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Old 09-16-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Unexplained Deaths

Hello,

I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank, been set up for 4-5 months now. I had a juvenile maroon clown, a sixline wrasse, a flame angelfish, and a bangai cardinal fish. I also have 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, and some hermit crabs and snails.

Everything had been doing fine, eating fine, etc up until a couple weeks ago. Iíve been using tap water with aquasafe, but recently bought a Coralife Pure-Flo 4 stage RO/DI unit. Iíve been changing about 5 gallons of water per week, but since I bought the RO/DI I wanted to trade some of that water for what was in the tank. So I started changing 10 gallons at a time, and I was doing that every 3-4 days instead of weekly. I got 3 of those changes in before I found my clownfish dead one morning. He had been doing fine just the night before. I stopped the water changes, but a couple days later the flame angelfish died, again having been doing great just the night before.

So far, nothing else has died. Could the water changes be to blame? I have the RO water heated to tank temperature, same salinity before putting it in the tank. I threw out the first trashcan full (30 gallons) of RO water it produced. The only thing I can think of is I havenít been adding the Aquasafe to the RO water, as I didnít think you needed to. Maybe I should have been? I do have chlorine in my water.

As far as water parameters, everything seems fine to me. There is no detectable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates. Sg is 1.022, temp is 77F. Itís just strange to me that everything was doing fine, and the only thing Iíve changed is the source of the water, but it seemed like a good change to me. Maybe I was just changing too much too fast and the different water shocked the fish? The other strange thing is that the shrimp and other inverts were unaffected and my understanding is that theyíre the first to go.

I want to replace these fish, but not before I find out what killed the originals. If anybody has any ideas I would appreciate it!
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:27 PM   #2
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I don't think the increase in PWCs was the cause. It could have been that the fish had issues that you didn't notice. How long had you had them in the tank?

I do much larger PWCs every other week on my system with no ill effects. I think there is something else going on. It, as I said, could just be the fish had issues.
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:49 PM   #3
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Not all RO/DI units totally remove chloramine, it's been shown that even the 'better' ones can fail totally remove it. For me, I always treat my RO/DI w/ Prime just to be sure.
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. The fish have all been in there for several months with no problems.

Seeing as how all I've changed is the water source, I'm leaning towards my RO unit not taking out all of the chlorine/chloramine. I'm going to start adding the aquasafe to the RO water just to be safe.
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:24 PM   #5
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Captain has a valid point and seems that might be the problem.
How are you mixing your water?
Are you bringing it up to the tank's temp?
I like to premix my water with a ph and heater for at least 24 hours. I actually have a 32G trash can that I constantly keep water mixing....
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:35 PM   #6
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I have a 30 gallon trash can that I keep the RO water in. I have a heater in there bringing the temp to the same temp as the aquarium water. I don't mix the salt in until I'm ready to put it in the tank. Siphon out a bucket, dump it, get a bucket of RO water, add salt, let it mix and test the sg before putting it in the tank. I suppose I could mix the salt in the trash can as well, but before I used RO water, I mixed the salt into the water after the aquasafe right before putting it in the aquarium.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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Freshly made SW can be quite caustic to add to your tank. You need to wait 24-48 hrs before adding. Give the SW time to age and mix well. I do bigger PWC`s than you and never had a problem with PWC`s. I would maybe look for other reasons.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:44 PM   #8
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OK, well I can try mixing the salt into the trash can of RO water. Say I do that, take 10 of 30 gallons out and turn the RO unit back on. Would it be OK to just add then enough salt for 10 gallons to the trash can (testing sg of course)? Or would it be better to use all the mixed salt water first, and start with all RO water before mixing salt?
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Not all RO/DI units totally remove chloramine, it's been shown that even the 'better' ones can fail totally remove it. For me, I always treat my RO/DI w/ Prime just to be sure.
If there's a carbon filter before the RO membrane, won't that take out the chloramine?
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Old 09-17-2008, 12:41 AM   #10
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It should but I've seen test results that show not all carbon filters are equal. I'm also not sure what brand filter. There was a test done on reefkeeper or RC can't remember which that show'd chloramione can sneak through. For the cost of Prime, I do it just for saftey sake
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