The Reef Tank banner

HELP! Rookie Mistake!

917 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  richkor
Created a problem 2 days ago in my FOWLR. Here is what I got.
Equip and Setup:
55 Gal FOWLR
AquaC Remora HOB protein Skimmer
Rena Fila Star XP2 Canister (Empty, For flow only)
couple of power heads (about 1000 gph total)
90 lbs live rock
140 lbs 1-2 mm Coral sand (4" DSB)

Stock: (Trying to keep it light)
2 False Perc Clowns
1 Sand sifting Gobie
1 Hawaiian Feather Duster worm
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Black Hawaiian Brittle Star
2 small Hawaiian Rock Boring Urchin
5 small-med Hawaiian left handed hermit crabs
15 or so small snails

Ok, so I thought I would make a simple water change fitting by connected a !!!!BRASS :cry:!!! T-fitting to my canister filter outlet. BIG MISTAKE!!! So the next morning all of the invert were hurting from the copper released into the water column from the brass fitting. I pulled everything I could out and ran down to the local saltwater well and filled up everything I could fit in the back of the truck. I got home and did a 90% water change and put about 8 oz of activated carbon in the filter canister. Of course I removed the brass fitting. I also added a dose of Tetra Aquasafe in hopes that it might bind with some of the copper and allow the carbon to absorb it up. All fish were and are doing great. Never saw one sign of stress from them. The inverts were hurting. I pulled them out and put them in bowls and cups all over the kitchen. I left the feather duster in since it is buried deep into the sand. About half way through the day the shrimp rolled over and died :cry:. The Brittle star basically self destructed :cry:. The feather duster was all curled up and moving slow. The urchins were laying flat and moving way slower then normal. The hermit crabs were also in slow motion. So, I ran out and got a copper test kit from the LFS and the first test cam back 1 PPM copper. Never know what the highest level was since I changed all the water out and dosed the tank before I got a tester. Today I found another LFS that carried Cuprisorb and put a pre made 100ml bag into the Canister. I also did another actived carbon change (8 oz).
I also bought a second copper test kit to make sure all my reading are good. Both test kits now read 0 ppm :thumbup:. So far the feather duster is doing great. Reacts instantly to the slightest touch and change of light. Fully extends and looks good. Hermits are still moving slow and urchins are doing better but not great. There spines are standing up now but still moving way slower then normal. All my water tests look great after the massive water change and all of the chemical filtering (Ammonia- 0 ppm, Nitrites- 0 ppm, Nitrates- 0-2 ppm, Copper 0ppm, salinity 1.024, PH 8.2, water temp 80F). So, the question is should I take the hermits and urchins back to the reef/sand flats were I collected them? Or will they recover? Also, is there anything else that I should be testing for after the brass fitting disaster? Any advice would be appreciated.
See less See more
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
I don't know haus. I'm sorry to hear what happened in this area I'm no help I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in soon
um im going to guss that if they dont get better soon than ask the lfs if they will hold them but not sell them until you get everything under contoll. or better yet ask a friend who has a tank.
I was thinking that if they didn't improve, I was going to release them back to the reef I collected them from. It is only about 4 miles from the house.
I was going to give them another day or 2 and if no improvement, then back to the beach I go. Just wanted to know if anyone else had any luck with inverts of this type recovering from a copper OD. So far, end of day 2 and hermits are moving around and urchins have wedged themselves into the LR. Maybe all is well, minus one shrimp and one brittle star.;)
well... I don't have a whole heck of a lot to contribute, but a HUGE thanks for posting seems to be in order! Any one of us could have very easily made the mistake you made. I like learning the easy way... it is much more economical. Sorry for your loss my friend but again thank you for posting.
NP. I have learned a valuable lesson. Maybe I should have checked a plumbing supply store instead of Home Depot for nylon pipe fittings instead of brass. Maybe I should have checked online before installing a brass fitting. I am fairly new at this hobby (6 months). I have been reading up on it for years and finally landed a job that doesn't involve travel. Let me tell you, it is hard to enjoy the wonders of keeping a marine aquarium while in the military. I hope that someone else might stumble upon this post and avoid making the simple mistake that I did.
Guessing it may have been the sudden changes in trying to fix the problem that may have exacerbated it. Usually, slow changes are better, but may not be the case with copper in the water...I'd have to defer to someone with more experience.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.