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Old 12-09-2003, 12:18 AM   #1
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sick starfish and cloudy water

Hey, I just started a new saltwater tank and am having a lot of problems. I am trying to safe what is still alive, and could desperatly use some advice. Here is what happened chronologically...
1. Ordered a algee pack and a beginner starfish pack. Everything acculmated just fine. than after a day or two, I could not find the new sea cucumber...well, I found it dead last night behind a rock. I was missing for at least three days..so dont really know when it died. anyway, yesterday my maroon starfishes legs fell off then it died. Then my circulating fish died...(it was breathing very rapidily before it died). the remaining four star fish are barely moving, and look like they are decaying, yet they are still alive. I did a 25% water change to try to eliminate any annomia in water because it had like a cloudy smoke like chemical visily moving through the water. Today the tank and water clairity look a lot better. But water is still cloudy, and remaining star fish are hanging on for their life. I read someones else problem and they werre told that there blue star fish had accumlation problems. Is that what is wrong in my tank? Can anything be done to save the starfish? Please help anyone...I just feel horrible standing here and watching things die...
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:26 AM   #2
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How long has the tank been set up? What is the ammonia reading? How did you acclimate/introduce the inverts to your tank?
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:59 AM   #3
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Hey thanks for your quick response..The tank has been set up for over a month. we acclamated the brittle star fish for over an hour. I followed the firections from ff.express on how to mix the water and to acclimate the critters. everything looked fine for a couple of days. Yesterday the slainity was to high so we changed about 50% of the water. today salinity is at 1.022 but dont know about the other levels. WHat kind of water testing kit should I buy to test this. I dont know what im doing, please help? should I change more water or treat the water with anything? The star fish have what looks like scores on their legs, but they are still alive. Maybe they will make it? Please advice (oh, ive had the critter about a week and a half. The cucumber, nudibranch and shifting satr fish have died, but still have algee pack, anthrax emarald crab and the brittle stars..)
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Old 12-09-2003, 01:09 AM   #4
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Yesterday the slainity was to high so we changed about 50% of the water. today salinity is at 1.022 but dont know about the other levels.
That quick a drop in salinity is detrimental to your mobile inverts, they will also prefer a SG of about 1.025 @ 80-82*F. Mobile inverts, starfish especially should be acclimated bery slowly over the course of at least 4 hours via drip acclimation. I thin your stars are dieing from to fast an acclimation and probably the cuke died from the same thing, although some tanks need at least 6 weeks to two months to cycle and there could be ammonia and or nitrite at toxic levels in your tank. The cloudiness is almost certainly being fueled by an ammonia spike.
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Old 12-09-2003, 10:37 AM   #5
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The best thing you can do right now is concentrate on what is still alive in your tank. Don't add anymore fish or inverts until everything gets stable. As for test kits go and buy one for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate at the very least. These will get you started. Do plenty of small water changes if you want to change something like salinity. Gradual changes are always best. For the next few days I would be doing 10-20% water changes regardless to get the water quality better.

What sort of filtration system are you using for this tank? Any other euipment? And what is the tank size?
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Old 12-09-2003, 11:19 AM   #6
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Sorry to hear about losses-- sounds like the cuke released toxins when it died, causing the other deaths. Like above, dont add anything for a while and it might not be a bad idea to keep doing frequent water changes to help remove the toxins, just watch that salinity. Good luck
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Old 12-09-2003, 03:10 PM   #7
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Ditto what everyone else said. I'd also try to run a good amount of GAC asap, and change it out at least every 48-72 hours.

Best of luck!

In the future, just FYI, echinoderms (starifsh, urchin, etc.), are *extremely* sensitive to rapid changes in Salinity/pH/temp. It is usually recommended that these critters are accilmated over a 3-6 hour period, sometimes longer. The length of the acclimation depends on the difference between the parameters of your tank, and that of the bagged water.

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Old 12-09-2003, 05:08 PM   #8
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doing better

thanks you guys for all of your help. I lost all of the starfish, which jacked the ammonia up to 2.5 ppm, which i know is ridiculous. i started by doing a 50% water change which brought the toxix levels down some. I then did another 25% water change which dropped the ammonia level to almost 0. i added some of the kent ammonia remover and ph buffer to stabilize it a bit more. i still have all of the critters- the smails, the emerald mithrax and the hermits. hopefully this clears up the problem totally. in addition do you guys have any suggestions for an inexpensive lighting system that will support all corals and algae growth? we were looking at getting some metal halides but werent sure. thanks guys for all your help.
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