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Old 10-23-2011, 11:47 PM   #11
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It's kind of strange that crushed coral caused that to happen. That "dust" is fine for SW fish. Maybe it has to do with freshwater fish. I tend to agree with Lohoyan. Did you use the correct silicone? The stuff for windows/bathroom use has anti-mildew chemicals in it that will kill fish. Just curious.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:55 AM   #12
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I'm 99% positive. The silicone has a 24 hour full cure time. I let it sit for 3 full days before putting it into the tank. I didnt rinse the coral at all and the powder from the fragments leached out into the water and turned it so cloudy that I could hardly see the back of the tank. When I changed the water there was a film of the powder left on the glass that had to be removed. As soon as I changed the water the surviving fish started behaving normally.

What makes me feel foolish is that I preach so often on how everything must be cleaned before putting it into a tank, then I failed to do it myself. Even stuff that is supposedly "pre-rinsed" needs to be done to remove dust from the packaging process, shipment and storage.

I posted the thread just to show how important the small details can be and hoping someone can learn from my mistakes.

Oh, and thanks for all the compliments on the looks of the thing. I havent given up on it, I just have to rethink my strategy. I can just redo it like this (after cleaning the remaining coral) or I am considering a white/black sand mixture.
Recently I made a cave using PVC pipe, silicone and gravel. It says that silicone needs at least 72 hours to fully cure. After that time my cave still had very strong smell of silicone so I left it for few more days to dry. Finally after one week smell is gone and silicone is safe for use underwater.
Good luck with your project. It looks awesome.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:59 PM   #13
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...Did you use the correct silicone? The stuff for windows/bathroom use has anti-mildew chemicals in it that will kill fish. Just curious.
Yeah, I'm absolutely positive it was right. I used the GE Type I 100% pure clear silicone.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:37 PM   #14
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Yeah, I'm absolutely positive it was right. I used the GE Type I 100% pure clear silicone.
Ah bummer. Guess the crushed coral residue must have done it. A shame really. Your project looks awesome! Think you'll do it again and wash the coral?
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #15
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Ah bummer. Guess the crushed coral residue must have done it. A shame really. Your project looks awesome! Think you'll do it again and wash the coral?
Either that or redo it in sand... But I'm leaning towards the coral...
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:57 AM   #16
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That much crushed coral dust floating around in a freshwater tank all of a sudden would cause a rapid and substantial rise in the water's ph wouldn't it? Maybe that's what did the damage?
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:50 PM   #17
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i had a bad time w/ crushed coral too.. same result, water got milky, but i cleaned mine good before adding it .. luckily i was smart enough (for once) to add it to a fishless tank.. never again though lol

the structure you made is SICK!! i would try dolomite if you dont wanna use sand.. i have it in my african tank & its quite pretty

good luck!!!
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:38 PM   #18
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My guess would be that the coral residue raised your TDS high enough to affect the respiratory process in the fish. I find it highly unlikely that you got that significant of a change in pH that quickly. Personally, I run many of my African tanks with aragonite sand or CC substrate. Can't say I'm real familiar with the fish you were keeping, but the change in pH should have occurred slowly enough that it wouldn't kill fish. Make them uncomfortable perhaps, but shouldn't have shocked em to that extreme. Personally I think if you give the existing structure a very good rinse job, you should be able to use it as is.
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