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Old 09-06-2009, 03:58 PM   #1
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First post, First tank

Hey guys!

First post for this member, and I've got a question about my new tank. I've got a 20g Finnex system (Finnex International Corporation).

I've had sea water (mixed with Instant Ocean) and dead sand cycling in the system for a few months. I spiked it first with a few shrimp, and once with some fish juice from a penguin feed bucket (I interned at a zoo :P ). Once everything was stabilized and cycled I moved the tank to my new place at college and let everything sit for a few weeks. I just put live rock into the system and now, after a few days, I've seen some interesting stuff...

All the worms I have observed, and I'm even watching what I think to be a mantis shrimp, have been twitching around on the bottom. Are they dying? Have I done something wrong?
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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What do you mean by.. twitching around at the bottom. Like.. just sitting at the bottom crippled? I think you should test your water levels, and see what you come up with. In this situation, it would really be the only way to tell what is going on. Thing like nitrite and ammonia are the most important in this situation. But since mantis shrimp are inverts, it *could* be nitrates. Test for those things and get back to us.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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How did you move the system? Did you keep everything wet? If not, then most likely whatever beneficial bacteria you built up may have died off.

The other thing is that unless the live rock you added was fully cured, you may see another mini-cycle as the dead stuff on the rock decomposes. Even if you maintained all the bacteria from the cycle, depending on the amount of rock added, it could take a while for the bacterial population to catch up with the extra ammonia from the die off.

Agree with Zero... ammonia and nitrite test readings would help understand where you're at. Also... what salinity are you mixing things up to?
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:26 PM   #4
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yes, get a test kit and tell us the levels
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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What do you mean by.. twitching around at the bottom. Like.. just sitting at the bottom crippled?
Pretty much, the worms sit on the bottom and twitch around, while the mantis shrimp I keep an eye on, is on his back...but he continues "swimming" his legs.


I will test for the things you listed and post results...
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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How did you move the system? Did you keep everything wet?
I only live about a half hour away, so for the most part, everything stayed wet. Also, the live rock wasn't cured--so I agree, it's probably going through another cycle.

But--would that cause what I'm seeing in all the inverts?
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:36 PM   #7
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Well yeah pretty much. When the tank cycles, if the ammonia spike is pretty high, then things will begin to die. Beneficial bacteria starts to die off at 8ppm, so you could understand what would happen if you even go above 3ppm etc.. And not to mention, that once the ammonia goes down, the nitrites will start to go up, in comparison the the ammonia level. So if your ammonia was high, then theres a good chance that the nitrites will be high as well. I would think that if the tank is cycling right now, then those things will probably die. If not, then your ammonia/nitrite was only high enough to confuse them, or mix them up a bit, and not enough to kill them. Just keep an eye on them and see how it goes. Just remember that if your ammonia doesn't spike TOO high, then you will still have other organisms living on the rocks. So don't feel so bad if those things you see twitching die. There's still hope.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:56 AM   #8
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If the rock wasn't cured, most likely you're seeing another cycle.

Regarding the inverts, I pretty much agree with what ZerO is saying... except I've never heard the thing about 8ppm of ammonia killing off everything. I know that it'll slow things down - but never heard of it outright killing off bacteria. But anywho... high levels of ammonia will definitely effect many things in the tank. Most likely, for the few things you see twitching, there are many more tucked away in various nooks and crannies that are just fine. Yeah... some stuff will die most likely, but it's not like your tank will be a barren wasteland. I was (and still am) amazed at the huge diversity of life that appears in time, in otherwise very dead looking rock.

[Edit: If it's possible, you might take this opportunity to take that mantis shrimp out of your tank if it's "stunned". Most folks won't want those in their system as they tend to create some havoc. Amazing creatures... but really better isolated in their own tank. Or at least someone else's.]
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:07 AM   #9
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I don't know Kurt.. my Ammonia reading was clearly off the color chart, because it was a dark blue.. and i still see NO signs of life on the rocks. I only just started seeing asterinas, but only because they came in with the tons of chaeto i got.
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:13 PM   #10
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Sorry to leave everyone hanging for so long. Here's what I got as for water chemistry...

Salinity- 36.5
pH- 8.66
NH3- .0433
NO2- .01
NO3- 1.6

I just put in my protein skimmer, so that's up and running. As far as what's going on in the tank, I see a lot of green plants (I think they're plants?) growing from the rock, some from the sand, back wall, and it tries to grow on the viewing surfaces but I keep it cleaned off.

There's also some other structures growing...mainly what I've seen is some small reddish brown clumpy growths, a few greenish bulbs getting larger, and some light purple stringy growths as well.
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