I just recently turned 21 so thought it would be a good idea to setup a marine tank. Prior to this I had a two foot and four foot tank hosting freshwater tropicals/cichlids.
6 weeks later the tank finally arrived (5 foot x 2 foot x 2 foot). I had everything setup and running great for a week. Water parameters were fine and suggested cycling had begun (I'm not at home so can't mention these, however they were normal for a cycling tank).
On Friday I decided it would be a good idea to place my sump on some foam. I proceeded to do this however managed to smash one side causing water to spill. This was fine, I thought....
It was a Friday night and I worked the next morning but knew I required a new sump. The poor design of the sump and cabinet meant that in order to remove the sump a tank drain was to occur. This annoyed me a little as I realised I would be draining close to $100AU of salt down the drain.
My next problem I encountered was having some live rock. PROBLEM: Having live rock and nothing to filter the water etc. I ended up placing the live rock in some eskies without filtration. The live rock was previously cycled. I now know I should have placed at least a power head in with these however did not. The live rock was sitting for 24hrs in its own waste.
On Saturday after work I got the new sump and thought everything would be ok. Saturday night I spent filling and re-assembling the tank. I washed the live rock in some fresh saltwater and added this to the tank also.
Sunday the tank was looking fine however had a little odour which I thought nothing of.
Monday (Today for me, now Monday night as I type) I awoke to see what appeared to be mould forming on the peices of live rock. I thought nothing much off it other than to check my water parameters.
They were similar too this, not exact, ammonia around 3.4 or so, ph
at 7.8, salt at 1.022. Cant remember the others sorry. Immediatelly when I saw the high ammonia level I proceeded to drain 50% of the tank water. I did this then refilled. Once I thought the problem would be ok, I sat back and observed the tank as I had done before Friday's big big mistake!!!
I then decided that the mouldy looking stuff wasn't good for the tank nor the live rock. I proceeded to clean off the mould and then again reassembled the peices to form a rock face. After the cleaning was done, I then did another 25% water change.
I'm now at work and in that time say, 4 hours, Mum called to say the water has turned to a powdery milk color. When I left it was a little murky, but visiblilty was good. Apparently now visibility is bad. I didn't get a chance to check water parameters other than ph
(7.9, a little low I know, but using ph
buffer to increase this) and salt (1.019, a little low I know).
Does anyone have any idea what my problem is now other than the obvious that the live rock is probably mostly dead and leeching out ammonia and other wastes?
I need some suggestions as to what I should do next. When I get home in around 4 hours I plan on checking my water parameters and then proceed with a water change if necessary. I'm hesitant about using "Seachem Matrix" as wont this hinder my tank from cycling (probably the least of my worries at the moment). I was considering using this product as I have heard it recommended by my lfs
multiple times as a product which helps to elliminate ammonia etc... maybe reduce its toxicity etc. The other part of me thinks there is enough ammonia in there to cyclye.
My final problem is my protein skimmer. It is filling at a fast rate. I decided to minimise the air flow in order to try and hold back on the output (Is this a mistake?). This seems to have slowed it down however it is not uncommon for me to come home from somewhere to find that the cap has been pushed up off the top of the skimmer, the skimmer is full, and protein dripping from the skimmer back into the sump.
I'm a bit lost and apologise for the long story. I'm at wits end at the moment but want this tank to succeed. I think that in order to do this however I will have to cure the live rock again, seeing it was sitting in its waste for 24hrs. I was thinking curing it in the tank as the water will be better filtered, continue to perform water changes and hold of on introducing anything into my tank until water parameters suggest otherwise.
Thanks once again for any help would be much appreciated. My main concern is the Milky Water, the live rock and whether my modification to the protein skimmer was correct or incorrect to do. I have around 30kg of live rock and this was introduced into the tank slowly over the 5 days prior to my little mishap with the tank sitting for 2 days prior to this. I used Cycle to try and spped up the cycle process also. Since Friday I have added no cycle or any bacteria that may speed up this process.