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Old 08-08-2007, 05:55 AM   #1
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In desprate need of help..PLEASE!!

OK my partner and i just made the switch from fresh to saltwater and we are what you would call very "green". We cylced the water, addedd the live rock then two clowns at the same time as a coral. Afetr added a a very cute lil puffer and a flighty sail fin tang. Soon after we notice the coral was retracted and figured it may have been just the comotion from all the new fish but then he never came back out. I read up about the puffer and found out the might eat the coral. seperated him and planned on taking him back. only to find a day later the coral seems worse and the puffer still under arrest. Under closer inspection we noticed on one of the pieces of live rock ( next to the coral ) there was a white almost web like substence that had increased from the night before over the rock. I was worried that there may be something living in the live rock causing all this so i pulled it out of the tank. As soon as i did an awful smell was coming from the rock. and i mean to the point of dry reaching, so have left it out of the tank hoping to improve on the situtation.HAve also done partial water change and water treatments .Can anyone enlighten me or any advice on how to stop this from going further down hill? Please!!!

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Old 08-08-2007, 07:20 AM   #2
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The problem here is you did not cycle your tank. You need to take all livestock out and cycle the tank. Ammonia and nitrites are lethal to corals and fish. Read this after you remove the fish and coral. Hopefully your LFS will hold them for you. You might not have to add a piece of shrimp due to the die off on your LR. You need to act fast for the livestock sake.


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Old 08-08-2007, 08:47 AM   #3
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At any point didja test the water for ammonia or nitrites? Yep, read up on cycling and you'll see why I asked.

Also, what sized tank ya got? And, I've got a suspicion you added those fish in a very short amount of time. IMO, and assuming you've got a big enuf tank, those three fish you added would have been better off added over a 2 month period or so.

You're gonna have a lot of headaches and waste money if not better informed about SW setups. Do the reading, remove the fish IMO, and take your time. I know from personal experience that it's hard to take your time with a hobby that can be very exciting like this, but you gotta try.

Good luck! BTW, being green is OK, but that's even more of a reason to take it slow.

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

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Old 08-08-2007, 09:12 AM   #4
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This is a great "lesson" post. I'm not trying to be rude but this is a prime example of what takes place when new saltwater hobbyists jump into things without first researching what they intend for their planned system. Most people would agree that you should invest in several books, "The Concientus Marine Aquarist" by Bob Fenner and "The New Marine Aquarium" by Mike Paletta would be two good starts.

You shouldn't cycle a saltwater aquarium without live rock. Typically I have found a system cycles better and faster if you add live rock soon (maybe 1 or 2 days) after the salinity has stabilized in the system. Cured live rock can help the cycling process finish somewhat faster since its surface area is covered in bacteria films that promote anerobic bacteria. It's these bacteria colonies that turn ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate, thus completing the nitrogen cycle. It looks to me like you added water, let it sit a while until it was chalk full of ammonia, then added live rock, the ammonia killed all the bacteria on the live rock and thus you are left with excessive die off. I would recommend testing your salinity, ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Chances are all of those variables are out of wack.

For the purpose of example you are shooting for the following readings:

ph: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: for a reef tank 0-15 ppm (no higher then 40)
Salinity/Density: 1.025

Basically your live rock is toast, I wouldn't toss it but it will need to be re-cured in a seperate vessel other then the aquarium. I would recommend removing all the water and starting new, this time with a fishless cycling method and some cured live rock. Although I wouldn't do either of those things until I got some books and did some serious reading. A failing aquarium is the largest, most unforgiving money pit on Earth.

Also, I would suggest returning whatever livestock you currently have. The fish you have chosen to add are not the right choices for a young system that has not matured and fully cycled.
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