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Old 02-18-2005, 12:30 PM   #1
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Rock questions, red slime questions, brown gunk...

I have a 55 gallon fish only tank, and I've bought about a little less than 50 pounds worth of base rock from my LFS to stack up and decorate with. The rocks have seemed to grow light brown gunk on them, and a few weeks ago, red gunk/slime started growing on top of that.
I bought some red slime remover, which got rid of it pretty quickly. After testing, I found that everything was near perfect except my phosphate level was very high, which must be why I had the red slime. So I put some carbon in the filter, and started changing 5 or so gallons of water each week.

Unfortunately, my Yellow Tang must have been picking at the rocks because its lips were stained red. It seemed to be doing fine for a good week and a half, although the redness wasn't going away, but it suddenly took a turn for the worse last night, and this morning it died.

My questions, I guess, would be...
Is the brown gunk on the rocks normal?
Shouldn't they be turning a healthy green color?
Was the red slime stained on the Tang's lips the cause of death?
Do I need a skimmer or some kind of product to get my phosphate down?

PS. this forum is great, I'm learning a lot.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:08 PM   #2
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first off...Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
A few qustions first. How old is this tank? How did you cycle it? Any other livestock? What are your current parameters...ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, SG, Ph, temp? Can you get a pic of the algea? If you are using red slime remover you need to take out the carbon. It will absorb the chemical and it will not do its job. Also, if you have a skimmer turn it off. Water changes are the best way to get rid f PO4. Just make sure your source water is free of PO4 before adding it to your tank. PO4 can also be introduced into the tank by food. What do you feed and how often?
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:07 PM   #3
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Thanks!

I started the tank in late October - just been taking my time with it. I just cycled using a few damsels (I now know a lot of aquarists frown upon that), but it seemed to work good, as I only lost a couple of them at first, and after a couple weeks my parameters were right on. I'm not sure what the exact parameters are for everything, but I just know that I was told (after testing at my LFS) that everything was good except I have a high level of Phosphate. The water temperature is usually at 76-80 degrees.

After cycling with four damsels, in which one died and two I returned two to the store, I started out with a clown, the yellow tang, and the surviving damsel, and they all got along great. I then added a little puffer, and shortly after made the mistake of getting a small Burma Trigger. They all seemed to be doing just fine for a few weeks, and then the Trigger apparently nibbled on the Clown, and I guess was poisoned and died shortly after. Just after that (as the red slime started growing) the damsel died, and then, as I said, the Tang died today. So now I'm left with my lonely clown and puffer, both seem to be doing just fine (crossing my fingers). As far as that drama goes, I've learned my lesson when it comes to buying fish too fast.

Anyway, do you recommend a certain way of changing the water, ie. using tap water? I have a sg tester (that's really the only tester I have right now), so that's usually perfect, but I've read that phosphates could be high in tap water.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:04 PM   #4
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That fact that you are loosing fish is a sure sign that something is wrong. I suggest buying your own test kits and testing the water yourself. thebest way to resolve water quality issues is to do frequent smaller (10-15%) water changes. Make sure you are using a good quality RO/DI water. The PO4 is probably coming from your tap water. Mix up the SW in a bucket or tub and let it age with a poerhead and heater in it for 24-48 hours. Before adding it to your tank make sure Ph, temp and SG are the same.
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:35 PM   #5
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Thanks, I'm learning a ton from this site. I'm positive that the phosphate is from tap water, so that advice will definitely be of use.

If I just clean the brown stuff off the rocks and then change the water, and with a lowering phosphate level, you think the brown on the rocks will turn a normal green coating? Is brown even a bad thing or is it normal?
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:12 PM   #6
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It is most likely cynobacteria. It is velvet in nature? You need to be careful not to break it up as it will spread that way. Best to just siphon up what you can. I do not ussually recommend the addition of chemials in the tank, but I have used Chemi-Clean by Boyd with great results. It does a great job of removing the cyno from the tank. However, if you do not identify and correct the source it will just come back.
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