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Old 06-08-2006, 07:14 PM   #1
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Ammonia/Nitrate spike after adding first coral?

I have a 20 gallon set up with 2 filters, an aquaclear 30 powerhead, a prizm protein skimmer, 2 24" atinic lights and 2 24" ocean sun lights, all flourecent, 35 pounds of LR, a percula and a cleaner shrimp. Two days ago I decided I was finally ready to add some coral to my tank (all levels at 0, pH 8.2, sp gr. 1.024), and I chose green starburst coral (Pachyclavularia) as I was told it was an easy coral to add. I also bought a turbo snail at the same time. I placed both things into my aquarium, and the next day (yesterday) the polyps were all open and looked great, and the snail was removing all the algae on my tank walls. Last night I fed my fish and shrimp mysis shrimp and then added the recommened amount of Kent Marine micro-vert to feed the coral. Today I got home from work and my coral was all closed up. I tested ammonia and it had jumped to 4! My nitrate jumped though the roof too!!! I immediately did a 10% water change, but I don't know what caused this spike, and I don't know a quick way to bring the levels back down so I don't kill my livestock. Any advice as to why this happened and what to do would be very nice. I plan on doing PWCs everyday, but is there anything else I should be doing/should have avoided?
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:42 PM   #2
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how did you acclimate them?
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:49 PM   #3
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
My guess is it was to food. Over-feeding and the use of filter-feeding foods can degrade water quality very quickly, especially in small or new tanks. How often are you feeding? How much? How old is the tank? Here is some info on GSP...
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...cfm?pCatId=738
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:26 PM   #4
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My tank is about 3 monthes old, completly cycled with liverock before any livestock added. I feed my clown mysis shrimp (i pour in a little at a time from a frozen cube until he loses interest), but i've been doing this for awhile, and the ammonia/nitrate hasn't changed at all. I feed the coral the microvert stuff just once, that was yesterday, and the bottle I got said to put in 1 capful for a 55 gallon tank, so i put in less than half a capfull. I drip acclimated them (floated the bag for 15, than added my water slowly for about an hour). I just read elsewhere that this type of coral doesn't need food, just light. Is this right? Should I be worried about my shrimp/snail/clownfish/hermit crabs (i have 10 of those, little blue legged and red legged ones, forgot to mention that)? Thanks for the welcome, I was way overdue for joining a forum like this.
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:31 PM   #5
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Those liquid foods are notorious for causing water quality issues. The lighting you have should be sufficient as well as any leftovers from feeding the fish. Corals do not add to the bioload per se and just the addition of the coral would not have caused a nitrate spike. You do need to do water changes daily until this problem is fixed. Be sure that the water temp, ph are the same and that the mixed water is well aerated and aged.( another words, right after doing one, prepare the next days batch)

Make sure that all your inverts are accounted for. A dead snail can do what you are describing rather quickly.
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
I feed my clown mysis shrimp (i pour in a little at a time from a frozen cube until he loses interest),
Make sure you thaw and rinse the mysis in good qualtiy tap or RO/DI water pror to feeding the tank. The juice made when thawed is nasty stuff. Cut feedins back to once very two or three days (no, your fish will not starve).
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I just read elsewhere that this type of coral doesn't need food, just light. Is this right?
This coral will receive most of its energy from light. Has it opened yet? I would only feed the Kent's once a week or less.
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Should I be worried about my shrimp/snail/clownfish/hermit crabs (i have 10 of those, little blue legged and red legged ones, forgot to mention that)?
High NO3 can be harmful on inverts, especially if they are expossed to it long-term. Regular water changes should help correct the problem.
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:54 PM   #7
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just wanted to thank everyone for the quick responces, all very helpful. After water change # 1 and addition of a little cycle (the bacteria in a bottle), my ammoina and nitrates have gone down significantly. The coral that was brilliantly open yesterday is still compleltly shut, is it possible that they died/are dying? I just got this coral two days ago, and was really hoping it would eventually spread in the tank...

also, i have been only feeding the fish every 2 days, and i also thaw the mysis in DI water, which is also what i use for all of my water changes (nice to also work in a lab with lots of free DI water...)
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:50 AM   #8
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The coral that was brilliantly open yesterday is still compleltly shut, is it possible that they died/are dying?
This is normal for newly introduced corals. Also normal after doing water changes or if there are changes in water parameters. Give it some time.

Nice to see another Minnesotan here. I get up to Duluth a lot on my way to the shore. Any good fish stores I should check out?
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:48 AM   #9
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There's one up here called World of Fish that has lots of good stuff, but they're pretty pricey. The one I like to go to is called Aquahut, and its in Superior Wisconsin, just across the bridge from here. They don't have the biggest saltwater selection (lots of freshwater), but they have awesome live rock, and really good looking healthy livestock at a reasonable price. That's where this coral I just got came from.
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