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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't had an aquarium for a few years. I have never had a saltwater water aquarium. I have always wanted one though. I finally bit the bullet and started reading about setting one up. Probably should have read a lot more before buying anything.

I bought a 75 gallon tank, should have stuck to original plan and gone 40. I started with 80 lbs. Of dry rock, 15 cured live rock, I think I have 25 lbs of live sand and 10 dry aragonite. I set it up and let it cycle, or I thought it did. I got a small spike and everything went to zero.

I thought I will start with just a few hermit crabs and snails. So I got like 5 margarita snails and 2 small astrea snails(sp), 4 small blue hermit crabs. They had 2 very lively red scarlet skunk Shrimp, so I thought hey they should be alright. At this point the tank had been running for 3 and half weeks, all levels returned to zero.

I let about 2 weeks go by, feeding the shrimp a little since the tank had nothing for them. Very fun to watch them interact and eat. All levels were still good. So I go to the store and buy a lawnmower blenny, I didn't quarantine it, should have but didn't. For next week I check for spikes. Had a small ammonia spike, under. 25. Nothing else spiked.

So now the tank has been running for roughly 5 1/2- 6 weeks. I got a wild hair to add a hob refugium. So I ordered one. Another week goes by, everything is great. Snails, crabs, shrimp, blenny all seem to be doing great.

That brings us into December. Around the 5th I put the refugium on and added some live sand, 10#s, chaeto to refugium and a few burrowing snails and about 15 small cerith snails to get were the bigger snails couldn't get into.

Another week goes by and everything is going great. I am stoked about it.

Not sure what happened but I started to get an ammonia spike again, like under. 25. I do about a 10 percent water change, it comes down. I order a few fish online, since locally all I have is. Petco and their selection was looking poor and sick.

I have a royal gamma and clown Goby in quarantine now.

I did a water change, about 8 gallons, the next morning one of my shrimp was dead :(. Check levels had a slight ammonia reading under. 25. Read online that it might have mottled recently and the water change could have shocked it. Well I searched the tank and sure enough there was a molt, plus the strictest died had eggs. Not sure that mattered.

So present day tank has been running for around 2 1/2 months. 1 shrimp died a week ago,. And now my other died tonight. Ammonia was under. 25, nitrite 0, nitrate under 5. Salinity 1.025, pH 8.0, the highest my nitrates have ever tested were 10. Pulled chaeto out this morning because I feel it was dying and contributing to my ammonia issues. Besides the shrimp dying, maybe one of my astrea snails died,nothing else.

I am a bit bothered by this set back. I don't like killing my pets one bit. So now I have 2 fish in a quarantine tank, something killing my display tank, and can't catch my blenny.

I am open to tips, criticism, anything to help eliminate any further casualties. I know the happen, but those shrimp seemed to be thriving until this past 7 days.

Thank you for reading
 

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Welcome to The Reef Tank Reeftrying.

Your tank is new, even @ 2.5 months, so stability in water chemistry is difficult.
There has to be organic matter dying to cause the ammonia, but your test numbers aren't off the charts.

How are you moving water in the tank? Is there sufficient flow to keep your LR and sands filtering ability active? Do you have any mechanical or chemical filtration?

You do not mention algae....Do you have any obvious green...on rocks or glass? Blennys love algae.

Was your cheato tumbling...was there sufficient flow through the cheato? Did it change color or otherwise loose stems that settle to the bottom? Without the cheato in there, I'd take the five off line, @ least until you get your water stabilized.
That also means either keeping your new fish in QT or find a SW neighbor to take care of them. I wouldn't put them in the tank.

How are you taking care of your QT water? Is the QT big enough to keep your fish from being crowded?

What are you feeding your shrimp and Blenny? Is the food all being consumed or is there waste?

Be patient....this will work out.

Welcome aboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response!

As far as flow I have one maxijet 1200 with circulation head on in one corner pointing at about a 45 degree angle towards the front glass, a maxijet 900 at other end with powerhead attachment pointing toward front glass at about a 45 degree angle. I have the hob refugium with a Rio 600, HOB skimmer not sure it's actual flow.

I have a canister filter with carbon in bags on one tray, and small bio pellets that came with it on another tray, and one tray empty. I clean the filter weekly, rinsing media in tank water. When doing water changes. (after reading Michael Palette's book, it seemed like he was for them, after reading online it seems now. Most are against them, book was published 13 years ago though.)

I have a small amount of algae on my glass, not enough obscure it from the outside, but looking down the inside you can see a film. The dry rock is white still with very little algae on tops of rock, green I would guess. One live rock has a small amount of what looks like hair algae of some sort, like size of a 50 cent piece, growing off the bottom of it. Live rock pieces have a little algae on them.

Chaeto wasn't tumbling, it kind of would roll to the end of HOB refugium, where return flow was. Pieces would fall off anytime I would move it, gave it a few chance, and one of the reasons I pulled it out. Being color blind with greens and reds, it is hard to say if it was changing colors. It seemed to be dark green.

All water is RO water. Have a plastic garbage can I mix up saltwater for both display tank and quarantine tank. I was using tank water for quarantine, but with ammonia showing I switched to new saltwater. Quarantine tank is 20 gallons, feed a small pinch of provided food once a day. Keeping the levels stable in quarantine tank proves to be challenging.

I feed the shrimp and blenny a variety of frozen mysis shrimp, flake foods, pellets, pieces of dried seaweed. When I feed frozen shrimp I would try to quarter the cube, there would be extra but very little. Flake would be just a small pinch, pellets very few at a time. After I got the small ammonia spike I switched my feeding to once a day. From twice a day.

One reason I started this tank was I find them relaxing, calming, almost zen like. But this has been stressful. Makes me question my choices. I hate throwing money away, but even more, I hate the inhabitants dying from my doing.
 

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A quarter cube is a lot for one fish and a shrimp. How often have you been doing water changes? And how are you doing them? Just sucking out water or are you blowing off the rocks? More flow wouldn't hurt, that's about the flow rate I have in my 55g. What about salinity? Inverts can be sensitive to swings, have you had any? Are you typing of with pure water? Don't get discouraged yet, it can be tough in the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know a 1/4 cube is too much but only feed that like once every 4 days, so I figured it wouldn't hurt much.

Top off with RO water. Water change, about 10 gallons every Sunday. Check salinity with floating hydrometer, needle hydrometer and refractometer, both tank and new water before water changes. Never had a swing.

I have only blown off rocks twice, once after the tank cycled and once a few weeks ago. I use a siphon to try and clean the rocks trough.
 

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You'd be better off feeding a little every day or every other day than a large amount every 4. Whatever they can't eat is going to just rot and raise your ammonia. Better to feed them a little that they can eat quickly.

Definitely want to blow off your rocks. Again, old food and poop is just going to land there and rot. Once you get a good maintenance and feeding routine down you'll have less issues.
 
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