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Old 06-29-2010, 04:21 PM   #1
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Exclamation Creating a safe environment

Hello all, I just wanted some opinions on creating a safe simple environment for saltwater fish only.
When I started my tank I put alot of live rock in it and then bought an inexpensive fish to help speed up the cycle process but yet try to keep it natural. Well with that being said after the tank succesfully cycled and I started to add fish (one at a time) I was not doing well on my survival rate the only thing living was the cheap fish I started with evrything else was contracting ich. Well not wanting to kill my live rock by dosing with copper I chose a live rock safe treatment THAT DIDNT WORK!! So I have learned that live rock certainly can be pretty and help cycle the tank, in the future I will only put a small amount of live rock in a starter tank and just let nature take its course then once the tank has cycled i will dose it with copper and kill the live rock and then decorate with dry rock for two reasons 1. live rock can carry harmful bacteria that can harm fish 2. when I do see the start of ich I want to be able to dose the tank heavily with copper to knock it out and save my expensive fish not save expensive live rock. After all it is a fish tank for fish only!! I am also of the opinion that keeping it simple with a tank has a better success rate than buying all those fancy skimmer and nano pumps etc. I do a 10% water change every week and change my carbon every two to three weeks. My Rena Xp3 pushes plenty of water through. Please keep in mind these are the thoughts and opinions of a novice, I would enjoy some feedback. Thanks everybody
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:31 PM   #2
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I disagree with your prognosis. LR does not carry bad bacteria. The good bacteria the nitrifying bacteria needs the surface area of LR to grow on and help to cycle the tank. If you put copper in your tank you will never be able to have a reef. Your reasoning about copper in the tank does not make sense. Just put the proper amount of LR in the tank and put an ammonia source in the tank and just let it cycle. We have a good article about cycling in our Sw articles section. Also you talk about a safe enviornment for the fish but cycling with fish is not safe or humane. Read our article on cycling.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by boxfishlover View Post
...in the future I will only put a small amount of live rock in a starter tank and just let nature take its course then once the tank has cycled i will dose it with copper and kill the live rock and then decorate with dry rock for two reasons 1. live rock can carry harmful bacteria that can harm fish 2. when I do see the start of ich I want to be able to dose the tank heavily with copper to knock it out and save my expensive fish not save expensive live rock....
I think there are some misconceptions at work here. The live rock didn't bring in harmful bacteria. Ich is a parasite that rides in on infected fish. Sounds like you were not quarantining the fish before adding them to the main tank. A good quarantine procedure will at least isolate infected fish BEFORE they get in to your main tank and cause costly losses. Keeping ich out of the tank to start with is really the easiest and most cost effective way of dealing with it.

Not sure why you want to cycle, then dose copper to kill the rock. All you're doing is killing off the beneficial bacteria - the kind that converts ammonia to nitrites, and nitrites to nitrates... and you're back at square one with rock and an uncured tank.

Also, dosing a tank with rock and substrate with copper is a difficult thing to do. The rock and substrate will absorb the copper and cause problems keeping a stable, effective level of copper in suspension in the water. In addition, once you're done with the treatment and remove the copper from the water, it will now migrate from the rock/substrate back into the water. It'll take a while to truly be rid of it.

Guess I'm just suggesting that a simple quarantine tank (10g with heater, HOB filter) and a 4 week visit to that tank for any new fish may be the simplest thing to create a safe environment. Keep the medication out the main tank and everyone (fish, snails/crabs, and rock!) will be happy.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. But I am not trying to have any kind of reef tank it is for fish only and I agree that live rock has alot of good things in it. But if my fish do contract ich the number one way to knock it out quickly is dose the tank with copper well as you know copper will kill live rock. So I would much rather not run the risk of ich killing my fish and use copper to treat. My tank is long since cycled therefore there is no need for live rock anymore. I absolutley agree it helps cycle and balance the tank in the begining, but now that it is established everything I need to maintain my levels is in my canister and filters. As far as using fish to cycle I guess I used a poor choice of words. What I did was set the tank up I let it run a week with nothing but substrate i then added 4 nice size pieces of live rock I then let it cycle for 1 month once my ammonia level came down I added 1 5 dollar fish and started feeding it etc I then monitered my levels for another month before adding any expensive fish. Once everything stayed level and the brown died down even after water changes I added my first expensive fish. Again my point about live rock is this if a person only wants fish in the tank and wants better odds of survival artificial and dry rock will increase those odds in my opinion. Either way once your fish get the ich and you treat with copper you are effectively killing the live rock anyway for the most part.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:02 PM   #6
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Hmmmph.

The whole point of having live rock is NOT to cycle your tank, but to provide a home for your beneficial bacteria. Live rock serves as your biological filtration. If you cycle your tank, then remove all the live rock, then most likely you will see a mini-cycle because you have removed your beneficial bacteria.

You can have a tank with absolutely no live rock from day one. The bacteria will set up shop in your substrate, in filter pads, etc. You don't *need* live rock for anything except for aesthetics, and the ability to ditch the old wet/dry filter units or canister filters with sponge filters.

Yeah... I realized you weren't looking for a reef tank, so copper isn't an issue there. But if you do want to keep snails or crabs or shrimp... any inverts, not just corals... then minor amounts of copper will be a problem. And once you dose the rock/substrate with copper, it will leach back into the water over time. The lower levels *may* be OK for your fish long term, but will most likely be bad for anything else.

Copper isn't the only effective means of dealing with ich. Hyposalinity is very effective, but again... should only be done in a separate quarantine tank.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:03 PM   #7
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Kurt you make a good point, but I was under the understanding that even after a tank is set up and the fish are stable ich can occur due to stress or other unseen factors and if it does occur to an established tank that no new fish have been added am I wrong in saying the best cure is to treat with copper? I disagree with the notion that if you treat wioth copper and kill the rock that it returns your tank to an uncured tank. I know a number of folks who have saltwater fish tanks with no live rock in it ever and the levels are stable and remain stable. I have treated my tank twice with copper and my levels never fluctuated at all. As far as the copper migrating back into the water well when I treat I remove the bio chem from my canister and then once the treatment is complete the bio chem goes back in which will deactivate the copper or at least I am told it does. Again I am still on the learning curve here but have a friend who has been in this business for 30 years and try to heed his advice. He tells me once a tank is established that everything that it needs to survive is in the canister.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:29 PM   #8
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Kurt you make a good point, but I was under the understanding that even after a tank is set up and the fish are stable ich can occur due to stress or other unseen factors...
Ich doesn't just happen, and it is not always present. It is a parasite that can only survive in the presence of fish.

Quote:
...and if it does occur to an established tank that no new fish have been added am I wrong in saying the best cure is to treat with copper?
Just my opinion, but yeah... I'd say you're wrong. Best course of action is to remove the fish (all of them, since you have to assume that they now ALL harbor the parasite) from the main tank to a quarantine tank, and treat using hyposalinity.

Quote:
I disagree with the notion that if you treat wioth copper and kill the rock that it returns your tank to an uncured tank.
Copper will kill the bacteria.

Quote:
I know a number of folks who have saltwater fish tanks with no live rock in it ever and the levels are stable and remain stable.
As I mentioned in my previous post, bacteria will live anywhere... you don't need live rock at all.

Quote:
I have treated my tank twice with copper and my levels never fluctuated at all.
I'd say that perhaps the levels did indeed fluctuate, but maybe testing just didn't show it.

Quote:
As far as the copper migrating back into the water well when I treat I remove the bio chem from my canister and then once the treatment is complete the bio chem goes back in which will deactivate the copper or at least I am told it does. Again I am still on the learning curve here but have a friend who has been in this business for 30 years and try to heed his advice. He tells me once a tank is established that everything that it needs to survive is in the canister.
And your friend is correct. You don't need live rock. But you do need bacteria.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:54 PM   #9
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Looks like you already made up your mind. As I mentioned above some of your reasoning is just plain wrong. Kurt has covered alot of it but I`m not going to repeat since you`ve already done what you were asking advice about it. Hope all goes well in your tank.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:26 PM   #10
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I appreciate all the feed back and am totally open to modifying the care of my tank. I had discussed a quarentine tank but had differnt stores tell me the same thing yes ou can pull fish out of a tainted tank but in some cases you run just as much risk of killing them by changing there environment and chemical levels vs treating the tank with the fish in it. I am not familiar with hyposalinity but will check into it. I am only going to introduce one more fish into my environment and then I am done hopefully he will come in clean and safe. i want to thank everyone for the advice thats why I made the post, I am certainly going to look into all that was offered and anything else that is added. I just want a healthy tank for my fish. I will keep all my other creatures in my invert tank. My burrfish is sick right now and I cannot figure out what it is he has no signs of ich my water tests are perfect, i did add my longhorn cowfish 10 days ago but he had been in the store for two weeks and was and still is eating and appears healthy. I did clean the substrate some on Sunday and the glass when I did my water & bio chem change. I did rinse ut my fine filter but did it in the same saltwater I made. He is just not himself he is lethargic and very rarely is closing his mouth he did eat a little last night late but nothing yet today. I am at a loss as to what to do except to keep close watch for any signs of ich. Again thanks to everyone for your input, I look forward to getting to know everyone
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