I have so many, many questions about my new set-up. 8 weeks in with my 55g FOWLR
setup and I am still needing a lot of help. 40lbs crushed coral/sand, 2 large live rocks, 4 smaller live rocks, 60g Tetra filter, 1 heater, and bubble wands (to be switced to powerhead soon; see below)
I had my water tested 4 weeks ago, and it looked good so I added three black mollies (per the suggestion of FOWLR
tank keeper at the store) to help complete the cycling of my tank. One Molly died after a week, although she was most likely pregnant and died before birth. The remaining two appeared to be doing well. My tests were looking good, so I assumed pregnancy complications were the reason for death and I added more to my tank, including a small hermit crab cleaning crew and two new Damsels. BAD IDEA. The first Damsel died within a day, and the second appears to have attacked one of my Mollies (who was also pregnant; I think the Damsel attacked while she was giving birth. Again, no babies. The mother was still alive but had been attacked and was wounded in the face and mouth; she just died today). I'm unsure if it is water conditions killing my fish or my acclimation process.
I have learned now that my test strips are inaccurate. I brought my water into the store to find out that my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are completely high; he claimed he couldn't understand how my fish were alive
I purchased a used set-up (similar to the starter kits you can buy at the pet store) with a 60g Tetra filter and bubble wands instead of a powerhead. He informed me that bubble wands are a no-no, and that I need a powerhead or two, possibly also a protein skimmer.
So my questions are these:
-How do I drop my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates with fish in the tank? (I added a quick responding biological supplement, but it doesn't appear to be helping)
-Which powerhead should I be looking for? Do I need two?
-Will better lighting help my tank situation? Do I require T5 lighting if I remain a FOWLR
tank and never go reef?
My last problem is this: What I had thought was good algae that came around week 4 appears to be brown algae, something that is a result of sulfite? Is that right? So I have no green algae in the tank, only the unwanted 'brown' algae ... I'm failing this start-up and am ready to pull my hair out, so I need as much information from everyone so I can make this tank a success!! I'm too far in financially to keep failing and destroy everything I've put in!