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Old 03-07-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
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55 Gal. restoration plan

My mother has a 55 gal FOWLR and it's in some bad shape. I want to help her out but I want to make sure the plan I have drafted won't cause too much stress.

Here's the problem: Her tank parameters are waaaaaay off, she has two fish with ich, has inadequate filtration (no skimmer and only 15-20lbs LR), and the tank is overcrowded (2 ft long honeycomb eel, 6 in porcupine puffer, 4 in niger trigger, 5 in yellow tang, and a long tentacled anemone, an orange linkia starfish and a chocolate chip starfish. This tank was originally setup by a LFS and has been maintained by them monthly and they pretty much just suck. The tank is approx. 18 months old and covered in hair algae. Her water params are:
ammonia: 1.0
nitrite: >1.0
nitrates: 140-150ish (had to dilute the sample down to 1.25ml tank water, 3.75 ml distilled solution to get a reading)
ph: 7.4
alk: 4.2 dKh
phos: 2.0

My plan of action is to have her get rid of the eel for starters and try to convince her to get rid of the anemone, then I'm going to replace the current substrate with some fresh aragonite sand (she has crushed coral atm and its filthy.) Then I'm going to scrub down her live rock in a bucket of tank water because it's covered in gunk and hair algae. While doing this is was planning to do a 50% water change and I also plan to remove her 2 star fish and set them up in my 10 gal QT.

After the initial clean up, I'm going to begin a 4 week treatment of hyposalinty in the DT (that's why I'm moving the starfish and anemone out.) to get rid of her ich problem. We are also going to add a bak pak skimmer (no sump), an additional 20 lbs of already cured LR and run a generous amount of phossorb to try and get a handle on the phos. I also told her to reduce feedings. She was feeding the tank 5-7 feeder fish a day! Now she is only going to feed some frozen and occasionally some live food every other day (I also told her the puffer needs some crunchy food like snails to stay healthy.)

What do you all think of my initial action plan? Does it look like too much or am I on the right track?

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Old 03-07-2010, 12:36 PM   #2
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I'd say you are definitely on the right track, it's just going to be a lot of work. Make sure that the tank(s) you keep the nem and sea star in will be able to accommodate them for a long time because this sounds like no overnight job. Definitely scrub the rocks down, that's a good idea, and i totally agree with the eradication of the crushed coral. My guess is that it's lack of cleaning is also adding to the high nitrates. I'm sure it's not what's causing all of it, but i guarantee it's not helping.

You're definitely going to need to need to tell her that some fish will be going. You can't keep all of those fish and expect something like this to not occur once again.

The eel needs to go because that tank is way to small. They get to be about 70 inches in captivity and need a 180G tank or larger. The trigger can stay, but the yellow tang also needs to go. That tank is way too small for the yellow tang. You could try something like a Kole tang which may be better suited for a 55G tank.

Good Luck and keep us updated!

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Old 03-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the assurance Zero. My mother listed the eel on craigslist to try and get rid of him. If she can sell it then were going to go through with the tank overhaul. Its wait and see for now I guess.
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55 gallon

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