A week ago, the boyfriend and I invested in a previously owned 29 gallon reef aquarium.
I thought we got a pretty good deal...the tank came with a few corals, and it was already established. We had been wanting to tinker around with a reef tank for a while. Previously, we had established his sister's 75 gal
saltwater fish and liverock tank, which lead to this very addictive hobby.
Unfortunately, we went into reef with very little knowledge, but it was a deal we didn't want to pass up.
After moving and messing with our new tank, I've noticed from my saltwater knowledge that this poor aquarium is a disaster.
Just to jump to the problems we're having:
1. Overheating: The previous owner was using a sticker to measure out temp. of the water. Common sense told me this wasn't very accurate, so I purchased a glass themometer.
The tank was at 82 degrees. I was very surprised to not see anything in the tank freaking out like I was. I'll take an easy guess that the tank has been over-heated for a while. I was able to lower the temp. back to 76 with the help of frozen water bottles.
From what I've been told, 78 degrees is tolerable for corals, but we have fish and I'd prefer to get it back to 76.
The first thing we did was buy a new heater with the hopes that the old heater was broken. This did not solve the problem.
I don't believe it is the lighting. After lowering the temperature, the lights went out for the night, but the tank rose 2 degrees anyway.
The aquarium store that we frequent uses the same cannister filter that we own for many of their 75 gal
display tanks. They informed us they've had small problems of overheating from the cannisters before, but nothing like our problem.
I'm frustrated with the heat and stumped about what to do. I don't want to keep throwing frozen bottles in the tank. It freezes our little clown to death.
We also don't have the money to purchase a chiller right now and it seems like such an unnecessary expensive for such a small tank and such a frigid town (Tacoma, WA).
Any suggestions on other ways to trouble-shoot the source of the problem? Anyone had a similar problem with heat?
2. Red Slime: Red slime is nothing we have not seen before. This little irritating cyanobacteria popped up in our tank a few days after we purchased it.
Chemi-clean has worked for us in the past, so we treated the tank, but to no avail. The cyanobacteria returned the next day.
I've read a bit here and a bit there about the problem before. I believe that chemi-clean is indeed a bandaid for what is going to be just a reoccuring problem.
So my solution is to either increase the flow in the tank to reduce the carbon that these suckers are eating...
Let the cyanobacteria live it's life cyle and die out, since I've read that red slime is a common and natural occurence in young tanks...
Any other suggestion? How did you trouble shoot with red slime? What's the best way to increase flow in a tank?
Next and final problem.
3. Levels are crazy: The pH is ridiculously low. The ammonia was a little under 1.25, and I believe the nitrate may have been high too. We have done a water change, but levels have remained relatively the same.
My solution is to cut back on the food and test the tank daily, so that I can keep adding buffer, until the pH has returned to normal. I would like to know if there is a better way to stablize the levels though.
I will probably be doing another water change tomorrow to hopefully lower the ammonia and nitrate. I really think the problems with these levels is I need to smack my boyfriend's hands a little more when it comes to feeding time. He feels bad because he thinks they're starving. I haven't explained to him that they naturally act like they're starving all the time. :P
I'm at work right now, so I'll have to update a little later with the equipment we have on the tank and the exact numbers of the levels. Any suggestion anyhow?
Thanks a lot everyone!