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FAQs about Marine Water Quality 7

Related Articles: Captive Seawater Quality, Nutrient Control and Export, Water Changes/ChangingUnderstanding Calcium & Alkalinity,

Related FAQs: Marine Water Quality 1, Marine Water Quality 2 Marine Water Quality 3, Marine Water Quality 4, Marine Water Quality 5, Marine Water Quality 6, Cloudy Water, Smelly Water, Films on Top of Water, RO/DI & Distilled Water 1Environmental Disease,

Your mileage and sensitivity will vary.

Water levels, SW water quality      8/12/18
Don Taylor
Hi fish guys
I am having some trouble with my results back from ATI labs. The phosphorus is reading 2188 ugl ( is the ugl meant to be mgl )
<Mmm; no... a microgram is 10 to the minus sixth gram; a milligram is 10 to the minus third gram... >
but the phosphate is -0.02 mgl,
<Yeah... these are equivalent statements>
nitrate is high +150.1
<Yikes; I'll say. See WWM re NO3 control>
and my ph is low. The calcium is 474.5 mgl.
<This is a bit high. I'd keep about 400 mg/l aka ppm; Mg about thrice...>
Any comments or suggestions. thank you Don Taylor
<Please learn to/use WWM. Bob Fenner>

Water chemistry. Too high pH, Ca, Alk.... SW        10/13/16
I have an 85 gallon reef tank with a 25 gallon refugium. I started the tank about 6 years ago and really had things going well with coral growing and algae under control. At the suggestion of WWM I switched from all frozen food to all
dry food (Ocean Nutrition formula One Pellets). I believe the switch solved my hairy algae problem. However, I now have a water chemistry issue and I cannot determine the cause. The pH, carbonate and calcium are all high.
The carbonate is off the chart above 214.8ppm KH, the pH 8.4-8.5, Ca 460mg/L (ppm).
<Unusual... and I take it you have checked your test gear. If not; I would.>

I use RO water(filters about 8 mo old still only half colored) to make my tank water, let it sit for several days before mixing in Ocean Reef salt crystals and perform frequent(weekly) water changes of 13-17 gallons generally alternate weeks.
<Have you tested the just-made salt mix? Some brands, batches have had issues in recent years>
I generally use SeaChem Marine Buffer with each water change and a cap full of Voogle.

<<From: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=24101
"Voogle First Aid for Fish. Made with a special mixture of vitamins, minerals, natural plant extracts and synthetic concentrates...">>
A few weeks ago I stopped the Marine Buffer as I thought I might be adding too much carbonate to the tank but the chemistry readings did not change.
Unfortunately, 2 weeks ago my auto top off malfunctioned and the salinity went from 25 to nearly 0 (what a mess in my basement)!
<Am a HUGE fan of having such automated top off devices have a very LIMITED reservoir to feed from>

I quickly corrected most of the salt deficit over a 12 hour period and then the remainder over the next 24 hrs. I lost most of my coral snails and hermit crabs but the fish survived. Interestingly, the chemistry normalized with the massive
dilution that occurred, but within about a week it was all abnormal again, same as stated above.
So, should I worry about this abnormal chemistry?
<Worry? No; look into and fix? Yes. What are the other sources of carbonate and calcium here? Either the salt mix, and/or substrate, "rock"/gravel.... I'd test both; the latter by removing a sample and boiling in some RO water for several minutes>
Can I put new coral and inverts into it? Fish?
<I'd wait on both for now
... a good month. To allow all to re-settle AND give you time for the testing/experiments>
Should I restart the Marine Buffer?
<Not just yet. I strongly suggest waiting till the stated values drift into more normal ranges>
Do you recommend removing all the empty shells left by the deceased snails and hermits?
What about frag plugs?
<I'd test these last as well
.... could be that they are comprised of uncured high-alkaline cement>
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Robert L. Block, MD
<Thank you for sharing. Rest assured, we can/will discuss and rationally seek out cures for the chemistry issues here, and solve them. Bob Fenner>

very murky water       8/1/15
Good evening or morning that is wherever you are in this world for sure,
<PST now; back in S. Cal.>
Here is my issue. I have set up a very large L300cm x W100cm x H160 (about 11oo gallon) saltwater system which is situated outside the house in Thailand. I had the system set up with base rock (actually life rock we turned into base rock after a muriatic bath and heavy rinsing) and natural ocean water. I have 3 separate skimmers installed each rated at 600gallon.
The system has gone through a short cycle period of about 3 weeks (going through only a small ammonia spike an even smaller nitrite spike and is sitting now at a nitrate level of 10) without chiller without any issues of cloudy water. The system does get hit with direct sunlight for a period (through the front viewing pane) of the day but was not an issue at the
start. Now since a week I have added some small fish with about 18 blue green Chromis and 8 Anthias with the first week again no issues. Now all of a sudden the last 4 days the water has turned very murky which I think is an algae bloom as it has a bit of a green shine on it and not white which would mean a bacterial bloom right?
<Might be just algae, but likely a bigger mix of species; mostly Protists and Monerans... will clear in time... there are some "things" you can do to speed up; but I'd just wait if it were me/mine: Patience>
Now the question is this due to the still not installed chiller so the high water temperature (87F) the direct sunlight?
<The light, heat, the system being new.... not "settled in">
Now the chiller will be installed within the next few days turning the actual water temperature down to 80F initially. Will this resolve the murky water by itself or do you think there is more behind it all?
<The temp. being lower will help speed the clearing along.... again, this is part of the "run in" period.... or establishing "cycling" in new systems>
Should i run activated carbon in the mean time to help clear out the water or not effective in an algae bloom?
<The carbon will help as well. Yes to using it in the filter/flow path... in Dacron/Polyester bag/s if you can... ladies stockings if not>
Thank you
Dirk from Thailand
<Welcome. Bob in San Diego>
Re: very murky water        8/15/15

Hi Bob in San Diego
thanks for the reply a few weeks back though since than as mentioned I had the chiller installed and is now operational which indeed took care of the murky water rather quick.
<Ah good>
Though now a week later with the water now sitting at 26.4C is murky again?
I heard of bacteria blooms but isn't it rare to have 2 such blooms in such short spam?
<Not rare; no>
what could cause those blooms?
<Food; dissolved nutrients, lack of established competitors and predators (microscopic)>
and what more can I do now with all parameters good and temperature good?
just sit it out I guess?
<There are clarifying agents, bacterial products you might use. Some are better (much) than others. Do you have "fish stores" thereabouts? I'd go see what they have on offer>
Thanks, Dirk from Thailand
<BobF, still in S. Cal.>
Re: very murky water        8/15/15

Hi Bob from San Diego,
could you get me some names of some of those products so I can have an idea on what specific I am looking for. Thanks again
Dirk from Thailand
<Please, learn to USE WWM. Read here:
and the linked files above. B>

Noob needs help getting water parameters stabilized      9/24/12
I'd like to start by saying thanks for all of the valuable information  that I have found on your site! I have only started salt water about 2 months ago and am trying to do everything right. I purchased a somewhat neglected 27g hex reef tank that I was told has been running 8 years. The previous owner used instant ocean salt mix, and two weeks ago I switched to reef crystals.
<Mmm, both Aquarium System's products have had issues over the last several years... more recently Reef Crystals. Read here: 
The previous owner used unfiltered tap water and I found phosphates so high I couldn't measure them with my api test kit.
<... serial dilution of samples... and food/s could easily be a source as well>
I have been doing weekly water changes using distilled water.
<I'd use RO; much cheaper>

Phosphates were down to 2ppm last week and nitrates were around 10ppm. Carbonate hardness was just over 14 due to me adding Kent nano reef supplement. My salt mix is at 12, which is acceptable, but makes bringing it back down a slow process.
After two 6 gallon water changes it is at 13. Last night I used some Aiptasia x on some hydroids and a few fluorescent mushrooms that were crowding other corals. After today's water change and rinsing media in my Fluval 204 canister I tested parameters. Specific gravity on hydrometer reads just under 1.024, ph about 7.8, nitrates jumped to 40ppm,
<Yes; the melted Cnidarians>
phosphates in between 2 and 5ppm, calcium at 440. I use Seachem stability and prime with each water change and scrape algae off the glass right before. I was led to believe on a nano system with regular water changes using ro or distilled water, most parameters should remain stabile without supplements.
<Mmm, can...>
Another major change to the setup is a new AI Vega light, to replace the power compact that came with the tank. This makes it hard to tell if water parameters are effecting my corals or if it is the adjustment to the new light.
<A bit of both I'd warrant>
I am currently at 35% power, and my open brain, spaghetti leather, and daisy coral seem to be struggling with the switch. The open brain seems to be getting over it, the daisy sometimes opens, and the spaghetti is open sometimes and drooping on other corals other times. I noticed a couple white spots on the leather and am hoping it will work things out before it gets any worse. It burned a hole through my open brain and is probably most of the reason that the daisy is upset since it was on that as well when it was drooping. I have rearranged to eliminate this problem, but need to figure out what is going on before I do irreversible damage to any of my corals.
<"Go slowly">
 I thought all the issues were due to the new light until I saw my test results tonight. Now I'm concerned that water parameters are contributing.
<For sure they are>
 I feel like I'm missing something, and have no idea what it is.
<Larger water changes (%), w/ RO water, pre-mixed (a few days to a week) salt water>
My Duncan started spending most of it's time closed right before I found out my carbonate hardness was too high and I can see him fighting to survive. So far I thought I was doing good, and that the problems were caused by previous owner's neglect and use of unfiltered tap water, and would resolve themselves with proper care. Now I'm terrified that I'm making rookie mistakes that could lead to the demise of all this beautiful livestock. I ordered the new product from red sea advertised to be live bacteria for removing phosphate and nitrate so hopefully this will help remove the phosphate locked up in algae and the sand bed. I also just noticed a change in the algae on the glass from light green to rusty orange. Not sure if it helps, I'm just trying to cover every detail I can think of to help the masters from wwm point me in the right direction.
Livestock is a purple Firefish, a flasher wrasse, a pin striped Dartfish (assumed dead when Firefish was purchased and came out of hiding a month later, but they appear to be getting along), and a mature ocellaris clownfish. Corals are a frogspawn, toadstool leather, spaghetti leather(I think), an open brain, a clove polyp, daisy coral, a few different Blastos, a trumpet coral, a couple Ricordea mushrooms, tons of fluorescent green mushrooms, a small Acan, a Blasto that looks almost identical to my Acan(skeleton looks like my Blastos, but has sweepers that I don't see on any Blastos), button polyps, and some Zoas and Palys,
<You have many not-compatible species crammed into a small volume... best to take your time making any changes, lest some of them become so upset that they react overtly, mal-influence their neighbors>
 and almost forgot my ticked off Duncan. Also forgot to mention scarlet reef crabs, 2 emerald crabs, and dwarf blue legs. If nothing else, this gives you an idea how much I have to lose and of course I know it won't be long before I need a bigger tank.
<You/they need one now>
That is if you can help me figure out what I'm doing wrong.
Part of me wishes I would have started from scratch so I could learn slowly without getting in so far over my head so fast. I priced out what these corals cost and it would take me years to afford all this stuff so I beg you to please help me get this figured out before it's too late. I am learning fast, but likely not fast enough if I don't get some help soon.
If you need anymore information, don't hesitate to ask. I will be checking my email constantly waiting to hear back from you. Thanks again for all the information I've found on the site and for providing a source that can be trusted. You guys are definitely the best!
Dustin L Thornton
<For me, the pre-made water changes... Bob Fenner>

Cloudy water in marine fish tank.    9/2/12
Hi Crew, All my fish are fine but in the last few days the water has become very cloudy which I think is an algae bloom as it appears slightly green.
All my levels are normal, Nitrates are not too high for a FOWLR tank at 20mg/l,
<More likely being taken up by the algal profusion>
 I do not have a Phosphate test kit. Do you have any ideas for an easier way to remedy this except for a water change. Regards, Adam.
<... please learn to search/read...:
and so much more on WWM. B>
Re: Cloudy water in marine fish tank.     9/4/12

Hi Crew, I am probably an unusual inquiry as all my fish are doing really well, great colours, eating like a horse which shows they are "happy" but the water is cloudy. Last night I changed about 60% of the water with fresh seawater from the Indian Ocean.
 The cloudiness has dropped by about only 20% and I now think it is a bacteria bloom.
<Highly likely>
 I have read that carbon can remove cloudiness but I do not like to use carbon as I believe it takes out too much of the good stuff as well, also if it is bacteria it will not help. My other option is to increase with a sump, mechanical filter or wait as the bacteria should stabilise and become clear in a week or so. The tank is about 7 months old. Any ideas please do you think it will remedy itself? Regards, AA.
<It will in time... in the meanwhile... keep reading! B>

Can NOT clear out cloudy water   5/10/11
Good Morning,
Have an established 55 gallon salt water tank. Live rock, sand, fish inverts.
Can NOT clear up cloudy water.. All tests are coming back in normal range. o nitrates/nitrites. etc...
<As you know (or will) there are many things besides what we can/do test for>
Has protein skimmer and using Fluval 305 filter that I also have Chemi-pure elite in it.
Did 7 gallon water change using ro water.
Still cloudy. Should I try the Marine tank Clarifier.... if so do I need to remove carbon from filter?
<I would not add a clarifying product, nor remove the carbon. Best to just be patient. These situations invariably work themselves out>
OR do I just keep with water changes..if so how often and how much is safe?
<It might not be advisable to keep changing the water. IF the root cause of the cloudiness is a lack of "settling in" of microbial life, you may well be forestalling this via the changes>
Greatly appreciate any advice
<Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CloudySWF.htm
I urge water testing as you'll see, and again, patience... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Lowering Phosphate Calcium and Alkalinity   1/22/11
I am in the process of restoring my neglected tank to normal parameters. I have done well with the pH and nitrates. My phosphate is still high as well as my calcium and carbonate hardness.
<How high is/are high? Need values, test results>
Is regular consistent water changes the best way to gradually bring them back into reason?
<IMO/E yes>
I use RO/DI water. It is 54 gallons. I have been doing 5 gal. changes every 4-5 days. The other parameters have bounced back pretty well except for these.
<Depending on the source of these three issues, how "out of kilter" they are, and if they present real issues for your livestock, there are other means I'd employ to manipulate... Do read here:
and http://wetwebmedia.com/hpo4control.htm
and the linked files above re filtrants. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Water parameters out of whack? 
I did the research today that you were talking about and I see why I should not run the Carbon and Phosban (unless level are too high). Here is the original email with the answers to your questions:
Hi all, I have been out of the hobby for about two years and decided to make a come back. At any rate, I decided to do a SPS/Clam/Zoa tank.
So here is the issue, I added some frags SPS from a friends tank about 4 weeks ago...all dead with in a week. Their tissue sloughed away.
> > <Oh, now that doesn't sound good... This was the first life you added to a new system?>
<The first life was the clam and the Zoas after the cycle was over>
two weeks went by and I bought a frag from a LFS, It's showing signs of tip burn and I have had it for about 3 weeks. I bought another 4 frags from a LFS (Idaho Grape Cap, Orange Cap, Leng Sy Cap, and a green slimer) The caps are doing ok (Idaho grape is starting to show tissue slough). The green slimer is starting to turn white at the base and start to have some of the tips turn white.
> > <...>
The clam looks great, but the a few of my Zoas have closed up and appeared to have died.
> > <What? The Zoanthids could have poisoned the Scleractinians... see WWM re them, allelopathy>
The local reef group (salt-city.org) I am in thinks that my Alk is the issue, but I am looking for some direction as far as where to start because I don't think that Alk is it.
> > <... Ok>
<Don't know what you're thinking here Bob :) >
<<I am in agreement with your stmt. that "Alk is not it">>
Here are my tank parameters:
Tank is a bare bottom 120 gallon with 40 gallon sump.
<Why no substrate?>
<I wasn't totally accurate on this, I have a 5" deep sand bed in part of my sump....there is also Marco Algae in there with a small group of hermits and Nassarius snails for turnover. However, the display is bare bottom (personal preference)>
<<I see>>
Skimmer: Deltec AP702
CA reactor: Geo 612 (not in use)
> > <Why?>
<I figured that I was holding a high enough level of calcium and Alk that I could leave it off for the time being. Plus I had no test kits to make sure that I was not over running the reactor>
<<I'd run it>>
Running Phosban and Activated carbon 24/7
><Again, why? Cnidarians need the materials these remove...>
<These have been turned off!>
Lighting: 2x250 watt DE Hamilton 14k MH with Lumen Bright reflectors and 2 54watt T5 actinic for supplementation
> > <Is this much more than these were exposed to previously?>
<Previous tanks both had 400 watt bulbs on Lumen bright or Lumen Arc reflectors...although they were 20k instead of 14k>
Circulation: 2X Tunze 6100s on a Neptune Aqua surf
Tank has been running for 3.5-4 months.
water parameters :
Temp: 79-79.3
pH: 8.11-8.23
Spec. Grav: 1.026
dKH: 12 (4.29 mEq/L)
Calcium (460-480)
> > <Too high>
<Do I let this deplete naturally?? Or can I do a few more large water changes this weekend and the next, or quicker if needed?>
<<I would lower by dilution, precipitation through elevated carbonate...>>
Mag: 1140
PO4: 0 (Undetectable)
> > <Needed>
<Taken Care of...>
Nitrate: 0 (Undetectable)
> > <Ditto>
<Taken Care of...>
Ammonia: 0 (Undetectable)
Top off/Make up TDS: 0-1
Salt used for water changes is half Instant Ocean half Oceanic. Last water change was done yesterday at the advice of my local forum. I did 25% in hopes of getting the dKH reduced (my tank was at 12)...the dKH remained the same, 12. I tested the new water prior to doing a water change and it was at 12 dKH also.
I'm trying to solve the mystery that is causing things to die off.
> > <Understood... see the questions above? Search them on WWM. Bob Fenner>
<thanks again, hopefully this helped a little>
<<Am hopeful as well. RMF>>

Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 1/19/09 Thanks for reading my question. I want to start by apologizing for this being so long, but I want to include as much detail as possible. <Is easier to help with useful info.> I have been having a problem with particulate in my sw aquarium that never seems to make it to the sump. This has been a problem for a long time now and I have tried tons of solutions. It started with my 65 gallon reef a few years ago, and I have since upgraded to a aga 90 gallon. Nothing from the 65 was reused except the lr and corals, I even bought a new RO. The system has the following: AGA 90RR (total system vol 125 gal with sump, display refugium and frag tank) Seio 2600 wide open (right back corner pointed to left front corner) Seio 1500 wide open (left back corner pointed to right front corner) Mag 9 return about 80% plenty of surface movement 50-150 micron filter sock ASM G3 skimmer (150 micron sock on output) phos and carbon reactors (carbon changed every 3 weeks) CA: 480 Alk: 9dKH PH: 8.1 Mg: 1310 Phosphate: not detected Nitrate: not detected Ammonia: not detected Temperature: 78-81F lightly stocked with fish (md Yellow Tang, med Sailfin Tang, 2 Chromis, Lawnmower Blenny, med Mandarin, and a small P. clown) moderately stocked with mixed corals CUC consists of about 20 hermits, 50 various snails, a large brittle star 30gal RO water change every 12-14 days also it is a bare bottom 324W T-5 lighting fish fed every 2 days, tank fed every 4 days Things I have tried: turning off all pumps for 2 hours or so (still see the stuff suspend in the water column) adding air filters to all fans in canopy blowing off all rocks and doing a 50% water change very wet skimming increasing the tank flow to 6600gph decreasing flow to about 1000gph weekly vacuuming running a 25 micron sock hard plumbing all pipes replacing return pump (possible cavitation) Nothing I have tried has solved the issue of this particulate, none of the inhabitants seem bothered but the tank would look so much better with the water being clear. I don't see anything on the water surface, and I am pretty sure it is not micro bubbles. I have attached a pic, for all the help it is worth. I think I covered everything, if you need more info please don't hesitate to ask. <Mmm, a couple of items. Can you be sure what you are seeing is not micro fauna? If you have access to a low power microscope, look at a sample of water, it may give you a better idea of what this is. If you dose Kalkwasser, it could be Kalkwasser flurry. What is puzzling is that with your flow rate and assuming that you are using an overflow, this matter is not being trapped by your filter sock. You may want to try using a polymeric flocculent. This will effectively bind the finest particles together where they fall to the bottom or will enable your filter to trap them. A couple that come to mind are Clarifier Plus and Crystal-Clear, which are advertised as reef safe.> Thanks again for your time, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 1/20/09 Wow, that was a fast reply. <I'm fast, but not as fast as I once was:)> I have used binding agents in the past and have had no luck at all with them. <OK, we will do away with that.> I do dose with Kalk via an ATO which dumps into a 50 micron sock. (This was not on the 65, there has to be a common link) <Agreed.> You are the first to mention micro fauna, is it common for it to be free floating an so abundant? <Yes, but it is unlikely in a captive system, at least on that scale. Was just something to throw at you, more so in getting a sample under a microscope to observe.> How does one decrease its presence? <Generally, filter feeding corals and such will do a decent job of keeping this down if that were the case. A more effective way to go is UV sterilization.> Is it possible that this is just detritus the tank is producing quicker than the filtration and I can remove it? <Is possible, but with good flow/filtration, this should be trapped.> I have many friends in the hobby, and none of them experienced this or were able to identify it. <I'm running out of suggestions/ideas also. Bob or other crew members may have some input here.> About 8 months ago I removed everything from the tank and did a thorough cleaning, with saltwater including blowing off all corals and LR with a strong power head and cleaning the tank, I ran 50% of the water through a 25 micron sock and reused it, replacing the other 50% with clean water, 2 days later the floaters were back. <Would be frustrating. I would really suggest looking at a water sample under a microscope. This will at least tell you whether this is living or not.> This has been extremely frustrating, but I a not giving up yet. <Great, and hopefully we may have other input/experiences.> Thanks again <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> THFNJ 

Tank water is very "dusty", FOWLR maint.    1/8/09 Hello clever crew, i am writing to you today regarding a problem i have with my tank, that has been annoying me for the past 4 days. My tank is a 3 feet tank, i think roughly 60 or so gallons, with about 40kg of live rock. tank has been set up for 3 months, completed the cycle and everything is running smoothly. ammonia, nitrite readings are 0. Not very sure about nitrates, i dun have the test kit, but i have Chaeto growing in my tank. <Good> phosphates are 0. tank inhabitants include a yellow wrasse, 2 true Perculas, an orange cheeked sand sifter goby (those hovering types), 2 mated Banggai cardinals (one of them has a mouth full of eggs), a royal Gramma and a coral beauty angelfish. Inverts are 5 turbo snails, 2 Lysmata amboinensis, 4 blue leg hermit crabs and some nuisance crabs in my LR. Recently, my tank has gotten cloudy. <Unusual...> It is not a bacteria bloom or an algae bloom, more like suspended particles floating in the water. It has been going on for about 4 days. My livestock all seem healthy and normal, eating like pigs. corals are opening well too. This "dusty" suspension will settle down on my thermometer and magnetic algae cleaner, and will cover it in a layer of very fine particles.... and when water flows past it, it will make the water cloudy again.... My filtering system is working as per normal for past 3 months, so is my protein skimmer. I'm really at my wits end trying to figure this thing out, so am hoping you will help me... It looks at though this suspension will stay with me for awhile... have tried everything to get rid of it. Carbon, water changes, reduced feeding... NOTHING is working =(. Someone told me it was my liverock disintegrating... <Is...> sounds unlikely.. but im no expert. I would really appreciate your help regarding this. I have tried forums after forums searching for an answer. You guys are my last resort because i know you are busy and you probably receive tons and tons of e mails a day. Whatever the issue, i hope you guys could help me. I am hoping that my tank will be crystal clear again like before.... Have tried waiting this thing out for 4 days, and its time for me to take some action. Thank you for your time! <I do think the LR disintegrating is very likely here... through biological processes, e.g. the crabs of nuisance you mention, and so much more. Additionally, in "new" tanks such as yours, a good deal of "equilibrium" is reached by the substrate dissolving... and a good deal does... just from being freshly collected, moved around. At any length, irrespective of "cause" I wouldn't do much to alleviate the dustiness at this point. It will clear of its own accord, and likely in a few days to weeks... You could use a "diatom" or other mechanical filter to help, but... just time going by will do it. Bob Fenner>

Re: dusty water   1/8/09 Thanks for replying me all the way from wherever you are. im from Singapore! <Ahh! Was just passing through there last month (at the fab Changi Airport)... am back in S. Cal. now, out to Hawaii on the morrow> nice to meet u Mr. Fenner. a very well known aquarist i am sure. Thanks for the advice and i will just try to wait it out, although 4 days seems a bit long-ish, maybe another few more weeks would not hurt. =) Thanks again, happy new year to you and the rest of your divine gang. <Thank you. Again, no action or chemical addition needed, suggested on your part... Just patience. BobF>

Re: Dusty tank  1/8/09 Will try to resist touching the tank in the mean time >.< This hobby is addictive ya know. <Ah yes> And yes, Changi airport is something isn't it? <The best airport terminal in the world in my estimation> Though I'm not really fond of it... it is supposedly "beautiful" Enjoy your time in Hawaii! Are you diving again? <Yes... and friend, Singaporean Perry Chong has been out t/here with me diving as well> if so, you are so lucky lols. Get to see those fishes endemic to Hawaii...especially those sexy bandit and potters angels! <Ahh! You know your fishes> Alright thanks for everything! Will stop now. Time for my sleep. Will let you know if my tank clears up in a few weeks. All help appreciated. <Thank you Y. BobF>

Re: Dusty tank in Sing., freebie Linckia HH  01/13/09 Hi Mr. BobF, I recently sent u an email from Singapore, regarding my "dusty" water. Well, I was doing routine maintenance, changing my carbon, adding some microbacteria to boost my biological filtration, and the next day, my water became crystal clear again!! <Ah yes... as I had told you> I have no idea what caused this, maybe it was just a coincidence! Im so happy now. Ok, now here is a problem. I purchased some new fully cured coralline encrusted live rock from a LFS. When I got home, I found a blue Linckia starfish under one of the rocks. <Wow!> Perhaps the shop keeper did not see it. I am unsure if I should keep it or return it. I called the fish shop and he said I could have it. I have read on your website and other places that Linckias are very hard to keep, more than 95% perish etc etc. What should I do now? <I would return this animal myself> It has been doing great so far, crawling all over the tank at night, and only at night. I never get to see it in the morning.. for some reason. How do you advice my problem? <Return it. Bob Fenner>

Still frustrated... (water quality issues) 11/05/08 Hi Eric, <<Hey Susan!>> I sent you a few emails about a month ago regarding some problems that I am having with my 180 gallon marine tank. <<I recall this>> I know that you get and read a ton of emails, so I have copied them and attached them for reference. <<Ah yes thank you for this>> Since the last email, I have changed from 2 daily feedings to 3-4 feedings of VERY small pinches of flake food in an attempt to further decrease the amount of uneaten food in the tank. <<Mmm '¦the small multiple feedings are good '¦but flake food alone isn't going to cut it. Feedings need to include a wider variety of pelleted (New Life Spectrum) and frozen foods as well>> I have removed the turbo upgrade kit from my Red Sea skimmer and returned to the original setup (now using a Rio Plus 2500 powerhead). I have still not returned to what I consider to be an adequate amount of skimmate; <<It's possible that this is all there is to skim. Though I do wish this were a �better� skimmer>> I have been adjusting settings and then giving it a few days to see what happens, then readjusting, and so on. <<And so goes life with a crappy skimmer [grin]>> I am likely going to replace the skimmer, <<Yay!!!>> but it's going to have to wait a month or two due to finances. <<Understood but I will expect an update when it happens! [big grin]>> I continue to see a few new Aiptasia each week. <<Do give Red Sea's Aiptasia-x a try re. Wonderful stuff use it myself>> Over the last 3 weeks I have noticed the presence of 25-30 Asterina, as well as what appears to be 100-200 pyramid snails. <<Mmm, these Pyramidellid snails can be problematic if you have Mollusks such as Tridacna Clams in the system. You can find more info here, along with possible means of removal if needed: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestsnailfaqs.htm >> I have never seen the pyramid snails before tonight...I turned on the room light after the tank lights had been out for about an hour and they were all over 5-6 pieces of live rock (all in close proximity). <<They've probably been around for awhile>> I have a tennis ball - sized clump of Chaeto in my sump that continues to not grow. <<Another possible indicator that you system can't/doesn't have any more to skim than what you are seeing>> What appeared to be the beginning of a bad algae problem in the display has gone away (this is the only ray of light!). <<More indication of low organic/nutrient levels>> All of my testing parameters are still in the same range that they were in when I sent the original email, and I have done one 20% water change since my last email. During the water change I worked really hard to vacuum about 75% of the rock structure off, and used a turkey baster to blow out some of the crevasses (found much more junk than I was expecting here!). <<Ah yes 'a good strategy for removal of accumulated detritus>> I am a bit hesitant to blow the rocks off out of fear of accelerating the spread of Aiptasia. <<You need to address these now (get some Aiptasia-x!)>> I bought a new calcium test (third brand that I have used) and still got a calcium reading of over 600 on the tank water and also on freshly filtered water about an hour after salt is added. <<Very puzzling have you tried a Seachem or Salifert kit as suggested?>> I am wondering a few things. Is the sudden presence of the Asterina another indication of excess nutrients in the system? <<No hitchhikers that have been around all along. And from what you describe re feedings, skimmate production, macro- and micro-alga growth I'm not convinced you have a excess nutrient issue>> I have read various reviews on this. Also, with regard to the little critters that appear to be some type of pyramid snails (they are almost pure white, and I did not notice them near any other desirable, living, edible items in my tank), might these be the kind that can 'suck life' from other snails - might they have had a hand in my previous sudden loss of Mexican Turbos? <<Is a possibility>> Should I work on getting them out of the tank or are these likely to be a harmless variety? <<I don't think any of them are "harmless" '¦but review the link I gave and see what you think re their need for removal>> I am terribly confused about the terrible lack of growth on the part of my Chaeto. I have tried various bulbs recommended on Wet Web Media and other reputable forums without luck. <<Again '¦this is likely a result of a lack of excess nutrients in the system>> I obviously have a nutrient overload, <<What leads you to this conclusion? The presence of the Aiptasia? '¦no These annoying critters have amazing powers of adaptation and survival'¦ once introduced, they WILL find a way to flourish and propagate'¦ even with feedings of VERY small pinches of flake food.>> so what is preventing my Chaeto from growing if it has adequate lighting, flow and current? <<A lack of available nutrients>> Lastly, there is/was some obvious detritus buildup in my sump/refugium. <<Very common>> I have some sponge blocks in between two of the baffles before the fuge to catch the chunky stuff, but I am wondering if there is a better way to keep detritus from the overflows from collecting in the fuge? <<I actually would remove the sponges and "allow" the detritus to reach the refugium, where it can be utilized/further processed by and to the benefit of the desirable biota there>> I am concerned about the well-being of my fish at this point. <<Why?>> My yellow tail damsel was swimming along the glass at the front of the tank tonight and this is totally out of character for him. Perhaps it was just a fluke, <<Likely>> but now I am wondering if I should go through the painstaking and stressing (for both me and the fish) process of evacuating the fish to the quarantine tank (that is only 30 gallons) for 2-4 weeks until I can figure this out a bit more.... <<Susan'¦ Figure what out? I have read nothing in this email that would indicate any problems other than the presence of a few pest organisms (and possible malnutrition of your fishes re the flake only feedings)'¦and certainly nothing to indicate removal of your fishes>> Thanks again for your input...hopefully I can get this figured out and pulled out of what is starting to feel like a downward spiral. Susan <<My friend'¦ I need you to be more specific as to what you think is still wrong here. The high calcium reading could be worrisome, but based on our previous exchanges I still think this is a fault of the test kits used, or perhaps even your methodology re. I want to help you but I really have nothing to go on here. Please perform a fresh set of water tests (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Calcium, Alkalinity) with quality test kits, and get back to me with more detail for further discussion. Regards, Eric Russell>>

ORP level questions 11/4/08 Hey there Crew, I'd like to start by saying you're a tremendous help to this hobby/addiction, without you guys my fish would be flushed many times over by now I'm sure. <Thank you.> First of all, here is my setup'¦ 210g FOWRL with built in overflows, this drains down to a 55g sump. The left half of the sump is some live rock and Gracilaria, plus all my heaters and a 55w light for nighttime growth of the Gracilaria and to help stop pH swings. Middle of the sump is my return pump, then on the right side is my protein skimmer, an AquaC EV-240. The main tank has two Koralia 3s and two Koralia 4s plus the return flow nozzles, so a decent amount of flow for a FOWLR. I have some ORP level questions, I think I'm misunderstanding something. I recently bought a Red Sea ozonizer, the deluxe model which comes with a ozone generator, an air dryer and a controller/probe. So this way I can read ORP levels, set a point I don't want them to drop below, and choose a generation rate. <Convenient.> This is introduced through the John Guest fitting on my skimmer. My problem is that the ORP levels of my setup are reading around 400 with no ozone being added. This is after about a month of the ozone controller being plugged in, so levels have definitely stabilized. I've read extensively over the FAQs on WWM dealing with ozone and ORP levels and many other websites as well and don't want to harm my tank by injecting ozone over the safe ORP level. However, one of my major reasons for wanting an ozonizer is I wanted to use it as a sterilizer. I figure rather than buy UV, I'll run an ozonizer which makes the water nice and clear, helps nitrate control AND kills off parasites and other undesirables that I don't want in the water. I've had some ich problems in the past, I don't want to remove all my livestock and treat them plus leave the tank fallow for 2 months. I'd much prefer seeing if the ozonizer can help keep the levels of ich down. I realize it wont ever eradicate it but it should at least help. <It can help.> Anyway, I'm rambling'¦ I'm trying to figure out why my ORP is so high without any ozone even being injected? And will it hurt to inject say 5 mg/hour of ozone even with it being at about 410 ORP reading as of right now? <I would not, you are at the upper limit right now. Have you tried testing different areas of your tank? Is the probe immediately downstream of your skimmer? Do definitely try a different probe if you can get hold of one.> That small amount should be almost negligible on the tank's ORP level, but hopefully enough to at least damage if not outright kill any parasites that pass through. Thoughts on that? <Not worth it.> Will it hurt to inject a small amount of ozone even with already high ORP levels? <It can.> I'd appreciate the advice, thanks! <Do try different areas of your tank, different times of the day. You should see variances therein. If not do try a different probe or recalibrating this one. 410 is high without O3, though not unheard of.> Grant
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Saltwater Tank Problem 11/1/08 I have a 125 gallon tank with a 55 gallon sump. I currently am running at 78 degrees and 1.022 salt. <I would raise this to 1.026 or so.> I am also running 576 watts of PCF. I do 25 gallon water changes approximately every week and a half and use RO water. I have attached a file that I received from Aquarium Watertesting.com. <Neat, but do you have your own test kits for the basics?> Most of my parameters are pretty good I think. I do have an outbreak of brown algae on the substrate bed and I am assuming this is due to my high silica levels. <Possibly, it is likely you other levels would be higher without the algae (BGA) outbreak. Oftentimes an outbreak taking nitrate out of the water leads the aquarist to believe it is low, when it is just being used up as produced. This is one reason to own your test kits yourself. You can physically see if the numbers match up with what is going on in the tank.> What can I do to rectify this problem? <Procedures listed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm.> Also, my yellow tang is beginning to show signs of red on his dorsal fin along with a white covering on his eye, are these two things related? <Possibly, likely. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sailfindisfaqs.htm.> one of my soft encrusting corals are also not opening, is this related? <Both likely related to environment.  Basic test kits, letting you know what is happening with your tank now, not a day or days later!> Thank you for your assistance. Shane <Welcome, Scott V.>

<<image as pdf file  --SaraM, waiting for BobF to return to figure out how to post this>>

Re: Mushroom Problem - Additional Info/Question (coral husbandry/water quality)-10/28/08 Water Parameters: Nitrates 0 ppm,  pH 8.2-8.4, Phosphates 0 ppm, Salinity 1.023 <Hmm... 1.025 would be better.> Carbonate Hardness greater than 8ppm (I had limited time to perform the test, so once it got high enough I started the test. Can re-do tonight if necessary) I normally keep the water temp between 70-82 degrees. I placed a tower heater on the tank last night because the temps just got to 38 here in FL. It gets pretty cold in my apartment. I will definitely be getting a new heater tomorrow. My tank specs: 38 gallons, 700gph MAG pump, Sump w/ bioballs I also use ChemiPure, which is currently 1 month old <I would change this.> I add Lugol's Iodine supplement, which I added the day before I noticed the problem I changed my light actinic several weeks ago, the blue light is probably over 6 months old, bought the tank used. <Bulbs should be changed every 6 months.> Hope this gives enough info. I have no idea what might have caused the problem or what to do about it. It is a newer tank but everything has been fine, even thriving, until now. Even the mushrooms and sponge had been growing rapidly. Ashley <Strange... I would raise your temp to closer to 80F, raise your salinity a bit and possibly change the old bulbs. Did you recently switch salt mixes by any chance? Best, Sara M.>

Re: Mushroom Problem - Additional Info/Question 10/29/08 When I first set up my tank I used Instant Ocean, but when doing water changes I have been using the RO Saltwater from my LFS. Haven't had a problem until now. The mushrooms have opened up about 1/2 way today, but the sponge is still almost white. Should I remove this or give it some more time? I read that when they die they give off toxins. <If it's just a little hitch-hiker sponge, I'd just wait and see.> You said I should change my Chemi pure. The box said they are good for 4-6 months and I've only had mine in for one month. Why should I change it? <You don't have to change it. But just fyi, the box gives you an "average" time they "usually" last. But the media is spent whenever it absorbs as much as it can. The time for this would vary from tank to tank.> Maybe it was just temperature shock from the heater breaking...I really have no idea what happened! <This is quite possible. Perhaps the temp dropped more than you think... even if just for an hour, sharp changes in temperature can cause a lot of damage.> I was going to add my last fish today (possibly an angel or something). What do you think? Any species that would work well? <Likely one of the dwarf angels would be better... there are many pages on WWM about them.> Also, should I be feeding the mushrooms? I switch from flakes, to frozen vitamin enriched brine shrimp, to frozen vitamin enriched mysis shrimp, to frozen Cyclops for the fish. Any recommendations here? <A combination of all of the above would be good (variety is important).> My Blue Star Leopard Wrasse looks skinny. I've only had him for 4 weeks (2 of them he spend buried in the sand). I try to feed him something every day, but he doesn't seem to be bulking up. He picks from the rocks, but I fear he may already be eating everything in the tank! Again, any recommendations? <Try New Life Spectrum Foods...> I do not have the room for a refugium (small apartment), but I am willing to stock my tank as often as necessary to keep him alive. <Well, you could try live copepods and/or live baby brine shrimp.> One last question, how do you know if a fish has internal parasites? I read that Leopard Wrasses almost always have them when captured, and I wanted to make sure mine did not. He is covered with the normal white spots, but in addition has large faded-looking spots along its back/side. Not sure if it's something to worry about, just wanted to check. <Likely you might not be able to tell without cutting him open (which you wouldn't want to do, obviously). If I were you, I'd simply start experimenting with different foods and see what works. If you're really worried about the internal parasites, again, there are lots of pages about this on WWM if you do a search.> Thanks for all the help! Ashley <De nada, Sara M.>

Newish SW system, yellowing   6/9/08 Hello, first I want to say thanks for helping out people like me that love this hobby. I have a couple of questions. i have a new 75g Oceanic with a Oceanic 20g wet/dry with bio media, and Oceanic skimmer, wave maker with four power heads for current, MagDrive 7 for the sump, Lighting I have a coral life double actinic 65w and double white light 65w also for lighting 2 -48" coral life and lunar lights, I also have a pump for air to the bio-media chamber inside the sump and an extra air hose airing the media balls. My tank runs at temp 77-79. I've had it running for 7 days with nothing but semi live rock and the sand from my old tank. Now my tank has a yellow brownish tint to it, I just added reef active carbon. hope it will work. Now should i use carbon? <Mmm, yes... likely a good idea. I take it the system is/will be pretty much pre-cycled from moving so much of the older tanks contents> What's wronged with my tank? <Likely just microbial/algal proliferation...> I just bought an red sea ozoniser should I use it now or wait till later? <I would add, turn it on> Any advise will be greatly appreciated. what should I run the ozone at? <Perhaps a "target" of about 325 micro-Siemens per cm... with an upper limit of 375> Thank you GARCIA, JORGE <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dropped a Tiny Screw in My Saltwater Tank -- 05/23/08 Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> I have a problem. <<Uh oh>> Accidentally dropped a (tiny) screw into my tank. <<Mmm, I see (I wonder how you say 'oh crap!' in Danish? [grin] >> Tried to find it, but was unsuccessful (Actually, almost turned the tank upside down to find it). What do I do? Please don't tell me that I have to break down the tank. <<Ah, not at all my friend'¦ The 'tiny screw' will very likely pass unnoticed in your system. But for some added peace of mind; if you aren't already doing so, you can add a heavy-metal scavenging media like Poly-Filter to your filtration system (I would (I do!) run this media all the time). Thanks, Michael Fick Denmark <<Regards, Eric Russell 'South Carolina, USA>>

RE: Dropped a Tiny Screw in My Saltwater Tank -- 05/24/08 Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> Thanks for your reply. <<Quite welcome>> That was a relief! <<Ah good>> So you don't think there will be a "Rust issue?" <<Considering the amount of metal and the volume of water involved 'no>> That was my primary concern. <<I don't really think you need be>> I don't think that Poly-Filters are available in Denmark, but I will check it out. <<Hmm'¦perhaps an Internet order then'¦>> Thanks Eric <<My pleasure, Michael>> P.S. The Danish translation for "oh crap!" is "Sikke noget lort!" <<Haha! Thank you for this my friend. Eric Russell>>

High ORP Readings 5/16/08 Hi team, <Hi Dave> My ORP readings consistently range from ~450 first thing in the morning before the lights come on, dipping to ~425 by the end of the day. Then they rise through the night cycle and repeat again the next day. They've been like this for some 9+ months ever since setting up my 900l reef system. <I little on the high side.> I've read that readings over 400 can be dangerous but touch wood I haven't had any casualties for either fish or inverts. Current hosts are a 4" Hippo Tang, a 4" Yellow Tang, a 3" Potter's Angel, 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels and a cleaner shrimp. There are 2 mushroom corals, a large pulsating xenia, a small Euphyllia torch coral and 2 Trachyphyllia. All are thriving in the 650 l main display with 120kg of live rock. There is a 250 l sump/refugium that has a 6" DSB, 20kg of live rock and an abundance of Caulerpa verticalla running under 2 x T5 daylight tubes on reverse cycle to the display.  I do have an ozoniser which is set to come on at readings below 350 and turn off at 400 and feeds into the venturi of my Aqua Medic skimmer. The ORB probe is connected to this unit and the probe is submerged in the baffles prior to the sump return chamber. With readings always over the 400 mark, this unit has rarely come on save for once when I was away on holiday over Christmas for 3 weeks and hadn't done a water change for several weeks. Upon return the readings were down to 320. I did a good sized (20%) water change and the readings returned to their 400+ state.  I also have 2 x 25 UV which are in line on the output of 2 x Eheim Pro II canister filters that contain mechanical filtration, carbon and PO4 absorbent material. These are maintained every 4 weeks at least. Water parameters are perfect. OK just kidding :-) here they are... Salinity 1.026 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Temp 25C - 26C PH 8.0 - 8.2 Calcium 450 Q. Should I be concerned with these high ORP readings? <I'm almost certain your probe needs to be checked with a calibration solution. Your readings should be closer to 350 in your system. I'd really be surprised if indeed they were that high. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers Dave

29 gallon reef not looking good. 05/10/2008 I have a problem and I am not sure what it is. Three days ago all my corals shrunk up and are not looking good, I need some advice. <Ok>> First of all, I have been running this tank for years with no problems, I installed a gate vale inline in the sump for the pump and that is when I noticed a problem. Could there be contaminates in the valve that are causing my tank major stress? <<Highly doubt>> Here is what I have: 29 gal tank 30 lbs live rock with 2" sand and crushed coral bed Euro reef skimmer Mag 5 return with CPR overflow 250 watt MH 10000K 14" above tank Salinity 1.025 Ph 8.1 Amm/Nitrite/nitrate - 0 Alk 10 dKH Ca 380 ppm <<A little low>><Hmm... not necessarily for these types of corals. -Sara M.> Phosphate 0 Livestock - Frogspawn, colonial polyps, mushrooms, other polyp I am not sure what it is - Coral banded shrimp - clown fish - watchman goby. The fish seem normal even though the goby is not as active. The shrimp seems like he is not doing well. He is not moving and was wondering if he was going to shed his skin and it is just coincidence. <<More info is really required. Lighting times, feeding times, foods etc etc. How often do you water change, and how much? Like I said everything was looking good and now it is really hating it. Any help would be great. <<Thanks, A Nixon>>

Good intentions, but now I'm stuck... 4/21/08 Crew, <Hello, Scott V. with you.> Thanks so much for the great resource you've got here! <Thank you!!> I hope I make it far enough in the hobby to use them beyond this week! <You assuredly will.> I've been trying to search for some answers on your site as to my particular problem, but I didn't see any - hopefully, this is not a repost. I recently got some live sand (20 lbs) and water in the hopes of helping to cycle my first 20g tank along. In addition to water, I also got a heater, some test kits, a powerhead, and a filter. <What kind of filter, size?> I kept the sand sealed in two large Ziploc bags filled with the tank water, and brought it all home. The next day, I placed the sand into my new aquarium with the water, envisioning a neat little micro-community. <Any truly live sand should be added ASAP, before the bags become anoxic.> Unfortunately, it seems things have taken a turn for the worse. Over the last two days, I've been noticing an increasing amount of light brownish detritus covering my sand bed, and I've noticed that the water is starting to smell 'funny'. My test kits showed about a .5 on my ammonia (yikes!), a 3.5 ppm on my nitrite, and an alarming 200 ppm on my nitrate - as dark as it could get. <Hmm, not good.> Water is a decent 76F, and specific gravity is 1.025. <Good numbers.> Is there any hope? <Oh yes.> LFS guy said I should just scrap the whole thing and start over, but I found this advice to be a bit suspect as he proceeded to quote me the prices on everything I would need to "start it right this time", which came out to well over a hundred dollars. <I feel the same way here.> Any advice would be most appreciated! <Without knowing your filtration specifics, if the sand was truly live, it was likely killed off by a night in the Ziploc bags. This accounts for your high readings. Give it time, the numbers will go down (except nitrates, need some water changes) as the tank continues to cycle. Starting over will accomplish nothing. If anything needs to be replaced it is the water, hardly $100! The sand can and should be rinsed to remove any dead matter. The water quality will not ruin the filter or tank. Wait this out before adding any livestock.> Thanks in advance, DS <Welcome, Scott V.>

White specks 4-19-08 Hi Crew, <How goes it? Mike with you today> Great Site, a real Godsend. <Thanks - it helps us all> My tank is battling an infestation of a small white flake like organism that swims around in the water and irritate the fish. I believe my fish are stressed and flashing against rocks and the tank to relieve themselves. Could you please recommend a course of treatment? <Weird. Do you have a picture? Also, what are you water parameters and inhabitants?> I have a seventy five litre tank with an Eheim canister filter, air pump and air disk. In my battle with the "organism" I recently removed the crushed coral as it contained multiple small organisms in it, which I suspected may have been connected to white flake in the water. Thank you in advance for your help, Warm Regards, <Get back to me, but do read regarding curing marine ich...likely the popular 'cures' to marine ich will also eliminate this parasite> Darren <M. Maddox>

Help please my water went cloudy white, SW... BTA sucked up...  03/05/2008 Hi Crew, love your website and am learning a lot from it ( thank you ) <<Hello, Andrew today, and thanks for the comments>> Could you please help me with my marine tank problem? <<I'll do my best>> Tank is 220L volume and this morning i came downstairs to find the water in the tank had gone very cloudy white. I have since found out what it is, believe it or not the bubble anemone had been sucked into my 6000lph powerhead. <<Such a shame to hear this>> My question is this, will this kill my canister filters and what do i have to do to the water in my tank now. <<No, it wont kill your canister filters, simply keep good water changes, and the tank will clear up soon enough>> I have changed 20% of the water (RO) that's all i had made up ready. The problem is i am away now for four days. The tank has now cleared and tested the water NH4,NO2,NO3,PH salt and temperature are all fine. <<As long as all the above tests are showing up correctly, i would not worry about this issue, maybe just learn from it>> My fish and feather dusters, corals and crabs seem fine also. <<This is good>> I would be grateful if you could help me with this cloudy water problem ( it is not cloudy now but is the water contaminated ) <<You did the right thing by attacking the issue with water changes. It should be fine now its cleared>> Thank you so much. Regards..........Martin Steelton <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Salinity and other water chem Q's  2-10-08 Hi gang. I love the site. It's the best reference on the web! <Thanks - I agree> I had a couple of questions for you. First my tank and parameters. I have a 92 gal. corner bow, about a 30 gal. refugium, and a 30 gal. sump. I cycled it with 100lbs. of live rock and its been up for 5 weeks.? Here's some pics. [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1047.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1049.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1061.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1060.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1062.jpg[/IMG] I made the stand and hood. Niceeee!!! <Yes it is, it looks really good. Nice job> Sorry, back to the subject, the water parameters. pH is between 8.17 to 8.24 depending on time of day. SG 1.026. alkalinity 11dkh or 3.93l. Ammonia .1 (I find it vary hard to read. I use the LaMotte and the 0.05,and the.1 are all close variations of yellow) I tried a dip stick, but it's not sensitive enough. Do you know of one that might be easier to read. If this is right, I don't know why. All I have in the tank is about 40 various snails to clean up the algae and 2 peppermint shrimp to eat up the 6 or so pest anemones (which there not doing! I can't even find them!) <Looks good to me, except the ammonia obviously. There are a couple of possibilities here - that the rock is still curing, that you don't have enough water flow, or that you don't have enough rock. I'd be inclined to think the first one. What's your (hopefully random, turbulent) water flow look like? Regarding the 'pest' anemones, which I'm assuming are Aiptasia or Majano, I would run the tank 'stockless' and feed very little, while attempting to manually remove the ones you find. These guys could be a nightmare if not taken care of soon!> I also seem to have about 4 clams of some sort, also on the rock. They open and close so I know there alive; could they be a problem? <No, beneficial if anything> Nitrite 0 Nitrate 2 Carbon dioxide <7 (another hard to read LaMotte kit.) Dissolved oxygen 6.2 low? <No> Calcium 330 Magnesium 1275 Silica 0 Phosphate .1 (I also have a phosphate reactor running. I don't know why its still .1.) <Due to the die-off/cycling...change your media> Looking at this data, what jumps out at you? <Nothing, other than the ammonia> My thoughts are (other then the ammonia) calcium is low. <Looks fine to me...a little on the low side, but that allows for a higher alkalinity which I prefer anyway, unless you plan on having several Tridacnids> How would you raise it? by adding: a) Kalkwasser (drip) b) turbo calcium (Kent) c) liquid calcium (Kent) d) reef calcium (SeaChem) e) none of the above <Kalkwasser is always my preferred method of calcium delivery, whether via drip, shot, in the top off water, or via reactor> This is what I have on hand. I have something that I don't know what they are, I have about 3 of them in the rock. They have 8 arms that look like roots which they extend to filter feed. They take 1 arm at a time, and put it in their mouth. It's fascinating to watch. Here's a pic. What do you think this is? Or where do I even begin to look to find out? [IMG] http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1065.jpg[/IMG] there's two visible in/on this rock. <Looks like it could be a Crinoid - see if you can get a clearer pic. By the way, where did your order your live rock, and where is it from geographically? Looks like very nice rock!> Thanks for your time and expertise. <Anytime, get back to me about the water movement, but I'm betting your ammonia is due to your live rock, which seems to be covered in animals, which leads to an increase in die-off vs. less populated rock. I'm betting your ammonia goes away given another week or so> Tony <M. Maddox>

Re: Salinity and other water chem Q's Part II   2-11-08 Thanks for the fast reply. Here's what I have for water flow. From the sump, a blue-line 1000, pumping about 650 gal.hr. In the tank there's a Mag 18(supposedly 1800 gal/hr) in a closed loop which is built in the hood- see pic. I also have 2 Koralia power heads. 1 is 1200 gal/hr; the other is 600 gal/hr. see pics. <Looks good> The live rock. 50 lbs., came from http://www.gulf-view.com/prem_coraline.html It looked like it came right out of the ocean. <Yes, it does - I've been on reefs that didn't have rock that nice!> He sent it air freight same day, and I picked it up at the airport as soon as it arrived, with minimum time out of water. 80 lbs of Fiji came from Mr. Marine on e-bay, and was stripped pretty clean. I kind of scrubbed off the Florida rock when I got it. It had some sponges on it, and I scrubbed most of them off except this one in the pic. Since then, it has cracked, and it looks like copepods or something are crawling in it, and it has pitted up some. Could this be my ammonia problem? <Possibly/partly...as I said earlier, things will be dying, especially off of rock that populated, and IMO all will be fine given another 1-2 weeks. Patience> Should I remove it? <Only if it's obviously dying/decaying> As for the Aiptasia, I don't see how I'm going to be able to get them out. There's no way to cut them out. They act like they have eyes and when ever I get close they duck for cover. I pulled out a rock and scrubbed the spot but didn't even touch it. I may have killed one with a turkey baster full of boiling water, but I have one in the crux of a couple of live clams. I don't want to boil them. <Try a syringe of "Joe's Juice" or Kalkwasser paste and inject them in the base> What do you think of Nudibranchs? Should I get a couple, then pass them on to others. <Berghia spp. are a possibility, but only that. Yes, they will eat the anemones, but they'll also possibly starve to death before they even find the anemones. It's possible to find them tank bred online, I would purchase a few of these if that's what you decide to do> I was hoping the peppermint shrimp were going to eat them. Here are the pics. [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1070.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP1069.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc57/tonycip111/IMGP0971.jpg[/IMG] Initially, I didn't think I was getting enough flow, so I capped the inside two flow outlets you see in the pic. <Nice job on the DIY work, it looks good. Let me know if you still have detectable ammonia in two weeks. M. Maddox>

Unit conversions  1/8/08 hey not to be a jerk but there are actually 4 quarts to a gallon and two pints to a quart :) <Heeee! I must have been drinking too many pints! Thank you for this> also since I didn't see anything specific on the page and it might be helpful. There are approximately: 3.8 liters per gallon 976 ml (.976 l per quart) 2.2 lbs per kilo 231 cubic inches per gallon a pints a pound the world around, as such a gallon is approx 8 pounds (8.33) Celsius to Fahrenheit is 9/5(C) + 32 = F hope this is helpful to at least some one :) Cheers <Danke. Bob Fenner>

Potassium too low, Boron too high, other possible issues.... Water Quality And Going Overboard 1/1/08 Hey WetWebMedia folks.... <Hello Glenn> I send a water sample weekly to a lab for testing from my 600 gallon FOWLR system. <Wowsie, pretty pricey isn't it?> As you can see from the most recent tests, the Potassium component (too low and dropping) seems to be an issue, while the Boron (suspecting my salt mix is the culprit here, using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals for the last two years) is too high. If salt mix is a/the probable bad guy, would appreciate recommendations on alternative mix. <You are going overboard with the lab work. Reef Crystals is one of the better salt mixes out there. Bi-monthly 10% water changes should provide all the essential elements needed by your inhabitants. Calcium will have to be maintained by additives.> The magnesium component is coming back (using supplemental addition little by little), but I do not see any of my usual suppliers (Drs. Foster & Smith and Marine Depot) offering a straight Potassium supplement/additive. <I don't know if anyone sells such...Bob?><<I don't... and don't know of anyone who does presently... this element is not often in short supply. RMF>> I don't want to be "chasing numbers" but some of these seem to be potentially serious problems. Or, am I concentrating on those numbers that look most out-of-whack, while missing something more fundamental? Your general guidance re: the apparent health/appearance of the organisms in the system plays a part here... everything from fish to inverts is fine: good color, vigor and appetite across the board. Some small issue with hair algae, but hey, what's new? I do about a 75 gallon water change regime weekly, source water comes from a 5-stage RO (no DI, no Hi-S stage) unit. Two large Euro-Reef protein skimmers pull the crud out. <Sounds like a good plan to me.> PS - The letters H, G, L simply are my way of referencing High, Good or Low concentrations as a quick overview. Water Testing Results 11/01/07 11/08/07 11/20/07 12/03/07 12/10/07 12/17/07 12/24/07 Ammonia .010 G .007 G .005 G 0.014 G .006 G 0.001 G .002 G Nitrite .007 G .007 G .006 G 0.003 G .007 G .005 G .003 G Nitrate 2.3 G 1.2 G 1.3 G 1.7 G 1.4 G 1.4 G 1.3 G Phosphate .10 G .11 G .25 G .24 G .26 G .26 H .02 G Silica 1.6 H .6 H 0.0 G .5 G 1.0 H 1.3 H 0.6 H Potassium 287 L 271 L 253 L 248 L 234 L 210 L 207 L Calcium 258 L 286 L 258 L 241 L 202 L 391 G 401 G Boron 5.9 G 9.8 H 13.1 H 16.7 H 11.4 H 12.1 H 13.1 H Molybdenum 0.1 G 0.1 G 0.1 G 0.1 G 0.1 G 0.1 G 0.3 H Strontium 5.2 G 4.7 L 12.1 H 10.4 G 11.8 G 5.9 G 6.7 G Magnesium 960 L 1021 L 1049 L 838 L 963 L 776 L 902 L Iodine .03 G .01 L .01 L .03 G .02 L .05 G .06 G Copper .04 H .01 G .03 G .01 G .02 G .02 G .02 G Alkalinity 3.96 G 4.01 G 3.36 G 4.09 G 3.89 G 3.42 G 3.03 G Salinity 1.020 1.020 1.020 1.020 1.020 1.018 1.018 pH 8.000 7.950 8.000 8.250 8.350 8.400 8.350 ORP 350 335 345 365 365 375 380 <I do not see any serious problems here at all. The ORP/pH/alkalinity levels you have certainly attest to good water quality in the regard that excess nutrients/dissolved waste are very low. Just keep doing what you are doing my friend. I'm curious to know what the fee is for one lab test. You may be wasting your money here. > Thanks for your feedback and suggestions/recommendations/insight. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Glenn Brokaw

Reef water chemistry question, reading   11/26/07 Hello, I will get right to it. I have a 125 gallon reef tank. It has been up and running for about 4 years now with minimal problems. Until now. Actually I am not sure if it is a problem or not. This is where you come in. The PH level has always been about 8.4 but my alkalinity measures at 15DKH, while my calcium levels remain low at 225. <Mmmm> I am about 2 weeks overdue for a water change, but I am not sure if that will do the trick. I dose calcium nightly in a 1 gallon container and drip it into the sump (slurry method). <As... Kalk...?> I have been doing so for a while. I only use Instant Ocean salt mix, so I don't think that is the problem. <Actually... there have been quite a few folks write in that they have experienced anomalies since the co. (A.S.) sold> Is this level of Alkalinity a problem? <Can/could be, yes... the "laid down" matrix of alkaline earths in the skeletons of biomineralizing life in your system could well be marginalized... easily breakable... as well as the physiologies of the life mal-affected> I have stopped using C-balance since I noticed this high level. I have not noticed and problems with my hammer coral or torch corals. How can I raise my Ca level higher with causing an imbalance somewhere else? Any suggestions or are my parameters OK?.. Happy Holidays and thank you...John <Thanks... please peruse the articles and FAQs files here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm about the ninth tray down. Bob Fenner>

Calcium Issue?...Maybe Not -- 10/17/07 I have a 55G reef tank up and running successfully for two and a half years. <<Excellent>> I have always used the two part supplement B-Ionic on a daily basis, the same dosage for all this time. <<Hopefully validated by testing...>> Recently, within the last month it seems the tank has stopped using the calcium. I mean I have stopped using the B-Ionic and the calcium has remained at 450ppm for at least three weeks now. <<Perhaps other environmental issues/conditions have slowed growth of your corals>> I understand that corals go through periods when they stop using as much calcium but does this scenario seem right to you? <<Hard to say without much more detail about your system, water chemistry, livestock, maintenance, etc.... But yes, is likely nothing to worry about>> Should I continue to dose with B-Ionic or wait until the calcium levels begin to drop? <<Don't dose if the tank doesn't need it...but you make no mention of your Alkalinity here>> The tank has 0 ammonia and nitrite. The nitrates are high at 20ppm but water changes are quickly changing this reading. <<Ah, perhaps a clue! If you have 'stepped-up' water changes to deal with the Nitrates then this is likely what is maintaining your Calcium level>> pH is 8.0 and steady, without the B-Ionic. <<But is a bit low...>> The corals look healthy, perhaps not thriving, they are not spreading at this point. <<And their appearance, continued good health are your best indicators whether something is truly amiss here>> But I am perplexed as to the cause of this new chemistry. How long can a reef tank maintain pH/alkalinity and calcium without some additional supplementation? <<A very nebulous question as virtually every tank is different...but...many tanks, unless very heavily stocked, are able to maintain a balance of bio-minerals/Earth elements through simple partial water changes. If dosing/supplementation is required, well, your test kits are your best resource for knowing what to dose and how much...let them be your guide>> Should I be concerned or is this a normal phenomenon? Please Advise. Your advice is greatly appreciated. <<Continue to monitor water parameters, ensuring 'all' are in line/balance...but likely the water changes are providing all the supplementation you need right now. EricR>>

Re: Water parameters help! Follow-up -- 6/15/07 <Hey Chris! Sorry for the delay!> Sorry, I do weekly 30% water changes and I use Instant Ocean salt... forgot to mention that... <Ah! That is a good practice then!> I am currently not testing for my Calcium levels, just my nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity, and pH... any other ideas? <Should test for Ca periodically since you are supplementing it, but that is not really related to the question at hand. I did forget to mention the 3rd major means of reducing nitrate and that is by using macroalgae to utilize it. Nitrate is fertilizer for plants. It didn't sound like you have room for that in the setup you have, but is always worth considering. Read re refugiums. The question is - Where are the nitrates coming from? Source water? Test it, for sure! Feeding too much? Make sure to rinse the frozen food before putting in tank. Maybe try feeding less often if your fish aren't thin. And leave off the brine shrimp - not as nutritious as the alternatives.> Should I put the sponge back in then? <The sponge would provide mechanical filtration and provide a place for the aerobic bacteria to convert ammonia/nitrite to nitrate. This is only a problem if there is no anaerobic area in the tank to further break down the nitrate. You may not be able to achieve this, so again, I think water changes (with nitrate-free source water) is your best best. I would use the sponge, but rinse it out frequently to avoid excess accumulation of crud.> Also, I heard that you can take out the bio balls in one of the back compartments and replace them with small bits of live rock... would this help at all? <I would try this with the biggest bits you can fit. Be careful not too take out too much of your biological filtration at once though. Live rock is definitely preferred to bio-balls, as it has a chance of helping with the nitrate reduction, the balls don't.> Also, I just took out the emerald crab...<yes, he could have been a problem in this space eventually grabbing a fish.> so the inhabitants are now the Perc, the Dottyback, and the shrimp... thanks in advance for all of the helpful advice. <With your water change regimen this should be working for you. I suspect your source water may be coming with nitrates, lots are having problems with this this year it seems. Alex.>

Cloudy Water, Marine  4/16/07 Hi there, <Hello> I have read your articles and wondered if you could come up with a solution to a problem I am having. The water in my marine tank seems to have a 'milky' cloud that I am unable to get rid of. <Usually due to either a bacterial bloom caused by high ammonia/nitrite or sand particles.> I have a 110lt marine tank that is approx 4 months old.  <About 29 US Gallons I believe.> The levels of nitrate/nitrite etc are ok <define ok> as is the ph level of 8.2 I have an Eheim filter system that is large enough to handle a 200lt tank and an air stone. The fish in the tank are a trigger/clown/file/tailfin and a wrasse.  <Wow, too much life in such a small tank, my guess this is the source of the problem.> I take out approx 15% of the tank every two weeks or so and use a buffer to keep the levels constant. The temp. is fine as is the salt density. Over the last 4 weeks or so the water has started to become cloudy and looks quite 'milky'. I have tried turning off the light for a few days and I have also added some 'cotton wool' to the filter to try and sift out the algae to no avail. The fish 'seem' fine and happily eat whatever I give them. Any help or thoughts would be very welcome. Thanks David.   <Too much life and probably overfeeding is leading to poor water quality I am guessing.  This leading to a bacterial bloom which causes the cloudiness.> <Chris>

Cloudy Water, Marine  Part II 4/16/07 Thanks for the input...will cut down on the feed and see what happens. David <Need to take a look at your stocking, ultimate cause of this problem.> Purified water testing & trace elements Water Quality 4/8/07 Hello, <Hi Greg.> I've been  testing my make-up water via a Salifert alkalinity test kit.  The water is  purified via an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water  Purifier. <A very expensive way to purify water.  An RO purifier will save you much money here.> I  always get 0 dKH when testing. The thing is though, recently I got close enough  to the aerating/stored make-up water to notice a fishy stink. <Is the water being circulated/aerated?> So I tested  alkalinity and it read 0.  So I'm thinking the alkalinity test obviously isn't  sufficient. <???Alkalinity has nothing to do with water purity.> I'm  guessing a TDS meter will do the trick.  What is the best way to catch the purifier before it produces anything less than perfect water? If you think a meter is the way to go, will the Pocket TDS Meter from Marine Depot do the trick? The reason I ask is, it seems like it might be cheaply made @  $29.95. <Total Dissolved Solids testing is used to check the effectiveness of RO units and I believe would also tell you the condition of the media in your water purifier. As for the meter MD sells, I'd ask them that question.> Also, I use a Poly Filter  and dose Seachem's Reef  Builder and Reef Advantage Calcium.  Should I remove the Poly Filter for four days every time I add these to my tank? Will the Poly Filter remove a  significant amount of trace elements from either of these two  products? <No.  If regular water changes are carried out, you will replenish any lost trace elements.> I really don't care if it removes the magnesium, strontium, etc.  All I worry about being absorbed is the calcium and alkalinity. <No worries here.> How  much, if any, will it remove from these two products? <Would be negligible at best.> One more question. My make-up water (for water  change) only has 960 ppm of Mg. I'm shooting for 1050. I've got Epsom  salts and I'm wondering if I can just add the powder directly to my make-up water after it's been aerated, buffered, brought to correct spg and pH. If  not, how should I do this?  Dilute in purified water and then add to  make-up water? The tank's magnesium level is at 915 ppm and would like this  also to be 1050 since I maintain calcium around 350 ppm. Am I going about this  in the right manner? <I would mix the Epsom salts in a separate container and add directly to tank when needed.  As for other additives, follow manufacturers directions.  James (Salty Dog)> Take care,  Greg Water Change 3/17/07 Hi WetWeb Media, <Hello> I was wondering, can your water get a little cloudy even after it has cycled and if so how long can it take to clear up? <Can but often a sign of too much ammonia/nitrite, not a good thing.> I have been told it is just some bacteria in the water that should clear up as the tank ages. <Yes, but check your water parameters.> Jeff (Thanks for your quick response on the last question) <Sure> <Chris>

Re: Cloudy Water 3/19/07 Hey it's Jeff again, <Hello> Thanks for your answer. But here's my next question, I have check the water and Ammonia is at (0) Nitrite (0) and Nitrates are around 5.0 PPM. Do you think it is just the tank needing to age a little bit. <Maybe, could it be small sand particles?>  Keep in mind I am not going to get any livestock until I know 100% what the problem is.  <Good> Is it possible it's just the bacteria settling in the tank after the cycle. <The bacteria we are trying to culture does not live in the water, only attached to surfaces.> Also the water is not exactly cloudy it just looks like tiny little particles are floating around. <Sounds like it might be blowing sand or something similar.> From the front it looks clear but on the sides you can see the particles. I'm sure it's just going to take patience it always does with aquariums. <Yep> Thank you again for the last few answers! Jeff <Anytime> <Chris>

Alkalinity, calcium and pH  2/18/07 Hi Everyone, I have a 72 gal FOWLR tank (with a 1" bed of live sand - aragonite) that is almost 4 months old with 2 percula clowns, a six line wrasse, a yellow tang, and a coral beauty angel. I have a regal tang in quarantine almost ready to join the others. The fish are very happy and healthy, but I'm not! <!> My problem is that my alkalinity has gotten too high (6.57 meq/l), my pH hovers around 8.0 to 8.15, and my calcium level is 280ppm. I think I know how this happened. In my quest to raise the ph, I added Proper pH 8.2 <Mmm, this product should only be used in freshwater settings> to excess not realizing that it was cranking up the alkalinity. My question is this:  How do I correct this situation? <Mmm, best with time going by, regular water changes... and leaving this product out> My plan is to do 10% water changes daily (or every other day - I routinely do them weekly) <Good... but I'd stick with the weekly... with pre-mixed/stored water... and 20-25%> to gradually bring down the alkalinity using RO/DI water (with Instant Ocean salt).  This is where I get a little lost.  What do I do to get pH and calcium levels in order.  My goal is pH = 8.3, calcium = 350-400 ppm, and alkalinity = 3.5 meq/l.  Are these proper values for a FOWLR system? <Yes>   I'm trying to increase the coralline algae growth on my live rock.  I need a plan of attack - a recipe for success if you will.  Hope you can help. Thanks in advance. Mike. <Thank you for writing so clearly, thoroughly... The water changes with the Aquarium Systems salt mix, the stock, substrate you list... should "do it"... in a few months time. Bob Fenner>

High dKH  2/1/07 Hello.  I appreciate the time you folks take in answering all the  questions thrown at you.  I have been spending hours on your website going  through all the data. My question is this:  My alkalinity is at 20 dKH  and my pH is at 8.3.  If I lower my dKH to acceptable levels (8-12 dKH),  will it lower my pH below acceptable levels for a marine aquarium? <Mmm, possibly... depending on the means utilized to lower, and the percentages of what is involved in rendering the KH what it is...>   I  believe my pH should still be stable and remain at 8.3 considering my dKH is so  high to begin with.  Is this correct? R/ Jeff <Mmm... do you have a notion, input as to the nature of the high, too-high KH? Is this from your "starting", tap water? If so, I would just blend in some less-solute-laden source... like RO, DI, or RODI. Bob Fenner>

No loss of life, but phosphates and ammonia spiking even after water change, HELP!  - 1/22/07 Tank setup: 120 gal, 30 gal sump, overflow into sump, onto charcoal and phosphate pad (phosphate pad also one in overflow because currently having a brown algae bloom). <Caused or allowed by... what?> Pro clear aquatic skimmer in sump, water returns to tank via two lines on each side of the tank. System has been set up since April 06.  Various Rio pumps in tank to give flow. Calcium is reading at 440, Last week ammonia .25, nitrate 5.0, nitrite 0, phosphate .5, PH OK. Ammonia, phosphate has elevated lately so did 20% water change. 1 day after water change ammonia .5, nitrate between 5 and 10 ppm, no nitrites and phosphate is still .5. (aquarium pharmaceuticals test kits). Ammonia and phosphate are still elevated after water change and using phosphate pad. Using well water (no chlorine), does have trace of nitrate and phosphate, but usually get small algae bloom and it works it's way out as well as when I vacuum. Tank has about 100 lbs live rock and other rock put in at the time of setup. 1 yellow tang, 1 clown, 2 Chromis, 1 mandarin, 1 dragon net, 1 coral beauty, 1 bi color Pseudochromis, 4 blue leg crabs, 50 some odd snails (and lots of snail eggs lately (Nassarius -- I saw her at work), <Heeee! Your employ is with gastropods?> carpet xenia, yellow star, 5 other small colonies of polyps, and 1 flaming scallop, <...> one very large (10' bristle worm I've been trying to catch, ½ dozen other smaller bristles that I see). Now the skimmer -- while I was doing water change, figured I'd pull the skimmer and clean it too. First time I took apart the skimmer and cleaned the inside of the pump -- was working fine before I pulled it. Was some brown gunk on magnet, not too bad, put it all back together. I lost the seal from the pump feed to the reaction chamber so I siliconed it as I was getting huge bubbles from skimmer and it was just foaming and pushing water out. Also siliconed from the pump to the intake because I thought this may be another possible place for air to leak in. Looking at the skimmer in action, don't see anything unusual. I also added an air restrictor on the end of the air intake. This has helped reduce the amount of foaming, but the bubbles in the chamber are much larger than before I took the skimmer apart and cleaned it. <Something amiss here... likely with the air mix, or gunk in the injector area> I'm opting to just get a new skimmer as it seems to be pulling extra air and making huge bubbles and not really skimming, just making foam, although the air restrictor has slowed this down considerably (never had to used it before). Lately I have had a decent die back of large 1/2 inch amphipods in the tank  I had a LOT of them. Would this cause an elevation in the ammonia and phosphates? <Actually... whatever caused their loss...> I've also had to move my polyps up high as yes -- the amphipods are munching on them at night and they have died back some (not touching the carpet or star corals). Will ammonia increase when something in the tank dies? <Often so, yes> Why didn't the levels drop after the water change? <Likely a root cause of trouble here IS the water... I would install, use RO for your potable and pet-fish uses> No loss of life yet, but not sure what to do now. Will test again tomorrow night and can do another water change (crystal sea marine mix as always, water at 1.024), but what else should I be looking for? <An inexpensive RO device...> I have been feeding daily frozen brine, 2 pellets for the crabs or they attack my snails and every three days with Chromax. This last week I've cut feeding back from once a day to every other while monitoring the water. I supplement with iodine, coral Vite and strontium and molybdenum (Kent). I usually cut back on these after water change because the water should have everything it needs (usually wait two weeks before supplementing). I do a water change every 6 weeks as it is such a huge undertaking for the size tank I have. Can you recommend a good skimmer? <Yes... posted on WWM... likely an Aqua-C product here> If I'm having an issue with the one I have now, don't want another one. It was doing well until I pulled it apart to clean it, but it is less than a year old. How long should a skimmer last anyway? <Read my friend... a good skimmer is a once in a life-time purchase. Read. Bob Fenner> Re: Help water SW chemistry Thanks for the help and reassurance.  The tank is about a month old at this point.  I have been adding buffer with the calcium supplements so as not to have further drops in pH. <Mmm, through water changes... not directly to the system>   When it starts to get to 7.8 I worry about the shrimp and crabs. <Endeavour to understand the reasons for the reductive behavior here... countervailing strategies for buffering...>   I plan on more corals over the next few months as the tank matures further. <Do take your time... research...> I switched to the Kent reactor calcium supplement since it seems to be an all in one and has no chloride (do you have an opinion about this product). <I'd switch to SeaChem's superior line...> So I guess I should stop adding buffer and just watch what the pH does? <Mmm, no...>   Is there any bad effects from the very high Alk that I am currently running. <Yes...>   I plan on a 25% water change this weekend so it should correct somewhat. <I hope so...> Oh one last thing what do you think of the remora C skimmer.... <Is a fine product> being a Hex tank my space is limited. Thanks again for all your help Regards Carlos David <Have you read on WWM re calcium, alkalinity, pH? I would... Bob Fenner>

Salt Water Cloudiness in New Setup 1/19/07 Hello, <Hi Steve> I have a 75 gallon saltwater aquarium that I have had set up for 1 month.  I used a product that is supposed to cycle the tank overnight.   <Welcome! I hope that doesn't mean you added livestock too early...> I am running a ProClear 150 wet/dry with protein skimmer, and have added 2 damsels that were fine so I added a puffer.   <Fine is a relative term, and damsels are notoriously tough when it comes to water conditions. You (and your system) would be best served to have a full test kit available here, with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and Ph tests for starters so you know for sure instead of gauging water quality by outward appearances of your fishies.> The brown algae started growing everywhere and I did a water change and now have cloudy water, almost like the filter is not filtering due to the white cloudy material shooting into the tank.  Did I do a water change to soon?   <Could be air bubbles from the salt mix, or stirred up detritus from the sand bed?  I need more info. When were fish added in relation to the initial setup? What do you use for source water, and how do you mix it? What are your current test values?> What to do?   <Buy a test kit or at least bring some water to be tested at your LFS.> I have lost one damsel and the other I think will be gone in the morning due to very rapid breathing.  The puffer is still eating but not a lot of movement.  Any help would be grateful. <Suggest some reading for you: http://wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i2/marine_planning/marine_planning.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcyclefaqs.htm Remember, some of this hobby seems very tedious. Lots of learning, and frantic searching to fix the mistakes we *all* made/make, but it is all necessary to become successful in the hobby. I would read the links above, and any blue links that catch your eye on those pages. -Graham T.>

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