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Old 02-12-2006, 11:06 PM   #1
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Specific Gravity too high

I have a 100 gallon saltwater tank that has been set up and working for a little over a month now. I have a wet/dry filter with a protein skimmer, live rock and live sand, a humu humu trigger fish, a dog face puffer, 2 blue damsels and a maroon clownfish. For some reason my specific gravity keeps going to 1.029 and 1.030. The ammonia level is 0, Nitrate and Nitrites are good, PH is 7.8. I have done a 5% water change with distilled water and R/O water and after a few days the salinity goes back up to 1.029. What other ways of lowering the SG can be done? I need to do a water change but am fearful by adding the salt it will continue to rise. Any suggestions on what to do with the SG? Also any suggestions on raising the ph level? I have previously added PH Buffer and PH level still sits at 7.8. This is new to me and need advise quickly so I can make sure I don't lose the fish I have.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:21 PM   #2
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Are you topping off water that has evaporated in your sump (wet/dry) with distilled water (salt free)?

On a side note, how long has your tank been completely cycled? And you may want to buffer your pH a little and get it up between the 8.1-8.4 range...
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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Specific Gravity too high

I have been topping off the evaporated water with Reverse Osmosis water. I have also already added a PH Buffer that was enough to treat a 250 gallon tank. The tank has been cycled about a month now.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:39 PM   #4
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oops sorry, I didn't see the part in your initial post where you said you tried to buffer your pH. Are you gradually adding a buffer to attain the proper level?

Hmmm. Are you premixing your saltwater well in advance of making your water changes?

I'd just use water changes with lower SG to gradually bring it down. Are you doing just fish only? If so, you can keep your SG at around 1.018.

Also, when were each of the fish introduced to your system? Did you cycle with fish or just add all of those listed in the last month?
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:48 PM   #5
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I gradually added the buffer to try to get to the correct PH level, (didn't bring it up). I have not made a water change with salt since I am having a problem with the salinity being too high. I have only done a 5 % change with R/O. I cycled with 2 damsels and have added the three other fish at one time. I was using a hydrometer with the floating arm and when I purchased a dwarf lionfish he died the next day. I took him back, along with a water sample and that's when I found out my SG was at 1.029. My hydrometer was incorrect. I have just purchased a refractometer and tested, SG is at 1.029. I have just performed another 5% water change with Distilled water and R/O water. I am fearful of doing more of a water change with salt thinking my SG will continue to go back up. Just tested water and it's at 1.026, which is the same as it was the other day right after a 5% water change with only R/O water. How much of a water change with less salt is recommended to try to bring down the SG?
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:44 AM   #6
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Well then that was your problem (broken hydrometer). Do a few larger water changes with lower sg (circulated for a few days prior and tested with a reliable hydrometer) every couple of days until you bring the sg where you want it.

But, IMO by stocking your tank so quickly I don't know how you could avoid a (not so) mini cycle. You've established enough bacteria to handle the bioload from a few small damsels then once the cycle was done you tried to add 4 larger fish in a short period of time. You have to allow time for the bacteria to catch up with the added bioload. No wonder your pH is low...

It will catch up and the increased water changes could help out the fish. All of those you mentioned are pretty hardy outside of the dwarf lion (which unfortunately you found out the hard way).

Get a handle on your parameters before adding anything else to the tank. Good luck...
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:46 PM   #7
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The best way to reduce the salinity level is to remove x% of the SW and replace with fresh water. Adding additional salt to the water will not reduce it enough. You may want to do a little at a time so the SG doesn't drop too fast as well.

Also, keep an eye on your fish. That is a pretty heavy load for a new tank.

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