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Old 03-20-2007, 06:18 AM   #1
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Kind of lost .. (fairly long...)

So I "acquired" this salt water tank kit (Marineland Instant Ocean Kit 29 Gallon), set it up and let it cycle about 2 1/2 weeks. Then I went down to a local aquarium store and bought a stripped damsel to start myself off with. I tested my water every few days and everything seemed well. So I went to the same store and got a clarky. prolly 2 weeks or so went by and the clarky died. the damsel soon after (like a few days). As usual, my water was still testing fine. after a week or so, I went to Petco with a sample of my water. they tested it, said it looked good and I went home with two clown fish. These fish were MUCH more active than my previous two and I thought that maybe it was just crappy fish that I had gotten before. No such luck. THREE DAYS after I brought the clowns home, they went from playing and having a good time, to dead. both of them. the same day. as usual, I tested my water with no problems. This time I decided to go down to a fairly large aquarium store across town. I got into a discussion with the owner and explained my situation. He asked me what kind of filter I had. When I explained what it looked like (because I hadn't a clue on what kind it was) he said that I had a fresh water filter! I explained that it came in a kit and he said, well ... it will sustain salt water life, but barely. it is very difficult to keep anything alive with that filter (biowheel). Needless to say, I walked out of there paying about $425.00 for a mud filter (it has the protein skimmer and light included), mud, the plant stuff that goes in it, and s 6 pound live rock. Oh yeah, and some additive so that I can put fish in the tank right away ... two days later, I went down and bought another stripped damsel, a blue damsel and a Niger trigger (who is TOO cool!). This was last Friday, and all are still alive (yeah!), but I am desperately scared I will kill more fish! I took my water in today and they said I was a little high on nitrate and ammonia, and to do a 10 gallon water change. What do you guys think about the filter thing? did they "see me coming" or is there truth to what they said? any advise on my situation?

Thanks in advance ~

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Old 03-20-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA

The bio-wheel works with either FW or SW. It's the bacteria that processes waste (nh3) and your tank didn't cycle correctly which is probably why your first fish died. You're lfs saw you coming miles away and sold you a "mud filter" that you probably could have built or gotten cheaper on the net.

The Niger trigger is cool but gets too large (11") for your tank and should be returned to your lfs.

The "additives" added to speed up the cycle process are generally worthless IMO. I'd return all your fish and do a proper fishless cycle before adding anymore stock.

Go through this post: Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank for more basic info.


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Old 03-20-2007, 09:17 AM   #3
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I agree, you have not let your tank cycle and more than likely those new fish might not make it. Biowheels will work with both FW and SW. I have a feeling that guy just wanted to make a sale.
Now that you have found this site, we will be able to give you free advice with no selling and no strings attached.
I would take the trigger back, as stated above, he will get too big. He will also limit your clean up crew and or ornamental shrimp.
Good luck, ask tons of questions and enjoy.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
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I agree about the trigger. Here is another link on them so you can see minimum tank size and other requirements.


I also believe you didnt make it through your cycle. Your first fish died from ammonia poisoning. How much LR is in your tank? I didnt have a filter on my 55 when I had it. Just LR and a skimmer. Your LFS is not really helping. Maybe you need to find another one. And by the way Welcome to AA
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:48 PM   #5
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Welcome to AA!!!!

The others are correct your tank did not cycle. Since you said your water tested fine can you give us some actual readings from your tank? Ammonia, NitrAte, NitrIte PH and SG.

I have learned that you never take one persons word as gosspel in this hobby, there are a lot of different ways to have a successful SW tank. One thing I would suggest doing is to add about 25-30lbs of LR or at least that much of Base rock to your tank. The LR will act as your filtration and all else you will really need is good flow and a good skimmer. The HOB filter that comes with the Marineland systems will work but I would get rid of the bio-wheel as they tend to be a breading ground for nitrates. I agree with Tecwzrd, take all the fish back and allow your tank to settle in and cycle completely. You will be much happier with your results and loose a lot less animals as well as money.
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Old 03-20-2007, 03:18 PM   #6
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And any store that sold you a trigger knowing you only had a 29gallon does NOT deserve further patronage... let alone they mislead you about the biowheel.
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:49 PM   #7
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Welcome to AqariumAdvice.com!!!
All great advice so far. It sounds to be that you have rushed into things a bit, do in part to bad advice from the LFS. The good news is that you are not too far into things so correction is simple. first, return all of the livestock (yes, the trigger is not a suitable animal for your size of tank). Let your tank cycle naturally and slowly. Waiting is the hardest part, seapecially in the begining. It is also the most important part. Follow the instructions for a fishless cycle. While your tank is cycling, read up on fish. A 29gal will still offer you some great choices of colorful fish. Clowns, royal gramma, some of the smaller angel species, sixline wrasse or purple firefish are all great options.

I hate to say, but I think you got hosed by the LFS. They took advantage of your poition and sold you a bunch of stuff you do not need to keep a successful tank. My suggestion...do not give them any more of your business. For the same $425 you could have gotten enought LR to meet the needs of your tank, in terms of biological filtration.

Hang in there, it is not too late to do things correcty. Slow down, do your research and keep stopping by AquariumAdvice.com. We are here to help. good luck.

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Have a great day! Brian
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