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Old 04-21-2004, 01:18 AM   #1
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Sick fish after water change - twitching, eat little

Two days ago I did 20% water change(do ever other week). The following day I noticed the water was slightly cloudy. I checked all levels and noticed Nitrate was slightly high (unusual) about 80. I began getting my RO water ready for another water change. I monitored the protein skimmer and emptied 2-3 times per day. I added Nitrate sponge in bag on top of Wet-Dry filter which is in direct slow water flow. Today I noticed a few of the fish "acting weird". My main concern is my Koran Angel (had for 1.5 months). He normally is swimming, hunting for food, or hiding under Live Rock. Today is slowly swimming in place, head down, between corner pre-filter & power head, about middle of the tank. He looks like breathing heavily, and when swims - tends to "Twitch" or bend body like he's coughing or to get something stuck out of his mouth. He'll do this for a few minutes, then hide under a rock near peppermint shrimp (which I think he thinks is cleaner shrimp - I didn't say he was smart!) then return to his vertical position. He has ate today - but very little. I have also noticed my new pair of clown (had for 2 weeks) hanging out towards top of the tank and a domino Damsel (my wife likes him - so I am moving him to another tank) hiding in the live rock - all not usual for them.

About a year ago I had a bad but similar experience. Someone gave me (FREE) a 65 gal tank FULL of LR + about $1000 of fish. After about a year they all died with similar symptoms, one by one. I tried everything but I was also new... it doesn't help I love SW fish, and that I won't anything beat me! I left the tank empty for a few months and then disinfected completely for 2 weeks. I then started up the tank 1 year ago - SLOWLY. 10lbs LR and some damsels for about 3 months. I then have added the following over the next year:
Long spine urchin; Firefish; 5 emerald Mythrax Crab; 2 peppermint Shrimp; 10 Zebra Hermit; Koran Angel; Yellow Tang, Hawaii; Naso Blonde Tang; 2 Malanopus Clown; 20 lbs LR.

As of tonight - here are my chemical tests:
Nitrate- 80
Nitrite- 0-.3
Alk- 180
PH- 8.1

Here's my setup:
65 Gal 36" tank w/corner pre-filter. 96Watt lights, 2 Rio600 powerheads, Live Sand, 20lbs LR, SeaLife Systems Pro75 Wet/Dry system (w/built in Protein skimmer) & bio balls, RIO 2100 pump, Digital thermometer - keep at 77-78 deg.

I am very frustrated and looking for any guidance. I keep having flash-backs of loosing all my fish about 1 1/2 years ago, and feeling helpless. BTW I have purchased all fish & LR from the same very reputable local Saltwater only business. Also, I recently battled Hair Algae - not bad but was starting (which the local shop helped give me info on cleaning up). I'm also using a RO system exclusively for the SW tank. ALL chemicals test perfect directly out of the RO system (tonight) - thus I'm guessing the Nitrate is from Salt or mabye that wonderful use BIO-Balls - DON't use BIO Balls with LR debate......???!!!!??? But I can't believe Nitrate of 80 will kill your fish, and cause your water to be slightly cloudy.... hence my frustration... Please HELP!

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Old 04-21-2004, 04:59 AM   #2
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What is the ammonia reading?


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Old 04-21-2004, 09:18 AM   #3
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Do more water changes, the nitrates are MUCH too high, and you shouldn't be seeing any nitrites, I bet that is why your fish are sick. How often do you do water changes?
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Old 04-21-2004, 10:24 AM   #4
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More Chemical results and water change Frequency answer

Ammonia - 0
Phosphate - .1
Alkalinity - Normal

I change 20% water every two weeks. (but for the past month - I've been changing every week to get the Hair Algae under control)
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Old 04-21-2004, 04:51 PM   #5
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Test the chem on the saltmix next time you prepare some new SW (after 24 hrs). Might be an alk/ph spike but once it's in the tank it may be shorted lived. The effect are just lingering

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