Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Toxic Water Conditions 8

Related Articles: Marine Toxic Tank Conditions , General  Marine Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Toxic Situations 1, Toxic Situations 2, Toxic Situations 3Toxic Situations 4Toxic Situations 5, Toxic Situations 6, Toxic Situations 7, Toxic Situations 9, & FAQs on Toxic Water Conditions by: Unknown Causes, & Endogenous (from inside, e.g. Internal, Organic Causes), Foods, Nutrients, Venomous/Poisonous Tankmates, Wipe-out Syndromes/New Tanks e.g., Exogenous (from outside, External, Inorganic, e.g. Metals), Marine Algaecide Use/Chemical Control, Toxic Copper Use Situations/Troubleshooting, Insecticides, Cleaners, & Troubleshooting/Fixing,

A lot of people won't get no supper tonight. Cantherhines macrocerus

Re: fish death, SW diagnosis... env.   8/7/09
Stores no Bob as their is 1 here and the owner knows little, I know a guy who works at a lab he might be able to help. I should have said the last group of fish that I lost before this lasted in the tank for almost 6
<Ahh, more "fuel to the fire" for my tentative belief/assertion that some sort of chronic toxicity is at play/fault here>
I added the last fish possibly to quick QT'ed 3 weeks and shortly after they started to die. that is when I let the tank sit fallow for 10 weeks this group of fish lasted a few weeks.
<... The Poly Bio-Marine product alluded to in the last email... Could be very telling... BobF>

Re: fish death, weaning...   8/7/09
Thanks for the quick reply Bob. I just want to make sure I get the right media here as I have to order it as The LFS doesn't carry any such animal.
I found a product called Poly Filter Pad made by Poly Bio Marine. Is this the product and if so what am I going to see when I use it. Thanks
<Is... and please search the product name here:

Cannot Figure Out What's Going On/Lack Of Reading/Research Likely... SW... life...  7/14/09
Hi there,
<Hello Jennifer>
I love your site!
<Thank you.>
A little background: my son's Make-A-Wish was a saltwater aquarium and he received it about 4 mos. ago. This was all new to me and have had a crash course to say the least. In retrospect we did a lot of things wrong in the beginning, we added fish too fast, we don't have a quarantine tank so we lost a lot adding sick fish to what seemed to be a healthy tank. The last group of fish that died, 4 percula clowns and 4 domino damselfish seemed to have had something, maybe an internal parasite? They presented with stringy white poo and the damsels would turn white overnight, the clowns color being off as well just can't put my finger on how, they wouldn't eat in the morning but would eat fine later in the day, showed no labored breathing but did some flashing and shaking as if to get something off. I would lose a fish every couple of days. I did water changes, put some parasite meds in and either the "illness" did them in or more likely the "medicine" did them in because I woke up one morning to a dead tank (except the hermits, and of course the worms).
<Not a good idea adding medication without identifying the ailment.
Just what was the "medicine"?>
The water parameters at the time: 1.023, nitrites 0, pH 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrates 20, temp 82.
<The low pH can indicate excess nutrient problems and/or lack of adding a pH buffer.>
I realize now that I was overfeeding the tank, and after I realized the bristleworms were the only critter flourishing in this tank have remedied that (I have no fish in the tank presently, just about 8 dwarf blue legged hermits, so I wasn't really putting any food in there. The crabs seemed happy with the live rock and catching up on the overfeeding) Since I have not been feeding the tank the worms have been out in the daytime in great numbers. I don't know if they are starving and have to look more aggressively for food or if some other environmental problem is forcing them out of the LR. The worms emerging in the daytime started about 3 days ago.
<Would be a good time to get these worms out, can be problematic.>
Now my beloved blue legged hermits are all dead. A couple died yesterday (out of shell)
and then this morning they were all dead. A couple were out of shell and dead, most have just "vanished" shell empty or with a worm. Any ideas what is going on. Did I starve my bristleworms to the point of predation or did I starve my hermits even though the tank probably had plenty to sustain them? Did they die from the nitrate level or vise versa?
<Likely ammonia poisoning.>
When everything started dying I had a nitrate of the above mentioned 20 which shot up the next day to around 100!
<Not good.>
I figured something was dead that I couldn't see so I cleaned gravel, moved everything to inspect and did a 5 gallon water change (found a couple dead hermits no larger critters). (All hermits dead the next day) I feel terrible, these poor animals! I have quickly grown to love this but I have never had such an emotional rollercoaster! Please help or I think I may do Oceania a favor and raise a rock (not a live one either!).
<Jennifer, you provide little information as to your tank size, filtration, additives used, etc. Makes it difficult for me to try and diagnose. My first thought was your tank is undersized for the amount of animals to attempted to keep and you literally poisoned the water.
The Domino Damsels, cute when young, grow to be monsters of the midway, becoming very aggressive with age. Size and compatibility issues must be taken into consideration when selecting fish. Dominos and Perculas are not a good mix. My suggestion to you is to start over by reading here and related articles posted in the header.
An index to our articles here.
You are one of many that attempt to set up a marine aquarium with very little knowledge beforehand as to the basics of setting up and maintaining a healthy aquarium. Do take the time to read, learn, and research before buying any more livestock.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

2/18/2009 Toxic Tank Conditions, Stocking, Reading, Disease. (RMF any other thoughts?) I desperately need your help WWM! My fish keep dying! <Uh Oh!> I know you have probably heard this a million times but I've done a lot of research trying to figure out what is going wrong and I feel like I can't get an answer from anyone or anywhere. I read through your site all the time and love it! I'm hoping you can help.?<Will certainly try.> Here is my situation... I started a new tank, 72 gallon bowfront after having great success with my Aquapod. It has been up and running about 2 months and has about 50lbs of live rock. I let the tank cycle 3 weeks, the water tested perfect so I began adding some small, hardy fish, never more then 2 in a week.<A little fast for a new tank in my opinion> The tank has 2- 2x96 watt lights that are on from 4pm to 12am <I would go a longer than this, 10 - 12 hours>, Moon light, a protein skimmer <What kind?>, 20gal. sump, bio balls. <Any other filtration, particularly chemical filtration?> My temperature ranges from 78 (lights off) to 82 degrees (lights on). <A bit extreme for a temperature swing in my opinion> I check the water quality at least 2 or 3 times a week (mostly in hopes of finding out, it is the water quality killing the fish, I need a reason!) but it appears the water is perfect. I check it at home with test strips <Not recommended as they tend to be very inaccurate> and also take it to a LFS in my area (I've even gone to different LFS to see if they get different results). Everything always comes back perfect and nobody knows why the fish die. Nitrite 0.0 Nitrate 0.0 Ammonia 0.0 Specific Gravity 1.025 PH 8.3 <Alk?> What is even weirder is I have a cleaner shrimp and a few corals mostly polyps, mushroom and a colt coral and they are all doing great! <Hmm...may be something here..Are you running carbon in your system at all?> I have tried buying hardy fish since I know my tank is new and probably doesn't have much beneficial bacteria but every fish I have put in there (except for a black Percula that doesn't seem to bother anyone) has died. Some last 2 days some last 2 weeks but they all die. I have had about 7 blue green chromis die, Royal Gramma, Purple Firefish, yellow tang, six line wrasse... everything! I drip acclimate them, I feed them properly (they all seem to be eating great even right before I find them dead), I always wash my hands before putting my hands in the tank (mostly to scoop out dead fish). What am I doing wrong?! I really hope you can help me, I am feeling so discouraged with this tank. <Please STOP adding fish to this tank until the problem can be determined. You need to start narrowing down the possible causes At first glance, I am tempted to believe that your polyps/mushrooms/soft corals are waging chemical warfare with each other and taking your fish out in the process. That said, there are still several possible causes: How long were these fish quarantined and\or acclimated to your tank conditions? Where does your source water come from and did you test it? What kind of substrate do you have? Is it possible something else in the house is contaminating your tank? Lastly, is it possible that you are getting bad fish from your LFS, or are their water conditions toxic?> P.S. About three days ago, I noticed what looks like ich on the black Percula right away, <Are you quarantining your fish before introducing them in the tank?> I started treating the tank with Ich Attack and he looks better. <Not a useful product in my opinion - I'm skeptical of any "medicine" that can be added to your display tank, have the dose doubled in severe cases, does not require water changes after introduction, and is recommended in 'therapeutic" doses when no disease is present.> However, I don't think this can be the reason all the other fish have died because this just happened recently <I agree> and the fish had very few spots. <Are you sure it was even Crypt?> Like a month ago, I started the tank with only a few blue green Chromis and even those died, one by one, only a few days after putting them in. Any information you can provide me with, would be so greatly appreciated! I think I covered everything but if you need any other info please let me know. <Please check all of the above as suggested and please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm> Thanks, <You're Welcome, please let us know your results> Ernesto <MikeV.> <<I do think you've covered, asked good questions here Mike... I too suspect there is some sort of Cnidarian warfare at play here mostly... along with this system not being fully established. Oh, and would you please insert your carated responses on new lines? Makes all easier to read. Thanks, BobF>

Re: 2/18/2009 Toxic Tank Conditions, Stocking, Reading, Disease. Mike, <Hi Ernesto> Thank you so much for your quick response! <My pleasure> There was one thing in particular in your response that I wanted to get more information on. You mentioned my corals may be waging "chemical warfare" on each other and taking out my fish in the process. How can I know if this is the problem and how can I stop this from happening? The exact corals I have (all small and separate from each other, no spreading or touching)?are glove polyps, colt corals, small toadstool leather (which recently turned gray and waxy, I think it is shedding), candy coral, brown polyps and a small cabbage leather. Are these not compatible? Are they killing my fish? =(? <You do have quite a few noxious invertebrates in your tank, and if it were me, I would return one or two of them to the store where you purchased them. These soft corals and polyps, being unable to move, secrete toxins to keep other corals away, ensuring that they have adequate living\growing space. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to test for these chemicals that I am aware of, other than things suddenly dying in your tank. As an example, palytoxin, which is released by Zoanthids is dangerous to humans, and I have read anecdotal stories of a dog licking a piece of live rock that had Zoanthids living on it, and dying several hours later. http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=525&p=6072&hilit=poison#p6072 So you can see, some of these toxins can and will harm your fish if it builds up in high enough concentrations. Do a Google search on the WetWebMedia page for 'Allelopathy' and 'Palytoxin' for more information.> Also, since you asked.... I am not using any carbon in my tank. Should I be? <In my opinion, if you have soft corals, especially with fish, you should definitely use carbon in your filtration system and change it every week to two weeks. The system should also have vigorous water movement, at least 10 times the volume of the tank per hour, a good protein skimmer, and 10 - 15% weekly water changes.> Thank you so much! <Again, my pleasure.> Ernesto <MikeV>

Plate coral poisoned tank? Toxic tk. situation, endogenous, biol.   3/2/08 Hi, First, thanks for this fabulous resource that I've used once or twice :) <Welcome> I've scanned your FAQ's extensively (and have been since March of '06) but am not finding what I'm looking for exactly, so my apologies if this is a duplicate question. I couldn't find it in any of the books that I have either (Calfo's and *The Conscientious Marine Aquarist* the most frequently referenced ones). I had a 72 gallon lovely (I thought) tank setup that was flourishing for quite some time (well, about two years) containing some basic livestock- a six-lined wrasse (a meanie who will not be replaced), a clownfish, 12 chromis, 1 Firefish, 2 perpetually pregnant cleaner and 1 peppermint shrimp, a lawnmower blenny, many polyps and Palythoa, a mysteriously appearing (and multiplying) tree-type coral, <Please send a pic of this... could be a Hydrozoan... trouble> mushroom corals, in addition to the usual feather duster worms (3 small), turbo snails (24) and blue legged hermit crabs (30) with various 'pods in the rocks and sump. Quite a few hitchhiker opihi's (don't remember the real name for them), small stars, worms, an emerald crab, etc. came in on the 90+ lbs of live rock that we had accumulated over time, and our deep sand bed in the sump and display were full of little wormie guys who build the little calcified tubes. <Sounds very lively> A bout of hair algae prompted my husband to stop at a local aquarium store and purchase a sea hare on the dealer's recommendation, much to my dismay- but there was enough algae to keep the guy going and he seemed to be doing quite well in there (based on his expanding girth). He seemed to be a good fit for our system. <Mmm, too many of these are inappropriately placed... cold water... too likely to be unhappy, toxify a system> Emboldened by his previous success, my well-intentioned but poorly-informed husband stopped at the same store that was now having a going-out-of-business sale. <Not a good sign...> He purchased a couple of very small polyp-covered rocks at $5 apiece and a large coral for a mere $10 :( The oh-so kind dealer assured him that his purchases would be very easy to keep alive as long as the large coral was given a piece of fresh fish once in awhile. <...?> By the time I had researched the coral and knew that I was dealing with a nearly impossible to keep alive plate coral (it resembled an anemone), <Heliofungia... actiniformis> it was late into the evening and the store had closed for good; no other store in town would take the plate coral. I drove myself bonkers trying to keep the doomed fellow alive, but die he did, and everything else in the tank died shortly after he croaked and exuded some kind of slime stuff. <...> The tank has run fallow since then, (July of '07) the only survivor a lone hermit crab. I'd like to get this tank going again. Attempt #1 was done after several small water changes- testing the water looked ok, so I went out and purchased 6 small blue-green chromis. They were all dead the next morning. All of my basic parameters appeared ok- with the exception of slightly elevated nitrates and high calcium (which is a constant problem no matter what we do). I tested and retested and retested. I bought more test kits and tested again. Still what I thought was ok (at any rate was what the previous population had appeared to thrive in before the addition of the plate coral). I assumed there was something in the water that I was unable to test for- a toxin or something from the plate coral (grasping at straws, perhaps?). <Maybe> Attempt #2- I did a 100% water change, but did not change the sand in the tank. I drained it a much as I could; in that process I noticed not one single living thing other than the previously mentioned hermit crab. As I said, the tank was previously teeming with 'pods and other critters who came in off the live rock. Even after running fallow for six months or so, still nothing was showing up, nor has it since the complete water change that we did four weeks ago. Three weeks after the water change I purchased 3 more small blue-green chromis. One was dead a few days later; a few days after that one was caught in the overflow. That one died the next evening. I've tested the water weekly but again, nothing looks weird to me except for the slightly high nitrates and very high calcium that is typical for our tank. Expected diatom bloom going on right now. I'm starting to see small bubbles coming off the rocks which leads me to suspect a possible Cyano outbreak is in my near future. During this water change, the rocks were exposed to air for about an hour. I did not rinse them off but misted them with fresh saltwater (not from the tank). Should I purchase some 'pods in a bottle and put then in my sump? <Mmm, I wouldn't just yet> I do not want any more live rock in the tank, but I'd like to re-seed the tank (only once I know it's safe). Is there something specific that you think I should test for in my tank before anyone else goes to their doom in there? <Mmm, you might try running some filter media... PolyFilter, GAC... for a few weeks, ahead of the next trial... Or skip ahead to removing the Hermits... and nuking/bleaching all... draining, rinsing (repeat) a few times with freshwater... re-filling with marine, adding some new live rock over the old...> My smart-alecky daughter has named the last three fish "dead fish 1, 2, and 3", and I'm starting to feel like all the fish in the fish store are hiding behind rocks when I walk through the store's door :( I'd rather give up the hobby than keep killing fish... can you help? I'm feeling very nervous for my hermit crab and lonely chromis. Below are my test results and equipment on the tank: Temp-78 SPG/salinity-1.023-33 ph-7.9 (taken in the afternoon) alkalinity- 300 (KH 4.8 per Salifert) ammonia-0 nitrite-0 nitrate-20 calcium- I've used three different types of kits; they all show the calcium higher than 600. <Something amiss here... you don't want the biomineral content this high... at the expense of alkaline reserve> I don't dose or add anything to the water other than Dechlor for water changes so I don't understand this. No calcium precipitation but wondering if the Alk and ph are somehow suppressing that. <...?> This reading has always been the case with my tank (since June of '06). Is the sand a problem? <Maybe> Evap top-offs are done with R/O water. I haven't been testing for magnesium, iodine, or strontium, since the big wipe-out. Equipment/setup: 72 gallon bowfront (Upgraded from 30 gallon in June 06) 15 gallon sump / refugium (below tank) with 6+ inches Oolitic sand and spaghetti algae, rubble Chemi-pure and Poly-filter in sump Aqua C Remora Pro Skimmer with overflow box Circulating 700-800 gallons per hour Two powerheads (one rotating) for circulation TEK T-5 Light 6 -54 watt bulbs (two actinic) 90+ pounds of live rock Oolitic sand as substrate- 4 inches in display Water changes are made with tap water, Dechlor, and Kent sea salt (mixed a week before) <I'd read on WWM re, try another brand> Many thanks for taking the time to read this long email, Stephanie in Santa Cruz <The choice is up to you... to try the chemical filtrant, more time going by route... or the biocide do-over. Bob Fenner> Heavy metal poisoning, too much heavy metal music?    2/24/08 Dear Crew I have had a few problems. Last summer my ozone probe went bad, I guess and the ozone level climbed too high and wiped out everything but a few fish. <Really?... How did you figure this?> I had a 500 gallon reef tank for the past 2.5 years. I gradually replaced some soft coral (colt coral and spaghetti leathers), then one day they closed up and eventually withered away. <...?> I checked the water parameters, and all was fine (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, sp. gravity, temp, Alk, pH and etc). <...> I noticed that one of my pumps was not working in the sump and pulled it out and some rusty colored water drained out of it, however there was a backflow valve hooked up to it, so I'm guessing none of that water leaked out until I pulled it out. The fish are fine, but the only coral that is still kicking is a Porites (this one also survived the ozone surge and the nitrogen cycle). The green hair algae has died as well, but the Cyanobacteria is still flourishing. Did this pump foul things up? <Can't say from the data presented...> There is no ozone running and water parameters are fine. I have placed a poly filter in my sump, hoping to get rid of something. Thanks l.splitter <... You have a RedOx meter? Ferrous test kit? Color on the PolyFilter? Your message makes little sense to me... Bob Fenner>
Water chemistry question... Anomalous invert. SW losses   2/21/08 Hey guys, long time lurker first time e-mailer. I have a 50g mixed reef with a 20g sump/refuge. My water parameters always test to 0ppm for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; phosphates are about 0.05ppm (LFS test), calcium is between 400 and 450ppm, Alk is 10dkh, lastly my magnesium is 1350. The tank was upgraded from my 24g nanocube which ran for 2 years, and now my 50g has been up for about 10 months. I've been having a bad green hair algae problem and been having a hard time keeping my Astrea and Mexican Turbos alive for more then a month. <Mmm... something... is growing there that is poisoning the snails...> I now only have 2 Astraea's, initially I couldn't figure out why I would lose my Astraea's and Turbos but after surfing around on WWM I think I'm attributing it to pyramid snails. <Maybe...> I see them around the tank and I pick them out by hand, and now I inspect my two Astraea's and remove the pyramid's from them. <Do you see these actually on the dead snails?> I don't see the pyramids much anymore. Anyway I did get 2 months ago a Sixline partially because I wanted to see if it would eat the pyramids and partially because I like watching them. Anyway he lasted about 2 weeks and I found him stuck to my maxi-jet 1200 that I modded for more flow. <Also likely poisoned...> I don't know why he died but he looked great up until I came home and saw him dead. Anyway because I can't keep snails alive a few weeks after that I got a sea hare <Mmm, I would be checking the species, its biology... too many of these are coldwater, too toxic themselves...> thinking maybe with the absence of snails or a clam the pyramids would die. The sea hare did great, he was mowing down the algae but he lasted 2 weeks as well. <Something, chemical, biochemical...> I found him one day behind my rockwork white as a ghost and with his guts spit out. Lastly a month later I decided to get a tuxedo urchin. He's been great at eating the algae as well but he just died today. Is there some type of pest that would take these guys out, or is there some chemical that both my LFS and my tests aren't looking for? Oh by the way, I do a water change out of 10g once every week and a half and for fish I only have 2 ocellaris clowns and they have been in both tanks since day one and they and my corals don't seem to be affected at all. This can't just be bad luck can it? <Again... summat amiss here... Could be a blue-green, other Division algae, or something else... I would try using a pad of PolyFilter (please write back re colors you see accumulating on the pad), and add a good bit of some "other" species of useful algae to your lighted area of the refugium (Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha are my best choices)... You need to eliminate whatever the toxicity is here, and these steps should do it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Water chemistry question... Anomalous invert. SW losses... Tufa rock  2/21/08 Thank you very much for your help. I'll pick up some PolyFilter and let you guys know. I do have some Chaeto in my fuge and it grows fast <A good sign> but my fuge is starting to be overcome by the hair algae as well. <A bad one... Do you have access to a few hundred power microscope? I am suspecting that this hair algae is a Cyanobacteria... no nuclei or other visible endoplasmic inclusions... See WWM re ID...> The algae itself is a darker green and is soft/silky when I pull it out. <Does it feel slimy?> I'm also using about 40 pounds of tufa rock if that has anything to do with it, <Erp! Does... See WWM re... use the search tool and the term... on the "Ask the Crew..." page, view the cached views... the Tufa rock is VERY likely the source of trouble here> the other 30 pounds are Fiji base rocks transferred from my nano cube. Anyway thank you for your time, I'll update you in a few days. <The PolyFilter will help absorb some of the Tufa issue, but not indefinitely... it needs to be pulled. BobF>

Re: Water chemistry question... Anomalous invert. SW losses... Tufa Rock  2/21/08 Aha! Tufa rock, man I wish I would have read what I just read 10 months ago. <Ah, you and I both> I'm attaching a picture of what the algae looks like in my tank. <Nice... except for the...> I do have to say that until I got my ATO working in my sump when I was first setup and cycling the tank my water level ran low and 2 times I had to top off with tap water because I didn't have an RODI unit and the grocery store's unit was down for maintenance. The algae started out as Cyano obviously because of my use of tap water and after 3 months turned to what you see now in the picture. It's not really slimy, at least not like what Cyano feels like but it is kind of close. You can see in the picture that all of the tufa rock has bad hair algae and non of my established Fiji rock has it. <A clue eh?> I manually pick it out to battle it, I've gone as far as remove the rocks on the right side of the tank to scrub them in water from a water change and then put them back in only to find that the problem got worse. <More exposed surface area on the Tufa...> It seems like the more I pick the algae out the faster it grows back. My dad's work has an electron microscope that takes pictures he's going to see if he can bring it home over the weekend because I'll be up in Cleveland visiting my parents, if not he said I can put some algae in a test tube and he'll take it to work and email me the pictures. <Neat!> Also to answer a previous question you asked, I have never seen the so called pyramid snails that I think I have on a dead Astrea or turbo, but I have seen them on the live ones. I figured better to be safe then sorry and pick them out. In my nano-cube they did stay on the glass and algae all the time but I had a hard time keeping the snails alive there too, especially Mexican Turbos. <These may be something other than Pyramidellids> I had one live about 8 months but the replacement one lived 2 or 3 months. The poly-filter is in my sump, what color would it turn if its a toxic chemical from the tufa rock? Green? <We'll see... depends on the nutrients available, preponderant> Lastly, my wife and I are closing on a house tomorrow and will be moving into it on March 2nd. <Ah, congrats!> My plans were to first plumb a 50g Rubbermaid stock tank in our basement and plumb that to the main tank that would be on the first floor in our family room. My idea for moving would be to dig my snails out of the sand, and pitch the sand and start fresh as recommended by my local reef club. To transport the water I was going to use the orange 5g painter buckets to get them from my apartment to my new house and setup my 24g nano until the dust clears in the main tank with the new sand. If the tufa rock is the culprit, I have about 40lbs in my main display, if I were to remove it and add 40lbs of Fiji rock to my main display wouldn't the combination of adding the sand and rock send my tank into another cycle? <Quite possibly so... I'd get the new Fiji LR and cure it ASAP, and move it in with the big MOVE> If so should I just keep my nano-cube up and running to just re-cycle my tank or how would you go about that whole situation? Also, to clarify, were you referring to my algae problem being caused by the tufa rock maybe? Or where you referring to the tufa rock releasing the toxin into my system killing new additions? Or both? <Both... or the algae the Tufa is "sponsoring" in turn producing toxins... The Tufa's got to go. Bob Fenner>

Re: Water chemistry question... Anomalous invert. SW losses... Tufa Rock  2/23/08 Just an update, I am going tomorrow to phishybusiness to pick up about 40 pounds of Eva live rock and I will cure it in my 24g nanocube. The PolyFilter pad has started to turn a green/brown color. Hopefully this fixes my toxin problem so that I could get some new fish that I've had my eyes on. <Ahhh! B>

Reef help, coral wont survive.   2/11/08 Hi, my name is Bryce. I live in the Cincinnati Ohio area. I have been in the hobby of saltwater aquariums now for 6 years and have had many reef tanks mostly nano's. I have been slowly purchasing my equipment for a bigger reef setup and yet am having trouble. For 2 months I have been struggling with my reef tank and need some help. Any coral I add never opens at all and dies or withers away. I first tried a finger leather, then I tried a silver branch xenia followed by a green star polyp colony and cant get anything to open. 3 months ago I took down my 150 gallon FOWLR tank and setup a 75 gallon tank I intend to make a reef. The tank is 48 inches wide and about 22 inches deep with the water column about 22 inches high give or take. I moved all my fish, rock, and inverts (no coral)...just blue and scarlet leg hermits and such once the new 75 gallon was setup. I moved 75 gallons of water from my 150 to start and two weeks later did a 25% water change like I usually do. My 75 gallon tank has a 1/2 inch thick Aragonite based sand bed, about 150 to 200 lbs of live rock and 50 or so hermits and snails. Lighting is supplied by 2, 150 watt 14k metal halides and 4, 65 watt actinic 03 compact fl's. I change my MH's every 6 months with Ushios, and the actinics with Corallife bulbs every 8 months. The MH's are 12 inches above the water surface, actinics are 6 inches. It is an open top tank. My circulation is from 2 Hydor Koralia pumps at 1200 gal/hr each and then my sump return of about 500 gal per hour. I have a siphon box which empties into a refugium tank with just Chaeto macro algae and a shallow sand bed with 10 lbs of live rock. It is lighted by a 50/50 65 watt compact fl. bulb. I let hair algae and green and what ever else grows grow in my refugium tank and clean out the hair algae once a month. I don't have any nuisance algae in my main tank. From my refugium my water pours over through a 25 micron filter bag and into my 20 gallon sump. I have an aqua-c ev180 protein skimmer, a Corallife 36 watt uv sterilizer, JBJ Arctica 1/10hp chiller, aqua-c rx-1 calcium reactor, a DIY anaerobic denitrator, <What is this fed with? The source of carbon or?> and an auto top off unit connected to a solenoid through a ro/di unit recently tested at 7ppm total dissolved solids. My water changes come from this ro unit and I use reef crystals as my salt mix at a specific gravity of 1.025 measured with a hydrometer. My parameters are as such. Water is 79 to 80 degrees, nitrates 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm, phos 0ppm, magnesium is always around 1250ppm, calcium is about 400 to 420 ppm, ph is 8.3, KH is 10 to 11, ammonia is always undetectable. I dose with only magnesium and use Carib sea A.R.M in my reactor. When I got my 75 gallon tank all setup and running I had 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 blue tang and 1 royal Gramma. All the fish had been in my 150 gallon tank for at least 6 months, the clowns over 3 years. My trouble started when I noticed my Gramma was always in hiding. I thought since the acclimation maybe he was stressed. He died 2 weeks after the tanks was setup. Then my blue tang died of what appeared to be an Oodinium infection as did my clowns shortly after. I have no idea where the Oodinium came from as my newest fish .. the blue tang ... was quarantined for 3 weeks before going in the 150 gallon tank and lived there for months without any problem. <Somehow got by...> I assume that there must have been a very small number of the parasite in the water and the immunity of the fish was able to keep it under control until the stress of a new home maybe lowered their immune system. I don't know. But that added to all this frustration. It leads me to believe there is an "unseen" problem with my water quality. <I agree... Your set-up reads as fine... but there is a chemical, perhaps bio-chemical anomaly here somewhere> I had several thoughts about what may be wrong. I thought maybe H2S from my denitrator was getting in my water. <Mmm, this, or...> Effluent out of the unit doesn't smell and it is at a constant drip rate into the sump and the tank is very well circulated. The denitrator has been running now for 4 years on whatever tank setup I have at the time. I have never had any problems with it. <This gear can/does change...> Sand bed is shallow...so I ruled out h2s in my mind. Plumbing was all new with pvc and I used aquarium grade silicone with standard pvc cement for all joints. Perhaps some chemical is getting into my water? <From? A cat-box near by? Someone spraying glass et al. cleaner in a too air-tight house?> Perhaps the first coral I introduced died and released some chemical toxin my other subsequent coral attempts did not like? <Most real possibility mentioned yet> I thought maybe my RO/DI unit was malfunctioning in some way... I tested the water locally at a dealer of units and total dissolved solids was 7ppm.. id like it at 0 but with Ohio river water as my starting point I think it is working ok. I changed my carbon pre and post filter every 6 months along with my DI resin. My skunk cleaner shrimp, all my crabs, my snails, everything is alive and well and seems to be doing great. <A good clue> Just cant get my corals to open up. I acclimate them slowly using standard bag floating methods. <Mmm, see WWM... I'd acclimate Cnidarians differently. Posted> I always start with my lights off and proceed with only actinics for one day. Then each day have my MH's on one more hour until I am up to the full 8 hour photoperiod. I typically use my actinics from 8am to 9pm and my MH's from 11am to 7pm. I have had many corals in the past and have never had a problem quite like this one. I always had a minimum amount of lighting and equipment though. I have never had such an elaborate setup as I do now and yet cant get any coral to live. I don't know if my Oodinium problem was related to bad water quality in some way or if it was just stress from the move. <Also agreed> Sorry to write a book but I just wanted your professional help and opinion as to my next move or next thing to test for. I don't want to keep trying coral without knowing why they don't open up. Something is not right. Could I be filtering my water so well that it is devoid of what the coral needs to open and thrive? <Mmm... not likely> Is it all just happening too fast after I setup my 75 gallon tank and things just are not quite in balance? Please help, thanks BRYCE. <Could be the source of the livestock/corals even... I would try setting up another system to acclimate them in... move some of the water from the 75 once some are settled in (a few weeks to months)... to test the "poor water" hypothesis... Then... I would systematically remove one element at a time... My first choice, the denitrator. Bob Fenner>

Re: reef help, coral wont survive. 2-12-08 We have a cat box downstairs about 6 feet from the 30 gallon top-off water tank. I guess this could be my issue. What is in the cat litter that would cause my problem? <Mostly thought to be ammonia getting into solution... can be measured if present> I guess I should move one or the other. <And do consider the systematic water and gear testing protocol mentioned previously. BobF>

Dead, and don't know what to do... Read  - 1/24/08 <?> Hi Ok here is my situation. I have an 85 gallon tank, reef lighting (Current) , a euro reef protein skimmer, a Megaflow sump filter model 4. Live rock, two sea anemones, <... likely trouble. See WWM re Actinarian comp.> one brittle star fish, one sea urchin, one fire shrimp, a cleaner wrasse, <...> a six line wrasse, a mandarin Goby and small clown. My lights on a timer so 2 hours in the am and then 6 in the evening. OK so every time I add a fish that is a little bigger (Naso Tang or an Arugula Butterfly) they die. <...> The last one was a Naso tang, I drip acclimated him and for three days <!?> he was great he zipped around the tank and then on the third day he is on his side no spots or nothing struggling to stay alive and then dead. Water levels are all in zone. <What zone?> What is going on ??? help? Thanks Jim <... Water tests? Filtration, maintenance... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and on to Env. diseases, Marine... You have a toxicity problem... likely from the Cnidarians here... but... w/o test results, knowing what gear you have... more data, can only vaguely guess. Bob Fenner> HELP NEEDED... LR introduction wipe-out... I have a 55 gallon salt tank it has been up and running now for a few months. everything has been fine until last night. I recently bought 16 pounds of new live rock to add to my existing LR. <Best by far to sequester, re "cure" this outside main systems...> I also did a 10 gallon or so water change. everything was still fine for about 24 hours then it all happened. At the stroke of the new year, I seen the tank was cloudy, checked my ph it was 7.0, <Yikes!> checked nitrates they were over 5.0, <... likely Nitrites... deadly> then I seen lots of bristle worms( I had never seen these in my tank before) all the fish were dead including the sea urchin, however my red starfish, and anemone are still alive, the anemone is not looking so good but is still alive. I also seen some cocoon looking white sacks on a live rock. (what could these be) now today I am doing water changes readily to try to get the nitrates down. Am I doing this right and what happened to cause this. I don't want to cause this again, ever. <?> I appreciate any information and help you can give me. I am a nurse who feels like a murderer to these poor fish. last night it was almost like a code blue call for me. I even had my husband assisting me in doing emergency cares for the star and anemone until 5 am this morning. Sam <... much for you to read. Please start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lrh2oqualfaq2.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dead marine fish... not a joke, but pretty humorous/tragic  12/30/07 Hi, My fish only tank is almost 3 years old. During most of that time the tank has been doing great. Recently fish have started to die. First new fish would die within hours of adding them. Then the other fish began to die. My PH was quite low. <How low is low?> I probably raised it too quickly <How much and how?> and most of the fish died the next day. Two (Puffer and Snowflake Eel) stopped eating and died 2-3 weeks later. Water chemistry is perfect. <What does this mean?> Added 3 fish yesterday all are dead or dying. Prior to the death of most of my fish I added a Wrasse. He died within two days of adding him. Same with a Lion fish. (tails looked torn, poor respiration. Is it possibly my salt is bad? <Possibly> How about RO filter? Mine is one year old. <What does testing tell/show you?> I store my RO water in the basement in a covered 35 gallon rubber garbage can with an air stone and cover on it. Any ideas? <All sorts> What do I do next? <Likely read> My Tank is a 90 gal. with UV, protein skimmer, and sump. I have never touched the bio balls but I do clean the sump and pads. My tank has no ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates are below 20. Temp. is 70 degrees and salt is 1.019. <Too low...> There is some copper that I added .10-.15. <A very poor idea to have constant exposure> PH is 83. <No> Please advise! Thank you" Roy Pakett <Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm The Yellow tray... Toxic H2O cond.s... and re the spg, Cu... You're killing these fishes... need to educate yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dead marine fish... not a joke, but pretty humorous/tragic  -- 1/2/08 Bob, <Roy> Please Help!! I believe I narrowed the problem down to the quality of the water that I am adding to the tank. I also have a 14 gallon nano reef tank and after doing a water change my healthy clown fish died. (No remaining live fish) I just added two Chromis fish to my 90 gallon. Both died within 1 day. Added one to my reef tank- It too died within 2 days. I believe the problem is either bad salt, bad RO filter (one year old) or bad storage of water- I keep in basement in 35 gallon rubber garbage cans air stone on all the time. Tested storage water-T.D.S.= 25 I have had aquariums all my life and I do know how to acclimate fish. Please advise- How do I do a complete water change of a 90 gallon tank without killing the good bacteria? <Not to worry re... I would drain the water out completely here... add some chemical filtrants... replace all water...> I only have one small snowflake Eel currently in it. Thank you. <... Keep reading where you were referred to. BobF>

Sudden death of Ocellaris Clown, Cleaner Shrimp and Emerald Crab... Small, overcrowded mis set-up and managed SW system...  12/30/07 Hello WWM crew, <Rana> Your site has been a great help as we established our first tank, a 14gal BioCube. Sorry to say I'm writing cause we are having tragedy in the last 48 hours. First, some background. Bought it 'complete' from the LFS, and it had been established in the store for a little bit of time with reef rock, sand, corals etc and a couple of fish. Oh yeah, I forgot, bonus thing we discovered when we got home, a HUGE (10-12 inch) bristleworm. Nice. <Perhaps for fishing bait> It started with quite a bit of coral (different types, polyps etc) and added a frogspawn coral, emerald crab, a regular hermit, a scarlet hermit and 2 snails. Fish are 2 small (1.5 inch) Ocellaris clowns, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 1 small shrimp goby. First cleaner shrimp didn't make the trip from the store. <... this life needs more room than this> First problem in the tank after a few weeks of setup (about 6 months ago) was "red slime". We had quite the outbreak and it killed 2 corals (pretty delicate purple things). LFS recommended ChemiPure - which we treated and double-treated. Reduced amount of light to 8 hours, tank does not get direct sunlight. Long story short, we barely contain the red slime and when it gets bad we do a ChemiPure treatment and significant water changes (30-40%). So it's more or less stable. Deep cleaning was done recently (cleaned bio balls, reservoir area etc for any detritus, didn't remove from water). Test kits shows our nitrates go up significantly - we test every 2-3 weeks. This has been a mystery. <Less so with a bit of study...> My best guess so far is that we have too much 'life' in the tank, the corals are thriving and growing and things could just be getting crowded. <Yes> About 4 weeks ago, found 1 snail dead. And about 3 months ago, added a cleaner shrimp. About 2 weeks ago, we replaced the snail with a new one, and added a blue-legged hermit (medium sized). All animals had been otherwise healthy (shrimp molting etc) and growing. Then 2 days ago tragedy struck. The tank has been stable for over a month. Nitrates ok but we picked up the pace of water changes to 7 days to control it (and the red slime). <BGA... very common in small, unstable, "incompletely" filtered crowded systems as yours... the rule rather than exception> Went away on vacation for 5 days and had a friend care for the tank. The day after we got back, 1 day after last seen healthy, one of the clowns had flopped into the reservoir and died (despite enough water being in the reservoir). Best conclusion was stress of some sort as this clown had not jumped out before like this (the other one had previously). The other clown was fine. One clown had done this 2 times before - despite the lid on the tank, managed to flop through the 1 inch space between the reservoir and the tank. Then this morning (less than 48 hours after clown died), found the previously VERY healthy cleaner shrimp and emerald crab dead (and being consumed or partially consumed overnight) by worms etc in the tank. <Are you surprised? I can't register this> Tank still looks thriving. Tested water - pH has dropped a bit from 8.0 to 7.4. <!!!... Uhh, this is a base ten logarithm... This drop is more precipitous than the fall of the U.S. dollar against other world currencies... a bit of humour> Nitrates still high (it's been 1 week since water change) - around 50mg/l. <... disastrous> Help. Very sad day, since we have been overcoming these tank issues and all life looked thriving, it's sad to see a third of our stock just die within 3 days. And all very mysteriously. No fish or corals or anything shows signs of disease. They eat well and even the red slime is not present. Your insight and advice is sorely needed. Sad in SF, Rana from SF <Uhh... you've got some reading to do... Maybe start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/small.htm and then on to the linked files above. BobF in SDiego...>

What happens within the tank when an Anemone dies? 12/20/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Bobby, Brenda here!> I have a question about Condylactis Anemones. <Okay!> If I were to buy a Condylactis, and it happen to die (obviously not hoping, just sort of planning ahead), what would happen within the tank? Would this pretty much crash my tank? <It is a definite possibility, especially in smaller tanks.> I'm new to anemones so any information about what happens after their death would help. <They can fall to pieces, and are very hard to get out of the water in one piece. You may need to siphon a lot of it out. It smells horrible, and will cause an ammonia spike. You will need to do several large water changes over the next few days. Having a supply of premixed saltwater is always recommended for emergencies. I recommend researching their care several months in advance so you can eliminate the chances of it dying. More information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm > Thank you very much, Bobby <You're welcome! Brenda>

Metal in reef aquaria 12/19/07 Greetings Crew <Hello Mark.> I am in the process of starting a new 100 gal reef and would like to get it right the first time with your help. The lighting is installed, a new Euro-Reef skimmer is in the sump, and I'm ready for live rock. <Congratulations> What I'm not sure about is the use of metallic objects in reef systems. The metallic objects I refer to include a titanium heater, a submersible Mag 12 pump which utilizes stainless steel screws to fasten the pump chamber to the motor, and an Aqua UV ultraviolet sterilizer. The sterilizer is my main concern here as it is equipped with a sleeve wiper actuated by a 1/4" rod about 8" long. All these items have been used in a previous setup with no appreciable corrosion so the stainless is of good quality. I have always made a point of avoiding metal fasteners and clamps where contact with the water is likely but these items are supposedly made for this application. <Good practice.> Do I have cause for concern? <No, these items can be used no problem.> Thanks, Mark P. <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Sump Near Oil Furnace - 12/13/07 I have learned a great deal from your site, thank you. I have not been able to find any mention of what might be troubling me with my tanks. I have two reef tanks one 72 bow front in my basement, one 210 on first floor of my home - they run off the same water system and sump in the basement. The sump, which contains my protein skimmer, water pumps and heater is in very close proximity of my oil burning furnace. [Living in Maine - basic necessity.] The sump ( a 45 gallon tote ) is approximately 1 foot away from the furnace. I do not have a cover on the sump - lots of open water. I use RO water. My fish are doing great, fat and healthy. My corals are not so great; they fail to thrive. Do you think it has something to do with the proximity of the furnace/sump. <Mmm... might have an influence... I would likely contact a business in the field of such heat technology, ask what tools they suggest for testing for contamination here, what compounds are typically found in association... Perhaps a few calls to a college with a chemistry department re what they might be able to do for you re mass spectrophotometry> My local reefing expert and friend at AquaCorals in Fairfield, Maine has brainstormed all parameters - <Mmm, would like to see/hear this...> thinks all is fine but questions the furnace. What do you think? Jeanine M. Brown <... Could experiment or just move the sump... try covering it at least... Bob Fenner>

Disaster...no Clue. AP TWP, some sort of catastrophic cascade poisoning event Hello!   12/9/07 I have a major problem with my tank and have spent 3 weeks trying to sort it out. I have searched your site and just can't seem to find anything that relates to my situation. <Let's see...> My set up is a 90 gallon with a Pro Clear 150 series 2. <This wet-dry? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00061UXXC?smid=AEL917WTFL8PV&tag=msnshop-pet-mp-20&linkCode=asn> The tank has been up and running for over a year now with no problems. Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia all at zero. PH runs about 8.2. I added some red Gracilaria to the Sump. (After the skimmer below bio ball before the return) I was running a light on opposite cycle from the main tank lights as well. A month after adding the Gracilaria I started to see copods <No such thing... Copepods> down there and when I did a water change they would sometimes go flying out into the tank. A few of them took up residence around some of my polyps and pulsing xenia. Life was good in the tank! I did water changed weekly of about 10 gallons. This went on for a year with no problems or losses. <Good> Rather than purchase water I decided to invest in a Tap Water Filter by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. <Mmm, please see WWM... this product is unworthy... a toy if you will... Not cheap or really functional to produce clean water> I did some reading and this was supposed to be a great product. Recommended by Jack Wattley and all. <Jack... Wattley... knows better than to have lent/sold his name here. I will say no more re> I mixed up my first 5 gallon batch and decided to test it first since I wanted to be sure the water was good before adding it to my tank. Testing pre-salt showed 0 nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and chlorine. I did note the PH was very low. Around a 5.0 but once I added the salt mix it came right up to the 8.0 level. I added the 5 gallons and then mixed the next 5 gallons. Testing again gave the same results. While I was working on the tank I decided that I would add a little of the bio active sand to the sump. I placed it down with the Gracilaria to try and keep the pods going strong. The next morning it looked like a war zone. Pulsing xenia was withered away and the mushroom leather corals were all shriveled up. I tested and found my nitrates 20 nitrites were at .5. <Yikes...> Panic set in so I went and did another 10 gallon water change. Again, testing the water before placing it in the tank. 24 Hours later my nitrates 20 nitrites were at 3.0 and all coral, blue leg, emerald green, peppermint and cleaner shrimp were dead. <Yes... poisoned> I again did another water change, this time I did 30 gallons. The nitrites came down to .5 and I decided to go and purchase some Prime since it seemed my tank was in a cycle. Odd thing is ammonia was 0 or .5 during this whole ordeal. <Not all microbes mal-affected evidently> Day 4 I tested and now the nitrates 20, nitrites were at 5.0 I lost a chromis ammonia was .05. I did another 30 gallon water change and got nitrites down to 1.0. I decided that perhaps too many water changes were causing a cycle. I had to go away for 3 days and the tank just sat. I turned off the lights as to try not to stress the remaining fish. Upon my return the nitrites were back up, but to 10.0 this time! Nitrates were 40 and believe it or not 2 false Percs, yellow tail blue tang and lawnmower were still alive. Ok, so the tank is clear I thought maybe it's my test kit. I got a brand new kit and tested. Nitrates 40 Nitrites 10.0 and ammonia at .5. Two test kits same readings. So a week after using the new water filter and adding the sand I am in a mess. I did water changes of 10 gallons every day for a week. That kept the nitrites at about 3.0 all week. I then tried cycle to see if somehow it would help balance things out. Day 14 I added the cycle nitrites were 3.0 nitrates at 10. The next morning I was looking at Nitrates over 200 and nitrites over 10 ! All 4 fish were still alive. I tried both test kits same readings. <Yes... a cascade effect... the nitrogenous materials are/were derived from the rapidly decomposing biota...> I know it seems like I am just throwing stuff at the tank to make something stick but I tried water changes I am starting to think that it's the water I am using from that filter. <Likely this is/was the origin here> (Perhaps I am being stubborn and I could just go buy water again but after shelling out the money for the water filter and testing the water and it being fine I figured that can't be the cause) I DID test each batch before placing it into the tank and it was fine. <... for what you were measuring...> Perhaps my local water becomes unstable after going through that filter? <Mmm, not the source water, no... but possibly the TWP> I have replaced the filter now twice since it is only good for about a 100 gallons. My readings were good but since the package said "up to 150 gallons" I did not want to press my luck. <... Let me cut to the proverbial chase. I'd toss the TWP... and look into, buy a real water filter... either an RO or RO/DI device...> So at this point what would you suggest? More water changes? Just let it sit and run it's course? Light on ? off ? More prime? More Cycle? Take the sand out of the sump? Trash the water filter? <Yes to the second, and last, no to all others> It's been about 3 weeks now and the 4 fish are still alive but the Gracilaria lost it's color completely. I added a little more to the tank to see and it too lost it's color. LOST and in desperate need of some direction here. Thanks So Much I just know you can give me some help. Derek <Please, take your time... and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm the sixth/blue tray on water... the sections, articles, FAQs files on treatment/filtering. Bob Fenner>

Fingernail polish reef safe?   12/9/07 Hello. I wear fingernail polish that is reapplied every 2 weeks. Is it safe to put my hands in my 72G. reef tank? <I do think so... Once the chemicals used are "cured", set, they are inert. When new/"wet", do keep your hands out of the tanks> When my husband cleans the tank every week the shrimp "clean" his fingernails and climb on his arm. Looks like fun! Is it safe for me to do this? <Likely so... the smelly solvents that function as carriers, evaporate, go away with curing, leave behind material that is non-toxic> Thanks for the wonderful service you provide. Ellen <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Termite Treatment  11/1/07 Hi Crew! Well here's another problem I'm having. I have 6 tanks set up in my house. From a 220 down to a 10 gallon. Well my house has dry wood termites and they say it has to be tented. Is there a way I can tent without having to take the tanks down? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks In Advance! <Ask the folks doing the tenting... Actually not them, but the licensed Pest Control Advisor that works for them... what the specific treatment will involve, and tell them that you have aquariums... Some techniques do not involve toxic chemical application (and you may get away with simply covering your tanks with damp towels)... Others call for taking down, removal... Bob Fenner> Re: Untimely demise... tank poisoning by baby/battery  10/22/07 Thank you for the prompt reply. I do believe I found the culprit, now I am not sure if there is anything specific I need to do, other than a water change. I was looking in the sump this morning, the light on it has been off because it got wet, oops, and saw a reddish orange color. That piqued my interest, because there is nothing that color in the tank. I found a AA battery, swollen and exploded (compliments of the 2 year old I'm sure). The substrate there is stained reddish orange as well, I am assuming I need to remove that. An additional concern now is that the Scolymia coral is very pale looking, not totally bleached out, but pale. I am guessing it is related to the pollution as well? <<Veronica: Wow. A battery is not good. A water change would help a lot as it will dilute any toxins. If the tank doesn't look better, try doing more than one. Best of luck, Roy>>

Toxics Water?...More Likely Overcrowding, Lack Of Knowledge 10/15/07 I have a 40 gal tank that has been running for 3 months with a Three Striped Damsel, False Clownfish, Yellow Tang, Scopas Tang, Mandarin Goby, 2 Diamond Gobies, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Crocea Clams, Sun Coral, Frogspawn Coral, two Bubble Tip Anemones. One assumption <Assumption of what?> was the Mandarin Goby, after buying and doing my reading. I realize I shouldn't have it due to the lack of live rock (100lbs or more). <And the fact that your tank is overstocked by a good margin.> I have had her for about a week and she is doing fine, last night when the water was cloudy she turned very white in color and would swim near the surface on the water which I found to be very unusual for a Mandarin Goby. This morning I checked the mandarin and she is fine, good color and size. <and size??> Just to sum up a few things here it is. Recently I noticed that my cleaner shrimp was indeed pregnant, ok cool midnight snack. Second was the red slime algae, I treated that with the proper dose of Blue Life Red Slime Remover. It worked great. that treatment was 3 days ago, no more red slime after one treatment. <Not a cure, just a temporary band-aid. It will be back. Better to control the source of the problem. Read here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> For the past few weeks the water quality has been good all except for nitrates. <Not surprising with the load you have in that 40.> It have been around 10-15 ppm. I added Algone <Another band-aid and not a fix. Go here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm> and have been doing 10% water changes every couple days to gradually bring them down. Last night I came home to my tank being completely cloudy and I had assumed it was maybe my cleaner shrimp giving birth so I left it as is. This morning the tank was clear but my Xenia was dead, so I did a water test. The first thing I checked was ammonia, it was way to high like 6 ppm. The Xenia is the only thing that died. This morning I did a 25% water change and the ammonia did not change. Any Suggestions? <You definitely need to reduce your fish load. I'd would find homes for the tangs, as your tank is much too small for them to begin with. Next would be the Diamond Gobies, they are not going to survive for long in that environment, and not a real easy goby to acclimate to begin with. And, the Bubble Tip Anemones, not good mixing these with corals. BTA's will move from time to time, and in the process, sting other animals along the way. Without a source of copepods for the Mandarin's diet, it too will more than likely perish. Never mentioned lighting, do not know what your lighting consists of, but the Crocea clams do require high intensity lighting to survive. It sure sounds like you have had very little direction or knowledge before setting up this tank. You mention nothing about using a filter and/or protein skimmer. This info does help us give a better answer to your query. In your case though, it is quite obvious that overstocking is the major problem here. Reading here and related linked files above, will give you a much better understanding of what is required to establish and maintain a healthy marine system. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog(> Riley, Christian E.

Mystery deaths  9/7/07 I work at a LFS, I have a customer whom has lost several fish. Water parameters are all great, Nitrates less than 5ppm, .5 on the phosphates, <Soluble? This is high> 8.2 for the ph, and currently a Fire shrimp and some hermits are enjoying life, health as ever. After there initial losses they waited several weeks, then replaced there fish, 48 hrs and they were floaters. While testing of their water (everything great) they admitted to not performing a water change in 6 months. I suggested two large water changes, with a day in between. In addition to a 72hr dark period to clear up some Cyano. <This is likely the culprit here> After waiting two weeks, in that time the Cyano. all but disappeared, water chemistry looked even better, they took home a Orange spot sand sifter and a yellow tail damsel. The fish lasted five days, st least the sand sifter, the Damsel is M.I.A. presumed dead though. I hope you can offer some guidance on our situation. I am at a loss, and would like to help them. Maybe some parasite which does not require a fish host to complete it's life cycle is lurking within their tank. I hope you have a fresh perspective on this problem. Let me know if I left out any pertinent info. Thanks for what you do, James. <I do suspect a latent/residual toxicity from the long-standing water and BGA... If it were me/mine, I'd have these folks dump the water, bleach all... and re-set-up... Please read and have them read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ammonia?  8/20/07 >Hi WWM, >I think i have a slight ammonia problem. I feed my fish and 30 - 60 minutes later my fish start breathing for air at the surface. ><Yikes> > I test the water and it shows 0ppm on my test kit. ><Might be low dissolved oxygen> > The next day the fish are fine and no more breathing. It has been happening for about 2 weeks and it happens everyday after i feed my fish. But yesterday my Chromis' started to breathe at the surface and about 3 days ago one of my yellow tangs disappeared <!> > and i have a >feeling he is causing the ammonia spike in my tank the last 2 days. Before he died the Ammonia was kind of like an on and off thing. But now most of my fish are gasping for air. Is it unusual to constantly have ammonia going up and down? ><Yes... insufficient biofiltration...> >I have these pouches in my tank called 'Maifan Stones' by 'SUN SUN'. Have you heard of them? ><Have now: >http://www.google.com/search?q='Maifan+Stones'+by+'SUN+SUN'&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA> >They are meant to lower ammonia and nitrite ><I would remove this material> >and i think this might be what is lowering the ammonia every time. If you have any idea what is happening i would really like to know urgently. >Thanks, Maison ><... what re the set-up, size, history of this system? BobF> Hi Bob, My tank is 6 x 2 x 2 foot, Multi SL protein Skimmer, UV Sterilizer, Reef Octopus Nitrate Reductor, 12,000l/h return pump, Tunze Pump in a Rock(9000 l/h of movement), <5 Nitrate, 0 Nitrite, 0 Ammonia on my test kit (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals), pH 8.2. My fish are: Convict Tang Blue Tang 2 Yellow Tangs(1 now) Desjardin Sailfin Tang Lawnmower Blenny Mandarin Dragonet 10 Chromis Flame Angelfish Longnose Hawkfish 1 Black Ocellaris Clownfish 1 Ocellaris Clown Haven't had any filtration problems before, it only started 2-3 weeks ago. Yesterday i noticed these grey blotchy patches on my black clownfish. His middle white stripe has a transparent looking blotch on it. Would you have any idea what it is? <I suspect something amiss with your Nitrate Reductor... I would take this off-line. Likely either the feeder stock is poisoning your system or some co-factor here.> I've been searching for it on the Internet and can't seem to find it. All my other fish look perfectly fine. I just bought a new rotating powerhead yesterday and i am going to put it in the tank today to see if it helps the oxygen level. What would be the best and most accurate Ammonia test on the market? Because i don't like the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia test kit. Thanks, Maison <Look to Hach, LaMotte brands/manufacturers... BobF>

Rapid breathing 08-16-07 SW nitrogenous  -- 08/17/07 Hello, to whomever is responding at this time. Thank you for what you do for all of us beginners! If you could direct me to the portion of your page dealing with gill burn or something similar, I would be grateful. I guess I am not typing in the correct search queries to bring me to the right page. I have a green wolf eel and yellow striped maroon clownfish. My tank is stable with Ammonia and nitrite at 0ppm, Nitrate at 5-10ppm, ph of 8.3, temp of 78 degrees and SG of 1.023. All of these readings are very consistent. The two fish have been back in my display for 7 days. I have had both since May 2007. They were in my QT tank for 6 weeks before introducing them to the display due to an Ich outbreak on a regal tang, which has been moved to a large system. These two never showed any signs of ich, but moved them to QT to be safe and let the tank fallow. <Good move> My concern is that the QT tank started to cycle while they were in it and they were exposed to ammonia levels of close to 2ppm and then Nitrite of 2ppm. <Yikes!> Their breathing (more so the eel) still appears rapid and deep. That seems to be their only problem. One time (yesterday) I saw the eel open his mouth very wide (like my yawning) and push his gills outward. Do you know what he was doing? <A mechanism for cleaning? A reaction to low DO? A "threat" display due to your presence?> They both are very active and eating great and otherwise appear normal. Is this gill burn from the bad water quality (I did 50-100% daily water changes with pre-mixed and aerated water while they were in QT to fight the high levels), or possibly something else? Is there anything I can do to help them? <Patience, good care otherwise> Is it even possible for them to recover from gill burn (if that is what it is)? <Oh yes> Thank you for any advice or link you can direct me to. I try so hard to keep them happy and healthy but seems I always, unknowingly, do something wrong, so now I turn to you. I will continue to read and learn. Thanks!*~*April*~* <Don't think we have a link per se... I would try a search here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm with gill burn marine fishes... and read the colored cached versions to save time... But gill burn from nitrogenous metabolites is very common as are dire hemolysis from environmental challenges... But/and can be resolved/cured. BobF>

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: