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FAQs about Moving Marine Livestock: Troubles, Fixing

Related Articles: Moving and Transporting your Livestock and Tanks By Amy Janecek, Moving Aquariums

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Ammonia help... SW, moved tank...     3/19/13
Hi I am new here I have been searching this sight <site, but ok> learned a lot but I have not found the answer to my questions! Ok I have a 55 us gallon saltwater aquarium I purchased this tank used from my good friend the tank has been set up for over a year! Well to start I drained about half of the water into a huge cooler to transport all the live rock I drained another 10 gallons out to make the tank itself Easier to move. We moved it to my house we set the tank up we put the water out of the cooler in the tank and then I put the live rock back in the tank and put the filter on the back and a power head inside the tank.
<So far, so good>
Now I used tap water to fill it the tank the rest of the way.
<Mmm, well... would have been better w/ pre-mixed/stored seawater... I take it you didn't use freshwater>
I got everything right ( well at least I thought I did). Well everything was in shock is what I assumed. Then we had the water tested they said the nitrite was way to high so we did a 20 gallon water change. The nitrite went down then I noticed stuff I the tank was turning brown. Went to my local fish store they said check for ammonia so I bought the drop tester thing and it tested at 2.0 so we did a 10 gallon water change and everything checked out except the ammonia again but  it went down to .50. So I went back to my local fish store they said do a 30 gallon water change so I did. ( all water changes have been done with r/o water). Now tank is coming alive a lot more like sum <some> coral is popping back out sum have changed back to its original color but some of the rocks still look brown (They look dead)
<Patience here; these "things" take time>
( I am doing research to find out exactly what kind of coral I have sorry like I said I am new to all of this stuff) but I just did another test on the ammonia and its still at.50. I don't have a clue what to do now please.
hope someone can help me out sorry if it is not in good enough detail but I did my best to go into details
I also forgot to say I have 2 blue cromes, a copper band butterfly fish and a Clown fish (Nemo) there are also hermit crabs(5 of them) these all came with the tank except the clown fish
<Best to not feed at all till the ammonia is zero... this will happen, likely w/in a few days; you can/could add a bacteria product (Dr. Tim's, SeaChem...)... Again, patience. Bob Fenner>

Recent Fish Move   6/28/10
Hello Crew,
I recently wrote to you guys at the end of May regarding moving to a new home with my 110G and 125G tank. Although most details were planned ahead for a move that was only 3 blocks from my old place, the end result is now a pure disaster.
The movers broke my 125G tank which hugely delayed getting my fish in a working tank for over 24hours. I had to then move my 110G acrylic quickly, but not quick enough to save all my fish. While I saved all but 2 small fish (1 Chromis, 1 pink skunk clown fish), I had to sacrifice my corals which most did not survive. As unfortunate as it was, I was pretty happy that my fish survived given the circumstances. I had about 80% of my fish in an empty 110G tank. Those fish included a 6" Vlamingii, 4" purple tang, 5" Thompson tang, 5" Naso Tang, Midas Blenny, 2 Cardinalfish, 3 Clownfish, and 2 Chromis. I also had my 29G tank which I normally used for quarantine housing my 4" Blue Hippo Tang and my 4" Powder Brown Tang.
About 10 days after the move, I was able to buy a 135G acrylic Tank and spent the next 10 days modifying the tank and setting up.
However, Early last week 2 of my small fish in the 110G tank were dead.
I tested all water parameters and found no water issues (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, water temp at 78.7F, water salinity at 1.025 and a PH of 8.1. The following day another two of my small fish died. I also saw cloudy eyes in my Naso and cloudy eyes in my blue tang in the 29G. I also saw rapid breathing with my Naso and Powder Brown.
<Environmental... and stress!>
By this past Thursday, I began treating both tanks with CopperSafe.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do/have done this; likely just improved environment, time going by would have fixed all here. IF protozoan disease was feared, quinine compound use would be/is advised. See WWM re, particularly w/ use on Tangs.>
From the beginning of last week till now, I've lost all my fish except the Vlamingii who looks well, the Purple tang, a clownfish and my Blue Tang.
I'm guessing that the stress of the move although a few weeks ago started some sickness/disease which went rampant throughout the tanks.
Should I have started a CopperSafe treatment shortly after the move?
I had no idea that stress could cause disease weeks after the initial move.
<Yes, can>
I'm also guessing that with both tanks empty of live rock and sand, that their places to hide and normal look of their home probably played a part right?
<Likely so>
I have one last question that I truly hope you can assist with. As soon as I saw signs of illness
<What signs specifically?>
with my fish, they were dead within 4-8 hours.
I saw signs of my Blue Hippo Tang becoming sick back last Tuesday. He is miraculously still alive, but very ill. I cant understand how he is surviving. His eyes are still cloudy, he doesn't swim and just lays on a piece of rock or flat on the ground. He only moves for a couple moments when food is near his mouth to just grab a couple of small pieces. He moves his fins every once in awhile. He has now been like this for nearly a week and to see him still alive makes me wonder if there is anything more I can do to potentially aid his recovery. He is the only one in my 29G tank.
<Move this fish to a main display>
I have been adding some drops of Selcon into the water to hopefully help the nutritional standpoint. Should I add anything else? Should I add other medications like Maracyn?
<No and no>
I don't see any real physical abnormalities on him, but on the others that have died, I saw some darkened areas on their bottom portions near their gut.
I also do not want to add additional stress to him.
Frank Meadors
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Overstocked Tank Moving to Larger Tank (And still Overstocked) 3-31-2008 Hello, <<What's up Chris?>> I currently have an aquarium that I know is overstocked. <<At least you are aware.>> It is a 30 gallon with a hang on back wet dry filter with a skimmer, and a power head. <<A hang on macro-algae refugium would serve you better than the wet-dry.>> I change 5 gallons of water every 1-2 weeks. <<Every week would be ideal in a (your words) overstocked aquarium.>> My readings are good except for the pH is low at 7.8, the nitrites, I believe, are a bit high too at .2. <<Ideally one would want zero.>> I have 2 damsels about 1-1 1/2 inches, <<What species/??> a small trigger, 3-4 inches, a snowflake eel, probably just over a foot, and lastly a yellow tang, about 3 inches also. <<None of these animals belong in an aquarium of this size alone, let alone together.>> I know this is way too much for such a small tank, <<And the wrong type of animals for this tank as well.>> but some I took because they would have died or been killed in the systems they were from. <<I can understand wanting to save them but if they were purchased from sub-par stores this only encourages them to order and sell more, by helping one specimen you may doom countless more.>> My question is, I have a 72 gallon aquarium that I will be setting up in the next month or so, I have to wait till we move, will this be big enough for all these fish and possibly the addition of a Volitans or radiata lionfish? <<No it will only be big enough for the fish you have in the short term, even they will outgrow it in the long run.>> And, will the 72 be large enough for the yellow tang? <<Perhaps, what are the dimensions?...Bigger would be better, I usually aim for 100-125.>> Thanks for the help, Chris <<Anytime, Adam J.>>

Tank Upgrade issues... Tough Transitions... SW tank troubleshooting   2/1/07 Hey there hi there- <Mmm ho there?> I've searched the site for hours looking specifically for my issue. So here goes. <OK.> After years of dreaming and waiting I finally upgraded my reef tank. <Congrats!> I went from a 35 gallon corner to a beautiful yet still moderate 70 gallon oceanic starfire glass reef-ready tank. <Very nice!> I upgraded the sump and the lighting. When I did the big full day switcheroo sat 1/27, I had a ten gallon tank which I setup to house the corals and fish in. I transferred a large amount of sand to seed the new sand bed and appox 75%+/-  of the water in the old tank and also used BIO Spira to help out. <OK.> I waited about a day to transfer the corals, crabs and the fish. (I wanted to make sure the parameters were all in order so to speak) I made the transfer and the fish seem or seemed to be doing well until today 1/31, the regal tang (better known as baby dory) was MIA, the damsel is in heaven with all the space and the false Percula seems ok and the crabs and snails are moving around as well. <MIA?!?> NOW on to my problem. <MIA isn't the problem?> The corals seem to be struggling. The moon coral is shrinking up more and more, the torch coral is withdrawn and just generally all of the corals don't seem to be too happy in there. I tested the water and everything is literally near perfect. <Perhaps everything you tested for, but obviously everything isn't near perfect.> Ammonia is 0ish, <ish???> no nitrites, nitrates, Alk is 3.9, calcium is a little high at just above 500, ph is 8.0-8.2 and salinity is 1.024 <Water temp?> The only thing that I can think of at this point, in retrospect is that the water in the 10 gallon housing tank was colder than the 70 gallon at the time I made the transfer. I am hopeful that it won't be the demise of my gorgeous corals that had done so well.   <Usually the corals will recover quite quickly, with in a day or so, from a temporary change in water temp.  But it could be related to temperature.  Have you double-checked your thermometers?  Did you change the setting of your heaters and perhaps the new tank's temp is being maintained at a higher or lower temp than before the switch?  Or maybe your Ammonia isn't exactly zero?  Are the coral now getting hit with more water flow than they did previously?  You said you upgraded your lights, I would place the corals lower than they were previously to prevent light shock.> The anemone was splitting itself in the other tank, the mushroom split as well and everything WAS living amazingly. <OK.> Is it just a matter of acclimation at this point? <It could be.> Is there anything else that I can do to "help" them out? <Keep an eye on all your parameters and check how you water flow is being directed.  Other than that, time and patience will most likely be the best thing here my friend.> Have I completely screwed everything up?!?! <Hopefully not!> Thanks in advance for any advice and help <Hope this helps.  -Mich>

Stocking Levels Hi. I hope you can help me. I've been reading your FAQ's about stocking a small tank, and it seems I'm dreadfully overstocked, although I can't quite tell HOW dreadfully, and I hope you can help. Up until last week, I had a 150-gallon tank. That tank met a slow, sad end (as did my carpet) when the seal started leaking. I have temporarily housed my fish in my quarantine tank (30g) and a spare 10g I had. The 30g tank is holding  most of my livestock (10 damsels, 6 turbo snails, a 3" conch, one 4"  choc chip star and the one emerald crab who survived the upheaval); the 10g  has my second 5" ccs and 5 hermit crabs. Both tanks have enough sand and  rock from the original tank that I haven't experienced any problems with ammonia  or nitrites and everyone has been doing well while I researched my tank replacement options. To make a long story short, I'm looking at a minimum of 3 months before I can replace my tank and stand, which is too long for me to keep my fish in less-than-optimal surroundings. Any suggestions you have on which you would keep  in such a small tank would be more than welcome. I have resigned myself to the need to get rid of at least one of my stars, and possibly both, but I'm unsure  if there's a maximum damsel-per-gallon limit. If it helps any, the damsels are a  combination of 3-stripes and blue damsels, ranging in size from 1-2". They have  not yet been territorial in their smaller home, but I'm worried that may become  a problem in the future, in addition to the obvious problem  of their bioload. <Rachel, you might want to look into a Rubbermaid water tub.  Farm implement stores handle these and are relatively cheap.  I think that would work out well if you don't want to give up any of your animals.  Other than that, you can roughly figure one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Rachel

Royal Gramma made a run for it!  Please Don't Ship us in Ziplocs... Hello Crew,  <Hello Jim> I received a beautiful Royal Gramma from a fellow aquarist yesterday (along with some other fish). The fish were bagged in large Ziploc bags. While driving them home, I had to stop quickly at a light (I was driving like an old lady!!!), and you guessed it, the Gramma's bag opened. About 90% of the water ended up all over my floor. So, trying not to panic, I found the bag with the most water in it and decided to do an emergency transfer. I opened up the bag, but the Gramma was quite determined to stay inside. So I reached in and got him. (wait...it gets better) As I'm about to put the Gramma into the second bag, he bites me! In my astonishment, I drop him on my passenger side seat. Anyway, I pick him up again and get him in the bag. He looks quite freaked out, but that's about it. Luckily the rest of the ride home was uneventful. Once I get home, he doesn't look good...just laying on the bottom of the bag, so I decide to risk it and take him out before the full acclimation is complete (although he was probably at 50/50 tank water/bag water at that point, and the temps were the same). I take a pitcher filled with tank water and drop him in. He continues to lay almost motionless on the bottom, although he'll swim around if the water is agitated. So, I decide that I'm too concerned about his state to add him to the QT with the rest of the fish, so I add him to my Rubbermaid tub that's been mixing up a new batch of water. That's his new QT for now.  He survived the night, and he will swim around occasionally, but for the most part, he just lays on his side.  I read on your Gramma pages that they tend to lay/swim at odd angles, but he seems very lethargic. There's not really much I can do now besides monitor him and hope for the best, but do you have any suggestions or tips to help me help him?  <I think you said it, Jim. Monitor him. You didn't mention if he was taking food. That would be a good sign. James (Salty Dog)> As always, many thanks! ~Jim  <You're welcome>

Delayed shipping and inverts Hi, << Hi there. >> On Tuesday, I ordered 20 turbo snails, 30 blue-legged hermits, 12 Nassarius and six Bumblebee snails from Live Aquaria - the company correctly shipped everything Tuesday night but FedEx still hasn't delivered the package (they held the package in a facility for an extra day despite the words RUSH/LIVE ANIMALS that appear on the box.  I'm told tomorrow afternoon, which will have everything in their bags for roughly 48 hours. << Sounds fine. >>  Live Aquaria agreed to replace everything even though it's the shipper's fault.  Still a bummer though...  Anyway, can I expect heavy loss of life because of this? << I think it will all be fine.  By the way, I'm impressed with Live Aquaria's willingness to replace the animals.  Nice to hear, but I don't think you'll have any losses. >> <<  Blundell  >>

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