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Old 06-28-2005, 09:45 AM   #1
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Very Very Confused

Today I woke up turned on my lights to my 2 week old 75 gal tank and found yet another 1 of my 3 damsels laying on the bottom dead. I am very confused on wy this is happening, I thought damsels were the most hardy fish and the best starter fish. Now I only have a domino damsel left. I have 20 lbs of live rock, rena canister filter, red sea turbo berlin skimmer, 48" coalife pc lighting and a undergravel jaubert filter. Why are all of my starters dying. And what should I do to prevent any future deaths?

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Old 06-28-2005, 10:31 AM   #2
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Were you using the damsels to cycle the tank? If so, it is my understanding that damsels have only about a 50/50 shot of surviving the cycle (and you'll hear many suggesting the more humane "fishless cycle" method).

You may want to post your current water parameters, so that the experts can give you a good diagnosis.

Based on my little bit of knowledge, you'll be advised that you'll need more like 100 lbs of live rock, if you want natural filtration.

Best of luck and I wish the best for your remaining damsel.

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Old 06-28-2005, 10:47 AM   #3
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I agree it sounds like you are cycling with these fish and this could be the reason they are dying. The ammonia and nitrites during a tank cycle can be deadly. I would suggest doing a water change and test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Please post your results so we can help determine your problems and how best to handle it. As mentioned already, if you are cycling, there are ways of doing it without having fish suffer through the cycling process or even dying. Since you already have the fish, water changes will help alleviate the problem but will slow down the cycling process. Check out our articles section on the Nitrogen Cycle to find out more. HTH
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:49 AM   #4
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Do you have test kits?? Is the tank cycled? Cycling with fish is not the best way as your finding out.
you need to test for ammonia, nitrite and then nitrate you need to have kits for these. Have you done any water changes during the cycle? IMO the undergravel filter is crap and will only hurt the tank down the road... I would take it out now while the tank is young.
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Old 06-28-2005, 12:29 PM   #5
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I agree with seaham. Lose the ungergravel filter now before it gives you problems in the future.
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Old 06-28-2005, 09:33 PM   #6
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definitely lose the undergravel filter. Great for freshwater. Kills saltwater.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:45 PM   #7
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It isnt actually a powered filter. It is a plenum style deep sand bed filter.
My tanks-
newly set up 75 gal SW, 30 lbs of fiji lr, 30lbs of lace rock, 90 lbs of course/fine argonite sand, rena canister filter, 48" 4x65 watt pc, red sea turbo berlin skimmer.
Inhabitants- 2 percula clown fish, 1 muchroom coral, 2 leather corals, and 2 mystery corals.
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:03 PM   #8
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Plenums are a problem too. Ditch it.

Also, read up on fishless cycling HERE.
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:48 PM   #9
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Ditch the undergravel filter.

How do the experts feel about live sand? I used it in my 15-gallon tank and it cycled very quickly and no fish died. My understanding is that it already has the beneficial bacteria in the sand. I know you can buy it at the lfs, but get expert opinions, just because it worked for me doesn't mean it's the right choice. All I did was add 10 punds to my aragonite.
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:11 AM   #10
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IMO if you're going with enough cured live rock, live sand isn't necessary. the rock will seed the sand eventually, and the rock has all the bacteria you'll need to get started.

That's the other issue I see here: 20lbs of rock in a 75gallon tank. You need at least 55lbs more rock at a minimum to have sufficient LR for bio-filtration. Money better spent there than on DSB plenum gear, which is debatable about how good/useful it really is to the marine ecosystem.

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