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Old 10-23-2006, 02:29 PM   #1
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Hello and wondering why crabs die

First time visiting this forum, I did a quick search and did not find anything so a little background...

I have a saltwater tank that has been up and running for about 5-6 years, it started in a 45 Gal tank and was moved to a 75 gallon main and 30 gallon sump two years ago. I have lost a total of 5 fish over that time, however 3 of them were during a recent power outage which the water temp dropped to about 55F the others were presumably due to reasons other than water conditions. Two fish in the tank (Sailfin Tang and Maroon Clown) have been in the setup the entire time.

Corals also thrive, with the exception of (1) colony of xenia and (1) colony of candy cane coral it lives, grows, and propagates without issue.

I have (4) 96w power compact lights on the system, another small light in the sump to grow algae. There is a Prism skimmer in the sump, other than that the only filtration is liverock.

Now for some admissions...I do not believe in testing the water every day and making water changes as often as the aquarium industry states. The system has had only two real water changes and one of those was the switch from 45gal to 100gal system. I have had my water tested at the local store several times and they always give it a clean bill of health (I did test it almost daily the first couple months and have the kit not sure if the chemicals would be any good). I do not overfeed and my little eco-system seems to run perfectly well with one exception...the crabs do not live very long. The only crab that has lived for an extended time is a horseshoe crab that has not been seen since the power outage.

So, what are some things that would cause this? I am expecting the crabs to live off of algae mostly and do not give much food...am I starving them? That is my number one concern, as I cannot think of anything else that would be causing this anomaly of death in the tank.
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Old 10-23-2006, 04:18 PM   #2
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My thoughts on water changes and why we do them. We do them to dilute the pollution....but we also do them to replenish nutrients that get used up. These are not things we commonly test for, so therefore all the testing you do/do not do, will not tell you what needs replacing and when, so we do it to cover the bases.

That being said, IMO, you are not covering your bases. It is IMPOSSIBLE to say what is killing your crabs if you do not test water regularly to know when things change. I am not criticizing your husbandry, I am just pointing out what to me, is the obvious, I don't think we can help you.

If you think they are starving, then feed them. That is my only suggestion if you arent going to test water or do water changes.
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Old 10-23-2006, 04:35 PM   #3
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if you are not doing PWC you are probably not renewing some trace element that the crabs need...

and if you are not testing your water, then you may be having some spikes, Ammonia, PH... and not even knowing it.

if i was you i would go out and buy a NEW test kit and post the results, then start testing at least once a week, but also if you have something die or act funny. I would also start on Weekly PWC. there is a good chance that these thing might just solve your problem.

if it means buying in to (some of) what the big bad aquarium industry suggests, then for the sake of you fish and critters you might have to suck it up and do it! LOL

my 2 cents!
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:14 PM   #4
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I agree with the rest. I had the same problem with my shrimp dieing, for "no apparent reasons". This just came up the other day, again. I believe my shrimp were dieing, due to the time between my PWCs. I tend to think, they would molt and use up the trace elements in the water, once those were gone, they could not grow or get the nutrience they needed. Once I set up my new tank, I plan on doing an experiment, to see how much iodine/iodide they use up out of the water.
What kind of crab was it?

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Old 10-23-2006, 05:31 PM   #5
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Sorry, I should have added that tidbit of information...I do replace the trace elements especially the iodine that is needed for them to be able to molt and/or change out shells.

I also neglected to mention the same is true of my shrimp, however they are normally found being consumed by a starfish or torn to bits by the tang whereas the crabs (several different species I have tried) presumably have decent defenses against the predators and hide in the rockwork pretty good.

I would think that if it were a toxin in the tank that the fish would be effected, and if it were a trace element the corals would be effective.

I appreciate the discussion and I am fully aware the masses believe in the water change routine, although most I know who perform them have nothing but problems by trying to micro manage every parameter of their tank.

Now along the lines of what Roka mentions, is there a test for iodine? I would like to test for trace elements perhaps I was not adding enough.
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtsReef
Now along the lines of what Roka mentions, is there a test for iodine? I would like to test for trace elements perhaps I was not adding enough.
I was actually looking at this particular product, found on drsfosterand smith.com:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...pc=1&N=0&Nty=1
I was also stumped at the deaths becasue my urchins did not have any problems. I tend to think of them as being less hardy than shrimp.
One more thing, I wouldn't recommend dosing a tank without the proper tests.
On PWCs, not trying to preach, but my 1st one was a MESS and took forever. Now, it only takes me about 20 mins to do one, with my premixed water.
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtsReef
I appreciate the discussion and I am fully aware the masses believe in the water change routine, although most I know who perform them have nothing but problems by trying to micro manage every parameter of their tank.
This is a ridiculous statement. I do PWC`s every week and I`ll match mine or any of the others on this site that do PWC`s against your tank anyday. PWC`s are good for your tank as others have stated.
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Old 10-23-2006, 06:04 PM   #8
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There are something like 40 other trace elements in the saltwater that we mix up, that the fish and inverts consume. Iodine is not the only one. I would have to agree with the rest that the reason you are losing your inverts is either from lack of trace elements or high levels of nitrate, which are taken out with water changes. I do a water change about twice a month, and really don't believe in adding in the other stuff that you are talking about "the aquarium industry" reccomending. It's actually rather simple to spend 15 or 20 minutes every 2 weeks doing a water change. If it could save my inverts, I know I'd make the effort.
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:31 AM   #9
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Hello Kurt.

Do we know each other?
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Old 10-24-2006, 10:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melosu58
Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtsReef
I appreciate the discussion and I am fully aware the masses believe in the water change routine, although most I know who perform them have nothing but problems by trying to micro manage every parameter of their tank.
This is a ridiculous statement. I do PWC`s every week and I`ll match mine or any of the others on this site that do PWC`s against your tank anyday. PWC`s are good for your tank as others have stated.
Thats a fine opinion to have, however with the exception of crabs not surviving my tank runs perfectly. I get some green algae that is not wanted, but that is one of the reasons it would be nice to have them survive. Feel free to "match your tank" thats not the point of the discussion and I did not state the system of PWC's did not work simply it is not a system I use and do not understand why people jump up with hostile attitudes when someone holds an opinion differing from their own. Others I work with who do routine changes have issues constantly, am I aware of the exact cycle they run? No, however I don't care too either its their system. I have spoken with others, like yourself who swear by them and if you find them working for you thats great continue on with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarred Darque
Do we know each other?
Im not sure Jarred, I live in North Boston, New York ...not to be confused with boston mass. Most other forums I belong to are photography in nature.

Devilishturtles, I would have to go in the other room to get the exact additives that I do use however they are supposed to contain all the trace elements. Iodine is simply one of two that I routinely add separately the other being calcium. Perhaps doing the water changes in lieu of the additives may be the final answer, I will have to check the ingredients of the salt vs what the additives have perhaps its as simple as my not giving them another element which they need. One of the problems I have with doing water changes is not trusting the city water, getting 10 gallons of water every couple weeks to use in the change was a big hassle and after reading up on some alternatives started to try this way.

Roka, thanks for the link I will be looking for some other trace element testing supplies as well. Need to stop at the local shop tomorrow.

JDogg, I did not mean it to sound that way "big bad industry" there is more than one thought on how to run a system. I have chosen my route, and find it to work fine for me with this one exception. If I can figure out what the problem is and fix it that would just make watching the aquarium that much more enjoyable. I stopped buying crabs about 2 years ago since it was basically a death sentence introducing them into the system.

BTW right now I am just watching everything hoping that it recoups from the power outage. I think the loss of life has ended and everything seems all that lived have become stable.
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