so ive had it

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Feb 15, 2004
i am very frustrated with my 46g corner tank. i cant keep anything alive in it, except two fish that were given to me by a man taking down his tank. i had a massacre earlier this year where i lost a yellow tang, a lawnmower blenny, and two yellowtail blue damsels.

just today i woke up and found my new yellow tang (well a couple months old) leaning up against the glass breathing heavily. i cant catch him to get him out of there, and the only symptoms he has are gasping, listlessness, and the beginnings of his fins are red. i treated with melafix, but b/c of inverts in the tank thats all i feel safe doing. i also preformed a large water change and did a round of tests, all came back normal except ammonia (but i think that the test is just screwed up).

i feel like im not able to provide proper care for these fish in a tank this size, the shapeof the tank is akward and makes matinence difficult, i dont have the equipment i should or the LR i should or the lighting i should and i cant afford to buy it, since my car just broke down (have to get a new one) and im in college.

so now the real point of my post is: do you think it would be ok to transferr the ocellaris clown (about 3 in) and dottyback (about 3 in) remaining to a 20g tank? i would be shutting down the 46 so all the LR and equipment would go onto that tank. i have no problem maintaining small tanks and i would be able to get better equipment for the tank, and hopefully more LR since it is smaller. i just want to do the right thing here.

sorry for the long and rambling post... but what do you guys think?
I think you should do what's right for you and your fish. If you feel more comfortable with a smaller tank and your possitive that's what you want, then that's what you should do. I recently downgraded myself. But, you said when you tested ammonia you got a reading. And I believe the red fins, and the signs of stress on/from your tang could be a sign of ammonia in the system. Before you make up your mind, or while you are deciding what to do, I would do a few more water changes and keep testing. Just in case.
the rapid breathing sounds like it could be ammonia. the larger tank should make it easier to recover from water parameter changes. it could be the tank as currently set up cant handle the bioload you are putting in it. each tank can be different. even though your tank doesnt sound over stocked. although the yellow tang is probably a bit big for a 46G. how much live rock and sand do you have? do you use a skimmer? is there a piece of old filter media that could be leaching material back in, like an old sack of phosphate sponge? what and how much are you feeding?

where do you get all your fish? why did all the fish die before?

my thought is that a 20g would support the dotty back and clown with the proper amount of live rock / live sand and or another filtration setup

sorry for the long post, i would like to try to help figure it out if i can
steve r
IMO a SW tank needs dayli attention. You might skip a day or two every once in a while but dayli attention is generaly needed.
Filtration is the most inportand part of the system and it should be properly sized with the bio load in your tank. If you have the same bio load in a small tank as in your big tank and the filtration is the same (if it's undersized)you'll have the same problems.
Lighting is importand for corals and Anemonies but if you go with LR and Fish you shoulden't need a verry expencive light.
Let us know about you equipment and amounts of LR and we could help you better.
and the only symptoms he has are gasping, listlessness, and the beginnings of his fins are red.

The redness is usually from high levels of ammonia, as well as the gasping of air. Yellow tangs are kind of like a measuring stick for water quality. They are usually the first ones to show signs. In addition to that, low pH can also be a factor in there as well for red blotches. These yellow tangs are more sensitive to water conditions than most fish I have ever seen. Is your tank completely covered? HTH

ok sorry about the delay in posting again, i went down to reef and fin (not-so-local FS) today to get some inspiration and advice.

im going to stick it out and keep the fish in the 46. the yellow tang, despite a massive water change, died :( the other two fish are fine, and according to the LFS store test i now have a reading of zero for ammonia. im going to pick up some new tests i think.

as far as equipment goes..... well i was going for just FOWLR, my smaller tank is dedicated to corals and whatnot, eventually perhaps but... here goes. im prepared to be yelled at.

i have a HOB thats rated at ~200 GPH for watermovement and to hold carbon. i removed the sponge i had in there yesterday and dont plan on replacing it, perhaps that was part of the issue. i have two PH's on there, one is a zoo med and the other i have no idea. they are pointed across the tank at eachother to create turbulence. im afraid i dont have enough water movement, so i ordered 2 maxi jet 600's today. i currently have a seaclone protein skimmer that doesnt do much.

i admit, i was hasty, i had the tang (another adoption) in just a 20, and was worried about his welfare so upgraded to quickly to the 46. unfortunatly the equipment wasnt up to par with such a water volume.

i had 25-30ish lbs in the tank before, i picked up ~15 more (pre-cured, fear not) today. i have about 30 lbs of sand in there too.

so to recap and fill in the blanks after my long and rambling post, i plan on adding two more powerheads, removing one that is failing, upgrading my protein skimmer to an aqua c remora in the next month, and probably before spring upgrading the lights.

oh and one more question... i was under the impression that water changes should be done once a week at a volume of 20%. the LFS employee i talked to today told me that i should only be doing that volume every 4-6 weeks, and informed me that doing water changes so frequently could throw off the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels. i was thinking of compromising and doing a water change once every 2 weeks at a 15% volume. what do you guys think?

i hope i answered everybodys questions... i just want to get it right this time.

the tank is not completely covered.
oh to answer steve r's question...

these three fish in the 46 i got as adoptions, i work at a pet store and a customer brought them in without warning, we arent allowed to place them in our tanks so i had to bring them home as i couldnt find homes for them. if i actually buy fish i get them from i have no complaints about them.

as for the demise of the fish i had before, that was on account of a12 degree temp swing thanks to a heater gone haywire. i spent the money and got two replacements, that shouldnt be an issue anymore!!!

thanks again guys!
IMO:Spend your money on LR before you buy a new skimmer my seaclone does alright on my 80G (I don't have much of a bio load).
I'll try to send you a PM.
hmmm which do you guys think is more efficient at exporting nutrients? LR or a protein skimmer? my seaclone doesnt produce hardly any skimmate, which considering my nutrient problems it should.

i was also thinking of adding macro from my nano. i dont have a fuge so it would go in the display.
i tested the water again today. ammonia is still registering as .25, even though the LFS test came back negative. im going to do another water change just to be sure.
I would definitely use the lr and skimmer. You will want both of them as an end result. I only do 10% water changes each week. 20% might be too much, unless you have a really heavy bio load. Just a thought.

nodoubt471 said:
i tested the water again today. ammonia is still registering as .25, even though the LFS test came back negative. im going to do another water change just to be sure.
How old are your test kits? If you have a bad test kit this could be part of the problem.

IMO, LR and LS are your single best weapons against ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. "Nutrients" most people refer to are Phosphates and Nitrates (the hardest to remove naturally from teh system). Phosphates can add up from using frozen or low quality foods. Best exporter for those are living macro algaes. you mentioned adding them, this is good, as long as your livestock isn't going to just eat it on you. you can make a "fuge" in your sump by simply adding a shallow bucket with a couple inches of sand, then plant the macro algae in there and place a light with a timer above it. thats really all you need for a bare minum fuge. I tend to go with the KISS solutions. Look at my profile, I've got nothing more than whats listed and my system is very minimum maintenance.
i do feed frozen food, and i have red slime so im guessing thats an indicator of phosphates- so im going to add the macro. i actually dont have a sump, so im going to put it in the display- do you think that freshwater planted tank tools would work on macro?

aqua c remora on its way soon... along with a new test kit!!! any reccommendations? ive heard good things about fastest and seachem!
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