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FAQs about Marine Water Quality 3

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

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Tolerance, ranges vary... A Condy(lactis) in Jamaica

- Omega Sea Salt: Now with more calcium, magnesium, and AMMONIA? - Hi, You are my last chance.  Ok, I have a 75 gal tank and I am using Omega Sea Salt, every time I do a water change my ammonia jumps really high then goes down to about .25ppm and stays there. Now this didn't start happing until I started using Omega salt.  I took distilled water, 1 gal and tested it-- 0 ammonia.  Then I added 1/2 cup of omega sea salt and a power head to mix it up I later checked the ammonia and it was .25.   So I have decided that the salt is putting ammonia in my tank! What should I do? <Maybe I'm oversimplifying the matter, but why don't you just go buy some Instant Ocean or one of the many other brands of tried and true ammonia free sea salts?!> Here are 3 web sites with forums that I have made about my problem.  If you  have time to read them you will understand everything. http://fishprofiles.com/interactive/forums/thread.asp?id=14183 http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=201872 http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=207239 Thanks for your time and hopefully we can figure this out, because I am lost! <Change salts, you can't go wrong with IO! -Kevin>

High Mineral Content High mineral content in my tap water.  What is the best thing for me to do to remove it?  I have tried a phosphate sponge, but there are no real directions and I don't know if I am using too much, too little....<I would not use the phosphate sponge. It has never worked for me. My advice is to buy RO (reverse osmosis) water. Or if you want to save a lot of money purchase an RO unit yourself.> I started this because I have TONS of red algae in the tank... it's still not gone.   I am afraid of doing anything too drastic because I don't want to shock the fish.<agreed, I would not use your tap water any longer.>  Can you please help. <Do read more about RO water on our site or search Google. IanB>

Nutrient Export, Plenums, And More! I have some high Nitrate (80mg/l) and phosphate (3mg/l) problems in a 24month 80gallon set up. (Hope my conc. units are right). The setup gets a 5-10% water change on a weekly basis and is stable with a medium/high load of eight fish, two shrimp and a blue lobster. I tried to introduce an anemone but it never fully open and unfortunately starved. I also have a bubble algae problem. (The set up is in two tanks 55gallon which cascades its water to a 30gallon tank which then returns to a wet/dry sump in the basement with protein skimmer, mechanical filter, carbon, heater UV then back to the 55gall tank) So. my two questions. 1. Will I realistically be able to get phosphate down to a reasonable level for anemones and reduced algae? What should I aim for and will aluminium oxide be the most economic route. The phosphate comes presumably from accusation from food. <Well, ideally, you want to shoot for <0.05mg/L on phosphate, and less than 10mg/L nitrate, if you can. I think that it is certainly possible to lower phosphate in your system. I think that there is certainly some phosphate coming from food, but there is also probably some phosphate in your source water. If you aren't using one already, you should look into an RO/DI unit, which can help you start off with more pure water. Another thought is that the mechanical filter which you are using needs to be cleaned (or have the media contained within it changed) more often (maybe twice a week). High nitrate and phosphate are definitely signs of nutrient accumulation. Attacking both together is possible. Your goal here should be to maximize nutrient export mechanisms. Your water change schedule is good; you may even want to try 2 smaller (5%) changes per week, to dilute the nutrients before they have a chance to accumulate. Also, try to really adjust your skimmer until it yields at least a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate a week. It may take a fair amount of tweaking, but it is possible to get good results if you work with it. I'd employ extra chemical filtration media, such as PolyFilter (my personal favorite). This stuff really works! Make sure that you are using a high-grade, phosphate-free carbon, and change it regularly. Another though would be to employ "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria, or Halimeda, and harvest them regularly. They will utilize many of the same nutrients that your nuisance algae are-and they will ultimately beat out the lower algae. Harvesting them essentially removes nutrients from the system directly...yep- it works!> 2. I have tee'd off a connection from the wet /dry to a 80gallon 40x20" footprint Rubbermaid container which will act as a plenum (or it could be a refugium) and new sump. The water will be pumped back to the wet/dry on a recycle loop. I am planning on using 160lb of aragonite coarse coral mix as a 4-5" bed over a 1" plenum space. <Well, a plenum is a very useful tool if constructed correctly. It does require specific void space, particle size, etc, so do read up carefully if you plan on pursuing a plenum setup. Don't deviate from the established methods for constructing plenums- the techniques and guidelines were developed after a great deal of research. Check out Bob Goemans' web site (saltcorner.com) for much more on plenums. Bob is the authority on this system in the U.S., and can really give some great input! If you opt for a remote deep sand bed without a plenum, try a fine, oolithic aragonite like Carib Sea's "Aragamax" Sugar-Fine sand, and shoot for 4 inches or more.> I have read that the plenum relies upon slight convective currents to effect as large an anoxic denitrifying layer as possible. Also since the sump/plenum is in my basement I am concerned about temperature control. I figure that I will put 30ft of 150W heating cable under the aragonite to deal with heating needs and achieve some convective mixing through the aragonite bed. Do you think this will work - will it be beneficial? <To be quite honest with you, I have not seen this done before...It is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure whether or not it is worth the effort...I'd really encourage you to contact Bob Goemans on this one!> The reason I started thinking of the cable heater is that the plenum will be in my basement which is about 40degF at the moment and only 50-55 in summer. I live in New England. I figured that the Rubbermaid tank itself (even although it will be insulated) would need some degree of heating and then subsequent small power head or air lift to get some recirculation. <Absolutely...I agree> However this would NOT help the maintenance of temperature within the aragonite bed which would depend upon conduction for its heat from the main liquid bulk. Next I figure that the microbiological rates are probably favored by maintaining a reasonably high temperature 80degF (not necessarily trying to seek thermophilic organisms). Therefore I have to find someway to keep the substrate at80degC. <Very logical approach> Cable heating is used here and there for encouraging plant growth in non-marine aquarium and this suggested to me what might work as a possible solution together with enhancing some flow through the sand bed. All the reading I have done to date - as you states - suggest some but only a slow vertical flow of water through the bed is recommended for the plenum to maximize its anoxic layer. However no where seems to suggest what is too fast or too slow. <Well, as you would probably agree-the faster and more efficiently  that nutrients are turned into energy, the better your water quality will be. So, it's important to create a system to foster these process...I do see the logic in your method...very interesting!> Even with my proposed setup I will not know what vertical linear flow rates I will be achieving anyway. My intent was to concentrate the heating cable into three longitudinal strips so that there will be cold:hot:cold:hot:cold:hot:cold strips the length of the tank (hope this is reasonable explanation). I will be using 110VAC roof de-icing cable. (I have ground fault trip electrics and will be very cautious). The cable is water proof and fully plastic coated therefore should be okay for continuous immersion. <I have no experience with this device...do proceed with caution if not using an aquarium-specific heater cable system...> Initially I intend on leaving the cable on 24hours but could put this on a timer if the mass transfer does not seem to show that the plenum is doing its stuff of removing nitrate. However I will wait 12months to be sure everything has had a chance to mature and monitor concentrations along the  way. <Sometimes standing back and letting nature do its job really is the best procedure> I must admit that I was torn between setting up a refugium in place of the plenum and instead using plants and light. Do you think maybe I should do half and half and plant Caulerpa (sorry about the spelling) with a plant spectrum 24" florescent tube on one half. <I am very anti-Caulerpa for a variety of reasons- I'd use different macroalgae for this purpose...but do utilize some macroalgae. Perhaps you may want to employ a "non-plenum" DSB in your main system, and add the refugium in line? Just a thought...> However - if I do then I will not know if the main idea ever worked.... <Ahh- the joys of experimentation!> Lastly, my skimmer is a CPR BakPak which is a small footprint venturi in-sump skimmer but only rated to 50gallon. I have not had a chance to read through all the skimmer stuff you and others have posted here - but I did see the stuff Snailman posted and this sparked enthusiasm to do this next. However I do need to finish and get this plenum up first. <Well, a skimmer is so vital to your system that you may want to push the skimmer up to number one on your list...The Bak Pak is a great skimmer- but I think it's operating at the edge of it's range in this system, so an upgrade is highly advisable here!> Lastly, lastly I did not add in the previous email that before the plenum I will be putting in a 30gallon trash can with flow distributor filled with polystyrene peanuts to act as a trickle filter to also increase my ammonium denitrification. The water will drain through the trash can trickle filter by gravity into the plenum. Currently my ammonium is 0.2-0.3 (don't know the unit) but anyway low range but detectable. I figure for minimal expense I could get more aerobic degradation. I built this piece ahead of deciding on the plenum which will presumably also achieve the same end effect of further NH3-> NO3 oxidation in addition to the anoxic denitrification. I have read elsewhere that this is not recommended as enhancing the NH3 oxidation will increase my NO3 problem. <That's my thinking...> This seems logical but at worst case if all the NH3 is shifted over to NO3 - I am only looking at a small increase in NO3 to my current concentration. Thanks for your comments and any further thoughts are appreciated. <Well, you certainly have some great ideas and a nice approach! I think that simple, biological-based systems are always best. You will be surprised at how a simple idea, such as a deep sand bed (with or without a plenum), a great skimmer, good husbandry, and live rock can do the trick. Check out Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for some more information on the concepts that you touched on. Also, You may want to pick up "Live Sand Secrets" by Bob Goemans for a simple review of plenum dynamics. Most of all-Have fun! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Excellent water quality Hello everyone ? >Cheers, Kostas> If Mr Anthony  is getting this e-mail then he might remember me ? The Greek Reef which is still in the process of setting up) !!!!!!!!!!!! <no worries... good to hear from you!> If it takes any more delay in setting up my tank I won't need to add any organisms in there ( they will probably evolve from bacteria to living reef organisms through  time :-) <Ha!... Giant lizards and salamanders!!!> I'm still waiting for the LFS to bring the rest of the LR so I can finally close that chapter of Aquascaping and completing the cycle.(%&*(^&$%^$#^%$#&*^)(*) Well Still haven't add any fish, nor any other living organism as you already have read but running the Protein Skimmer for 24h, my temperature is steady at 26 Celsius, and the PH at 8,15 - 8,20. Problem is with my  ORP reading which has gone up to 432 <very good actually... although will not stay that high once fish are in without ozone> Now I read in Mr. Fenner's Book that 350-390 is normal but above that is considered dangerous for fish. <can be... but not much to worry about. Reef tanks are kept as high as 425 or 450. Still... let the ORP fall to just under 400 once fish are in> I have no living organisms as I mentioned nor I add any type of additives to the tank. But last 10 days I started using my calcium reactor and Calcium levels  have risen up to 400+ from 250. <very good> Is that the reason for the ORP level ? <nope... actually just the cleansing and aeration of the water from your skimmer mostly> What should I do now ? <relax my friend... change nothing yet. The new LR will plummet that ORP reading> All my products are from Jeff in Lifereef, and the ORP meter is from Neptune systems ( Aquacontroller II ). <very fine> Now in case you thing it wasn't calibrated correctly, when I first put the ORP probe in the tank it showed 160-190 readout. I talked to Mr. Curt in Neptune systems and he said that's correct since it takes a while for the ORP probe to balance and stabilize to the real readouts. <agreed> So it did, in about a week later it went up to 350-380. But when I started to use the Calcium reactor it went  up to 432 where it is now. I don't use the lights yet. <no worries... all will work out in time. You have a fine system> Waiting for you help Best Regards  Kostas <best regards, Anthony>

Help with tank conditions Good afternoon, I really appreciate your helpful site! I would like you to give me your opinion on my tank and support systems just to make sure I am not heading for trouble.  So far, the only issues I have had are some patches of persistent green hair algae with very short strands. Here is the tank information for your consideration: 92 gallon all-glass bow front corner. CPR sump with ETSS super reef devil skimmer and a Red Sea Berlin Turbo hang on sump skimmer.  Run 24 x 7 1 400W 10,000k German MH in a canopy with 2 95W URI VHO Actinics. 1 250W 10,000k German MH in a pendant that is very close to the water surface (4 inches). Big chiller in the garage plumbed to the tank with 1" pvc. Aquamedic Nitratereductor K2R calcium reactor Wave maker with various power heads set to pulse Fluval 404 canister filter filled with pre-filter sponge and Seachem SeaGel Lights are on a timer.  The lights are on for about 12 hours a day presently. Remote water change system with LiterMeter.  Change 1 gallon a day... Top off with weak kalkwasser using dosing pump. Inhabitants: Yellow tang Powder Brown tang 2 clowns 1 Maxima clam on a rock at the bottom of tank, directly under 400 MH 1 branching Acropora at top of tank directly under 250 pendant 1 brown Clavularia polyp off to the side of the 400W 1 branching Hammer/Anchor LPS in upper half in general lighting 1 Ridge Hammer/Anchor bottom half under 400W 1 green branching Hydnophora on a rock on the bottom under the 400W Full of different snails, hermit crabs sifting sea stars and one serpent star Testing data: Temp is between 76 (Evening) and 78 (day) Ammonia, Nitrite, Phosphate zero (Salifert) Nitrate .05 at most Calcium usually around 400 dkh about 9 Iodine is at recommended level per Kent liquid instructions (forgot what that was) Salinity is 1.024 PH 7.9 to 8.2 at various times and days.  Usually between 8.0 and 8.1 The SPS corals do show their small polyps during the day, and seem ok. The LPS really bloom when the lights come on, about twice the size as they were at the LFS display tank Clavularia polyps really extend way out and sway in the currents. Clam is fully open and reacts quickly when one of the tangs swims over it. I feed the fish a mixture of seaweed and frozen food.  I have never fed the clam or corals. My concern is that I have never kept corals before, and the ones I have look good now but are less than 2 months old.  The tank was cycled for 6 months before I introduced any corals.  Do you note anything that I may be missing, or should be alerted to? Thanks again. <Wow!  Sounds great! The only things I would alter would be to dose Kalk in the early AM to counter the 7.9pH at that time. I would like it at 8.3.  With proper alk, magnesium, boron, etc. (buffer) kalkwasser can/should be used to maintain pH/calcium. Please read WetWebMedia.com regarding kalkwasser use, yours can be stronger as long as calcium is at acceptable level. 400 is pretty good! Perhaps put dose pump on timer for nighttime/early AM Kalk dosing. The only other thing is to experiment with a few different foods for the fish and for your corals. Bob has a good recipe as do many others (like Anthony) for feeding your corals, see WWM. They will do better with regular feedings.  Overall it sounds very nice!  Craig>

Re: gravel vacuum or not? Hello, I have a 4 month old 55gal reef tank with a live sand bed of about 3-4 inches.  I have 50 lbs of live rock, a remora protein skimmer, 10-15 snails, a few crabs, some corals and some small fish ( two damsels and a yellow tang).   A friend who has had a reef tank for quite a while told me when I do my water changes, I should not vacuum the gravel because it will destroy the beneficial bacteria/organisms living in the sand bed.  It seems to me there would be a lot of detritus in the bed that will get missed.  Should I just siphon out the water and leave the sand bed alone?  Thanks.  Steve. <Mmm, if there's much "gunk" in the bed, I would either "stir" it with a stick, plastic dowel... or possibly gingerly vacuum one half/side of the tank each time you do a water change. There is little likelihood of trouble in these exercises re interrupting biological filtration. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm Bob Fenner>

Water Parameters In A New System Dear WWM, <Scott F. here today> My new 150gal marine aquarium is about 6 weeks old, consists of fish only, and employs canister filters. The ammonia level seems to have leveled-off at 0.5ppm...perhaps even reduced a little.  The nitrite level has just shot-up this past week to 5ppm; and the nitrate level has also risen this past week to about 15ppm.  Also, the pH has dropped to 7.8.   <The ammonia/nitrite levels seem consistent with a routine cycling period-I'm a bit concerned about that low pH. It's really on the "low" side of the desired range of 7.8-8.4. Do check regularly, both day and night to confirm.> 3 questions: (1) When should I turn on the protein skimmer? <Tons of different opinions on this. I have always ran my skimmers from day one- they will help remove a lot of organics that will otherwise accumulate and contribute to major algae problems in a new system that has not yet achieved a high capacity to cycle nutrients.> (2) When should I do a partial water change? <I'd hold off on the water changes until ammonia and nitrite have both returned to undetectable levels, at which point the tank could be considered to be "cycled"> (3) Should I adjust the pH from 7.8 back to 8.2 now...if so, is backing soda OK? <Do monitor the pH levels throughout the day to verify the "high" pH. If 7.8 is your high, some form of adjustment may be necessary. Do read the FAQs on pH and alkalinity on the wetwebmedia.com site for a lot more detail on these concepts than I can touch on here. Always remember that if you're gonna add something to the water- you really need to test for it. That's the responsible and correct way to do it, IMO> thank you for any advice, Jeffrey Makiel <Keep observing and learning, Jeffrey. You seem to have a great grasp of what's happening in your tank...keep it up and you'll be rewarded with a beautiful tank for years to come! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: white flakes About a week ago I set-up my first saltwater tank. I have five damselfishes and three live rocks. I test the specific gravity daily and it is constant at 1.023. <That is fine, but I hope you are also testing for ammonia and nitrite, both are of critical importance when cycling a new tank. You should also watch your pH, nitrate, and temperature.> But now I have noticed white flakes gliding around the bottom of the tank. Is this salt or what? <I doubt this is salt. It all would have dissolved by now.> And what can I do? <Since I don't know what it is, I cannot advise you as to what to do about it. Sorry! -Steven Pro>

Saltwater smells bad Inhabitants are: cleaner wrasse (1.5 years) <Very unusual. This critter usually expires fairly quickly after acclimating. They hardly ever eat much of anything except parasites. Maybe you "...got struck by lightning" with this one. It does happen...but rarely> Kole tang (6 years) <6 years! Now we're talking!> tomato clown (5 years), rose anemone (2 years), fox fish (1 year), purple pseudo (1month), 4 scissortail gobies (1.5 years), bicolor goby (8 mo.s), orange Linkia star <Need to target feed this critter...frequently> brittle star 1.5 years, anemone worm, several Turbos and red/left handed hermits, cleaner shrimp, coral banded shrimp. Corals: cabbage soft leather, yellow devils hand, brown finger leather, several mushrooms, torch coral, button and colony polyps. <This tank sounds gorgeous! The longevity of the critters that you name is what everyone should strive for. Many fish can live ten years or more. Keep doing what you're doing...it's working!> Lighting: 288w 10K daylight, 288w actinic 03 on for a total of 11 hours but in a timed blue on, white on, white off, blue off fashion to replicate natural rise and set.  Bulbs replaced 11/02 in a staggering fashion over a 2 week period. <Fabulous!> Skimmer: AquaC EV90. I don't run anything in my sump with the exception of filter media.  Below the filter pad in the open sump I have a thin layer of 'mud' and several small sponges about 1/8 to 1/4 in with small holes all over and one hole (looks like an intake) with small hair like extensions around the opening. <I'm not sure I like the mud and sponges. Pick some of it up and smell it. This very well could be where your smell is coming from> These are on the heater, the glass, the power heads. everywhere, and they live with a few worms (bristle and fan) and seems like hundreds of little "bugs" (amphipods?). <Copepods...most likely> These bugs are tiny and clear and scurry when I turn the light on over the sump of aim a flashlight on the mud. <Yep> I am assuming they are harmless and possibly good? <Very good! The fish will love them> This is my dilemma, yesterday the sump water began to smell, kind of reminds me of when I cycled my rock in the garage (yuk) just not as strong. And today, my tank water also smells.   <Check that mud and sponge stuff> All fish, coral and inverts are doing fine and everyone is accounted for but the smell is getting stronger and the skimmer is skimming like it has been told this is its last meal?!?   <Yeah...You need to be concerned. Something is wrong> I can't figure out why my water smells so badly.  I plan to do a 25% water change today and clean the skimmer out but I want to know why this smell has seemingly come out of nowhere.  I cant imagine one snail dying that maybe I cant see smelling this badly... <Nope> I have had snails die in the tank before and never has it smelled this rotten.  I also don't know why my rock would suddenly re-cycle if that is what is causing the smell. The filter pad in the sump is new and I change it out about every 2 weeks or sooner if needed. Apart from the lights I have only made one other change and that is I stopped feeding my fish frozen brine (was their daily staple...amazing to find it has no nutritional value...even more amazing they have flourished this long.) <Egads! I'm glad you realized this...I am also amazed that have lived this long!> and made a blender batch of my own food comprising of fresh shrimp, squid, scallops, broccoli, red seaweed, some prime flakes, crab and baby vitamins) The first time I fed this was yesterday right after I mixed it up.  Could that be what is making my water stink?   <Did you feed like...a lot? I mean...You accidentally poured in way too much?> I didn't feed them any more than usual and actually, even less since there was no filler to the mix <That settles that question> I also add marine snow once a week for the filter feeders and I have smelled that and it smells fine. <There are mixed accounts about this products usefulness> I feed every day but in small quantities <Good> when I was feeding frozen brine I was feeding two standard frozen cubes is this too much? <Not IMO> Now that I plan to feed the homemade frozen I will feed what will equal one cube because it is so dense.  Is this too little? <I wouldn't want any of it to settle on the floor of the aquarium. You should only feed as much as the fish and inverts will eat> I also supplement my algae eaters with purple and green seaweed (about a 2-3 inch strip) in a clip a couple of times a week but remove any uneaten food after 2-3 hours.   <Once again...Sounds good> I haven't fed them any seaweed in the past two days. How much and how often should I feed the tank with the homemade mix? <Keep the regiment about like you were doing before switching to the homemade concoction> Do I still need to supplement the homemade mix with food for the filter feeders? <It all depends...If the homemade rations are in very small bits it ill be fine> Should I be running carbon in my sump? <Wouldn't hurt...With this bad smell that you are describing (does it smell like rotten eggs? I think I would want to add some carbon...soon> What in the heck do you think is making my water stink so badly? <It's hard to say...If it's a rotten egg smell it may be hydrogen sulfide which most often occurs with the use of a plenum. For sure I would do a series of substantial water changes over the next few days. If this were my tank, I would want the substrate more evenly spread out in the tank. Most people suggest either less than 1/2" or more than 4" throughout the tank. Are you sure none of the corals have died? Sometimes softies will look alive and be very dead...and no missing fish? With your skimmer producing so much skimmate, I would be looking for some kind of decay. Is your circulation brisk? Tank turnover more than 10 times per hour?> Is my lighting sufficient to keep sps hard corals? (aqua cultured pink birds nest) <May I suggest that you read our extensive collection of information on Wetwebmedia. I feel good about you keeping low light LPS but SPS? I don't think your lighting will make it. Read our info on the site and decide for yourself> And lastly...I have these things growing on my rock that I cannot ID can you please help me?  I am attaching a few pictures.  They grow at a decent rate and in total I have 7 and what looks like could be 2 new.  The 1st pic is with the flash and the other 2 are without. <I'm sorry but your attachment didn't come through. No pics available> I know this is a lot...but I wanted to give you as much info as possible hoping you can answer all of my questions.  I cant seem to find answers in my searches. <No problem. It was my pleasure> Thanks again, not only for any help you can give me specific to this email but for all the great feedback and knowledge you have given me through other posts.  I have learned so much, thank you all! <You're more than welcome! I'm going to search our server and see if I can find those pics...David Dowless>

RE: Saltwater smells bad, Linkia Seastar Wow thanks for the quick response.  To respond to a few of your questions... on over 3 weeks! so orange Linkia star <Are you target feeding this guy?> I have tried and he blows right by or over it...no interest.  he has been very active until today and he has disappeared into the rocks.  I cant find him at all...could he be the source of my smell? <Not likely but I would want to find him and get him out if he has expired> My dog faced puffer who was a gem in my reef tank (again I am lucky or maybe a case of ignorance is bliss, who knows!) just passed last month at 10.5 captive years. It smells musty and stinky like something rotting.  When I first got my live rock I cycled it in Rubbermaid containers in the garage with a heater and power heads...smells like cycling rock just not as pungent.  I'm not sure if any of the corals are dead, I don't think so, but I do see them spewing a clear slimy looking material that looks to have little white specs in it. <Don't like this...It may just be corals that are expelling waste and but it could be something worse. A while back I had a few mushrooms that let go of their rock...They were dying when I saw them spewing stringing stuff. Either way, if your corals are closing and opening with regularity, they aren't dead> It only comes from one section of the coral....first it was the mushrooms a couple of days ago then today I saw my cabbage doing it.  All the corals have their polyps out and feed and then retract normally after lights out. How can I tell if they are dead and do you have any idea what they are shooting out?   <Could be their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Or it could be simply waste materials. If you feed them regularly, it may be excretion. If you aren't target feeding it's probably not excretion> I once saw on discovery channel that corals reproduce once a year by shooting hundred of spores into the water could this be what mine are doing? <Never say never in this hobby but I'm afraid that it's not very likely> I have two cap 1200 power heads in the tank facing each other to create a random current.  The current is very strong throughout the tank and the surface turbulence is high. <Good!> I am attaching the pictures again they are in jpeg format, I'm not sure what I did wrong but hopefully you will get them this time. I am also adding one more of a bristle worm I found crawling about in broad daylight today that doesn't look like a friendly.  Can you confirm if it is or not please? <Yep...bristle worm. Bristle worms are okay unless it's really big...like big enough that it could eat something that you don't want it to eat> I really appreciate your time, thanks again! <You're welcome! In regards to the smell...Look around on the floor and be sure nothing has jumped out of your tank. This happens to everyone from time to time. Also, I'm not that worried about the sponges, but give the mud the old "sniff test" and see what it smells like. Check your livestock carefully to be sure that nothing has died underneath the rocks or in a dark corner. And finally, keep doing those water tests...especially ammonia. If your smell is coming from something in the tank that's dead, you will (sooner or later) get an ammonia spike. Be watching for it. If it happens, do a water change and take out whatever is necessary to find the dead critter. If the water smells like something has died, then something has most likely died. You've just got to find what it is and where it's hiding. Hope this helps. David Dowless> Terre

Saltwater smells bad Thank you for the reply! <You're welcome!> Were you able to ID the other pics of the blue/grey masses on my rocks? <Sorry...I couldn't really tell what it was...> >btw, the smell disappeared the day after your first reply.   <Fabulous!> All livestock present and accounted for including the star who looks as happy as ever. When you say target feed him how and what should I feed?   <Put food on the sand very close to the starfish> When I try to offer algae/seaweed he turns the other way and moves on.   <Some stars like algae (chocolate chip especially) others prefer meaty fare. Try something meaty> Corals also doing well.  I guess I may not know what caused it but I am thankful it passed as quickly as it came.  All water parameters excellent as well (no change). <Great!> Thank you again for all your advice! <You're welcome!. David Dowless> Terre

NMA RF (Reef Fishes) Book, Water Quality Woo hoo! I'm glad horses are on the list for inclusion! I'll be looking out for that :D <Have you preordered your copy, yet? You can at http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html> Ok, back to the cyano. Yep, I'm using RO water, but looking at the tank today, it appears that the cyano is letting up. I guess the phosphates were indeed the problem. <If you have a phosphate problem and are using RO water, the phosphates have to be coming from overfeeding or salt mix.> I'll keep an eye on everything over the next few days, and like I said, I'll test the phosphates Saturday. I think once I get the skimmer going again, all should start to look better. <They do help considerably.> Now, about that scooter, I thought I'd be able to deduce the problem, but nothing really seems logical. I did test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and every single one of them was zero, pH was 8.4, salinity 1.023 (I think I'll be raising that back to around 1.025), temperature a constant 82. I think I may have it figured out though. I feed Piscine Energetics frozen mysis, which is extremely high in protein, fat, and other very perishable contents. I think that the pack I was using at the time had somehow gotten thawed out just enough to spoil it. The shrimp were almost an orange color and the seahorses didn't eat the night before I found the blenny. I threw out that pack and I'm being extremely careful with the one I'm using now. Would just a few toxic shrimp be enough to kill a fish of that size? <It is possible, but I would think fish would know better than to eat bad food.> Thinking about the amount of shrimp he ate compared to his mass, it's really a lot. It'd be like a person eating a whole rotten pig carcass (ok, sorry for the kind of gross comparison, but it's what I thought of first). Oh yeah, one more question, I have a Valentini puffer in another tank and I think his teeth are not getting worn down properly. I picked up a food made by Wardley's called goldfish crumbles. It's really hard stuff, and he likes it. The main ingredient is cracked corn. Is this food appropriate for a puffer, or should I look to something more marine-oriented? <I would use food of marine origin, designed for feeding marine fishes.> Thanks again for all of your help! -Will <We would appreciate it if you used capitalization, correct punctuation, etc. We go through and correct all before posting for the readers. It is a laborious task. We would be grateful for any help. Thank you! -Steven Pro> <<Thanks, Steven! Barb-->>

Water quality and stocking of small tank OK, thanks to the crew at WWM for having the patience to help the novice.  The more research I complete, the more I recognize that, well, I have a lot to learn.   <That doesn't stop until we do my friend! Keep living and learning!> I am most unhappy with the amount of "good marketing" that I have succumbed to so far.  I have been promised a copy of Mr. Fenner's book for Christmas but in the interim I would really appreciate some advice on the health of this system.  If you can provide any distinction between choices of products with effective performance and products with good marketing I would really appreciate it. <The best way is to learn from others' mistakes. Read the chat forums at WetWebFotos, there is all kinds of personal experience there for your benefit.> (A) Tank & current equipment: 29g tank - aerated, Penguin 170 power filter with Biowheel, 200 watt heater, 2 inches of 50/50 small gravel/crushed coral, misc. decorations.   (B) Stock: 2 three stripe damsels (1.5 in) introduced at week two.  Stock added in week 10: 1 cleaner shrimp,  1 percula clown (1.5 in), 1 large piece of extremely porous rock (12in X 6in X 6in) was added.  Unfortunately I did not ask what type of rock - but it was purchased from a LFS with good review from local (unbiased?) aquarium clubs.  Description of rock: extremely porous, beige, and crumbles if mishandled- should I be concerned about what type of rock this is?.  Stock added in week 11: 5 Turbo snails. <Should be a porous Fiji type live rock. 29 gallons requires somewhere between 29 lbs and 45 lbs for adequate biocapacity from LR.> (C) Current water conditions: Ammonia (NH3) - between .016 and .019 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 5 ppm, Phosphate 0.2 ppm.  Following a successful nitrogen cycle the diatom bloom lasted about a week (week 8) and there is now a slow steady growth of diatom and I have noticed a couple of minute areas of purple algae (coralline?).  I believe the following items are/have contributed to the Ammonia level: addition of new stock, "over cleaning" of top 1 inch of substrate, collection of detritus in bottom 1 inch of substrate.  How should I clean this current substrate? <A course substrate will accumulate and trap wastes contributing to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate problems. Ammonia is from fresh wastes/source water/overfeeding/overstocking/poor filtration/no protein skimmer.  Likely overfeeding combined with coarse substrate, no skimmer. Please look into deep aragonite sand beds on WetWebMedia.com...just search on DSB or go directly to the marine set-up section.> (D) Planned changes to tank & equipment: Add skimmer (CPR BakPak2), replace substrate with 1/2 inch deep 2.0mm sand.  What type of sand has good performance?  Can I place the sand directly on the bottom or should I have a plenum? <Directly on the bottom, aragonite sand of varying particle sizes from approx. 0.18 to 1.5 mm or so. Can be larger on surface.  With fish you will need to remove them to a QT tank while you install live sand. Dead dry sand can be used on the bottom layer, but I would look into purchasing live sand from your LFS or a friend or culturing my own beforehand.> (E) Planned stock additions: remove 2 damsels, add 1 Flame Angel, add 1 sea cucumber, add 1 puffer (if less than 3 in. full grown).  Will 1 percula clown, 1 flame angel, 1 puffer, 1 sea cucumber, and 5 turbo snails be an excessive bio load? Thanks for your help. <The flame angel may or may not get along. Drop the Sea Cuke idea. Unstable and many are toxic. Please research your wish list searching on each specifically at WetWebMedia.com.  Especially puffers.  Most of the smaller puffers are actually brackish or freshwater. There is also a lot of good information in the marine set-up section.  Craig>>

Water Chemistry Hi Bob or other wonderful people at WWM, <Cheers, my friend> I have 55g reef tank that has been up and running for two and a half years. I am suddenly experiencing PH, alkalinity, and calcium problems and think or hope I am on the right track to fix the problem. I have recently purchased Bob's book because I was reading articles on your site, particularly maintenance related stuff and loved the way he explains things. <Indeed and agreed... he has the mind of an academic, the talent of a great entertainer, the metabolism of a hamster... and... he smells of elderberries. Gosh, how we love that man!!> I watch my corals closely and noticed some are well and others not. <after 2.5 years, this is inevitable for most aquarists that have elected to run a mixed garden reef tank with soft coral, hard coral and corallimorphs all together. The chemical aggression begins to crescendo around 18-24 months for most tanks. Longer if water changes are very regular> I rarely did any analysis on water chemistry parameters because I had a routine in the way I take care of my tank, and  everything looked ok. <Hmmm... I don't agree but I can live with it> Every time I test my water everything seems to be in check, until recently. I see pictures of other peoples reefs and wonder why mine doesn't look like that. <its called allelopathy... at least it is part of your problem most likely. Few tanks over 3 years old continue to look that good for the concentrated elements of unnatural aggression (silent chemical warfare) between corals. Creatures like hard coral collected in 10 feet of water and mixed with  noxious colt corals or mushroom anemones collected at 40-70 foot depth are stimulated by the sensation of a hostile and unnatural competitor in the confines of a closed system. Even with %50 weekly water changes, that still leaves a lot left behind to concentrate> So I start doing some serious research and start getting scared because of all the thing I am not doing. <no worries... nothing that a string are large water changes can't take care of> Here is what I have: 55g with wet/dry, lots of live rock, SeaClone skimmer (which I know now is not the best), <Doh! Multiply what I've described above (allelopathy) by a factor of ten (!) for the complete lack of daily skimmate production> JBJ sub compacts for lighting (actinic on for an hour, all on for ten hours, then actinic an hour). 20-25% water changes every three weeks. <way too light on the water change schedule even if your skimmer worked consistently> I am now aging and aerating my water, I wasn't before. <good...helps ALK in system> I have always used fresh water for top offs and doing water changes with freshly made salt water. I have always used Instant Ocean. <excellent> When doing a water change I would always add 2tblsp of Kent Turbo calcium. <Ackkkk! Say it isn't so?!?! <G> Seriously... ahh, beyond your belief or not that Kent are reputable dealers (don't ask my opinion with the industry scoop I have)... there is a strong argument that Calcium Chloride causes very serious problems with the Ca/ALK dynamic after a few months of use. Liquid calcium and turbo pellets are TEMPORARY supplements for calcium. Never to be used alone and with regularity (build up of chloride ions which wreak havoc on water chemistry)> I rarely added buffer to the system but do add an Ecosystem reef supplement to the tank once a week. <oh, man! Its getting worse <G>. Is this a real query or is this one of our friends pranking us :P>> I have a yellow tang, regal blue, and baby Naso tang. <OK... it s either a prank or you have the worst LFS store... AND you are completely averse to being an educated consumer. Three tangs in any tank is unnecessarily risky. But the regal and Naso have combined adult sizes of over 2 feet! With the yellow they approach three feet total cumulatively. In a 55 they will stunt and simply die in the 3-5 year picture. My friend... please do us both a favor and do not buy another living creature until you have researched the fundamentals better. I would also suggest, with all due respect,  that you haven't been successful for 2.5 years... but instead that you have enjoyed testimony to how hardy marine life can be for 2.5 years> All other fish died about a month ago due to a horrible ich outbreak from a temperature spike. <and the fact that the tank was overstocked and they were forced to compete for oxygen in a more severe environment for it> I can't believe the delicate fish lived, but they are very healthy. I mix a garlic solution in with their food, <heehee... OK> I am convinced this helped. <OK> I have various types of mushrooms, a frogspawn which is doing well and growing great, an umbrella mushroom which has gotten huge and spawned many babies. A yellow Turbinaria which has partly died, a red brain which does well, and recently purchased xenia. I have noticed that my mushrooms stopped multiplying and started to look withered, and general health of corals just didn't look right so I tested. <understood> A week ago my PH was 7.7 or so, alkalinity was 1.0ml/q and calcium was like 520. All very bad I know, <my God... yes! What happened was true to form for a calcium chloride product used regularly... the Ca spiked and/or the chlorides got to a point where they precipitated out carbonates, which led to the pH drop>> but I have never seen this in my tank. Oh! temp 77, and salinity 1.025. I have been slowly adding Kent super buffer slowly. PH came up to 8.2 but won't seem to go any higher, and I can't seem to get my alkalinity over 2.0. Calcium currently at 450. I am afraid to keep adding buffer to the system for fear I may do some damage. <indeed... and buffer is not the answer right now.. dilution of the chlorides is. Water changes please... lots of them> I have never used kalkwasser, and I'm not really sure how it works, but I have a feeling I need to start using it to stabilize things. <you got it bubba... but after the water changes, my friend> I also thought I would add more substrate. I have about an inch and a half now, but it has been there for over two years. I always vaccum it and stir it up with each water change( I'm not sure that is good either.) <I don't favor or recommend 1-3 inches of sand, but will concede to it being harmless if you have very strong water flow in the tank and stir the sand monthly or better> Do I need to stop using the turbo calcium? <immediately IMO> I fear that I have been using it incorrectly by putting it in at water change intervals. I'm sure this spikes the calcium level and then it depletes by the time I do another water change. this can't be good. Should I start using kalkwasser to maintain it at 450? <yes, please... and read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Anthony%20pics/understanding_calcium_and_alk.htm > Do I need to continue using the buffer? <a little but not much when kalkwasser is used properly in tanks with a deep sand bed (over 4")> Won't the kalkwasser help stabilize the PH and alkalinity? <easily, yes> I hope I am on the right track, <you are my friend... but have let yourself become misguided. All modesty aside... do consider reading my Book of Coral Propagation. Most of the first 200 pages are fundamental reef husbandry> but desperately need help. Since the PH has improved the corals look much better, but I'm afraid of putting buffer in there everyday just to get the alkalinity up. What should I do??????????? <other recent articles here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Latest%20Articles.htm > Thank you for your time. Mark <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Water quality and stocking of small tank OK, thanks to the crew at WWM for having the patience to help the novice.  The more research I complete, the more I recognize that, well, I have a lot to learn.   <All of us have a lot to learn!> I am most unhappy with the amount of "good marketing" that I have succumbed to so far. <Welcome to the world of the aquarist> I have been promised a copy of Mr. Fenner's book for Christmas but in the interim I would really appreciate some advice on the health of this system.  If you can provide any distinction between choices of products with effective performance and products with good marketing I would really appreciate it. <I'll do what I can my friend...> (A) Tank & current equipment: 29g tank - aerated, Penguin 170 power filter with Biowheel, 200 watt heater, 2 inches of 50/50 small gravel/crushed coral, misc. decorations. <Are you asking my own Biased opinion on power filters? Some folks swear by them I swear at them. HA! I don't care for power filters at all on a long term display tank. QT? okay. If you use the Penguin accept that you will have high nitrates and low circulation in the tank. Every power filter that I have ever seen or used provides only minimum circulation: almost all of which occurs at the top of the tank. The filtration capacity IMO in a marine tank is minimum at best. Go check out an 29 gallon Eclipse system and you'll see what I mean. But as I stated up front, this is my biased opinion and I'm sure that lots of people would disagree. If you must have an outside filter...have you considered an Eheim? They are the best in the business and Fosters and Smith (one of our sponsors) has a good price on them. Do change the media weekly...There is much more info on power filters at WWM>   (B) Stock: 2 three stripe damsels (1.5 in) introduced at week two. <No. When your water tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) say the cycling period is over. Could be two weeks, three weeks or even 6 weeks> Stock added in week 10: 1 cleaner shrimp,  1 percula clown (1.5 in), 1 large piece of extremely porous rock (12in X 6in X 6in) was added.  Unfortunately I did not ask what type of rock - but it was purchased from LFS with good review from local (unbiased?) aquarium clubs.  Description of rock: extremely porous, beige, and crumbles if mishandled- should I be concerned about what type of rock this is?.   <Sounds like tufa. The first marine tank I had included this rock. It will become a detritus trap which will cause high nutrients and grow Cyanobacteria like you won't believe. It will also slowly dissolve over the years> Stock added in week 11: 5 Turbo snails. <Okay> (C) Current water conditions: Ammonia (NH3) - between .016 and .019 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 5 ppm, Phosphate 0.2 ppm.   <You need 0 (that's zero) ammonia for a week or more before adding anything living to the tank> Following a successful nitrogen cycle <If you still have ammonia the cycle probably isn't over!> the diatom bloom lasted about a week (week 8) <OHHH...week 8....Let me back up a moment...Remember how I felt about power filters on a marine tank? You may not have enough filtration. The ammonia could easily come from not enough filtration, no live rock, etc.> and there is now a slow steady growth of diatom and I have noticed a couple of minute areas of purple algae (coralline?). <Possible but not likely if you're showing ammonia> I believe the following items are/have contributed to the Ammonia level: addition of new stock <and lack of adequate filtration> "over cleaning" of top 1 inch of substrate, <Possible...how many inches of substrate do you have? You need either less than 1/2 inch or more than 4> collection of detritus in bottom 1 inch of substrate.  How should I clean this current substrate? <With a cheapy Python vaccum nozzle and hose from your local LFS.> (D) Planned changes to tank & equipment: Add skimmer (CPR BakPak2), <Good> replace substrate with 1/2 inch deep 2.0mm sand. <Great!> What type of sand has good performance?   <If your going for 4+ inches, sugar sized. If you're doing less than 1/2 inch, it won't matter that much> Can I place the sand directly on the bottom or should I have a plenum? <_Place it on the bottom> (E) Planned stock additions: remove 2 damsels, add 1 Flame Angel, add 1 sea cucumber <These guys can die and release toxins into the tank that can take out all of your livestock. I would leave this one out> add 1 puffer (if less than 3 in. full grown).   <You mean one of the Canthigaster genus? Okay but they're not really that hardy. Be sure you get the right genus. The others get way too big for your tank> Will 1 percula clown, 1 flame angel, 1 puffer, 1 sea cucumber, and 5 turbo snails be an excessive bio load? <I'd leave out the flame angel (they need consistently high quality water) and the cucumber and substitute a hardy fish that will stay small. > Thanks for your help. < You're more than welcome! Hope I've helped! David Dowless>

Dosing 2 part Kent Marine Hi gang, what's shaking? <Nothing much...hanging out on a Saturday night in Vegas answering questions!> I'm just a little unsure about dosing the 2 part Kent Tech CB supplements. My level of Ca is 470 and my dKH reading is 13. <You're not far off track. But I hasten to add that high calcium dn high alkalinity is usually mutually exclusive. That means it is really difficult to get both of them really high. One usually stays somewhat depressed. There is a fabulous article about the relationship between calcium and alkalinity written by Anthony Calfo. This article can be found at Wetwebmedia.com Check at the bottom of the homepage under "New articles."> Both a touch high maybe. What I'm wondering is, if levels are where you want, add neither supplement? <There is a protocol outlined in the article above that will explain what the procedure is for adding the right amount of supplement> Do I monitor readings and just add whichever (part A or B) is needed? <See note above> Or do you always add both and they balance themselves out? <See the note above> BTW my Ca readings of my mixed fresh saltwater (IO) is close to 500. Is that normal? <It sounds very high...Almost impossibly high. I would try a new test kit> It does keep my readings high. All I have in my 55g is 60 lbs of LR. thanks so much for your response.. Justaguy. <You are certainly welcome Justaguy. David Dowless>

New Rock, Cloudy Tank We have a 75 gal. tank that has live rock and about 13 damsels... when we added the last bit of live rock within about 48 hours the tank became VERY cloudy and you can't see anything...we have filters and protein skimmer. I am not sure what we can do next... <Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, and check your pH.  If you test for ammonia and nitrites, perform water changes to keep it in check. More than likely a algae bloom from excess nutrient and perhaps dying organisms from the rock.  If this rock wasn't cured remove it to a separate container and cure it there.  See WetWebMedia.com for info on curing live rock.  Craig>

Water Clarity Attn: Scott, Good day, Frank here again, I am wondering that my tank is not as clear as those tank like (www.bioreef.com) as those tank using R&O and Marine Tank Clarifier. Is Marine Tank Clarifier (Coralife) safe to use it. <Well- I usually do not use these types of products. I'd personally rather utilize mechanical means (filter pads or "bags" to catch detritus or other things that are clouding the water. Also, do try to find what is causing the lack of clarity in the water and attempt to correct it!> If my tank with activated carbon, silicate remover, phosphate remover with usage of tap water (but not direct to my tank as I have water purifier system ( for commercial housing which is 3 feet tall - consist of activated carbon, fine silica sand and lastly coarse silica sand)  do you think my tank able to as clear as (www.bioreef.com) tanks. Is it a must to use Marine Tank Clarifier to have crystal clear water in my tank. <Certainly not necessary to use such products to clarify water. Again, I recommend mechanical means, plus good water management (regular water changes, etc.)> Hope not to much confusing...thank you for upcoming advise. Frank <A pleasure-good luck to you, my friend! Regards, Scott F.>

Bacterial Bloom Hi About 3 months ago, my rather tall tank had a bacterial bloom (2.5' deep) total volume is 50G.  I had 2 powerheads for circulation and a skimmer.  Because it's a seahorse tank flow had to be kept to a minimum...  So a few people put it down to a bacterial bloom due to lack of oxygen (low flow).   <it just happens sometimes too> It also has a DSB and 15 pounds of LR. <very good... although a little more rock would be nice and a fishless refugium for the seahorses is critical for plankton> I added a canister filter a couple of months ago with a prefilter that reaches the bottom so there's some flow down there.  Also, an air driven uplift, which is basically a piece of PVC pipe with a wooden airstone.  The skimmer will be hooked back up today.  I'm also wanting to remove the DSB, bring it back down to 5cm or so..  which I will do gradually over a month or so. <leave the DSB in for the natural plankton and nitrate reduction for the seahorses. Deeper the better as you may have noticed at successful public aquaria breeding seahorses> Please let me know how my new setup sounds. Thanks, Simone <all fine except leave the DSB in... best regards, Anthony>

Cloudy Water Hi, I've been reading your Q/A section and can't find a problem like mine. I've set up a 280 gal saltwater mainly fish only and (grazers, etc.) It's been running for about two months now and within 3 days the water has become extremely cloudy. Chemistry all reads very good. Nitrates, Ammonia, etc., all good. Fish are feeding and behaving well. The tank is located in a restaurant. I'm using beach sand (Port Arransas, Texas) as a substrate and limestone boulders for cover. I don't understand how the tank could crash like that. In desperation I did a fifty gallon water change 3 days in a row. Only to return the following day to no improvement. Do you think this is a dissolved organic material problem or could the beach sand be the culprit. Thanks for all your information it has been extremely helpful.  Thanks Rob <the local beach sand is dangerous... but more for fear of contamination and pathogens, not bacterial blooms or particulates. We need to figure out the source of the cloudiness with a fast experiment. Take a glass of cloudy water out and set it aside for 12-18 hours. If the cloudiness is organic it will stay cloudy most likely. If it is particulate it will settle clear. If its particulate... simply add a polishing foam block to the sump or a Marineland HOT magnum filter with a diatom cartridge. If the bloom is organic, you'll want a UV sterilizer... expensive (100-200 dollars) but a fine investment for a commercially displayed aquarium. Ozone through a skimmer would probably be the best solution overall. Best regards, Anthony.

Water Chemistry I have a 125g tank with 185 pounds of live rock. I was just wondering about the levels in my tank. Temp is 82, PH 8.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5,Phosphate 0, Iron 0, GH >200, KH 190, Calcium 600, Salinity 1.020. Should I worry about any of these levels and how should they be adjusted if necessary? Thanks, Ian Roff <Your Calcium reading is inaccurate... I just might be able to guess your test kit too. It is very difficult (and dangerous!) to saturate Ca above 450ppm. Almost impossible to go over 500ppm actually without wiping out the tank. Misreadings from hobbyist grade test kits are common. Try a different brand of kit... Hach for top shelf or Aquarium Systems for affordable. Your Alkalinity (KH) is too low but this could be caused by a higher actual calcium (over 400ppm which is causing the misreading on the high end of the kit anyway). Target 8-12 dKH Alk and 350-425 ppm Ca. All else is fine. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Bio Balls/PH (hydrometer, water quality) <<Hi > The tank is a reef tank, 75 gallons, two refugiums, and 80-90 lbs live rock. My nitrates according to my test kit are 0. I test my top off water and buffer to 8.3. I also test the salt mix and buffer to 8.3 if needed for water changes, yet it still drops off to 8.0 every morning. Even after 20% water changes the ph still is around 8.0 before the lights come on the next day. I feed moderately once a day with either flakes (formula 1 and 2) or a 1/2" x 1/2" cube of frozen food I made from Sanjays recipe. I have just recently developed a slight cyano problem in one small area of my tank. I also purchased a Tropic Marine hydrometer and found my salinity to be 1.028 and slowly lowered it to 1.025. My plastic hydrometer was way off matched against the TM hydrometer and another plastic hydrometer. My alk is in the 4.12 range every morning and jumps to 4.65 after adding b-ionic, yet will be a little above 4 the next morning. Does anything stand out that I am doing wrong? Would Kalk be the answer or would I be better off adding commercial buffers to bring the ph up? I am worrying about nothing? <<Yep, totally normal to have depressed pH in the AM before lights. Test at night before they go off to feel better. Using alk is normal, especially with calcium lovers and higher calcium levels. Not to worry as long as you keep it in the range it's in now. You can dose Kalk at night and it does stabilize pH. Use carefully according to directions, drip very slowly and test pH (not a problem with that, hey?) Sounds like you are doing just fine! No worries, Craig>>

Amphiprion ocellaris and ph/dKH/calcium Hello all, hope this finds you well. Hi Don, 1) I currently have one Amphiprion ocellaris in quarantine, 12 days now. It is fairly small (I think) at about 0.75". I have noticed the last few days that the black stripe on its dorsal is quite faint almost gray/white. Did not really notice this before but it may have been this way from day one. Other that this, this little fishy is quite active and just as much fun to watch as I have read about. It eats well and the water chemistry is 0 ammonia 0.25 ppm nitrite 0 nitrate and 8.0 pH, temp steady at 80F. I have no lighting on the QT except natural east lighting that is about 8' from the QT. Is this faded coloring a 'stage' or a concern? <Hard to say. It could be his coloration or perhaps some stress from QT? I would keep an eye out for any change. He doesn't have much longer if all stays well.>  2) In the 75G reef (about 7mo old) I seem to be having a problem with pH/dKH/Calc. The tank is 48x18x18 with 3" sand bed, 90# rock, Remora skimmer, 1000GPH flow via powerheads and 330W PC lighting. Temp is steady at 80F Salinity at 1.024. Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite/Phosphate are all at 0 and I change 10G / week. Magnesium is at 1250 to 1350 with additive. Change water is brought to dKH of 12, Calcium of 400, pH of 8.3, and magnesium of 1300 with additives. Top off water has 1tsp of Baking Soda per gallon added. <I would advise against baking soda. Try using the Seachem marine buffer you have. You will notice on the labeling it is balanced with magnesium, boron, etc. and will raise your carbonate hardness as well as pH of your top off. 12 dKH with only sodium bicarbonate will throw your ionic balance out of whack and result in lowered boron levels.> Current inhabitants are a rock with 14 Actinodiscus (=Discosoma) cardinals (don't know if that is right, still new to this naming thing) A colony of about 20 Parazoanthus sp., and 2 Nemateleotris magnifica. Several Astrea and Cerith snails and 1 Lysmata amboinensis For the last 7 weeks I have been adding Bionic two part additive. I started with 20ml of each part daily (based on label directions) and am now at 45ml of part 1 and 70ml of part 2. I worked up to these rates of 10ml per week. I am using SeaChem marine buffer 3tsp twice weekly. The last 7 or 8 days I have gotten the dKH to stay at 12 +/- .1 which I think is close to what I want. But, over this time, I have not been able to get the pH over 8 - 8.1 (both light on and light off) and calcium over 340-350. I feel that I am using too many additives but can't understand why the pH and calcium are still low and tempted to add more calcium additive. Are these amounts of additive out of line?  <adding more part 2 than part 1 while trying to push the calcium is depressing carbonate/pH. I use B-ionic at the recommended balanced dose and add Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium and Marine Buffer to adjust calcium and carbonate hardness/pH.> I am seeing quite a bit of purple coralline growing on the glass, heater, rock etc. The critters and corals seem happy. For a while two of the mushrooms had a white spot on the tip of the center protrusion when the calcium was near 300. Now that the calcium is somewhat higher the white spots are not gone, but much, much smaller (maybe 0.5mm in diameter). I have read the pH/dKH/Calc FAQs, the section in Anthony's book on the subject, CMA and THOUGHT I understood this relationship (pH/Alk/Calc), but now I wonder. I am trying to stay focused on water chemistry stability. Am I missing something obvious or this just a tank 'center' thing that hasn't will take more time? <The coralline growth is a good sign! Have you determined your usage? If not, adjust and test your water. Add a nominal *equal* dose of B-ionic part 1 & 2 and record the dose. Do this over about five days and test. Determine the difference (usage) over the five days, divide by five, and this is the daily dose. One ML per gallon of part 1 will raise your dkh by 2.07, never to exceed 1 ml per gallon in 24 hours. I would match the part 2 at the same dose. Part 2 dosed at 1 ml per gallon will raise calcium 16ppm, also the max dose. I would be interested in your pH reading 1/2 hour after dosing B-ionic at 1 ml per gallon or maximum dose. I do this and make up any deficiency (additional usage) with Seachem Reef Calcium, Marine Buffer, and sometimes kalkwasser use (see Bionic label). I think the problem is a little thing here and a little thing there. I would try to simplify your additives and concentrate on balance and stability. I had this same adjustment with B-ionic which I thought would do more than it does at the recommended dose. I add the Seachem products to make up the deficit or use Kalk and Marine Buffer as an alternate with no problems. Regular testing will be required for a while until you establish usage and a routine and to monitor any needed increases in dosage. Remember, B-ionic assumes you will maintain lower levels than you are trying for, see the labels. (10.4 dKH) and doesn't mention calcium levels at all but bases dosage on alkalinity and pH. Therefore it's adviceable to use the B-ionic as instructed and increase calcium with Seachem as per test rather than risk throwing the rest of your ionic balance off whack by using less part 1 than part 2. You can also just dose your buffer/carbonate (Seachem) with your top off instead of as a separate dose as it will be part of your total usage calculations.> BTW all testing is done with Salifert kits, I use Instant Ocean, and RO/DI water. please let me know what your pH is after dosing at 1ml/gallon (in the AM before light is best). Hope this helps! Craig

Water issues Hello everyone. <good evening> I have a couple questions about my water. First of all, a little background... I've had big problems with cyano the past few weeks. I have a 72g FO tank with 75 pounds of live rock, 60 pounds of live sand, and an AquaC skimmer that needs to be emptied daily. The tank's in habitants include 2 ocellaris clowns, a gramma, a 4" navarchus angel, and 2 cleaner shrimp. That's it. I don't overfeed (less than 1/4 cube twice daily), and have almost 1000 gph circulation (400 gph from the return, and two powerheads of 300 and 250 gph). Tank is coming up on 6 months old. I originally had a biotower in the sump filled with bioballs, but they have slowly been removed and are now gone with the skimmer receiving raw water from the tank. <good stuff> I do 10-15% weekly water changes faithfully. I really expected my cyano problems to be history with the removal of the bioballs, but that hasn't been the case. They've been gone for over a month now, and my cyano problems are no better. So, I became curious about my water, since I seemed to be covering all the bases to prevent cyano growth. A test for phosphates is about the only test I don't have, so I took a couple water samples to my LFS to get tested. My tank tested at .1, and my pre-mixed/stored saltwater was at .4! I buy my RO water from that same LFS, although after seeing my results they tested their water for phosphates and nothing showed up on that day. I use IO salt and mix/store it according to your recommended protocols. Is there any way phosphates could get into my pre-mixed water or would it have to be coming from the LFS RO water? Also, I've noticed quite a bit of mildew on the interior of the hose at the LFS that dispenses the RO water. Could this be an indicator of anything? I assume it can't be good. Any insight you could offer would be most appreciated, but I assume I just need to start shopping for my own RO system. <Not a bad idea, it sounds like you are doing everything you can to get rid of the Cyano. If there is stuff growing on the interior hose it is probably from nutrients in the water, which should not be there. The phosphates in the water that you are mixing have to be coming from somewhere. The phosphates are lower in your tank because the Cyano is consuming them. Are you running any carbon in your filters? How's your lighting, promoting more beneficial Algae to compete for nutrients may help. Have you checked out our FAQs and articles on Cyano, some good info here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Best Regards, Gage> Thank you, Karen

Water Quality First I would like to say thank you for your site and your book, I refer to them both frequently. <Gage here, I have yet to write a book, but I agree, Bobs book, and this site contain a wealth of information.> If you have the time I would like to ask a couple of questions regarding my water quality. <Plenty of time> The tank has been running for about 6 or 7 months and throughout that time I have upgraded my equipment and tried different methods that I picked up along the way. I finally realized that if I quit messing with the tank and did my regular water changes things would start to even out.<A great idea, it will eventually find a balance> I started my routine of weekly water changes, cleaning the substrate and aquarium glass every week and pretty much let the tank do what it needed to do. I started to get green and red algae on the decor and a little on the substrate. The red algae began to crust over the decor and I thought I was doing pretty good with maintaining my tank. After reading through your site I realized that the Red Algae probably wasn't that good, so I removed one of the pieces of fake rock to clean it and noticed that it smelled really bad (like rotten eggs)<yummy>. The Red Algae came right off using the sink sprayer and underneath there was green algae, which wouldn't come off. I have removed each piece of rock, cleaned them and set them outside for a day. I then put them back in the aquarium so the fish would have some place to hide. The tank water doesn't have a fish smell, but kind of rotten one. I changed about 30 gallons of water, cleaned out the Eheim and stirred up the substrate as well as cut back on my feeding (which I am sure is too much to begin with)<good>. The Remora Pro has been skimming about a quarter of brown stuff a week. I added a longer piece of hose to the skimmer so I could hide the Mag drive behind some rock and have since removed the longer piece of hose and put back the original one that came with the unit. I noticed that the Mag drive was increasing my water temperature a degree or two and thought that if I moved it closer to the top some of the heat would dissipate. The water is relatively clear and my water test have been perfect. Would you have any idea what the smell could be or how I can get rid of it? Specs: 90 Gallon Oceanic Bow Front. Kent Marine RO/DI 60 HS 3-400GPH Power Heads. Aqua C Remora Pro. W/Mag 3 Eheim 2028 Professional II Canister. 1-Emperor 400 Custom Sealife Smartlight (on the way). Buying Cured Live Rock tomorrow to replace the fake stuff.<cool, even though it is sold as "cured", you would be wise to go through the curing process yourself as well http://wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm > Live Stock: 1-Yellow Tang 1-Yellow Eyed Tang 3-Clowns 1-Coral Beauty Angel 5-Green Chromis 2-Cleaner Shrimp Feeding: Varied Diet 2-3 Times a day. Frozen Blood Worms. Frozen Krill Nori Algae Tetra Marine Flakes Tropical Marine A (Hikari) Frozen Shrimp <A few things come to mind here, Check out this link below, see if the part on Anaerobiosis sounds similar to your issue. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm Algae is usually directly related to excess nutrients in the water, you mentioned that your water tests have turned out perfect, what are the numbers that you are getting? You can find some good info on algae control from the links below. http://wetwebmedia.com/algcontbrf.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm  Hope this helps, let us know how it turns out- Gage> Art McKinney

RE: Water Quality After running my skimmer all night <should run the skimmer all the time> and keeping my hands out of the tank the tank seems to smell a little better. I have never had any Green or Red algae before and I would bet that I didn't know what it smelled like. So I might not have a problem at all except for over feeding, which I stopped doing. My water parameters are: PH 8.2 Nitrate:0 Ammonia:0 Salt:2.0 <salt is a little high, 1.022-1.025 would be better. If you bring it down, bring it down slowly so no one gets shocked.>Temp: 77-78. The fish are still eating and acting normal so I hope that the smell was from the algae and not something bad. I will keep you posted if I have any new developments. <keep the skimmer on, keep up on water changes, do not over feed, cure/QT and add the live rock, and you should be in good shape.> Again I want to say thank you for your site and your book, but most importantly for taking the time to answer my email. <knowledge is for sharing, we appreciate your input and letting us help with your trials and tribulations. -Gage>

Precipitate in new tank: let it snow, let it snow, made it snow now I don't know what to do? I have tried searching the site and I cant seem to find what im looking for? is this water wasted already? can I add anything to make the precipitate dissolve? thanks for your help in advance Francis Perez <no worries here, my friend. Once the reaction runs its course, the precipitate is insoluble (practically) and harmless. Simply do another water change (25-50% perhaps) to dilute the imbalance and then resume slow additions of calcium (nightly) and buffer (by day) as necessary to reach targeted levels. Aim for 8-12 dKH and 350-425 ppm Ca. Remember...when in doubt, do a water change: "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution!" Best regards, Anthony>

Saltwater Mix Dear gang, I just read some disturbing evaluations of several synthetic salt mixes. They particularly slammed Instant Ocean and Tropic Marin among others. You all convinced me to stop using sea water. I researched your FAQ's but didn't see recommendations for a particular salt mix. Do you have any? <<Just so happens Instant Ocean and Tropic Marin are the two favorites in our "gang"... so, you'll have to decide if you prefer our experience, or the review you read! Cheers, Zo >>

pH now okay, tank cloudy We were in communication recently about my low Ph problem. Instead of adding the Ph raise that I would have had to experiment with, I bought a much more adequate buffering agent. Worked great. <Okay> New problem, different tank. 30 gal fish only tank. Established March of this year. 10 lbs live sand 10 lbs crushed coral 10 lbs gravel carbon/bio filter protein skimmer 3 floating mangroves <Really?> 4 seahorses aprox. 4 " each brittle star fire shrimp camel shrimp nas. snails turbo snails. All params are good. Temp is good. <Whatever this means> I feed frozen mysis shrimp supplemented with OceanRider Vibrance. One week ago the tank turned cloudy. I have been doing multiple water changes, cleaning the aquarium @ the same time. Changed my carbon twice and started rinsing my shrimp better. Still have a cloudy tank. I had serious algae growth during the summer heat. It seems to me that cloudiness started as soon as the algae stopped.  <Good observation, deduction. Likely so> Question is simple. What should I do? If I should use an additive, what is the best that will not hurt my livestock? I have one pregnant seahorse in this tank (also). <Let time go by, add a live sump, change to live mysids, Gammarids> Thanks for any direction that you point me. Rhonda - Bend, OR <Help me... sorry. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cloudy Water? What a week! New red sea 250 gallon skimmer is up in operation and installed the 36 watt UV system yesterday. The water is still very cloudy as of this morning. The protein skimmer is producing well it seems. Assuming the cloudy water is a result of a bacterial bloom, how long should it take the UV system to take care of it. <A day or two> The pump to the UV system is 320 gph and the max on the UV system is 500 gph. All livestock appear healthy and over two weeks of really cloudy water I have had no losses. <The system will clear... likely soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cloudy Water? (Mmm, water qual., kalk, calcium, circ...) Robert, <still Anthony Calfo here... Bob has yet to return from Indonesia> It is my understanding the reason you drip Kalk at night is because of the ph differential between day and night.  <essentially yes... it tempers the night drop in pH from respiration> I purchased a Ph meter last week,  <an excellent investment!> calibrated it and found that my Ph was around 7.98 to 8.00 (early lights on) I buffered and dripped Kalk until it read 8.20(don't worry over about a day).  <good... but no higher than .2 per day> That has been about 5 days or so and the ph has not varied more than 0.05 (day or night ( I don't sleep much)). Since my Calcium has never been what I consider high (300 to 350) I've been dosing pretty steady to try to get it up to 400 and as you mentioned earlier might be the reason behind some of the cloudy water! I'm so confused. LOL <heehee... yes, the whole Ca/Alk dynamic can be frustrating!> My new protein skimmer has been delayed and won't be here till Friday so I'm thinking about washing out the air stone on the little Berlin and see if I can get it to work until then. <agreed> Good news is I found my bubble problem. I had a network of valves etc off my pump (both on the pressure and suction sides), which facilitated in my water changes (was pretty cool) and replaced with plastic hose. All bubbles gone!!  <awesome!> I might try replacing the pressure side valve assembly so that I might pump water from the sump to the tub for my water changes! That came in real handy. This might sound really basic but when you say "aerated" are you talking about placing a air stone in my water storage or a power head to just move the water around? <simply air bubbles my friend from an air pump. If a water pump is used instead it should be placed on the bottom of the vessel and pointed up at the surface to facilitate gas exchange> I would like to say thanks again for all the help you are providing, it is not going un-noticed. Best Regards, David <it is very redeeming to hear... thank you :) Anthony>

Cloudy Water? Bob, like most I love the website!  <thanks kindly... do tell a friend :) > I am very new to this hobby but am snagged. Below I've tried to describe my tank. I am having a cloudy water problem. If I describe it I would say it is a white haze! This tank is 3-months old and the water has never really been very clear and is starting to annoy me. I know its not a algae bloom (i.e. not green) possibly a bacterial issue but not really sure?  <agreed... particulates or bacterial> I feed sparingly. If I had to guess I would say it was an ammonia spike but the testing does not bear this out?  <hmmm... should show up in tests unless you are using liquid test kits and have used an ammonia neutralizing dechlorinator like Amquel or Ammo-lock (they corrupt some test kit readings)> The glass is clean but there is some calcareous algae that is starting to grow and my scraper is not here yet.  <still a good sign... the corallines growing... not the scraper not showing up :p > I did have a 90 gallon Berlin protein skimmer running but pulled it about 4 days ago and have a Red sea Berlin turbo classic on the way(250 gallon) (the air stone was getting plugged).  <if the skimmer produces dark skimmate daily or almost so, no worries here... else a point for improvement. Very important> All of the livestock appear healthy, eating and swimming about. No parasites that I can see. No mechanical filtration but some filter media as shown in photos which I have attached. I'm doing a 30 gallon water change every two weeks even though the water parameters are all good. I purchased some Kent Marine Pro-clear and was no help.  <Hmm... that would indicate that the haze is not inorganic/particulate> I'm ready to beg, plead, pay whatever to get my water clean.  <just send beer... we'll take care of the rest. Bob's not picky... I like Sam Adams...Ha!> Any thoughts?  <yes... Guinness is good too> Further I am having some bubble problems from the return from the sump. <yes...micro bubbles... quite annoying.> The sump is pretty clear of bubbles but somewhere during the return bubbles are forming.  <excellent observation... an indication of pinhole aspiration after the pump> I re-glued the joints on the suction side of the pump and just placed flexible hosing on the pressure side thinking all the L-joints might be causing some problems. Any thoughts here? <you are correct... that is where the problem is. Despite re-gluing... the leak is likely still there. The trick to finding it is to systematically smear Vaseline on each joint one by one and wait 15-30 minutes in between to see which one is the culprit. Clean the Vaseline off and then address once found> Tank is about 3-months old 180-gallon tank with 38-gallon sump 2.3 watts / gallon of VHO lighting (280 watts full; 140 watts actinic) (need and want more) 6x per hour of water flow 500 gallon Venturi skimmer (on the way) 140 lbs of base rock 40 lbs of live rock (more on its way) 120 lbs of crushed coral sand (#3) Water Quality: Ph 8.2 Alkalinity 12.6 dKH Ammonia 0.25 ppm Nitrite 0.00 ppm Nitrate 0.00 ppm Calcium 350 meq/l Specific Gravity 1.204 Phosphate Low Temp range 77 to 81 <all good as above> Additives Dose Kalk as needed Kent marine superbuffer Kent marine Strontium and Molybdenum as needed Iodine as needed <Hmm... I'm wondering if you aren't dosing Ca or Alk too fast... not too much but in too concentrated of a slurry/too fast. Dilute your applications to see> Livestock 3 Domino Damsels 1 Yellow Tang 1 Maroon Clown 1 Sand-sifting Star 7 Conchs 50 Astrea snails 50 Blue leg and other Hermit crabs <Very interesting... to be honest. Hazes are usually easy to cure but no aspect of your husbandry stands out as deficient. Although an expensive solution, if you had any inclination to get a UV or ozonizer... this would do the trick. If not, I would focus on making the skimmer work to the max (one cup daily minimum and must be dark... not tea like). Extra iodine with caution may help too by spiking Redox. Do let us know what works for you. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Cloudy Water? Robert, beer is on the way! <Ha! I love this country!> What makes you have a suspicion of me dosing Ca or Alk too fast?  <the fact that there aren't too many things to cause a white haze... a possible carbonate precipitation was a thought if Kalk was going in too fast (AKA Snowstorm)> I use RO/DI water for dosing and make up water, as needed,  <you do aerate this water first correct?> no "ammonia neutralizing dechlorinator".  <very good> I do have plenty of inclination to purchase a UV system the question is, will my wife. LOL  <understood <VBG>> How do I know how much iodine is too much?  <good question... basically: no big increases in dose... just a slight weekly increase and when brown diatom algae suddenly grows faster than normal, you have crossed the threshold for the system at that time> On sizing a UV system would a smaller system work (i.e. cheaper/less wattage) but just take longer or is it necessary to purchase a system to fit the tank.  <they are all so relatively expensive that I would recommend investing in the right or higher rated system> I feel (short on experience)  <no worries... I'm just plain short> that you would only need to run a UV system during bacterial blooms of this nature so that the immune response of the animals that live in my tank are not compromised. <little concern about compromising fish immunity, but on the same token, a UV really should not be necessary. Just a thought. The aggressive protein skimming is the real key. It must produce coffee dark skimmate every day! NO such thing in a fish tank as low nutrient systems unless you are actually doing daily water changes AND skimming hard. Even then it is a stretch. All skimmers should produce daily>> Thanks in advance. Regards, David <best regards, Anthony>

Water Quality Hello Anthony, Here I go again asking for help. <no worries... our pleasure> The story of my tank is the same since 3 months ago. Every fish I tried to introduce to the tank is death 4 or 5 days later with no clear reason with the exception of the Yellow Watchman goby that has already two months in the tank. Soft corals are great, two shrimps, hermit crabs, snails, ... <tragic> Last time when I tried to introduce a yellow tang, my son start crying and when I came back to the tank, the fish was already in there and the bag water mixed with the tank. And know my last survivor, a percula clown fish looks very bad and I think is going to die very soon because of the water mix. <how terrible... I am so sorry to hear it> I feel very bad and angry at the same time. I am going to take some water to the aquarium store to check the quality. Can you suggest some special parameter that I should ask them to perform. <actually... if the basic values we so bad that fish dies so quickly, the invertebrates would suffer too. It may be that a toxin has gotten into the water that effects the fishes but not the corals. Do test for the basics (ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate)... but more importantly, do a few large and gentle water changes and continue to use a lot of good chemical filter media like carbon and especially Poly Filters (ion exchange resin). Chemi-pure filter bags are quite good too> Now that the tank is almost empty, is there a way to clean the environment without affecting the soft corals and inverts? <as per above. This cannot be a disease for how fast it is working... there is something amiss with the water quality> I have done mistakes and I would like to start it over again. Thank you very much, Rodrigo. <since the invertebrates are still fine, I am reassured that this can be easily corrected with improved water quality. It may be interesting to set up a small separate quarantine tank without tank water to see if a small fish lives there to determine if the problem is the source water, or something in the house air, or just the one tank poisoned. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Water Quality Hello Anthony, Thank you very much for your help. <very welcome> Like you say, maybe is a toxin that affects fishes and not coral but the Yellow watch goby looks very well right now. He is the only guy that could survive the first week and the next two months. <indeed.. the bottom dwellers are often more tolerant by virtue of the niche that they have evolved to live in (amongst the sediments)> I am going to do the large and gentle water changes and use the carbon, poly and chemi-pure bags. How many water changes do you suggest me and how much water in each?  <maybe 3--50% two to three times in 2 weeks to be conservative> Can I do a 80% water change?  <yes... it is more effective for this purpose but it must be conducted precisely (adjust temp, pH and salinity very close to match old water)> The live rock and corals high is like 60% of the tank high, so my question is if can I leave the live rock and soft corals without water while changing the water? <yes... but keep the lights off, and maybe put the corals low in the tank temporarily while the aquarium is refilling (keep them wet/submerged)> Do you think the light could be flashing and I am not detecting at naked eye and the Yellow watch goby does not care because he is in his cave a lot of time and this stress the fish? Or maybe too much light stress the fish?  <very unlikely> The light are on 12 hours a day. <very fine> I understand what you say that the problem should be easily corrected improving water quality, I am just trying to find extra factors. <understood and agreed to be thorough> I really appreciate all your help. Thank you very much. Rodrigo. <with kind regards, Anthony>

RE: Green water Thank you Steven for the fast reply. I'd have gotten back to you sooner but my children got sick and I had to care for them. <I understand. We just had our first little one about 5 1/2 months ago.> I did my bi weekly testing and still have the same problem that I had when this all started, high nitrates. I've never had a problem with this in the past, just phosphate, which I removed with a Polyfilter before I would do my water changes. I tested my tap water, which is what I would use to make my water change and top off water with and it is reading the same nitrate level. <Unfortunate> An RO/DI unit is in the budget for the future, but I can not do it right now. I believe that the nitrates are the problem and know that getting an RO unit will most likely solve my problem. <Agreed> I've been trying to maybe investigate the filters that you can attach to the faucet, but none so far have specifically listed being able to remove nitrates or phosphates. <Most are designed with taste in mind and are not a good option for aquariums.> If you can recommend a temporary solution until I can get an RO unit in about a month I would appreciate it. <I would look at prices for Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tapwater Purifier. One should not cost that much, but will only be good for processing about 50 gallons of water, IME.> Thank you for all you help, Dela <You are welcome. Good luck! -Steven Pro>

milky water question not answered here... Hey guys. <<And hello to you, JasonC here...>> This site is the coolest thing I've ever seen. <<Glad you enjoy it.>> Anyway, my problem. I am starting up a 125 (sold as a 125, but if you do the math, it actually only holds 110....how about that?) So I am doing what I am supposed to do and then some, or so I thought. I am fairly sure I have the same problem as another writer who didn't wash his substrate and got "milk." I didn't wash mine very well...120 lbs, and I only spent an hour total on the rinse and add procedure. So, my bad. <<Rather than rub it in, I'll quickly mention that some substrates, like the popular Southdown sand really can't be rinsed - the particles are too fine. But if your substrate is 1-2mm granules or larger... then, well...>> My problem now is what to do with it. If I have all my filters and skimmer and heads and all that jazz going, how will the dust ever settle? <<So don't run all the jazz, just enough to get water circulating and perhaps the skimmer as well. I would also consider running a magnum canister filter or similar device which would allow you to filter out the fine particulates.>> Oh, and do I need more than 2x36 inch Coralife 20000K fluorescents to have LR? <<The live rock should be fine with this.>> The tank is 20 inches deep. Thanks for all you do. Matt Kraick <<Cheers, J -- >>

water testing Bob, I am looking for a place that can do water testing for us. Not the normal chemistry mind you, but the nitty gritty stuff. Do you know of any labs that can provide the following: (Sorry for the bad spelling) Bacteria counts including: Vibrio, pseudomonas, Mycobacterium etc... Protozoan counts including: Cryptocaryon irritans, Uronema marinum, Brooklynella hostilis. Dinoflagellates including Amyloodinium ocellatum <Mmm, do know where I'd start looking... Call your local Water District (name, number on your water bill) and ask them re a Quality Assurance, Bio. lab source... and Tim Hovanec of Aquaria Inc. (Marineland)(do you need their number?) as to where he got his gear, has theirs done. In the longer haul, I would definitely build out a small facility and do your own... saves time and organisms aplenty! Bob Fenner, just back in the U.S.> You da man!, Scott Scott D. Cohen Sea Dwelling Creatures, Inc.

Water Quality parameters I recently purchased a LaMotte test kit and had some questions regarding water quality. I was referred to your organization by LaMotte company. I am looking for information relating to water quality standards. What are the currant trends a values for various testes. I am also looking for information about maintain good water quality in my marine aquarium. If you have articles please let me know how I may buy this information. Any assistance or direction will be greatly appreciated. Thank You Thomas Garnett

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