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Old 09-16-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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Hello all,

This is my first post, so let me introduce myself :

I have been interested in saltwater for the last few years and have been an avid reader of your forum.

For the last 2 years my 50g tank was populated by a single tomato with no light other than the basement window and occasionnal office light. Lack of time prevented me from really populating. During those 2 years I did maybe 4-5 10% pwc but topped off and fed regularly. I also kept a flame angle for about a 3 months, but it died likely from stress from occasionnal tomato aggression.

Having now more time and really wanted to get more active in the hobby, I came acrross an opportunity last month from somebody that was tearing apart his 75G. I acquired all his lifestock along with the lighting fixture and skimmer.

Here is how I performed the transfer:
Day 1: Changed 15G (30%) of my system water with the 75 G system water
Introduced all the inhabitants (see profile) (side note there was also a tang in the orginal setup, but I donated it to my lfs being too big for my tank.)
Day 3: Started generous daily feeding of flakes, small pellets and frozen mysis shrimps.

Week 1: started 50% light on (2x T5) + 5 % weekly pwc

Week 2: added about 10 lbs of cured live rock from old system started feeding anemone weekly with squid bit.

Week 3: 2x 5 % weekly pwc started after nitrate peaked from 30 to 60.
Started cleaning mechanical filter every 3 days, added 10 lbs more of cured live rock and reduced feeding regimen.

Week 4: Nitrate back at around 30. I have noticed that all the few hair algea spot that I had on the live rock is now gone. Likelly entirelly eaten by the inhabitants.

Now here is the reason behing my post: This morning my lawn mower blenny was lying dead. Last time I saw him 2 days ago he seemed ok. I assume my reduced feeding regimen of 3x a week did go well for him. The tankmates are pretty competitive when eating and I wonder if anything reached the bottom at all. Also maybe he strarved from the disapearence of the hair algea.

Other notable events or mishaps in the tanks in the last month are:
-A small 2% pwc went wrong when I used my top off water instead of my aged salt water 14 days ago. ( Salinity dropped from 1.023 to 1.020.)
- After recommendation from my lfs I started daily dosing with Red Sea No3 Po4-x reducer 10 days ago. I stopped after a single 4 ml dose when I noticed my anemone retreating in the live rock. The anemone now seems back in shape.

No nitrite or ammonia showing this morning. Nitrate still at 30 mg/L. Phosphate 0.25 mg/L. Ph and calcium good. temp is stable at 78F. All other inhabitants seem normal.

Any idea what went wrong? And, more importantly, how to properly care for a lawn mower to prevent this next time?

Any input welcome, Have a nice day!

(BTW, the original tomato specimen is still going strong and is now happy in my quarantine tank. )
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome, about all those mishaps there will be much trial and error in this hobby but it's in the end it's a rewarding hobby, an anemone is a little more advanced coral but it seems to be fine now all those incidents could be caused by you adding to much live stock at once. Usually you only want to add a couple livestock to your tank at once especially if adding live rock(when live rock is introduced into a different tank there is usually die off witch can cause higher ammonia and nitrate levels which probably what messed with your anemone. Also if you have the proper skimmer you won't need to do as many water changes. You Benny could've died because they mainly feed on algae and there was no more. Next time you get one you should spot feed it and it'll be just fine. With my aquarium I mix the salt right then and there then put it in my tank. Good luck!
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:04 PM   #3
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You also don't need as much supplements in your aquarium every day. The Los just maybe trying to sell and make money.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:44 AM   #4
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Yeah i wouldnt be dosing. Theres no reason to. Also just stay consistant with water changes and youll be ok.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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I agree with everything said, except I let fresh saltwater sit a while to be sure it has completly dissolved.

Lawn mowers require a lot of green matter. Healthy ones have a pot belly. Mine looks like he swallowed a marble. Slow down and let the tank catch up with you. Too much was happening at once. When making these changes, the tanks natural cycle peaks into concentrations that kill off live stock. Not much to do about it except water exchanges and letting the bacteria grow in the rocks.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:26 PM   #6
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I really get that thinking, planning and doing thing slowly is the fastest way to go in this hobby.

In this case I did not have much choice to try to salvage all the livestock by introducing all at the same time. I was aware that I was pushing the envelope.

Now the tank as settled around 20 nitrate level. During the whole process, I always measured ammonia or nitrites at 0.

I think that the fact that the tank had been running for the last 2 years is a big factor in the relative success of introducing 7 more fishes in one shot. Adding more fully cured live rock after the nitrate peak also seemed to have helped lower nitrates. I'm back to a weekly water change schedule now. But I would not recommend doing this to anyone. Pretty stressful.

Biggest improvement in the last 2 weeks comes from my DIY "sump". Organic film at the surface is gone and skimming seems more efficient because of constant water level. Also got a lot of disgusting stuff out off the tank with the sock filter. See my other thread for build details.

As far as the blenny go, I still believe it starved but will never know for sure. My most sensitive fish, a dwarf angel, has been doing great throughout the whole process. Anemone seems also in good shape and has fixed itself.

For my sw mix I always heat and aerate for 24 hours. As you suggested I decided to entirely stop dosing nitrate and phosphate reducer.

Most encouraging of all now is that for the first time in over 2 years I'm starting to witness some coralline growth! But only very small spots here and there so no bragging yet.

Thank you all for your comments.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:36 PM   #7
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Those are all good comments. As things stabilize it all gets easier.
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