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Old 12-29-2004, 08:55 PM   #1
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Massive Feeding Faux Pas - Sorry, Long Post

Last Sunday (the day after Christmas), we were attempting to feed our fish when my wife accidentally spilled about 1/2 of a jar of pellet food into the tank. She panicked and called me over. When I got there, I saw that the bottom of the tank was a solid layer of pellets.

Fortunately, we always keep 20 gallons of water heated and circulating in a spare tank. We began siphoning the pellets out immediately. When we were down 20 gals we were forced to stop. That night we set up another 20 gallons in the spare tank.

The next day we ran to the lfs and got 40gals from them also. We siphoned out the remaining piles that we could see and filled the tank again.

Yesterday we started seeing the mother of all ammonia spikes (ammonia at 1.0 and nitrites at 0.2). In response, we have beefed up our water storage for change overs. We now have two 35 gallon garbage cans with heaters and power heads going along with the 20 gallon tank. Today we did about a 40 gallon water change.

Our plan for tomorrow is to check again and see if the numbers are dropping. If not, we plan to buy another two 35 gallon cans. We'll siphon from the display tank into the two new cans and move our lr into them. We'll also siphon an additional 20 gallons. That will pull about 90 gallons from the tank. We'll then add the 90 gallons that I have heating and mixing right now. We'll rinse the lr in the old water to remove any debris and then return it to the tank.

Does this sound like a viable plan? Or is it feasible to just ride this out and let a nature bio load build to remove it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:37 PM   #2
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We'll siphon from the display tank into the two new cans and move our lr into them
Why would you move the LR out of the main tank. That's a bit part of your filtration system and is helping not hurting with the breakdown of ammonia.

I would just keep up with water changes, maybe 20% per day and keep testing. Are you sure there isn't a pile of pellets in the bio balls or in the back of the tank?
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:00 AM   #3
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Agree, since you already have done a larger water change and have siphoned out the food, I would let the biofilter catch up. Unless you see another big ammonia spike, I would do a couple more small water changes and let it be. Let your water tests dictate your actions.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:07 AM   #4
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The only reason I was thinking about moving the rock is because I'm concerend that there are pellets trapped in/behind them. I wasn't planning a long term move. Just take them out and shake off any loose debris. They'd go right back in after the water change.

Thanks for feedback!
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:34 AM   #5
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That sounds like a plan. Giving the LR a good soaking in a bucket so you can get any pellets that are lose out of them as well as reach the back.

Sounds like you really jumped on this and have a good chance at a quick recovery.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:42 PM   #6
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Our ammo continues to ride at or above 1 in spite of daily water changes. I guess we haven't seen the top of this ammo spike yet. Hopefully we're nearing the end of it.

In preparation for today's water change we've prepped 2 30g cans of water. Same water source, same bucket of salt (reef crystals), same sg, same temperature. One of these cans is cloudy. The other is perfectly clear. I hate to have to dump this water and start over but not knowing why it would be cloudy has be a bit nervous.

Any thoughts as to why this one batch would be so cloudy? Would you use it or dump it?

Thanks,
Phyllis << the culprit of said massive feeding faux pas!
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Old 12-30-2004, 02:09 PM   #7
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Run a PH on it for a while longer and see if it clears up. Is the spg OK, not too much salt?
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Old 12-30-2004, 02:37 PM   #8
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The SPG is 1.023 in both buckets. They were started within 2 hrs of each other, all other conditions are identical. The clear bucket was never cloudy. I tried turning off the power head this morning to see if it would clear up and didn't really notice any difference so I turned it back on. I took a cup of water out of it and sat it on the counter. Some salt settled out of it and the resulting water seems clear.
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Old 12-30-2004, 02:57 PM   #9
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I would hate to pitch it. Maybe use the good bucket first and let the other mix for awhile longer. Thats what I would do.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:30 PM   #10
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a little late now but in the future, some airline tubing and a piece of rigid tubing work great for syphoning stuff without taking out a lot of water. It works good at removing waste as well.
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