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Old 10-30-2005, 09:45 PM   #1
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please help with my 55 gallon reef tank

Hello all, i really really appriciate any help whatsoever any of you can give me. I have the following setup: 55 gallon reef tank, 20 pounds regular sand, 40 pounds live sand, 50 pounds tonga live rock, remora c protien skimmer, emperor 400 biowheel filter, 2 maxijet 1200 powerheads, odyssea powercompact 10,000k and atinic bulbs, 2 starfish, 2 cucumbers, coral banded shrimp, 20 blue leg hermit crabs, 15 turbo snails, 1 yellow tail damsel

This tank is about 3 weeks old i just added the invertabrates about 4 days ago. my ammonia, and nitrites the past 4 days were 0.0ppm and my nitrate has been steady at around 10ppm, i checked my chemicals today and my ammonia was at 0.50!!!!! i paniked because i know invertabrates die very easy if its not perfect so i did a small water change about 5 gallons and tested it again and its about 0.0 a tad more, DID I DO THE WRONG THING???? should i do a water change so soon?? i honestly didnt think my ammonia would of went up that much, but as i said im a begginer not an expert like most of you, any advice on what to do?? Also im intrested in doing say a fish only tank, at most maybe 2 clowns and one small damsel, is a 29 gallon too small or should i be alright with that?
Thank you VERY MUCH for ANY help you can give me
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29 gallon saltwater "reef tank", 10 lbs crushed coral, 40 lbs aruglive sand, two percula clowns, one firefish,cleaner shrimp, blue legg hermits, 25 pounds fiji live rock, penguin 350 biowheel filter, prism delux hang on protien skimmer, maxijet 1200 powerhead, 125watt ebo jager heater, regular floresent lamp.
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:23 PM   #2
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How'd your cycle go? Ammonia and nitrite spiked and zero'd? Anything of those inhabitants missing, maybe died? A 5g water change in a 55g, and go from .5 to zero. I'm thinking the .5 test may have been wrong.

I'm also thinking those cukes, turbos, starfish, and crabs may not have much to eat with a 3 week old tank. Do another ammonia test to make sure. What kinda test kit?

Get thru this 55g stocking and learn from it before you decide to try a 29g IMO. Move slowly too.

Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:32 PM   #3
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Hello, well i added the livesand and liverock, didnt test the water for 6 days which was probably a mistake, when i checked it the ammonia was 0.25 and everything else was 0, then the following day the nitrites went up to 1ppm then the next day they went up to2.0, and the nitrates were at 60, to make a long story short the nitrites and nitrates went allll the way up then slowly fell down over a 2 week period, but i didnt see the ammonia go up, my guess is the 6 days i didnt check it it went up already because i know the ammonia goes up first, then the nitrite, then the nitrate. Im sorry for sounding so confusing, thank you for helping me.
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29 gallon saltwater "reef tank", 10 lbs crushed coral, 40 lbs aruglive sand, two percula clowns, one firefish,cleaner shrimp, blue legg hermits, 25 pounds fiji live rock, penguin 350 biowheel filter, prism delux hang on protien skimmer, maxijet 1200 powerhead, 125watt ebo jager heater, regular floresent lamp.
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:35 PM   #4
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sorry to answer ur other questions my invertabrates are doing great, my damsel is doing great, i have a master saltwater test kit, the invertabrates seem to be eating the brown diatom algea that was growing all over the liverock.... OH YEAH the main thing, when i test the ammonia u normaly time it for 5 mins, well i forgot to time it when i got the high reading i walked in about 30 mins later and it was like that, maybe its even something dumb like that..
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29 gallon saltwater "reef tank", 10 lbs crushed coral, 40 lbs aruglive sand, two percula clowns, one firefish,cleaner shrimp, blue legg hermits, 25 pounds fiji live rock, penguin 350 biowheel filter, prism delux hang on protien skimmer, maxijet 1200 powerhead, 125watt ebo jager heater, regular floresent lamp.
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:47 PM   #5
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Well, since no one has replied I'll give it a shot.

First off, Welcome!

I have one thought for this hobby and it is... "go slow". I read and study before purchasing any animals. I would have suggested a "fishless cycling" for your aquarium if you had come here before the problem. Then I would not have added the inverts until the tank had completely cycled and even then I would have waited a couple of extra weeks just to make sure it was all on an even keel. But stepping past that, doing that water change will quite possibly save some/all of your animals. I would test again, a 5 gal pwc shouldn't have brought your Ammonia from .5 to .0 keep testing daily. Is there a possibility your first test was incorrect?
Are the animals showing signs of stress? At .5 ( I have never seen that number) I would assume things would be going VERY badly in the aquarium.

Are you using Tap water for Water changes and evaporation? I notice you said your Nitrates were at 10ppm after 3 weeks it should still be 0 if you used good water to begin with. Also some tap waters contain Chloromine which, when the Chlorine is removed with a dechlorinator leaves Ammonia. Just something for you to look into.

What wattage are your Power Compacts and Actinics?

I don't suggest damsels in any fish only aquarium, especially with percula clowns. Damsels are just too aggressive imho. But a 29 FO would not be overloaded with what you suggest. But remember, the larger the volume of water the easier it is for you to care for properly as things don't get out of hand nearly as fast.

There are many REALLY smart people here that can help you, great rule of thumb is, ask here before doing. I hope you get better help than my ramblings.

Best wishes,

Mark
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:48 PM   #6
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30 mins later and it was like that, maybe its even something dumb like that..
Good guess. Maybe no ammonia problem after all.

Didja cyle with the one damsel? Maybe the trites should have been higher before dropping. When you say they went all the way up, you mean the top of the color chart? If not, one fish might not do it for a 55g. How did you cycle?

BTW, welcome to AA!
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Old 10-30-2005, 11:00 PM   #7
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hello, i cycled the tank with all the livesand and liverock first then later on added the damsel, then the invertabrates after that..
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Old 10-31-2005, 08:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mattt6511
hello, i cycled the tank with all the livesand and liverock first then later on added the damsel, then the invertabrates after that..
I don't think you could have completed the full cycle in three weeks with this method. Did you test through the three week period? Did you spike ammonia and Nitrites? I would suggest no new additions for another 3-4 weeks, let it finish building the bio load. I think you will be happier with the stability that way.

It does sound like your first test was off which is a good thing.

Best Wishes!

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Old 10-31-2005, 09:41 AM   #9
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Fish can handle nitrates, but inverts cannot. You really need to get that down to zero.
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