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Old 07-01-2004, 03:34 AM   #1
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Tank of Doom!

Well, it's not really the tank of doom, but it seems to be on a downward spiral.

This is the master thread for all my current and future tank problems. Sorry for so many questions lately, but I'm finally getting my saltwater tank together, and of course everything is going wrong. Rather than post 100 threads I will summarize everything here. The odd thing is when I had a saltwater tank 8 years ago I didn't have a single problem. My freshwater tank never has any probs either, it's practically self sufficient.

Tank
Size: 110g
Lights: 4x65 w PCs with moonlights. 2 actinic and 2 10k bulbs.
Heating: 300 watt thermometer
Skimmer: Remora Pro w mag drive upgrade
Water flow: 2 maxijet 1200s, canister
Filtration: 40 lbs Live rock, 60 lbs baserock, DSB, and a canister running carbon.

Tank History
Started about two months ago with aragonite sand and live sand, and fed it a shrimp or two to get it jump started. Levels tested fine so I bought some good live rock, and just placed it a week ago around June 23rd. Just turned on the canister filter with carbon two days ago.

Bubbles
1. Are bubbles harmful in any way?

Everything in the tank is spitting out bubbles. The canister filter, both my maxijets, and the protein skimmer. The main culprit seems to be the remora pro protein skimmer, but everything else is spitting out bubbles as well. I just cleaned the maxijets and submersed them upside down in the water and turned em around a few times and they're still spewing out bubbles. I used some supplements about a week ago and I know supplements are supposed to cause problems but I thought they would clear out in a week. I used a little bit of calcium and strontium, and a decent amount of kh buffer (as per directions, I was told it would help rise my ph).

2. Should I just turn of my skimmer for a couple of days so the supplements clear out?

pH
My pH is always around 7.8 / 7.9 no matter what time I test my tank, regardless if the lights have been on or not. Even when I make a fresh batch in a rubbermaid container the pH is 7.8, even after 24 hours of aeration. I am using RO/DI water and Instant Ocean seasalt.

3. Is a pH this low too dangerous for my tank?
4. Is there a safe way to raise pH?


Recent Tests
Tests are using a recently purchased Hagen master kit. A salifert and dry tabs kit confirmed most of the results.
Date: June 30
SG: 1.022
Temp: 79
NH3: undetectable (<0.1)
NO2: undetectable (<0.1)
NO3: almost undetectable (~0.25mg/L)
Ca: 440mg/L
Kh: 120
PO4: between 0 and 0.25
Fe: undetectable (<0.1)

Creatures
Devoid of fish and inverts until recently.
Cleanup crew placed on June 30th.

36 turbo snails
12 blue leg hermits
1 unknown crab
10 scarlet reef hermits
4 emerald crabs
6 nerite snails
6 cerith snails
2 star snails
48 nassarius snails
1 lettuce nudibranch
1 serpent star
1 harlequin serpent star
1 sea cucumber
~10 feather dusters

Algae
This issue has been answered in another thread, but I am not sure if it is cyano, algae, or diatomes. I would post a pic but my camera is down. It is brown, covers the sand, glass, and rocks. The center of each bloom is darker than the surrounding area and some, but not all, is web-like.

Live rock
The live rock looked really nice when I first got it, but now some areas appear to be whitish.

5. Is this normal for rock recently added to the tank, and should it return back to normal?

TIA, I am sure I will have more problems shortly. At least I do not have any fish yet, but I would like to get a tang soon. I would like to clear up the bubble, pH, and algae issues before I get any fish, however. I will be eternally grateful if I can get this tank set up properly.
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Old 07-01-2004, 04:02 AM   #2
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Was the lr cured? What kind of lighting do you have?

I'd be guessing if I tried to answer your questions so I'll leave that to the experienced folks. I do know that there is a break in period with the remora. I think the bubbles will stop after a few weeks. As far as the chemicals, just keep the carbon in until your sure it has been removed. If the carbon is a few weeks old and has already dealt with a lot of contaminants, you might want to put in some fresh carbon and see if that helps.

This is probably a stupid question, but on your maxi-jets, do you have the air (venturi) tube open or closed?

If you can answer these questions, you'll probably be able to get more specific responses.
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Old 07-01-2004, 04:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Was the lr cured?
No, but it was from liverocks.com, and there was barely an ammonia spike (<_0.3). Seeing as how the levels were normal two days after placing it in the tank I would consider it cured.

Quote:
but on your maxi-jets, do you have the air (venturi) tube open or closed?
Closed. It came with a plastic stopper thingie, which is in-place.

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What kind of lighting do you have?
I just updated the section. 4x65 watt PCs with moonlights.
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:57 AM   #4
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air bubbles can irritqate corrals. What is probably hapening is the bubbles for the skimmer, normal durring break in are getting caught in the ph and canister, and when there are enough the air gets spit out. Check for leaks and tighten hose clamps if possible.
a pH of 7.8 is on the low side of the scale that is suggested. What is the pH of the water you use to make sw? it may be neseccary to add some buffer or on of the products that pinpoint pH at a specific number (8.0 to 8.3) Or try mixing up a different salt brand. get 5 gal of something else and see what pH is. The sefest way to raise pH is thru regular water changes, and since you are not at dangeroul levels, it is not an emergency. Altough when adding livestock I would give them some extra time to accli mate so there is no shock
It sounds like your lr is bleached a bit from the lights. I was told it should come back.
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Old 07-01-2004, 09:52 AM   #5
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Out of everything you mentioned the only real problem I see is pH. I think at this point it could be a good idea to invest in a pH meter. I know you said you confirmed your test results with other brands, but I just don't trust those pH tests.
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I will invest in a pH meter. Anyone know of an accurate brand? If it's still messed up I will likely switch to a different seasalt.

It's good that the LR will return to normal, I was confused as to what was happening since my water tests seem to be mostly in place.

I'll test the tapwater pre/post RO/DI tonight.

Cleanup crew seems to be doing a good job. The oddest thing, when I woke up this morning most of the snails were on the glass on the topmost parts of the tank.

6. Is it normal for serpent stars to hide under rocks most of the time? Or are they just being shy and will come out when they've adjusted?
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Old 07-01-2004, 06:02 PM   #7
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I use a PinPoint brand and it works great, every month I test the PH with a test kit and if it needs calaberation then I do it, if not I let it run.
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:31 PM   #8
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I don't see huge problems here - mostly normal stuff with a relatively new tank. pH is a bit low -- but a pH monitor would be more accurate. A better test would be the difference in pH right before the lights turn on, vs. right before the lights turn out. 7.8 should be your lowest (right before lights turn on). Is the tank covered?
Note also that normal tank cycling will drive down pH.

Other note -- salinity is quite low. For a FO tank, you'd want to be at at least 1.023. For a reef - 1.025.

Quote:
6. Is it normal for serpent stars to hide under rocks most of the time? Or are they just being shy and will come out when they've adjusted?
They're nocturnal critters - you'll rarely see them.

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Old 07-01-2004, 11:44 PM   #9
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New tank. Could turn off the skimmer for a few weeks (nothing for it to skim) it will also drop your bubbles abit. If a PH is pointed right at the intake/suction of anther PH or canister it will cause bubbles from the one being pointed at (make sense?). Brown diatom algae is the usual for a new tank and will go away on it own in a couple weeks.
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Old 07-02-2004, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Other note -- salinity is quite low. For a FO tank, you'd want to be at at least 1.023. For a reef - 1.025.
Really? I remember reading in a couple of places that near 1.021 was best for the prolonged life of fish and for the prevention of diseases. Anyone else have any thoughts about this? I guess I need to research it more and I'll think about raising salinity.

Quote:
They're nocturnal critters - you'll rarely see them.
Thanks. Too bad they can't come out and play during the day.

Quote:
A better test would be the difference in pH right before the lights turn on, vs. right before the lights turn out
I've been taking readings about 5 times a day all during different times, and I never notice a swing. It seems to be stuck around 7.8/7.9 I took a sample into the LFS where they analyzed with a meter and it came out the same. I would have bought a meter there but they wanted $80!!!!!

I put some Seachem pH 8.3 buffer in, per directions, and my pH shot up exactly to 8.3 . I didn't think it would raise that fast, and I hope it isn't going to harm my LR or inverts.

I'm going to try slowly switching to Oceanic seasalt, as they have 200g buckets for $30 at a LFS near me, and I don't like the idea of adding too many supplements to my tank.

Quote:
If a PH is pointed right at the intake/suction of anther PH or canister it will cause bubbles from the one being pointed at (make sense?).
Hmm...I'm going to try to rearrange a powerhead so it is a little bit further from my protein skimmer.

Today I noticed a snail without a shell crawling up the side of the aquarium. Weird huh?
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