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Old 07-21-2003, 09:02 PM   #1
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About to do battle with ich and nitrites. Need some advice

History:

My fish have been dying constantly for the last two months. About one in four of them has shown ich at some point. The rest died before any was visible. My nitrites have been at 0.1ppm for a while as well. I didn't notice this at first because my test chart shows in incriments of 0.25ppm.


Current Problem:

I have a 10 gallon QT tank set up, but uncycled. I have a single green chromis left who has been with me through all of this. The longest-lived fish thusfar has been around for about 7 days with the exception of this invincible green chromis who has been in my tank for nearly the whole two months. I tried to put him and my bi-color blenny in the QT tank a couple days ago, and they both did NOT like it. The blenny croaked immediately, and the chromis started breathing hard and acting shy. I figured it wouldn't hurt to just let him die in the main tank so I could take the QT down and put it away. Then I was going to wait for six weeks for the ich to run its course and then start adding fish again. Well, the chromis got better. He's acting normal and showing no signs of stress or ich. He's back in the main tank now, where the ich is (assuming it ever goes away. I hear both ways - ich is always there, and any ich is an infestation and should be dealt with). I'm at a loss. It appears that if I put him in the QT tank, he'll die, but if I leave him in the main tank, I can't decisively say that the ich has been eliminated, as he could possibly host the parasite.


What does everyone think I should do?
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:13 PM   #2
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ICH should not always be present in the tank. If your tank constently has ICH on the fish then there is a problem someplace.

Nitrites could be due to either a poor cycle in the first place or an over abundance of bio load in compairson to your filter capacity.

If your test kit only does .25ppm incraments then I would suggest a new kit of a new make. I like seachem kits. Their readings go as low as .001 so you can get REALLY accurate info as far as your levels.

Your QT tank is almost never truly cycled. After all usually all they consit of is a tank, freshly made saltwater, a heater, a light, some powerheads for movement of water and maybe a corner or hang on carbon filter.
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:24 PM   #3
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I will be leaving in a few minutes to go buy ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tests. I'll look for the Seachem brand.

You say that the nitrites could be due to either a poor cycle in the first place or too much bio load in comparison to filter capacity. My bio load consists of a chromis and a few crabs. I hope that 15 pounds of rock, 50 pounds of sand, and a CPR Backpack filter can handle such a small load. When you say "poor cycle in the first place," do you mean that if your tank doesn't cycle properly, it will always have problems? I thought that a tank cycling was inevitable as long as you had a bio load present. A poor cycle just meant a long one (i.e. took a long time for the bacteria to catch up to the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels).
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:34 PM   #4
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Its true your current bio load is 1 chromis and some crabs. But what about all the fish that had parished before. You said this was the sole fish that has lived thru all your problems. This implys obviously that you have had additional fish in the tank with it and thus higher bio load.

Sure 1 fish should have a small enough bio load (if feed properly) that 15lbs of cured live rock and a skimmer could handle the ammonia and nitrite. But if you had lets say 4 fish in the tank and only 15lbs of live rock and a skimmer then that might not be enough to keep ammonia and nitrite levels down.

How large is this tank? (I have not read your other 86 posts).

If you had an improper cycle to being with you wont always have this problem but the real cycle will be prolonged to some degree.

Having high ammonia and nirite levels with fish is just leading down the road to ICH and other parasites due to the lower health levels in the tank.
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:29 AM   #5
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Sorry, forgot to list all the stuff regarding my tank....

42 gallon hexagonal tank
15-20 pounds of fiji live rock
50 pounds of live sand (0.7mm-1.3mm)
CPR Backpack 2
CoraLife 9 watt Turbo Twist UV Sterilizer
100 gph PH on the sterilizer
2 x 55 watt PC (50/50 & full 10k)

It's been running for about 4 months now, two of which was spent cycling (that sucked). During the following 2 months I managed to kill quite a few green chromis, 2 longhorn cowfish, and 1 bi-color blenny. (edit).. and 3 clownfish


So, anyway... Here I am five hours of work on the tank later... I did a 20 gallon water change, took the filter apart and scrubbed it BIG TIME (2 hours), let it soak in hot water with a little bleach in it. Now it's sitting in water with about 3 times the recommended amount of dechlorinator in it and a PH running the water through it. Tomorrow I'm going to let it sit in the sun during work so I know all the chlorine is off it. Then, when I get home from work tomorrow, I'm putting the filter back on the tank with a fresh set of bioballs. I vacuumed the sand with a syphon hose when I did the water change, and the tank looks much better, if a bit cloudy.

The only question I came up with so far today is this... There is black junk all over in my filter. A lot of it ends up in the tank in small pieces that look like thin paper. What is that crud? Is it bad? I thought maybe it could be rotting material, which would cause serious ammonia, I assume.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:33 AM   #6
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IMO you need to double the live rock in the tank.
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:07 AM   #7
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Yes, I really want to. Do you think 30 pounds is sufficient? The only problem standing in my way is sneaking the money past the wife.
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:58 PM   #8
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I heard that you should have a minimum of one pound of live rock per gallon of water.
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Old 07-25-2003, 12:03 PM   #9
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I now have two nitrite tests with incriments of 0.25 and 0.3ppm. I can't see 0.1ppm nitrites very well, so I just run the test on the tank water and then on tap water and compare. When I did it yesterday it looked like the difference between the two was about half gone from a few days before. Perhaps resetting the filter has made the difference. Maybe the theory that the ammonia-processing bacteria took up too much surface area for the nitrite-processing bacteria to grow to a proper size was correct.

Just thought I'd share some good news and tell you guys that you helped me out.
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Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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