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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I am new to the salt water community. Any advise would be greatly appreciated! :) I have had a lot of luck but lately I am having major trouble!

My tank: 55 gallon, 30 lbs live rock, 30 lbs sand/crushed coral, Marineland 400 hang on back filter, 750 gph powerhead

Fish: 1 clown 1 Damsel 5 crabs

I started off my tank with the damsel about 2 months ago. My tank cycled and levels were great. I got 2 clowns and a basset fish. I have done regular water changes, and changed the filter recently. My levels have always been around 0, temperate and salt level fine, and nitrate around 20.

About 3 weeks ago, the basset died. He was floating on the top and looked like he had been in there a couple days. They like to hide, so I had not seen him! Note to self will never get another hiding fish.

I checked levels and they were fine. Moved forward....

Couple days ago noticed my clowns were not really eating. And this morning, one was lying on the bottom. Last night he was fine. Now the second clown is not eating at all, and is starting to lay on the bottom. Checked levels this morning, all are still the same. NOTHING has changed. All I can think of is the algea that is finally growing inside the tank?

What is killing my fish? :bawling:


All thats in the tank is 2 months old and I never had live rock, I used a chemical that got rid of the new tank syndrom so all the rock was base rock. So nothing could have gotten into my tank that is unknown?

If anyone is up for a challenge to help me I would be so grateful, I appreciate it and if you need to know any other details please ask!!
 

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Your nitrates are high at 20 I would do a 25% water change, also what is your ammino levels (they are the killers), what are you phosphate level if your getting algae this could be why. Are you running carbon in your filter? Have you got good flow and oxygen? is your damsel being a true damsel and billing the other fish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought 20 was high too, but I was reading and it said if they were below 40 then I should be okay. **still learning!** So I will go do a 25% water change again. I jsut did one last week. Funny thing is after I tested the water after the water change, the nitrate didn't seem to budge. Wonder if my tap water is high in nitrate? I will test that as well....

I was wondering about the algea. Its the only thing that has changed in my tank. What do I do about it? Its barely anything, just a light green spot here and there and on the live rock. But please let me know, as I am new, I was not told about what to do with algea once it starts to grow? I have a salt water test kit that tests PH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Ammonia is 0, PH is normal.. I will have to check my book to see what I wrote down last, but Nitrite was 0 as well.

I am not running carbon - is that another cartridge I can buy to put in my filter? What does this do?

And yes the Damsel is being normal - only slight bullying.

How can I increase the oxygen? Other than the filter flowing water back into the tank?
 

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C'est la vie
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I would not use tap water. Buying ro/di from your LFS is best, unless you can buy a ro/di unit. Also, I would remove that filter. Thats where your nitrates are coming from and why they arent going down. Buy some more rock and that should help too. What type of skimmer do you have? Powerheads?
 

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Yea, 40 isn't that high. My old 29g tank ran consistantly at over 100 and I never lost a fish. However I couldn't keep any corals alive either.
If the tank is only 2 months old, are you sure the cycle is complete?

As posted above, I would check the ammonia level as well as the nitrite level. Both are fish killers.

+1 NO TAP water, this probably the #1 contributor to you algae issue.

A couple of good water changes will BEGIN to correct the problem. I wouldn't be affraid to change up to 50% and then 25% the very next week. I'm kinda old fassion and don't like to change any more than 50% unless it is absolutely needed.

Damsels are pretty tough fish, they seem to be able to handle harsher water conditions than other fish. Possibly why he is the survivor.
 

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Also to add oxygen is get a air pump with an air stone on the end. I always used carbon in a net bag in my fluva 305 I put three on there. Two at the top with one in the middle doc and then crushed live rock. In the other three areas. Then I would also have 4 filter pads and two phosphate pads.(just trying to give you an idea and my tank was a 46gallon). Tap water is a no no! Need to use ro water. you can buy it from you local shop or you can buy a unit and put it in your house. Keep up the water changes until your nitrates come down. Also how slowly are you introducing your new fish to there water? If they are coming from a tank with no nitrates and then to yours you will suffocate them. You should also get a skimmer if you don't have one.
 

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RO/DI WATER!!! you need this, and this might be why your fish are dying, there could be chlorimine, or other things in the tap that are killing the fish
 

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Welcome to TRT and sorry about all the issues!

First off, my suggestion is slow down and take a dep breath. The tank is only 2 months old so it probably isn't even quite established yet. There could be chemicals that you are introducing from the tap water that is killing the fish. Your best bet is to get yourelf an ro/di unit since you have a 55 gallon tank. It will pay for itself in the long run.
 

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+1 on the RO/DI and water change wtih NON tap water. Also, what test kit are you using? if you are using paper strips, you likely aren't getting reliable results. I'd suggest taking a water sample to the LFS and have them test the water to get a second opinion.

Welcome to TRT!
 

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i would rather go buy distilled water than get ro/di from the lfs. but i dont trust any of my lfs. using tap water with no true surface agitation will cause a chlorine build up that could be killing your fish. At two months having 3-4 fish to me is pushing it. every time you add fish your system will go through a very small recycle as the biofiltration catches up with the new bioload. the more fish added the longer the recycle period.

when i add any new life i wait at least a month to add more. this gives time for the filtration to adjust. I would suggest slowing down on stocking the tank
 

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+1 on the slow down part. patience is the key in this hobby...do NOTHING on impulse, especially buying :D

If you have an LFS you trust, get RODI from them...you can ask about seeing their TDS meter with the water to make sure their water is being run through proper filtration...they do need to get changed out periodically. If you don't trust the LFS or don't have one selling water, then buy distilled from the store...it is better than tap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you... thank you... thank you.....

It is so helpful to have experienced people giving me advice. There is only one LFS that I trust and they are not open on Monday and Tues, so a friend suggested this site and i can't say how thankful I am for all the advice.

Learning all this takes a lot of time as I anticipated, and I am trying to not get discouraged ;)

As far as ro/di I was not told at my LFS about them so I did not know. But I have read up and see that it is worth the $$ in the long run. I will definitely look into this. My LFS told me to just get a de-chlorinator for my tap water, to take out harmful chemicals and calm the fish...so that is what I have been doing...

I have two powerheads. One 750 and one 1400. I pointed one at the top to make sure the take gets more oxygen! thx! I just bought a AquaC Remora protein skimmer and will be receiving it in the mail soon! excited for that. i do wish to have corals some day!

The test kit I have is for Salt Water - its with chemicals not strips... so it's great... The ammonia and nitrite is 0 - so I know this is not the problem. My tank has already cycled - yes I'm sure - but I will make sure to wait at least a month between fish so the cycle can complete better....

I think my tank is about 3 months now. I have always used my tap water... and they were fine.... Its been the introduction of the algea that is the only thing that's changed...So from all your help I've concluded it must be the tap water finally creating the algea (plus its by a window so it gets a fair amount of sun) I'm afraid the killer is the algea and phosphate... I will go get the carbon media for my Marineland filter to help get the levels down, and not use tap water anymore!!!

~taking deep breath and one step at a time~

;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow thanks!! Aren't they cute. rest in peace little fishies. the blue damsel devil is the survivor.... I don't think I'm in the right hobby to get soo upset over losing a fish! :p
 

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Algae doesn't kill fish...excess nutrients can, but I am guessing that isn't your problem. Dechlorinated water can remove some things, but it won't remove a lot of what is in tap water. Tap water can contain a lot of things that can kill fish, corals, inverts....lead and copper in older homes, barium, radium, etc....Water is the foundation of our tanks, so is the one thing you really want perfect. Tap water also has a lot of phosphates, in most cases, and this is what the algae needs to thrive.

As for pictures, you need at least 5 posts before you can upload pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So what is my plan of action now? My tank is full of the tap water I have used with the de-chlorinator. I am planning to go get the carbon filter media insert for the filter to help with the phosphate. Should I go get the ro/di water now from a LFS - and how much? A water change 25% every week for a couple weeks?
 

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To make you feel better, I started my 175g with tap water :doh: You can't change the past...you can only work on the future. Start getting RODI from the LFS and do changes weekly. Eventually, the tank will have more RODI than tap water in the mix and you will be pulling out the extra junk from the tap water every change you do. I'd strongly encourage the following steps for every water change you do.

1. Start by manually removing as much algae as you can either by pulling it off by hand or using an old tooth brush (or a roommate's you are mad at...just kidding :D )
2. Blow out the rocks with a turkey baster or powerhead (not too strong or you can damage corals and blow apart rocks...trust me :rolleyes: ) This will get detrius out of the rocks and onto the bottom and/or in the water column.
3. Siphon the sand (top inch or two) to get detrius out from the sand. You don't want this stuff rotting down there putting nutrients in the water column, which will be taken up by the algae again.
4. After removing how ever much water you wanted to, replace with new water. Be sure any premixed water has been sitting for about 24 hours and is mixed up before adding to the tank.

Water changes are also a great time to do some before/after tests. See what the parameters are before a change and then a few hours after (gives it time to mix with the existing DT water effectively). This will give you an idea of how much each water does or doesn't affect variables.

As for timing, you can do water changes as needed. Most people will do weekly or bimonthly changes. In a desperate situation, you can even do daily
 

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I also started my tank with tap water, its not the end of the world, but it will put up a fight, and you will learn from it and be that much better a fish keeper!

+1 to the tooth brush, I got a pack at the $1 store, but found my wife's to come in handy ;)

also water changes are not just changing the water, but sucking up the poo also, removing uneaten food, and poo during your water change with really help you out with the algae, and overall health of the tank, +1 to richkor!
 
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