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FAQs about Toxic Water Conditions 6

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 7, Toxic Situations 8, 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,

Have you thoroughly rinsed/cleaned your hands of residues?

Yellow Tang banging against glass, env.-chemically burned, pH 8.8     8/16/08 Hello Crew, <Cielo> I have a 5 inch yellow tang that I picked out on Mother's day 08 from our LFS. Up until now all my fishes have been healthy. A little background on my tank: I have a 55 gallon tank <Not really sufficient space...> with 60lbs of live sand and 30lbs of live rock, a protein skimmer, and a whisper filter. Three days ago I made a 20 gallon water change. 2 Mornings after that change I woke up to a noise and found that it was my yellow tang banging himself against the light hood of the tank, almost like he wanted to get out. <Mmmm> Then he began darting against the glass and hitting himself against it. I noticed that he had red or pink on the inside of his lips and also across his body. The next day he stopped eating. I checked my levels and they read: Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0, but my PH was 8.8 <Yeeikes! Caustic> so I went to the LFS and purchased a buffer. I was told I should quarantine <?> him so that I wouldn't need to medicate the whole tank as the other fish are fine. The medication I purchased is the Myracid Two. <... Maracyn... Minocycline... of no use here> I only had a 5 gallon tank <Much too small...> available to make a QT out of, and so that is where I placed my Tang. Right now he's on his side at the bottom of the tank, he is hardly breathing. <...> At least in the display tank he was still swimming around. Should I place him back in the display tank? I need your advice. ~L from PA <YES, now! Bob Fenner> Cursed Tank... Anomalous SW...   1/24/07 Hello! <Hi there> I've really enjoyed reading your site, there is so much great info. I have a 265 gallon tank that I can't get fish to live in.  It has 4 inches of aragonite substrate, <Mmm... may be too much or too little... possibly "not the right stuff"... Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm and the linked files above? You should> 200 pounds of live rock, a euro reef CS 12-1 skimmer.  The water is fed to the euro reef system 400 sump by an overflow box and returned with a Sedra 5000.  In the tank I have 4 Hagen powerheads to circulate the water.  It has been set up for nearly three years now. <Mmm, again, a comment re your substrate... I'd reduce the depth to an inch or so... or ditch and replace>   I also have a 29 gallon tank and a 75 gallon tank that I have been using as holding tanks. <Good> In the 75 I have had a beautiful Emperor Angel for just over two years.  This fish is like a dog, he follows people around the tank and eats out of my hand.  I don't want to add him to the big tank until I'm sure he will live there.  In the 29 I have had a clown for about 8 months ago.   Water changes all come from a 100 gallon tub with RO/DI water. <Also good> For the first year and a half that the 265 was in operation it had a clown in it for a majority of that time.  I would have fish to be added in the 29.   The fish would live happily in the 29 for a month and then die within a week of being introduced to the big tank. <Mmm, "something's rotten in Denmark"> Most of the fish died without any symptoms of disease, just rapid breathing and lethargy.  The last straw was an ich outbreak and  the fish I had added and the clown died.  At that point I was completely fed up and I just left the tank alone for almost a year.   When I say I left it alone I mean I wouldn't even look at it I was so frustrated.  I continued to care for the emperor and put a clown in the 29 about 8 months ago.  Both are doing great. About six months ago I decided to give the 265 another try.  I turned the lights off 24 hours a day for about 4 months until all the algae died.  Then I started doing 70 gallon water changes weekly until I got the Nitrates to between 5 and 10 and the Phosphate to 0.1.  I turned the lights back on for six hours a day at that point.  I adjusted the Alk to 3.2 and have been using products called Purple Up and Reef Builder to get coralline to grow. <Okay> I have been putting carbon in for a few days at a time.  About a month ago I had the tank looking great.  It now has crystal clear water and nice purple growth on the live rock.  I was certain that this time was different.  I added the clown from the 29 about a month ago.  The clown lives happily in the 265.  I put a falcula butterfly in the 29 about the same time.  The butterfly lived happily in the 29 until a week ago when I introduced him to the 265.  He looked great for six days.  On the seventh day I came home from work and he was laying on the bottom breathing heavily.  He died literally right before my eyes.  Before that he had eaten formula one daily and was very active.  There were no signs of disease.  The clown is still alive with about 30 hermits.  The tank still looks great.  I have been testing the tank like crazy for the last couple months.  The readings have been: Ammonia-0, nitrite-0, nitrate-10, alk-3.2, Ph-8.2, Calcium-350. phos-0.1, ORP-350. I am really at a loss here.  I can't figure out what the problem is.  Sorry to be so long winded, I just wanted to give as much info as possible. Thanks, Brian <Well... that "something" alluded to above is some sort of chemical anomaly... I'm guessing that it's biochemical, arising from an organism/population in situ (like an algae)... though it could be inorganic (some missed bit of toxic metal let's say)... the latter you might try discerning with the use of PolyFilter (again, see WWM re)... the former might be removed with "succession", the use of activated carbon... but... For me... skipping ahead here... I would do as also referred to previously, and either reduce or switch out the substrate... AFTER nuking this tank... removing the LR to a much darkened setting for a month... or bleach washing it in place along with all else (yes... see WWM re) and placing some new material over this to re-seed/colonize the old. In the future, I'm very sure aquarists will have diagnostic tools that will aid us in determining such "anomalous" situations... For now... reacting to symptoms blindly is about "it". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cursed Tank  1/25/07 Thank you for your response. <Welcome> When you say Nuke the tank it sounds to me like I'm at the start over point, which is ok. <This is one, the most extreme, option...>   I'd like to re-do the plumbing anyway.  I'm a little confused about taking the rock out and placing it in the dark.  Should I store it in saltwater, or let it dry out and rinse it really well. <Mmm, if you were to hope for recovery of some of the biota the former... I am simply encouraging you to consider the possibility of ending the life of what may be biologically poisoning your system>   There is no algae growth that I can see other than coralline.  For what its worth the substrate is Carib Sea Aragonite.  I think you hit the nail on the head when you said its too deep.  I have the same stuff in the 29, but its only an inch deep. <Mmm, much to consider (am feeling, and maybe looking, quite Yoda-ish today)... I would do a bit of reading on WWM... re Marine Toxic and Environmental Disease... Bob Fenner>

Re: Cursed Tank, and plumbing now...    1/28/07 Hi Bob, <Brian> I have been doing a mind numbing amount of reading on your site (thanks for all the great info) <Mmm, welcome... and a (standard) comment here... re the amount of perusal/reading... not necessary or required to scan all... but maybe the more recent (higher numbered) FAQs file/s in any given subject area... WWM is "copy/cut-paste" made (not database driven, but BobF devised)... in this way... Just read till you understand your options, the rationale behind them...> and am concocting a plan for my 265 gallon tank.  At this point my clownfish and Inverts are in my 29 gallon tank (see previous e-mails below).  I removed the live rock to tubs in the dark with a powerhead in each.  When I removed the rock there was a lot of "gunk" which I rinsed off with tank water.   <Good> I'm sure that was a big source of my toxic tank conditions. <It might well be> .... Copper... measure mostly    1/17/06 I have a copper question.  I know it is not good to have in your main tank, which is why I started a new 125 gallon reef ready tank and used my own RO/di unit, but after making the initial 125 gallons of water that read 0 on my TDS meter, and getting that in my tank.  My next water readings were in the 50's, then kept getting a little higher. <... in the presence of? Gravel, rock? Sea salt? All will show, increase TDS> I didn't think much of it, but I found out I need to repack the di membranes.  Anyway, I had some copper tests left over from my previous tank and decided to take a test just for kicks.  It turned out that the reading was at .05.  (the lowest # on the scale, however it was picking it up).   <Likely artifactual> My question is, Is the copper that I got out of my tap water through my di unit as harmful and hard to get rid of as the actual regular copper medication.  I bought a Pura filtration pad and am running that, along with activated carbon in my powerheads.   I have 150 lbs. of live sand, and 100 lbs. of live rock, and one tomato clownfish in the tank now.  Everything seems fine, but I want to get the copper out.  It's probably been in for maybe a week or two before I caught it and put the Pura pad in.  Am I too late, or do I still have some hope.   Please advise me. Thank You for all of your past and Future help. Aaron <Not a worry... even if present... will be transient. Bob Fenner>

Maracyn and Coppersafe Reaction 1/16/07 Boy did I screw up. <Uh-oh.> I have 125 marine tank. I had a huge case of ich...I added CopperSafe. <Doh!> The next day all my fish had pink fungus all over them. I added Maracyn. <Doh!> Now my tank looks like swamp water. <I bet.> I am losing fish one by one. <Not surprising unfortunately.> I don't know what is killing them now there is no sign of ich or the pink stuff. <The fact that you declared nuclear war on your tank.> I only added Maracyn once. <One time too many sadly.> My water STILL is swamp water green. HELP!!!! I have already done: 50% water change <Good> 80% water change <Good> 100% water change <Good> I have put a phosphate filter in the sump and a pantyhose sock with some granular phosphate remover. I leave my white lights off hoping that the light won't promote growth. Okay, I have now replaced ALL of the following: Live rock all 140# Live sand all 60# Water Now running Phosphate Carbon AmQuel and Cycle for life and water is still turning green slowly HELP!!!!! Emily Gansereit <The double hit of copper and antibiotics has made your tank hostile to most all marine life.  The tank is now cycling and living organisms are starting to re-colonize the tank.  This starts with the toughest, usually lower forms of life, like free floating algae.  Best bet now is to test for copper in the water, if found do more water changes.  Get some Poly-Filters and run these along with carbon and the Phosphate remover.  Water changes are your friend for the foreseeable future.  Also get a QT tank to avoid this situation if the future.  With time and proper care the tank should return to normal.> <Chris> Regal Tang Hi There <Hey there Johann, JustinN with you today.> I have been studying your website intensively over the past months, what a library of knowledge and experience - Keep it up! <Thank you for the kind words, there's truly an exhausting amount of reading available here!> As most Marine keepers I am still learning, however a novice in this field. <We all began somewhere.> I need some assistance with my blue beauty. I recently did a water change whereby my tank was contaminated due to the drop in quality of the tap water. <Contaminated with what? If you know that there was a contaminant of some sort that polluted your tank, you need to get purified water such as that you can get from a reverse osmosis device, and mix up fresh salt water soon. You need to be performing water changes to remove the toxins that were introduced.> Since I got all my problems under control in the tank now, my tang shows rapid breathing and her mouth is almost constantly open, she sometimes hide away  or keeps to one corner, abnormal to her usual behavior. This is now going for two weeks. <Reads like you've got some sort of nitrogenous toxin or otherwise in your tank. As per above, you need to begin water changes with clean (read: pure, not tap water) freshly mixed saltwater immediately. Her eating habits are still excellent and she is in a good condition. What am a possibly looking at and how can I cure it <Toxins in the water. Move quick!> Regards, Johann Snyman <You should likely have a read up here, Johann: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm and the linked files above. Act quick! -JustinN>

Rusty well water, dying snails, need for testing and more reading  1/5/07 Hello! Bob My name is Karl Douville <Hello Karl, My name is Mich and I'll be your WWM Crew member today!> I am contacting you because I have a 180-gallon reef fish tank and my tank does not look the way I always thought it should look like! <Umm OK, how did you think it should look?> It looks pretty healthy but I know something is just not right! <OK.  And you know this how?> I started my tank has been running for 10 month including the cycling period. <OK, still a very young tank.> I have had experience before with the same tank!  On city water. <OK.  Yikes, city water!> I just siphoned my live sand and got a lot of sediments or organic matter, but I'm not sure if it was a good idea, because I was told to not stir up the live sand? <Is good to clean areas of the sandbed, just not the entire sandbed at one time.> My nitrates are still up! About 20 ppm <Higher than desired.> I am using deep well water.  (It has rust in it, but I don't think that is my problem.) <May want to reconsider this.> I don't use R.O. but I did have a really good ultraviolet with three good quality filters! <UV will kill bacterial/microfauna present in water, but will not have any effect on nitrate levels.  RO water should not have any measurable nitrates; the same cannot be said for well water.  Have you tested you well water for nitrates?  How often do you have the wet chemistry of your well water professionally analyzed?> I have done lots of test iron, ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and KH GH are all good, but yet to figure out my calcium levels because of an expired test kit witch read way to high to believe. It had no end to the test! <Time to invest in a new Calcium kit.> I have had casualties with snails at the start and I have not bought anymore since that.  (35 snails perished) <That's quite a few.> The snail would be fine in the bag but as soon as put them in they would slither around and then start falling on their backs and I kept flipping them over and over! Some liked the glass but could not go on the sand or they flipped! <I actually suspect you Magnesium levels are too high, possibly having the effect of a muscle relaxant on your snails.  Calcium levels are also likely to be low.  Would be wise to invest in these two tests.>   That's why I thought of the sand being the problem! And I cleaned it! <I don't think this is the problem.> My live sand is 4 inches deep and layered from big shell on the bottom to medium size in the middle and finer aragonite on top!  There has been no hydrogen sulphite bubbles or blackish looking sand. There is not plenum, but I put large shells on the bottom to create natural a plenum. <Would be better to have a 4 inch bed of consistently fine aragonite sand or a deeper bed of the mixed grain.  Please start reading here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm> I have seen copepods, arthropods, worms and none threatening bristle worms (blue and orange) in my sand. <The threat of bristle worms are overrated.> I have 3 cleaner shrimps, several hermit crabs, 2 tomato clowns, 1 yellow tang, 1 camel shrimp, 1 flame angel, 1 algae blenny , assorted mushrooms, small toad stool, some polyps that are doing pretty good and 1 new giant white carpet anemone which is not doing really good.   <Watch the anemone, has the potential to have a large negative effect on your system.> I hope you can diagnose my problem! <Check your magnesium and calcium levels.> Thank you for time! <Welcome, You seem to be missing some key facts here...I recommend you spend some time reading either on the WWM or perhaps invest in a book such as The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert M. Fenner.  -Mich> Dead fish, toxic tank, moving livestock (Tridacna) ASAP    1/5/07 Dearest crew, <Hi Carla, Mich here.> Tragedy has struck, and this reader is frantic.  My initial hypothesis is that a powerhead in my tank jammed/overheated/otherwise malfunctioned, and my roommate called me at work saying there was an electrical burny smell in my bedroom, and she was afraid our apt. was burning down.  I instructed her to unplug the tank, and I'd be home in an hour... <Wise.> I returned to find two dead fish (and now one very dejected girl- I've had them for over a year). <So sorry.> However, as soon as my friend gets here to help me deal with the bodies (I'm squeamish... how is it that I can butcher a flounder without a second thought in the kitchen, but not scoop my little friends into a net? <Better to get them out ASAP as the bodies are just further polluting the system.> Because they were my little friends, I suppose. ANYWAY...) <Understandable, but not helping the remaining animals in your care.> My thoughts are now on the remaining Tridacna clam, mushroom polyps, hermit crabs, etc. still in the toxic water that killed my fish.   <Good thinking.> Luckily, I have another tank set up in my living room (was going to move them all to larger quarters...) which has been aging for a long while (several months... I'm a procrastinator... and the move task was daunting and now urgent). <Yep!> My main concern is this- the clam.  How can I move it, and the largish chunk of rock it's anchored itself to, into the new tank without either exposing it to air or introducing the deadly water from the old tank?   <Exposure to air will not kill your clam, though I would try to keep it to a minimum.  I would move the entire rock. Do not remove the clam from the rock. I repeat, do not remove the clam from the rock.  Place the rock and clam in a container with water from the contaminated tank and then add water from your new system.  Then dump some of the water and add more from the new system.  I would do this process relatively quickly, say within 30 minutes or so.  It's ok if a minimum amount of water from your old system is introduced; just try to minimize the volume.>   A response ASAP would be wonderful, as you can imagine I'm sweating over the fate of my remaining wet pets. *sniff* <Sorry for your loss.  It always hurts to lose a friend, in this case more than one.>   Thanks ever so much again, <Good luck and my condolences.  -Mich> Carla Re: Dead fish, toxic tank, moving livestock (Tridacna) ASAP    1/5/07 Thanks so much for your quick advice!   <Hi Carla, you are most welcome, sorry for you problems.> Blooper and Dex have been removed to bluer waters (i.e...... the dumpster) <Sorry about Dex and Blooper.  ...bluer isn't the adjective I was thinking of here!>   and I'm moving the live rock and following your clam transferal instructions.  Hadn't planned to remove the clam from his rock, but am relieved that I don't have to attempt some complicated plastic bag procedure/underwater move.  It's in a bucket next to the new tank, and I'm quickly but gradually mixing the water.   <Excellent.> Will let you know how things turn out!   <Please do, include my name in the subject line if you don't mind.> One of the powerheads was most certainly the culprit, as it smelled strongly of electrical burnout. <Happens.> Will it be safe to move some/all of the sand to the new tank, or will it contain residuals of whatever killed my fish (not sure if it was an electrical shock or a chemical contamination from the powerhead malfunction)?   <Hard to tell the cause, but I think I would wait on the sand transferal.  Do a couple of large, like 75% or more water changes.  It may be possible to transfer the sand, but I wouldn't do it anytime within the next month or so.  I would watch and see what kind of die off you experience within this tank and see if you get regrowth.  ...Though being a procrastinator maybe I should say sometime in the next two weeks so it happens sometime in the next couple of months...hehehe!> I'd planned to combine the sand from the old and new tank to create a deep sandbed... would like to keep the old sand and its good critters if you think this would be wise.   <Yes, in general I think this is a good idea, but would be hesitant to do it immediately for fear of possible contamination.  At most I would take a cupful just to seed the new tank, this would allow for growth but minimizing potential complications in the new system.> I'll be changing the filter media (Fluval canister) for fresh carbon, Chemi-pure, phos-ban, and poly filters (if I have any left...).  Anything else I should keep an eye on?  Obviously testing the tank regularly for the next couple days/weeks would be a good idea... and crossing my fingers? <All these things, coupled with a large water change or two would be helpful.  Good luck!  -Mich> Huma Huma help 1/2/07 hello. <Hello, Graham here.> I have had a catastrophe... and want to help save my last fish... I purchased some turbo snails from the local pet store and after introducing them to my 75 gallon tank all my fish started scratching. I added Sea Cure and that was the end of my marine life. I lost 2 clown 2 damsel 1 yellow tang and my emperor angel.. now my trigger is left but he is still scratching away at his side. he has his whole belly red and flakey now. what can I do ? My tank was all zeros for no2, no3 and ammonia and a ph of 8.0-8.2.... I now have him out of the tank and in a quarantine.. he seems to be fine but he is scratching his skin really bad...I an dosing him with sea cure BTW. <Very hard to diagnose a problem like this when you can't see it. Send a high-resolution .JPG that has been either compressed in an image editor or to a .ZIP file. (Make sure the file is no bigger than 500k, but preferably under 100k) If you cannot send a pic, I recommend you try to work out an identification from our FAQs using the search tool.>                                                           Thanks                                                          Josh <Welcome.> <P.S. Bob F. : Please jump in if you see a red flag I'm missing! -Graham> <<Mmm... copper poisoning... removing the copper, hope, time going by... RMF>>

Re: Some Inputs on Dying Snails Query  12/30/06 Hi everyone! I just want to comment on the problem of the dying snails (original query attached below).  I had this problem before in my fully stocked reef tank, everything was ok, except for the gastropods, who seemed to lose grip and balance, fall down to the gravel, unable to right themselves and dying after a few days.   I teach undergraduate invertebrate zoology, and I soon made a connection between one additive and the gastropod deaths: Magnesium sulfate and Magnesium chloride.  In the lab, either of these compounds is used to slowly anesthetize and 'relax' aquatic invertebrates to allow for easy dissection.  In my case, magnesium overdose was traced to the poor quality sea salt I was using at the time ( I know better now). I shifted to natural seawater for a time, and then used a quality sea salt, and my snail problems have stopped. Magnesium toxicity may also be brought about by dosing (or overdosing) on magnesium supplements.  It just may be that certain gastropods are more sensitive to this compound, become anesthetized, and become so relaxed that they asphyxiate, or otherwise become vulnerable to predators in the tank. I never did any full scale experimentation to prove or isolate Magnesium as the culprit, all I'm saying that it's worth looking into. Hope this little info helps! Best regards, Richard (Manila, Philippines) <Thank you for this. BobF> Stuck eel... coat hanger...  - 12/29/06 Hello again crew. <Wayne> This one I know is not a repeat question. Today, my snowflake eel got in my overflow.  He seemed stuck, and tired.  I waited for 2 hours for him to come out on his own.  He didn't...So I decided to get him out myself.  I used a wire hanger, the kind that's painted. I thought maybe there would be copper in the hanger?  Decided to take the chance anyway.  I got him out after about 30min of fishing.  He was definitely stuck. Can the wire hanger have any ill effects on my tank? WS <Mmm... don't know... am pretty sure they're made mainly of steel/iron... the paint, coating? I would be running a pad of PolyFilter, possibly some GAC in your filter flow path just to be on the safe side... and adding screening to keep that Eel in place. Bob Fenner>

Help!! Broken Thermometer   12/4/06 Hey everyone! <Hey ya!  Mich here.>   I have somewhat of an emergency! <OK> I was tooling around beneath my tank today. I noticed some, what look to be, rust spots. I had a floating glass thermo that broke when I moved my tank some time ago. I was sure I got all the beads up, so I'm not even sure that's what this is from. The spots are on the very bottom of a 3 to 4 inch aragonite live sand bed. Which means there are probably more of whatever it is, with in it. What do I do?! <Leave it alone.> I really hope I don't have to tear the whole tank apart. <I would not.> I run PolyFilter and carbon all the time. My coral (softies, one LPS, and a LTA), snails, hermits, shrimp and cucumber are all doing well. <Very good.> No fish. <That's OK> There are serpent stars and scud/Mysis shrimp everywhere. My snails breed regularly. My water checks fine, I don't know if that would effect what I test for anyway. Should I hold out and see if there will be any ill effects? <Yes.  I would not disturb the tank.> The spots are small, there are about 15 of them. Right now they are the size of a pencil point. I am pretty sure it is rust. <It may be rust, it may not be.  I wouldn't be worried if it is rust.  Your corals are not showing any sign of stress.  There are places that actually dose with iron in order to keep kelp in their tanks.  So take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your tank.> Thank you so much!! <You are quite welcome.>  <ps "I"s instead of "i"s please.> rob

Starting over, poisoned tank   12/4/06 Hello WWM, <Greetings to you!  Mich here.>   I had a marine reef tank for almost two years and suddenly everything went haywire and almost everything is dead.  <Hmm...not good.>  To rid myself of whatever poisoned my community, and to start over, should I boil each piece of live rock to make sure that nothing is left (thus making it dead rock, ha ha, ugh), boil all the filters, in short, boil everything so that it is all sterile?  <All depends on what exactly happened.>  This has been a horrible weekend.  <I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.> How should I start over with all the material and equipment that I have?  <Boiling seems a little radical to me.  It would sterilize your equipment and should kill the life in your rock, but really only eliminates some of the biologically based problems.  It will not address toxicological, chemical, or environmental issues that could be affecting you system, which could potentially be helped by the biological filtration that has already been established.  I would recommend trying to figure what happened.  Is this a disease issue? a contamination issue? a toxicological issue?  An environmental or temperature issue?  Have you tested your water chemistry?  Did everything decline rapidly or slowly?  What was lost vertebrates, invertebrates, corals or vegetation?  Many possibilities here. Thanks,  <You are welcome.> abra

Gorilla Glue Reef Safe? 11/22/06 I searched the FAQs, but did not find the answer. Forgive me if I overlooked it. <No problems, thank you for looking before writing.> And have a 72gal reef.  For it, I have a 20g polyethylene drum that I plan to store my makeup water in after it is processed by my RO/DI unit. Unfortunately I have a continuous leak.  I have attempted PVC glue and silicone.  With no success. The two will not bond with the polyethylene.  I tested super glue on the surface, but it pealed off also.  I tested Gorilla Glue, it pealed off of the smooth surface but bonded fine with the test portion that have been sanded.  My questions is, is the Gorilla Glue safe to use?  The Gorilla Glue Information Pack, as distributed by the manufacturer, states it is non-toxic.  I also looked at the MSDS sheet.  I would like to get a thumbs up or down from you guys!  I have linked (as opposed to attached to lighten you server load) the information pack and MSDS below. Thank you for your help! Information pack as distributed my the company: http://www.gorillaglue.com/assets/download/GG_brochure.pdf MSDS: http://www.newpig.com/en_US/content/current/MSD-V288.pdf;jsessionid=3T2GYWVAQPUT2CTGIQVSFEQKMZCCWJVC <Well, Duane, you're in luck. People have been using Gorilla Glue for ages for coral frag placement and propagation purposes. Don't worry here, if it seals your leak, you're good. However, if you run into a similar problem ultimately with the Gorilla Glue, perhaps a 2 part epoxy, left to dry would work? Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Restarting a Tank 10/16/06 Love you guys' work... I have told dozens of friends about your site.. Thank You in advance for everything you guys have done for the hobby. <Thanks for the compliments.>    Now onto the unpleasant question.... A few months ago my unstable ex girlfriend broke into my house and dumped bleach in my small nursery nano cube (6 gallon) and killed everything... <Hope you called the police and changed the locks for your safety.>  I dumped it out and let it sit empty up until 2 nights ago... I cleaned it out thoroughly (just rinse no chemicals) and then filled it (with the sand still in) with fresh water.. dumped in a healthy (kinda big) dose of NovAqua (to hopefully remove or neutralize any remaining chlorine left in there) let it sit for a few hours.  flushed it out and repeated this process 3 times... Filled it up with Seawater (store bought ocean water) let it spin with the filter running overnight and some more NovAqua (smaller dose)... <Sounds good.> This afternoon I went out and bought 5 lbs of live rock, 2 blue leg hermits, and a damsel fish.. Everything seemed ok (aside from cloudy water) but the Damsel wouldn't come out from beneath the rocks and after a couple hours he was on his side and breathing very rapidly and lost most of his color... I caught him and placed him in my other nano (JBJ 24g) and he seemed to improve rather rapidly.. breathing slowed down some and color came back quite a bit... The small anemones and crabs seemed fine but I moved them over as well just in case... My question is (finally right? sorry heh) Is it possible there is still dangerous bleach/chlorine amounts still in there (obviously possible :) ) and what can I do to salvage this situation? Should I throw everything out and start fresh or will letting it run for a week or two clear it up? Thanks in advance for your help.. Oh and BTW.. I just purchased a Tenecor 1340G tank with a 300G sump. It's in storage now until I can get a place to put it but I CANT WAIT! :) I'd love to send you guys some pictures when it's up! <Please do.>  Here is what it looks like on a forklift :)   http://gconsier.smugmug.com/gallery/1846208 <Nice!>    Thanks again! Greg <Your tank needs to cycle, please read   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupii.htm for more on cycling a tank.> <Chris>

Restarting a Tank Part II 10/17/06 Thanks Chris! <Sure> I tried to cheat.. About 20% of the filter media in the 6 gallon came out of my JBJ 24G as did some of the water... (They sit right next to each other) <Will help speed up the process, but the cycle still needs to be allowed to occur.>    I figured one Damsel and some transplanted rock would basically help cycling along? <The Damsel does not help as long as there is live rock, this will add all the ammonia you need.>  Did I do too much to fast (nano cubes are such a pita... but.... so is moving 200+ gallon tanks from apartment to apartment...) <You got it, right plan, but to ambitious of a time frame.  Give it some time and you will be fine.>    Thanks for your help! Greg <Anytime.> <Chris>

Carpet Cleaned, Xenia Sick 9/13/06 Hello, Crew. <Hi> I am now seven months into my new saltwater tank in my office.  Three weeks ago they came and cleaned the carpets.  I came in on Sunday to check on things and the smell of carpet cleaning solution was strong. <Did this for a short while, chemicals used in commercial setting is pretty nasty stuff.> I opened all the windows and did a 10% water change and changed the carbon. <Good>  Things looked fine for awhile, but now my xenia and Montipora are dying and the first hint of nitrates (5) have appeared since finishing cycling. <Xenia tends to be very sensitive to these types of things, and probably so die-off on the LR fueling the nitrate increase.>   The pH previously cycled between 8.0 and 8.2 daily, now rarely gets above 8.0 (low 7.8 early AM).  I have added Seachem Buffer twice, but the pH drifts back down in a few days. <Something wrong chemically for sure.> I have replaced the carbon twice and done multiple 10% water changes. <Good> Today I removed the Chemipure filter media in case it was leaching toxins back into the tank. <Good idea.>  All other inhabitants look fine (Sinularia, mushrooms, yellow colony polyps, Lobophyllia,  rose anemone, Galaxea, Tridacna Crocea, cleaner shrimp, one yellow tang, one damsel, one maroon clown, seven blue-green Chromis and multiple various snails). The tank is a 65 gal with 94# live rock and DSB.  Two 150W MH 14K lights.  17gal Lifereef sump and skimmer.  Temp 78-80, SG 1.024, Ca++ 340ppm, Alk 3.6meq/L, no phosphates, ammonia, nitrite. Do you think the fumes are the culprit? <Most likely.> Do I need to replace the DSB as a possible source of continued pollution? <No> Do I remove the Montipora (color fading, but no obvious necrosis)? <Would give it time, see if it comes back.>  Any other suggestions or just wait it out.   Thanks   Hugh <Keep up the water changes and carbon replacement.  Also try some PolyFilters, very good at removing chemical contaminates.> <Chris>

Airborne Toxin Concerns 9/13/06 Hi crew, hope all is well with you. <Is, and hope the same is for you.>  I have a question about using things that emit fumes and scents etc. around my reef tank. <Generally a bad thing.> I have a 150 gallon reef in my living room that is a large great room situation that also is connected with my kitchen. <I'm jealous.> My concern is that I have read many places about noxious fumes and stuff like cleaning products being pulled into the system via the filtration and aeration. <Can happen.>  I am now concerned every time anything gets into the air in this room and indeed in the house.  So I was wondering if you could give me a more complete idea what is a problem and what isn't. <Will try to give general guidelines.>  For example, is it okay if I fry foods in the same room? <Sure> Is it okay to use scented candles in the room or any room in the house? <Usually, some of the bug repellent ones I might be concerned with, but if you are using those in the house you have bigger problems ;)> Is it okay to use cleaning products in the same room? <Well, in reality this is a necessity.  Just try to use non-aerosol variety when possible, and ventilate the room as much as possible when using either type.> What about hair spray in the other room? <Probably fine since the 80s are long gone.> As you can see I have become quite paranoid about this but do not want to be obsessive so any more specific help would be great. Thanks Debi <It is a real concern, have heard of issues with this fairly often, often involving nail polish remover it seems, so be especially careful with that.  Otherwise use products in moderation around the tank and ventilate the room when using these products.  Generally good for you too, since some of these things can be quite nasty.  Basically anything that is toxic to you or bugs is a no-no, food smells, candle smoke, and non-toxic cleaning supplies are fine, in moderation of course. Heavy duty cleaning supplies, toxic chemicals, cigarette smoke, and pest repellants use should be limited around the tank as much as possible.  If their use cannot be avoided, turn off the skimmer since this is where most aeration takes place.> <Chris>    OOOPPSS latex paint in the aquarium  9/9/06 Ouchimomma, I guy's love your site, I was just painting and uhhhhh, well I dropped a paint brush covered in latex paint into my tank.....  I just preformed a full water change to get the paint out.  I didn't know what to do!!!! Anyway, my clown is still swimming around and my corals look fine, but I want to know if there is anyway I can make there life, or hospis easier!!!! Thank you so very very much, Zach Alexander <Mmm, all should be well... latex paints are largely non-toxic... though I would have done what you did... and/or moved the livestock elsewhere If I had facilities to do so. Too late to be concerned re using chemical filtrants to remove "carrier" at this point. Bob Fenner> Fire Shrimp Problem... new water? Cyanobacteria? Cat flea med.?   9/5/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> My Fire Shrimp has been having problems when I change water. <Very common>   He first appears to excitedly dash around the tank (very uncharacteristic) and then he will fall over and twitch.  I've seen this three or four times over the last couple of months - but not every time I change water. In the past, he has recovered after a day.  The two Gobies in the tank have never shown any sign of distress. <Need... to read... re the necessity of pre-mixing, storing, matching new and existing water quality...> Just over a week ago, I saw this again, and noticed that it occurred before new water went into the tank.  When it occurred, I was working on scrubbing what I believe to be Cyanobacteria off the rocks in preparation for siphoning it out.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and put new charcoal and a PolyFilter in the power filter. <Mmm, maybe an interaction here...> At this point, I remembered something about possible toxicity of Cyanobacteria.  Your site mentions possible toxicity, but provides no details of how toxic or what creatures are affected. <A huge topic... all affected to degrees> Later, my son mentioned the extreme toxicity of flea treatments for household pets. <Mmm, some... not all... to aquatic life. Can be investigated via the Net> I did some research and learned that the product we use on our cats (Frontline) has an active ingredient that is extremely toxic to shrimp (1 ppb kills some species) and furthermore that this poison gets onto a person's hands by handling a treated cat anytime within a month of treatment. <Yes, this is so> I had not been all that careful about washing before working in the tank (and I really find dedicated gloves just too hard to use).  So I became pretty convinced that flea poison on my hands was the source of my Fire Shrimp's difficulties. <I see> I resolved to be more careful about cleaning my hands and arms in the future before working in the tank. <Good> A couple days ago, I did another water change just after a shower and with no intervening contact with cats.  Everything seemed to go OK, though I did not make much effort to clean off the Cyanobacteria.  My Fire Shrimp did not seem bothered (though he has not fully recovered from the previous severe episode, and I don't think it likely at this point that he will).  I also re-introduced three Peppermint Shrimp at this time, and they had no problems.  (These had been removed on suspicion that they were eating my Xenia, but I later discovered a hitchhiker crab doing this, and so I am assuming the Shrimp are innocent.) <Mmmm> Today, I washed my hands with soap and rinsed my arms before spending half an hour using a toothbrush to clean off Cyanobacteria.  I tried to get the Cyanobacteria into a separate small container to be disposed off, as I was not planning to siphon the tank. After a half hour or so, I again noticed my Fire Shrimp looked disturbed, though not in truly extreme distress.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and began to compose this email.  Also notable is that the Peppermint Shrimp showed no signs of distress. So here's the puzzle.  Is the flea medicine to blame, and I really must shower or use gloves before working on the tank? <Doubtful... or all shrimp would be similarly mal-affected> Or is the toxicity of the Cyanobacteria to blame (or also to blame)? <Maybe> And, should we assume that the Fire Shrimp in its current damaged state is simply more sensitive to toxins, or perhaps by nature more sensitive to toxins? <I still am mostly placing the credit/blame on the new water...> By the way, I am also working on fixing the causes of the Cyanobacteria, which got out of control while we were away on vacation for a couple weeks this summer.  I'm running PolyFilter, changing 10% of the water weekly, and I've reduced the light (from 192 watts of 50/50 to 96 watts of 50/50 over a 30 gallon) in the hopes that the other algae will better compete for nutrients. <A good plan> Other algae present include Coralline, Halimeda, and an unidentified algae that is turf-like, attractive maroon under lower light conditions and faded yellow-green under high light conditions (hope this one isn't toxic too). Thanks, Tom <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpsysfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fire Shrimp Problem  9/6/06 Thanks Bob. <Welcome Tom> Below is some follow-up.  Reading is optional, and a reply is not required (though always of interest and appreciated): I have been following your advice about pre-mixing and aging my new water. <I see> I mix it to specific gravity of 1.024-1.025.  I rarely check my tanks, but I just checked the one in question and found it to have specific gravity right in the middle of that range.  I use B-Ionic for alkalinity and calcium. <Good product/s> Also, I've had this Fire Shrimp for 11 months and noticed no problems until the last few months.  One thing that changed was that we got a new kitten in June, and for a variety of reasons, he gets handled a lot more than does our older cat. <Mmm...> Finally, on at least one occasion it was clear that the Fire Shrimp's distress began before new water was added. So, I find it hard to believe that the new water is the problem. <I concur> Instead, your comments lead me to think that the flea medicine and Cyanobacteria might both have played a role here. <Yes, either/both could> And I guess I have to assume that the weakened state of the Fire Shrimp accounts for his reaction last time, when the Peppermint Shrimp were not noticeably affected. My take-home message: take care to have clean hands and get rid of the Cyanobacteria (as carefully as possible). Thanks again. Tom <Well summarized. Thank you. BobF>

Toxicity of Cyanobacteria... can be extreme   8/27/06 Hi Crew, <Thomas/Tom> I have developed what I believe to be a Cyanobacteria problem in a 30 gallon with 2 Gobies,  2 soft corals, and 1 Fireshrimp. This algae is purplish in color and sort of thread-like, forming masses that hold together reasonably well. <Is likely a BGA>   I have found several suggestions on your site about how to go about correcting this problem, which I will get to work on.  But I still have a question. Prior to water changes, I have been attempting to break up this algae to syphon at least some of it out during those changes.  I have noticed my Fireshrimp suffering after water changes (looks bad, like he might not survive).  In today's change, I noticed that he looked bad, before the new water goes in, which is why I started to suspect this had something to do with what I was doing to the algae. <Mmm, either this and/or some part/aspect(s) of the new water... Both very common> So, can disturbing Cyanobacteria release toxics into the water that serious affect a Fireshrimp, but not Gobies or soft corals? <Oh yes. Bob Fenner, touching on this subject today at a presentation to the NJRC in Pt. Pleasant, NJ> Thanks, Tom

FYI... Dyson Zorb and fish = no more fish   8/21/06 Dear Wet Web Media Crew - just wanted to give all a heads up to hopefully save others from the fish related catastrophe I just had happen :-( <Yikes!> My wife and I recently purchased Dyson Zorb Carpet Maintenance Powder for "deep" cleaning our carpet... it has no warnings about airborne toxicity issues or chemical breakdowns on the package, otherwise I hopefully would have realized the risk this product posed to my Saltwater inhabitants.  After using Zorb per the instructions (none was spilt in the tank) on the package yesterday... I woke this morning to a dead tank, this product killed a vibrant and healthy established tank w/ a Flame Angel, Kole Tang and numerous other fish and invertebrates. Hopefully by sharing my woeful experience w/ this product it will save others from the same results I had. Andy B <Thank you for sending this along. Please do send this note/message to the manufacturer as well. Bob Fenner>

Jebo 72 gallon aquarium. Al and SW... toxic   8/21/06 This tank has a tight fitting aluminum hood with pre-cut holes for filter tubes, pump wires etc. Holes are too small to accommodate my hang on CPR skimmer. I don't want to cut hood to accommodate this skimmer-anyone know of a hang on skimmer that will work with this type hood? Thanks, Randy <... Uhh, more trouble... aluminum and saltwater don't mix... This tank cannot be used with this fixture. Bob Fenner>

Re: Jebo 72 gallon aquarium, Al issue   8/21/06 Bob thanks for the heads up. Aluminum components of hood are painted, don't know if that makes a difference, otherwise plastic tank frame is cut to   accommodate glass hinged lid. Guess I could have custom cut glass and use my  coral life light fixture off of my old 55 gal. When you say toxic in what form? Gas, flaking corrosion into  tank? <The last... can be real trouble... Bob Fenner> Re: Jebo 72 gallon aquarium   8/21/06 Bob, I'm amazed at your ability to return e-mail so rapidly. <I key quickly> You are the only on line resource I trust and rely on for professional advice. I read and rely on your conscientious marine aquarist book for most everything-best 50   dollars I have spent. I will keep an eye on the painted aluminum for any signs of corrosion. <Ah, good... I would also employ a pad/unit of PolyFilter in your filter flow path here> Found a way to mount by back mount skimmer, this lid component comes off  by removing two screws and allows mounting space-also less  metal to worry about! <Very good> Thanks so much for your valuable time and advice. <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Urchin question   8/20/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Sara>     I have a few of questions regarding a Lytechinus variegatus urchin ( I was able to id from your site), I hope you can help me out with. My first question is if a Lytechinus variegatus urchin is in the process of dying, or not doing very well, is there any chance it could release toxins in to my tank? <Mmm... yes... this species is a member of the Family Toxopneustidae... toxic to even the touch... to fishes, humans> Should I remove this urchin from my main tank? <Unless it were very large (hundreds of gallons), exceedingly well circulated and filtered I would not introduce a member of this family>   I had noticed that my urchin had been losing spines at an alarming rate recently and had stopped moving around the tank. When I turned him over there was a brown/tan worm on him. This worm was not a bristle worm, rather it looked more like a common earth worm (only much, much smaller.) It had small bristles on it's side, but the bristles were not near as large as a bristle worm's. <There are actually thousands of different species...> I also have noticed that there are deep red spots on the outside of the urchin it almost looks like blood.   After I removed the worm from the urchin he immediately improved and began to slowly move around the tank again.   So, I guess my main questions are should I remove this urchin from my tank and quarantine him? <Yes, I would. Don't use your hands in contact... scoop into a container... i.e., don't expose to the air...> Is there any risk he will poison my tank if he dies or is dying? <Again, yes> Lastly, are there any know worms that are parasitic to urchins, or was this worm just a result of him dying/not doing well? <Could be either/both>      Thank you so much for your help,   Sara <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Maintenance/Operation...Chemical Cleaners   8/16/06 Dear crew, <Ariel> I moved about a week ago, and set up a new tank at the new house to receive my fish from the old tank. The fish are in the new tank and doing fine; I drove them 800 miles in a car. Well I scrubbed the tank briefly just before I left, and went to go get the sponges today to give it a better cleaning, but behold, right on the package I read "not for use in aquariums." Uh-Oh. There isn't a list of chemicals, which I was hoping for, but the package says Publix Easy Grip Sponge, naturally absorbent, resists bacterial odors. They smell a bit funny. What could I use to clean out/ sterilize any chemicals that could have been put in the tank? <More than likely tainted with a chlorine/bleach substance.  I'd filter the water through a Poly-Filter or Chemi-Pure for a week, then discard the chemical media you end up using.  Wouldn't be a bad idea to do a 50% water change also.  Do this after the filtering is complete.> Thanks, Ariel. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)

Sea cucumber disaster   8/8/06 I don't really have a question for you, just a cautionary tale you might share with your other readers. <Please do> I went to the LFS this past Saturday afternoon to get an easy-to-care-for fish of some kind, saw a pink and green sea cucumber, and made an impulsive last minute change to my plan.  Big mistake.  HUGE mistake.  I later paid your site a visit for a refresher on Cukes.  I had forgotten all about them expelling their guts into the water and pondered whether or not I wanted to take it back and see about an exchange  It made that decision for me early this morning when it went nuclear and killed all my fish, though the other inverts seem ok.  I did a 30% water change this morning and will do a couple more in the next day or so.  I'm hitting it with some new charcoal as well.  This is a small tank, so it was only three fish.  No real real financial loss, but it is definitely irritating and embarrassing.  I know 99% of the blame falls on me, but I really wish LFS had said something about a critter that dangerous.  The money they made on the Cuke is much less than the money they lost by losing me as a customer. <...> As strongly worded as your warning against Cukes is, maybe you should put some skulls and crossbones and biological hazard symbols on it as well.  Thanks for maintaining such a great site.  It really comes in handy, especially if used prior to a purchase. Thanks, Ty <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner> Bug Spray Boo Boo (7-31-06) I did my first really stupid thing today in regards to my saltwater fish tank. <Welcome to the club, sooner or later we all make mistakes.> I rinsed my hands off up to my elbows as usual and stuck my hand in the tank to remove the uneaten seaweed. That is the point that I remembered that I had used Off Bug Spray on my entire arm. <Utto.> The light then turned off as it is on a timer. I used a flashlight to check and the fish are acting ok.  I then did a 10% water change and have been stressed out for the last couple of hours the fish still are acting ok.  If enough bug spray got in the tank to be toxic how quickly would the fish react?  <Hard to say.> Any suggestions on more steps I should take? <Another bigger water change, perhaps 30% and add activated carbon to your filter. If already using carbon, remove the old and add some new. I use Chemi-Pure.> Thanks. <Your very welcome and hopefully everything will be ok, Leslie>

Care of fish and aquarium when residence will be fumigated for dry wood termites next week.   7/25/06 I am in need of urgent assistance regarding my tropical fish. I just received notice that my town home in Northern Ca will be treated for termites next week. ( Town home adjacent to mine is in process of sale) I understand the 4 town homes in my cul de sac will be tented and gas infused to permeate all areas to exterminate termites. < I am sorry to hear this, but it is understandable. >   My concern is how do I care for my fish during this procedure? < As much as I know you do not want to read this, I do not want to type this, but here goes... Move the tank! > I have a 150 gallon salt water aquarium which is well established with live rock and 6 large fish ( Most in my care for 5+ years). < Kudos to the diligent and mindful aquarist! > I cannot imagine breaking down this aquarium and keeping these large fish alive for several days. < I understand your pain. You must move the tank. I suggest finding a feed and seed store that caters to cattle/horse keepers. There, you will find Rubbermaid watering troughs that will well suit your needs. I would move everything into the vat, with the exception of the sand bed. Store the vat at a friends house. The sand bed will almost have to be re-cycled, for stirring it up will undoubtedly release undesirable toxins. This should be done in a separate container, with water changes as needed. As for the tank, You could wrap it thoroughly in shrink wrap, and you may not need to move the tank if it is wrapped well. >   Can you advise? < I wish there was an easier answer. Best wishes! RichardB > Thanks

Marine tank move and pesticide concerns   7/25/06 Hi, crew!  Thanks again  for this resource and your help in the past... I have a couple questions for you today.  The first one is pretty easy- I currently have a 20 gal. marine tank with live rock (not sure of the weight, as I acquired the tank from a previous owner, but it covers the back of the tank 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up), a scrappy ocellaris clown ("Blooper"), a blue damsel ("Dex"), a 3-4" T. Crocea clam showing signs of new calcareous growth, Astrea snails, a scarlet skunk shrimp (carrying her second batch of eggs this summer!), mushroom corals, and one Nassarius snail.  I picked up an empty 30 gal. tank and stand for a song, and am going to move this crew to more spacious quarters, after first painting the back of the tank with flat black water-based enamel and a mini-roller, as you suggest- the old tank is mirrored, which I hate.  I want to add a deeper sandbed to the new tank- currently it's in the danger zone of 1-3", would like to aim for 4-5".  Can I move most of the old sand to the new tank, and top off with more? <Yes... but best to place the new on the bottom... the old live on top> Much of the old substrate is coarser than it should be, I believe... crushed coral perhaps (again, it came with the tank from the old owner, so not sure exactly what he started with... tried to find out everything about it, but a language barrier prevented full communication... also, when he suggested adding a yellow tang to the tank because it "would look nice with the other fish" I knew we had a problem. He had had the tank set up for almost a year with no water changes, just freshwater top-ups, and only a small powerfilter on the back for circulation. Yikes! <I'll say... wonder if he ever flushes the toilet... Bad visual!> Took a long time to get those nitrates under control).  I have one 20lb bag of oolitic aragonite, but more will be needed clearly, even with the old substrate to reach an adequate depth.  Can I move much of the old substrate over, and top it off with the finer sand? <Same response> My thoughts are to let the substrate cycle in the filled new tank, transfer the skimmer and one powerhead to the new tank, then arrange most of the live rock around this equipment, add the damsel first to the cycled tank to stake out a territory (he is bullied in the old tank by the clownfish), then move the clown and the shrimp, and the canister filter to the 30 gal.  Does this sound like a good plan? <Yep> My second problem is more tricky.  Our cat, who occasionally goes outside, has kindly picked up some fleas, and introduced them to our apartment as well. My roommates want to spray, as the Bio-spot drops Mr. Fleabag was just treated with will only deal with the problem on him, and not on our carpets etc. Obviously, I'm highly concerned about the ramifications of introducing highly toxic pesticides into the aquarium environment. <Me too.> I'm considering setting up the new tank in a closet/alcove thing in our living room (currently filled with houseplants and a small gecko and Betta tank), which has sliding doors that could be closed and sealed off "homeland security style" <Hopefully better...> with plastic film and duct tape- thereby segregating the reef, my gecko, and Betta from the bug bomb.  However, cycling a tank takes time, and I'm not sure how long I can convince my roomies to wait for bacteria to grow while fleas are nipping at their ankles (uh... my roommates, not the bacteria, who to my knowledge, lack ankles, lol). <Heeee!> Given that I'm starting with an established tank and well seeded substrate, how much time would you recommend giving the substrate to cycle, <A week> and at what pace would you proceed with livestock transfer? <Next day...> I'm itchin' for an answer, ;-) *Carla M. <Wish you were my roomie... BobF out in HI>

Marine... Ebola?!   7/25/06 I've agonized over writing you, <Why? We're very approachable> but I'm loosing <And losing?> my grip on saltwater and thought you might be able to help me.  These are my tanks: #1 100 gallon - 6 months - 2 medium Lionfish, 2 Wrasses, 1 Tang, 1 Trigger. #2 100   "       - 2 months - 1 Foxface, 1 Marine Betta, 1 Blue Tang. 180        "       - 4 months - 1 medium Puffer, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Red Breasted Wrasse I have two 20 gallon, two 10 gallon quarantine tanks for new fish and any sick fish.  I have 165 gallons of curing saltwater that is left for a week or more before using. <Good> Each of the tanks water tests are identical.  PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10 ppm, Salinity 1023.  All fish are compatible.  Water changes are timely.  No overfeeding. <Sounds good> Here is the problem.   At any given time a new fish, whether he is in a quarantine tank or in #2 100 or the 180, developed gross looking eyes, parts of their bodies turn dark, and die within 48 hours. <... yikes....> The established fish are not affected at all. <Habituated...> The interesting part is that # 1 100 tank has never had any health issues, but I have never introduced any new fish to what is already there.  I'm at a loss.        Bob    <Sounds like Mycobacterium... maybe M. marinum... take a read on the Net, WWM re... Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine... Ebola!   7/25/06 Thanks for your reply, Bob.  I should confess that I've lost 17 fish from three different providers, causing me to believe my environment had to be causing the deaths. <Me too... something (universal) is very off... Perhaps a household spray cleaner use? Some contaminant in the decor/type of rock you're using in all three systems?. I would place a unit of PolyFilter in the filter flow path of these systems... see if you can't "pick up" some definitive color> Most of the fish were either small (clowns, dwarf lion, spotted puffer, Sailfin, etc.) or fragile fish (butterflies, angels, etc.)    <Mmm, all should not perish at this quick rate...> My quarantine tanks and equipment have been bleached.  My thought now is to bring an adult, more durable fish to see if it survives. <Or... if I may suggest to your plan, slowly adding system water to the Quarantine tank... to see if this "acclimatizes" the new specimens> If that works, from now on bringing in one fish at a time.  What do think of this game plan?  What fish would you recommend? <Too many to make general statements... though, being a cheapskate (family Rajidae?), likely some species of hardy damsels... Dascyllus...> Why this hobby is so important to me, I'm a 74 year old retiree who not only enjoys fishkeeping, but needs it for mental health. <... I as well> Thanks again, Bob <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Pink Cucumber/System Poisoning - 07/20/06 Dear Bob, <<EricR here this morning...>> I have a pink cucumber who has been doing relatively well for approximately a year in my tank.  It's not very active but about a week ago it moved near the overflow box and has become extremely "squishy" and looks very wrinkled. <<Possibly just doing a "water change">> It still sticks out its Feather like tentacles partially from one end and the other end has a hole that appears to open and close like it is breathing. <<All good signs>> My question is, is this squishy body a bad sign. <<Hard to say.  In my experience these holothuroids tend to just "shrink away" once they are on the decline (usually from starvation)...unless something has injured/poisoned it>> It used to be quite solid but now if you touch it you can almost push both sides together (Not that I've tried).  If it is a bad sign what can you do to try and resuscitate the poor guy. <<Excellent water quality and adequate feeding>> It's a great addition to my tank and many people love it as do I. <<I too am a fan of these...>> I appreciate any help and if you need any other information let me  know. 1.022 salinity <<Would like to see this increased to 1.025/1.026>> 0 ammonia very low nitrates <<Mmm...less than 5ppm I hope>> 0 nitrites ph 8.4 55 gallon with 12 gallon refugium (with mud, mangroves and a little Caulerpa algae with a max 700 gph pump, UV sterilizer, protein skimmer and a power compact.  I had a slime algae problem but used SlimeBgone and it was gone in 48  hrs. <<Ugghh...a bad practice my friend.  Likely the antibiotic has adversely affected the cucumber...not to mention killing off bacteria/other micro-biota the cucumber used for food.  And, it is very likely the BGA will only return as you have not addressed the cause with the antibiotic and rarely is the organism every totally wiped out>> Corals and everything else seem to be doing fine. <<We can hope...>> I add snow and phytoplankton about twice a week and generalize its  region. Best regards, Jason <<Cheers, EricR>> P.S. You guys at WetWebMedia are the most knowledgeable people  around and thanks for all the help you provide. <<Other "knowledgeable" folks about, but thank you for the praise.  It is our pleasure to help.  Eric Russell>> Re: Pink Cucumber    7/20/06 Dear Bob, <<EricR again>> After scavenging around WetWebMedia I found that the squishy feeling is not a good sign. <<Okay>> So being scared for my fish I put it in a quarantine tank.  After  removing the Cuke I found that it became extremely hard again.  The feather like  tentacles retracted into the body and everything seemed normal like when I bought it. <<Yes...pumped up with water when it was disturbed>> Was everything normal and I just removed him for no purpose and just stressed it and myself. <<Is a possibility>> If I take the precautionary approach, how long should I keep the Cuke in quarantine and is there any non-stressful way to reintroduce it to my main tank without cutting off a lot of feet. <<You can keep it there for a week or so (be sure to target feed!) until you're comfortable with returning it to the display.  As for removing it...be very gentle and take your time to SLOWLY coax it away from the glass.  I find very light but persistent pressure from my fingers will usually cause the cucumber to release with no/a minimum of damage to the tube feet>> Thanks again. Jason <<Always welcome.  EricR>>

Algaecide and Corals, a Bad Combination 7/16/06 Hello all, <Hi> I'm having some problems with my green star polyps. <Lets see if we can help.> I got them about a month ago, and they were THRIVING.  Marked difference since their addition to my tank.  I also have some yellow polyps, and green button polyps. I have had a minor problem with algae, so I tried adding some Algone to my tank, in addition to some de nitrate from SeaChem. <There is your problem.> The day after adding the two, my green button polyps didn't look as 'happy', and my green star polyps had not come out.  (I also removed my carbon, as per Algone directions).   I also added some Fluval prefilter  (if that helps). <Replace the carbon ASAP.> I waited 3 days, still no green star polyps (4-5 extend, but the other 300 stay in).  Thinking the Algone may be the problem, I removed it, and re-instated my carbon, leaving the de nitrate in. <Remove all added chemicals ASAP.> Its been 2 days since my removal of the Algone, the green star polyps have still not returned (green buttons back to normal, looking great).  In addition, the purple mat is looking worse every day, what can I do! <Lots of water changes, run lots of carbon and get some PolyFilters if possible.> Nothing else was altered (pH, salinity), and they were thriving until I added the Algone, so I'm convinced something other than water quality is involved (all specs good). <Yes, toxic chemicals.> Thanks as always, Whit <Anytime> <Chris>

Acrylic Nails and Aquariums 7/16/06 Dear Crew, Can having acrylic finger nails poison my marine aquarium? <Yes, make sure they completely dry before putting your hand in the tank.  Better yet would be elbow length gloves.> Jenn <Chris> Ptereleotris evides (black Dartfish)  immunity to Porcupine Poison?   7/16/06 Hi, <Hello there> the question I have is short, the reason is not. I will add the reason just in case I am on the wrong track. <Okay> Q. Having trawled around the Web & your as always excellent site I cannot confirm a suspicion, If the Black Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides) is known at all, to be resilient or immune to the Porcupine Puffer's toxin (released when stressed)? <Mmm, don't know> The reason for this question is that this morning I woke up to a tank of dead fish. The porcupine puffer was stressed but the two black Dartfish were fine. <Interesting... could be that they were the smallest... had/have the largest percentage gill surface area... more sedentary/less need for dissolved oxygen...> Tank: 90ukgal - 3 year old Filters Fluval 404 on spray bar, Fluval 304 & LAC 828 Vecton UV15 sterilizer Deltec MCE 600 (considering changing due to bearing noise problem) Lid houses 2 T5 lights & Marine blue Live rock, 3/4" to 1" sand, no corals RO changes Water quality spot on bar 1mg/l Phosphate (before water change) Fish established 1- 3 Years: 5" Pink tail Trigger - RIP Cleaner Wrasse - RIP 4.5" Blue Cheek Goby - RIP Two 4" Monos - RIP 4" Sailfin Tang - RIP 5" Birdnose Wrasse in final transition from female to male - RIP 5" Porcupine Puffer - now RIP Two 3.5"-4" Black Dartfish - fine (now, just incase, in other marine tank) Circumstance: On light feeding last night I noticed two light rocks out of position (dislodged) - so I repositioned. This morning I awoke & found all but the puffer & Dartfish dead (Pinktail was floating). At 80 degrees F & a topped up water level to the spray bar, <He's likely the one who was "bothering" the puffer> I initially wondered about oxygen depravation. <Me too> After a couple of phone calls once the dead were removed, I setup a hasty water change & did 30% approximately 40 min.s later. <Good move> As my one available QT tank was set for freshwater due to an ongoing ammonia problem in my Discus tank (due to a piece of wood in the inlet tube of my Eheim Wet/Dry making it run low - still awaiting it to cycle as do daily water changes) & the other QT tank is rearing toadfish; I shot down to my LFS and got some more carbon media. When I left the Porcupine was still stressed, when I got back he was slightly puffed up & RIP. On removal he was coated in slime (I assume another toxin release) & the same rocks were dislodged again. <Strange about the rocks...> So far I assume a toxin release (some of the RIP fish were agape - & fairly quick after feeding last night as two out of 4 defrosted frozen shrimp were still left; a big oddity), but to my amazement the Dartfish were fine/happy??? Taking no chances (I do anything to help my fish) I transferred them into my reef tank (open topped with 6" rise above the water, I will be watching for jumps till I can be sure of the other tank). <Good> I am told the carbon should clear up the toxin now, but still wonder about the tough little Black Dartfish. <Me too> Any input would be greatly welcome/appreciated. Ed <It may well be that microdesmids are more "immune" to tetradotoxins... or perhaps it was/is something to do with gaseous exchange at play here. If it were me, mine, I would likely change about all the water out of the contaminated system... for general purposes. Bob Fenner> Re: Ptereleotris evides (black Dartfish)  immunity to Porcupine Poison?  7/18/06 Hi Bob Fenner, <Ed> Cheers for the reply. Water is being changed + new carbon (again) & new PolyFilter (told it would be a good idea - certainly no harm). <Agreed. Bob Fenner> Thanks    Ed Dead Anemone Residue...Mushrooms Vacating  - 07/03/04 Hi Guys, <Hello Nancy> I had a medium bubble anemone for over a year who was home to a tomato clown.  A few months ago it moved to the underside of a rock and slowly withered away and left a cottony white layer where it's base had been.  Not knowing if the anemone would grow back from this I left it in place.  I now have a large covering of this on an adjacent rock and the resident mushrooms are vacating the rock (which they used to cover).  Is this something I want to eradicate or is it a friendly unknown species who has taken up residence.  This is a 75 gal tank with a deep sand bed that has been up and running without incident for 2+ years, (initially set up in 98 but had a severe algae problem and I had to tear down, scrub and redo to get rid of it all.).  H2O parameters seem ok, fish are happy, very little algae, VHO lights + Moonlights.  I will attempt to attach a pic but I am digitally challenged, sorry if it doesn't work. <Pic was sent with no problem. <<But not saved for posting... RMF>>  Nancy, any residue left by a dead anemone should definitely be removed.  This can be quite toxic to the rest of the inhabitants.  Probably why your mushrooms are heading west.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Nancy D

- Perplexing Reef Tank -    6/14/06 WWM Crew, I would like to thank you in advanced for spending the time on what is going to be a long email. I work at an aquarium store, with my focus and developing specialty (though I still find myself perplexed on an almost daily basis) being reef tanks. I have been keeping them for several years and working with them professionally for the last four, and I would like your insight on what has become the most perplexing tank I've dealt with to date. It is a 180 gallon (60"x24"x30") glass aquarium, with two internal overflows; the lighting is three 400watt metal halides (10,000k) with four 65watt compact fluorescent actinic supplements; the halides run for six hours a day and the compact fluorescents for eight. The filtration is a large Berlin style sump, running filter socks two days a week to "polish the water", a large custom skimmer, and a phosphate reactor (Kent). The temperature is controlled by a 1/4hp chiller, keeping the tank near 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Flow from the sump is handled by a non submersible pump, which, after accounting for head pressure, provides about 1,500 gallons per hour of flow to the display tank, through four returns with the flow alternating through the use of SCWD's; the tank also has a closed loop set up providing an additional 1,200 gallons per hour. The tank does not have a sand bed and contains approximately 275lbs of liverock. Calcium levels are controlled by Kalkwasser addition (through a medical grade dosing pump). Trace elements are managed through 40 gallon water changes, which are done every other week using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals and RODI water, and manual dosing when tests warrant the addition. Tests are performed weekly. This setup belongs to a client (who happens to be a practicing veterinarian, who is incredibly scientific in his approach to everything) who has become a very good friend. I had no part of setting up the initial system and only became involved after he expressed difficulty keeping invertebrates, namely corals and anemones, alive -- at this point the tank was one year old. I made several changes to his system (which included cleaning his liverock and removing his sand bed, due to elevated nitrate and phosphate levels). I kept him from adding any livestock to the tank until all levels came into the acceptable ranges and stayed there for a month (this took four months to accomplish). During this process the only inhabitants were a hand full of fish, which were perfectly healthy, with no losses, and a good population of snails, Mithrax crabs and brittle stars, which suffered some loss (mainly snails) and a small colony of Xenia which faired well. I also had him run quite a bit of carbon, in case some impurity had found its way into the tank water. Two weeks ago we began reintroducing invertebrates, starting with two soft corals (a toadstool leather, a Sarcophyton sp I believe, and a finger leather, as close as a can tell a Paralemnalia sp) which had been acclimated to metal halides for two weeks in my shop and were thriving. As I was placing them in his tank I noticed a few dead brittle stars, removed them, and thought little of it. The next morning I received a call, and, much to my surprise, all his brittle stars, Mithrax crabs and snails had died and the finger leather was beginning to "melt." I rushed over, removed the dead snails etc and the finger leather, which was at this point a pile of mush. The toadstool leather was not extending but not melting either, the Xenia was not extending but not dying and all of the fish showed no signs of stress and when fed ate eagerly. I'm at a complete loss. This poor man has been more diligent than most who attempt a reef tank and has suffered incredible loss. I am providing the last rounds of test results that I have available below, the previous four weeks results were very similar to these. Any insight or information that you could provide as to why these seemingly random die offs of invertebrates are occurring would be GREATLY appreciated as I feel I am failing a man who has been incredibly patient and diligent; again I apologize for the long and rambling nature of this email. Thank You, Eric C. 6/12/06                           6/4/06 Temp: 76.6-77.4                   Temp: 76.4-77.4 Specific Gravity: 1.026           Specific Gravity: 1.026 Ph: 8.36-8.46                     Ph: 8.34-8.40 Calcium: 500                      Calcium: 475 Strontium: 24                     Not tested Phosphate: 0.0                    Phosphate: 0.0 Nitrite: 0.0                      Nitrite: 0.0 Nitrate: 2.0                      Nitrate: 1.5 Iodine: 0.06                      Iodine: 0.08 Total Alk: 4.0                    Total Alk: 3.5 Bor: 1.0                          Bor: 1.0 Carb: 3.0                         Carb: 3.0 Magnesium: 1750                   Magnesium: 1750 <Eric, your testing is so thorough, I'm surprised you missed the most obvious culprit: copper - I'd run a test for that. Sadly, it's quite common for veterinarian's tanks to be sabotaged, sometimes by small kids doing the coin-in-the-fountain thing, and more often from disgruntled customers/employees. I'd look high and low in that tank for pennies. Cheers, J -- > <<RMF would like to add that a pad of PolyFilter (color change) placed in the filter flow path may be telling here>> Big Mistake...How do I fix it? 100% Silicone, Toxic systems   6/13/06 I hate to bother you as I know you guys are busy helping people with real problems that can be solved but here goes anyway. I had a very badly designed sump setup (wet/dry u-tubed to a 10 gallon refugium u-tubed to a 10 gallon sump) <Yikes... U-tubes are not to be trusted...> that I tore down hoping to build something similar (no u-tubes, entirely in a 55) using the EPDM baffling I read about here. Well, after setting it up with the EPDM, I realized that the baffles were not going to stay in place, water pushing them over. I quickly used GE Silicone II to silicone the baffles into place. (I did not notice until way too late that it says "not for use on aquariums"). <Yikes... want to avoid types with "Mildewcides", other additives... Use only 100%...>   I also only let it dry for about 12 hours. <Needs 24...> I have removed the sump completely while I allow the new silicone to cure. I performed about a 50% water change. All of my fish seem to be O.K. I have no filtration at all while the silicone is curing.  So, since I have lost every SPS in my tank and all of my soft corals look terrible and my 10-12" anemone has shriveled up to about 2" I was wondering what you think I should do to help alleviate the problems and get my tank ready to house corals again? <... if it were me/mine, I'd cut away all the present Silicone and re-do this with 100%... Or, buy a new sump...> How long should I wait before trying to add any corals again? Thanking you in advance for the extreme wealth of knowledge you provide to me and many other people with this aquarium obsession. <Do take the long view here... You don't want to have mal-lingering dread re toxicity issues... cut out this "door/window" Silastic and replace it. Bob Fenner> Mysterious Deaths...Poisoning   6/13/06 Good morning from New Bern, NC, <And good morning to you from Bay City, MI> A few weeks ago I suffered the loss of all but one fish (a Damsel naturally) in my 180 Gal. reef tank. <Ouch.> Parameters were OK and could find no 'apparent' sign of disease so I am leaning towards the idea of contamination of some sort. <Very likely, Windex or some other ammonia based product works well for this.> The corals weathered it OK and the tank has been up and running for approximately 1 1/2 years with no major problems. Being as I have no idea what happened here I am  planning on doing a 100% water change (including sump and fuge). I am planning on moving corals and inverts to QT/Rubbermaid for the change. I'd like to attempt this without having to replace my LR/LS. I know there is no guarantee that this will correct the problem (whatever it is!) My question is; Would you suggest running anything through the system before/after the change? Is there a way to 'sterilize' or 'disinfect' my LR/LS without killing it? <No.> Any suggestions you might have to help walk me through this would be appreciated. <I'm suspecting contamination also.  I wouldn't do a 100% change, do 20% and run the water through Chemi-Pure or a PolyFilter for a week.  Any contaminants present should be removed.> Thanks so much for the help, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Bill Bush

Re: Sick Jawfish? And BGA effects   6/9/06 Well, he's better today. You've piqued my curiosity-how would BGA affect a fish? <These bacteria are known to produce a wide array of toxic materials... that poison systems to their sold advantage. Bob Fenner>

Fish Deaths...Bleach In Tank  6/3/06 Hi, <Hello Jennifer> I had a serious problem tonight with my FOWLR tank. My husband was cleaning the tank and filters as he does weekly. <Lucky you.> He did a small water change and was sure to add de-chlorinator to the water first. He did dip his hand into the tank while it had bleach on it (accidentally), but it was a very small amount (obviously). My tank is 55 gallons and all chemicals were within normal range. Then, after he was finished cleaning, suddenly all my fish started to die. Literally within 5 minutes I lost most of my fish. I have never seen anything like it. The only things to survive (at least for now) were the starfish, two gobies and a clownfish. I find it hard to believe that such a small amount of bleach (only enough to cover his hand) could cause such immediate and widespread deaths, however, this is the only thing we can figure could have caused it. Is there anything else that could have caused this problem? There was one other thing, our wet/dry filter went dry and no water was flowing into the refugium, and we are not sure why, but that was only for a short amount of time (not sure exactly how long) and my husband fixed that right away upon discovery. I was very attached to the fish and I am very upset. We are thinking now the only thing we can do is to completely break down the tank and start from scratch. If this is the case, do we need to replace the live rock or the live sand? How about the algae in the refugium? Could they have been compromised also? We removed the rock ASAP after the surviving fish and put everything in newly mixed saltwater. (We had no choice but to mix it and use it right away to try to save some of the fish). What can we do at this point? The surviving fish are in a hospital tank, but cannot be in there for long (it is not cycled). Any help would be greatly appreciated! <Jennifer, very, very small amounts of full strength bleach are lethal.  The amount is in the parts per million.  I'd get some Chemi-Pure or a Poly-Filter and start running the tank water through this ASAP.  If none of these products can be found locally, at least get a good grade of carbon.  If you are using power heads, do employ the aeration feature for a few days, this will help some.  I'm sure some of the creatures on the live rock didn't make it, along with the algae, but I wouldn't tear down the tank yet.  Consider doing at least a 30% water change also.  Good luck to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Jennifer

Ammonia Spike in Established 55G Tank. Mis-stocked, Algicide et al. chemically poisoned, non-cycling system    5/24/06 Hey Crew, <Jeremy> Very recently my tank's ammonia levels seem to be going off the charts. <Not good> My tank has been running for about a year and my Ammonia and Nitrates have never been high.  I have about 60-70lbs of LR and LS each. Recently I added one of those dual BioWheel filter systems (rated to 75 gallon) along with my BakPak skimmer to help out because the skimmer has never really been that great... <Mmm... why? Brand? Application? Mystery?>   My tank inhabitants are a pair of Percula Clowns (1 - 2.5" and 1 - 1.25"), a 3-4" Blue Regal Tang and a 3" juv. Imperator Angel.  I know this tank is small for the tang and angel but I am about to upgrade to a 130 gallon system that a friend no longer wants.  Those 4 fishes in a 55 shouldn't be considered overcrowding especially with the tang and angel being so small/young.  Or is it? <Is... way too crowded... psychologically and appears physiologically> Last week I saw some Cyano growth on the LR.  I did a massive water change, and a few small ones as well as up the circulation to get rid of any dead spots.  I added a powerhead to shoot water through the center of the tank.  Other than the fishes taking turns to play in the current, I don't see any changes.  I usually don't feed too much either to keep the wastes down.  I added some "Red Slime Removal" powder <A poor idea... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgcidefaqs.htm> and I saw a noticeable reduction in the Cyano. <Just recycled... toxic> I am still not sure that I did the right thing adding that directly into the tank.  Now, it is all back <Yep> and my ammonia levels have gone through the roof. <Ditto> I have been checking my ammonia levels daily and it continues to look worse.  A level of 0 should show the color in the test tube to be a whitish yellow. Yesterday it was close to a teal color.  Yes, teal color.  I use the API Master Kit that everyone carries in their store. My fishes show little to no signs of stress, (if anything they look as healthy as can be, and eat like a pack of starving wolves) but I don't like the idea of them swimming in (supposedly) nasty water.  Also I used AmmoLock <Not a good idea either...> for the first time and the label said the tests might show an increase of traceable ammonia levels but in a non toxic form that isn't distinguished by the tests.  Did something all of a sudden go terribly wrong or is it the AmmoLock? <Can't tell from here...> I usually use StressCoat and Kent Ammonia Detox as tap conditioner.  I use Oceanic Salt. <I would look for another salt brand. See WWM re>   Maybe my tap water is the problem.   <That too?> Do I need to get my QT fired up and throw them in there until this is resolved or is this something fixable in the near future? <... see WWM re Ammonia, Cycling... I would not feed these animals if ammonia is approaching 0.5 ppm> The 130 gallon won't be available for a few months so that isn't an option at this time.  I added some Ammonia Detox, but I know that is that like putting on a band-aid and not solving the problem.  Have you heard of Ammonia levels going from around 0 to ??? <Oh yes> (whatever my tests are showing) in a week's time?  I just don't see how this is happening. Would adding a pack of Nitrifying bacteria help? <Possibly... see... re> I saw in the FAQ's that they may have died out and need to grow back. <Yes! The "powder"... likely bumped a bunch off, produced a physiological check> Oh yeah, Ph is around 8.2, Nitrites are 0 and spg is 1.024.  The last time I checked Nitrate was about 2 weeks ago and it read 20. Thanks for all of your help, Jeremy <Read on my friend... no more chemicals, please. Bob Fenner> Re: Ammonia Spike in Established 55G Tank. Mis-stocked, Algicide et al. chemically poisoned, non-cycling system 5/26/06 Bob, Thanks for the reply. My replies will be in double carats. Hey Crew, <Jeremy> Very recently my tank's ammonia levels seem to be going off the charts. <Not good> My tank has been running for about a year and my Ammonia and Nitrates have never been high.  I have about 60-70lbs of LR and LS each. Recently I added one of those dual BioWheel filter systems (rated to 75 gallon) along with my BakPak skimmer to help out because the skimmer has never really been that great... <Mmm... why? Brand? Application? Mystery?> <<Skimmate is usually clear, not the dark sludge I see coming out of other skimmers I see.>> >Agreed re the apparent "lower-efficiency" of this unit<   My tank inhabitants are a pair of Percula Clowns (1 - 2.5" and 1 - 1.25"), a 3-4" Blue Regal Tang and a 3" juv. Imperator Angel.  I know this tank is small for the tang and angel but I am about to upgrade to a 130 gallon system that a friend no longer wants.  Those 4 fishes in a 55 shouldn't be considered overcrowding especially with the tang and angel being so small/young.  Or is it? <Is... way too crowded... psychologically and appears physiologically> <<Is 4 small fish "way too crowded?"  They show no signs of stress and they never fight.  They show to be very well adjusted to each other socially.  I can easily see it becoming the way you describe as they grow, but it isn't that way now, and that's why they will be in a 130 gallon in hopefully 2-3 months from now to avoid it from ever being that way.  Everything written about how to tell a good species from a bad one, my fish currently show all of the good traits.  Take it as a compliment, I used your advice and teachings to select the fish I wanted vs. an unhealthy fish, how to spot a good dealer/LFS and how to take proper care of them.  I try my best and have had a failure or two. Also, territory doesn't seem to be an issue either.  The 2 clowns have their little spot but the tang and/or angel kind of hang out with them sometimes and never so much as a spat.  Maybe this is because they are still young.>> >Yes... the large Pacific Angel will outgrow the 130 as well< Last week I saw some Cyano growth on the LR.  I did a massive water change, and a few small ones as well as up the circulation to get rid of any dead spots.  I added a powerhead to shoot water through the center of the tank.  Other than the fishes taking turns to play in the current, I don't see any changes.  I usually don't feed too much either to keep the wastes down.  I added some "Red Slime Removal" powder <A poor idea... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgcidefaqs.htm> <<Thanks for the link.  I was doing ok until this next part... Or at least I think so anyway>> and I saw a noticeable reduction in the Cyano. <Just recycled... toxic> I am still not sure that I did the right thing adding that directly into the tank.  Now, it is all back <Yep> and my ammonia levels have gone through the roof. <Ditto> <<When I added the powder solution, I really didn't know what to do.  I am not using it as an excuse, but I was just at a loss.  I did the water changes, added extra circulation, even extra filtration to battle the nitrites/nitrates and ammonia, my water parameters were ok (at the time) and this red slime crap just wasn't going away. I am thinking about taking all of the rock out and putting it in a separate container like a Rubbermaid Tub and starving it.  Similar to what one should do if a case of crypt brakes out and letting the tank run fallow.  Right now I have the fishes in the QT.  I decided to just take the 55 down for good.  A friend wants it, and I am about to move and get a bigger tank.  This crisis actually happened at a good time as bad as it sounds.>> >Mmm, please do take the not-so-long read on WWM re Cyanobacteria control... there are other very useful avenues for you to consider< I have been checking my ammonia levels daily and it continues to look worse.  A level of 0 should show the color in the test tube to be a whitish yellow. Yesterday it was close to a teal color.  Yes, teal color.  I use the API Master Kit that everyone carries in their store. My fishes show little to no signs of stress, (if anything they look as healthy as can be, and eat like a pack of starving wolves) but I don't like the idea of them swimming in (supposedly) nasty water.  Also I used AmmoLock for the first time and the label said the tests might show an increase of traceable ammonia levels but in a non toxic form that isn't distinguished by the tests.   <Not a good idea either...> <<Is AmmoLock just a bad idea period?  I usually use StressCoat to condition the tap water.  I tried this one instead since it advertised helping out with the ammonia levels. I only added it like a supplement when I saw how high the ammonia level had risen just to do anything to detoxify the situation long enough to get my QT up and running at an acceptable level.  You're right, this probably wasn't the best idea either.  If this happens again, any advice?>> >The use of this and other "anti-ammonia" chemical treatments are only quick stop-gap measures at best... they introduce other poor trade-offs and do absolutely nothing to ensure avoiding further troubles< Did something all of a sudden go terribly wrong or is it the AmmoLock? <Can't tell from here...> I usually use StressCoat and Kent Ammonia Detox as tap conditioner.  I use Oceanic Salt. <I would look for another salt brand. See WWM re> <<Really?  I will definitely look into it.  I remember hearing that it had a batch with phosphate issues.  Sounds like it is much more than that.>> >Yes... a poor, inconsistent product< Maybe my tap water is the problem.    <That too?> <<Hey, it is city water...  I know how wastewater treatment plants work for city water supplies.>>    >Heeeee! Don't we all?< Do I need to get my QT fired up and throw them in there until this is resolved or is this something fixable in the near future? <... see WWM re Ammonia, Cycling... I would not feed these animals if ammonia is approaching 0.5 ppm> <<I have been reading on it, trust me.  My internet time is really limited, so I can't get to everything that I need to see a lot of the time.  I think QT may be the best idea since the main tank is obviously very toxic and I didn't want to use any more chemicals.   >You are wise here< I just had to get the spg, ph and temp to match what they were used to. The QT ph was 8.2-8.4, spg was 1.024, amm = 0.25 (a tad high, but much better than the main tank) nitrite = 0, nitrate = 10.  Temp = 78F>> The 130 gallon won't be available for a few months so that isn't an option at this time.  I added some Ammonia Detox, but I know that is that like putting on a band-aid and not solving the problem.  Have you heard of Ammonia levels going from around 0 to ??? <Oh yes> <<Your response is somewhat comforting, it isn't just me...>> (whatever my tests are showing) in a week's time?  I just don't see how this is happening. Would adding a pack of Nitrifying bacteria help? <Possibly... see... re> I saw in the FAQ's that they may have died out and need to grow back. <Yes! The "powder"... likely bumped a bunch off, produced a physiological check> <<This really explains a lot here.  As a beginner, sometimes it can be really hard to determine what will happen when foreign chemicals enter an ecosystem.  I always keep in mind that the water is their life and the livestock are helpless and totally dependent on the aquarist to do anything.>> >Yes< Oh yeah, Ph is around 8.2, Nitrites are 0 and spg is 1.024.  The last time I checked Nitrate was about 2 weeks ago and it read 20. Thanks for all of your help, Jeremy <Read on my friend... no more chemicals, please. Bob Fenner> <<The only chemicals I use frequently are water conditioners. >You can and should "get around" this use by pre-mixing and storing your synthetic water...< My next investment will be a good RO/De-Ionization unit. Other than that, just iodine (2 caps per month), Kent PH Buffer (2 caps a week, if needed), and Kent Essential Elements (2 caps a month).  Then I do my best to leave it alone!>> <<Also, a few months back I wrote you about possibly entering the marine biology field.  I will be sure to get back with you once I have better information for you.  I just have too much important stuff going on to take this on as well.  I really appreciate your help.>> >And I your earnest sharing. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner< RO/DI kills corals? - 05/16/2006 Thanks for all the great tips!  I've been fighting hair algae for months now and decided to take the plunge and purchased a ro/di unit from eBay.  My procedure for water changes was to make 10 gals. of RO/di water and let it set for at least 2 days.  Then add salt, buffer and aerate one evening.  The next evening I would fine tune the salinity and heat the water - usually using it in about 3 hours.  I try to change 10 gals. each week in 40 gal. tank.  Well the first change went fine and the corals all opened up and looked good.  The next change they closed up for a couple days then ok.  The next change they would not open at all, then the flesh started falling off!! <Yeeikes!> I stopped using the RO/di and have gone back to tap water, however all the corals are now dead.    My testing and LFS showed nothing wrong with any parameters except a dip in salinity 1.019 that I corrected in a couple days. <? Better to pre-mix synthetic water for a week or more... make sure the specific gravity is matched before using...> I've had little trouble with the system for 3 years until now (except the #$#%##@ hair algae)  What the heck did I do!!! <Don't know... the new water may/perhaps be totally unrelated to the losses... But I would test some of it, or have it tested, to assure something is not amiss here. Bob Fenner>

Emp. Angel not eating -dying fish from a fan?-  - 5/7/2006 Hello, <Mike> First I admittedly made a terrible mistake in collecting from my local beach (San Diego) a small gorgonian fan and added it to my established (2yrs) fish only tank with the following: 125 Gallons with Live Rock and Live Sand. 1) Russell's Lion (8in) 1) Clown Trigger (6in) 1) Fiji Puffer (3in) 1) Cow Fish (5in) 1) Zebra Moray (20 in) 1) Yellow Tang (deceased) 1) Christmas Tree Wrasse (deceased) <Too many fish for this system> 1 month after introducing the fan to my tank the yellow tang went on a hunger strike and passed away.  Shortly after, I acquired a 4 inch Emperor Angel.  3 Weeks ago the wrasse also would not eat and passed away last week.  While the other fish still appear to have appetites, the Angel has now stopped eating. <I do NOT believe this is from the fan you added to the tank, while it may have had contaminants and or pollutants on it, Your stocking list of fish seems to be the culprit here.  You have one of the most nasty tempered triggers maybe even the nastiest fish period (the clown trigger) in with a cowfish, one of the few fish in the world that not only carries Tetrodotoxin (the most potent toxin on the planet) but the cowfish can release that poison as a deterrent to predators or due to stress.  In a home system such as yours, it can kill everything.> Could the fan, now back in the Pacific, have been the culprit?  Bacteria, internal parasites? The angel has gone a little over a week without eating.  He still appears to be active, color is good, no noticeable rubbing on the sand or rocks, no visible signs of disease (As with the tang and wrasse).  I have tried Angel formula 1 and 2, frozen krill, flakes and brown algae. <My hunch is that the clown trigger is either harassing the angel, or harassing the cowfish and has made the cowfish release enough poison to seriously injure the other fish.  I would pull the clown trigger immediately and re-home it to another tank, and do the same with the cowfish.  If you do not want to re-home them, setup a tank for the clown trigger by itself, and one for the cowfish by itself as well.  If you decide not to move the cowfish, you will still need a 240 gallon or bigger tank to handle the puffer (gets 12-15") the lionfish (18"+ without fins and is very venomous) the 15+" angel and the 8-10" cowfish.  The clown trigger will hit 2 -15" or more as well and will become a holy terror to tankmates as it ages.> My water parameters are .22 SPG, Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrates b/n 20 - 40 ppm.  I maintain a strict regiment in conducting 12% water changes every other week.  Is there anything that I can do to help this little guy?  I started with a 30% water change yesterday and gave the angel a fresh water dip for 4 min.s.  Please advise. <Try setting up another tank for the angel to live stress free for now, and remove the aggressors as above to ensure it is not harassed.> Thank you, Mike Ferrante <Please re-home and remove fish, as this mix will result in death for more if not all of your fish.> <Justin (Jager)>

-Dying fish from a fan part 2-  - 05/09/06 Thank you for your quick reply. What I had left out of my previous email was that I had noticed some long white feces, which from what I have read in Mr Fenner's book,  could indicate an internal parasite.  This is what triggered my suspicion that it might be something internal.  Could toxins do that?  My local fish store suggested that I use Pimafix?  I'm a bit reluctant to try chemicals right now. <Yes internal parasites do seem to be one issue here, There is a food supplement that is parasite medicine, but it may be hard to get the angel to eat it.  But you should dose it for them ASAP.> I will take your advise and move the Angel immediately to another tank so he can recover.  I purchased an all inclusive and very basic "beginner tank" 10 gallons to use for quarantine.  Would this, and what I suspect comes with a very basic filter, be sufficient for a few weeks? <Do daily water changes of at LEAST 70% from your main tank while the angel is in the ten.> I assume that I should use water from my main tank to supply it? <Correct> Last but not least, when I do remove the Cow, Trigger and Lion, could you give me a list of options and quantity that I may want to consider for re-stocking.  I'd like to keep the angel, assuming that he will pull through. <Most wrasses, tangs, gobies, a butterfly fish, Anthias, there are quite a few choices.  please see WWM and www.fishbase.org for what's available.> Thank you for your time and help. Mike Ferrante <Justin (Jager)>

Ozone  problems ... Toxic Water "Disease", Synthetic Salt Mix Use, Ozone Use...  - 04/25/06 Hi, <Greg> I have a small undersized ozone generator on my reef system of 300 gallons (30mg/hr max). Here's the link to the generator... http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/7945/cid/1966 <Good company> I should also mention that the age and wear/tear of the generator is unknown. It was given to me by a aquaculture research facility. The room they took it out of was very humid and my gut feeling was that this generator has some build up inside. <Can be tested... just running some air through, into a water sample should raise the pH discernibly...> I do not run an air dryer. The ozone goes into my skimmer and the outflow pour into carbon. The ORP reading peaks at about 350. <Might be working...> After about 2 weeks of running ozone my LPSs corals start to die. <... not from ozone> The flesh begins pulling off the skeleton. My Tri color Acropora starts to bleach out. My mushrooms start to shrivel up. Feather dusters pop there tops and begin dying. Fish start showing signs of ill health (black blotches, ick) My red sea O3 residual test kit reads "safe". This can't be caused by a sudden light increase because It effects feather dusters in the shadows as well as fish. Carbon is fresh and plentiful (about 8 oz). <Thirty milligrams per hour going into a skimmer, or even directly into the tank is not at all likely to create troubles> After 1 week of stopping ozone, things slowly begin to improve in health. Acro stops bleaching, LPS stop reseeding, etc. 1 month of no ozone things stabilized so I started it back up again and experienced problems all over again which confirmed it was ozone related. The feather dusters actually died and most of my fish are now sick. <Bizarre... and frightening... I can't think of what a small corona-discharge unit like this might be doing to produce such negative effect> My best guest at this point is by-products from the ozone. Possibly caused by the ozone generator itself or maybe some weird chemical reactions with my salt (here's my salt... http://www.aquariumsupplystore.com/Productspages/marine_enterprises_int.htm Interesting break down of salt mixes including mine... http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/11/aafeature1 <Interesting speculation> Thank you for your consideration, Greg <Thank you for sharing this. Am archiving under Toxic Water "Disease", Synthetic Salt Mix Use, Ozone Use... and sending, sharing with Mike del Prete, Ron Shimek. Bob Fenner> Dead Cowfish  - 04/23/2006 Hello, <Hi Justin with you today.>   I had a Small Long horned Cowfish (1 inch) die Sometime last night. This morning I woke up to find My Yellow tang breathing really heavily. My clowns and Gramma seem OK right now. I did a 10% water change. Should I move all My fish to a Quarantine? It is only a ten gallon since I am 13 And don't have very much extra money. <Your cowfish probably released its tetradotoxin poison when it died.  Please be VERY careful, and do a water change of about 30% of the tank.  Wear gloves as well.  Continue to do 30% water changes for the week and you should be fine.  If your fish seems even more ill, do a 80% water change ASAP.> Great Site Chad <Write back and let us know if you need more help.> <Justin (Jager)>

Upside-down Regal Tang ... parasitized, copper poisoned main system  - 03/26/2006 I recently upgraded my marine tank from a 75gal to a 120gallon tank.   A few days after the move I noticed the beginnings of ICH on my juvenile Emperor   Angelfish and my Red Basslet. <The system itself is infested> Upon the advice of a friend of mine I  gradually lowered the salinity in the tank to 1.014 and started using  Cupramine. <Not the main/display tank... no....> The ICH started to clear up, everybody stopped scratching and  the tank seemed to be much better.   <Just cycled off...> Then about five days ago, a week or so  into the treatment I noticed my 1" Regal Tang lying on her side on the  bottom gasping.  Her eyes were so puffed up she looked more like a Black Moor Goldfish than a Tang and she was a bit swollen and bloated looking. I  immediately tested the water and all water parameters are fine.  Nitrite  and Ammonia zero, Ph 8.5, and Nitrates below 20ppm.  The only thing I could  think might be wrong was the sign efficiently lowered salinity was causing her to  absorb too much water.  (I'm not sure exactly how the whole thing works but  from what I understand Marine fish are designed to absorb water and excrete  salt.  So since she was in a lower salinity she soaked too much up  maybe?) <Interesting proposition. Much more likely poisoned by the copper/system treatment> Anyway, I put her in a floating breeder trap with a few pieces of  macro algae for cover and began to slowly raise the salinity in the tank back  up. I've got the salinity back up to 1.020 now. By the day after I'd put  her in the breeder trap the Regal Tang's eyes had started to go back down to  normal.  After five days they're down all the way. But the rest  of her is still puffy and bloated.  Not to the extent that her scales are  standing out on end like Dropsy, she's just puffy.  Even along her dorsal  fin she's puffy.  And she's stuck upside-down. <Do orient like this in all such space> She can right herself and swim a little but as soon as she stops swimming she goes belly up once again.  I've been throwing a few flakes in for her each day but she's not eating and is not even interested in the Macro Algae.  Is there anything  else I can do for her?  Does she just need more time to recover or is  it hopeless? <... You've got a bit of reading to do... Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm the linked files above, Copper Use, the Paracanthurus article and FAQs... Bob Fenner> Cigarette smoking   - 03/26/2006 Hello, I operate an aquarium maintenance company, many of our "marine fish only tanks" are in professional offices. I'm currently putting in an offer to set up a marine fish only tank in a restaurant / bar. I've never set up a tank in this sort of environment, have anyone Wet Web Media had any experience with this? <Extensive. I helped start and run a service company of good size for nearly two decades> Does the cigarette smoking have any effect on marine fish? <Oh yes... very negative> The restaurant will be family orientated, not like a sports bar. Thanks for any info into this and of course your taking the time to reply. Jim Jesko <Just the smoke can be trouble... there are "hookah" like water filter devices you can run any pumped air through going into such systems... I encourage you to switch our chemical filtrants (activated carbon likely) once every two weeks or so. Keep the tank tops sealed as much as practical and way out of reach of the customers, and staff... tell all they are not to reach into or place anything into the tanks. Bob Fenner>

Pale Clownfish - 03/22/2006 To whom this may concern, <Josh here, though we're all concerned about wet pet health.> I have a Percula clownfish (and a few in the past) that randomly turn from a bright orange to a very pale, almost white color. One clownfish died during one of these episodes...it started swimming and jolting around the tank spontaneously and then died. The clownfish I have now will turn pale and swim a little awkwardly but to a lesser degree than the other. <It sounds to me like this is related to poor diet and water quality.> I noticed that it will do it more so, but not always when I clean the algae from off of the glass. <Hopefully this is in fact just algae. If this is Cyano, then a massive "storm" could be toxic.> (FYI, I have a 10 gallon tank, started about 3 months ago and have a long-tentacle anemone w. some live rock). Is there any advice you can give me to keep this from happening again. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Just the above thoughts. Read up on our Clownfish FAQ's and look at your general maintenance, the foods you are feeding.> Respectfully, Chris

Parasite on powder blue tang? Health...  - 03/12/2006 Dear Crew, My 2 ½' powder blue tang has recently been infected by what I assumed was marine ich.  It started as small white sand grains all over his body two days after I introduced it to my tank. <Sans quarantine...> It is a new addition to my established 60 gallon tank (non-reef). <Too small...> My water is RO and the levels are stable and near perfect.  I had it with a small (2' long') yellow tang and I they didn't get along very well for a couple of days.  I thought that this is why the powder blue was stressed and was infected with ich.  I turned up the temp to 82 degrees (as told to do so by my LFS) and rearranged the live rock and they began to get along and even followed each other around.  The ich started to get worse and I noticed small bumps under the skin of the powder blue.  All along it has eaten very well (red macroalgae, frozen mysis cubes, and grazing the liverock) and been very active, just looked bad due to the bumps and specs.  I took the powder blue out after a week, <The system is infested...> freshwater dipped for 20 minutes in formalin / malachite green.  It did very well (no signs of stress).  Then I moved it to a quarantine tank, which I have treated with the same formalin / malachite green (after reading through your FAQs, I now know that I  should have done this in the first place, <Ding ding ding! Yes!> before putting him in the display tank).  The instructions on the bottle say to treat the tang for up to 3 days.  It has been in the quarantine for a little over 12 hours and most of the white specs are gone. Now the specs are gone, the raised bumps under it's skin are more prominent.  The bumps seem to be all over it's body, but especially large just under and rear of it's pectoral fins. <Poisoned...> The powder blue is still very active and eating very well, but I am concerned about the bumps.  Is this just another symptom of the ich or another parasite all together? <Symptomatic of formalin, malachite toxicity>   Am I treating the tang correctly? <... no> It is a beautiful fish and would love to get it healthy again.  The yellow tang has shown no signs of infection at all and the powder blue acts like nothing is wrong.  This gives me hope.  Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated. <Posted... on WWM> I have attached two pics of the fish in QT.  I am sorry the pics aren't sharp, but it is the best I can do.  The first shows the dark marks left after the white specs were gone.  The second shows some of the bumps I am concerned about (circled in yellow).  The bumps are not discolored, just raised and actually look like they are clear inside, like large water bubbles.       Thank you for your help, Casey <Do read... and soon... re leucosternon tangs, crypt, the compounds you have used. Bob Fenner>

Re: parasite on powder blue tang ?  - 03/12/2006 Crew,   Thank you for your quick response.  I do understand the error of my ways as far as not quarantining my fish before introducing them into my display tank.  I was just listening to the instructions of my LFS.  They were bad instructions. <Learn, think for yourself> I have removed both tangs and have them in QT.  I don't think the bumps are coming from the meds though.  The bumps were present on the Powder Blue before I move it to the quarantine tank.  They are just more visible now the white specs are gone.  There was no formalin / malachite green in the display tank.  The display tank is now empty except for a small (10") snowflake eel.  I am planning on leaving it that way for 4 or five weeks to let the parasite life cycle expire. <... won't with the eel present...> I have been reading more on your site and it sounds like I have two choices, copper or hyposalinity.  I am more apt to go for hyposalinity as I don't want to poison my fish anymore, if I have already done so.   <... please read on WWM re hyposalinity treatments> Thank you for your help and all the wisdom on the website, Casey <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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