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Old 02-16-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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Fish keep dying

So I bought my 92 gallon corner setup about a month and a week ago. It came with a large blue hippo and a large tomini tang which I rehomed. Since I have gotten it this is what I've put in:

2 ocellaris clowns
1 yellow eye tang
1 flame angel
1 six line wrasse
1 neon dottyback
1 royal grama
1 copper banded butterfly
1 orange dotted goby
1 very large serpent starfish
6 red leg hermits
4 turbo snails
1 orange eye sea urchin

So my fish are slowly dying. First my copper band butterfly died last week. Next one of my clowns went MIA. It was there in the morning happy as a pig in poop, then I left and went to a few lfs's and when I got home 8 hours later he was just gone. That night I pulled all of my rock out and still no sign of a dead fish or a carcass or anything. Nothing in my sump or on the ground around the tank. Very odd. Last night my royal grama died after showing no signs of sickness. Now I notice my flame angel has one cloudy eye. Wtf do I do at this point? My ammonia is at .25ppm or less. My salinity is a little high at 1.024-1.025. Ph is 8.3. Calcium is around 575. I don't want to be the guy the fish at the lfs talk about being the fish killer!! Someone help me out please.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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Any detectable ammonia is toxic to fish. Copper banded Butterflies are very hard to keep.
Your salinity is not high. That's about where NSW is. I keep mine at .026.
Your calcium is not 575 either. I'm assuming you are using an API test kit. Notoriously inaccurate...especially the calcium test.
You are going to have to remove the ammonia from the system. I would use an additive like Prime or Amquel to render it non-toxic and let whatever is spiking it sort itself out.
If you just do water changes, the source of ammonia is still going to be there and it will probably show up on your test kits again.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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Any detectable ammonia is toxic to fish. Copper banded Butterflies are very hard to keep.
Your salinity is not high. That's about where NSW is. I keep mine at .026.
Your calcium is not 575 either. I'm assuming you are using an API test kit. Notoriously inaccurate...especially the calcium test.
You are going to have to remove the ammonia from the system. I would use an additive like Prime or Amquel to render it non-toxic and let whatever is spiking it sort itself out.
If you just do water changes, the source of ammonia is still going to be there and it will probably show up on your test kits again.

So once I use the Prime that should take care of the ammonia problem or is that just a band-aid to cover it up? Yes I am using all API testing supplies. Last week I had a 620 calcium reading. What calcium test would you suggest? I am very vigilant on doing my weekly water changes at this point in my sw career. I use the orange bucket of reef crystals as my salt.

SIDENOTE: I was at a lfs in Lancaster PA the other day called The Fish Place and they advised against using reef crystals due to not knowing exactly all of the elements used in this mix. Any validity to that?
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:03 AM   #4
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Also according to my Coralife digital thermometer, which I keep about 6 inches down from the surface, my tank is at 80 degrees. Is this acceptable for my fish and corals? Would this play any detrimental role?
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:31 AM   #5
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If you are replacing trace elements with weekly water changes, your calcium level is going to be closer to high 300's to low 400's, depending on your salt mix.
Salifert and Elos make much better test kits. They are more expensive though. All that said, low, or high calcium won't kill fish.

Ammonia will need to be processed. I'm thinking it's because you added 10 fish in a months time. Your beneficial bacteria colony will have to catch up to your current bio load. until then, you'll see ammonia. how much and how often are you feeding?
Cut back on that IMO. That's contributing to it.

As for Reef Crystals, that's completely untrue. It's a fine salt to use, along with most of the others.
If you don't have corals at the moment, don't even bother testing for calcium, alkalinity, or mag. Just test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
You should have zero ammonia and nitrite, and lower nitrate (I would like to see it below 10-20ppm).
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
If you are replacing trace elements with weekly water changes, your calcium level is going to be closer to high 300's to low 400's, depending on your salt mix.
Salifert and Elos make much better test kits. They are more expensive though. All that said, low, or high calcium won't kill fish.

Ammonia will need to be processed. I'm thinking it's because you added 10 fish in a months time. Your beneficial bacteria colony will have to catch up to your current bio load. until then, you'll see ammonia. how much and how often are you feeding?
Cut back on that IMO. That's contributing to it.

As for Reef Crystals, that's completely untrue. It's a fine salt to use, along with most of the others.
If you don't have corals at the moment, don't even bother testing for calcium, alkalinity, or mag. Just test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
You should have zero ammonia and nitrite, and lower nitrate (I would like to see it below 10-20ppm).

Once a day I feed a frozen mysis cube and once a day I drop some small pellets. Three times a week I hang half of an algae strip on a clip. I don't notice any fish really eating it but the turbo snails love it.

As far as corals I have:

1 main blue green mushroom colony. It's a 7 pound base type rock that has about 30 dime sized mushrooms. When they open with the light they range from 3-5 inches.

1 2" orange zoa frag with two heads

1 2" green star frag

1 3" gonipora(sp)

Sea cabbage

5 inch colt

Orange richordea frag

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Old 02-16-2014, 02:32 PM   #7
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I'm thinking it's because you added 10 fish in a months time. ).
I really think it's this more than any thing, your bb can't keep up and the fish probably can't get comfortable with all the new additions. I usually add 1 fish in a month maybe 2 if I'm adding a pair but after you have to let your system adjust. I know it's hard but you have to be more patient, and slow down a bit
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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If you only bought it 5 weeks ago its not even finished its cycle and you drop 10 fish in. What did you expect to happen. Take you fish back to lfs. And cycle you tank right. You can find instruction anywhere on the internet. Im assuming you know this because you found this site. There are articles on this right here. People are to impatient to wait.

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Old 02-16-2014, 09:46 PM   #9
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Fish keep dying

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If you only bought it 5 weeks ago its not even finished its cycle and you drop 10 fish in. What did you expect to happen. Take you fish back to lfs. And cycle you tank right. You can find instruction anywhere on the internet. Im assuming you know this because you found this site. There are articles on this right here. People are to impatient to wait.

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I bought this and it was a 7 year established tank. I kept all water and sand and live rock. This wasn't brand new. My ammonia has been 0 until yesterday.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:58 PM   #10
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If you fish are dying and you have ammonia its not cycled. Maybe when you broke the tank down you had a big die off in bacteria. Who knows. But when you add that many fish at one time your overloading the system. Api test kits are highly inaccurate for salt water. I have both. Use api for my freshwater.

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Old 02-17-2014, 06:39 AM   #11
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What brand of tests do you suggest? I just spent 80 bucks in all of these API testers. It would start cycling weeks after I set it up? I had 0 ammonia up until real recently.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:25 AM   #12
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I use red sea. Believe me i wouldnt have spent the money if i didnt have to. I have fresh water aslo. Works ok for that. Im cycling my dry live rock now. It took 13 weeks to finish. You made a mistake everybody does. But you cant add that many fish in that short period of time. It sucks you spent money and need to spend more money on the same thing. But think of it as a learning experience. You probable need to use "prime" or some other brand of ammonia detox. To keep fish alive for now. But when you use them they will throw off your test kit readings. Cheapest way is to try and remove some fish for now if possible. Let tank cycle for six more weeks. And slowly add one fish a month back.you might be able to get buy by leaving the in the tank but you might lose a few more. I did a stupid mistake a few years back by trying to treat sick fish in tank. Wiped out my bacteria. Had i mini cycle and it took six weeks to get the tank back to normal. Still lost the sick fish. And almost every other one.

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Old 02-17-2014, 07:29 AM   #13
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I treated yesterday with Amquel. Which is the same as prime. I'm hoping to make it through this without too much more die off. I also have freshwater tanks and have always used the API tests so I assumed they were good for saltwater also so I bought all of them. Crap!! Lol
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:06 AM   #14
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The only tests I trust api for are ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Oh and ph usually.

I use salifert tests for alkalinity, magnesium and calcium.

Your tank is not cycling again, pe se, it is going through a spike due to the number of fish added so quickly. Keep testing, dosing the amquel and doing water changes and you should be fine. This could go on for a couple weeks though so be prepared. Just do some water changes whenever you can.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:09 AM   #15
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look at the bottles. There is no difference between their salt water or fresh water. When i was cycling my rock the nitrate reading between api and red sea could be off by as much as 30 ppm. Im thinking your ammonia is prob. Higher than .25 . I would also cut back on feeding maybe a little every other day or every third day. Till you tank is right.

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Old 02-17-2014, 12:57 PM   #16
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Has anyone had any experience with the Hanna ammonia checker?
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:02 PM   #17
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Its not for saltwater, just freshwater right now
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:24 PM   #18
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The Amquel bottle suggests dosing once a day....is that valid?
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