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Old 08-30-2004, 10:39 PM   #1
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Sw Tank. Beginner Need help cleaning

Hello all. Right now i have a 20 Gal tank. I've had it going for about 2 months. i have 1 black clown, 1 grey fish (looks like a type of eel) and 1 damsel. 1 snail, and 2 crabs. My snails and crabs seem to slowly die off. I will find legs here, and empty snail shells. But the fish look very health. My tank is a 78F right now, is this a good temp? Also alot of what seems to look like food has collected at the bottom. I was reading about water changes and what not, how should i go about doing this can i use a gravel cleaner to clean the sand and change the water that way? And when replaceing the water do i mix it with salt before putting it back in the tank, or do i just throw it in right away, then test, mix and so on. My water has a yellowish tint to it. I just bought some solution to clear it, will that harm anything? I haven't yet bought a tester, how important is it to test the water and what should i be worried about, for my fishs saftey. Thanks for the help in advance.
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:04 PM   #2
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Absolutely buy a test kit for the basics (amm, ph, nitrite, nitrate, salinity). You must mix the salt with the water before adding to the tank(use the dechlorinator too). It's best if you can let the water airate with a pump before putting in the tank but not absolutely necessary. It does need to be the same salinity and temp as the tank as close as possible. 78 degrees is good. You can use a vacuum on your substrate which I hope is not gravel. Needs to be either crushed coral or some kind of sand. Just be careful if it's very fine cause the vacuum will try to pull it out with the water. Try to change about 10 to 20 percent every week or two. It is more important to be consistent than how much and how often. If you decide to do 20 percent every two weeks instead of 10 percent a week just be sure to get on the schedule and stick to it. The fish will get used to it and expect it. I didn't know about any water clarifiers but make sure it's safe for saltwater and not just for freshwater. Never use anything that is made just for freshwater. The crabs and snails may be being eaten but it's also likely that your water parameters are off kilter. Inverts (crabs and snails included) are very sensitive to high ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Then when they do die of course everyone else has a buffet. Also the food at the bottom is turning into ammonia so use a net to get it out. Never leave uneaten food in the tank if you can help it. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-31-2004, 01:56 AM   #3
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Yes always mix the salt before adding it to the tank. A good investment would to get a ten or a 5.5 gallon tank at your lfs and buy a cheap filter and have the water premixed in that tank so water changes are a breez. One thing about the 2 week its seems beter to do a 10% every week to me but if a twenty works for you electrikat thats cool to. i just think that its much less work over all than draning all the extra water. So i hope i helped

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Old 08-31-2004, 12:10 PM   #4
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I do 10 percent every monday night. In all three tanks. I was just trying to make the point that whether you are diligent or lazy it is most important to be consistent instead of hit or miss.
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:34 AM   #5
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okay cool sorry if i affended anyone. I do the same thing except on Sunday
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:17 PM   #6
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No I wasn't offended but thanks for the apology anyways.
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:31 PM   #7
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your water is yellow because it's old. synthetic salt blends have a tendancy to yellow after a while. using carbon helps this.
Do NOT go adding water clarifiers. These arent' a good idea to use in any situation, and really won't help the yellow tint to the water.

I also suggest The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner...excellent book, will teach you a lot.

I also think your tank is overstocked....but definitely fully stocked.
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Old 09-01-2004, 08:02 PM   #8
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The water clerfier that i used seemed to do not to bad of a job. it said it was for SW. Overstocked? 3 fish is over stocked? please tell me why this is so, is there a rule of thumb as to how many fish should be per gal?
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Old 09-01-2004, 08:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cjazinski
The water clerfier that i used seemed to do not to bad of a job. it said it was for SW. Overstocked? 3 fish is over stocked? please tell me why this is so, is there a rule of thumb as to how many fish should be per gal?
As a general rule 1 inch of adult fish to 5 gallons of water, this is not a steadfast rule, but I good place to judge by. This gives you 4 inches of adult fish. The clown and the damsel are over this by themselves. Add to this the 20 gal size and the extreme care that needs to be taken to insure water quality, and I'd say one damsil is enough, 20 gal tanks can just go haywire WAY to fast!!!

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Old 09-01-2004, 09:05 PM   #10
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At this point I would consider upgrading to a larger tank. But, If that is not a good option, then Buy an Excellent Filtration System. I would recommend an Emporer 280. This, in my opinon is the best filter for a tank of your size. It will also increase the water flow and make everyone happier. ( and you may be able to keep your tank slightly overstocked. shhh....dont tell anyone I said that.)

Read over many many many of the articles and questions posted on this site. and dont be afraid to keep asking questions!!!

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