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Old 07-10-2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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when was the last time you changed the membrains in your ro filter,it may also be worth connecting a DI unit inline after your RO unit as well
It's a brand new RO unit I've got that's about 4 months old; I usually change the membranes every 6 months, or when the TDS starts increasing, whichever comes sooner. TDS is consistently 2ppm or less on the water I make up.

I've done the exact same routine when doing a waterchange, every 2 weeks, for almost 3 years now (my previous nano tank was the same capacity) - as well as on my previous larger tank for another 3 years before that - and I'm always really careful to match everything as close as possible, so I'd be surprised if it was the new water (my two gobies are fine, 4 days after the last death now).

If stirring gunk up from under the rocks can cause ammonia poisoning, that could explain my clownfish death; but I'm still hoping for an answer for the dottyback death, though, which is the one puzzling me the most, and we were very sad to see him go. He was a character.

I'm scared to death of doing my next waterchange now, which is daft as I've one so many before, without one issue.
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:05 PM   #12
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maybe using a gravel cleaner to remove as much of the gunk as you can during pwc.There must be something under there which is causing the problem
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:09 AM   #13
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Hmm... doesn't sound like the water is the issue. DI would be better, but 2 TDS out of the RO is pretty darn good. Doesn't seem like that's the problem

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...
If stirring gunk up from under the rocks can cause ammonia poisoning, that could explain my clownfish death; but I'm still hoping for an answer for the dottyback death, though, which is the one puzzling me the most, and we were very sad to see him go. He was a character.
Stirring up stuff could lead to an ammonia spike, but it wouldn't be immediate. It would take a day or two. And I think you said your clownfish went quicker than that. So I probably am leading you down the wrong path on that one. And like you said, that dottyback went immediately after just a water change. Seems like that's an important piece of the puzzle, but the answer isn't jumping out.

I'm guessing the buckets you use for transferring the new water are only used for your fish tank? Are they stored somewhere that they could have been contaminated with some aerosol, or cleaner, or something? And then when you filled them with your saltwater, it got in to your water? Just thinking out loud...

I have two buckets that I use ONLY for new water - old tank water never goes in them. And when they're not being used, they are covered with lids to make sure they aren't contaminated with anything that might be in the air.

Quote:
I'm scared to death of doing my next waterchange now, which is daft as I've one so many before, without one issue.
I hear ya... but you have to do them. I'm scratching my head on this one with you...

[Edit: OK... I went back and reread your original post. How and where are you storing your saltwater before the water change? In what kind of container? And have you tested the water inside your storage container for ammonia? Seems like we've ruled out the source water, so let's follow the trail to the next possibility. Is it possible that the water is being contaminated by something while it's in storage?]
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:15 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the help guys.

David: I have coral rubble as my substrate (quite big pieces), and siphon as much debris etc. as I can off the rubble whenever I do a water change.

Kurt: Yes, the clownfish showed problems literally 3 minutes after the gunk was stirred up, and within 30 minutes he was dead. The dottyback also went in a similar way, but without the gunk, which is puzzling me the most.

Yes, the buckets I use are used just for my fish tank. They're stored in a closed cupboard which is only used for fish stuff, and there's definitely no aerosol/cleaners etc. that can get in, I'm really picky about stuff like that.

I used to have one bucket marked up "NEW" that I did the same as you with, but I got 2 new buckets a few months ago and have probably been using them interchangeably; but that said, I rigorously clean (plain water, then carefully dry) before/after I use any of them.

I make RO water up and store it in a food-safe water container, that has enough for 2 waterchanges in it (stored no more than a month). I then freshly mix with salt for a minimum of 24 hours. I haven't tested the RO water in the container for ammonia, but...in the case of my clownfish, he actually showed major problems (gasping at the surface, leaning to one side) BEFORE I'd put the new sw in, this happened when I'd removed the old tank water (approx 25%), then stirred up the gunk/changed the filter. I can't remember at what point the dottyback showed problems, but I'll test the water in my container now (I have a bit left) and will report back...
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:49 AM   #15
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Just done the test, Ammonia is 0 in the water container.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:24 AM   #16
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I think I might be tempted to remove the coral substrate and replace with LS as the substrate you have is a haven for detritus,but only change 25% ish at a time if you do,
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:14 AM   #17
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I think I might be tempted to remove the coral substrate and replace with LS as the substrate you have is a haven for detritus,but only change 25% ish at a time if you do,
Hi David, unfortunately that's not possible due to the placement of the filter. I've always had live sand in my previous tanks, and would have preferred it for this one. Still, in that regard the only issue is my nitrates which are high (40-50ppm), and PWCs don't seem to reduce them. I've changed onto a different food now which I can control better, so hopefully that will improve the nitrates after a few more PWCs.
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:03 PM   #18
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Good luck
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:33 PM   #19
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Guys, just to give you an update, this is so frustrating, and so odd.

The LFS confirmed that everything was okay in my tank: ammonia, nitrites, SG, pH. I continued to test everything for a few days, and it was all fine, so I decided to purchase some replacement fish. These were a royal gramma, and another small clownfish.

Both acclimatised/settled in fine, and were swimming happily and eating on even the first night. They were absolutely fine for just over 2 weeks, eating great every day, looking very healthy. Tank levels yesterday were also fine.

Then, just two hours ago, I did a waterchange. I did this as I always do, and have done every 2 weeks for almost the past 6 years: mixing the sw for 24 hours to the same SG/temperature as the tank, then doing the waterchange.

I drained the old water out, cleaned the sides of the tank with an algae pad, and then replaced with the new water. Put the filter back on to quickly sort out any floating algae etc. in the tank, and I found that my clownfish was gasping at the surface, breathing very quickly. He's now dead.

My other fish were okay at that point (royal gramma, yellow and green clown gobies), but all of these are now huddled on top of eachother in the same point in the tank (bottom right), breathing extremely heavily, and have been like this for over 40 minutes. It looks like they'll die too.

Again I've tested the SG, pH, ammonia, nitrites, and everything is just perfect. I'm struggling for an answer here; I've kept marine fish for 6 years, and have done so many waterchanges in exactly the same way, without issue.

This is getting soul-destroying, with no answers to anything.

Are there any other tests I should be doing on the new water, to see if there's an issue? This particular RO was 002ppm TDS, SG 1.025 (exactly the same as the tank), and the same temperature (.2C warmer than the tank).
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:51 PM   #20
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I wish I could help you with what`s going on. The only thing I see is after you changed the water. In SW PWC`s are recommended because whole tank changes change the chemisty of the water as to what was and now is. I know when I changed tanks I still used the old water and added new water to try to remain close anyway to what the tank chemistry was. I wonder if this might be what happened the second time around.
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