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Old 03-11-2012, 04:46 AM   #1
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150 gallon trainwreck

I recently bought a 150 gallon reef tank from a friend and it crashed right after we moved it. None of the fish/inverts made it. Knowing very little about saltwater tanks, I've looked quite a few places online about what I need to do to get it back up and running and the only for sure thing I've found is "don't dump a bunch of fish back into it." That makes a lot of sense.

I've looked at everything from New Tank Syndrome to bad water to "well it just happens." I have high N in all three forms, low pH and not much more of a clue

I've ordered a RO/DI system to do water changes instead of the well water currently used. I have a sump and I'm assuming that it's supposed to be on 24/7 under normal conditions? I also have a FX5 filter with a UV attached to the return. Is that also a 24/7 deal? I also have a couple of test kits on the way for additional parameter information.

Where do I start?
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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I would start over from scratch. Do you have live rock and sand? You should fill the tank up with saltwater and start to cycle it with pure ammonia or an uncooked shrimp. Get yourself an API master test kit so you can test your water. What kind of tank are you looking to have, fish only or reef?
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Old 03-11-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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I've got LR and sand. I wasn't sure if I could save it or have to wait for it to completely cycle. I'm planning on going back to a reef tank.
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Old 03-11-2012, 02:35 PM   #4
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If you disturbed the sand bed a lot during the move, odds are you kicked some anaerobic bacteria into the water column. Depending on your water, it could have also caused some issues. Did you clean out the detritus that had settled? Either way sorry for your loss =/

Best bet is to start over and cycle that tank again.
The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling



Also, I would purchase a skimmer since you have a sump and not use the FX5. Canister filters have a reputation for being nitrate sources if not cleaned regularly. You can still use the inline UV if you want.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaRick View Post
If you disturbed the sand bed a lot during the move, odds are you kicked some anaerobic bacteria into the water column. Depending on your water, it could have also caused some issues. Did you clean out the detritus that had settled? Either way sorry for your loss =/

Best bet is to start over and cycle that tank again.
The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling



Also, I would purchase a skimmer since you have a sump and not use the FX5. Canister filters have a reputation for being nitrate sources if not cleaned regularly. You can still use the inline UV if you want.
The sand had to be completely taken out and then put back in the tank just to be able to move it so I'm sure your right about the kicking the bacteria up. I cleaned out everything that had died. Is that what you were thinking or did you mean something else?

Thank you for the link, and I'm leaning more and more for a complete restart. As far as a skimmer I have what I can only describe as a "bubble cup" in the first section of the sump. I've been told that is a skimmer. Is that also what you meant or do I need to look at something else to add?

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:36 PM   #6
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I was leaning more to the dirty sandbed before you moved it. Over time, detritus settles on the sand bed under\near rocks that can't be cleaned easily. During a tank move, it's a good idea to remove the rocks and then clean out all the sand bed and discard all your tank water and use completely new water.

Protein skimmers look like this:
Reef Octopus Protein Skimmer | Bulk Reef Supply - English

They remove the proteins dissolved in your tank's water, before it can decompose into ammonia. It works wonders and imo/ime is necessary for a reef system.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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I would freshwater soak all rock and sand to restart the system running freshwater threw all your equipment killing everything but that depends on how fast you need your system up and running then you know all bacteria and algae are dead and won't have any aiptaisa intruding into your tank the system will be fresh after you cycle again
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:39 AM   #8
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I was ready to start all over until I saw growth on some of my live rock. Do you still think I should start again or can it be saved? Thoughts please? Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:18 AM   #9
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Do some water changes, get those levels back down to acceptable which is 0 0 <20. You can check to see if the beneficial bacteria is still active by dosing the tank with pure ammonia. Get yourself a decent test kit like the API saltwater kit and monitor the levels.

I would agree that re0using the old sand un rinsed and the water could have really contributed to the tank wipe, that and the stress of the move could be all it took with high levels of ammonia and nitrite.

I would drain the tank almost and add all new water and go from there.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:18 AM   #10
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I'd use the same sand and rock. Fill with new saltwater. Dose ammonia to 4ppm and see if it goes away in 24 hours. If it does and you're cycled; you can figure out what to do then.
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