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Old 01-18-2010, 01:17 AM   #1
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Fish dying

So I had the weekend off so I figured it would get my sump hooked up. The sump worked beautifully and before I went to bed the new skimmer was pulling skimmate. I woke up this morning and my yellow tang and purple firefish were dead. My other fish all looked ill as well. My clownfish was on its side in the substrate, some of the fish would jerk around then float in the water column before floating again. Everythings color looked off, more so than when they are just normally stressed. It almost looks like their slime coats are coming off.

My corals also don't look well, my zoas didn't open all day, my mushrooms didn't open up either, my leathers are the dark grey they were the first week I introduced them into the tank, and my frogspawn has a slime coming off of it (expelling zooxanthellae?)

Oddly enough all of my inverts are doing great. Crabs, cleaner shrimp, snails and all have shown zero signs of illness.

So obviously I poisoned the tank somehow. I pulled all of the remaining fish and put them into my quarantine tank this morning and they seem to be doing a little better being in clean water.

The silicone I used building the sump was 100% silicone with no additives and no anti-fungal of any sort. The silicone was allowed to dry for a week before water was added, and everything was well rinsed before being hooked up to the tank.
Which leads me to believe the source has something to do with the PVC piping/cement/solvent. I had read from numerous sources that PVC cement and solvent could be used without issue, i used the potable water type and allowed it close to 24 hours to cure before rinsing out the pipes, but i'm still convinced it's the culprit.

I'm going to have to just watch and see how the inverts and corals fair. I have my in sump protein skimmer and my old HOB protein skimmer both running along with some carbon media that I added to the sump today in a high flow area. Then I did a 25% water change this morning and another 25% tonight.

Would doing any more water changes be overdoing it? On one side of the coin I want to get whatever is poisoning my livestock out of the tank, but on the other side I'm afraid too many water changes might be doing more damage than good.
How much is too much when it comes to water changes?

If I got some sort of harmful chemical in the tank would my current course of aggressive skimming, carbon filtration, and water changes be enough to make the system safe to put livestock back in?

I really want tearing down the tank to be the last option, is there anything else I can do to clean up the water?
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:23 AM   #2
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Other than more aggressive water changes, it sounds like you're doing everything you can. Not sure how big of a tank we're talking about, but I'd be doing at least 50% water changes if possible. Another thing you can do is add a PolyFilter pad in the water flow somewhere and let is suck up what it can.

Sounds like everything you did regarding the sump was OK, but obviously something went haywire. Sorry about the losses - hopefully you've turned the corner on whatever it is and things will start perking up.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jace_242 View Post
If I got some sort of harmful chemical in the tank would my current course of aggressive skimming, carbon filtration, and water changes be enough to make the system safe to put livestock back in?
That action should take care of it.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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Very sorry to hear this. I am sure it as an aweful feeling to wake up to that after trying to make the life for you and your fish better. Is there anything else that you can think of that you did that day before (clean the gravel, etc...).
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:11 AM   #5
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honestly I hadn't even touched the display tank (a 75 gallon) since about three days before when I did a small water change. I just hung the overflow box and return nozzle over the back edge of the tank and that was it.

My guess is still that it was the pvc solvent and cement. I have to admit I used the stuff pretty heavily when putting the pipes together. There would always be a rather thick amount that squeezed out when I pushed the joints together. If there were that large of globs on the inside of the pipes too it may not have dried all the way through in the day that I let it air out. My ph is still testing as 8.2 but it seems like there is something acidic in there. I wasn't able to catch my clownfish until earlier today to put her in the quarantine with the others. She had been rather crafty when I was trying to catch her yesterday, but today she was swimming around and bumped right into the net. Her eyes are glossed over and milky as opposed to their usual black and she keeps bumping into things so I think whatever it is ate away at her eyes. The clear edging to all of her fins has also been eaten away over the last day and her fins are all frayed at the edges.

None of my corals have bleached yet but none of them have shown signs of life either. My zoas and mushrooms again didn't open up today, and my torch coral is still completely sucked inside of the stalks.

It hit my inverts today too. The thousands of tiny snails, limpets and asterinas all died today. The hermit crabs and anemone crabs are just shrugging it off, those guys seem indestructible.

I hooked up my old emperor 400 and put in both carbon and ammonia absorbing media i had laying around (i'm sure a massive ammonia spike is going to soon be added to my problems)

I did a 50% water change today as well and my skimmers are both pulling tons of skimmate. The water is still extremely milky though. There is a white haze over everything.

I'm going to have to use my corals to gauge how things are going. If anything starts opening up and showing signs of life again I may put a damsel in the tank. Until then my fish are going to have to learn to live together in my quarantine tank. I figure I'll give the tank 2-3 weeks to start supporting life again. If it doesn't after that I may just have to call it a lost cause and break it down, clean everything and start from scratch.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:13 AM   #6
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It would be nice to know if using the primer and glue can cause this type of problem. I have used it on water line for the home (drinking water lines) and never experienced an odor or taste, but I also flushed it out for about 15 - 30 minutes. Its a mystery. Seems like someone should know.
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