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Old 03-24-2013, 12:55 AM   #1
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Tank is out of control

I started my sw reef tank about 5 weeks ago to my understanding my lfs told me when ammonia , nitrite and nitrates are 0 its ok to add fish and corals didn't tell me how many to add in ... amount of time nothing. Now i need help my nitrate are about 100ppm my ph is 8.0 my nitrite is 0.25 my ammonia is 0.25 haven't checked alk , calcium etc.. i have 9 fish in total (i know i went overboard) and 5 corals 2 inch sand bed HOB filter HOB skimmer about 40 lbs of live rock what should i do to get my water under control I've already spent over 800 dollars on the tank and i don't want to lose that much money please help asap.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:22 AM   #2
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4-8 gallon water changes twice daily. Take some fish back if possible?
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:18 AM   #3
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+1 take some of those fish back while you can and increase water changes to get your levels back in check. Best advise then would be to take it easy and make sure you do loads of research before purchasing any livestock. Better for the fish, better for your wallet...
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by PowderBlueTang245 View Post
I started my sw reef tank about 5 weeks ago to my understanding my lfs told me when ammonia , nitrite and nitrates are 0 its ok to add fish and corals didn't tell me how many to add in ... amount of time nothing. Now i need help my nitrate are about 100ppm my ph is 8.0 my nitrite is 0.25 my ammonia is 0.25 haven't checked alk , calcium etc.. i have 9 fish in total (i know i went overboard) and 5 corals 2 inch sand bed HOB filter HOB skimmer about 40 lbs of live rock what should i do to get my water under control I've already spent over 800 dollars on the tank and i don't want to lose that much money please help asap.
How big is this tank? You'll need to do some back to back 20-30% PWCs to get the levels where they won't kill the fish. Then you'll need to check the ammo, Trites and Trates every day and if the ammo or trites is above 0.25 or if Trates are above 40, then do a PWC to bring it down. It's going to take a while for your BB to catch up, so this is going to be an ongoing thing for a while. And depending on the size of the tank, it might be best to tank some fish back. So let us know how big it is and we can help further.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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How big is this tank? You'll need to do some back to back 20-30% PWCs to get the levels where they won't kill the fish. Then you'll need to check the ammo, Trites and Trates every day and if the ammo or trites is above 0.25 or if Trates are above 40, then do a PWC to bring it down. It's going to take a while for your BB to catch up, so this is going to be an ongoing thing for a while. And depending on the size of the tank, it might be best to tank some fish back. So let us know how big it is and we can help further.

55 gallons
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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To add some detail i know ammonia turns to nitrite then nitrate . I was feeding my fish like 3 times a day maybe the food introduced ammonia and its recycling the amm ? maybe its not a no spike but thank you to all of you guys for helping me out with this situation i really appreciate it
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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It's more about the amount of fish and their bioload than the uneaten food. If you got some big fish that have a big bio it is likely your system will never be able to sustain them. One of the reasons they list recommended tank sizes for types of fish, so you can work out waste management. What's your remaining stock list?
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:20 PM   #8
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When I set up my first SW tank I had no refugium to put in a macroalgae for consuming nitrates. I also had no reactor to put in for an anaerobic bacterial source and my nitrates climbed to about 80. After some questions and research I found 2 methods that should help you out as it did me.
1. Vodka dosing. The methane in vodka creates long protien strings out of the various nitrogen phases which increases the effectiveness of the skimmer. Doesn't work without a skimmer, but it should help yours.
2. Nitrate destroyer. This is a bacterial additive that actually consumes nitrates. It cannot live very long in the tank water and needs to be added daily. However the bacteria do live for short periods in the water coloum and will be consumed by corals and other filter feeders. They give off nitrogen gas which is how they rid the tank of nitrogens.

I started both at the same time so I don't know if one was more effective than the other, but my nitrates dropped to 15 I believe before my hob refugium arrived which got then to almost 0.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:26 PM   #9
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be careful with vodka dosing. Start slowly if you decide to do it. check out this guide: Vodka Dosing by 'Genetics' and 'Stony_Corals' - Reefkeeping.com
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:35 AM   #10
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+1 on the slow start to vodka dosing. I went to my local drugstore and they gave me 2 free syringes that don't use needles that ate often used for giving meds to infants. A 1ml and a 10ml one. I think I used the big one for the nitrate destroyer and the small one for vodka because I didn't want to contaminate by liquor.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:46 PM   #11
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It's more about the amount of fish and their bioload than the uneaten food. If you got some big fish that have a big bio it is likely your system will never be able to sustain them. One of the reasons they list recommended tank sizes for types of fish, so you can work out waste management. What's your remaining stock list?
1 vlamingi tang, 1 yellow tang, 1 blue hippo tang, 3 true perc clownfish, 1 six line wrasse and a damsel i had a cleaner wrasse but he died today i dont think from my water conditions him and my six line didnt get along since day 1, about 6 snails and 8 crabs . By any chance would you maybe be able to tell me what fish to remove to get my levels back in check and also if i had a sump would i still have this same problem . Thanks in advanced i appreciate the help from everybody.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:04 AM   #12
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All three tangs are too big for your system. If you can re home them then you can work on getting your nitrates down. Once you have stable parameters you can consider adding other livestock suitable for your size tank...
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:06 AM   #13
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Adding a sump won't fix the problem with those fish, they are simply too big for your system. Sumps are beneficial for many reasons but are not necessary in my opinion for that size tank. I don't use one on my 55g but I would if I was to upgrade...
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:17 AM   #14
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I've posted this before on another thread you started about your fish. You have 1 fish that will get to be 2 feet long. Another will be 1 ft long and the smallest will be 8". The biggest won't be able to turn in your teeny tiny straight jacket of a tank. They will all die. Too bad because as you have said you put a lot of money into fish that do not belong.
Don't worry about the nitrate levels because there is nothing you can do to get your thimble of a tank to support those monsters. Not to mention the other 6 fish (3 of which are clowns aren't they?).
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:20 AM   #15
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Who sold you the 3 tangs and who sold 3 clowns for 1 tank? Whoever did it should be blacklisted because they are an amateur retailer.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:57 AM   #16
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This is what gets new sw keepers in trouble...no research as to how big a tank a fish requires.... In sw,less is better...there are tank sizes in sw id books for a reason.. Theyre there to prevent this.. Tangs need to ALL go..get your tank back under control param wise... And not "band aid" fixes..too much stock too soon..chain stores take advantage of noobies 99% of the time... Their job doesnt depend on patronage as much as the "mom&pop" shops do( theyre rep is their liveliehood..they goof and lose customers,they lose $$) sorry to be so blunt and opinionated,but thats how i am sometimes...
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:15 AM   #17
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My 55 gal sw only had a yellow tang, a juvie Emperor, and 4 damsels and I was pushing it! But as mentioned above, my LFS did give me advice and was helping me monitor it as well. And gave me step by step help when needed. The owner made sure I was set in cycle before he would sell me my first fish. And this was AFTER a month long fishless cycle and a 2 week damsel cycle. I do blame the chain stores...no support!
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:15 AM   #18
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Remove some of the fish and stop feeding the tank. feed it 2 times a week and do water changes until you get things back in a safe range. 3 times a day is ridiculous.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:24 AM   #19
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I agree with mr x I do not even feed my tanks that often. I feed 2 times a week and put a bit of seaweed in a clip for them on occasion and that is with a damsel and a clown with a couple of hermit crabs. And my tank is only 30 gallons
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:25 PM   #20
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I would get rid of the Tangs, one of the clowns and the Damsel. Those Tangs need a much larger tank and will never thrive in that small of a Tank (regardless of how small they might be now). Clowns should be in pairs and Damsels are nasty little fish.

That will decrease the bioload and should allow you to get your parameters back in check with less feeding and some water changes. Moving forward, go much, much slower and ask for feedback on future purchases. You will get good feedback here.
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