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Old 04-05-2014, 12:19 PM   #1
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2 months in and my tank seems like a death trap.

Hi, i am new to this forum and have been reading quite a few of your topics. I started a new saltwater tank approximately 2 months ago. The tank is a 35gal bow front, fairly tall at 31" but only 28" wide. i bought 40 lbs of live rock from a local aquarium store and loaded it into the tank. I drilled 2 back holes, one works as the return to the tank from my 10 gal. sump and the other sends the water down from my main tank. The sump has rubble rock and cheato, I have 2 small power heads aiming downward into the tank. There is a skimmer as well as a filter sock. About 3 weeks ago there was high nitrite and nitrates. About one week ago everything went to 0. Salt is middle of acceptable. There is brown algae growing on the rocks and sand.
It seemed to me the cycle had completed and i was ready to go. I started with a clean up crew. Several snails, 2 emerald crabs, several blue legged crabs and some tiny white shelled hermits.
I acclimatize by putting them in the top of the tank for a while, then opening the back and slowly adding my tank water until bags are mostly full. i use a net after that to transport them to their new home. 2nd day crabs were dead, snails dead as they hit the water, all but one blue legged crab dead, I also had 2 cleaner shrimps which died within a day.
so i cleaned out all the bodies and tried a different pet store. i bought a lawnmower blenny. it is still alive 4 days later. i then tried a tomato and black clown fish. This is the second day and the black fish is still swimming around and eating happily, but i found the tomato clown at the top of the tank almost gasping for air. now 6 hours later it is laying at the bottom of the tank dying. I am getting so upset with these results. It is like a death tank (that's what the wife calls it anyways). i thought i was being very patient.
Can someone help me out. what am i missing? Water not oxygenated enough?
Not enough water flow?
I have attached a picture of the tank..
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:28 PM   #2
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Well, to start things off you should have your powerheads pointed up at the water surface so there is good oxygenation.
The issue at hand, is you are mixing different types of clownfish. They aren't friends and will fight until one is dead...and one is now dead.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:30 PM   #3
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OK, i will change the power head direction and the 2 clowns never got a chance to fight. the tomato died too quickly.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:32 PM   #4
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Did you do a waster change after cycle before adding critters to the tank? Typically you do a large or several small water changes to get the nitrates down.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:36 PM   #5
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i did several fairly large water changes, 20%, after the last one the nitrates were 0. might be time for another one.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:42 PM   #6
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Testing your water would help and if you could post the results. If nitrates were 0 then it's likely an oxygen issue.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
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I kinda doubt your nitrates are or were at 0, even in my cleanest systems the trates always stay at 1-3 ppm. How did you cycle this tank?
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:59 PM   #8
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i just redid the tests. nitrates, nitrites and ammonia showing absolute 0. the tank was cycled with live rock.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:06 PM   #9
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LR generally isn't enough to cycle a tank, you need to add an ammonia source to kick start the cycle. How high did your levels climb to? And not trying to insult you, but are you following the testing directions EXACTLY?
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:23 PM   #10
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no, you are not insulting me. i am pretty good with the test kit (i have been testing my pool water for years). if anything, there is a very small amount of nitrate in the water, almost 0 would be more accurate. At their highest point ammonia climbed to 2.5, nitrite followed not long after to 5 and the most nitrate i saw was around 60 ppm.
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