Hello everyone NEED YOUR HELP here... I just finished cycling a new 45 gal
tank and have added 4 small fish just on saturday... 2 Banghii Cardinals, 1 Clown, 1 Dotty-back. 1 Cardinal died next day... The other just today (tuesday). On that saturday morning my tanks water specs were indicating a fully cycled tank WITH THE EXCEPTION of pH that was a little low.. 7.9 I went to the store and picked up a pH buffer, followed directions and then re tested the pH a few hours later after it mixed in. 8.4 on the nose was indicated by an 'Aquarium Pharmacuticals' test kit. So the complete breakdown of the water upon putting the fish in looked like this:
Spec. grav. = 1.0225 (measured with Marine Labs Instant Ocean Hydrometer)
pH = 8.4
Amonia = 0
Nitrite = 0.1 mg
Nitrate = 5 mg
temp = 80F
The test kit I'm using (for everything other than spec. grav. and pH) is a Hagen Master Test kit... though since I've heard this is not a good choice.
I have used Nutra-Fin treated tap water mixed with Insant-Ocean salt, AWA Nutri-Fin Cycle. I have about 12 lbs of live rock sitting on 30lbs of Aragamax Sugar sand mixed with 20lbs of Arag-Alive sugar sand. I have a Remora skimmer, Coralife UV
sterilizer, and Lifeguard fluidized bed filter.
Although I am quite new at this game I was quite upset that I was not aware that using a pH buffer would blow the alkalinity WAY out of spec. (((105 - 125mg/L))) and mine is now up at 170mg/L... Is this highly toxic and the problem?
My water tests today are the same as on saturday with only a small trace of amonia 0.05mg/L and pH has settled down to 8.2. And of course.... The alkalinity that WAS in spec on saturday is now WAY OUT.
Since I got them, I have not seen either of the cardinals eat (frozen Mysis shrimp) Since I pulled out the last poor little guy, I noticed a few lost scales along his sides and it appeared as though he had a few tiny blood spots down along the base of his anal fin and slightly clowdy eyes.
Both of the Cardinals were very inactive but I wasn't concerned about that because I've read that these are nocturnal fish. They basically hovered in one spot of the tank for the most part. At any rate, I followed the direction from the shop re acclimation which was as follows: float them in there own shipping bags in my tank for 15 min to equalize temp. Then I filled 1-1.5 gal
approx bucket with my tank water, cut the tops off the shipping bags within the bucket and gently pulled the bags out from under them so they were in half shipping water/half my tank water. Waited another 15 min. Then quickly netted them into my tank. This is oh so frustrating and I would SO MUCH appreciate some insite!! Another sad little note: In the last hour now I have noticed that my dotty back is beginning to "flash". Although he 'looks' healthy and is active... My heart can't suffer another loss!!! I thank you all in advance for your help!