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Old 08-04-2010, 02:47 PM   #1
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Why has my tank failed so badly? :'(

I have a 20gal / 90ltr marine nano. Current inhabitants are: Royal Gramma, Orange Spotted Algae Blenny, 4 Turbo Snails, 2 Red Legged Hermits, and a lot of depressed feelings.

I would like to first mention that all of the fish/inverts that have died in my marine have died of unknown causes. The water quality has been perfect throughout the entire time (after cycle). Been set up for 1 year now. If anyone is reading this then please comment me of any possibilities of the cause of the deaths of any of the inhabitants. Im getting really annoyed right now and would like to move on to corals but I cannot until I know they wont just die.

I had two Clowns to start off. Bought as a pair from young age. They did really well until I had a power cut which lasted about 12 hours. After the power came back on and the tank had stablised again, the lights came on andd to my surprise everything was still alive! =D But, as I came down the next morning, one of the clownfish had completely disappeared. And I mean dissapeared. Without a trace. Nothing. Then after about 10 months the other also died from unexplained causes. Later I got a Firefish which also completely disappeared, after being only rarely seen. I guess that it died because I never really saw it eat anything and seemed to want to kil itself despite my best efforts. I wont drag it on but also: My Sand Sifting Starfish popped ot 1 month after bought. My Emerald Crab died after 6 months, my other emerald crab died after 2 weeks. I also had 2 Cleaner Shrimps that did really well except they both died after around 8 months. 2 Red Legged hermits also died after a couple of weeks.

As you can see, I am quite afraid to buy a coral in case it gets adopted by aliens, which, if it did, I would not be surprised as I now believe that this tank is cursed and wants me to die. I will shut up now, but any help will be greatly appreciated; especially if it is a possibly cause for the unexplained deaths. I will shut up now. THANKS!
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:04 PM   #2
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yuck, thats sounds terrible, I did however chuckle slightly at your tags.

Some questions that will help us diagnose...
Are you using RO/DI water?
Weekly PWCs?
Weekly Testings?
Parameter swings?
What were you levels last you checked (all)?
Do you dose anything?
Equipment on tank?

There are tons of others, but this is a good enough starting point.
Hopefully we will be able to get to the bottom of this for you.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:45 PM   #3
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Youve got some bad luck, friend! Actually, rarely is something due to bad luck...

Try to answer Jimbos questions about the parameters. Also keep in mind that if copper (as well as a few other meds) ever got into that tank at any point in its life then that could explain deaths. They absorb into various things and then slowly leach out. Are you the only one that has had access to the tank? Do you spray anything into the air in your house? (Air freshener or bug spray?)

To me, it sounds like there is a posion of sorts in the tank. Or there may have been some violent parameter swings.

Matt
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by FishmanJosh View Post
...The water quality has been perfect throughout the entire time (after cycle)....
I looked through your previous threads trying to find some hints as to what might be the problem, and noticed several pictures of some really bad algae and cyano. Looking at those pictures, I wouldn't necessarily say your water quality has been perfect.

I think the answers to Jimbo's questions are a good starting point. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't really see water parameters given in previous posts, and what your maintenance cycle was.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies guys.

Yes, I use my own RO unit which has been very helpful as the nearest fish shop is over 40mins away.

I am doing weekly PWC of about 25% using my own mixed salt - tested using a hydrometer.

I try to test weekly however sometimes I may miss out a week due to various reasons. But every time I test everything is perfect. I test for all the usuall things (Ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, calcium, KH, PH, etc) I have taken it to the fish shop to get tested every time I go, but they say it is fine as well.

Not too sure what you mean by parameter swings but there has never been a change in the tests so long as I have recorded them (if that is what you mean)

The last levels were:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = <10
Potassium = 0
KH = 10d
Calcium = >400
Salinity = 1.025
PH = 8.4
Phospate = 0
Copper = Not tested :/

Not dosing anything into the tank

Equipment is standard:
Heater
Filter (pump, 1 sponge, filter media)
2 Cooling fans
Protein skimmer - This is a possibility. My protein skimmer is quite loud (sounds like a stick being dragged along railings (only way I can think of )) and NEVER has any thing in the little cup. I have changed it maybe 2 or 3 times the entire year I have had the tank. Starting to think it may not be working...

Thats about it really. Thanks again.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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Did you ever have a large presence of algae or cyano like Kurt said? Those things will suck up a lot of the nitrates and phosphates, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

When you say "using my own mixed salt" you are just talking about mixing it yourself and not mixing some special salt you are making correct? lol.
You really need to get a refractometer, hydrometers are notoriously unreliable.
How many lbs of LR are in there?
How old are your test kits?
Do you regularly check the temp?
How old are the filter cartridges in your RO?
I would consider adding a DI unit onto your filter as well.

Matt had some good questions as well, are there any open bottles of cleaners or chemicals stored near your tank, or do you clean in there often with sprays?
Or do you leave your salt mix open by any of the above?
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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Thanks Nelson, but that algae was a bit of a fluke. The entire time it was there, my water quality was perfect. Two of my local(ish) marine specialist fish shops were surprised as well. They told me the usual wait, wait, and wait more until I had waited for 6 MONTHS! no matter what I tried it continued to grow stronger every day, until I got to the point where I took the whole ****ed rock out. It was only on that peice of LR and none of the others. In fact it is sitting outside right now in my garden and I am laughing at the dead algea because I hat it so much. Anyway, the problem is completely gone now Thanks for looking!
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FishmanJosh View Post
Thanks Nelson, but that algae was a bit of a fluke. The entire time it was there, my water quality was perfect. Two of my local(ish) marine specialist fish shops were surprised as well. They told me the usual wait, wait, and wait more until I had waited for 6 MONTHS!...
Yeah... your tests said the water was perfect, but if you have nuisance algae like that, it is anything but perfect. As Jimbo mentioned, excess algae can really throw off test results. And I wouldn't say having an algae issue for 6 months out of the 12 months it's been set up is a fluke. Not trying to be argumentative or anything... I'm just saying that you probably shouldn't be so quick to rule out water quality as an issue.

The hydrometer could be a suspect. Is it a floating glass-bulb type, or a swing arm? If it's a swing arm, and you're doing 25% water changes, and the salinity of the water doesn't match, that could cause a pretty quick and large change in salinity levels. Even if your hydrometer was reading the same all the time, in reality, the water could be very very different. Swing arms can be really inaccurate. Over time, big changes to the salinity could've stressed out the fish.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:51 PM   #9
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My salt is just Tropic Marin mixed with RO water thanks for asking xD

Not too sure how many lbs of LR there are but my LFS helped my weigh it out after I bought the tank - I just cant remember :/

Test kits arent exactly new, but I test at the LFS every time I go and the get the same results as well.

I do regularly check the temp and it is always between 24 and 26 celcius.

The RO unit was bought about 8 months ago and I havent really done any thing with it yet if that is the problem. How often should I replace the filters and stuff?? I should probably aslo mention that it is in my cupboard with all the... Slightly toxic cleaners and chemicals that my mum uses for cleaning. The thing is though is that its in a really useful place where it is connected to the waste pipe under the sink and all that so its really easy to use, and I am really careful when putting the tube into my Jerrican that it dosent touch any thing toxic at all, and they are all sealed anyway.

Thanks for all your replies though guys
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:53 PM   #10
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Inverts don't like nitrates, but I'd still question if that tank ever had copper in it too.
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