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Old 04-05-2012, 09:11 PM   #1
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Unhappy HELP!!! New To The Hobby...All was well, now it seems live "survival of the fittest"

Hi Saltwater Experts and Underwater Wizards! PLEASE HELP ME!! I am new to this hobby but love my tank and want to make it work no matter the efforts and recently....costs haha! My tank had been running fine (28 gallon nano-cube) and actually was even thriving!!! My corals were multiplying and looking great, had two clowns paired, a firefish goby, and an engineer goby, as well as a fire shrimp. For months the tank was perfect until just about 2 months ago...I was feeding them all like normal except the fire shrimp didn't come out and I didn't know if he was molting or dead somehow. Never ended up finding him and then the clownfish started gasping for air and everything I tried they could not be saved, then my fire fish went as well. During this whole time I was running in and out of a LFS getting advice, double checking my water, and they couldn't figure it quite out since my parameters were fine. I did a 50% water change, scrubbed all my rocks in saltwater, re-arranged everything for better flow, things started getting much better after about a month and a half and my engineer goby seems to be doing AWESOME. I tried getting another firefish goby and it died that next night (this was on 4/4/12 only yesterday). My problem is I am now seeing a white, milky whitish actually, bubble on a rock in the back left corner of the tank and another small one by the flower pot coral rock on the other side. Any Advice would be very helpful!!! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!!
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:23 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to AA!

First off, what were the water parameters in the past? Current parameters? How did you cycle? Any chance you can upload a pic of the white substance on your rock?
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the Reply AquaRick! My parameters in the past were perfect and normal as you can expect in a reef aquarium when all was well. After the fish started to die on me, the LFS checked the parameters and they kept saying the salt, PH, Nitrates were at 0, and everything seemed fine. After the fish died a few days ago I went right back in to see if it was bad luck or something else. They noticed my PH was low and said that most likely would have killed off anything in there or caused my corals to be in "Survival Mode". I had just done a water change the day before so that may be why the PH was suddenly lower. The only thing I can thing of is something to do with excess junk in the tank and I just bought a SeaClone Protein Skimmer
SCPS 100 to help out with all of that. I do know that when my tank was doing amazing I was doing one 5 gallon water change per month and rinsing out the filter media just once a month. I read online that bi-weekly changes were better and tried that and that may have been a cause to some problems? I will try to upload a picture of the tank, the whitish bubble, etc. Thanks for all and any advice!
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:18 PM   #4
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Hi there.

A shift in Ph shouldn't cause a fish die off, my ph in my 125g runs at a consistent 7.8 and all is well.

How did you acclimate the firefish you just lost? Did you have any ammonia readings before or now? Do you have your own test kit, I would highly recommend an API liquid test kit. Beats having to run to the lFS with a water sample and you can be sure of the results.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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Hi Carey! Thanks for your post! I do have a test kit but it is just for PH & ALK. (which I keep in check all the time). I only go to the LFS to test calcium and Nitrates/Ammonia. Those readings before were 0 and as of yesterday they were 0 as well. things are slowly getting better it seems but not like they were when the tank was looking its best and thriving. The only thing I can think of is that I have noticed some access fish food, "junk" and such on my filter sponges when I have cleaned them lately...hence why I just bought the skimmer to hopefully help with that. Any ideas?
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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I would say invest in an api saltwater master kit about $20 online

Amazon.com: API SALTWATER MASTER TEST KIT: Pet Supplies

Also, are you adding any chemicals to adjust the pH or alkalinity? Usually not the best idea since you have to constantly tinker with the dosage and testing, I tried it but it was more trouble than it was worth in the end so I just let mine stay where it is naturally. I do have to dose for alkalinity due to the amount and size of my corals but that step should come much later after you have a large amount of corals that consume the elements in your salt mix.

Which leads to another question, how often were you doing water changes and what salt mix do you use? The salt mix should replenish any elements that are consumed by your tank and should stabilize the ph. Oh, and if you dont have a power head pointed up towards the water surface you might wanna try that as that will help the ph stay higher and stable.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:05 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the advice Carey! I changed one of my powerheads to face upward now and we will give that a shot to see what happens. In regards to the salt I use I always just use the pre-mixed salt from my local fish store. I figured they would have the best and the most consistent then messing with my own. I add every other day, a capful of Brightwell Aquatics Reef Code A & B for calcium & Buffer as directed by the LFS and the bottles. I also add a half capful of reef Iodide by Seachem (also recommended to me). I do have some good corals already for I've had the tank for 9 months now, waited a good almost 2 months before slowly adding everything, the next 5 months were perfect and then that is when the stated situation occurred. I've put two attached pictures on here. The First, is one of the "white milky bubbleish" thing growing on my rock and by some of my Zoa's, the second picture is what those Zoa's used to look like when all is well. Thanks and any other advice from these would be appreciated!
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:14 PM   #8
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Just my opinion, and some may disagree with me on this but I would stop dosing all that stuff. If you are doing your weekly water changes then all those things you are adding are building up and doing nothing for you really. I do not dose much more than soda ash for my alkalinity BUT I have an established tank with a huge amount of corals that took time to get to the point I have to dose.

really, with water changes and a good quality salt mix the corals can get all they need along with the light.

I can't tell about the white blob thing, is it a sponge maybe? If so it's fine to have, just can't eb sure what it is. lol And the zooas seem to be reaching for light in the now picture...where are they placed and hw much flow do they get? They dont look good at all so something is wrong somewhere
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #9
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Agreed with Carey on this one. There's really no need to dose so much until you start to have a good amount of corals. I have yet to dose my 125 and I've got tons of frags in there. White looks like a sponge but zoas are definitely reaching for light in the first pic. What kind of lights are you running and have you replaced the bulbs yet?
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for both of your advice! My lights are just the stock ones, I was thinking of upgrading to an LED lighting system in a few months (heard to replace the lights after a year). The Zoa's are near the bottom of the tank and I only have the two stock power heads in the tank. One is now facing more upwards and the other is face downwards on an angle at the reef.I thought the white thing could be a sponge after some research but I also thought it could have been some bacteria
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