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Old 02-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
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Water Changes / Salinity

I got a Bubble Anemone today, acclimated him to the temp and other tank chemicals. It was in the tank and started to close up and look like it wasnt doing well. This prompted me to check the parameters. My Salinity was very very low and measured at .8. I panicked as to not kill the new Anemone, and added salt. When i did this one of my sand sifting stars popped above the surface. Bummer as i just realized i poured the salt right on him. Realizing the error of my ways, i filtered some of the water out of the tank, and added salt to that in a bucket to let it dissolve. Then i added the water back into the tank. The other sand sifting star raced across the tank to find a stable spot and no clue what his status is, but the other star is dead!! The other fish are great, and the Anemone opened up a lot. Why are Sand Sifting Starts SO SENSITIVE to PH and Salinity changes!? This is not my first time cutting it close with the stars. Should i just increase salinity during water changes, what would you recommend if i have salinity drops like that, adding it back? What is your experience with Sand Sifting Stars, and what can i do in the future if i have to get another sensitive star! They are great cleanup crew for the sand but
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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Did you just put the salt crystals in the tank water?
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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It's not necessarily that the stars are that sensitive to pH shifts, but the fact that you dumped salt mix directly in the tank. Big no-no... as you found out.

If the salt mix got on just about anything, it would have done damage. A piece of dried crusted salt along the rim of my tank (not even the mix... just evaporated saltwater) accidently dropped in one time and a piece dropped on a coral before it dissolved. Even for that brief 30 seconds until I could blow it off, it left a mark that took several weeks to heal up.

In the future, SLOW increases in salinity can be done by just using your pre-made saltwater as top-off water - assuming you're not far from where you want to be. Not sure what your reading (.8?) was. That's my preferred method because it doesn't allow you to increase the salinity too quick. The other option is to make up some higher than normal salinity water for your water change - but don't increase the main tank's salinity by more than a half a point or so (.005).

I'd watch that anemone too. I'm thinking it didn't appreciate the sudden increase in pH and salinity either. Best thing is to premix your saltwater, let it sit for 24 hours or so, and THEN use it in your tank. And also go into any salinity changes with a game plan.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:25 PM   #4
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Great advice, Thanks a bunch! The first time i directly added the salt the animals freaked, then i added it to a bucket of water and allowed the crystals to dissolve. I then added this bucket of water and this did not set well with the tank inhabitants either, however i only waited 15 minutes before adding the salt mixed water. Is it normal to have to wait 24 hours for the salt to mix with the water before adding to the tank?
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:48 PM   #5
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WOW ok next time you notice some parameter in your tank is off, salinity, ph, etc... you should never freak out and start changing water instantly. pouring anything directly into your DT is a big no no. Do you have a sump? Im guessing no, but if you do everything should be added to it not your DT. And yes IMO you should wait for 24 hours for the salt to dissolve. Im assuming that you added the water to the tank to soon and maybe to fast. Changing the ph, salinaty, and temp of the water in your tank. I am totally surprised that you didnt loose more livestock. Changes in water parameters should be done slowly.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:47 AM   #6
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Ever poured salt on a slug?
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:52 AM   #7
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Good analogy. The other one I was thinking of was getting pure bleach on your fingers and feeling that slimy feeling as your skin is melting away.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:05 PM   #8
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How are you testing your salinity? Are you using a refactometer (only reliabel method IMO) or a swing arm plastic hydrometer? Those are always reliable and need to be cleaned with clean water after each use.

As already stated. DON'T PANIC. Slow down, take your time, nothing good ever happens fast in a salt water tank.

Yes, you should alway aerate your salt water mix for 12 - 24 hours before use.

All inverts are susceptible to sudden changes in SG. Stars and snails should be drip acclimated for 2 -4 hours before being placed in a tank. They take a long time to adjust to changes in SG.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:45 PM   #9
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Yeah, i learned this the hard way. The other inverts are fine but sadly i lost a star today. The salt had literally ate away at him, and he lost limbs, etc. Whats the best way to drip acclimate? I saw a drip kit that looked cool but what do i put the animal in , a bucket? The bag from the petstore is hard to handle once the air is punctured from it.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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i would use a small bucket and some people use a piece of 1/4 inch clear plastic tubing and tie it in a loose knot so you can tighten and loosen the knot to control flow. I use a 10 drip set used for IV's it has a built in flow control, but im an EMT so i have easy access to them. but the hose idea works to.
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