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FAQs about Toxic Water Conditions 5

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

Related FAQs: Toxic Situations 1, Toxic Situations 2, Toxic Situations 3Toxic Situations 4Toxic Situations 6, 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,

The Handbook of Marine Science-Compounds  from Marine organisms vol 2 going out of stock, hurry and order both vols.!   10/1/06 Dear Sir/Madam, <Howdy "Book Club International"> The Commonwealth Education Foundation, London is making the "The Handbook of  Marine Science-Compounds from Marine Organisms in two volumes by J.T.Baker and V.Murphy, published by the C.R.C.Press International available to interested Researchers  at a substantially subsidized price. The contents include :Vol.1:Introduction-Hydrocarbons-Sesquiterpenes-Higher Hydrocarbons-Marine Prostaglandins-Halogenated Derivatives-Furans-Carotenoids-Sterols-Phenols-Marine Quinones-Compounds Containing Nitrogen (Two Guanidine Units)-Compounds not covered elsewhere, Which display biological Activity-Tabulation of Compounds-Compound Name Index-References-Author Index-General Index. Vol. II: Discussion-Isoprene Derived Hydrocarbons and Their Derivatives-Compounds containing Nitrogen-Tabulation of Compounds (Table 27)-Compound Name Index for Table 27-Tabulation of Compounds from Vol.1 Mentioned in References Listed in Vol.II (Table 28)-Compound Name Index for Table 28-References-Author Index-Taxonomic Index The original price of these two volumes is $184(Rs.8000). The pages number 447.These are  latest editions  in mint condition. Although the original price is $184(Rs.8000),The Commonwealth Education Foundation, London, has made these  two volumes available to you  for Rs.4400 only($99),including freight  packing and registered postage to your door. This means a saving of  Rs.3600 ($85) Volume two is going out of stock, maybe permanently, so please take advantage while both volumes are available for $ 99 only.( Soon it'll be volume 1 only for $ 99.) To take advantage of this offer ,kindly fill out the acquisition form below  and send a draft in favor of World Book Centre to the address below The books will reach you within three weeks. Thanking you, Yours sincerely, World Book Centre <Will post on our site. Bob Fenner> ACQUISITION FORM please fill in and post with draft) To, The World Book Centre Gr.Flr.Rakhi Mahal 209, Sir D V Road Churchgate,Mumbai-400020 India Tel:+91 22 22027299 Fax: +91 22 22844891 email: sales@worldbookcentre.com From: Date: Dear Sirs, We would like to take advantage of the saving of Rs.3600 ($85)on the subsidy on The Handbook of Marine Science by Baker and Murphy Vol.s 1&2 while vol.2 is still in stock. We enclose a draft for Rs.4400($99)( in favor of World Book Centre/We are effecting a wire transfer from our bank please send bank details)/Please send us a proforma invoice for Rs.4400($99) only to email address _________________________ or fax number __________________on payment of which the title will be sent to us by Regd.Post/Courier./We would like to pay online by PayPal. Please send us link to pay  by email/We would like to pay by Western Union, kindly send details. Our address is _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ Thanking you Yours Sincerely ____________ (Signature) Fish deaths  - 03/09/2006 Hello WWM Crew, First I love your sight.  I have spent countless hours and nights browsing the articles and FAQs.   I have been in the saltwater hobby just a year now with my current tank.  The tank was 120 Gal. until two days ago.  I just made a 48 Gal. sump out of Plexi and added a new ASM G3 skimmer with 2- 1200GPH Overflows. The whole system is being powered by a Dolphin 3600GPH Pump.  This is when my problem started.  Almost 24 hours after starting up the sump my Fireback angel was found on the bottom of the tank being devoured by my crabs.  With further inspection all of the fish were breathing rapidly.  I checked the water levels and everything seemed to be fine (Salinity-1.026, PH-8.2, Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0, Po4-0).  I just don't see how Oxygen could be the problem due upgrading to a G3 from a Jebo skimmer.  The water flow into the sump alone is also producing more aeration than I have ever had in the tank.  Next thought was the glues from the construction causing some kind of poisoning?  I used Cristy's Hot Blue PVC Cement for the pipes, and Weld-On 40 and aquarium grade silicone for the acrylic.  All glues cured for more than the recommended time before startup.  I added about 3 cups of activated charcoal, just grasping at anything.  I called my LFS, they were stumped, said all I could do is wait it out.  Today(12 hours later) my beloved Mandarin died (my first fish).  During all of this my Leathers, Mushrooms, Polyps, and Gorgonians were all open and seemed to be feeding.  All of the other inhabitants (Crabs, Snails, Cleaners, Peppermints, Clam, Brittles and tube worms) seemed to be fine as well.  Any Ideas?  The water added to the sump was all RO and sat for 24 hours with buffer added. Setup: Approximately 170 Gal. with the sump, 4"-5" sand bed on top of a Plenum filter, 80-100 LB live rock, and Corallife halide hood setup. Thanks for what you do, and any suggestions or help you have before my Blennies die would mean a lot. <I'd definitely have to say there is a chemical used in one of the products you mentioned that certainly doesn't agree with the fish.  I'd get some PolyFilters in there fast.  James (Salty Dog)> Aaron

Re: Fish deaths   3/10/06 James, Thanks for the help.  This morning while emptying my skimmer cup I found the problem.  The waste water smelled like rubber.  I had used a 1 1/2" black rubber hose about a foot long for connecting my return line.  I searched your sight and found that the rubber could be toxic.  I already replaced it with a vinyl hose, and the fish seem to be doing better now.  Thanks  again for the help and your Patience.  <Good to hear, Aaron.  James (Salty Dog)> Aaron Sea apple... disaster  - 03/05/06 My sea apple has some type of orange string coming out of her "butt" what  is this? What should I do? <Carefully, and I mean with utmost caution, remove this animal INCLUDING this material. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cukecompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Hi Alk and hi calcium   3/4/06 A chemical mess Hi- <High> I have a 109 gallon reef tank with many mushrooms, SPS corrals, <Yee hah! Head 'em up little doggies!> two clowns, two wrasses, a large anemone and lots of reef janitors. <Union or no?> It is an established tank (over 2 years).  Everything is doing fine, but I notice limited growth in coralline and all corals. I had a smaller tank previously with no substrate and always had issues maintaining Alk, ph and calcium levels but had extensive coralline and coral growth so I talked with many experienced aquarists and they recommended a plenum system for my new tank in order to help maintain ionic balance. <... Mmm, better to go with no substrate rather...> Since I had the plenum all tests have been relatively normal as you will see below except my Alk is always hi at 18dkh plus and the calcium is always around 480-500.   <... define normal> I read all of your articles and summarized that not too many aquarists have this issue and have not had the "snowfall" issue that some others had.  Here are my readings. 18 dKH, calcium 500ppm, phosphates have always been hi-over 5mg/l, salinity at 1.021, <... should be near/er 1.025> Ph is 8.4 during day and 8.3 at night, ammonia and nitrite are zero, non chelated iron is zero, chelated is also around zero but I have been adding iron weekly so I am thinking my test kit is too old. Nitrate is around 40ppm <Way too high> and the r/o water is at 10ppm <Your unit needs maintenance, cartridge replacement> (but I use Seachem Prime to detoxify).  All of my other test kits are new (Salifert test kits for Alk, ph and calcium) I noticed that since the Alk and calcium were hi the amount of skimming debris has been reduced.   <Ahh! Yes> I use a Rena Filstar Xp3 canister filter, a sand bed filter hang on filter, 2x250 metal halide lights with two Marine-Glo actinics, an Aquarium systems hang on protein skimmer and two powerheads on a aquarium systems wave timer.  I use a five stage r/o system and the water Alk level tested from it is 2.6dkh <What should this be?> with a ph of 7.0. I have little algae growth (coralline or green/red) and the only additives I have been using to try and increase coralline algae growth is Purple Up from CaribSea and Kent Marine Iron/Manganese. Other additives are Seachem Prime (only with water changes), Red sea Salt (again only with water changes) and Wardley's sodium biphosphate <... not a good idea... among other things, a source of your phosphate...> to lower ph/Alk.  The hi calcium levels spike when I use Purple Up but otherwise maintain at 500ppm. I perform a 5 gallon water change every 3-4 weeks and change filter media every 2 months. With my old system (without plenum) I would have to change 20-25% water every week and dose heavily with calcium and buffers to keep my ph, Alk and calcium normal.  I have been told by other aquarists to not change the water as frequently and this will lower my Alk/calcium levels, but this is not the case-I actually find my ph and Alk with rise while calcium stays the same. The only answers I can think of is either my liverock, base rock (I have over 200lbs) or the substrate of over 2" thick of crushed coral maybe producing the hi levels of Alk and calcium and therefore may have to be reduced or start with more water changes and or adding Wardley's sodium biphosphate.  In the past I tried this but had only a temporary reduction in Alk.  What about using acid or vinegar?  What are the dangers of this? Does coralline algae grow better in lower alkalinity tanks? I was hoping there would be a safe additive that I could use-can you help? thanks in advance, Al Standaert <Where to start here? You have a sort of "Dead Sea" effect going with the mix of chemical species present... If this were our only correspondence, I'd encourage you to re-read what books you have, worthwhile (accurate, significant, meaningful) parts of the Net... on marine water chemistry en toto... You can/could do a few things... but don't know you well enough to gauge whether you have the wherewithal to look into (sufficiently), stick with a given plan... I'll grant you a clue though: Simply adding more of anything won't help you here. What do you want to do... change out the substrate (entirely or almost), large consecutive water changes to get you (back) to somewhere you can grow corallines? Read and think this over... Bob Fenner> Suspended red algae ... numerous iatrogenic problems, SW   3/3/06 Dear WWM, <I, not "i"> recently treated my 55 Gal tank for ick <... not your main tank? No...> and then treated the  tank with Maracyn TC for secondary infections. the result was a full bloom of  red suspended (algae?) <Likely... a BGA> i have done two 15 Gal. water changes in the last five  days.  it has been reduced from a dark (blood) red to a purplish  pink. i lost three clowns a powder blue tang <Inappropriate for this size system> a goby and four damsels in the  process.  I'm left with a lonely yellow tang an empty pocket book and  a heavy heart.  i have a Skilter 400 filter <Insufficient...> and a Corallife full  spectrum light 30lbs of live rock and live sand and started the tank with  Bio nitrites Jan 1.  this is my first marine tank and my kids think I'm a  failure. can you help me?   <You can definitely help yourself...> the red algae is not like anything i have seen  online.    yours truly, "red in the face" <Put some time aside, read on WWM re Marine Set-up, Maintenance, Stocking... you've made a few grievous, avoidable errors... educate yourself. Bob Fenner> Chemically Treated My Cyanobacteria...Now In Big Trouble - 02/26/06 Bob, <<EricR here this morning.>> I have had my 75 gal tank set up for 3 years now.  I have  a wet/dry with a protein Skimmer, and I use Chemi-Pure regularly.  About 6  weeks ago I started to have a red slime out break along with green hair algae, and this black slime it was like a blanket on the LR (which smelled).  I  went to my local store and they sold me red slime remover, which after treatment I changed the water 2 times (20% changes) I also removed the black slime with my  hands (coming off in very large sheets).  Ok so then my fish start dying.  Within 2 days all fish are dead sinking to bottom of tank with labored  breathing ( 4 damsels, 1 goby, 1 per. clown and a blenny.)  I do water  changes to no avail.  I notice that my Mushrooms, and other corals are not doing well they have tighten up or not opened or are limp.  So I continue to do water changes ranging from 20-50% (I figured there's nothing to lose  now).  I also put in Chemi-Pure and a Poly-Filter.  I wait a few days and try some test damsels and within 6 hours there dead.  When this all started my water was tested and everything was great all within very good levels.  Or  so the store told me.  That day I had bought two sand sifter gobies and the next morning they were belly up in the tank.  I did the last water change at 75% 3 days ago and now I am at wits end.  Any Ideas? <<Mmm, yes...I think you wiped out your bio-filter when you chemically treated your tank to kill the Cyanobacteria.  In addition to eliminating your tank's ability to process nitrogenous wastes, you also released toxic substances from the slime algae...I'm not surprised to hear things are getting worse.  And keep in mind concerning use of these chemicals for algae control...even had it not led to these problems, the algae would have been back in days to weeks as you are not addressing the cause/source of the algae.>> There are currently no fish in tank and my corals and inverts are not happy at best.   By the way we have had no sprays or air fresheners or air borne things in the  home.  I use the same buckets that I have always used for water changes. <<I would stop adding fish and stop doing water changes (for now) and let the tank cycle (this may take a while).  You also need to relocate your corals and inverts while this happens.  EricR>> Thank you Ammonia Spike!...Glass Cleaner The Culprit? - 02/16/06 Hello again WWM! <<Hello Derek>> Thanks for the quick reply. <<You're welcome>> My tank is still experiencing that problem though, but now, I believe it's the ammonia that is killing the fish - it has risen to 1.0 ppm.  So my question is, what is causing the ammonia spike? <<All you did was plumb in a refugium with sugar-fine DSB?  Appears to be something else a work here...you haven't medicated this tank have you?...added anything besides the 'fuge/DSB?...any questionable tank decorations?  Just fishing, but seems maybe something has wiped out your nitrifying bacteria...wait a minute...you didn't happen to "replace" a bio-filter with the refugium did you?>> I did a decent job of rinsing the new aragonite (CaribSea brand); I rinsed it in small amounts in buckets few times until the water lost that milkiness to it. <<Takes quite a bit of effort to rinse clean these fine grades of sand.>> Could it be the sand or something else like the new refugium itself? <<Possibility of an introduced contaminate, yes.>> I talked to the guy who made it for me, and he claims that glass and silicone are kosher and that they shouldn't be causing my spike. <<Am in agreement...but was it possibly cleaned with an ammonia based cleaner (glass cleaner) before delivery to you?  This could explain the ammonia spike.>> I've been trying to combat the ammonia; I've done two 20% water changes over the past three days, and I've been adding Aquascience's "Ultimate" water conditioner (this conditioner has been an effective way to temporarily reduce ammonia from past experiences), but neither of these have affected the ammonia level.  How much and how often should I be doing water changes until my levels go back down, or is there something else I should do? <<You need to isolate the source.  Ideally you can relocate your livestock while you do this, if not, remove the sump/'fuge from the system and do a 50% water change to reduce the ammonia level.  Continue to monitor this and do water changes as necessary.  If the sump/'fuge is the source of ammonia the tank should recover relatively quickly.  If not, you'll need to remove the livestock and let the ammonia cycle out (as in a new tank cycle).>> Thanks again! Derek <<Regards, EricR>>

Motor Failure/Unfortunate Consequences - 02/16/06 Bob, <<EricR here>> I find your page very useful.  This is so strange that I can find little information about it. <<Ok>> Reference info: 75 gallon reef tank with 20 gallon custom refugium (inverse lighted) and 400 watts of PC and a LOT of premium live rock.  Yesterday afternoon (Valentine's Day), my wife called me at work and told me that something around tank stunk (burning smell) and was making a weird noise. <<Never good news.>> I suspected a motor failure or something similar. <<Does sound as if...>> She disconnected all the pumps.  The circulation was off for maybe 2 hours at most which has never been a problem in the past. <<Agreed, most systems would/should be able to tolerate this unless grossly overstocked.>> When I got home, after picking up flowers obviously, <<obviously>> I diagnosed the problem and found that the skimmer motor had indeed failed.  I removed it and got the main pump going along with 3 layers of carbon filter sheet in the drip tray.  I then did a head count and found that several fishes were missing/hiding.  It was then that I noticed a lot of dead critters being circulated by the main recirculation pump from the refugium. <<Mmm...maybe poisoning or electrocution as a result of a "catastrophic" motor failure.>> I call them sand fleas, but not exactly sure what they are, some sort of shrimp. <<Likely they are amphipods.>> I then smelled it, the water smelled just like a burnt transformer.  I pulled all the rock and transferred what fish I could find alive to my 55 gallon tank. <<Good move>> They were all pretty sick.  Lost my flame hawk and my sea urchin. All seven of the transferred fish that I found lived thankfully.  I got them just in time.  I then did a 40 gallon water change on the main tank, got the skimmer running, and replaced the live rock, or at least what was alive at some point previously (no room in the 55 gallon tank for any additional live rock). <<Ok>> The live rock appears to be dead rock now.  I am sure the motor polluted the tank with motor resin and possibly exposed it to some copper if it breached into the motor windings. <<I don't think any copper exposure would have been long enough to have much of an impact here.  More likely a substance within the motor housing (maybe a petroleum based lubricant) poisoned the tank.>> My wife watched for any activity throughout the night.  That is one of her favorite things to do.  She has seen some critters I have never seen like a worm that can stretch completely across the tank, and she says it happens nightly like clockwork. Nothing tonight!  The live rock has been nuked. <<Maybe not everything...likely some "survivors" will turn up.>> What is my next move? <<Large water changes...observation...monitoring of water quality.>> It's obvious the tank is going to cycle again due to the kill. <<Maybe...but the bacteria may not have been as malaffected as the macro-life.  Monitoring ammonia/nitrite/nitrate will tell.>> The water still smells slightly smoky.  I can do another major water change, or drain it completely. <<I would do a series of very large water changes, a couple days apart each, and then reevaluate.>> Other than purchasing new live rock, how do I get all those critters back or introduced into the system? <<Exchange a percentage (25-50) of the rock for "new" rock.>> Can a critter kit be purchased? <<Sure can, several e-tailors offer these.  Try a Google search re "detritivore kit".>> Any other hints other than starting from scratch? <<Can say for sure, but I don't think you'll have to "start from scratch".>> This tank was so perfect and eco-balanced, I wish my 55 gallon was half as perfect. <<Indeed, an unfortunate turn of events.>> Thanks for your time in advance, Dave M. <<Regards, EricR>>

Fish loss/poisoning  - 02/16/2006 A terrible thing happened after I had done the usual water change in my 180 gal. marine tank ( not a reef, no invertebrates). I usually change about 30 gallons every week to ten days, and I've had the tank for over a year with very few  fish losses. I have a 50 gallon sump tank which I do the water change through after turning off the pump to the main tank and then doing the r/o water transfer from a brine tank to the sump. I also have a protein skimmer.     While I was waiting for the water to heat up in the sump before pumping up to the main tank, I turned the protein skimmer on and a lot of very tiny bubbles cycled back through the skimmer ( it is an outside mounted unit with only the power head and the run-off tray inside the tank) and back into the tank. It had never done this before. In fact, it usually just pumps clear water back through the run-off tray. Shortly after I turned it on, my goby started swimming around erratically and acting disoriented. A few minutes later some of the other fish were out and swimming around in the dimly lit tank unlike they normally would do. I left the room thinking that I may have just disturbed their waking and sleeping cycle as I did the change while the lights were still on in the tank. Most of the time I do the water changes and cleaning after the main lights go off in the tank. About an hour later I went back into the room and three good sized Chromis were all dead, a Picasso trigger, a domino damsel and a large mono had all died ( I have had these fish almost a year ). The only one left was a good sized lionfish and two hermit crabs. The lionfish had stressed breathing but was still moving a little. I turned the protein skimmer back on and it did the same thing again as earlier. Doing this seemed to disturb the lionfish and I turned it off again. Within a few after turning it off the lionfish squeezed through an opening in some of the liverock and died a couple minutes later. That was my whole fish population. I am thinking it may have had something to do with the skimmer. However, I am not ruling out possible contamination from something else. I would like to know if you have ever heard of anything like this and if so, what may have been the cause in that particular case? <Bill, it sure sounds like some nasty chemical got into the system, ammonia, chlorine, window sprays, etc.  I'd get some ChemiPure or a Poly Filter into the system, fast.  James (Salty Dog)> Blue tang sick......please help   2/9/06 I purchased a blue tang from a very large and reputable  LFS about 2 weeks ago and since I bought him he just keeps getting worse! In my  almost 2 month old 150 gallon tank I have     *   Yellow moray ( 3  feet)     *   Zebra eel ( 4  feet)     *   Miniatus Grouper ( 5  inches)     *   Marine Betta ( 5  inches)     *   Maroon clown (3 inches)        *   Large bubble tip  anemone     *   Naso tang ( 6  inches)     *   Yellow tang ( 3  inches)     *   Blue hippo tang ( 5 inches. very  sick!)     *   15 large soft  corals I have VHOs with more than enough lighting (just below  requirement for frags) and 160 pounds of live rock. All my parameters are in  check although just yesterday I did get a nitrate spike (in safe levels however) <Numbers please>   but everything is fine now¦ anyway on to the sad part. For about 2 days he swam  around (the hippo) and shook while swimming occasionally swimming on his side  although he definitely did not do this in the LFS! Anyway after that he hid in  the rocks and pretty much stayed there since now¦.. about 2 weeks (no eating,  swimming, hardly any activity whatsoever) he dame up today leaning on my snail  on the glass not moving and I caught him with my net <Must be sick!> and made a protective  plastic sanctuary at the top of my tank with a cut laundry basket with a little  home from shade from the light and etc. Now that I see him he has transformed  from the beautiful fish I bought, into a fish with faded blue spots and his  yellow tail looks like a beat up feather duster and is off white from the bright yellow it used to be. There is also a cluster of tiny red spots oh his tail which I have no idea what it is. He looks awful please help me I have read over 200 inputs with no real definitive answer and am blue in the face with  no progress. It would be a shame if he didn't make  it Thanks so much   <Very likely this new fish is reacting to a chemical "soup" situation your other fishes have become classically "adapted" to... their combined wastes, the soft corals... If you want to save this fish it needs to be moved to other quarters pronto... The overstocked situation in your 150... I'd stick to what you have. Bob Fenner> Urchin mysterious death-poisoning of tank  02-05-06 Dear Crew,    <Dawn>   My tank recently crashed. Most everyone was saved, except the fish, who perished very quickly.  It happened while I was at work;  my housemate reported tank looked great at 3pm. It was cloudy / milky by the time I got home 3.5 hours later, fish were dead, and most everything else was severely stressed.       I suspect the death of a Diadema setosum or Antillarum (not quite sure which it was) is what triggered the crash. <Could, yes> I think it died, (it hadn't been well for some time, it had dropped it's spines 3 times in recent months), and in turn created a toxic soup that caused tank crash.      I do not have good facts for this, just my suspicions.  I've been researching for info re: toxicity of urchins in the tank once they die, but having very little success.        I did find this on WWM, but little else in the Urchin articles and FAQs - "There are no absolutely reef safe urchin species IMO... too much chance of mysterious death-poisoning of the system" ~ Bob Fenner.        My questions:      What leads Mr. Fenner to the above conclusion?   What can you all tell me about the death of sea urchins poisoning a tank?   Could you point me in the direction of additional information?      Thanks in advance and kind regards,      Dawn < http://www.google.com/custom?q=urchin+poisoning&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Sea slug Toxin? Oh yes  02-05-06 Morning guys! <Too cheerful...!> Just found your web sight and it's now booked marked! <And the site too?> I've been searching all over the web trying to find an answer to my problem! About a month ago I purchased a beautiful sea slug. A week later I found it dead, caught in my filter. <Yikes... am trying to put away the pix from the last trip... and am on to the Opisthobranchs... and reading re just how toxic some of them are... no wonder they can be so gorgeously colored and not predated, eh?> A week later all my fish except for one damsel were dead! ( Niger Trigger, reef beauty, Butterflyfish, cardinal, yellow tang) I forgot to mention that my tank is a combo reef/fish 50 gallon. My soft coals and one Anemone were not affected nor were the cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs and turbo-snails. I immediately suspected the death of the sea slug and sure enough read that these slugs secret a defensive toxin. <Yes... but not so much a secret to the fishes they're found with... just in the confines of an aquarium...> I performed a 50% water change and replaced all my filters. I let the tank "stand" for 3 weeks then introduced one blenny to the tank. Within 36 hours it died! It's skin was sloughing off and fins looked as if they were dissolving. <Yep> My question is; should I completely start over with new live sand and live rock??? ( the rock is still very purple in color) or let the tank recycle for a longer period of time???? HELP! Great sight, Jim <Mmm, if it were me, mine I'd try adding a good quantity, quality of activated carbon in your filter flow path, let another few weeks go by and try some other "test fishes". Bob Fenner>

Automatic feeder in the drink... - 2/4/2006 Dear all, I REALLY NEED YOU HELP!!! I've written to you in the past and you've always been a great help, but I need help like I've never needed before. To start off with, I have a 30 gal tank stocked with two green Montiporas, one a plating type with brown polyps and green fluorescence on the skeleton, the other a branching with the polyps green. Then I have to small Acros, a white hammer Euphyllia, a number of other softies. <Very hard to keep this mix in such a small volume...> So my problem is that I went on holiday and set up a battery operated fish feeder suspended from a shelve over the tank. I've always done this while I went on holidays without problems. But this time, when I came home, the shelve collapsed and the fish feeder fell into the water. <Yikes> I reckon the feeder was in the water a max of 24 hours because I was only away for one day. All the corals were closed, and the Montis lost their green, and slime was trailing of the plating Monti. The Discosoma was tiny, and the Euphyllia was closed. Basically everything was suffering. So I immediately  changed as much water as I could, added carbon and sodium bicarb because Alk was below normal and started praying!!!! This happened a week ago. Everything still looks alive, only my xenia has dissolved. The Monti polyps are still brown as before, but the green fluorescence covering the hard skeleton is missing, and has a pinkish colour. The disco is open like usual, and Euphyllia seems to be expanding slowly. So my question is whether the green will return to the Montis???? <Possibly> I'm fearing the worst. I will do a large water change soon, and really keep parameters good, but I don't know if it will help. What can you suggest. What obviously happened was the saltwater affected the batteries in the feeder and some battery contents started to ooze out. I'm really concerned, please help if you can Kind regards, Chris <In addition to what you've done, I'd add a PolyFilter pad in your filter flow path, extend the light period another couple hours per day, and add a live phytoplankton mix. Bob Fenner> Metal Clamps/Rust   2/3/06 Hi, <Hello Matt> I read all of your comments on metal clamps but I have a real problem as I have 3/4 pipe on my return pump from my wet/dry and every time that I use plastic clamps they seem to come off which has caused some major flooding in my house (although I have been there on each occasion luckily!)<And hopefully the wife wasn't there.> I purchase some all stainless clamps and although these may eventually rust, <Depends on the grade of the stainless.> am I not able to use them at all, is the rust dangerous? I am seriously concerned as I cant seem to find a solution. <I'd just use the stainless clamps.  I've used them for years.  If one gets a little rusty replace it, they are not that expensive.  Rust is an acid, a pretty strong one at that to be able to eat our cars for supper and, in high enough levels would lower your ph by depleting the buffers.  Don't be alarmed by a speck or two if it fell into the water.> Thanks in advance for any help! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Matt Incense and no peppermints   2/2/06 Hi, <Hello there> I Googled the website to confirm that there was no prior discussion of my question, which I was pretty sure would be the case.  Here goes - Have you ever heard of or had experience with the smoke from incense acting as some sort of toxin in an aquarium? <I have not> I have a 250g fish-only system with fish that have been very healthy (Sailfin tang, dogface and porcupine puffer, male/female bird wrasse, Soldierfish, spotted Hawkfish, and male/female blue jaw triggers).  I have observed some minor (?) behavioral changes the last few weeks that coincide roughly with my beginning to burn incense in the house (e.g., Sailfin tang is more territorial, shaking his head, changes shades of color more frequently; dogface puffer is scratching the sand occasionally, less boisterous; striped Soldierfish is more animated, anxious).  But, the behavior also coincides with the addition of the male/female pair of Blue Jaw Triggers (one of which promptly decided to share the soldierfish's cave). <These will definitely elicit a change> The triggers have been in the tank for 3 weeks now, so I'm not sure if territoriality should still be an issue.  My nitrates do rise between water changes, but I'm making a good 30% change every 2 or 3 weeks.  The fish all look healthy, no outward signs of disease, and all are very eager eaters.  Should I be worried about some environmental issue or are the fish just behaving like fish and working things out among themselves?  Thanks for your great help. Mike <Interesting to speculate on such inputs/patterns, consequences. I imagine that all determinate additions have some... but is it "general", like folks having larger adrenals in larger cities? With more manifestations of their secretions? An idea for the pet-fish world is to make/sell something like a "hookah" arrangement as a means of filtering air going into captive systems... Have seen such in large/wholesale operations... and the water turns a ghastly mess in a short while. Bob Fenner>

Light fixture in the sump...  2/1/06 Hi guys (gals).  I bought a little battery powered florescent light not too long ago to put under my tank above the sump (so I could see down there). Well, sometime between last night and now, the light fell into the water. <Yeeikes!> I pulled the light out but it was leaking a tannish brown substance (from around the battery compartment) and a grey substance (from around the light bulb).  I presume that the brown stuff is battery acid, and I suspect the grey may be phosphorus from the florescent light. <... not phosphorus> Needless to say, I am pretty upset at myself for this stupidity. I have an anemone that has been deflated for a few hours.  That is pretty much the only invert in the tank that I am concerned about.  I have recently moved all my corals and other inverts to another tank (fortunately).  All my fish seem to be fine so far. I did a water change of about 20galons which was all of the mixed salt water I had available.  The tank is a 74gal with 20 gal sump.  I also removed and replaced all of the filter floss which had been dyed brownish from the light.  I am currently mixing more saltwater and plan to do another water change when it is ready. What else do you recommend that I do and what do you think may have leached into the water? <Move all the livestock immediately if you can... use activated carbon and PolyFilter in your filter flow path> I'm afraid that if it was phosphorous, that I will have a massive algae bloom? <Worse> And I'm hoping that Alk was high enough to buffer any battery acid that may have leached.  If the tan/brown stuff was also rust, will that cause problems? <Yes, likely if much got in the water> What are the short and long term ramifications of this mishap?  Thanks for all of your vast knowledge. Peter <Do avail yourself of the chemical filtrants... now! Bob Fenner> Blue? Clownfish... Too small a system, mis-medicated/poisoned  - 01/12/2006 Hi Crew, My name is Bob and I'm a first time 'caller'. <Hello Bob> To try and make a long story short, I have a maroon clown for about 18 months now. He has been a very healthy and happy fish, especially since I added a Bubbletip about six months ago. Lately though he's been acting very erratically. He's been fin slapping the h**l out of the Bubbletip, more than usual. <Happens... sometimes to the detriment/death of the anemone...> What has me worried is that tonight I noticed that the white strip around his head is 'cracked and peeling?', his eyes are glazed over, ( he can still see with no problem), and he's turning blue around his mouth, the tip of his dorsal fin, and his tail fin. <This may be "normal"... or... caused by...?> Last week I had a seemingly healthy Flame Angel die from suspected velvet. The 33 gal. tank <... this tank is too small...> was  treated with Rally. <Garbage... worthless... a sham... is this clear?> P.H is 8.0-8.2, Alk. normal, Nitrite <0, Ammo 0-0.25, and Nitrates (which I can never seem to get under control no matter what I try), are at 20. <This is an okay value> It was during this treatment that the clown completely  stopped moving while inside the Bubbletip. <... and what did you think?> I went in after him with the net, (which he just hates) and he went berserk, swimming erratically around the tank until he came to rest inside a cave where he stayed for quite a long time. This was very unusual since he rarely leaves the Bubbletip except to eat and maybe do a lap or two. Now tonight, almost a week after the treatment this happens. Also very unusual, on both occasions he never came out to eat. He's normally the first one to the top when he sees the feeding dish.   Pleeeeease help as I don't want to lose my "Boz". As I am not very good with computers or typing, If at all possible a phone call would be much appreciated.                                                  Thanking you in advance                                               Robert Jack <... well, I'd use some activated carbon to aid in the removal of compounds resultant from the "treatment" and its subsequence... and really just hope for the best here. Bob Fenner> Re: Blue? Clownfish ... facts, other noise - 01/12/2006 Good evening Mr. Fenner, <Mornin' Bob> Robert Jack here again. Thank you very much for your e-mail. "Boz" seems to have stabilized, although his sight has gotten worse. Without knowing what to do, I gave him a 15 minute freshwater bath at 10:30 this morning. <I could use one of these... to wake up> I could see the whitish silk coming off of him, which leads me to believe that he is suffering from Velvet or Ich. (It was thought that my Flame Angel died from Velvet.) <... could be... or not> As I mentioned last night, he hates the net and is usually extremely difficult to catch, yet I was able to trap him with absolutely no problem. He kept swimming into different obstacles,( heater, powerhead, etc.), one of the reasons I believe his sight has worsened. Tonight I noticed that once again he was staying inside a cave that was on the other side of the tank from where the anemone is. Then it hit me!! The 150 watt metal halide light was bothering his eyes. I gave him another 15 minute bath at 10:30 tonight and when I put him back into the tank, next to the anemone, I turned the light off and put a towel over that end of the tank to eliminate as much light infiltration as possible. <Be careful re heat/fire...> He's still there an hour and a half later, so we'll see if this helps. Now for a couple of questions regarding your responses to my earlier e-mail. 1) I take it that you don't want to hazard a guess as to why he is turning a bluish colour <As stated... this can/does happen> 2) Tank is too small??? I started this addiction with a 10 gallon tank with a 4 Striped Damsel, a Blue Damsel, and my Maroon Clownfish, I never had any problems what so ever. <Unusual...> My 33 gallon had the Flame Angel, Blue Damsel, Maroon Clownfish, and the Bubbletip, and its just this past week that everything is coming apart on me. Some people say one fish per 10 gallons, others say one inch, (excluding the tail) per 4 gallons. Who is a newby like myself suppose to believe? <... take a look in the wild, others experiences... about one cubic inch of fish life per five gallons is about prime> 3) Alright already I get it. Rally is s**t. Once again, what am I suppose to do when it was recommended by a pet store I trusted. What else is there to treat for Velvet without harming the other tank inhabitants? <... Investigate... discern the facts... from opinion. What are the new Iraqi army, police? Who pays them? They're collaborators... You were "sold" a bill of goods... Study, think for yourself.> Once again, I thank you for taking the time to 'listen to me' and advising me. I don't want to lose my "Boz" and am willing to try anything to bring him back to his happy, healthy, and playful self.                                                              BOB   <Good luck, life. Bob Fenner> Porcupine puffer disease diagnosis... unsuitable water quality, copper exposure,  - 01/12/2006 Hello, Your web site seems quite helpful in disease diagnosis, so I hope you can help.  I have a 100 gal. saltwater tank that I have had for about 8 months and have had the porcupine puffer for about 7 or so.  The problem is that he has not eaten anything in the last 2 weeks, he is still very active and always greets me with excitement. <... have you read on WWM re feeding puffers, Diodontids?> The water quality is good salt 1.022 <I would raise this to near seawater strength... 1.025> ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates less than forty <Keep under twenty...> as far as can tell.  I do use copper in the recommended dosage <Stop! This is toxic to your livestock... should not be used on a continuous basis... some folks think never on puffers... can/will account for the non-feeding by itself> and have so since I have had the tank. <This is a mistake> He shows no external signs of disease, he acts hungry  when I bring his feeding cup around but when i put the shrimp in he goes for it once or twice then just lets it fall to the bottom.  Before I could barely feed my bottom feeder because he would eat everything I put it.  I know I need to vary his diet other than shrimp but as of now he does not want to eat, food suggestions would be helpful.  The damsel, Sailfin, and snowflake eel are all happy/healthy fish. I don't know what to do he does not match any disease charts he just wont eat.   Thanks <... not a disease, unless you consider iatrogenic/induced, poor supplied circumstances as cause... Read on my friend. Your answers are on WWM. Bob Fenner> Metal Shavings In Reef Tank - 01/08/06 Hello Crew! <<Howdy!  EricR here.>> It has been a long time since I've written, because I've been too busy enjoying my reef tank, which has been running smoothly for one year now. <<Good to hear...>> The reason why I'm writing is because I think that I just did something really stupid. <<Uh oh>> I just purchased 6 blue LED Lunar Lights for a nice moonlight effect in my tank when the metal halides go off. <<Ok>> My canopy has a shelf approximately 14" above the tank, and it runs the entire length of the 7' tank.  Above the shelf is another 14" of storage space, most of which is currently empty.  The shelves are removable 3/4" thick plywood panels which rest within a rebate that runs along the inside perimeter of the solid wood shelf frame.  I removed one panel at a time and screwed the Lunar Lights into place on the floor.  I did this for each panel until I got to the last one.  The last panel holds two metal halide lamp ballasts, and the lights were on, so I decided to screw the Lunar Light onto the underside of the shelf with the panel in place.  All was going well, until the screw driver in my electric drill began to slip, and one or two small metal shavings came off of the inside of the screw head and fell in to the tank. <<Of small concern.>> The quantity of material is certainly in the milligrams, but I'm not sure if it is enough to harm my corals, which includes a couple of Acropora, a Pocillopora, a Montipora, multiple Zoanthids, green star polyps, and a couple of LPS corals. <<I don't think you have anything to worry about.  It has been my experience the small amount of material you mention will have little, if any, affect.>> The system is approximately 145 gallons in total, and I change 20 gallons out every week, religiously. <<Excellent!>>    Do you think my corals will be harmed by the dissolution of the metal screw? <<No...I don't.>> Are there any steps that I can take to mitigate any potential toxicity issues? <<Add some Poly-Filter to your filter system.>>    Thank you for your consideration. Lou <<Regards, EricR>> Re: Metal Shavings In Reef Tank - 01/09/06 EricR, <<Lou>>    Thank you for the timely response. <<Very welcome>> I'll run a Poly-Filter in my Fluval unit that I run activated carbon in. <<Excellent>> Your lack of concern puts me at ease. <<Really of small concern in your volume of water...will be fine.>> Take care, Lou <<Regards, EricR>> PC pin corrosion   1/4/06 How are you guys? <Great> I have quick question about pin configuration on the Corallife power compact fixture. Is there any type of substance that you can put on the pins of a bulb when you change them to prevent the pins from corroding(?) inside the end caps? <I spray a small amount of WD40 on mine and wipe off excess.  James (Salty Dog)> <<Mmm, this is a local co... the product is diesel fuel, kerosene and a perfuming agent... I would NOT spray this around aquariums. RMF>> Thanks, Greg <<I use a smear of Silastic (100% Silicone Sealant)... wipes away enough for initial contact, allows easy removal. Bob Fenner>> "PC Pin Corrosion"  - 1/6/06 Bob, Noticed your comment on this query.  My hopes were that no one would actually spray this stuff over or near the tank realizing what it is composed of.  I spray the pins in my workshop wiping any excess fluid from the pins before reinstalling in the fixture and back on to the tank.  The Marineland clear silicone oil works well also (used on the "O" rings in the magnum filters).  <I see> I do appreciate comments as such and DO let me know as I do not want to degrade the excellent information that is provided by the WWM. Regards, James <Will do. BobF> Hydrogen Sulfide - 01/01/2006 Happy new year to you all, <And to you Will.> This weekend I had the pleasure of stripping down my 60 (UK) gal marine tank for the 2nd time, what a way to end the year but with a nice slow leak...? Anyway all the rocks corals fish etc. are in a nice spare tank set up with heater, filter, skimmer, and sand is in a vat with water and a powerhead. However my sandbed seems to have been producing hydrogen sulfide instead of nitrogen, kind of lucky the tank leaked in retrospect. The sandbed is about 4 inches deep I should imagine, maybe a little under, I have a bout 240lph of flow through the tank <excluding skimmer>. What's causing the hydrogen sulphide? Bed too shallow? Not enough flow? Wrong bacteria proliferating? <Anaerobiosis, organic build up. Flow must be leaving dead areas.> And other than the smell what effects does this substance have? Suppressed pH or is it actually toxic? <Hmm....Being from lack of oxygen, the pH would be depressed, could have a random "die off" of all livestock.> FWIW soon I shall be upgrading from a Prizm skimmer to a v2skim 400, will this help problems, the Prizm never really does much <other than irritate the family with it's gurgling and bubbling> <Will likely help as will better flow. Good surface turbulence will help gas exchange.> Thank you in advance, Will <You're welcome. - Josh.> Re: Hydrogen Sulfide - 01/02/2006 Thank you, <You're welcome Will.> With regards to flow I shall put the 2 800lph pumps at each end and I have a 900lph which I shall put in the middle, I was thinking of placing in the middle of the tank with a powerhead aiming through the rocks, would this be a good idea? <Hmm...You've kind of lost me here. Are these new pumps? These weren't listed earlier. At any rate, I would direct the two 800 pumps slightly downward from opposite ends (so they converge in the middle. The 900, I would mount high on either side of the back wall angled slightly upward and across the tank diagonally (enough to push the surface up about a 1/2 inch). The current will form a slight arch, coming down in random locations because of the surface turbulence.>   Should I point the two 800's at the front glass or just through the tank aimed slightly at the surface? <I would just aim them at each other, toward the rock.> Thank you again Will <My pleasure. - Josh> Paralyzed fish after Intro... No quarantine  - 01/03/2006 Hello, Bob I have a question about fish seeming to become paralyzed a time after intro to the main aquarium. I have purchased from LFS fish which seem fine in the store, eat, flinch at shadows.. etc.) I bring them home, acclimate with slow drip for several hours, seem fine in quarantine tank. <Okay> However, when introduced to main tank seem to become paralyzed from tail to head over a couple of hours. <Something amiss here... chemically... perhaps a toxin... or just low dissolved oxygen, specimens with low hematocrits...> They eventually lay on the bottom with body arched, pec fins still seem to work, breathing is labored. Other tank mates remain just fine... <They've become (classically) habituated> no problems in behavior are noted sometimes for up to 24 - 48 hours. Other species from the LFS seem to acclimate just fine, this problem is most noted with pygmy angelfish (bicolor, flame) and some types of tangs,... blue and a few clownfish.... mostly here related to false clown (Amp. Ocellaris). from same source: Petland. Please note: I recently bought 2, one died as above has been alive for approx. 4 days doing just fine. They were acclimated at the same time and container. If you have any insight into this I would really like to know what is going on. Thank you <I would use a quarantine procedure... leave new purchases in a separate system for a good two-four weeks, adding water from the main system over time... Bob Fenner> Unexplained fish deaths  - 01/03/2006 Hi Wet Web Media, <Hello Chris> I have a Aqua One 850 fish tank that has been running for 5 months. It has 25 kilos of live rock and I have a small snowflake eel, Coris wrasse and a damsel was going to be food for the lion fish that died]. The fish are all doing great But every time I put in a new fish it die's within the night. I have taken my water to 2 aquarium shops for testing and was told that the water was 100%. I have tried 3 fish at different times: Bi color angel, Small lion fish, and a Sailfin tang. All fish were eating and swimming fine during the day but sometime at night things take a turn for the worst and they turn up dead in the morning. I change 25 ltr a week and a big 30% Water change a month and do testing once a week.   From what I can see the eel has no interest in the new fish that I put in. Please help. <You didn't mention the size of your tank, quite possibly you are getting a ammonia spike with the new addition.  Most likely though may be your acclimation process. I am assuming you have a functional biological filter in your system. Read here on acclimation.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm  James (Salty Dog) Thanks. <You're welcome> Regards Chris.

Re: Unexplained fish deaths   1/4/06 Hi wet web Media <Hello Chris> The tank is 3ft by 2ft by 1.5ft. The acclimation process that I do is: Put the bag in the water for 15min then open the bag and pour in a glass of tank water in, wait 2min and then let the fish go in the tank, I don't put the water in from the shop. I thought of the 12 hour ammonia spike you can get after the first fish died so with the second fish I tested about 4 hours after and all ok. I'm running the water at about 25c its summer in Australia so the water dose jump from 25c to 29c in no time. (I turn the aircon on after that) New fish is stressed then temp goes up or down 4c and dies. That's the only thing I can think of. Test are, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 8.4, Nitrite 0, salt 1.020. <Chris, your acclimation process is horrible to say the least.  The fish are going into shock as they cannot tolerate sudden changes in ph and other parameters, salinity etc.  Please read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm  I would get the salinity up to 1.023.> Thanks Wet Web Media <You're welcome.  In future queries please do a spelling/grammar check before sending.  Correcting text for posting on the dailies takes up too much time that is needed to answer other queries.  Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards Chris 30 Gallon Hex, As In Curse - 01/01/2006 Hi, <Hi Debbie.> I have had my 30 gallon hex for about two years. I have had various types of fish, starfish etc, but have never had any luck with it. I only have had 2-3 fish at a time, but they never seem to last very long. <Uh...wow.> My starfish even passed recently after having him for a year and a half. The last straw was yesterday, when my two tomato clowns, who have been eating ferociously on a daily basis for 6 months, just died together, after I changed the filter, and clean the glass. <Clean the glass? This doesn't happen to involve some type of household product does it (Windex or the like)?> About an hour later, I was just about to do a water change (which I do every two weeks), and noticed that they were both laying on their sides, and within an hour died. Something dramatic must of happened, and I do not know what. <Seems "something dramatic" has never stopped happening.> I did nothing different. <Then something that has plagued your tank must be through your own introduction.> I am terribly disappointed, since they appear so healthy, and then within a few hours died. Now all I have left is a hermit crab. I have live rock and a snail that is still alive, that came with the rock two years ago. I am ready to give up and switch to freshwater. I know now that it was a mistake getting this type of tank, not only because of the size, but the shape as well. Not the best for saltwater. For now, I want to keep my hex. <I read a book called Thinner once...He decided to keep his too.> Do you think that it is a good idea to switch to freshwater, considering the size of my tank. <That's up to you. I think that you are doing something to create toxic conditions here without knowing it. Cleaners used on/around the tank. Something releasing chemicals...> I was also told that seahorses may be an alternative. <This didn't come from someone who would be "happy to sell them to you" did it?!> That they do well in a tall tank. How many would I be able to keep in a tank this size, and how hardy are they? <True they do well in tall tanks, but should only be kept by experienced (as in very) aquarists. Hardy?  I can assure you this is not worth considering.> I just don't know what to do. I am so frustrated. <Understandable. Review your procedure...something is wreaking havoc on your tank. For this to be so long standing, I'm near positive it's self-inflicted.> Debbie <Other questions: Are you testing/recording water parameters? Cleaning around the house prior to putting your hands in the tank? Buying stock from one source? Was this tank bought used? Hope things do improve. - Josh>

Re: 30 Gallon Hex, As In Curse - 01/02/2006 Hi, thanks for your quick response. <Hello Debbie, glad to help.> I do not use cleaners around my tank. <Good to hear. One down...> But maybe it has something to do with my hands or arms, lotions, etc. <Very good possibility.> However, I did not use any that morning, but may there was a trace from the other day, or soap that wasn't rinsed off. <This is beginning to seem less likely a/the cause.> Who knows. <Nope. I started this crew as a who and I'm not really sure here.> How does one clean their arms thoroughly. Do you rinse them with water, before you dip into tank. <I refuse to clean anything prior to my tank (planned ahead). Then I wash from mid-bicep to finger tips with the hottest water I can stand and dry with a towel "for aquarium use only" so as to avoid detergents. Arm length gloves only used for the tank would be best. That said, I believe your problem is likely elsewhere. Where do you store your filter cartridges? Water quality testing as I asked earlier? Used tank? Second hand live rock? What is your source water and its parameters or content? Does your tank have a "rotten egg" smell? How is your water being circulated? If you kneel next to your tank and look up through the water, is there a film or sheen across the surface? Do some sleuthing here and it may reveal something.> You obviously cannot use soap. <Correct. It's possible there is a toxin of some sort in/on the tank from a long time ago. You may just need to break the system down and bleach the tank out. Start over from scratch. Do consider the questions I've posed, but if these reveal nothing, I'd start over.> Debbie <Good luck friend. - Josh>

Re: 30 Gallon Hex, As In Curse - 01/02/2006 Thanks again for your quick response. <Quite welcome. I only wish it was of more use.> To answer some of your questions. The tank was brand new, when I got it two years ago. The live rock came from a very reputable aquarium. <Shop or actual tank?> There is no rotten egg smell and no film on top of water. I keep my filters under the fish tank (cabinet) in the box I bought it in. My water parameters are all fine. And when I have had them double checked at the store, they were fine as well. <I'm about out of ideas but have a couple left. Contact you local health department, they should be able to tell you where you can get a full work up of your source water (I'd bring in one source sample, one tank sample). Covers absolutely everything, not just standard hobby param.s. Should be free of charge also.> So beats me what the problem is. <I'm sorry I wasn't able to help here. On a long shot...Gas heat by chance? Polluted air filters?> I think if I break down the tank, I will switch to freshwater, until I have room for a much larger tank. Thanks for the tip about how you wash your hands. That will be helpful, even if I switch to freshwater. Debbie <Best of luck to you Debbie. - Josh> Re: 30 Gallon Hex, As In Curse - 01/02/2006 Thanks for all your input. <Glad to offer it.> I may decide to have my water checked again. We do have well water, and I thought that might have been the problem in the past. Last year, there was a funny smell coming out of our faucets when we used the water.  It smelled like gas or sewage. The health dept. came and took water samples, but they showed nothing unusual. It went on for quite a few months.  We no longer have the smell.  And we never found out what it was.  We drink our water, but also drink a lot of bottled water that is distilled. <Hmm...Well water is definitely a possibility here. They may not have found anything "unusual" but that doesn't help you. The list of acceptable chemical concentrations from regular tap water is quite disturbing (contraceptives, chlorine, pesticides, Etc.). I would have this rechecked and ask for a specific list of the water contents.> We also have a gas heater, but it is fairly new, and we change the filters regularly. <Another possibility. The gas could be releasing otherwise nontoxic emissions. May not be bad for us, but for aquatic life...Here's an idea. Go to your LFS and buy some PolyFilter (don't let them give you anything else). If you're not familiar with it, it is a small (maybe 4"x6"), compact, white sponge/block. Cut this to fit into your filter and let it run for a while (may take a week but doubtful). This pad will actually change color according to what it is removing from your water. This should tell you exactly what doesn't belong.> Debbie <Don't give up the fight. - Josh> Re: 30 Gallon Hex, As In Curse - 01/02/2006 I forgot one more question. <Shoot.> When you say to break the tank down and bleach. Do you mean you have to replace the live rock and bio wheel as well? And what do I do with the old rock.  There are some living creatures on it, like a snail and some feather dusters. <If it comes to this, I would normally assume all was tainted. However, these sensitive creatures are usually the first to go in toxic conditions. Their survival is a bit puzzling but I'm leaning toward the gas here. Perhaps the difference in respiration methods have made the difference. Let's see what that PolyFilter turns up.> Debbie <Josh> Metal clamps and marine systems Hi Guys, I have a small pump in my sump that is running my UV sterilizer. I have a stainless steel hose clamp holding the tubing on to the pump. Will that affect my water quality, and if so do you have any suggestions. Thanks, Stephen G. Mule <Such metal clamps can be problematical, or not... depending on their placement, likelihood of rusting, falling into parts of the system. I would go with non-metal clamps. Bob Fenner> Cypermethrin - 12/15/2005 hello there, <Just skip to the bottom. Oh, and Hello.> You have heard of the idiot award, give it to me!! We fogged the house this evening for ticks, using raid max fumigator, the active ingredient is Cypermethrin. You guessed it!! I followed the directions and covered the aquarium with a sheet. Some of the chemical must have gotten past the sheet and into the water. All of the invertebrates are no longer with us. It seems that the refugium has been wiped out too. The snails, fish and corals seem to be o.k. we lost 2 fire shrimp ,one skunk cleaner and a few hermits, Luckily there was not much in the tank, the six line wrasse, Molly miller blenny, serpent star and few corals seem to be o.k. The big question is: Is this tank now junk? will the chemical dissipate? will the live rock soak up the chemical. I am hoping, being that  the invertebrates are the most delicate, the poisoning was slight. I imagine the bacteria in the tank has been affected, The refugium was full of life, copepods, amphipods, spaghetti worms, crabs and many other inhabitants. Not looking to lively at the moment. Do you have any information on anything like this, I hope I am the only one who has ever emailed such unfortunate news. I emailed the manufacturer for any info they may have. I also checked the MSDS and did a few web searches. WWM archives have helped with many of my questions. If anything is learned from all of this, I hope some information or a warning of some kind could be passed on to others I hope someone can learn from my mistake. any info on this matter would be appreciated thanks for your time Peter <Peter, I'll spare you any jokes because this isn't funny at all. I'll keep looking for more specifics but what I've found really only has a major concern for contact with water, especially aquatic life. States that it may cause long term "adverse effects " on them. Also mentions thermal decomposition products and the release of  hydrogen CYANIDE. There's a contact # but it goes to London. Hope it will help some in your course of action. I'll chime in again later with anymore. - Josh http://www.gharda.com/products/msds/Cypermethrin100EC.PDF>

Re: Cypermethrin on Aquatic Organisms - 12/16/2005 Hello there, <Peter. Back now with a little less rush. Wanted to at least send the small bit of info. I had to help what it could.> You have heard of the idiot award, give it to me!! <It's in the mail my friend!> We fogged the house this evening for ticks, using raid max fumigator, the active ingredient is Cypermethrin. You guessed it!I followed the directions and covered the aquarium with a sheet. <In the future I recommend something nonporous> Some of the chemical must have gotten past the sheet and into the water. <If you can breath through it, it can pass.> All of the invertebrates are no longer with us. It seems that the refugium has been wiped out too. The snails, fish and corals seem to be o.k. we lost 2 fire shrimp ,one skunk cleaner and a few hermits. Luckily there was not much in the tank, the six line wrasse, molly miller blenny, serpent star and few corals seem to be o.k. The big question is: Is this tank now junk? Will the chemical dissipate? Will the live rock soak up the chemical. <Could not find direct reference for the LR absorption, but it does have a half life in the water. The effect is worse in closed systems (as with all things), adheres to suspended organic matter and bottom sediment. Half life in soils from 30 days to 8 weeks.> I am hoping, being that the invertebrates are the most delicate, the poisoning was slight. <Unfortunately the LC50 (amount of a chemical that will kill 50% of a test population) is extremely low for aquatic organisms at less than 1 ppm. More specifically in the range of .00?.>   I imagine the bacteria in the tank has been affected. The refugium was full of life, copepods, amphipods, spaghetti worms, crabs and many other inhabitants. Not looking to lively at the moment. <Yes. LC50 for inverts found to be around .000?> Do you have any information on anything like this, I hope I am the only one who has ever emailed such unfortunate news. <First I've heard of.> I emailed the manufacturer for any info they may have. I also checked the MSDS and did a few web searches. <Good follow up.> WWM archives have helped with many of my questions. If anything is learned from all of this, I hope some information or a warning of some kind could be passed on to others. I hope someone can learn from my mistake. <I'm sure many will think twice now.> Any info on this matter would be appreciated. Thanks for your time, Peter <You may end up ok here, but I wouldn't risk it. If possible QT all still living and let the tank run fallow. I think one suitable sized vessel would be fine as they aren't contagious. Any adverse effects would probably show in the gills first (strongly absorbed here). Would eventually look like standard poisoning or neurological disorder. Keep up pristine water quality and diet, wait it out. You're probably going to see a bloom of filamentous alga in the main, and can probably expect a cycle. After at least a month, though I'd wait the full 8 weeks (or whatever the cycle takes) you could test the tank with some crabs. I'd give them a week to be sure. If all is stable at that time, you could gradually add your fish (not all at once). I hope this will help. In hindsight I realize the first message I sent was near useless as I'm sure your research already told you as much. - Josh> Re: Cypermethrin on Aquatic Organisms - 12/17/2005 Hello there, <Hi Peter.> Thanks you so much for the reply, the information you sent me was indeed helpful. <Very glad it was.> I used it along with other Google searches for Cypermethrin. It seems that the chemical effects the central nervous system causing paralysis and death along with some other nasty side effects along the way to the end. The product is not water soluble and can be broken down by aerobic digestion. I am glad to hear that it will leave the system, that was one of my concerns. I called the S C Johnson hotline. In their vast knowledge, I was informed to run filtration (never would have thought), well anyway they said that would remove the product from the water. I went to the LFS  and purchased a poly pad for the sump, I told the lady why I needed it, and once again, there was that look. After a bit of the third degree and a little reassuring that the chemical will come out I was on my way. <At least she didn't say "Throw in some Cleaner Shrimp and you'll be fine." Do keep an eye on the PolyFilter for its color change and remove it promptly when exhausted.> Now you may call me crazy, stupid or any other adjective that may fit, but, it is not as bad as it seems. <Nah, the award should suffice.> In total which  really makes no sense to me we lost two Red Leg Hermits, two Fire Shrimp and 1 Skunk Cleaner. The Brittle Star made a meal of one of the Fire Shrimp, at the time I thought it to be his last supper. I removed the other deceased from the tank wondering what else would be affected. I looked in the refugium and found very little life, some crabs were lying on the bottom, a bristle worm was out in some macro doing the funky chicken dance, the spaghetti worms were not moving, a few dead amphipods and no sign of a copepods. So now some time has passed, with the poly pad and aggressive skimming. I was going to do a large water change and decided against it. <I'd do it.> The reason being is the tank is very much alive now. <Excellent, a water change would only help, but as it seems may not be needed.> In the refugium, copepods and amphipods are on the move, the spaghetti worms are back to being spaghetti, crabs are alive and moving around in the macro, I have seen a few other worms and some crazy looking critter, kind of looks like an orange slug, the size of a long grain of rice. Maybe the first sign of mutation. <Needs at least one reproductive cycle.> I am wondering if the chemical had paralyzed some of the inhabitants, not being concentrated enough to kill. <Hmm, kind of like an Opium den I guess.> Just one of those things I'll never know. I tested the water, ammonia and nitrite were minimal, <Not a good sign. Hope that doesn't get worse. I would do the water change.> nitrate was elevated as it has been, hoping the deep sand bed in the refugium will eventually take care of it. <Keep an eye out for the beginning of a cycle.> So it looks like the tank is on its way back already. I am going to wait before adding new shrimp or anything else. I don't want to think about the possibility of the tank crashing. I can purchase live shrimp from the bait store and use them for guinea pigs, plus get to go fishing with the rest. I am taking this so far close encounter as a wake up call. thanks so much for your time and help <Glad all is going well thus far.> Happy holidays Peter <And to you. - Josh> Water Poisoning Chemicals  12/13/05 Dear Crew <Tim> I recently purchased a Deltec MC500 internal Skimmer. The instructions suggested that foam could be used to reduce the vibration noise from the air pump. I followed this advice, employing an unused (but repeatedly rinsed in clean water) kitchen sponge held in place by rubber bands. Now, almost a month later, my fish have started suffering from various illnesses that I have been fighting with eSHa Oodinex, recommended by my LFS as a good all-rounder. During the treatment I had my skimmer switched off - when afterwards I switched it back on it produced a large amount of bubbles, prompting me to decide that it was time to give it a good clean. I took it out of the aquarium today and thereby discovered that the sponge has been dissolving so that there is now less than 1/4 of what I used initially. I am of the belief that this may have been polluting the water for some time now and that the continued stress on the fish has ultimately caused the disease outbreak(s). I have now removed all remaining traces of the sponge and am changing ca. 20% of the water every second day in an effort to remove the chemical from the water. My concern is that it may have been absorbed to some extent by my liverock (30kg = 66lbs) and substrate and that this will now continue to leach into the water. How should I proceed? Any recommendations at all would be immensely appreciated. <Tim, I'd get a PolyFilter and place it where water must flow through it.  This will help immensely in removing the chemical(s).>  Further to my aquarium: 200l 66lbs live rock 30lbs CaribSea Aragamax substrate Deltec MC500 Skimmer Arcadia 2x39W T5 lighting bar (I-Bar) 2 Percula Clownfish 1 Lemonpeel pygmy angel 1 Flameback pygmy angel 1 Mandarin Dragonet (I add new Copepod cultures on a 1.5 monthly basis) 1 Royal Dottyback Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 15 ppm Also, a side question if I may: I recently bought Ocean Nutrition Formula 1 and 2 Marine Pellets but these seem to sink like lead - meaning that my fish have approximately 3 sec.s to eat them as only the angels are prepared to eat them off of the substrate. Is this normal? How do others manage to feed these? Content wise they sound fantastic but they do my fish little good if they only end up deteriorating on the substrate! <They need to be in smaller pieces.  I start by putting a cube in a garlic press.  This shreds it like hamburger.  Sometimes I will squeeze a small piece between my fingers and rinse out in the tank.> Thank you for all your help! Gratefully yours, Tim <You're welcome and Happy Holidays to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Right Thinking -- Wrong Timing...  12/5/05 I recently purchased a med. size Raccoon Butterfly for my 55 gallon fish only tank. I have 2 False Percula Clowns, and 1 medium size Blue Tang. On the 3rd day I noticed the raccoon scratching on my fake coral and not eating. (The only thing he would eat was frozen brine.) I checked my water and copper and all fine. I brought it to the shop I bought it from and they said it was fine, but to add some more copper.  So I did , and it was just above .15 The next morning he stopped scratching, but that night when I got home, he was breathing heavy and sitting on the bottom of the tank, and still wouldn't eat. I noticed as I got him that my tang and him were getting along just fine. So I don't think he was being bullied. I put him in my hospital tank, after a brief FW dip, and he is laying on his side breathing very rapidly. He probably won't make it. I was just wandering if you had any ideas of what might of been the problem. Thanks, Aaron <Well, Aaron, this is a case where all of your intentions were good, but the execution was a bit off. First, you indicated that you have a "hospital tank", which is good! However, you need to use it as a quarantine BEFORE adding new fishes to your display. This will give you the ability to catch and treat illnesses before they get introduced into the display. Also, do think about the long-term implications of your stocking plan.  These fishes need a lot more space than a 55 can provide, so consider this... Next, it is always advisable NOT to treat in the display tank, for a variety of reasons. Use that extra tank. Copper sulphate, although highly effective at treating many diseases, can be hard on many fishes, including Butterflies. <<Butterfly-fishes are one of the few animals the staff at the LBAOP will NOT use copper meds on.  Marina>> Sometimes, the collateral damage caused to the fish in treating the disease is too great. Formalin-based treatment is recommended in the case of more copper-sensitive fishes. Again, you'll have far greater control of the dosage in a separate tank.  Unfortunately, it's hard to say what you're looking at, but it could be a parasitic illness. If your Butterfly is struggling, you may need to reduce the copper level in the treatment tank. Although it may be too late for this fish, if you take this as a valuable lesson, the experience will not have been in vain. Chin up! Don't forget to quarantine before adding fishes to the display! Regards, Scott F.>

Requesting Help Sans Information - 12/07/2005 Hi, <Hello, and in the future please capitalize proper nouns and the beginnings of sentences. Thank you> This is Sam from India. Your site is just amazing! I got pair of Blue Damsels in a 50 gallon tank. <Is this a new tank?> They were very happy and swimming all around the tank and so was I happy with their energy. But today morning when I woke up one is just hiding behind the rocks, has turned grey and does not come to feed, and mostly laying on its side! The other has become shy too but has its color bright, but they don't seem to have that kind of energy! The nitrates is zero but the pH is 7.8, so maybe that's the problem. <Or at least a part of it anyway.> I read that you can increase the pH by adding baking soda little by little. Is this ok, or what can I do soon? <Be careful here. pH manipulation is dangerous if you don't understand exactly what you're doing. Time to read up here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above.> If the baking soda is fine how do you do the adding? <Study.> I don't have any pet store in about 140 km from my place, pls. help. <Well Sam, I'd like to help but you've not given anywhere near enough info. to even start. What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, specific gravity, temp., as a bare minimum)?  What else is in the tank? Are you using these fish to cycle it? Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm and follow the links above. - Josh> Regards, Sam  Fish death, city slicker, poor English  11/23/05 120 Gal reef tank has total 400 gal total flow with Berlin skimmer & 2 in line refugiums all close to 12 months old with 60lbs live rock & continuous Kalkwasser drip, <Am not a fan of> 10.000K halide & 4 PCs I have screwed up big time lost over $2800 in corral <<Coral, mayhaps?  A corral is far more difficult to lose.  I know, I've had both.  Marina>> <Yippee Ay Yo!> & fish. <Fishes if more than one species> The only corrals <Hi ho Silver!> that survived are Zoanthids & mushrooms all the others lasted just a few weeks. The fish were all doing well until I started adding iodine vinegar & SeaChem additives along with baking soda as a buffer. <...> My aquarium pharmaceuticals <Proper noun...> test kit show 0 nitrite - 0 ammonia - PH at 8.2 to 8.4 and nitrate at 20 to 30. I use Red Sea salt & hydrometer reads 1.023. All the fish suddenly died so I did some massive water changes & continue to change 10 gal a day but still 3 weeks later when I add a fish it is dead within 2 days.  I don't know what to do can anyone help.  Please do not chastise me I feel bad enough & do miss the fish I had gotten attached to. <... you have some "thing" going on here... a poisoning... toxic situation. From biological or possibly chemical/physical cause/s... I would be tearing this system down, thoroughly cleaning it, re-set it up, let run for a few months sans <<sans = without>> live stock. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Nicotine deadly to saltwater fish? Oh yes, To All Fish 11/3/05 I am a smoker and sjust (just) started a saltwater tank a couple a mounths (months) ago. (The) the started fish did just fine but now that am getting some more expensive fish the are dying. i (I) <Please people... use your spelling/grammar checkers to learn proper English!> have to (two?) clown fish that haven't died and two pajama fish that do just finr (fine). i (I) have lost a yellow tang and a Emperor Angel Juv just this morning and i (I) have last couple fish in last couple a weeks. (Any) any thought on what might be killing them.(?) (Water) water has been tested and was ok. <Nicotine (and a few other compounds from tobacco) are very toxic to most marine life, all fishes... do wash your hands, arms thoroughly and still get/use some elbow length gloves... if the house/office where the tank is has little new air circulation and air entraining/pumping devices... I would use in-line air filters as well... Bob Fenner>

Death Tank 11/2/05 Bob, I'm sure that you get many of this emails and I'm sure that there is something somewhere in your site that will tell me this but I'm extremely desperate right now for some type of educated feedback on what is wrong with my tank right now. I have a 90 gallon all glass tank with a custom overflow box made, TurboFlotor skimmer, 20 gallon sump, Mag 7 return pump and AquaUltraviolet hang on edge 9 watt U.V. sterilizer and 65 lbs of live rock (Lalo live rock). <Proper nouns are capitalized> I originally had the tank set up with show corals a local guy around here set it up with about 3 fish in it, (dogface puffer, clown and lionfish) a 65 gallon tank.  <Dismal> I then purchased a used 90 gallon with tank stand and canopy and light for $300, couldn't beat the deal. I purchased the live rock and cured it in a separate tank doing weekly water changes until there was no ammonia at all. I then slowly took the show coral out and add the live rock to the 65 gallon. Once I had completely set up the 90 actually finished drilling and creating the overflow I made more water with my ro filter and moved the 65 into the 90 gallon. I lost a lot he fish I'm sure you are saying no surprise anyways. I got pissed because I used some extra gravels and I believe that it had some type of bacteria in it and kill the fish.  So now that I don't have any fish I removed the gravel and tossed it. Got new gravel and started with all new water also so the only thing the same is the live rock in the tank now. I then let the tank cycle for about 4 weeks until I added about 4 damsels. All of them died except for one.  So I then did a normal water change check the water parameters everything is fine. And then added a dogface puffer that had been at the LFS for about 3 weeks with no problem. I bring him home he starts scratching a little bit and than stops. I then add a small focus trigger about two weeks later for the LFS. This guy dies within two days and takes the puffer with him about three days after that. Each one got small white spots on the tail, than eye cloudy and than like fungus stuff on the body and kicked the bucket.  I then wait about 4 weeks did a water change only a damsel living in there now and added clown trigger, Humu trigger, tusk, dogface and bird wrasse. All no more than 2 inches each all small fishies. They are all dying on the same fungus type stuff once again. I have a 90 gallon reef that is up and running for about 2 years with no problem at all so I know many of the common problem. My question is what the heck is going on????? <Some type of toxicity> Is there something that is living in the tank like the tank glass or silicon itself, is there something living in the rock that I cant get rid of. I don't know what to do my later option was to throw the rock and gravel out, bleach the tank and everything and than start over, unless it is true that the disease cant live in the rock but only in the fish.  Please let me know what I can do so I don't waste anymore money, but that's the problem the money isn't the issue I don't want to kill anymore fish cause I don't just like killing them. I treat all my fish like my babies <...> and its getting depressing to see that this tank seems like some type of a death trap please let me know what you think that I should do. The LFS told me to add more damsel and cycle the tank.  <Semi-good advice> A local guy who takes care of tanks said to use Clout to cure the tank please let me know what to do. Once you answer this please give me information I have a client that would like to look into advertising on your site please send additional information also please  <Please have them contact us... read on WWM re> Thank you  Andrew Watson <I would add a few PolyFilters here, perhaps some activated carbon (e.g. Boyd's ChemiPure) in your filter flow path... try adding a few more damsels a week or so later. Bob Fenner> 

Confusion about copper, ignorance costs 10/18/05 Hey guys, since I can't find an exact answer after searching the forums I'm emailing you. I know when you use copper it doesn't kill the parasites hanging in the tank but only prevents them from going onto the fish from a thickened mucous layer. <Uh, no> Does the same go for formalin and malachite green, or do they kill the parasites (and eggs) through out the tank AND on the fish? <Both, all kill intermediate forms while they are active, seeking hosts... not while on the hosts generally or in encysted "resting" stages> My B/F's appetite seems to be suppressed after treating with formalin, is this normal?  <Oh yes... toxic to the max.> He was eating pretty good before I put the formalin in, now he's barely eating. He has thread like feces also, should I treat for a bacterial infection?  <.....> And which med is best for that? <...> Thanks so much <Read... on WWM, elsewhere re... stop poisoning your livestock until you know what you're doing. Bob Fenner>

Aluminum and Saltwater 1016/05 Hi, I read on one of your replies that aluminum was not compatible with a saltwater aquarium (i.e. as a support above the aquarium for a light). Is this because the aluminum is toxic to the fish or because the salt corrosion will quickly deteriorate the aluminum?  <In my opinion, aluminum is fine to use outside of the aquarium and away from water contact. In fact, many commercial lighting fixtures incorporate aluminum. However, contact with salt water will corrode aluminum and aluminum can dissolve into the water and is toxic.> Also, my aquarium is a 40 gallon FOWLR tank that is only 14" deep and 40" long, and I would like to add an anemone (LT or Sebae) Would a 250w Metal Halide Lamp 6" above the water, along with my 65w 50/50 PC light, be overkill? Thanks for your help, Dustin  <I would not use more than 175w MH in such a shallow tank. In fact, although I almost recommend halides for anemones, one or two additional PC's would probably do fine in such a shallow tank. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Additives  10/6/05 Hello, <Hello> I have a 30 gallon saltwater tank that's 9 months old. It has 20 lbs live rock with coralline algae of all colors growing very well. <Good> I have a Corallife Aqualite lights (2x65W, 10000K and Blue Actinic). I have one clown and a red-striped blenny, 10 Astrea snails, 10 blue-legged hermits, 2 common hermits, a big, black striped brittle star (6in spread out - disk the size of a quarter), a few tiny brittle stars, and some random brittle worms and other kind of worms.  I have some nice green star polyps that are propagating nicely, some Zoanthids? (soft coral polyps), Sargasso, green Caulerpa, and red fern algae stuff.  All of these are relatively small. I have a powerhead and a hang-on-the-back-BioWheel-filter system (Marineland), and I have two airstones.  pH is right around 7.9-8.1.  I do not have a way of testing anything else, so this might be my problem.  Two weeks ago I stupidly added a multivitamin to my tank on the suggestion from a website. Several days later, the first of my three peppermint shrimp died, then the next day the second, followed by a brittle worm.  The corals closed up and look kind of gangly. I changed as much water as possible and cleaned the filters.  The last shrimp hung on, but died. The corals look like they are slowly coming around but they still look bad.  I think the multivitamin did it.  Nothing else looks affected.  Other than not adding a multivitamin EVER AGAIN, what can I do to help out my tank?  Are there any problems?  The brittle star spends a lot of time by the corals - is he eating them? <They are supposedly reef safe although I've read reports they may occasionally "nibble" on soft coral, but generally reef safe.  As to the vitamins, any possibility you OD'd?  Is this vitamin supplement one designed for marine tanks?  If not, then that could be a source of the problem your having.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome> Armand from Georgia Copper Catastrophe  9/23/05 Hi, If I ever needed your amazing advice, it's now. I had a major disaster in my 72g reef tank. A copper top battery sitting near the tank rolled off the table and into the sump. It was in there for maybe 5 hours before I found it. The top was pretty corroded. The tank has about 7 LPS, 3 fish, many crabs and snails-all of which look like death warmed over. I did a 50% water change immediately and 5 bags of ChemiPure to the sump. Is all hope lost? From my understanding, all 75 lbs of live rock/50 lbs of sand and the entire tank are now lethal to invertebrates. <Mike, the acid in the battery is more lethal than the copper.  The copper still has to turn into solution.  Ditto on keeping your fingers crossed, maybe even the legs also.  James (Salty Dog)> Fingers crossed, Mike

WATCH YOUR GUESTS - Party Pooper - 09/16/2005 Hi Guys! <Hi, Terry!> Your web site is wonderful.   <Thanks, a lot of work goes into it.> I was hoping you could help me.  I have 29g Marine Land aquarium with about 28 lbs of live rock in it, heater, and a Berlin airlift skimmer.  I have had it set up for two years without (thankfully) any problems.  I have 1 blue damsel, 1 clarkii (my two original inhabitants), 2 peppermint shrimp, and had a coral beauty which I added a month and a half ago. This past Sunday morning - 3 mornings ago, I found all this junk about 1/2 an inch thick lining the perimeter of the tank.   <Yikes....> I had people over the night before and found that someone dumped over half of a .35oz container of freeze dried baby shrimp (freshwater fishy treats) into the aquarium, I'm not sure exactly at what time.   <Oh. My. God.  Do your guests always manipulate your belongings and put your pets in harm's way like this?!> I immediately scooped out as much as I could, thinking, "wow, at least I found it in time".   <I would've been thinking, "Wow, I'm glad that person isn't in front of me right now, or I'd probably be in trouble."  Also....  after having been there all night, I doubt you were "in time" to beat the drop in water quality that is sure to follow such an act.> I scooped a little more out on Monday, <More?  Yeah, you need to be testing your water quality and doing some serious water changes.> but the fish were eating like normal (except for the angel who just grazed the live rock as usual).  This morning before school I noticed that the damsel was eating all by himself and found my Clarkii breathing heavily and lying at the bottom of the tank behind the filter tube.   <Not at all surprising.  This fish is suffering ammonia poisoning.> I moved him into my 6 gallon eclipse "hospital" tank.  -I have never used this as a hospital tank, I have had it 8 months with potatoe-bits of live rock and sand with lots of silly amphipods and tiny snails.  I was late for school so I only "acclimated" the clarkii for 5 min.  I noticed he had film over his eyes and what looked like some fungus on small parts of his abdomen.  When I got home after 8pm he had 1 eye swollen ...Popeye.   <From the poor environmental conditions he just left.  You can add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the tank at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons (so just 1 tablespoon in this 6g tank) to help reduce the swelling.> His left pectoral fin is ripped, almost seems chewed, but doesn't have any white or discoloration or signs of fin rot.   <All just environmental.  You absolutely need to test water and do serious water changes....> He is moving his bottom jaw very rapidly, 4x per second, I'm not sure if this is a sign of labored breathing.   <His gills were burned, possibly even permanently damaged, from the ammonia.  Increase aeration in the quarantine tank to help him be able to breathe as he recovers.> He ate some flake food and is swimming around the tank cautiously, <VERY good signs....  You may have gotten to him just in time.  Time and good water quality will tell, here.> no longer laying on the sand, but seeming distressed.  Should I use Maracyn?   <No, nothing but pristine water quality, and *possibly* Nitrofurazone, as this can help with ammonia burns.> Should it be for bacterial infections or fungal, or both?   <Neither.  This is just environmental disease at this point - but you must watch closely lest he develop secondary infections from his deteriorated condition.> Will this kill the amphipods, snails, or other organisms in my small live rocks?   <Likely to harm them....  don't medicate unless it's absolutely unavoidable.> Is there some thing else you recommend?  Also, immediately after pulling the Clarkii I found that my Coral Beauty had passed on.   <Not surprising.> I never noticed any odd symptoms from her, but I got home after the timer turned the lights off last night, (so I didn't check them yesterday).  Could all that food have spiked my ammonia and nitrite levels that quick?   <Oh, yes.  Without a doubt.  Please educate your guests responsible as to what happened, and that they are to never do such a thing again.> I unfortunately let my brother borrow my testing kit so I can't check my levels until tomorrow.   <Then at the very least, do a MAJOR water change.> Should I take the damsel out (if I can catch him) and change 50% of the water?   <Or more.  Same on the 6g.  If you can get the levels down in the main tank, the damsel can stay put.> If I cannot catch him, how much do you recommend I can safely change? <50% or so now, and again in several hours.> Please help, Mr. Clarkii and the damsel are part of our family. <Hurry up and do your best!> Thank you so much, and sorry for the lengthy email, Terry from MD <Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>

Hydrogen Sulfide  9/7/05 This is something that I am just now encountering. I recently moved and sold all of my rock and inhabitants back to the LFS to make it easier on me and them. After my move, I have slow to set my tank up again and left my substrate in a Rubbermaid container.  (This is for a 90 gallon tank by the way.) After getting everything ready to start adding h2o, I dug in my substrate to realize that the stench took my breath away. Rotten Eggs! <Nasty, isn't it?> Anyway, I wash the substrate extremely well, but after adding water to my tank the smell is starting to linger. I have the water filtering through carbon with no fish added yet. Is the carbon enough to ensure the safety of newly added fish? Should I add a poly filter? Finally, when will I know when it is safe? <James, since you already put the substrate in the tank you will need to continue using carbon.  Do nitrate testing and make sure the level is at least 20ppm or below before adding your livestock.  Also be sure the ammonia levels is at 0. Do a 20% water change before adding the livestock and keep the lights off until things stabilize. I  suggest using Chemi-Pure rather than carbon, much more effective and longer lived.  James (Salty Dog)> James Deadly toxin?  9/5/05 Hello WetWebMedia crew members, <Alex> I have a 72 gal. tank that has been running for almost 2 years now. About 2 months ago something terrible happened, I fed my fish (at that time, pair of tomato clowns, hippo tang, 4 stripe damsel and green spotted puffer) early in the morning as usual and everything was normal and good but by lunch time the puffer, the tang and the male tomato were dead. All the inverts and corals were ok. I double checked parameters and everything was good (zeros for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, PH steady at 8.2, Calcium at 420 ppm, density steady at 1.024, etc.) I immediately did a 50% water change and replaced the carbon in the canister filter. <Good> Unfortunately the 4 stripe damsel and the female tomato died slowly over the next 2 days. The problem is that ever since, every fish that I have tried to add and that seem healthy (quarantined for at least 2 weeks at my LFS and properly acclimated) die within one hour !!!! Symptoms include paralysis along with rapid breathing, but they only show up about 5 to 15 minutes before the fish dies. The corals in the tank (mushrooms, bubble, pumping xenia and finger leather) and inverts (mainly Astrea and turbo snails) are still doing fine. I have kept doing the regular maintenance that include  top off and 10% weekly water changes and 20% monthly water changes, carbon replaced weekly, skimmer emptied daily, adding trace elements, etc. yet I just lost a Naso tang today. I have no idea what can be causing this and I'm almost ready to give up due to the frustration, sadness and money wasting situation my tank has been in for the past couple of months. I think it might be a toxin of some kind. <Agreed> I'm thinking about nuking the tank and starting over from scratch. <This is, ultimately, your best shot...>   I don't think any of the corals I have can produce enough quantities of a powerful toxin like that, right? <Correct> If so, is it possible that it might be impregnated and accumulating in the live rock? And why it's not affecting the snails and corals, just the fish? Thanks in advance for your help. Alex. <Something very toxic, and persistent here... most likely microbial in nature... but might be related to the puffer... as you state, the best approach is to drain, clean everything and re-set-up... the cnidarians can be moved, the current LR rinsed in freshwater... and placed in the tank again. Sorry to read of your situation. These "wipe-out syndromes" are less common in recent years, but still troubling. Bob Fenner>

Gobioides broussonetti in SW, Copper in foods  9/4/05 Hello, I have searched your FAQs for information on the Gobioides broussonetti, also known as the violet goby, or dragon fish. I was unable to obtain anything of help. I am aware that they are a brackish fish. Mine is currently in a fresh water tank with two Apteronotus albifrons, black ghost knife fish. I recently removed my snowflake eel from my 55 gallon saltwater tank and was curious if the dragon fish can be acclimated to the conditions of my reef tank. <Can be done... this fish is marine at times, in places. Here on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=3856&genusname=Gobioides&speciesname=broussonetti> The lack of the eel leads me wanting something of its character. If this is possible, a procedure would be greatly appreciated. <Slowly... a few thousandths per week, raise the saltwater/salinity of the Goby's environment (sans the knives of course)> One more unrelated question. I recently noticed that both the flake food i use in my reef tank, (Wardley's) and the frozen brine shrimp, (Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp Plus) have copper sulfate listed in the ingredients. <A common preservative> I was under the impression this would kill invertebrates and have discontinued use but have had no adverse side affects. Any input on this matter also would be greatly devoured. I thank you for your time. <Can be problematical in "free" concentration (cupric ion), but there is not much in the foods, and this quickly "falls out of solution". Bob Fenner> Live rock contamination with soap 8/3/05 Hello all, I am a LFS owner and I am not a marine biologist and have a customer with what I think is a very serious problem. <No marine biologists here either, just dedicated experienced aquarists, but I am quite sure we are only going to back up what you already know...> My new customer recently moved (1 month ago) into my area and bought some fish (Pearlscale butterfly and Sailfin tang) which had been in my main tank for weeks and were doing excellent. Within a week he lost both as well as his large clownfish. (clownfish died first). So being a purchase of 7 days or less I gave a refund and said to watch for some type of bacterial problem. I told him to wait a week before buying anymore fish until he could see no other problems (he still had some damsels). <Kudos on having such a generous guarantee!  Bacterial problems are rare but I do agree with your advice, although I do think I would have questioned them more and tested there water since these fish were established in captivity and healthy.> A week later he shows up and ask for 2 more pearlscales as well as a valentine puffer and a spotted file. Well low and behold a week later and the Pearlscale are dead. I decided to go see his tank and could not believe what I was seeing. His live rock which he states is about 2 years old (4 large pieces) looked to be having a massive die off, all the hair algae was turning white (about 85%) and his purple was turning grey. And the tank glass even had a whitish slime on it. I have never seen anything like this and being I use your sight for my personal learning I hoped to get your help. <Yikes!!  Isn't it amazing that they didn't realize on their own that it might be a bad idea to add fish?!?!?> My first thought was bacterial but also note after talking in great detail with both him and his wife I found out 2 things. The tank was torn down, cleaned and reset up 1 month ago. I then pressed them to explain how it was cleaned. Thinking toxicology I asked if they used bleach or anything of that nature and was told no, but after a few more questions I was told they used lite dish detergent to clean off some of the rock. <Yowza!  There is obviously no way to get all of this stuff out of the porous structure of the rock, and even if it isn't toxic on it's own, who knows how it is affecting the water chemistry!> At this point I asked how quickly the white took over the tank and got no straight answer. Being at a loss as to what to do I did dose their tank with Maracyn hoping to slow this down if it is bacterial but my gut tells me its toxicology and figure they should probably clean the liverock bare with a toothbrush but wished to ask a pro before I tell them anything else to do. <It sounds to me that these people knew they did something wrong, but hoped that it would just go away and didn't want to fess up to it.  I would recommend that you offer to hold any animals that are still alive at your store (with no guarantee) while the tank is re-established.  All of the equipment should be thoroughly cleaned with fresh water and the live rock (as well as any other porous media or substrates like sand, ceramic filter media, filter pads, etc.) should be discarded and replaced.> So I am asking you guys since I think you're pros and have found you to be dead on compared to asking other LFS owners who I must say I think have no clue and guess at a lot of there answers. Any ideas are greatly appreciated and a thank you in advance for any help and for having such a helpful site. Jeff S.  <Thanks for the kind words and good luck with this difficult situation.  AdamC.> Silica Beads - Late Reply - 08/02/05 Hi Folks, Have a very beautiful fish only aquarium.  The air dryer for my ozonizer burst open and about 100 beads fell into my sump. I cannot get them out until tomorrow night (have to buy a water vac). I've read up and down about the silicates in your FAQ's and all points to the fact that they aren't toxic (at least for a short time) to my little friends but do I have the time to wait until tomorrow night? Best Regards, Jeffrey <<Hello Jeffrey...Sorry for the late reply.  As you've surely surmised by now, the tank will be fine till you can remove the beads.  Regards, EricR>>

A Small Piece of Metal In a Large Volume of Water-Problem? 8/1/05 Hello crew, I hope all is well.  I have a few quick ones.  I'm in the setup stage of my tank, and I was filling up my bio ball chamber with balls, and a small staple from the shipping bag fell in and has disappeared.  Will this staple corrode and kill my livestock?  Maybe I'm just being way too paranoid, but I would hate to kill a few hundred dollars in fish over a damn staple.   <Not overly paranoid...but no need to worry. One small staple in a large volume of water will not make too much of a difference.> Also, I hooked up my external pump to my bulkhead of my glass sump and filled it with water.  It's 3/4" and the hole is a 1 1/2" which some bulkheads call for but the ones I bought don't say and the hole seems to be a little large for this particular one.  The bulkhead has a slow leak, will silicone fix this or should I try a different brand bulkhead? <I'd be inclined to try a new bulkhead, myself.> Finally,  which do think will offer better buffering capacity, Florida crushed coral, or Seaflor special grade?  Thank you again. Mike <Well, Mike- both are good products, and are equal to the task. For most applications, the Seaflor Special Grade is a better choice, however. Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> Tank die off... actually kill-off... antibiotic "treatment" of algae 7/31/05 This morning I woke up to an almost complete tank die off. The only survivors were a Fire Shrimp, and hermit crabs. I lost several soft corals, two stony corals, and all 9 fish. <No fun> I did a 10% water change yesterday to which I added Erythromycin Thiocyanate. <... trouble...> I have been getting a lot of red algae growth on my glass for the past month, and last week some hair algae cropped up. <You killed off your livestock... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgcidefaqs.htm>   A couple years ago I had a serious hair algae problem, and I wanted to stop it before it got worse. Did the Erythromycin Thiocyanate cause the die off?    <Yes> I also have very high calcium and alkalinity levels. Calcium is around 540 meg/L, and Alkalinity is 160 meg/L. <...?> I have not added any calcium supplements or buffers to the tank in over a year, and I only use RO water for water changes. <What salt mix? Please read on WWM re various brands...> I tested all other water quality parameters, and they are all very good. <... what is "good"? Subjective evaluations are of no use to us> Any ideas? <All sorts> Chris B. <Read. Bob Fenner> Potential Disaster (HELP!) Real trouble with batteries falling into a marine sump! 7/14/05 Dear WWM Crew,     I may have experienced a potential disaster.  I had a battery powered air pump sitting on a shelf near my reef tank.  I had left a window open and a wind came up.  The shade on the window blew back and knocked the air pump into my open plenum sump.  The air pump wasn't on and because of some overhaul maintenance the sump wasn't connected to my reef at the time that it happened.  It may have sat in there several hours while I was out to dinner.  When I found it I pulled the thing out and from the battery compartment drained a black liquid. <Yikes> I grabbed a cup and dipped a little out before it dissipated.  What damage did this cause? All my equipment in the sump still works but I didn't connect it back to the main reef.  What should I replace?  What else (if anything) can I do?  Any help would be appreciated greatly. Thanks, Andrew S. <I would vacuum, drain all the water out of the sump, add a unit of Chemi-Pure and PolyFilter and allow the replaced water to recirculate through this a couple of days, then try placing a "test fish" in the sump for a few days more... Bob Fenner.

Magnetic tank cleaner/dead tangs 7/13/05 Long time listener, first time caller... Last night I used a magnetic tank cleaner for the first time, and I had quite a bit of algae on the glass (55 gal tank).  This morning, I had 2 dead tangs (1 yellow, 1 yellow-eyed black tang).  Everything else seems to be OK (arrow crab, couple dozen blue-legged hermits, 2 percula clowns, emerald crab, 2 yellow-tail blue damselfish).  PH, salinity, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia all look fine.  Could the tank cleaning cause the death of the tangs? <Mmm, not likely. RMF> (btw - great site!  Sorry for emailing, but I searched and couldn't find anything in the existing FAQ that matched my question, but I'm sure you've answered it and I just can't find it) --Jeff Never mind...  Wasn't the cleaning, just a coincidence.  Ich.    <Not the magnets... RMF> Zinc in epoxy 7/5/05 Hi WWM Crew, First I would like to thank you for your help. I recently bought and read (in about 2 days) Bob Fenner's book and am really enjoying the learning process. I got excited about aquascaping after reading that part of the book went out to the local hardware store and bought epoxy putty. I ended up with two kinds. One is Ace brand plumbers epoxy which I think will be safe, as I found reference to it being used successfully by others on the web. I ended up liking this one better and bought more of it. It is the majority of what I used. (About 5 10' sticks.) The second is PC marine epoxy. This one I am worried about because it lists zinc sulfide on the materials (5-10% of the composition). I only used one 5' stick of this. I unfortunately already used both of them to build a fairly large rock structure for my 55 gal fish and invert tank. My question to you is: Do you think that the PC epoxy will be harmful? <The Zinc is to be avoided... but over some time it should be of little to no consequence. I would place a pad of PolyFilter in your filter flow path for now... to remove this metal as it comes into solution from the Epoxy> What if I cover the exposed areas of PC epoxy with the other Ace brand epoxy? <A worthwhile suggestion, yes> And finally, if it should not go in the tank do you think that breaking down and reusing the rocks (coral skeleton) that were exposed to it would be OK? Possibly with new and extra carbon in the system? <I do think you are right here> I presently have 2 large hang on filters, a UV filter, new (3 days old) Aqua C remora pro skimmer, and an undergravel filter. I change 10% of the water twice a week using Waikiki aquarium filtered water. <Ah, "the gathering place", O'ahu> I tried calling the company and am waiting for a call back, although not sure they will be able to answer my questions. I did search this site extensively and although I found reference to a link regarding epoxy, I could not locate the link. Thank you so much. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say. Elizabeth <I would not be overly concerned here... with the size, type system, availability of good source water, use of chemical filtrants... the Zinc should be a small concern soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: zinc in epoxy 7/6/05 Hi again, In reference to the attached email regarding epoxy putty. I received a call from PC marine. They assured me that the product, once cured, was harmless in a saltwater fish tank. The said that once cured that it will not allow any water entry or react with anything. They also said that they had given this advice to others and had them use it successfully. I am still a little hesitant and would love your opinion. Thanks! Elizabeth <You did get my email from this morning? I am in agreement with the statements above. This putty should be safe once cured. Bob Fenner>

Re: zinc in epoxy 7/6/05 Hi Bob, <Elizabeth> Thank you so much for your response. I was thinking that I would have to break down my big rock structure that I spent so long on. For some reason I did not receive your response to my first email, but I went to WWM and found it. <Bizarre... the Net...> I will buy some poly filters and put my masterpiece in! <Ah, good... get some help lifting!> Thank you very much for what you have done for this hobby. I recommend your book/site to every person I see in the pet store buying unsuitable livestock. Aloha, Elizabeth <Ahh, thank you for your kind, encouraging words, good works. Bob Fenner>

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