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Old 08-04-2011, 04:04 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Ich, Cyanobacteria, low pH

Hi all,
I am new to this site, and am new to reefing in general. My husband and I started into the hobby about 6 months ago, and we are starting to have some trouble with the tank. We started out slowly, and finally got all the fish we wanted in the tank. We had a cleaner shrimp, a blood shrimp, a purple firefish, coral beauty, royal gramma, solar wrasse, 2 black clownfish, a watchman goby (and pistol shrimp) a marine betta, a yellow tang, and a powder brown tang. The tangs were just added about 3 weeks ago.

Everything was going well until we added the tangs.

Shortly after we added the tangs, the powder brown broke out with a pretty bad case of ich. He was still fine, but then our royal gramma died. The tang made it about 2 weeks, and died, even though he was eating. We just had a clownfish also die, after we had tried a fresh water bath with him (4 minutes).

I started thinking it wasn't just ich killing them, so I took the water to get tested, and my pH is 7.44! No wonder everyone is stressed out and dying! Did I mention we have a wicked case of cyanobacteria too (even though we use only R/O water in the tank).

We have been doing 10% water changes every week, and now we are doing two every week to try to keep up with the CB. We have also started to feed less, and decreased our lighting to about 9 hours a day.

Anyone else have this happen, or know what to do with this combo of problems? We really love the hobby, and I just hope this is something that we can fix without having to start over! As I said, we are very new at this (only 6 months in), and it would be so great to get some advice from some seasoned veterans on this matter!


Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:07 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. We are glad you found us here at AA.

Since you asked some questions I`m moving this to the SW general discussion. You`ll get more answers there.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:10 PM   #3
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welcome to the forum, sorry it's on such bad circumstances....

How big is your tank? Do you have enough water aeration, that can raise your ph naturally so you dont have to use chemicals. Also, is it a closed top system or are you running open top?

I would get my own test kit, such as the API liquid kit, the saltwater master kit has everything you need in it. The strip testers arent very accurate and are quite expensive when you add them up.
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I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:15 PM   #4
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I have a 90 gallon tank, 30 gallon sump. I just started to try today to get some aeration by aiming my powerheads upward and opening my glass top. How long does it usually take to get the pH normal again that way? I also use a buffer (Reef Builder) 3 times a week. The fish store here will test my water for me for free any time I want, but it might be nice to get my own kit since I might have to test often in the near future.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:23 PM   #5
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I definitely would invest the $25 on your own kit, it will save you some heartache and trouble if and when things go kinda screwy. Thats the first thing people will ask on here is for your water parameters.

I'd be interested in your nitrate and phosphate levels, they can cause algae to grow. You're in the right direction with more water changes and lessening your lighting schedule. Excess nutrients can also be caused by overfeeding, especially flake food and frozen cubes. You are supposed to defrost the frozen cubes in ro water then strain it then add it. Lots of hassle but it might help.

Do you have a skimmer in your sump? That can also skim out excess organics and waste.

How many powerheads and how much flow do you have? Do you have good air circulation in your house? I have low ph due to my house always being closed up with the air on all year.

Seems like alot of questions but I figured I'd ask them so everyone can see what youre working with lol
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:42 PM   #6
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The more info the better, I think!
I put all my stats on my profile, but have still not figured out how to make things show up under my posts.
My nitrates are trace, and i am not sure about phosphates, but when my water was tested today, he said all of my other numbers were fine. I know CB eats nitrates though, so it is hard to tell what the actual number would be if it wasn't there.
We feed about half a cube of mysis twice per day (thawed in a very small amount of tank water), and the tang gets a bit of seaweed 3 times a week. I can try the R/O instead of tank water, and then strain it.
I have a skimmer (Reef Octopus 150), and 2 powerheads running about 1650gph each.
Not sure how the house is for air circulation, but we have a new house with an air circulator that is on all the time. Could I put a fan pointed at the sump at night to help with air flow? I heard that also helps with temperature fluxuations as well.
I will make sure next time to post the water parameters since I know those are very important, and the only real way to diagnose a problem.
PS, I read your post about the tang, selection, and the Powder Brown is awesome! i am really sad he died, and want another one one day (when we clear up all of these problems). You should check them out.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:50 PM   #7
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The way i found out about my house circulation was very nifty. You can give it try. You take some tank water and put it into a separate container and stick an air stone in it for about an hour. Keep it inside your house, if it goes up then its the water circulation in your tank. if it doesn't, then you take another water sample and put it outside on your porch maybe with the airstone going for an hour. In my case the outside water ph went up but not my inside test.

I have 2 1600 gph Koralia powerheads going and a 1200gph return flow so it wasnt that for me, just the inside air isnt flowing enough.

I felt like mr. science doing the experiments but it was quite interesting. lol

I've been debating what tang to get, I had a horrible plague hit my tank that a caribeaan blue tang brought in, it killed off my kole tang as well as 5 other fish. :-( I just wanna add one more tang I think, lol, leaning towards the blue but might go for a naso. I've heard the browns were agressive though I think, you didnt have any issues with those fish in your tank?
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:55 PM   #8
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The powder brown we had was very nice. He got along with everyone, even the yellow tang! The only issue we had was the ich infestation, and I read that they are very prone to it. We have never tried to keep tangs before, so I am not surprised this happened, but if you are used to keeping them, they are so nice!
Thanks for your advice, I will try some of these things, and see what happens. I guess I am not the only one who has lost half her fish suddenly, and then bounced back from it
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:00 PM   #9
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Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

Tangs are very prone to ich to begin with, I'm really glad that isnt what got in my tank, but to this day I have no idea what it was that took out the fish. :-( Kinda stinks not knowing, but the ones that survived are all fine thankfully. The new tang will be the first fish I stock since the incident. I hope all goes well.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:22 PM   #10
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If the tangs were added 3 weeks ago, you are not done with ich. If you don't plan on adding anymore fish, and the ones in there don't get anymore outbreaks then you may be okay not to remove them and quarantine, otherwise, if you plan on adding more fish, you will need to eliminate the ich from the system so you don't get outbreaks and fish deaths everytime something goes mildly wrong in the tank. Read up on ich and the lifecycle if you haven't so you know what you are in for if that is what everyone had. Most of all....Good Luck!! That sounds like an awesome tank.
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