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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need major help people! I've just performed my first water change and it just made my tank worse. I changed it because it's the first time I've done it since I started about 4 months ago. I have a 90 gallon reef ready with a g3 skimmer, Mag 1200 pump, 2 metal hallides 150 watts each. Ok, I changed 10 gallons and replaced with R/O water and my levels are far worse than before. I don't know what's happening. My levels now:

PH=8.0
NH3/NH4=1.5 mg/l
No2=0.3 mg/l
No3=12.5 mg/l
Gravity=32
Salinity=1.024

Please help me. I love this hobby and I've spent a fortune getting here so quickly. I have 12 fish depending on me. Please help!!
 

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Hope I'm just confused by how you wrote it but you did use the ro water to make salt water right?
What where your levels before the change? Test your source water levels for No2 and No3.
How long did you mix the salt for. what was the ph of the mixed water. what kind of salt did you use...
what affects are you seeing in your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes I did use the R/O to mix the salt. The levels were all on target before the change except for the Nitrates. They were 12.5 mg/l and I figured maybe it was time for change. This is usually what happens to me. If I just could leave things alone! I mixed the salt for about an hour, 5 gallons at a time. The levels were fine in the new water. This is freakin me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, I'm using Instant ocean salt mix and so far everything seems normal in the tank. Nothing seems out of the ordinary.
 

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Cosine,

I thought the same thing when I read the post, but if his SG is 1.024 now, and if he replaced 10 gallons of SW with 10 gallons FW, in a 90 Gallon tank, how high would his SG have to have been before the water change? Too much math for me this late!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I made sure that the Salinity was the same before I put the new mixed water in. The tank was 1.024 before and after.
 

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Not sure, but could it have anything to do with using the newly made SW to soon? I've always allowed a minimum of 24 hours before using freshly mixed water. If the water wasn't completely mixed could it give test kits a false reading?


What kind of test kits?

Are the fish or any corals showing any signs of problems?
 

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Many questions come to mind, we need to know:
  1. How are you testing your water parameters?
  2. Which parameters are worse now than before?
  3. What are the before and after parameter values?
  4. What salt mix are you using?
  5. What was the tds of the water you used to make the water change ASW?
  6. What kind of RO/DI unit are you using, and how old are the filters?
  7. How much rock is in the tank?
  8. How old is the sandbed (if so equipped)?
  9. Is the skimmer removing any skimmate? how much, and what color/consistency?
  10. What types of fishes do you have, and how large are they, and how long have they been in the tank, and when were they added (all at once, or a few at a time?)?
  11. How often do you feed the fish, and how much at a time? (estimate based on teaspoonful amounts of food)
  12. Do you use carbon for chemical filtration?

Many possibilities here, a lot to consider and not much info offered that will help us, so we need your info on husbandry. For now, buy some amquel and/or amocarb and use both as soon as possible. Water changes are usually the resolution for problems like this, I have many suspicions as to what might be issues with the tank, but they mostly revolve around the test kits and test methodology. Knowing which brand and how you do your tests would be very helpful.

If the test kits are off, it could be that you had issues all along and the testing is just now picking up on the parameter issues, but I also see a fairly large bioload in a new system, which could also lead to the issues you've described.

Your responses will help us find a good resolution for your issues with the water. Looking forward to your answers,

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1. I am testing my water parameter's by following the instructions on the Tetra Lab test kit.

2. All parameters are worse than previous.

3. Before After
PH=8.0 PH=7.7
Salinity=1.024 Salinity=1.024
NH3/NH4=0 NH3/NH4=1.5
NO2=<0.3 NO2=0.3
NO3=12.5 NO3=12.5

4. Instant Ocean Salt mix

5. ?

6. I have an Omnipure RO unit

7. I have about 100 lbs of rock

8. Sandbed was introduced when tank was first setup

9. Skimmer is removing skimmate, more on liquid side with a green thicker consistency to it.

10. I have: Hippo Tang
Orange Spotted Goby
Yellowhead Jawfish
Percula Clown fish
Royal Dottyback
Orangetail Butterfly fish
Copperband Butterfly fish
Flame angel fish
Pink Spotted Shrimp Goby
Yellow Tang
Sally Lightfoot Crab
20 Red hermits
2 Electric Blue hermits
*The biggest being the Copperband butterfly at 3"*, they've been in the tank over about 3 month period a few at a time.

11. I feed twice daily about 1 tsp of formula 1 and 1 tsp formula 2. On occasion I toss in some brine shrimp.

12. I don't use carbon for chemical filtration.

11.
 

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A heavy bioload for such a young tank, and the feeding regimen is such that you'll have issues with nitrogen until the rock will be able to catch up with the feeding and waste of the fishes. I am very suspect of the tetra kits, although the presence of ammonia is usually not an issue with these kits unless they are very old. All salts have some level of ammonia in them, even though they claim to be ammonia-free. This ammonia level is very small, but is measurable with a good kit in newly made ASW. Allowing the water to circulate for 12 to 24 hours will allow for both equilibration of the CO2 content with the atmosphere (which brings the carbonate/bicarbonate buffer system to normal values for seawater) and also allows the small amount of ammonia present to gas off.


Several recommendations:

Use ammocarb, it is a mixture of carbon and an ammonia absorbing resin, use the product for about a week, then discard the media and replace it with fresh ammocarb for another week, for a 90 gal tank, use about 1/2 cup, rinse it with RO/DI water, and place it in a media sock in front of a high flow area of the sump. This will adsorb a good part of the ammonia in the water.

Keep running the skimmer on the wet side, this will remove much of the dissolved organics that decompose to form ammonia-->nitrites-->nitrates.

Make a 25% waterchange and allow it to circulate for 24 hours prior to making the change in the tank. It needs to be exactly the same SG, Temp and approx pH that the tank water is. You'll need to remove exactly as much water as you have for the water change replacement. It would be great to use a turkey baster or a power head to blow out any detritus or uneaten food particles in the rock, or to use a siphon hose to siphon out the rock to remove these substances. They decompose to increase your nitrogen product levels. Replace whatever you siphon out with fresh ASW. The water change will not cause the spikes of ammonia, these are caused by either disturbing uneaten food pockets or pockets of detritus while adding clean water. Blasting the rock so that either siphoning for a water change or allowing the skimmer to remove the suspended particles will help correct issues with these substances. If the nitrogen wastes remain high, prepare another water change of 25% and perform it as soon as the ASW (artificial sea water) is ready for use.

The answer to pollution is dilution.

If you use any particulate filters in your system, you need to allow them to capture your particuates during the water change, then once the water clears, remove them and change to new filters media. These must be changes and cleaned every 48 to 72 hours to prevent their decomposition to ammonia and related products. Food and detritus (fish poop) decompose in the presence of bacteria and oxygen in these substrates, so leaving these substances in the filters is just a means of allowing the filters to clean themselves and return these substances to the water column.

Cut back on the feeding. Period. If you lose specimens over the next several months do not replace them (unless it is a herbivore that will keep the tank clear of micro and macro algae). Your fish population density is so high that responsibly feeding these creatures will always present problems with nitrogen and phosphorus products for nuisance algal growth and browning of your stony coral specimens. Although it might be beneficial to octocorals, it will be problematic for algal blooms and desired stony coral coloration as it will stimulate the production and density of ALL ALGAE, including the zooxanthellae in the stony corals, turning them a lovely shade of golden brown. In addition, heavy dense fish populations will speed the demise of your sandbed's functional lifespan, leading to premature failure of the phosphate sink available there.

This is not to say that you cannot maintain a system of such fish density, just that if you intend to do so free of algae, in an oligotropic system relatively free of algal blooms, such densities of fishes will make it quite difficult to continue to have any measure of low maintenance for such a system, and it may be beneficial to consider having a BB system instead in which you can use high flow to maintain suspension of the detrital biomaterials, and allow a strong skimmer to remove these substances from the water column before they have the chance to decompose to their constituent materials.


HTH, I am sure there will be many comments to help you with your current situation.
 

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Like Tom And Rotties. Major bio load on a new tank. Youv'e got to do larger and more water changes than that also. Slow down and let the tank mature. The tank should be well over a year before that many fish arre in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey guys. Thanks for all of your help. I just tested the water and the levels have all dropped slightly. The biggest is the ammonia. It went from 1.5 to 0.25. Hopefully it was just the salt being put in too fast. I will remember to let it sit for 12-24 hours next time. I'll keep everyone posted. Here are a couple of pics for you. Sorry the fish hide most of the time.
 

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just curious, how much rock do you have in that tank???
 

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Doesn't look like more than 45-50 lbs. Unless very dense. Just keep moving forward slowly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just thought you guys would like to know what the current status is of the tank. I've been using Kent Ammonia Detox. I was talking to the manager of the pet store I purchase from and he told me he thinks it was the salt. If no fish have gone belly up he said I was getting faulty readings due to the Instant Ocean brand salt which is required to mix for 24 hrs before introducing to tank. He recommended Oceanic mix, which can go in right away as long as it's dissolved.

PH=8.0
NO2=0.3
NO3=12.5
NH3/NH4=0.25
Salinity=1.024
Temp=77.9
 
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