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Old 04-30-2007, 04:52 PM   #1
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Hello. I've had my SW for about 3 months. I've had 2 damsels, a clownfish, a cardinal, and a dragonet die. I still have 1 damsel, a bi-color blenny, and a horseshoe crab. I did not put them all in at once. I don't know why any of the fish died except the damsels. I know that the last surviving damsel killed the other 2. He is one big meanie. I am very SW illiterate, but I know I can do this with a little help.
I want to make a beautiful tank that is relatively low maintance, but I'm afraid of adding anything else until I know that it is stable.
I'm not sure of the filter I have or the lighting. I know that the bulb is a Marine Glo bulb. That's all I really know. I have a small wave machine thingie (technical, I know ), but when I use it the horseshoe crab goes flying across the tank. It's kinda funny to see, but I know that it must stress him out. So, now, my blenny hides in the little hole while it isn't being used. I thought that my fish were dying because they didnt' have enough oxygen, so I put a bubbler in. I don't think that was the right thing to do, but don't know how else to get them the oxygen they need. Like I said before, I've very new, but REALLY want this, so please don't laugh at me. I'm here for help and I know I need it. Thank you in advance.
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Old 04-30-2007, 05:30 PM   #2
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How did you cycle your tank?
Do you have a test kit? If so, what are your water parameters?
What sized tank?
That horseshoe crab will get as big as a football. You may want to take him back (unless you have a huge tank) before he gets too big for your tank and too big for your LFS to sell.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:56 PM   #3
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Info button says 29 gallon tank . Your tank is way overstocked.I would almost suggest you start over. You have too many problems right now. You`ll need to get rid of the horse shoe crab as it will be the next thing to die. You`ll need to get rid of that damsel as he will be such a menace to others that he will end up killing others. It does not sound like you cycled your tank and your fish that died probably from ammonia poisoning. IMO start all over and read the articles at the top of the page. When you say low maint. I dont know what you mean. SW tanks take some maint and some work. If you are not willing to do that then maybe SW is not for you. If you do decide to go the SW route then I would research it very dilligently. There were some things such as the horseshoe crab in a 29 gallon tank that was not a wise choice. If your LFS said that then I would get another LFS first of all. I hope all goes well and if you have any questions please ask. I`m not trying to be mean just trying to help and I think starting over will be best.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:22 PM   #4
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My tank only has 1 damsel, 1 blenny, and the horseshoe crab left. With about 3lbs of LR, how can my tank be overstocked? I've seen smaller tanks with a lot more fish/coral/LR in it than mine and doing fine? Maybe I've come to the wrong place. To start over would probably be silly since nothing is really wrong with the water. Yes, I may have started out with the wrong fish, but the horseshoe crab was the first thing in and he is still alive and doing very well. I'm testing my water again this weekend and will get the results up here for you all to see. Then maybe we can get somewhere.
My main concerns are, should I have a protein skimmer? If so what should I get? Should I have the bubbler in there? How can I keep algae down in my tank? What should I be feeding these little buggers? I'm feeding them marine flake and brine shrimp right now. (FYI...they love the shrimp...it's weird because the blenny isn't supposed to but he does!!) I'm just getting started, so to tell me to restart when I just started is kinda silly. When you talk about "cycling the tank", what do you mean? I let it run for about a month before I put anything into it and all the tests I ran before putting anything into it were within specs, but maybe the specs are wrong...IDK. I'll post my results and specs this weekend. In the meantime, please don't discourage. I want this to work.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:52 PM   #5
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There's a difference between being discouraging, and being realistic. We're all newbies at one time... heck, I still am.

BUT... if you're asking for help, yet don't know what it means to "cycle your tank", then you have a bunch of catching up to do. Nothing mean... just the plain truth. Cycling your tank is the process of building up beneficial bacteria in your tank that will convert fish waste (ammonia) into harmless nitrates that will be removed by doing water changes. Cycling your tank requires an ammonia source to start with before any bacteria can build up. If you ran your tank with no ammonia source such as a dead cocktail shrimp from the grocery store, fish food, or (heaven forbid!) a damsel... then you didn't do anything during that month. If an ammonia source was not introduced, then there would be no reason that your tank parameters wouldn't be anything BUT perfect! As a tank cycles, you should first see a spike in the ammonia levels, then nitrites levels, then nitrate levels. After 4-6 weeks, you should see your ammonia go away, followed by your nitrites. In the end, you're left with only nitrates and no ammonia or nitrites. Only then has your tank cycled, and it's ready for fish. Adding fish before a cycle will pretty much guarantee that all but the hardiest fish will die.

Sooo... I'll have to agree with melosu58 that a bit more research is in order.

Maybe it's just a typo, but 3 lbs of live rock isn't going to do much for you. For a 29 gallon, you're looking at 45-60 lbs of live rock to serve as a good biological filter... the place where all that bacteria will live, as well as in your sand.

I wouldn't say that your tank is overstocked at this point, except for the horseshoe crab. They want a larger tank. But I really think you need to do a bunch of research, specifically on smaller tanks. Small tanks do NOT equal low maintenance. The tanks you saw that were obviously overstocked probably had a LOT of maintenance involved if they truly were thriving.

Please don't discount folks advice here without doing some reading first and understanding where they're coming from. I think melosu58 gave you some good advice, even though you probably don't want to hear it.
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:52 AM   #6
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Im gonna jump in here and throw my experiences in.

I have a 29 gallon tank, and would probably be told its overstocked too. (click the myinfo button to see what I have)

However, all my bad chemicals are 0ppm except nitrate which floats between 10 and 20ppm and phosphate is like .01-.02.

I have 40 or 45 lb of live rock, and I have a 10 gallon sump with a little plastic bucket i poked holes (lots of holes) in that just floats and has calerpa algea in (and pods as I noticed of today, woot!)

When my tank cycled it took about 2 weeks

I am a research whore when it comes to this stuff, and one thing ive learned, your going to get about 50million different opinions/timeframes/suggestions/etc. Heres what I would do if I were you.

1st thing you want to do is pick up a protein skimmer. With these you get what you pay for, stay away from Prizm. Coralife super skimmer 65 is good if your on a budget, Aqua-C Remora if your not.

Ditch the bubbler, with a filter and a skimmer, the water will have O2 replenished plenty.

Get yourself an Aquaclear 50 or something, some carbon filtering never hurts.

IMPORTANT!!:
Assuming you didnt typo (and this is why i left this for last) your gonna need to get more live rock. 45lb is a good aiming point, personally i feel like 60 lb is like lookin at a tank full of rocks and oh, theres a damsel in there... somewhere...

IF.... if.... you need more live rock than you have, you will probably kill what you have in there. Die off from the rock, even if its cured (and espically if its not cured) will start the cycle which we assume your tank never did... Kurt explained this above. If you can get cured rock, your fish might survive, but see if you can maybe give your livestock to the local fish store to hold for you while the tank cycles.

If you can, in the future, consider a sump. You can store more live rock down in it, and free up room in the main tank. You can also set up a ghetto-fuge like I did and help control nitrates.

As far as the crab goes, they are right. He will get huge... in a few years. Maybe a year depending on how big he is right now. So its up to you if you want to deal with it now, or later. If you want to enjoy him while hes small, I say go for it, just keep in mind he will eventually get too big, that is certian. Dont worry about it though, I made so many dumb livestock choices when I was starting out.... oh man lol.

you say you want low maint. tank. It is possible to have a low main 29gal tank, with a refugium. Right now my tank, i top off evaporated water, feed my fish daily, and test water weekly. I havent done a water change in quite a while and my water is fine. Some people would argue you should still do water chages even if water levels read 0 or very low, but Ive read so many articles on it I feel my tank is fine and the literature Ive read reaffirms that notion. Happy active fish, no signs of stress, no illnesses, pods in the fuge. (this is for FOWLR, if you do coral one day, water changes would be a more pressing matter)

and in my opinion... ditch the damsel. they are such a pain in the bass (yukyuk a fish joke!) they are mean, they claim like 3 or 4 cubic feet of territory, which is like... 1/2 of a 29gal. There are just better choices imo.

-----------

so to recap:
protein skimmer
mechanical filter
30-45lb live rock
try to give the live stock to a lfs to hold while the tank cycles. if you cant get cured live rock, you fish will die.

real quick last thought: food. frozen mysis shrip, frozen krill, or Spectrum Thera by New Life (pellet food) is a good menu for fish, they flip out for the pellet stuff.

this is my $0.02, based on my trials and tribulations. I was where you are a few months ago, probably even worse off. I rescued a tank from my room mate, and had 100% no idea what I was doing, nor did he. I had a clown that survived a cycle, which was very bad. Folks on this forum want to make sure your animals are treated as humanely as possible, which is why the suggestion to start over has come up. I have attempted to give you a second option, but I dont claim it to be better than any other route.

ps, if you looked at myinfo, yea i do have a imperator angel in a 29. no you cant have one i have a 150 gal tank in waiting that will be its new home in about 2 months.
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Old 05-01-2007, 02:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Agnate80700
Folks on this forum want to make sure your animals are treated as humanely as possible, which is why the suggestion to start over has come up. I have attempted to give you a second option, but I dont claim it to be better than any other route.
Great info from someone that's been there!

Don't take this the wrong way though, but didn't your suggestions more or less boil down to "start over" also? I don't think anyone is saying that the whole tank needs to be broken down, but I think the good long term answer is "get the fish out of the tank, add more live rock, cycle the tank, and stock it slowly and appropriately." To me... that's starting over.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:46 AM   #8
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In the meantime, please don't discourage. I want this to work.
I`m having a hard time understanding this statement. You also made the statement that maybe you came to the wrong site. First of all we are glad you came to this site and are asking questions but let me tell you from at least my perspective. If you came to this site to get a deep warm fuzzy feeling instead of the truth or at least mine or others opinions or experiences then maybe you did come to the wrong site. I am in no wise trying to be discouraging or mean. I gave you what I thought was good sound advice. The truth of the matter is that you had fish to die. That bothers me as it should bother you. When I have a fish die I get a big knot in my stomach and I want to find out why so it wont happen again. IMO at your present rate of course you`ll have more problems unless you start over and right the ship. I dont mean break down the tank but as the others said from a point of cycling your tank forward. This is MY opinion. Either take it or leave but at least recognize that I tried to give you the best I could coming from 9+ yrs of reef keeping. It might not be what you want to hear but just because it`s not does not make it discouraging. I hope all goes well with your tank.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:01 AM   #9
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Not to get too far off subject, but you know how the saying goes: It is not what you say, but how you say it. The person is very new to sw and did not give enough information for anyone to justify his actions other than aggressive damsels probably harassing other tankmates till death. At this point, until more information is given to the board, only assumptions can be made...

With all due respect, the board would like the best for all members.
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:36 PM   #10
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With all due respect, the board would like the best for all members.
I agree. Always been that way.
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