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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is in the wrong section, please move it if needed. Being my first post I feel a little back ground is in order, I've had my green spotted puffer for around 2 years (it's my first fish tank) without any major problems except for keeping nitrate under control.

A week ago I bought a used fowlr w/ invertebrates it was seriously neglected (even the front glass was covered in algae) the lr was transfered in sealed buckets with tank water, all tho i did have it sitting on my counter for aprox. 10- 20 min trying to get a rough idea on how to aqua scape it enough water was left in the tank to cover the substrate. I also saved all the tank water in buckets

I now have a cycling tank and no where to move the inhabitants, so far I've only lost 2 starfish and a dog face puffer. the puffer got sucked into the filter on the first night :( the star fish I found dead when I came he from work, they were alive but stressed when I left...

OK I think that's enough back story haha (if I left something important out please ask) what should I do about the cycling? I've been changing water as fast as I can make it ( aprox. 30-40% every other day) I've been dosing ammo lock and stress coat since the ammonia started and amquil (spelling) and I added amquil (spelling) when the nitrites started showing up is there anything else I can do? I've been debating pulling the rock out and putting it in a rubber made tub to see if that is the cause of the ammonia?

Any help or advise is GREATLY appreciated

Ps. Tank peramiters when I checked last night (will retest and update when I get home) ammonia off the chart, nitrite 1 or 2 ppm nitrate 20 ppm temp is steady 81.5-82 ph was untested but low the day b4
 

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Welcome to TRT! Sorry its under such dire circumstances. :( Having the rocks out of the water for that long could've caused some die-off, which would've started a mini cycle. But if your ammonia is "off the charts" then my guess would be that something rather large was living in one of them and died. From there it's a domino effect - the ammonia spike kills other things, those raise the ammonia more, etc. Sounds like you have a fully cycling tank now. What is your current stock that you need to keep safe? Do you have any filter media from your established tank? I would set up a tank with and HOB filter and media from your old tank and move your inhabitants to it, doing daily water changes to keep parameters in check until your tank finishes its new cycle. That or check with your LFS - some rent tanks for emergencies such as this and can watch your fish for you until you get your tank sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the pleasant welcoming how ever I'm not really new here I've been scouring our forum (and a few others) since I purchased my puffer, this is just the first time I haven't been able to find the info I need via the search option. OK back on topic :)
I understand the nitrogen cycle and the domino effect it can cause. i did expect some die off from the rock just nothing like this, I have been doing 20 gal water changes (my mixing tub is only 25 gal) along with ammo lock, stress coat and amquel. Unfortunatly a hospital tank isnt an option don't have an extra tank and filter media from my tank isn't an option either it's a high end brackish tank at 1.018 sg the neglected tank in question is at 1.30 which would kill my bacteria in my filter media and my local pet store is fresh water only :angry:

I've been using the salt that came with the tank (kent marine reef salt) I assume switching salts would just complicate things (I use instant ocean in my established tank) I have been blowing the rocks with a power head and GENTLY brushed them (only once) with a soft brush the rock had fuzzy stuff on it I assumed was tank crud, I do siphon as much of the sand as I can get to my poor aquascape makes it tough I plan on re arranging after things settle down or after I find somewhere to house my inhabitants
As far as current stock, 1 clown fish not sure the specific breed but it looks like Nemo, 1 neon velvet damsel, 2 large snails, roughly 6 small snails (black and yellow stripped shells) 4 hermit crabs, and who knows what's hiding in the sand I found a worm last night... sorry for the long winded posts trying to give as much info as I can, going to test water peramiters now
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Water peramiters pH 7.4, ammonia .75, nitrite 3 (test jumps from 2 to 5 but the color was closer to the 2 so I guesstimated) nitrate 80.. it looks like the cycle is moving along.

I forgot to mention the tank is 55 gal has 2 power head not sure what size the labels are covered in coraline a pretty large hob filter and a cpr bakpak,I did rinse out the hob filter media and filter floss from the skimmer yesterday when I did my WC
 

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Sounds like you're doing all your can at this point. Keep dosing the ammonia detoxifers and repeated water changes. I'm guessing all the bacterial activity is what's making your pH low (?), so it should level out on it's own - sounds like you have plenty of aeration between the HOB filter and BakPak. Wishing you and your fish the best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yea aeration isn't a concern there's alot of surface agitation as well, thank you guys for the help and I'll kept you posted, didn't realize bacteria activity could lower ph thanks for the insite.. on a side note how do you think the puffer would get along with the damsel and clown? Any suggestions on re aqua scape ng the rock? I plan to wait a week or 2 after things r stable and fill a rubber made with old tank water and do as much in water work as possible to avoid another cycle
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thought I would give a quick update, tonights peramiters are ph 7.8 ammonia less that .25 , nitrite 0, nitrate 40, things are looking better fish arent hiding near as much and look much happier... I owe you guys a big THANK YOU for your help and advice. I've learned so much from this forum just from browsing I look forward to all the knowledge that's to come now that I'm a member... I do have some questions about inverts and live rock, should I ask them here or is there another section I should post them in? Again thank you for saving my new livestock
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thier pretty basic questions my phone just won't let me use the search function. So my rock has some stuff stuck to it I'm not sure if it's bacteria or detritus that I should scrub off when I do my WC today is there a way to tell the difference? I can see it moving around from the water current. I would hate for it to be good bacteria and scrub it and cause another problem.

As for inverts is it OK to use my instant ocean once I run out of the kent marine reef salt? And is there anything special I need to do or watch out for? Is dropping the sg from 1.031 to 1.025 over a 2-3 week period slow enough To not harm the inverts I know the fish will handle that fine...

my plan is to do a 10-15 gal WC today and leave the tank alone and monitor for a week if things are stable Im going to aquascape the rocks with tank water in a rubbermade tub and put it back in the tank once the epoxy has dried, my goal is to create small hiding places for the current residents to hide from the puffer when he is introduced.. not sure how that's going to work he hasn't had a tank mate since he was under an inch (he's 4-5 inches now) and loves inverts (to eat not to cuddle up with :lol: )
 

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Your bacteria won't be visible like that, whatever's on your rock is likely either algae, detritus or die-off. Take a toothbrush to it during your water change.

If your able, I'd start mixing the IO into the Kents to try to make the transition a little smoother.

Yikes, 1.031 is high. While it is important to not shock the fish with a sudden change, you can do it more quickly than 2-3 weeks. Depending on the size of the tank, I'd remove a gallon or so of water every few hours and replace it with straight RODI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow didn't know I could adjust it that fast, I know it's high it was higher than that when I brought it home :(, I actually ran out of the kent today and used the IO to finish the mix I had already planned to "acclimate" that way alead (guess I know more than I thought) seems like every change in this hobby goes smoother if done in small increments... ill try to make a tank thread in the appropriate spot w/ pics when I have some free time the tank was embarrassing when I picked it up. But I shouldn't have any I'll effects using non reef salt for the long term?
 

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It depends on the size of the tank how much you can safely remove/replace at a time. Obviously if it's a smaller tank, a gallon will make a bigger impact than a larger tank. And it depends on how much coral you have - "reef" salt has beefed up elements such as Calcium that coral use up. If you have a lot of stony coral that uses that up, then yes it may effect them.

It would help a lot if you told us the details of your tank. What size is it and what are all the inhabitants?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry been meaning to make a thread in the tank spec section just haven't had time... it's a 55 gal tank previous owner said it has 50 lbs of live rock, 1 ocellaris clown, 1 neon velvet damsel, 2 turbo snails (I think their turbos snails), some bumble bee snails (hard to count they hide well) 5 hermit crabs ( 4 red 1 green) no corals
 

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If you don't have any coral then I would actually recommend sticking with IO. No reason for the extra elements (and extra money) when nothing's in need of them. In a 55 you should be fine removing lowering the salinity by a gallon or two every few hous - I remember you lost your stars, the would've been the ones most stressed by quickly dropping the salinity. Having your salinity back to normal in a day or two without bothering anything. I'd think being in the higher salinity would be more stressful than the drop, honestly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sounds good, I thought I read somewhere that snails and other inverts need calcium, wasn't sure if IO had enough for them... I still haven't got to todays WC (been a busy day) would mixing my water alittle weak say 1.02 be to sudden of a change, I remember reading about raising the salinity when I found out my puffer was not a fresh water fish people on the puffer forum said not to raise the SG any faster than .02 every few days because it'll Wipeout the benificial bacterial hence why I was going to lower it over a few weeks didn't want to kill bacterial and have another cycle, I was stressing over that cycle and don want to go threw that again I hate seeing animals suffer... o and I managed to make a tank spec thread I'll see if I can figure out how to post the link in my sig.
 

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IO still has calcium, just not at the high levels "reef" salts do. Everything in a FOWLR and even some corals would be fine with what it provides. It's only when you get into high coral stocking that you need those elevated levels.

A weaker salt mixture would be fine. Math isn't my strong suit, so I have no idea what that would take your tank down to and at what % water changed out. :p I've never heard of bacteria being wiped out from sudden salinity changes. Your stock can get stressed and more delicate things like stars will perish. If you were going from freshwater to saltwater different bacteria altogether would need to grow. Say you put a live rock in freshwater - it wouldn't be the sudden change in salinity that would kill the bacteria, it would be the fact it's not meant to live in freshwater. Same as if you tried to put filter used on a freshwater tank on a salt - the bacteria in the sponge would die because that's not it's natural environment.
 
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