and strong enough to do the job and not pull the live sand out.
What product do you recommend?
<Mmm; If you don't have the time/inclination to make one of your own,
the fine folks at Python Products make MUCH longer ones in varying
lengths. See here:
Richard M. Jevack
Re: Substrate Vacuuming 36 Inch Deep Aquarium 10/18/16
Thank you for your assistance.
<Glad to help you Richard. BobF>
First timer... 10.5 megs... is there a full moon?
Hey guys my first time salt water owner here. I bought a salt water set up
yesterday off a guy who has had it for 8 years. It has remora pro hang on
skimmer, a CoraLife uv light cleaner. 2 in tank "water jets" I transported
it successfully last night with 80% of his water and the few hermit crabs
that were in there. He hadn't had fish in it for about 4 months. He lost
his fish due to ick in his tank. I tested the specific gravity this morning
after it had cleared up and read 1.034 too high from what I've read.
<Yes... 1.025- ... see WWM re>
Ammonia read 1.2.
<This too; deadly toxic>
And nitrite 0.1 these are the test kit I was given. What advise do can you
<Get, read at least one good survey book on marine aquarium keeping. See
WWM for suggestions.
I've attached a few pics of what I've got.
Worm? ID? 6/27/15
Cant find anything close to this. Not sure if it is eggs, worm or poop
<My guess is on the last... What do you feed this system? Some sort of gelatin
Re: Worm? ID? 6/27/15
I feed frozen mysis.
<A vote further in the direction of feces/faeces for the English! BobF>
Re: Quick question... Chatting; NOT using WWM
Sounds like a deal. Hopefully a week a sense from display is enough time
to try reintroduction again? Naturally I put rock back in way different
from what it was after he went into sump. So I'll have those two factors
going, rearranged decor and time away from tank.
In the next few weeks I am going to try my hand in servicing tanks. I
like doing it, to me it isn't work, and I could use the extra money.
If possible, any tips or suggestions for the modern day tank
cleaning would be appreciated. I know one thing is I tend to
spend more time than necessary when I clean my own tank. Spending 4
hours on something that takes others an hour isn't business savvy.
<See WWM Re>
What I would really like to do is start up tanks, explaining how thing
work and theory behind the methods. As a former teacher, I live getting
messages across in terms they understand (for instance the relationship
between calcium and alkalinity, how cycling works, water changes and
After a ton of reading and first hand working with it, I feel I can
relate what it does I almost anyone. If there ever is an opportunity to
answer the basic questions on wwm, I would love to help.
After dealing with a lot of lfs owners, one thing I have is patience ,
and I don't mind taking the time out to explain the basic principles.
Having taught math to kids with Aspergers, add, etx, I am used to
reiterating and finding different medias to drive home answer.
I would no way feel confident about certain areas., zoological
applications, sharks rays, sps, etc but setting up tanks, diseases
control, seahorses etx, I feel I could definitely Help people with basic
concepts, turned into examples or metaphors the
layman can understand.
If the need ever arises, I would love to try out. (Sorry the old
Maroon clown yellow tail damsels, adopted/abandoned sys.
First, thank you for keeping this site cannot believe how much I've
learned. Although my eyes are swimming in text and brain is
<Ah, you're alive>
Am about to be seriously long-winded ( my apologies).
<No worries. There is time>
In the middle of this month a coworker told me that he was moving and
asked me if I would like his 72 gallon bowfront as he couldn't take it
My understanding was that it had been a marine/failed reef tank. He told
me that I had to come during the day as there was no power. It ended up
being 9-10 days before I could get him to meet me. When I saw the tank
was surprised that it was still setup with water (thought it would be
broke down), then I noticed movement. He told me that there were still a
few fish (1 maroon clown 4", 2 yellow tail damsels 1 inch and a half
other roughly 1 inch), and several pounds of live rock. When he told me
he was going to flush, I turned it into a rescue mission.
Was able to keep most of their water (had to replace roughly 17 gallons.
This rescue occurred this past Friday so I am guessing tank went without
power for 9-10 day's.
Got everything set backup by Friday night. Picked out a lot of slimy red
algae (looked black) and what I think was hair algae. Tank has lots of
purple (coraline?) <Likely mostly> Also has a refugium that is based in
sand and live rock.
Placed fish back in tank Saturday morning after sediment settled.
Took water sample to store and they told me everything was find but
nitrates a little high. They sold me bacteria starter solution and said
that should take care of problem.
That was the history and if you can't tell this is my first salt tank.
Thus problem is that when I got home this morning I couldn't sleep so I
turned on the lights and saw that one of the damsels had a washed out
appearance, and the clown has a white thread/string like thing coming
out of each Gill and one off of his snout. I have family issues
out of town today so I'm worried about what I find when I get back.
The only things I've added is two emerald crabs
<Keep your eye on; predaceous w/ growth>
and six snails. This morning ran tests and nitrates off charts but
everything else is about perfect. Please help.
<Mmm, likely best for you to ask around... a local marine/reef club (see
the Net re your geography) and/or a tropical fish store for someone who
can/will come by and check out, make sure your gear is all up and
Then, really, only a matter of your "easing" into the hobby by study,
doing water changes, to slowly improve water quality. T'were it me, I'd
read a good general marine aquarium handbook to overall guide your
efforts, give you solace. Bob Fenner>
Re: Maroon clown yellow tail damsels
Had planned on at least a 20% water change this weekend but worried
about white strings as they weren't there to start with. He gave me some
medicine but it has copper in it so I cannot use with invertebrates.
Should I dip him?
<Not to worry... Change the water... No medicine or dipping suggested.
The issues here are almost entirely environmental, not pathogenic. BobF>
Re: Maroon clown yellow tail damsels 5/21/12
Thank you for your time and patience with me. Its nice to know you
and your site is here.
<Ahh, service to you! B>
Red colour of a sudden in a SW sys.
I have a 1 month old 55 gal. saltwater tank that has live rock, live
sand, clowns, damsels, and a shrimp in it. The problem that I have is
that about 1 week ago the WATER color changed Kool-aid red.
<Mmm, what else is in, has been added to this system? Food/s? Decor?>
I took a sample to my local fish store and they said it tested fine.
They told me to take out the fake plants that I had in the tank and
change out 30% of the water. The plants only had a small amount of red
on the base of them. They also gave me an extra filer (pad) to pick up
extra particles. I do have a skimmer on the tank that is working fine.
The fish are all acting normal
I made all the changes 3 days ago and still nothing.
Do you have any ideas on how to get rid of the red.
<Yes... I'd add a pad of PolyFilter to your filter/water circulation
flow path... and change/add some good quality carbon (perhaps ChemiPure
or such) in a Dacron bag there as well. Bob Fenner>
Very beginner caretaker for 7 Saltwater and 2 freshwater
tanks, maint. 10/6.5/11
I have recently found myself to be the caretaker of many aquatic
animals at my job. The previous caretaker left her a position few
months ago (she had a marine biology degree and had maintained
relatively healthy tanks), and I must confess, I am rather lost in the
upkeep and care of these aquariums. I have had no other experience
caring for aquatic species other than a beta fish I had as a child. We
cannot afford to have someone on staff to care just for these animals,
and other staff members are just as inexperienced as I am. The tanks
are as follows:
2 10 gallon tanks housing 11 crown conchs each
1 10 gallon tank housing several mud snails, very small hermits, and a
very small stone crab
1 10 gallon tank housing several small hermit crabs and 2 lightening
1 50 gallon tank housing 1 tomato clownfish, 1 pistol shrimp, and 6
1 30 gallon tank housing 1 eastern painted turtle
1 55 gallon tank housing 3 large hermits, 2 blennies and 1 smallish
horseshoe crab (I know that this tank is entirely too small for this
1 55 gallon tank housing 1 striped Burrfish, 4 medium hermits, 2 small
stone crabs, 2 sea cucumbers, 1 sea star, and oysters
1 40 gallon tank housing 1 red devil cichlid
The fresh water tanks really don't have many (if any) maintenance
problems, but the salt water tanks have become a constant headache. The
previous horseshoe crab we housed came down with some sort of gill
infection that I have never seen before (his gill became very swollen
and puffy, it looked like a giant blister), and I can only assume that
it was some sort of bacterial infection.
<Almost always linked w/ environmental issues>
We sent several pictures out to horseshoe crab experts, but none were
familiar with what he had and refused to see him in person should he
spread the infection. The nitrates in the tank were also extremely
To be safe, we removed the other animals and tried to treat the water,
but the infection never went away; when he died it had ruptured.
I did a complete water change-out and returned the animals, along with
a new horseshoe. This one was smaller, but with barnacle growth and
lots of scarring; he hadn't molted for some time, which was
surprising due to his size. The nitrate levels went back to normal
levels, and the other animals have been doing well in the tank. The new
horseshoe was not eating at all though, and now (after reading your
site) knowing that he starved to death makes sense. We feed the
majority of our animals here frozen bay scallops that have been thawed
and break them into small pieces when feeding. Should he eat something
<Other locally available, or frozen/defrosted meaty foods cut to
size, pushed under its edge>
The striped Burrfish tank has had an almost constant battle with
EXTREMELY high nitrates. I have done water change outs, cleaned the bio
balls, and tried chemical nitrate reducers, but to no avail.
<These systems are much too small in volume,
The levels will decrease for a day or two and then be back on the rise.
I also read on your site that bio balls can cause problems with nitrate
levels; should we have some other sort of filtration system in
<Yes. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm
and the linked files above>
The echinoderms in this tank get fed PhytoPlex and the hermits, crabs,
and Burrfish are fed bay scallops. We feed all of our animals 3 times a
week, and are diligent about removing excess food.
The tomato clown fish tank does well; the animals in this tank live
well together and are fed frozen baby brine shrimp.
<... need more than this>
I am just nearly at my wits end with the nitrates and unhealthy tanks.
I don't know what else to do other than water change-outs and
<Read where you've been referred above>
What are some basics that I can do? The resources we have for moving
animals and cleaning tanks is very limited.
Any advice would be extremely helpful!
<Welcome. Do write back after reading re what steps you are
considering. Bob Fenner>
Your thoughts please, power washing
Wet Web Media/Bob Fenner:
FYI. I have discovered what I believe to be a novel approach to control
of hair algae and other undesirables. For about two years now, I have
been removing all my live rock (300+ lbs.) from my 210 gal. almost reef
tank and pressure washing it with saltwater.
It removes everything except coralline algae and well fastened Halimeda
(sp?) algae. The coraline algae seems to thrive after the cleaning.
Since I live on a saltwater bay, it works out good for my situation and
it only needs to be done about every six months. I still keep my water
parameters good, Do not know how long the pressure washer will last,
but so far, no problems.
<Run some fresh through it, assuredly, through each marine
I also pressure washed an aquarium I take care of for a museum using
the old water prior to changing (used a sump pump in the aquarium).
This seems to have potential, and I would like Mr. Fenner's
thoughts. Thanks for the good job you do. Jim in Florida
<Thank you for sharing Jim. I have a friend of the same name (Jim
Stime, of Aquarium Fish Guy video fame) who tried to power wash an
artificial coral construct in a tank, but underwater! It didn't
work out quite as well.
Cheers! Bob Fenner>
Help identifying large clear bubbles on underside of
New to hobby. Learned a lot from your site, hope you can help me.
My aquarium is about 30 days old. 100G, 120lbs LR, DSB, stocked
with a few Nass snails and Turbos, dozen hermits, a yellow headed
goby, a small clownfish, a small mandarin, a small loreto, one
scarlet cleaner shrimp, 3 peppermint to deal with a few Aiptasia
that came with LR.
<For browsers and you: I would have waited a few more weeks
before stocking this, or most any system>
Water parameters have been very consistent for past 3 weeks and
all within normal or typical ranges based on what I have read.
Ammonia and Nitrite 0 (small nitrite spike that lasted 3 days),
Nitrate 0 to 5 PPM based on color chart. Dealing with several
manageable algae blooms which I understand are typical - some
reddish brown fuzzy algae, some green hair/grassy algae. Nothing
major thus far - most of it being handled by CUC. I am concerned
with large clear bubbles that are about 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters
across that are developing on my rock.
<Mmm, rather than developing, I'd state they're being
"held up", trapped beneath it>
First there was one, now there are 10. They are clear - I can see
live rock through bubble. They gently move with the current, so I
assume they are covered with a thin membrane.
<Just the gas/liquid interface>
I can see a small dark strip inside.
<Reflected et al. light>
I am leaning towards these being eggs but I don't know which
of my livestock would have laid these. They are stuck to the
underside of one large piece of liverock (the highest piece -
closest to the light). I am running actinic bulbs - blue ones. I
have uploaded two pictures. Please help!
<Not to worry, this is just gas... organic in origin or not...
that you can "brush away" with your hand or a tool when
in the tank... Bob Fenner>
Re: Help identifying large clear bubbles on underside
of LR 7/29/10
Thank you for your response. I was concerned that these may have
been spores, eggs or some sort of algae.
On a separate but related not, now that I have started the
initial stocking of my FOWLR, how long should I wait before I
begin adding a few more fish?
My plan is one fish per month (after several weeks of quarantine
for each), which I understand to be sufficient
time to observe water parameters, livestock, etc. I have had very
consistent readings for three weeks. I have not experienced any
noticeable "cycle" other than the nitrite spike in the
first 3 days of my tank's existence.
<I'd wait a month or so...>
At first I thought my tank has not yet cycled but I have been
told by several LFS that I have more than enough bio load and
that because of my LR, my tank may have already be cycled.
Don't know if this is correct or not.
<... then read re>
I was thinking of buying and quarantining a new fish end of next
week, which would be the fourth week of consistent readings. With
two weeks in quarantine, I will have been looking at six weeks of
(unless something changes) before adding my next fish. In your
opinion, is this a reasonable approach?
General Questions/Marine Set-Up 10/31/09
<Hello Mark. I've read your query, and before I go on, I
would like to
know your water parameters, pH, dKH, salinity, ammonia, nitrite,
and nitrate. James (Salty Dog)>
I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with about 30 lbs. of live
rock, a standard Aqueon filter and an aerator. I had this tank
for about 9 months now. It's been a ride, to say the least,
but one that I have enjoyed since deciding to go 'salt'
after growing up watching dad maintain a 30 gallon freshwater
I have a few general questions that may or may not have been
answered on your site. Actually, I've done so much reading on
your site over the past few months I'm probably confusing
But anywho, here are the ?s
1-How many pounds of live rock are actually needed for a 55
2-The livestock in my tank consist of a 4" Foxface, a
2" cinnamon clown, a 1" yellow-tailed damsel, a 2"
pink pseudo, and a 3" orange-spotted goby.
How many more fish can I afford to add to this tank, as I would
like to see as many species, colors, and variations as possible
3-considering the aforementioned question, I've had some
deaths over the 9 months, and it seems that I cannot keep certain
types of fish. I've had a raccoon butterflyfish, a hippo tang
(that I REALLY wanted), a blue-eyed filefish (sorry I cant
remember its specific name), a bi-color angel and a lemon angel
that have all died in a similar manner over this time period.
They all seem to look fine for the first few days to a week. It
then appears that they either aren't eating or stop eating.
They become lethargic or they don't swim much, almost as if
they are becoming antisocial, and then, death comes. What is the
problem with all of these wonderfully-colored fish? I've been
told at the shops that the fish that I have are just
"hardy" unlike the ones that have died.
4-I've read on here that using tap water with a
dechloraminator is a good way to maintain proper pH and KH....or
should I be using the RO water that's being offered at the
shops? I've been taking my water to a few local shops to have
it tested, and they've all been saying the same thing - -that
the KH level is not high enough. What seems to be the problem? Is
this the reason for the livestock deaths that I already
mentioned? FYI, I do a 9gal water change every two weeks, and
when I add the saltwater back in I add marine buffer and a
standard dechloraminator. Should I continue to add buffer on a
weekly basis? or should I add buffer to the tank at all?
5-Is cleaning the glass of the algae and growth a good thing or
6-When I bought the setup, it came with a standard fluorescent
bulb for the size of the tank. As a 'youngster' I recall
that this is ok for freshwater species. Is this the case for
saltwater? I'd rather have the 'cool look' that comes
from the 'purplish tint' of the UV lighting I see at the
How many hours should the light be on? I know consistency is the
key with lighting.
7-I'd really like to expand and have a system with corals. Is
this possible at this time? I know the lighting requirements are
different, but what about compatibility issues with the livestock
I already have in place, as well as any other issues? Please give
me your critique.
8-the Foxface I has changes colors often (as I know that this is
an indicator of its stress level, from what I have been told and
read)...sometimes it's the nice yellow color that I see on
the fish at the store, and other times it's the pale
brownish-yellow color that seems to tell me it's stressed. At
night, his whole body spikes up and he turns into a
'monster' (smile). Is this normal activity? What can I do
to get the beautiful yellow color that I've seen at the shops
at all times?
9-Do I need a powerhead and skimmer? I have a brownish algae (or
something) that is covering the tops of the liverock, it looks
undesirable, but I'm wondering is it just detritus or is
there a circulation issue?
10-The temperature is around 76 degrees. . .I've read that an
for saltwater is between 75-80, so am I within the right
11-in terms of feeding, I've been using TetraMin flakes and
Is TetraMin better than the food that they are selling in these
shops? It seems to give me clearer water, if nothing else.
*I've also attached three (3) pictures of the tank, all taken
in the morning when the light was first turned on (hence the
Foxfaces spotted colors [smile] )
Thanks again for all of your time answering these questions. I
really appreciate all the work you guys do. I'm on a budget
but I do know that most times you pay for what you get when it
comes to maintaining a healthy aquarium. I know the questions are
lengthy, but you guys appear to be the experts in the field, and
I figure I'd better ask all the questions at once :)
-Mark, St. Louis, Missouri
I bet you haven't seen anything like this before!!!! SW
sys. keeping in Egypt -- 10/28/2009
Greetings crew, Abdo here
First, I just want to say that the shear amount of information and
effort put into this single website truly astonishes me!!!! that's
one hell of a remarkable job, and I have great amounts of respect for
each and every one of you, true masters.
<Many hours, good friends make WWM the ongoing useful, evolving
resource it is>
I have a 450L saltwater FO with a 70L sump, been running since August
2008, lightly stocked. I introduced some live sand and livestock, all
of which I obtained locally (I live on the Egyptian north coast,
obtained from the Mediterranean & the Red sea, nothing fancy).
<I have been to Alexandria...>
Now getting to the fun part, hope you guys aren't too shocked by
Things here in Egypt are kind of tough for any one who sees an aquarium
anything more than a glass box with water and goldfish, let alone have
the slightest knowledge of saltwater aquariums :) I live in Alexandria,
the 2nd largest city, population of 5 million+, and only 2 fish stores
that deal with saltwater!!!! not to mention the painful lack of almost
everything essential to run a tank and actually knowing what's
going on in it.
<I live in San Diego, about 3.5 million people and we have three
fish stores that principally deal in saltwater...>
Let me put it this way: it's been over a year now, I have measured
PH, alkalinity, nitrates, any trace element or parameter ZERO times,
the most sophisticated I got was specific gravity, with a hydrometer I
truly doubt accurate. The only hopeful things are that I use Instant
Ocean salt and I have a protein skimmer, besides the usual biological,
chemical & mechanical filtration methods.
I've been going all this on guess work and anything I can observe,
and one major thing also helping me keep everything intact is basically
WWM <3 just reading so much and implementing what I can manage has
made a huge difference I guess!!! :) THANK YOU
Thank God till now I've had very few casualties and many of the
fish I have now have been with me from the start. How I deal with
problems is very one sided, meaning that I just assume (for example)
that I need more calcium concentration, so I crush up some shells and
put them in the sump, or I assume DOCs are becoming too concentrated so
I add carbon (I usually look across the tank and see how yellow it gets
at the far end), and so on. What usually makes me aware of potential
problems is WWM, again hero of the day.
I have 1 Monodactylus argenteus, 1 red tomato, 2 four banded damsels, 1
common Mediterranean goby, 1 Aidablennius sphynx, 1 Aphanias dispar, 2
Moringua edwadsii (maybe), 3 unidentified herbivores, several hermit
crabs, a conch, several Nerite snails, several coastal shrimps, 8
mussels, one oyster and one hair worm.
<Sounds very nice indeed>
To sum up, from all I read about other systems on the FAQs I think I
can safely say that I'm in saltwater hell :) The purpose of this
horror story is to ask for advice regarding what to do in such harsh
conditions (besides leaving the hobby of course), any crude methods of
detection? any thing I Could be missing?? any time bombs I can't
possibly hear ticking??
<Actually... given your current success, obvious conscientiousness,
practices, I think you're fine here. I was about during the
beginnings of the saltwater hobby, and we had about as much test gear,
supplements as you have... And far less knowledge>
I know it's a very big thing to ask, that's why I came to the
best. If you have any questions I'll be more than glad to
Thank you so much, on behalf of everything living in my tank :)
<Thank you for sharing. Life to you Abdo. Bob Fenner>
I'm still at a loss... SW maintenance
Thank you for taking the time to try to help. You have helped me
before 7 yrs ago when I started up the hobby. Ill try to be
precise and attach a couple pics. I moved 2 months ago and am
unemployed recently so I'm having a hard time keeping up with
my tanks needs(buying cheaper salt..instant ocean) I have 135
gallon marine tank and a 10 gal refugium w a venturi skimmer
which is collecting quite abit. When we set the tank back up, we
seemed to loose all our frags and cleaner crew, but no fish.
<... this system seems a bit... unkempt>
I just did a 40 gal h20 change 5 days ago and will do another one
(same amt) tonight. My halides are 6. Month old and I know my
actinics need to be replaced. Also all my Caulerpa died. I have
tons of brown algae and my fish all have cloudy eyes.
<... clean your skimmer... the contact chamber... save up and
place a unit of Chemipure or equivalent...>
I have an orange shoulder tang, blue tang, six line and juv
emperor angel..who seems like his color is blotchy and pale and
is hiding a lot.
they all eat well (Nori and gel meaty foods) 2-3 times a day.
I've had these guys for couple yrs and have moved 3 times w
no problem. The sand has black slime and I just can't seem to
get it right in there this time. salts
at 0.22 ,
<... too low>
dKH 10.0, cal 350, phosphate .02 and nitrates 15. No
nitrites(checked just incase chemicals???) I hope this is enough
info to steer me through this.
I'd like to take sand out and replace or clean and can I
scrub the rocks in a bucket of old salt water? (When I do the
water change) and should I put fish in a 10 gal hypo salinity
quarantine tank?thankyou and my email is XXX
<Where to start? Likely just simple maintenance:
Re: Secondary Infection to Popeye 9/23/09
Oh My Gosh!!! Bob Fenner emailed me!! I couldn't be more excited if
Tom Cruise came and had dinner with us! lol! I was very ecstatic to get
your reply and called my friends (not fish tank owners) who really
didn't get what the big deal was... If only they knew!!
<Now I feel like jumping up and down on a sofa... but don't
think I'd let NicoleK go quite so stupidly...>
Seriously, I am so grateful to get your response and the links, which I
have been doing my best to read through thoroughly (which can be
hard-so much fun information, I get side tracked on all these other
<I do wish there was some "easier way" to approach the
mass of folks with so varying interest and ability levels with the
subject material... We're thinking about more
"introductory" areas, articles>
So interesting....I told you I have two test kits, from two different
companies, right? Well, they both have nitrates in them, but I usually
only use one set, because it is the kit that also has the pH test.
Well, I had the other kit out and used their nitrate test-same exact
bottles, same exact procedure, but gave a WAY different reading. So I
did each one again, together, side by side, and sure enough, way
first (normally used kit) reading: Nitrates 80
second kit (not normally used) : Nitrates 20
HUGE difference, huh? So tomorrow, off I will go, make the 45 minute
trek to my closest LSF and have them test with their kit. Will be
interesting to see.
<Mmm, do check the "scales" of the two kits... I suspect
one is Nitrogen as nitrate... the other total nitrate. See the Net for
I'll feel much better if it is the 20. At least I can work with
However, my Phos still reads at 5....
Which leads me to my next question...
What do you think of the-Coralife Super Skimmer 125 Protein
<Is an "okay" product... not as inefficient as a SeaClone,
but not as good as an AquaC or many other line>
I can get a slightly used one for 75$. Would you recommend second
<I'd look about...>
How to clean? Dilute bleach and then let sit?
<One approach... Better to soak in a vinegar solution first if there
is a good deal of carbonaceous (whitish) material stuck on it... for
hours... Rinse thoroughly, then the bleach...>
Obviously, there would be no warranty, but it doesn't seem that the
manufacturers warranties they are all that long lived anyway...
My other question about a skimmer is that right now, I really am not
ready to set up sump (maybe Santa?) but I do want a better skimmer
now....so I need a hang one. (Do you like the Remora Pro?)
Any way to convert it to an in-sump skimmer later, or is that just a
silly question? So much to learn...
<Mmm, better by far to use an in-sump model>
Update on "Scout," my Clarkii Clown (or
"our-friend-Scout" as my 2 year old daughter refers to
Reading through the material you referred me too regarding unilateral
exophthalmia. Definitely believe it started with trauma by me dropping
the glass on him but then a secondary infection that he was more
susceptible too due to poor water conditions and stress....But since it
was not clearing up or healing, and continuing to ooze and not respond
to antibiotics, I kept searching for a similar sounding case and found
one that Anthony replied to and he recommended Fungus Eliminator (or
Fungus Clear as it is now called) by Jungle. Called my LFS and talked
to the same guy I discussed this with initially and he thought it
sounded like a good plan since it has been almost 4 weeks and still not
healed. I dropped the first tab in tonight (yeah, they sold it at
PetSmart-very close to me). Here's hoping... And how long can these
guys go with our really eating?
He will take a flake from me if I put in right in front of his mouth,
but doesn't seem to see it floating around on the surface or in the
tank. I know he can see with his good eye, but he just is not
interested. I WISH he were a dog or a cat and I could just syringe feed
him... (btw, I did try..he just spits it out!)
<Check water quality...>
I also am just beginning to piece together all the info on buffers and
pH and alkalinity....There is a ton of info available on HIGH pH and
LOW alkalinity, info on high alkalinity and low calcium...and ways to
correct it...but I can't find reference to HIGH alkalinity and Low
pH...is HIGH alkalinity really a problem?
<Can be, yes>
My Calcium levels remain pretty consistent in the normal range, so
it's not affecting that. I have read you can drop your alkalinity
by adding distilled water, but wouldn't that also drop my pH even
<Better to use sufficiently buffered water, RO than
I can't get my pH to stay above 7.8. I switched to using Kent's
Superbuffer-dKH for my water changes and top offs (I have a hood, so I
don't have a lot of evaporation..is that bad?) It made no different
compared to the previous product. Is there maybe another product that
will raise just the pH but not the carbonate hardness???? May be a
silly question that shows my true ignorance, but I got to figure this
out, so any help..I would love!!
Oh, so much to learn, so little time!
<Take your time>
Thanks again, Bob and the whole crew at WWM! You are awesome!!
Top water Scum 9/22/09
Hey Crew, Tommy here.
<Scott V. with you today.>
I have a 60 gallon with canister filter, saltwater, FOWLR setup.
Ammonia at 0, Nitrites at 0, Nitrates around ten. HOB Aqua-C skimmer, a
few powerheads, 1/4 inch deep of crushed coral substrate, and a twenty
gallon refugium on the side that is above the 60 in position. Stocked
with a small hippo tang, purple Firefish, African goby, and a maroon
clown. 1 shrimp, snails, hermits. Up and running for 5 months now. My
issue is the accumulation of the scum that floats at the top of the
water. I seem to have a lot of this stuff. It builds up over 3-5 days
after manually removing it, and I know it isn't healthy. First of
all, what is it?
<DOCs the skimmer should be taking out.>
Second, how do you make it go away permanently?
Third, is there any equipment that will eliminate the task of manually
removing this scum from the top? More skimming? Wet/Dry filter? Any
help is appreciated.
<Your problem can easily be solved with a 20-30 dollar part from
AquaC. It is the surface skimming box made to go with your skimmer. It
will feed the skimmer this scum rather than the water below it.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Green Leather Polyp... still not
Thanks so much for the information! As always, good instruction usually
leads to more questions. First, thanks for the scientific name for my
Coral (Alcyoniidae). This lead to some great information on your site.
I have high hopes for this guy now! The stump did get really mushy and
fall apart (I pulled that out, yuck!), but I left the little rocks in
there since I really didn't know what to do with those. I have high
hopes for this little guy now!
1. Since this is a Coral (yes, my fish salesman said it was a
"plant" and not a "coral" and I believed him) and
my Chocolate Chip Starfish hasn't eaten him or shown any interest,
do you think it is safe to put more coral in my 37 gallon or do you
think he's just not interested in eating that specific coral?
<I think you should read a bit more before proceeding period>
I know that soft corals are probably out, but what about the hard
2. Would a Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab (or any for that matter) eat
3. What about my Scooter Blenny is "ludicrous?" On advice, I
bought him to help with the brown algae in my tank. I'm guessing
that was a bad idea?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mandsysfaq2.htm
and the linked files above>
Thank you so much! I'm trying to do better and you guys and your
site is so helpful!
<... you show no evidence of using it... Please do so. BobF>
Help! tank overtaken by travel/laziness SW Maintenance,
Caulerpa Control 8/25/2009
I have always loved your site and it is my number one place to visit
when it comes to my tanks.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I have had a 30 gallon semi reef tank (polyps, mushrooms, leather
coral, anemone) with 50 pounds of live rock, a cardinal fish and a
I have two 10 gallon sumps, one has a large protein skimmer and heater,
and the other has enough Caulerpa to fill a gallon size milk jug or
I have been in and out of town and have had someone feed my tank each
day. I have gotten behind on water changes and let's just say the
tank isn't going to make the front of any magazine covers to say
<No surprises there.>
Caulerpa has gotten into the main tank and over taken half the live
<Daunting, but not insurmountable.>
I have more Aiptasia than I have ever had. There is probably 60 or 70
individual ones I can see when I look in.
<Several methods of getting rid of these>
To top it off, my 29 gallon main display tank developed a crack near
the top I noticed a few hours ago. Luckily, I had a 29 gallon corner
tank that was empty in a spare room.
<Just not your day is it?>
For the last few hours, I have slowly gotten all the contents moved to
the new tank. Through the process, I washed about half the sand and
kept the other half. I also added about 20 gallons of RO water and
my salinity correct.
<By washing the sand, you likely damaged some of your biological
filtration. Do keep an eye out for ammonia spikes.>
I am not really sure how I can get this tank back to a respectable
<Time to roll up the sleeves.>
What steps should I take to fix this issue?
Just so I don't seem lazy, he is what I think I should do, but want
to double check with you first.
1. I probably need to take out each piece of rock and brush it down
with an old toothbrush in a bucket of salt water and then quickly dip
it in some RO water and then put it back in the tank? I know it will
not get rid of all the Aiptasia/Caulerpa, but it would be a start.
What is the best process of doing this? Should I dip it in RO water
after brushing it and then put it back in the tank?
<For Caulerpa, the easiest thing to do is reach in and grab it out
by the handful. Just get all of the green stuff out. The
'roots' are not roots, so they will not grow into more
2. Since I already have so much Aiptasia, I would think it is time for
a Nudibranch, which should have a field day with the Aiptasia, but I
know removing them can be a pain and it is a dangerous creature to
in the tank if it starves. I know red leg hermit's are good, but I
don't think they could make a dent in it. would a peppermint shrimp
make a dent in it?
<Not a fan of Nudibranchs - only a few eat Aiptasia. Peppermint
shrimp can help provided you actually get a peppermint shrimp.>
<I'm a fan of injecting them with Kalkwasser paste. It kills
3. I know I need to get my water levels back to normal. How often
should I do water changes in the next few weeks? I know from a previous
article on your site, that two 5 percent changes per week is a good
idea to go by. Should I double that up until I see some progress?
<10 - 20% water changes one a week works well. You can go to 30 -
40% once per week as long as you split it into two water
From reading your Aiptasia page
I am definitely going to get a peppermint shrimp, but what else would
<I'm a fan of the Kalkwasser method.>
Any other ideas or suggestions. Sorry for getting lazy, I know
ya'll have taught me better than that J Keith
Re: My tank-update... keep reading, SW
Since I last wrote I lost 2 fish. The Sandperch just disappeared a few
days after my previous email. The next day the blue Chromis
<The? Is a social species; won't live long or well
was dead. I did not see anything wrong nor any aggression and both
seemed to be eating ok so I don't know what caused their
The Gramma has been a pleasant surprise minding his own business and
keeping his big mouth shut except at feeding time. I tried to sell the
clown but at the time no one seemed to be interested so he is still
The citron goby is still not eating well.
<... live on live (mainly Acroporid) polyps in the wild...>
He seems to take a bite once in a while but he is really just wasting
away. He has gotten more active and goes to the top once in a while
during feeding but no enough.
I did some more reading as advised
and was surprised about the number of people having problems with the
citron eating. I really did not order him, I ordered a yellow clown but
they had a mix up.
<All Gobiodon spp. share similar husbandry>
In any case it is frustrating seeing him turn into skin and bones. He
was so nice and plump when I got him.
He doesn't respond to newly hatched brine shrimp which all my
others go after like it was the greatest thing on earth. I will try to
catch him and see if I can put him in a tank by himself to see if I can
get him to eat.
<Keep reading. B>
Re: Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/16/09
<No problem Deb, sorry it's taken me so long to respond; I was
away from my computer too long!>
Will add carbon as you mentioned. I did check the water again, and
everything is OK. Their is no indication of anything that is off in the
<Then I suspect some sort of untestable menace here... are there any
invertebrates, plants, etc in this aquarium?>
I did not use anything new or any type of chemical near the tank, will
try another water change.
<Will almost certainly help>
Re: Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/16/09
Should the carbon go into my Bio-wheel or the filter?
<Either place should work, although a canister or other filter where
there is 'forced' flow through the carbon is optimal.>
Re: Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/16/09
I followed your instructions, and I am happy to say that all my fish
are doing well except for my NASO TANG.
<Glad to hear there is improvement>
She is swimming around OK and No heavy breathing but still will not eat
at all. I put some flake in the tank with Garlic and she shows no
interest, one fell into her mouth and she spit it back out. She has not
eaten since last Wednesday. How can I get her to eat, or did whatever
was in the tank mess her up for good. My husband and I feel so bad, is
there anything we can do. Any advice would be so appreciated.
<I understand your feelings. Tangs tend to be especially sensitive,
and sometimes they take a little longer to get over their shock than
other fish. Since I'm writing this some time after your email: Is
the tang eating now, or is it still showing no interest toward food? My
hope, expectation is that the situation will have cleared itself
<No problem, Benjamin>
Re: Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/16/09
Thanks for getting back to me.
<No trouble, sorry for the delay!>
My Tang still shows no interest in her food.
I thought I saw her pick at the seaweed once today, but it may have
been wishful thinking. She is still swimming strong, and looks good,
but her behavior is a little off, she seems to not want to be bothered
by the other fish, normally she is pretty social.
<May still be stressed, or still noticing something in the water.
Their digestive organs are especially sensitive.>
She does not look sick at all, I am so stumped???? I hope like you,
that maybe she needs more time, but how long
can she go on without eating, today is a week?
<Although it isn't 'good' for them they can easily go a
month without eating- provided they were in good health to begin with.
A week or two isn't likely to kill the fish, but it would be good
to have it eating again. Have you tried fresh algae or other enticing
foods? Perhaps a few more water changes, time...>
Thanks again for your
<Again, no trouble. Hope this clears up.>
Re: Frenetic Fishkeeping - 7/26/09
I have good news, my Tang is eating and back to her normal behavior.
She is very hungry and is begging for food every time I go near the
tank. Thanks for all your help it was greatly appreciated!
<Glad to hear everything worked out! Benjamin>
pH/Algae Issues =), SW op.
Hello to my Omniscient Fish Keepers!
<I wouldn't... didn't go this far... Heeeee!>
You all saved my fish (Red Hawk) months ago from a very persistent ich
and very bad LFS advice, (Greenex) and now he's doing wonderfully
in his 120 gallon fish palace. (He was the only survivor left) well,
and the choc chip starfish. lol. But now I have a few other questions
that I'm having issues with. Some I am in the process of correcting
and want to make sure I am heading in the right direction.
I'm new to saltwater. And I'm battling a blue-green slimy
=) It's not terrible yet, but quite the pain. A film develops over
the glass within about 4 days and it's all over the rocks.
Yesterday, some reddish bubble-like algae-like substance started
appearing on the rock.
I've learned that my protein skimmer is a waste-of-plastic piece of
crap that shouldn't even be allowed to be sold. lol. A SeaClone
150. After several months, I don't even think it's pulled a cup
of skimmate from the water. So, yesterday I ordered the Remora Pro
after some research and it should arrive in the next couple days.
I'm hoping the results are as good as I read. Will the remora need
any adjustments or just hang it and go?
<Mmm, not really... mainly a set and leave alone proposition>
With the tank being so lightly stocked, will it pull a cup each day, or
should I expect every couple days for now until I restock?
<Will remove much more waste, nutrient>
(I want to correct any problems before adding any fish again) After
installing the Remora, is there anything that I need to do in order to
help eliminate this annoyance? The starfish tries to keep up, but he
can only eat so much. (He actually does eat it)
<See WWM re BGA, general marine algae control>
I'm also having trouble maintaining a ph at the proper levels. It
will be around 8.1-8.2 after a water change, but within a day,
sometimes two, it falls back to around 7.8-7.9 and stays there.
<And pH and Alkalinity: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm
and the linked files above>
My substrate, fine Aragonite, has fused in some places, so I know that
it's falling possibly even lower than that and I just haven't
caught it on a test yet. I use RO water for all my top off and water
changes. I have recently purchased Kalkwasser after reading that it
helps to raise and steady ph. (Have not started dosing yet) But I'm
wondering if there is some underlying problem that I'm not aware
of. I don't understand why it stays low when everything else in my
water appears good?
My water parameters are:
Alkalinity: 4 mEq/L (Instant Ocean test kit shows 3.5 or higher is
Phosphate: 0 now (but there was a significant level, off the charts,
about a month ago, learned it was most likely from frozen foods and not
Purchased Rowaphos & rinse now and has been 0 since. suspect this
might be cause of some algae as well.)
<And read re the use of chemical filtrants...>
I do a 5/gal water change per week and change the filter media
(biochem, Rowaphos & filtration pads) about every 3-4 weeks. (Rena
XP4) The tank is approximately 8 months old.
I don't overfeed, I think. I feed approx 1 tsp of brine shrimp to
the hawk in the am. (Usually about 20 or so shrimp) He'd eat all
day if I let him.
And a small pinch of flake in the afternoon/evening. I was reading
about Mysis, will the hawk like that?
Sorry for being so long-winded. Thanks for your help! You guys
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
What to tell my boss at work Bringing a 55 Gallon tank back.
SW op. f' 6/28/2009
My boss has a 55 gal. that was setup a little over a year ago, by
someone who claimed he knew what he was doing. This person was suppose
to do routine maintenance and did so for a few months. Then he quit
saying it was to far to travel, 45 miles each way.
So the tank went down. My boss asked me, since he knew I have a 40
goldfish tank, if I would help him with his tank.
I told him I did not know anything about saltwater, but would look into
The tank setup is 55 gal. w/live rock on a 1" bed of sand. A
Emperor 400 power filter. A Coralife 48" 260 watt light, a heater
and 3 small fish.
<What kind of fish?>
For the past few weeks I have been searching the web to learn. Three
weeks ago I tool my 5 in 1 dip test strips to test his water. It showed
the nitrate was higher than the
strip would go. I also found a deep six hydrometer in his cabinet and
checked the salinity. It too was higher than the scale would go.
The water level in the tank was very low. The live rock had some
green/brown slime covered with air bubbles all over it.
<Cyanobacteria. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >
So I started. First I found some Oceanic salt in the cabinet and mixed
with 12 gal. distilled water and scrubbed the rock.
I then did a 30% water change with the same water/salt mix. The
salinity is now 1.025. That's where we're at. Since I've
been reading this and other sites it seems that he should invest in a
RO or a RO/DI for the water.
<It does help, yes.>
He ask if he could just go to Wal-Mart and get the water from the
<That will be fine.>
I told him I just don't know. Please help with this issue. He said
he told the other guy that he
wanted some Coral in the tank but never received any.
<System is in no way ready for corals yet Will need more stable
water parameters and a much more robust filtration system that what you
I am going to attach a picture so you will see what sad shape things
<Picture did not go through.>
Any and all help, suggestions, will be greatly appreciated.
<The first thing is reading and learning. The tank has been
neglected so it is going to take some work to get it right.
Either you, or have your boss start reading here:
reading the articles that are relevant to your tank.>