I can't believe it's another screwed-up tank thread! Yes, that's right, my knack for zeroing in on completely screwed up saltwater tanks has led
me to a 225 Acrylic FOWLR
tank in a Japanese Steakhouse - you know, one of those where they make everything in front of you on the grill and put on a show?
A former local pet store employee told me about this tank, and he moved out of town recently, so I decided to hit them up. This tank looked fine when I walked in, except that here is only a 4-5" round Yellow Tang in it. After a brief conversation with the owner, I found out that there used to be more fish, and they all died. Red flag #1. He also said that they had taken all the rocks out and scrubbed the 'red growth' off of them just recently. Red flag #2.
I poked around the system, it have plenty of flow from 2 exterior pumps and 2 large powerheads, has a decent skimmer in a large acrylic sump (40g maybe) which was packed with bio-balls. Not very much lighting, 2 x 18" Coralife strips, just enough for show.
I put in a digital thermometer while I took a water sample and was shocked. 65.5 F. When I got home and tested the water, I was not surprised to find that I had to dilute the water sample 20 to 1 just to get a reading for Nitrates - putting those between 600 and 800 ppm
- and 10 to 1 dilution for Phosphates - putting those between 8 and 10, roughly. KH
was 4.5, pH was 7.9, Salinity 31. That was 2/26.
So I prepared a report, turned it in, and went back in a couple days ago to finally meet with the guy who had been maintaining the tank (an employee) for the last 2 years. He was just about to do his maintenance, which included topping off with RO
water from the grocery store (good!) and cleaning the algae off the interior with a long handle tool with a swiffer-like head, which worked pretty well. The problem is this: that's all he has done in 2 years. When I asked him when that last time was that he did a water change, he looked at me kind of funny. I explained that you have to remove water and put in new saltwater every 2 weeks, 4 max, and he then confessed that he didn't know you had to do that.
Suddenly, everything became very clear.
So he signed on to a total tear down. I'm going to QT the Yellow Tang at my house for probably a week. I'm going to start the tear-down likely on Sunday morning, take everything apart, bring the fish and LR
home, QT the fish, clean the LR
(probably with bleach to kill the cyano
, I've learned my lesson) salvage the bio-ball bio community so I don't have to cycle the tank, clean the pumps, sump, skimmer, replace all the return tubing, reassemble the tank, and fill-er up. I'm going to throw out the 3" of substrate (SINCE THEY'VE NEVER VACUUMED IT) and replace with a thin layer of Aragonite gravel (I would do sand, but I think it'll just blow around) and put a few heaters in the sump.
I've been running my RODI
day and night. I'm running out of buckets. I've got 22, but 6 are in use for one reason or another, which leaves me with 80g in buckets right now, and 2 x 44g BRUTE cans 1/3 full each, so I have to go get MORE buckets. I need 250g by Sunday. I get about 80-90/day out of it, so I should be fine, and in a pinch, there's Wal-Mart Culligan water.
It's gonna be fun. He's paying me 1/2 cash 1/2 gift cards. $300+ in gift cards will last about 3 meals for the family in that place though. I think we'll take the kids there ones, then go in just the 2 of us and have a bunch of saki-bombs.
Pics and status over the weekend. Enjoy!!!