Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease: Poisoning; Endo- and Exo-genous; Not From Livestock

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, Establishing Nutrient CyclingMarine Water Quality, Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Environmental Disease 1, Marine Environmental Disease 2, Marine Env. Disease 3, Marine Env. Disease 4, Marine Env. Disease 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 8, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 10, Marine Env. Disease 11, Marine Env. Disease 12, Marine Env. Disease 13, & FAQs on Environmental Disease By Cause/Types: Environmental Deficiencies, Oxygen/Gas Problems, Mis-stocking: Psychological Challenges, ( Aggressive Behavior, Territoriality, ), Physiological Challenges (e.g. Metabolites, Allelopathy, Stinging), & Troubleshooting/Fixing

Metabolites most often... sometimes endogenous rhythms, wars twixt microbes... Metals, oh yeah... And a biggie: so-called "fish medicines"... There are a bunch of bogus ones about, that won't treat much of anything, but can/do interrupt nitrification...

Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis     4/9/17
Hi crew! I recently had an unfortunate incident of spiking ammonia during a prophylactic QT of three wrasses. The wrasses included two fairy (Jordani, rhomboid) and a juvenile Meleagris leopard.
Background of QT process: The first week of QT was spent in a cycled tank with live rock for acclimation and training the leopard to accept prepared foods. After the leopard began readily accepting various foods, two doses
of Praziquantel were administered 6 days apart for suspected gill flukes.
Also, 10 days of MetroPlex/focus-bound food after observing white-stringy waste from the Jordani. Both treatments concluded without complications, however the Jordani was still scratching and showing symptoms of gill irritation so I decided to execute a tank transfer regime to address the possibility of crypto/ich in the gills.
<Good practices...>
The tank-transfer treatment was successful, by the second transfer all flashing and symptoms were gone. The fish tolerated the remainder of the treatment well, and all three continued to eat heartily after each of the
four transfers and appeared very healthy. The total time spent in QT was a little over 4 weeks.
The incident occurred the day after the last transfer. I had intended to observe the fish for a few more days to make sure no new symptoms would appear. But, the following day I noticed some clouding on the tail-fin of
the rhomboid. I used a liquid ammonia test and was horrified to see the ammonia had jumped up to 1ppm overnight!
Since all of the treatments were complete, I quickly decided the best course of action would be to move them to the display tank and out of the toxic water.
<This is what I'd have done as well>
Once in the display, I noticed the two fairy wrasses showed some physical symptoms of ammonia burns- tattered/cloudy fins and "scuffed" scales. I probably should have administered a Methylene blue blue bath for toxicity, but at the time I just wanted them in clean water as quickly as possible.
This was three days ago, the leopard wrasse never showed any physical or behavioral symptoms of distress, the rhomboid swam near the surface for the first night but has since resumed normal behavior and its fins and physical symptoms are almost completely healed. The jordani unfortunately does not look much better. Still has cloudy/tattered fins and "burns" on its sides.
<David Starr Jordan's wrasse is the weaker of the Cirrhilabrus here>
I can't capture the burns with my camera, but the scales are whitish in color and look kind of raised. He is eating well, and active.
<Ah, good>
He is favoring the left fin (with the most damage) and not using it much to swim. Is there anything I can/should do at this point to help him recover, besides feeding vitamin-enhanced foods?
<Nothing else that I would do; no>
Should I be concerned that a secondary infection might be at play?
<Mmm; more harm potentially to move, treat at this juncture. I'd leave in place>
I have multiple QT tanks available if it would be advisable to get him into a cycled hospital tank for observation and/or antibiotics. Catching him may be tricky, but he's a pig so a trap might work fairly quickly.
Thanks in advance, sorry for the long note but I wanted to provide as much background information as possible.
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis    4/9/17

Sorry, total QT was a little over 5 weeks...not 4. I misread the calendar.
Not that it's pertinent to the question at hand, but for archival purposes.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis    4/9/17

Thank you, Bob. I'll stay the course and hope for the best. Enjoy your weekend!
<And you Nicole. B>

Need a parasite ID/treatment recommendation... ... toxic situation     11/19/13
Hello WetWeb Crew,
I seem to have come across an unknown parasite,
<?... the pix attached; show two of the more aquarium-difficult Acanthurids... w/ a great deal of accrued body slime... exposed to what?>

 and despite scouring the internet I've come up empty. I need some help in determining what this is, and how to treat it. First of all, none of these fish have entered my display tank - this pathogen has been confined to quarantine. Also, I've now experienced it on three different fish within three years. The first two fish (powder blue and brown tangs) did not survive, despite months of attempted treatment and troubleshooting with medications.
<Sans sampling and microscopic exam? Have you read the mat.s on WWM re parasitic identification?>
I have attached photos of those two fish for your reference. I had hoped to never see it again, but now here I am. I ordered a Red Sea Regal angel, and he came out of the bag with 4 of these "growths." I did not attach a picture of the regal because I'm having trouble getting a quality shot, and there is no doubt that it is the exact same symptom. What I've observed, is that these "spots" start out as a small speck on the fish, bigger than Ich and wrong texture/shape
for Lympho. They then proceed to "grow" outwards from the body of the fish and form a 2-5mm filament that hangs off.
<... almost assuredly reaction from something "in/of the water"...>
I've seen them triple in size within a day or two.
<... mucus, mucin... See WWM re body slimes of fishes (these four words in the search tool; on every page)>

 On the deceased fish, I've attempted to remove the growths via tweezers or scraping in hopes of learning something about them, but there's no real anatomy as far as I can tell. They don't seem to be worms. I've had mild results treating with .5mg/l Cupramine, but the parasite manages to return worse than ever after a week or less of symptoms disappearing, while still in full dose copper. I have not observed the disappearing act that is associated with Ich, once a growth appears it stays; though the delicate end piece can break off. Any help at all or insight you can offer would be most appreciated. A regal angel is just about the worst fish to try and experiment with medications on. Thanks in advance
<Am almost certain this is simply body mucus... a reaction to... something/s in your water... Sample it and see (under a 'scope). Some treatment, an aspect or more of your system is poisoning these fishes... causing them to become "very slimy"... that's what this trailing white material is, NOT parasitic; not pathogenic period. Treatment... involves investigating, eliminating the source of toxicity here... salt mix? source water? some "treatment" misplaced here... Bob Fenner>

WD-40 residue safe      6/26/12
Love your site, thanks for all your good advice.  I am making an aquarium so I ordered glass.  The tank is about 12 gallons. When I picked up the glass I noticed that it had a greasy feel.  The glass shop said that they sanded down some of the edges and used WD-40 as a lubricant for polishing.
  They said that it was ok for aquariums
<No... not. If memory serves "Water Displacement Formula (trial) Forty is Diesel Fuel, Kerosene and a perfuming agent... I worked for a family that rented space to the co. many years back here in San Diego>
and I should just clean it with alcohol.
<If it removes all... Likely you'll have to use another solvent... I'd look for acetone, xylene...>
 Then wash it off.   Is this true?   I always wipe the glass, before I silicone, with acetone.
 But have never heard it was ok to use alcohol.  Is there a better way to remove the WD-40?
<Not as far as I'm aware... I taught H.S. level Chem. and Physics; also decades back>
 What are safe cleaners for aquarium glass?
<There are quite a few... depending on what you're "cleaning off">
 Should I just start over with new glass?
<I wouldn't>
Thanks for all your help,
Ryan Pettit
<Welcome... Bob Fenner, who has friends w/ the family name "Petit"> 

Help Needed!!, SW fish losses... toxicity, post Cl use   6/25/12
Hello Guys
First I must congratulate you for the great job you do.
<Ah, welcome>
I have read a lot of articles about Acclimation , Dips/Baths , Formalin , diseases and more.
Here is my problem and I would really appreciate it if you could let me know your opinion and your suggestion.
But before that I would like to give you some info about the background.
I am "new" to this job , I am 23 years old and now run my own business with my father and a friend. It is called "Fish & Pet Planet". As you can understand we give more attention to the "Fish" , aquarium section.
I say that I am "new" and not new , because I was working with my father many years ago , from my 7 years till 12 , then spend a lot of years with R/C hobby and now  am back. But my father is at this job with stores of his own since 1975. He has great experience and is one of the best (if not the best) in Greece. I have seen him receiving 15 boxes of marine fishes and lose not even one ( back at '98) , I have seen him bringing back to life a lot of dead fishes, mostly big-expensive ones (xanthometopon , sexstiatus , diacanthus, paru , blue ring and more) some of them the last days.
What I mean is that he has a very very good "know-how" about this job and livestock and I really trust him.
<Ah good>
The last 2 months (after we closed down the previous store because of wrong communication between partners and reopened the new one) we are facing some problems. We cannot keep marine fishes more than a week. And here I explain.
We receive the fishes and acclimating them , the first day the fishes are stressed , after the second day , everything is just perfect , the fishes eats normally , flakes and frozen foods , they move normally , no wrong parameters in the water etc. The same happens for the first 3-4 days.
After that you can look at the fishes and everything is perfect and some hours later (2-3) some fishes are already dead. The same continues until we lose all of them.

We do have 9 aquariums. 1 is only for live rock. 2 of them are 250 Litres , and the rest of them (6) are 400 Litres.
<Are these tied together via plumbing, or separate?>
I test the water every day and everything is ok , as for NH3-NH4 and nitrite and nitrate.
<I take it they're individual from the above>
Firstly we thought that was our supplier , so we do tried 2 more , the same thing happens.
After that we thought that the aquariums weren't ready yet , we gave them some time but the same thing happens.
We made some therapies , for bacteria , diseases , parasites ,  but still the same.
After that I suggested to change the way of acclimation (even though my father used his way for over 35 years) , we did try what I red from your site , and the same happens.
At the end I though that was Brooklynellosis , but no marks of this disease.
<Not likely then>
We keep losing marine (only marine , we do not have any problem with freshwater fishes) fishes , the one after the other.
I do not know what else to try. I do trust my father a lot , but the last days seems that doesn't know what is happening and how to face it.
The reason why I told you that we have this problem after opening the new store is because we did clean the aragonite , corals and the biological stuff with chlorine.
<Mmm, from "household bleach" (sodium hypochlorite)? This should dissipate w/in days, but... I would take care from the current experience to drain, wash the substrate, and rinse, re-fill all these bleached tanks w/ freshwater. It may be that enough chemical reactions w/ the chlorine have left residual chemicals that are toxic. Something like this... or... sabotage is the most reasonable explanation for your fish losses>
 We keep our aquariums only with Sera Siporax , not skimmers or carb . ( My father does that the last 25 years without problems.)
Does anything comes to your mind?? Do you have something to suggest.
<Toxicity... from the chlorine or someone poisoning your system/s...>

What I am going to do is clean once more one of the aquariums (400L) and start it over , how would you suggest to set it up?
<Just make sure you gravel vacuum, or better still, systematically remove and wash the substrate in batches... rinse all w/ freshwater, run with freshwater for a day, w/ an overdoes of dechlorinator/dechloraminator...
test for free/residual chlorine. A swimming pool/spa kit will be fine here>
Best regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help Needed!! Cl, SW, myst. losses       6/25/12

Mr. Bob Fenner
<Hello again>
Thank you very much for taking your time to answer at my email.
<A pleasure, honour to aid your efforts>
I am really glad that I talk to you as I have read most of your articles.
Yes I did actually use sodium hypochlorite. We did soak the aragonite and the Siporax at this , then rinse it with freshwater and installed them in the aquariums , left them make the first cycle and then after some days and after the tests  we added the fishes.
<Mmm... usually this is no problem... as mentioned, the by products dissipate or become insoluble materials of no toxicity>
Yes the aquariums are separated/individual.
<I see; thank you>
If the problem was toxicity  (from sodium hypochlorite), wouldn't we lose the fishes from the first day???
<Yes... IF it were the chlorine itself or something "very" toxic... There are many less toxic materials that might be at issue here. Though you stated that your father and the shoppe don't use Carbon... I would in this case; in the hope of removing whatever the issue is here>
Also we did the same procedure at the freshwater aquariums (110 aquariums)and not even one problem.
<Yes... the chemicals to start w/ (not just salts, minerals) in the marine, are much more diverse, likely to have this problem, than the fresh... And freshwater organisms, due to the much more change-able nature of their environments, are much more resistant to chemical poisoning by and large>
We thought about sabotage so we install surveillance kit at the floor with the aquariums and that is not the problem.
<Thank goodness. I've been party to "mad poisoners" in a few retail settings... liquid ammonia in small balloon... solder "balls"... >
I will do as you instruct , but as it is the same that I did (without using
sodium hypochlorite) , I am not sure that this is the solution.
<Again... the draining, washing of substrate et al., refill w/ fresh, re-treatment w/ chlorine eliminating chemicals...>
What else could probably poisoning my system??
<Something else... not likely due to the freshwater not being affected...
like a chemical contaminant from products in the store, a cat litter box...>
Thank you for once more
Best regards
Kostas Zacharopoulos
<Best to discount all and re-clean, even re-bleach... This is what I would do. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help Needed!!      6/25/12

Hello for once more.
Thank you once again for your prompt reply.
<Ongoing welcomes>
I will do as you instruct and I will let you know as soon as I have news.
<I thank you. BobF>
Best regards
Kostas Zacharopoulos

Save the saltwater tank after hardwood floor refinishing?   10/17/10
Hi guys,
<And gals>
Sadly, I refinished the hardwood floors in the house and now my tank water is white. I've done some research and think it's from the polyurethane fumes. I already lost all my mushrooms, polyps and one tang from a 66 gallon reef tank (live rock, hard/soft corals, inverts) that has been pristine, with no loss, for over a year. Ammonia and Nitrite are both zero.
Just did 40% water change, changed exiting and added an extra bag of carbon.
Skimmer is pulling a lot of junk out. Is there anything else I can do to try to save this tank, or will everything die no matter what I do?
I'm just beside myself.
<Patience at this point. I take It you have no other established system to move your/the livestock to.. pre-mix and store more water for possible/probable change-outs. Bob Fenner>

Help with Sick Damsel: Marine Water Quality\Toxic Water 4/28/2010
<Hi Bill.>
I wanted to start by saying that I have been referencing your site frequently since setting up my tanks at the beginning of the year. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn'¦
<Happy to hear you find it useful. For what it is worth, I've been in this hobby for years and I still have a lot to learn.>
I have a 55 Gallon Sea Clear System II with a HOB Protein Skimmer. Up until the past few days, I felt that things were relatively stable. That's when I obviously erred in my judgment'¦
The tank had 2 small Damsels and 1 Percula Clown -- all small (approx. 1' in size) appeared to be quite healthy, active and eating well. I'm sorry that I don't know the names of the Damsels.
<No Problem.>
Approximately 3 weeks ago, I added an Arrow Crab. To my knowledge, he has been perfectly polite and shown no interest in any of the fish. I know how you all feel about them, but I did have a rather large bristle worm that came from some live rock.
<I personally don't trust them, but to each his own.>
Then, about 2 weeks ago, I added some small zoo frags -- 4 each with no more than 5-6 heads. So, for 2 weeks, everything appeared to be working out just fine.
Then, this past Saturday, I added a Koralia 750 because I was told that it would help with the water flow for the corals. I aimed the pump up towards the top of the tank at a diagonal so that the fish would not get the full force.
<With you so far.>
I also added a supplement that claimed to be excellent for corals and fish. I believe that this is where I went terribly wrong'¦
<Hmm... what was this supplement?>
Sunday morning, I woke up and noticed the larger of the two Damsels was dead on the bottom of the tank. The other, who I will say looks like a dark navy, almost black Stegastes (?), was lying towards the bottom of the tank. She appeared to be having labored breathing. She has eaten very little since Saturday.
<Some sort of metabolite poisoning.>
I saw no signs of disease or discoloration on either of the Damsels. The Clown appeared to be just fine and is still active and eating well. All of the other tank inhabitants appear to be doing well.
I use RO water and my salinity has bee running at 1.023 - .024 in this tank. I check my nitrates and they are close to zero -- barely reading on the tests. I did get a reading of approx 0.15 ppm on the phosphates, but that appeared to be acceptable. If anything, I thought it would have more of an impact on the corals than the fish.
<How about ammonia or nitrite?>
So, Sunday morning, I turned off the power head. I also did a 20% water change.
<Good on the water change, but you can turn the powerhead back on.>
Since then, the Damsel appears to be hanging on, but she is not eating. She has moved off the bottom of the tank and is doing some swimming around, but is not active at all. She is not eating. I have tried Mysis, Brine, and Copepods. I have not tried to quarantine her since I did not want to stress her out more than she already appears, and the Clown appears to have no interest in her.
<That's fine.>
I hope that I have provided enough information. Please, any advice would be helpful and very much appreciated. Let me know if you need any more information from me.
<It sounds like you had a bad ammonia or nitrite spike. Do have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs.htm >
Again, Thanks, in advance, for your help -- and my apologies for my rambling on.
<My pleasure.>
<MikeV><<RMF suspects Zoanthid involvement here>>

Brittle Star and general tank distress. 4/27/10
Hello. I have had my saltwater tank for about 1 year. But, I haven't finished it off, so it's still pretty basic. I have a 55gal tank, about 20 lbs of live rock, 3 damsels, 1 big hermit crab,
<Very predaceous>
a few smaller hermit crabs, a bunch of snails, and a brittle star. Everything in my tank has been fine.
I check the water balance regularly.
<Real data please>
I haven't done a water change in about 6 months because every time I checked the levels were great.
<Mmm, there are many aspects, elements of water quality for which there are no tests... best to do regular/serial water change outs to avoid too much accumulation of some, syndromes of too little of other aspects. Please read
here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/water.htm
and the linked files above>
However, I checked the other day and my nitrates and nitrites were elevated (my test kit doesn't give me numbers - only okay, ideal, stress, etc.). I proceeded to do a partial water change, making sure to keep salinity stable. At
first, everything was OK. All of the levels were back at good or tolerable, the nitrites and nitrates were still a little high. But, I didn't want to stress my tank any further. So, I added 2 more capfuls of Prime (what the LFS gave
me to dechlorinate and it says that it will lower the nitrates/trites).
<But not the causes...>
I went to bed after making sure all was good. But, in the morning my whole tank was in distress! My water was super cloudy, my little fish were gasping for air and in obvious duress. I tested my water and my pH was very acidic and the Nitrates/trites were very high! Strongly, my starfish was the only one who seemed to be ok, it was out and about in the tank eating while everyone else was dying. I removed about 15% of the water added fresh
saltwater and baking soda until I achieved the proper pH. We used airline tubing to blow extra O2 into the water. And, we finally got everything balanced out. We lost one damsel later on, she was fine for awhile and then started gasping again and died. The tank has remained cloudy for the last 2 days and today my starfish was out and has a huge chunk of meat missing. I can see his skeleton. I found out from reading your site that I should have a refugium,
<Helps in many ways but not absolutely necessary>
which I do not have because when I bought my system they told me I didn't need one. So, where I move my little lady to?
<Mmm, unfortunately not much you can do for this animal but keep the system stable and hope>
Is there anything I can do for her? How can I fix my tank?
<Read... re maintenance of such systems on WWM>
And, why did it go crazy like that?
<A "cascade event", brought on by metabolite accumulation, your addition of the Prime product>
I read that I can add iodine to the tank, can I buy that at a LFS?
Please, advise. Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mortuus est

Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins 4/18/10 - 4/19/10 -4/20/10
<Hello Dan>
I've read those articles many times. I've been following as best as I could.
<Good, need to maintain/follow the guidelines.>
2 things I know for sure: 1) my lights were a year old or more and needed replacing. 2) the ro/di filters were a year old and most definitely needed replacing. I did those things but maybe too late. The hair algae had already taken hold.
<May want to hire a Tuxedo Urchin to help out during this regrouping period.>
The anemone did not smell. In fact, when I got up to check on it this am (now confined to it's own bucket of freshly made salt water), it attached itself to the bucket wall and seemed to look better. I put the refugium light on it and left for work. Hopefully a miracle will happen. But now that you mention it, a few weeks ago, my cleaning magnet did have that smell!
It was a few years old so I threw it out, knowing that smell is trouble. The magnet had been surrounded by coralline algae and wreaked!
<Good point, I've had a few of these that have aged to a point where the plastic separated exposing the magnet to sea water.>
Some other clues: my AquaC 120 has been pumping none stop for months now. Something it used to not do. I suppose this is from the hair algae and deaths in the tank?
<And likely excess nutrients in the system fueling the algae.>
I'm doing water changes every few days. At least once a week a significant change. Seems that every time I do one, bad things happen. The larger the change, the more critters die.
<Are the make up water parameters reasonably close to the display water, pH, SG, and temperature notably?>
A couple weeks ago, the clown fish died when I did a large water change. During that water change, I used a large powerhead to blow out as much hair algae as I could in the main tank - with the thinking that free floating algae would eventually be sucked up by the filters and cleaned out.
<Mmm, just releasing more spores into the system, would not do this.>
It seemed to only exacerbate my problems: moments later the clown, went into a breathing panic (gills moving madly) and eventually wasn't able to stay off the bottom. An hour or so later, it went into convulsions, disappearing into the rocks and was never seen again. I can't say how traumatic that was. To go from 5 years of this:
to almost total destruction makes me want to close the tank down.
<Understandable, I have looked at the photos and I must say, very nice.>
How can water changes be toxic?
<If the mixing container had been used for household cleaning purposes, it would be very easy.
If any cleaning sprays are used in the area of the container or possibly on your hands, the same could result.
Somehow, toxic compounds are getting into the make up water.>
The clown started to breath very heavily when I started my water change. The anemone also shrank to nothing during the changes... as if I put some toxin in the water.
<Seems very likely at this point. Have you read here? Hopefully it may lead you to discover
your problem. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm>
I looked up Hydrogen Sulfide and ran into this article:
It reminded me that a couple weeks ago (during all this hell), I broke apart a HUGE rock that was in my sump (to clear way for kalerpa <Caulerpa> and to get more surface area). I would imagine that was not a good idea?
<Did it smell noxious?>
SORRY for the long winded details. I just want to get to the bottom of this so I stop killing innocent animals.
<I sympathize with you and will try to help you as much as I can. Bob and/or other crew members may chime in. Do read the dailies in the event other suggestions are made.>
Thanks for your help!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins 4/18/10 - 4/19/10 -4/20/10 -4/21/10
<Are the make up water parameters reasonably close to the display water, pH, SG, and temperature notably?>
Yes, the parameters are quite close. The pH was likely very different when my tank was at 9.0, however.
<<Could have caused some problems here depending on the percentage of water change.>>
My freshly made salt water tested at approx 8.2
<Did it smell noxious?>
I don't think it was pleasant but I don't recall the egg smell. I wouldn't bet my life on it, but I have no recollection of a nasty smell.
As a side note, the anemone looked better this am in his bucket. I added an air hose (hooked to an air pump) for water movement and oxygen. Since my air pump has 2 outlets, I put the 2nd one in the main tank as to maybe help
w/the gas exchange. Not sure this matters but a hunch made me do it.
<<Would help, but without proper lighting, larger volume of water, the anemone will perish. Right now, your main concern should be to address the possibility of toxins getting into the system and killing your fish after water changes. Have you read the article I linked you to on poisons/toxins in the previous thread...anything there ring a bell? James (Salty Dog)>>
Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins  4/21/10
I read the toxic water articles. Nothing there seems to be possible. All the containers used for topping off, water changes, etc are only used for the tank. Never for cleaners. I haven't sprayed for roaches, carpet, or anything like that either. I even make sure not to spray glass cleaner too close to the tank. When I did my large water changes, they were about 20 gallons or slightly more. That is probably enough water to shock but not sure.
<As long as important parameters are close, this would not cause any problems.>
This is my RO/DI unit: (cough cough, note the great price)
<Is a great price.>
The filter in chamber 1 was already filthy, dark brown! The filter in chamber 2 was colored, and 3 was still pure white. I thought New York City water was supposed to be good!
<What is deemed safe for human consumption may not hold true with our fish and inverts.>
I went to the LFS and replaced the filters in chamber 1, 2. Keep in mind, these filters are all no more than 2 months
old! Granted, I've made a lot of water the last couple months.
<Lifespan will large depend on containments removed.>
I have no way of knowing how the water could have gotten contaminated. The only thing I can think of (with respect to contamination) is the following scenario:
The container where the filtered RO/DI water is filtered into is in the bathroom, a little in front of the sink where the filter resides. Although the container has a cover, when totally full, the container (a 30+ gallon Rubbermaid plastic box) bulges enough to were the lid doesn't FULLY cover the top. The towels are located just above the container so it is humanly possible that my fiancé washed her hands, had soap on them, and dripped the unwashed soap off her hands, and into the container (not likely as she should know better). I can't fathom this being the cause but I'm not ruling it out as I continue to look for possible contaminants.
<A possibility.>
As for Mr. Anemone, it seems to continue the recovery in the 200 gal Tropic Marin bucket.
<Great salt, is what I use.>
I dont have a lot of light on the bucket but I do have approx 18W of 50/50 PC bulbs on it while I'm at work during the day. (normally, these are on my refugium but I am now altering their duty: night = refugium, day = bucket. I've attached a pic from last night of Mr. Anemone.
<Appears to be doing well, but the intensity of lighting along with the volume of water it's in isn't going to keep this guy going for any extended period of time.
I would not feed it while in the bucket, may poison itself.>
I tried feeding it some Mysis shrimp this am. It didn't seem to shrink around them and pull them in as it normally would. It does, however, respond to touch and move around as it normally would.
<Not surprising in an unstable environment.>
Last night, I also picked up 9 Turbos, drip acclimated them, and dumped them into the main. There was no Tuxedo Urchin at the LFS till Thurs. so I'll go back for Mr. Tux.
<OK, and, do you have any animals in the tank capable of releasing toxins, such as a Sea Apple, or cucumber?>
Thanks for the prompt responses James!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins  4/22/10
No other toxin releasing critters other than the giant frogspawn (which is now rock), the killed mushrooms, and a couple dead fish.
<OK. Another possibility eliminated. James (Salty Dog)>

Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins  4/23/10
Hi James and/or crew,
<Hi Dan>
The refractometer that ordered off eBay came in. Of course, I had to use the new toy and it read 1.027. The hydrometer read 1.023! I used to keep the tank at 1.027 w/the hydrometer. If the differential is accurate, then I was maintaining the tank at 1.030. eek. I also checked the pH again and it's at the normal (and chemically untreated) 8.2! YEEEHAW! The LFS also checked my other params (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and they were perfect.
<Is why I always use a refractometer, my hydrometer read low. If you did not do so already, it's best to check the accuracy of the refractometer by testing with R/O water and adjust to 1.000 if necessary.>
The anemone is still in the bucket and doing really well.
Occasionally, I see a small chunk of gunk or slime in the bucket but nothing huge or looking
like it's throwing up. It responds to touch, light, etc. I can no longer tell anything is wrong with it.
<Good, but this animal cannot remain there indefinitely, it's health will deteriorate.>
As for the tank, most of the turbo snails seem to be sitting there. They are still alive but aren't eating around like I would expect. Last night, I got a sea hair/related slug that the LFS convinced me to get. He's rented so I can return it if it lives and cleans up the hair algae. I tried to place him on top of my green star polyps so that he would eat the hair that choking it off but he slipped through the cracks and landed somewhere, deep between the rocks where I cant see his progress. SIGH! None of this has been easy. As of this am, I see no hint of it. Since I have a 48" Aqualight Pro hood, I turned off the two 150W halides and will only run the two 96W power compacts for now.
If the slug and turbos decide to do any work, the pH and levels remain ok, I am thinking of putting Mr. Anemone back in as early as tonight. Any objections/recommendations?
<Do drip acclimate with tank water before placing, and I strongly suggest using Chemipure or a Poly Filter in your system.
The later may be more beneficial in removing heavy metals and/or toxins.
The use of both would be a plus and are relatively inexpensive at etailers.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info/Now Toxins  4/23/10
Yes. I forgot to mention that I did put two 11 oz Chemipure Elite bags in the sump. One under the hose where the main water is introduced into the sump, and one behind the AquaC skimmer so the water flows over/into the Chemipure bag as it leaves the skimmer. Going to look for a Poly Filter today. How long does the poly filter last?
<Will depend on present water quality. The pads change color, instructions will explain. James (Salty Dog)>

Marine poisoning... Bass?   -4/6/10
Dear Bob,
Would just like to get your opinion on this matter. My client has a grouper
<A Serranid...>
that he handled in his system and claims it excreted poison that wiped out his system within a few minutes.
<Mmm, not as far as I know... Was this a Soapfish, a Grammistid?>
Now he is not sure whether he needs a total water change or how to clean the system as he wants to introduce new stock arriving in five days.
Best Regards,
Manie van der Merwe
Windhoek, Namibia
<When, where in doubt, change it out. BobF>

Re: Marine poisoning, not a bass, but a Grammistid    4/9/10
Hi Bob,
Thanks. Yes, now that you mention it I believe its a soap fish.
Best Regards,
<Ahh! Yes, these can/do produce an exudate that is quite toxic. Please read here:
and the linked family coverage above. BobF> 

Shorted <yet another> Rio Pump Cleanup after electrical failure.   3/26/10
Aloha WWM crew-
<Hi John.>
I woke up this morning to find one of my Rio 600 circulation pumps had shorted inside the aquarium.
My Percula Clown and Blue Damsel were already dead (the banded coral shrimp was stunned but seemed to be still alive) and the water stunk of electrical fire. Boo!
<The magic smoke was let out of the pump and into the water.>
I quickly did a 50% water change today, and plan on another 50% tomorrow.
I installed new carbon in the filters which I plan to remove and replace sooner than quick! Other than the massive water changes and carbon filters, what else, if anything, can I do to clean up my now "Exxon Valdez" infected water??
<The only other thing I would do at this point is to add Polyfilters to soak up any contaminants - particularly copper from the system..>
As it stands now, the banded coral shrimp is alive and seems to be less stunned after the water change. My invertebrates (a few colonies of various polyps and some undesirable Aiptasia) are half closed but seem to be trying to open back up. I do not have a quarantine tank and at the moment am stuck with the main display.
<Let me take the opportunity encourage the use of GFCIs
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/FWGFIUseArt.htm >
Mahalo in advance for your help!
<My pleasure.>

Major Problem/Bleach Poisoning 9/8/09
<Hello TenASea>
I had a major disaster, my husband was adding top off water to my tank and accidentally added bleach water,
<May God have mercy on his soul.>
within about an hour or so I noticed all my fish were dead. It was not a small amount of bleach...as soon as
this was realized (about 2 hrs after incident) I began pulling out my corals (Zoas, torch, bubbles mushrooms, etc..), clams, and inverts....lucky for me I have a small quarantine tank running and was able to move them but did not have time to acclimate to new water...my small tank is not set up to handle all the stuff in there now,,, no lights, little filtration, ...I'm not even sure if my coral and clams will live or not...but is there anything I can do now...and what needs to be done for my 125 g tank so I can add my clams back.... urgently needing help
<I would be very surprised if anything lives after that major disaster.
You have a major problem on your hands right now. Bleach will be absorbed by your rock and substrate and will be difficult to remove in it's present state. Without knowing the concentration of bleach added,
you will likely need to completely tear down the 125. My advice would be to remove the substrate and discard, empty the sea water out of the tank, refill with fresh water and filter water using a Poly Filter pad which will eventually remove the bleach from the water. Two or more pads may be needed depending on the concentration of the bleach.
Test daily with a chlorine test kit until no trace of chlorine exists.
<<All free chlorine is long gone... converted to chlorides... RMF>>
Then empty the tank and refill with fresh water and let run for another week. You will of course end up with base rock which will/can eventually be seeded by new live rock. You will essentially be starting over. Bob/crew, any input to smoothen her road?
<<You've about done it. RMF>>
James (Salty Dog)>

fish death; SW, diagnosing a toxic situation  8/7/09
Hi I need your help diagnosing a problem I have with my tank. The tank is a 120g with 50g sump Aqua-C EV 180 skimmer. Tank has been up for 3 years now and I can't keep fish alive in it.
The most recent even was about 4 months ago I lost all my fish to what I thought was Marine velvet but ruled that out as the fish didn't have the haze over their bodies so figured it was Flukes.
I let the tank sit Fallow for 10 weeks and while this was happening I Quarantined the new fish for 4 weeks, the fish showed no signs of any disease in QT so when introduces to my DT I dipped them in ph adjusted Freshwater with Methylene Blue for 5 minutes. In the tank I put a Chocolate Tang a Kole Tang a Longnose Hawkfish a Royal Gramma and a Banggai Cardinal.
Everything seemed fine for about a week and a half then the Chocolate Tang quit being active and started to stay under an overhanging rock and wouldn't eat 2 days later dead. Then the Kole Tang was fine then about 3 days after the Mimic died the Kole started acting like it was spooked and started hiding in the rocks the next morning when the lights came on I found it dead neither fish had any visible signs of disease on their bodies or fins. The Royal Gramma did the same thing went into hiding one day and found it dead the next day. The Banggai died as well but before it did it was having a hard time hovering like they do it was kind of flicking its body to stay balanced the good thing I guess is I could get a look at the fish with a magnifying glass and all its fins were deteriorating like
something was eating them it had a whitish streak on its eye and body was partially covered with a white dusting. The Hawkfish I got out of the tank and shoes no signs of anything and I can look at him with a magnifying glass as well as he'll hover in front to see what's going on. I fed the fish Mysis, Algae sheets and homemade fish food (the recipe from the Conscientious Aquarist book). The tank has about 200lbs of live rock,50lbs live sand and more rock ,rubble and Chaeto in the refugium. Tested water regularly and S.G. is 1.026 temp constant 78f Amm 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5.
Water changes are done 10% every other week. Please help me with my tank as this battle has been going on for about 2 years now This is the 4th time I've lost fish.
<... something is toxic in your system... Some source of poisoning exists... Likely metallic, though it could be biological... I would run a couple sheets of Polyfilter in your water flow path for a preliminary look/see (by colour) of what may be in your system... Do you have access to a store or college lab that could do some simple metal assays for you? Bob Fenner>

URGENT: Staple fell into tank!  12/11/08 Hey, guys. I email quite frequently but haven't had a problem this urgent in a long time. <Jon> I have a 39G tank. I accidentally dropped a staple into the back chamber. Tried everything to remove it (mainly because I have no idea where it went). Tried using a long car magnet to try and recover it but nothing. <Good... better to use something a bit stronger... an algae scrubbing one...> Just wondering, will this have seriously deleterious effects on the tank or should doing a few decently large water changes over the next few months (along with weekly 10% changes) help the situation? - Jonathan <Mmm, thirty nine gallons... with the use of some decent (fresh) chemical filtrant that removes metals (PolyFilter, Activated Carbon), you should be fine here. Iron (Fe) is a sort of medium necessary element in most the life found on reefs. Bob Fenner>

Re: URGENT: Staple fell into tank!  -12/11/08 I think I will stop dosing Iron as I have been doing as well. All that extra Iron for free now (sarcasm)! <Heeee!> Thanks a lot, Bob. Was freaking out quite bad since there is a lot of money invested in the tank now via inverts. - Jon <This bit of added ferrous ion will not do any harm Jon... I've seen "downstream" the effects of large rusting ship hulks stuck on reefs... they're often more vibrant... BobF>

Rusting Bolt 9/24/08 Good Afternoon Crew, et al. I have a maintenance account which consists of an approximately 350 gallon saltwater aquarium with a Living Color artificial reef backdrop insert...I love these inserts, by the way. It has been up and running for about a year now and quite frankly has been nothing but hassle with regards to keeping anything alive and healthy. The filtration system consists of a 50 gallon sump with Live Rock, PM XL-1 Skimmer, Nu-Clear Canister w/Carbon, 120 watt Aqua UV Sterilizer, 3/4 HP Arctica Chiller and 3 Pan World 200PS return pumps. The salt mix used is Tropic Marin and parameters are generally Temp: 78 - 80F, SG: 1.023, pH: 7.9 - 8.1 NH4, NO3: 0 and NO2: 10 -15ppm. I have had some trouble keeping specimens alive in this system and I think I may have stumbled upon the reason on Monday. After becoming thoroughly frustrated, I took the entire filtration system apart to perform a complete inspection and found an approximate 1/2" bolt had at some point during construction fallen into the sump and was buried under all of the live rock. The only way I knew it was a bolt is because the washer, which must be stainless steel, was still visible- the rest of the bolt had turned into a great big mass of iron oxide. Could this be the problem I've been having all along? I immediately removed the bolt and placed poly filters onto the spill of the sump into the pump chamber. <I think this was likely the problem...or a big part of it. Get the water cleaned up, and I suspect you'll have much better luck with this system.> Thanks for your time...once again. <No problem> Scott C. Wirtz <Benjamin>

Yellow Tang banging against glass, env.-chemically burned, pH 8.8     8/16/08 Hello Crew, <Cielo> I have a 5 inch yellow tang that I picked out on Mother's day 08 from our LFS. Up until now all my fishes have been healthy. A little background on my tank: I have a 55 gallon tank <Not really sufficient space...> with 60lbs of live sand and 30lbs of live rock, a protein skimmer, and a whisper filter. Three days ago I made a 20 gallon water change. 2 Mornings after that change I woke up to a noise and found that it was my yellow tang banging himself against the light hood of the tank, almost like he wanted to get out. <Mmmm> Then he began darting against the glass and hitting himself against it. I noticed that he had red or pink on the inside of his lips and also across his body. The next day he stopped eating. I checked my levels and they read: Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0, but my PH was 8.8 <Yeeikes! Caustic> so I went to the LFS and purchased a buffer. I was told I should quarantine <?> him so that I wouldn't need to medicate the whole tank as the other fish are fine. The medication I purchased is the Myracid Two. <... Maracyn... Minocycline... of no use here> I only had a 5 gallon tank <Much too small...> available to make a QT out of, and so that is where I placed my Tang. Right now he's on his side at the bottom of the tank, he is hardly breathing. <...> At least in the display tank he was still swimming around. Should I place him back in the display tank? I need your advice. ~L from PA <YES, now! Bob Fenner> Stainless steel clamps 10/19/05 Hi Crew! <Howdy Steve, Ali here...> Sorry, I just sent an email regarding a different question and meant to include this one. <No worries...> I have a 215 gallon tank with a large wet/dry underneath.  Most of the plumbing is located under the main tank, in between it and the wet/dry below.  The installers (LFS technicians) routed the plumbing very neatly and efficiently, however they used metal clamps around the fittings and clear tubing.  They appear to be stainless and just barely above any water level, however because we have a cabinet enclosing the wet/dry, there is quite a bit of humidity and most everything is constantly wet.  Could this be a problem? <Yes.> Please advise because I do not want to be poisoning my fish and live rocks with metals leaching into the water as the metal clamps corrode. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Regards, Steven <Yikes Steven! It's safe to say that you should avoid any type of metal clamps on your pump connections. Granted, the stainless steel pumps will last a bit longer in a saltwater environment versus other metal clamps, however even they will still rust. Definitely not a good thing. There is also a chance that your clamps may be Zinc or Aluminum plated - this definitely a big 'no no'. I'd suggest you remove the clamps ASAP and opt for either a few strong zip-ties or plastic hose clamps. Give me a buzz down at M.D. and I'll set you up with a pack of them. Dedicate an hour or so during the next couple of days to getting under your tank and swapping those metal clamps out. I know messing around with your plumbing can be a tedious task at times, however it's important you get in there immediately and be proactive. Talk to you soon Steven, Adios! - Ali A.>

My never ending money pit..... Poss. issues with synthetic marine decor   1/31/06 Hello, <Hi there> My name is Matthew and first off let me say I love your book when I purchased all my aquarium supplies it was one of the first things the store clerk had me put in my cart, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Every time I buy something for my tank I always thumb through the pages to see what your opinion is. Anyway here is my dilemma.... I have a 75 gallon bow front tank. At this time I have 1 Hippo Tang (2 to 3 inches very healthy) 1 Niger Trigger ( 3 inches) newly acquired seems very healthy likes to hide in the live rock and eats all the time. 1 Clarki Clown ( 2 inches) seems healthy Numerous hermit crabs ( a mix of red legs and zebra a little of everything) Snails ( a mix of everything algae eating I could find) 1 small queen conch and 1 chocolate chip starfish. <I do hope your trigger leaves these invertebrates alone...> I have about 35 - 40 lbs of live rock, 2 inches of sand and crushed coral, 2 power heads (300 gph) 1 Rena canister filter ( 375 gph) and a CPR Bak Pak protein skimmer with the built in bio filter. About 4 weeks ago I purchased a faux anemone, I read the package to read any care instructions to find out that you have to wash it very good to make sure there is no residue that may affect your protein skimmer. I rinsed it for about 1 hour and then put it in my tank . Later that night my protein skimmer overflowed with water, I turned it off rinsed it out and put it back on my tank. For two weeks straight I ran this skimmer at the setting which it had been out the entire time I owned it. It always ran fine collecting waste. For two weeks I ran the skimmer no waste. I opened the water intake more for two more weeks no waste. the whole time doing my Monday water changes and readings. 8.2 ph, 0 nitrite, 10- 20 nitrate, 0 ammonia and 1.022 - 1.024 salinity. All this skimmer wanted to do was dump millions of are bubbles into my tank. Looking on the internet a lot of people had a lot of different opinions about un dissolved micro bubbles in your tank and the affect it may have on the oxygen exchange. Thinking there was some sort of weird chemical in my tank, from the faux anemone, <I would remove this... see if this curtails the excess bubbling> I have been running Kent Marine Carbon in my canister for almost two days. Also for those two days I have been running my newly acquired CPR Bak Pak (no waste yet just micro bubble in my tank) the skimmer seems to be working fine the entire chamber is filled with micro bubbles but no waste. I don't know what to do algae is overtaking my tank red slime and green algae. I have 384 watts of power compact lights 2 96 watt white 2 96 watt blues. What is your opinion what should I do? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Matthew McGlynn <I have heard some disturbing input re some of the material, manufacture of synthetic decor... I hope you will not have real trouble... but I would remove this and see. Bob Fenner>

Undergravel Filter Hi Bob <Hi Robert sorry for the delay in getting to back to you. MacL here, Bob is off at the Galapagos and the rest of us are very envious!> I have a 60 gallon tank, and have enjoyed it for the past four months I've had it. it has all the usual, a sump filter, skimmer, etc.....etc. but the other day I purchased the death of my fish, an undergravel filter. Yes I had purchased this item after seeing another tank with one in and thought that's actually not a bad idea as I  noticed a lot of crap on the bottom of my tank floor where little flow gets to. so I wondered down to my local pet/fish store and got the undergravel tray and a power head to "suck the crap out of it". I put the undergravel tray in, and powered up the powerhead looking good I thought. put all the fishes and my one shrimp back in there newly decorated home. Everything was looking good, fish seemed happy so did the corals coming out to full bloom. Two days later disaster hit, my yellow tail damsel was swimming side ways. I did an emergency 30% water change and still the fishes seem sick. There eyes are completely black and there breathing is heavy. all my levels are text book levels I'm stumped I have a large air stone going all the time. <I would have thought your ammonia or nitrite levels would have been high. When you put the undergravel in, it has to go through a "cycle" yet again with the ammonia rising and then the nitrites as at the beginning of your tank. You already had some bacteria in the tank so it should have been fairly quick but when you moved your sand or crushed coral to place the undergravel you had to have disturbed your bacterial bed there.> PH 8.3 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate all at 0 phosphate 0 calcium 420-430 but yet my fish are not getting any better, at the mo I have made a small tank, to see if they get better.  fingers crossed P.S. the undergravel filter doesn't have gravel over it, the gravel is around the outside of it and I have placed my live rock on top of the undergravel filter. (By definition an undergravel filter needs to have some type of medium to filter through. <Generally in a salt system that is crushed coral or sand. It sounds like you might be looking at something similar to a plenum system. I would encourage you to look at the FAQs on WetWebMedia about the plenum system. I think what's happened is that you have destroyed your bacterial bed Robert. Or a least seriously messed with it. This should show some kind of ammonia rise however so you not having one seriously has me stumped. Have you double checked your water? Did you take your ammonia readings before or after the water change? You say you've set up a small tank to move the fish into as a type of quarantine? Watch for ammonia rises there as well.> Please Help.... Regards Robert

Gravel Filter <Hi Robert, MacL here again> Thanks for the reply, disturbing the sand could have been the culprit. I got my hands on a book and all the symptoms point to poisoning of some sort, so I did a 70% water change and everything is back to normal, as for the source of my poisoning problem maybe it was from disturbing the sand but I would have thought with a four to five month setup there wouldn't be much to effect the balance of the tank, but nothings impossible. <Had you touched anything then touched the tank? Put anything new into the tank? Sprayed anything around the tank?> I had done my tests as soon as I noticed the sick fish and got the fish store to double check and their readings were a match. <It never hurts to double check, I once got a bad bunch of chemicals> Thanks for the reminder on watching the levels in the quarantine tank, levels are good but salinity is the hardest one as the tank is only a 12Gal, I need to upgrade that to. My corals also were effected but all seem back to normal. <Great to hear>  Well luckily have been reasonably patient with the setup and not put a huge amount of live stock in there all at ounce, I think I'll leave the tank alone for now and think twice before acting on my sudden urges. Thanks again. <Good luck and please keep us updated. MacL

Rapid Breathing Onset I have a 55 gal marine reef system. Tank is going on three months now and seem to be cycled with 85 pounds of live rocks<Use care...it's "cycled, but not "established" which takes nearly a year>. My live stock are yellow tang, 3 Chromis, mated pair black saddle back clown fish, true Percula clown fish, engineer goby, small brittle starfish, arrow crab, and a pistol shrimp. Seriously I thought fight would break out among the clown fish but they seem to get along<I've had the same results, but who am I to argue?>. Anyway my question is yesterday my fishes were all fine, they normally are aggressive eater when its feeding time and they look pretty healthy. well the problem is the next day majority of all my fishes are breathing rapidly like they were going to die. One of my clown is breathing extremely fast as if he was going to die and the day before he was eating fine. All the fishes are not acting usual and appetite is gone too. They only thing that seem to be normal is my inverts. what do you think the problem could be. I also removed the carbon media a couple days so I could treat the whole tank with Kick Ich a medication that was said to be reef safe <First off, there's no such thing as a reef safe, effective medication. The only thing this usually cures is excessus dollerus in the walletus>  . I check my water and my Ph is the only thing out of place. Ph in main tank 7.8 Ph in sump 7.7 nitrate- undetectable nitrite- undetectable ammonia undetectable Do you think it cold be the medication that is dropping the Ph or do you think it is the missing carbon media? Or do you think there are other reason my fish are acting so strangely. they way there acting I don't think there going to make it.<You don't mention why you treated the tank for ick. If it was merely for the rapid breathing, you blew it, and should immediately always think of extra water changes as the FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE and never treat your main tank. You're tank is actually overcrowded and if you, like many, tend to overfeed, that's likely the source of your problem. You also don't mention having a skimmer which you NEED with that fish load in a tank that small. for now, do 5 gal. water changes every other day, which should alleviate the breathing problem and gradually raise your pH as well. There are products for raising pH, but that's a time bomb best not played with. Chemicals and medications are reached for way to easily, ending up BEING the problem in almost 90% of the situations.>

DOH! I Broke the Thermometer, Now What?  >Hi Bob and team.  >>Hello, Marina tonight.  >I'm afraid I've had a disaster in my 200 gallon reef aquarium. While recently double checking my chiller reading, I stupidly left a thermometer in my sump. I found it this morning, broken at the pump intake.  >>Oh my, thusly the term "disaster". It's not as disastrous as you think, though.  >The lead balls have been sucked into the pump and the mercury is gone.  >>Not mercury anymore, my friend, usually alcohol (with a dye) is used in modern thermometers.  >Everything in the tank looks OK so far (corals and fish), but I can't imagine that'll last. What should I do? I'm sure water changes, carbon and PolyFilters will help but I can't imagine I'm ever going to find the lead balls?  >>No, I don't imagine you will, either. But I wouldn't expect such a small amount to be a very big problem in the short or long run anyway. If you're very concerned about the contents, contact the manufacturer, but to the best of my knowledge the potential for mercury would be the biggest issue and as far as I know it hasn't been used for quite a few years. You're correct, water changes, carbon, and PolyFilters will help, though I don't know at all how readily lead actually dissolves in water (thinking of wrecks of Spanish galleons and all the lead shot/balls they find, all encrusted with stuff).  >Any advice you can give would be great. I hate the thought of tearing down my tank and starting again. Dave.  >>No, no, no, I really don't think you'll need to go so far. Between the water changes and the chemical filtration you should be able to deal with the small amount of dye released. For "next time", get a bit of clear plastic tubing, the kind used for undergravel filter lift tubes, along with caps. The caps can be the same clear plastic, or PVC that fits. Glue one end (I'd use Superglue-cyanoacrylate) on permanently, leave the other so you can slip it on and off. Drill some holes in the tube, and it will protect the future thermometer from such terrible mishaps. Marina 

Cleaning magnet in tank, Eclipse Modification Hello Mr. Fenner, I just finished reading today's Q&A's & the last one about lighting for the Eclipse system. I started an experimental 25g Eclipse system a few months back & am thoroughly happy w/it. The CustromSeaLife retro PowerCompacts are terrific lights. And very easy to install. I cut the back of the plastic and have added a protein skimmer and a couple of power heads. <Thank you for this input> This little tank is supporting (I know you wont like this)-A mated pair of true Perc's, a Flameback angel (African), a yellow assessor, a orange spotted blenny. All very small fish. Also, a torch coral, a hammer coral, an Alveopora, a frilly mushroom and a small bubble tip anemone. Everything is thriving! I highly recommend this lighting setup. On another note-My brother leaves his algae cleanup magnet in his 180g reef tank, set up in Nov.01, & now he is noticing that the corals are dying or not looking as great on the left side of the tank (where the magnet is). Could there be a chemical reaction of some sort going on in that portion of the tank? <Yes. Most aquarium magnets are safe for leaving in a system... but not all. I would pull these out when not in use... Please have your brother contact us re water chemistry checking, use of Polyfilter... as moves to correct the situation. Bob Fenner> Welcome back & thanks in advance. Craig

Formalin Med. Poisoning effects Talk about a bad day... I lost my grey and Koran angels today (see old email below...). I had an outbreak of ick on Tuesday and we started a treatment recommended by my local store using Formulite II. Per their direction, I removed my carbon and inverts (shrimp, urchin, and hermits) and added the medication - Two drops per gallon. I then did the second of the 3 recommended treatments on Thursday PM. On Friday everyone was looking great and everyone was eating like a bunch of hungry truck drivers.  The two angels from Friday to Saturday morning developed a major amount 'slime' on their bodies and got foggy eyes. I'm guessing the medication caused this. Anyway, I threw carbon in my baskets and I did a RO water change of 15 gallons again per the local rec.- but both angels were dead by 5:00 pm. They looked like they were dipped in slim when I pulled them out.  Where did I go wrong? So far my remaining family is looking fine but obviously I'm very concerned and my wife is really bummed out. Today was a very expensive day and I am open for any suggestions... Thanks, Tom Tengowski P.S. - The black cap also died earlier this week also...I can't get a break. >> ARRGGGGHHHH, I'm so sorry to hear of your fish losses. And do not, repeat DO NOT ever encourage the use of formalin/formaldehyde in any format's use in hobbyist's aquariums. These compounds are outright poisons (cross linkers of peptides), and are deadly dangerous to all forms of life. Yes, the medication did kill your fishes, blinding them, causing excess slime production... Don't know if I can state "where you went wrong", I cannot profess to state, but you reacted properly (with close observation, the water change, returning the carbon). Do return the Formulite to your dealer and ask them to explain what they think happened. Hopefully you have not killed off the bulk of your beneficial microbes. If it were me, I'd test your water and be very careful about (slowly) returning the other livestock... Take Your Time. Bob Fenner Endogenous poisoning event I have a 40 breeder reef for a year with 2 Anthias, 1 black cap, 2 clowns, 1 yellow tang. Running wet/dry system with red sea skimmer; all health , I feed them at night the next day when I got back home, took a look at my tank and my tang was dead. So I did a water test water, everything looked all good to the graph but I took it in to the pet shop and got it tested to, it was good. I told them the story they didn't know what to say. Come home feed my fish. The next day when I came back from work 1 of my Anthias and my blackcap flipped on me to, test water to it was still good. So I did a water change feed the fish. Next day the other Anthias died, water still good. I didn't do any cleaning around the tank. 2 weeks gone by 1 of my clown couldn't swim upright just side ways and couldn't eat for so I took him out. One more thing my corals closed up for a long time before opened up again for over 2 weeks, even though their open its not the same as before, they don't expand as big as they should be. Came you give me any answers to my problem? Thank you, Souk Her >> Hmm, sounds to me like an "inside job" of poisoning by one of your livestock... Like a sea cucumber... or other organism... maybe even just a reproduction event by some microbe... that led to slow/chronic poisoning... All will probably be fine by now (the poison is probably gone), but I would do a very large (half) water change before adding any more fishes... and maybe a unit of activated carbon in a bag in your filter/flow path. Bob Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: