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Old 02-06-2012, 11:50 PM   #1
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Help

I have a 75 gallon fowlr setup with about 100 pounds of live rock and 80 pounds of live sand. The tank is two months old. My chemistry is as follows.
Am 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0
PH 8.1
Calcium is high
Alkalinity is high

After the tank cycled I added some livestock. Then, the PH dropped to 7.8-7.9. Couldnt raise it even after adding Balance and Buffers. Fish started to die.

I performed water changes 6 gallons every 3 days. I wanted to dilute the original salt that I used. Long story but I used Petco salt. It's been diluted out with coral life salt.

Now, my ph is up to 8.1. Still can't raise it higher. I would prefer 8.3-8.4.

Fish are still dying.

Here is whatnivelost so far. I'm sad because tonight I found my fuzzy dwarf dead.
Fuzzy dwarf lion
Garden Eel 14"
2 Sleeper Gold Head Goby
Snowflake Blenny
Orbicular Batfish
Blue Devil
Green Chromis
Azur Damsel
Cleaner Wrass
Spotted Cardinal Fish
Blue Linckia Starfish

I feed them mysis, and flake.
I've replaced the dead fish with others. These I don't want to lose.

What am I doing wrong?

Thank you!
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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Did you cycle the tank with an ammonia source?
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:02 AM   #3
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A few damsels which are all still alive except for one.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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You used damsels to cycle your tank? Were you testing the water while you were cycling? When the fish were dying off did you test for ammonia?
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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I tested the water everyday since I bought the tank. Observing the cycling process was very neat. It was like a wave with tailing ripples as ammonia peaked, them nitrite, then nitrate.

I have had some ammonia peaks since cycling completed. Once it went up to 2.0. I performed a water change and added some prime. Other than that one episode, I've experienced slight ammonia spikes
, nothing more ore than 1.0 no longer than a day, when I've added livestock.

I really thought I solved the problem when I got the ph stable at 8.1. But with the lion dead and my bicolor angel not eating I think not.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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I also want to add that I have a Red Sea prism protein skimmer, fluval FX5 filter, air rock, and perform weekly 6 gallon water changes.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:34 AM   #7
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If you had any ammonia spikes after the cycle that could very well have killed the fish. :-( Did you do water changes when the ammonia spiked in those instances? In addition, I would be doing larger water changes on that size tank. I would say at least 10 gallons. I take out 20g when I do water changes on my 90g and about 40g on my 125g.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:41 AM   #8
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The first ammonia spike I honestly didn't do a water change. It took 3 days to come down to 0.

I've been told by my local shop I shouldn't do more than 10 gallon water changes due to the amount of live rock I have. Once I took out 20 gallons and almost half the water was gone.

Since the 2.0 spike, I have done water changes every time within a day. I use prime as a short term stop gap if I can't do the change at the moment I test.

Do you find it strange that I can't get the PH higher than 8.1. Do you think that is playing a role at all?

Ps my gravity is a 1.023 and thermometer claims to be 78.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:50 AM   #9
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I don't think the ph is playing any role in your troubles. My phis at a steady 7.8 and all is well in my tank.

I was running my 125g tank with 250lbs of rock and still managed to do a large water change. I would for sure increase the amount of your water change by a bit, don't worry about the water level. A water change is a great thing and can fix many issues believe it or not.

Your salinity is a tad bit low as well, I run my tanks at natural seawater level of 1.026 but thats not the cause of your troubles either.
I honestly think it's the ammonia build up that is getting your fish. If you try to stock again I would suggest one or two fish max and see where that gets you. I would monitor the ammonia and get the water changes done as quickly as you can if there is another spike. You might have to live with just one or two fish in the tank for awhile though, stocking too fast and too many fish can seriously cause a spike so i would be patient and go slow.

Sorry, thats the best advice I have for you. Good luck, let us know how it works out.
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I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:56 AM   #10
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I appreciate the advice and will follow it with regards to the water changes. I already replaced the dead live stock with more expensive fish thinking problems were solved. I am not buying anything new for awhile. That's a promise.

I know ammonia is very bad. What levels can fish take if the duration is just a day? Is 2.0 for a day guaranteed death? What about 1.0? I know 0 is required but I'm just wondering if I can use your answer to forecast carnage in the tank?

Thanks for the help. Best advice I've received so far and I've talked to a lot of people and wasted a lot of money on buffers and balance.
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