Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 09-19-2005, 11:27 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Millersville, MD
Posts: 2
Tank gone nuts...please help!

Ok. I'm new to the hobby but I'm in it for the long haul so I understand that setbacks happen. But I'm feeling very discouraged as of late so I need some advice. I did my best to get the information I think you guys need to help me but if I forgot some stuff please be gentle as I am a baby to the saltwater aquarium hobby.

I have a 55 gallon tank. I have a Sea Clone 100 Protein skimmer, an Emperor 400 Biowheel filter, live sand at about a 1 1/2 inch depth, and about 30lbs. of live rock. I realize not that I probably need more live rock but as it can be expensive I was hoping to add it as I went. Bad idea?

As of this morning my water quality is as follows:

Ph - 8.1
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - .25 ppm
Nitrate - 10ppm

These results were obtained using a Saltwater Master Liquid test kit. This kit was recommended to me by the local aquarium store as the easiest to use. The only test I have trouble with is the ammonia one because the colors are a bit ambiguous in the lower levels. But I'm 95% sure that the level is 0.

The inhabitants of my tank right now are as follows:

1 Yellow Tang - seems very healthy
1 Percula clownfish - seems healthy
1 Firefish goby - seems healthy
1 cleaner shrimp - doesn't seem to be eating
15ish - astreaa snails
10 - blue legged hermit crabs
2 - sea hares

In the last 2 weeks I have lost:

3 Banngai Cardinal fish
10ish - astreaa snails
1 - sea hare
2 - cleaner shrimp

Now that we have the info I'll elaborate. I started my tank in early July. It was my understanding that it would need to cycle for about 4-8 weeks according to what I had read. The guy at the aquarium store told me I could put some damsels in to speed the process along so I put 4 small bicolor damsels in and began the wait. After about 3 weeks I saw a small spike in my ammonia and nitrite. The same guy at the aquarium store told me that since I had both live rock and live sand that my tank might cycle faster than usual so as soon as I saw my levels go down I was good to go. So I waited another week and saw the levels go down and thought I was safe. I got rid of the damsels and added my first fish. The percula clown. About a week later I added the tang. Another week and I added the snails, shrimp and crabs. Things were going beautifully so I waited a week and went back to the fish store. I added my firefish and then my cardinals.

Things were going beautifully and then one morning I woke up to a brown aquarium. There was this horrible brown algae stuff everywhere. I cleaned the tank and did about a 20% water change. I usually do a 5% weekly. I then went to the fish store and asked about it and they said I should get some sea hares. So they sold me three. I went home, added them to the tank, and went on about my merry way. Shortly afterwards my tank turned brown again, started smelling very bad, and things started dieing. I cleaned it again and in the process, sucked the dead body of one of my sea hares out from a cave in the live rock. Did another large water change and well here I am today.

Now for my questions.

Do I need more live rock?
Did my tank have long enough to cycle or was that guy misinformed?
Are sea hares a bad idea?
What is that horrible brown algae and what will make it go away?
Am I the only one who has ever felt like "Oh my what have I gotten myself into...."?

Please help me. Any assistance you can give will be much appreciated. If you need any additional info...ask and ye shall receive.

Thanks in advance.
__________________

__________________
Rainia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2005, 11:39 AM   #2
AA Team Emeritus
 
austinsdad's Avatar


 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Accokeek, Maryland
Posts: 7,694
Quote:
Do I need more live rock?
Wouldn't hurt noe at all. Just be careful of adding rock with any die-off and subsequent ammonia spikes.

Quote:
Did my tank have long enough to cycle or was that guy misinformed?
Since you still got nitrites, something definitely went wrong. Did the nitirite spike, then make it all the way down to zero?

If my count is right, you added 1 clown, 1 tang, sea hares, and firefish and some cardinals. That sound like it was too fast. QTing new fish between additions helps in more ways than one. It gives you time to allow beneficial bacteria to grow before adding new fish. It also give you time to watch your water readings as you add more fish to your bio-load.

If you're really in it for the long haul, I suggest you move a wee bit slower and watch your water readings as you do.

The brown stuff is most likely diatoms, very common in new setups. When things are right, it'll disappear.

How long are you running your lights and how often/what are you feeding?
__________________

__________________
-Ray-

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

austinsdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2005, 12:42 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Millersville, MD
Posts: 2
No the nitrites never went all the way down to zero but the guy at the fish store told me that was normal and not to worry about it. That as long as the ammonia was at zero I was ok. I'm guessing this isn't the case.

I see now that the addition of fish was way too quick. I must admit that I've been very eager and while I did make sure to consult with the guys at the fish store along the way I should have just slowed down. I'll just let things settle at this point before I add anything else.

I have my light set for a 12/12 cycle with the first and last hours of daylight using only half of the bulbs to simulate dawn and dusk. I started out feeding flake food but quickly noticed that it made the tank gross so I switched to frozen brine shrimp. I now feed once a day with the frozen brine. I also have some seaweed on a veggie clip in there for the tang.

So the diatoms will go away on their own? Or do I need something that will eat it? Are astreaa snails effective for stuff like this or no?
__________________
Rainia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2005, 01:05 PM   #4
AA Team Emeritus
 
austinsdad's Avatar


 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Accokeek, Maryland
Posts: 7,694
Found this on the net. Helpful reading. Add some Garlic Guard and vitamins to your brine, otherwise it's not very nutritional I've been told. And you can probably get by with feeding every other day. Excess nutrients can be a problem in a new tank - especailly when the fish are added to fast. Anyway sounds like you're on the right track realizing slow is good. Believe me, a lot of us got excited when we first got started and added fish too fast. We learned valuable lessons too.

I'd be REAL concerned about an LFS that said don't worry about the nitrates getting to zero before adding fish too.

Anyway, pulled this (below) from the internet. Search on keywords "diatoms" and "salt water".

As the tank matures, algae will start to grow (usually around week 2 or 3). Typically brown algae, otherwise known as diatoms, will be the first algae that shows up in the tank. Brown algae will usually cover everything in the tank and need to be cleaned every week or so. With time green algae should overtake the diatoms and the brown algae will disappear all together. If it doesn't, there might not be enough light for the green algae to out-compete the diatoms.

After the tank completes cycling, it will be time for your first major water change. Although the amount of water you change is really up to you, it should be a significant portion of the water. Something like 40 to 50%, with 100% of the water not being uncommon. When changing the water, the gravel should also be cleaned. There are many commercially available gravel cleaners on the market.
__________________
-Ray-

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

austinsdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2005, 11:41 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Batavia NY
Posts: 415
Diatoms are normal and part of the cycle. If you added fish before you had diatoms, the tank was not done cycling yet. If you don't QT your fish I would suggest that you wait at least 2 weeks between buying more. Patience is key to this hobby. Figure out what is going on before you add anything else. Read up on the hobby and the advice from the lfs is not always correct. There are a few lfs guys out there that know what is going on, but a lot of them are out for a buck. Best of luck to you.
__________________
I'm not addicted... I can quit when ever I want...Wait...I'll just LOOK at the fish.

55 gal cycling. Will be FOWLR.
haus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2005, 11:47 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Batavia NY
Posts: 415
PS-->
Quote:
Am I the only one who has ever felt like "Oh my what have I gotten myself into...."?
I ask myself that every day
__________________

__________________
I'm not addicted... I can quit when ever I want...Wait...I'll just LOOK at the fish.

55 gal cycling. Will be FOWLR.
haus is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
tan

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
invert tank - please stop me if this sounds nuts! hbeth82 Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 12 11-09-2009 09:48 PM
I must be nuts! Ziggy953 New Acquisitions 26 06-25-2008 03:43 AM
Went nuts Ziggy953 New Acquisitions 10 08-06-2007 02:21 PM
"Quicky question" This is driving me nuts (IN-TANK hannibal_lector DIY Projects 3 10-08-2005 02:23 AM
nuts mastershake Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 5 03-30-2005 12:53 AM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.