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Old 09-03-2004, 12:06 AM   #1
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Acclimation disaster

So, I have wanted to setup a small marine tank in my classroom for quite sometime. I have a 55 gallon freshwater tank with around 40 fish (mostly barbs) in it and a river tank system in my classroom I have maintained for quite some time. However, I have always wanted a marine tank. I actually researched for (believe it or not) a couple of years before taking the plunge.

I decided to setup a 29 gallon fish only system and convert it to a nano-reef in the near future when I could afford the lights and live rock. I got all the equipment and even got sand and water from a well-established tank from a friend of mine. Set everything up, discovered a small leak in the protein skimmer (a Bak-Pak II), fixed it, and monitored the tank for a couple of days and pH, alkalinity, specific gravity, and temp (80) and other params were holding rock steady and well within acceptable limits. So I decided to get the fish tonight after work.

I decided to maintain the tank at 80 degrees, a bit warm, for a reason. In my classroom, holding a steady lower temp would be difficult. I can maintain 80 with no problems what so ever, in fact, my freshwater tank holds steady at 80 with little to no change.

So, I pick out a very nice looking Percula clown who is fat, colorful, active, and eating. I get him back and begin acclimating him. I float the bag and the water seems warm, I check the thermometer, it says 80 so I figure it is just me. After about 30 minutes of floating I decide to begin acclimating him to pH and salinity and I still think, "Gee, this water DOES seem warm." I go over to my freshwater tank and dip my fingers in and I realize something is terribly wrong as the water feels cool (as it should). I take my thermometer from it, clean it and place it into the marine tank. It reads a devastating 95 degrees!!

I’m in a panic now, I call a friend, he says get ziplock baggies and fill them with ice and float them. I do. I also pull out some of the powerheads as I figure this is where the heat is coming from and I don’t need them in a fish-only system. The water begins to cool and I am feeling better. I pull the bags out and guess what, one of the bags has holes in it!! What else could go wrong, now I have possibly a bit of tap water in the tank. I add some water treatment and continue to acclimate the fish in the bag.

Finally, after acclimation is finished I net him and place him in the tank. He swims around a bit, and finally settles to the bottom under a ledge and hangs out there. I watch him for about 30 minutes, he didn’t appear to be breathing hard or swimming erratically. I will find out if he is still alive in the morning.

I feel like a moron now.
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Old 09-03-2004, 01:43 AM   #2
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Geez, hope the little guy's okay in the morning. What went wrong? The heater? The thermometer?
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Old 09-03-2004, 04:34 AM   #3
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He will probably be ok. Clowns are pretty hardy fish, although 95 is pretty warm, unless you plan on adding lemon and garlic . Powerheads should not heat your tank that much unless something is seriously wrong with them. Finding where all that heat came from is obviously pretty important.

A little tap water in the tank is no problem, I use it as top off now and then when I forget to set water out the night before. It hasn't affected my reef in any way I can see. Using sand and water from an established tank "can" shorten or eliminate the cycle, but it's not a sure thing. But if you've only been setup for a couple days there is the possibility it has not cycled. Test your water daily to make sure its not going through a mini cycle. If so be prepared to do daily water changes if you want to keep the fish alive until the tank completes its cycle. the water changes will drag the cycle out considerably. The only acceptable levels for ammonia and nitrite are 0, you can fudge a bit on the nitrates tho'.

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Old 09-03-2004, 08:01 AM   #4
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Well, 7am and he looks good. Water temp is 80, he has survived 12 hours in the tank. A new record for a saltwater fish for me! I tired this a couple years ago and promptly killed 3 damsel fish one after the other and gave up and went fresh, but I was doing it all wrong back then, a couple years of research later and maybe I can do this!!
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Old 09-03-2004, 09:56 AM   #5
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Sure you can do This! it's not Rocket Science.
The learning is part of the fun.

Good Luck.
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Old 09-03-2004, 10:56 AM   #6
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Don't worry we all run into a problem once in a while but you just have to stick with it no one said having a sw tank would be easy but its very rewarding in the end. good luck
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Old 09-03-2004, 03:10 PM   #7
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It's not rocket science, but it does require a lot of thought, vigilance and conscientiousness.
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Old 09-03-2004, 03:42 PM   #8
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It's not rocket science, but it does require a lot of thought, vigilance and conscientiousness.
Don't forget the toughest of all, "Patience"!

Good Luck and have fun DWCULP!
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Old 09-03-2004, 03:43 PM   #9
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Too right!
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Old 09-03-2004, 06:27 PM   #10
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Looks good still

21 hours later and the fish is still alive. He/She spent most of the day bobbing near a corner of the tank but has begun cruising the rest of the bottom. Temp is about 26 C.
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Old 09-04-2004, 11:54 AM   #11
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Wow 39 hours later and he is still swimming! He has not ate yet, I threw a bit of thawed krill in and he swam towards it and nipped it but didnt eat it.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:15 AM   #12
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the krill is most likely to big for him unless you chop it up real well first i would pick up some fish food or make some good luck with your project and keep us updated
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Old 09-05-2004, 11:06 AM   #13
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Re: Acclimation disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwculp
I pull the bags out and guess what, one of the bags has holes in it!! What else could go wrong, now I have possibly a bit of tap water in the tank.
?

Possibly an ounce of tap water in 55 gallons of SW? I replace evaporated SW with plain old tap water.
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Old 09-05-2004, 12:28 PM   #14
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You should at least add a dechlorinator to the tapwater to help get rid of chlorine and chloramines as these are poisonous to livestock!
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Old 09-05-2004, 12:59 PM   #15
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never heart of powerheads causing that. If anything the powerhead pointing towards the top of the tank would help cool the water..
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Old 09-05-2004, 03:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
never heart of powerheads causing that. If anything the powerhead pointing towards the top of the tank would help cool the water..
I do not know what was causing the temp to rise so high. I have since plugged the power heads back in and the temp is remaining at 81 degrees. I have since bought a new aquarium, one with far more surface area to aid with cooling. I will transfer everything to the new aquarium later this week.

Quote:
the krill is most likely to big for him unless you chop it up real well first i would pick up some fish food or make some good luck with your project and keep us updated
It is pretty small krill and is actually fish food, frozen krill bought at the LFS, I also feed it to my freshwater fish. The clown is pretty big and can easily eat the krill, he is bigger than most of my freshwater fish and they eat it with ease. I tried some small mysis shrimp today and he did the same thing. He acted interested , swam towards it, nipped at it then swam back to his spot. I will hold off feeding again for a couple days then try again. I know he was probably eating at the LFS as a couple of times in the last few days he was trailing fecal matter.

Everything seems to be going fine, he is still swimming. He has a corner he stays in, but comes out and swims around every now and then and then returns to his corner.
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Old 09-05-2004, 06:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Diablo
Sure you can do This! it's not Rocket Science.
lol. I just remembered a quote " I just wanted some salt water fish, didn't know I would have to become a marine biologist" - unknown.

Usually powerheads don't heat up the tank that much. I would check the heater also because it might be sticking. I had a heater stick on my mini-bow and it boiled my peppermint shrimp to the point where the meat looked whitish like a cooked shrimp. Good thing that was the only livestock in the tank besides aiptasia and live rock.
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:00 PM   #18
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Well, 10 days later and he is still alive!!! In fact, he is doing well! I was worried about him and was even thinking of trying to return him. He was staying in one spot in the tank, swimming very little and not eating. He has come around really well. He eats like crazy and spends most of his time swimming around the tank, at all levels, full of life and energy! I think he is gonna be fine!

I convert to a full blown reef in a month and a few weeks!
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Old 09-13-2004, 06:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwculp
Well, 7am and he looks good. Water temp is 80, he has survived 12 hours in the tank. A new record for a saltwater fish for me! I tired this a couple years ago and promptly killed 3 damsel fish one after the other and gave up and went fresh, but I was doing it all wrong back then, a couple years of research later and maybe I can do this!!
How did you manage to kill 3 damsels in under 12 hours!?!
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Old 09-13-2004, 06:45 PM   #20
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How did you manage to kill 3 damsels in under 12 hours!?!
Really, it wasnt hard. It was three damsels who each lasted less than 12 hours, not three in a row in under 12 hours. Who knows what I was doing wrong then. I think I got it right this time though!
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