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Old 07-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #1
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Cleaning question

I have a 20 gallon nano FOWLR, two clown fish, and one firefish. 20 lbs live rock. Its more than a year old and i recently my cleaner shrimp and a firefish went MIA making me believe they are the source of ammonia.

I believe i have dead fish inside the rock cluster. To me the answer is remove the rocks to a bucket of aged salt water and give the tank a good water change and remove any build up with my siphon vacuum.

is there some other way or is this what needs to be done? seems extreme to me but i cannot figure any other way to fix my ammonia problem.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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Maybe you should do what you said, but continue to do it until you see the fish, and they are alive, or dead, and are able to take them out if they are dead. I wouldnt take out ALL the rocks. If the saltwater you prepared is the same as your tank, then i dont think it would matter, but remember it needs to be properly airated.
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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Yea. Unfortunately a tear down is probably the best solution.
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:29 PM   #4
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In the past I had a similar deal and ended up tearing it down. What I tried first was to take a power head and try blowing out the rock and see if I could get whatever was in there out. I really liked the rock arrangement and was afraid it would never look the same, also did not want to mess with all my coral in there. Didn't work for me, but perhaps it would for you...
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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How big of a CUC do you have? That fish and shrimp don't seem to be so large that it would cause an ammonia spike for very long.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:39 PM   #6
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I did a tear down and eww is all i can say. I didnt find any fish but there was a buildup of junk. I matched the waters ph and temp in my bucket and i rinsed all i could from the rocks by soaking them and giving them a gently shake underwater.

I just tested the water ammonia is .50 which is half of what it was. Im making more water now and will do another water change to bring the ammonia down further. I ordered a hob filter, so i can run carbon when the need comes up and also so i can use the mechanical filtration blocks.

My phosphates is up but my nitrates are down. I really cleaned the sand as best i could and was ashamed at the dirty water.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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[quote=buddha_red;1004105] making me believe they are the source of ammonia.
What are your ammonia readings?
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:45 PM   #8
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ammonia is at .50 now, tested after the tear down.
Im using the api master kit.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:50 PM   #9
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Did anyone recently stir up the sand?
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:57 PM   #10
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How deep was your sandbed? you might start a whole new cycle with all that cleaning.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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I have I will watch the readings and change the water as needed.I kept everything moist if not soaking in water.

Im hoping the live rock has enough built up bacteria to compensate for my cleaning. I didnt scrub the rocks, just shook loose the "dust" then kept them in an airated bucket for 15 mins.

we shall see, hopefully i got lucky
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:23 PM   #12
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oh and my sand bed is 3 inches
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Old 07-23-2009, 02:11 AM   #13
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Yeah, I guess even at 3"'s it still could harbor some sulfer Dioxide pockets. These gases develope when your sand is deep and there are not enough sand stirers to help process uneaten materials as well as getting air to the upper levels of your sand.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:46 PM   #14
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I think the problem was the narcissus snails died off because they didnt see formula one pellets as food. Ive switched to mysis and the remaining ones poped right up. Ive checked my readings and no ammonia!

The water hasnt looked this good since the tank was new, I am very pleased so far.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:48 PM   #15
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great job. Just keep an eye on your readings and you should be fine.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thincat View Post
How deep was your sandbed? you might start a whole new cycle with all that cleaning.
Was just thinking that same thing....A whole lot of cleaning and change for a small tank? Good luck
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:04 PM   #17
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well looks like ammonia is still elevated

ammonia .50
nitrates 5.0
nitrite 0
phosphate 2
ph 8.4
temp 80.1
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:20 PM   #18
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Sorry if I missed it, but how long has this been set up and how did you cycle it?
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:02 AM   #19
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I cycled the tank about a year ago, I did the fishless route.
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:15 AM   #20
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"ammonia .50 ppm" , just do another PWC and let it go for a day. It should catch up. This might be a chance to give Dr. Tim's product a test run.
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