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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boyfriend and I just lost two fish and we have done every test imaginable. We are both unsure of what else it could be. Our fish contracted ick, so we bought a cleaner wrasse. It seemed to do the trick for about a week or so but we just recently lost a lawn mover blenny and an angelfish. We also can't seem to get ammonia down. My boyfriend is extremely knowledgeable about saltwater tanks and is stuck on what the problem could be. If anyone has any feedback on what to do or what it coudl be, please let us know, we don't like to lose fish and we love this hobby dearly.

We have:

Live rock
"real" sand bed (2inches or so deep)
uv sterilzer--2 powerheads w/ wave makers...(all that jazz)
using RO for water changes

fish:
we now have...
1humbug damsel
1cleaner wrasse
1 foxface rabbit fish

we did have...
1 lawnmower blenny
1 angelfish

if anyone could see, suggest, or help the problem please let us know..

thank you so much:confused:
 

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G and I need to know what size tank, what filtration system, and yes when was it set up. Did you change anything recently such as removeing/ adding anything? We need to know this asap in order to help. There should not, under any circumstances, be any, not even a .1, ammonia level in an established tank. All I can reccommed for the ammonia is to do a big water change and if that dioesnt lower it down 100% get all those fish the heck out and have somebody take them in until you get things straightened up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Info on our tank

That tank is a 55 gal. tank. He probably does a water change every week at the end of the week. We haven't really added anything real new. We did however just get a new UV sterilizer and pumps which were an upgrade from what we had. Our ammonia levels haven't seen .1 at all and our tank has been established for almost 2mnths now. We are currently working on getting a sump built and will be in the process of being put in very soon. Like I said before we are using RO and any new additions, if any, was introducing fish to the tank. All of our others levels (nitrates, nitrate...have been right where they need to be). Other than that we are extremely stumped on what could be the problem. All I know is my beautiful baby angelfish died this morning and I want to know what we can do to avoid this happening to any of our other fish. Thank you so much for all of your feedback
 

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any discoloration on the fish..... such as large areas of white..... you should QT the fish with ich. Cleaners rarley fix parisitic problems. Its not the spts of ich on the outside that hurt the fish, (like the obes the cleaner takes offf) but the ones inside the gill that choke the fish to death. Any fish showing any weard behavior or discoloration should be QT d asap. Chech to see if something has died and has sat there for a day or so that can cuase ammonia.
 

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Saltwater Mom
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2 months sounds like the right time for a spike. Probably want to do a huge water change! If you can I agree with qt'ing fish. This will allow you to treat them for ich and give your tank time for the ammonia to drop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, Let me fill in some blanks that my girlfriend may have left out. The tank is aprox. 2 months old-55 gallon. I started with 45 lbs of uncured live Tonga rock from marinedepot.com. I had huge ammonia levels for about 2 weeks and then they nitrification process set in and they dropped and have been at 0.25 ppm ever since according to my AP liquid test kit which I don't fully trust. My nitrates have been tested using my salifert kit and read about 25 ppm. Nitrites have been low but don't have an exact figure on those. Is it normal for my ammonia to stay at .25 and not go to zero from uncured rock? I added fish (angelfish and blenny) since I assumed that they would be zero since nitrification had been going well. I have a damsel and cleaner wrass who show no signs of ich at all and don't seem to be stressed.
I am really afraid to add any type of copper based medication considering I might lose the nice growth of coralline algae that has started. I also don't have a quarantine tank and don't have the money to set one up at the moment.
I've been doing weekly water changes with RO/DI water and add Seachem Prime to the water added to ensure all traces of chlorine are removed. I'm not sure if this is a bad sign, but 2 days ago the Seachem product made my water extremely cloudy after a water change and it stayed that way for 24 hrs. I assume that there was some sort of chemical reaction that produced this precipitate-another fear that I have. Should I continue to add this product or does RO/DI remove all chlorine and eliminate the need for dechlorinator?
I know that this has been really long but I am really at wits end with this. I've ran every test that I can think of -nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH, pKH, phosphates, silicates and everything seems OK except the small ammonia content that doesn't seem to want to go away and alkalinity that is around 4.8. Is there a test that will check for dissolved organics? And if that is the case how can I eliminate them from the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Geoff said:
Welcome to TRT!!!

:wavey:

could you give us some more info about your tank? what size is it, what skimmer, do you have a sump/wet/dry. what are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? how long has the tank been setup?

G~
The skimmer is a prism w/o the surface skimmer upgrade. Thanks.
 

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First, welcome to TRT and GO STEELERS! Next, it doesn't really sound normal to have your ammonia levels that high after 2 months. In fact, I don't think you should have ANY ammonia detectable in a cycled tank - so I think your tank is not mature enough to handle that fish load. You may still be having die-off from the LR. Do you have a protein skimmer going? I use Prime as well and have never had a problem. You may want to add some to your tank to get the ammonia level down. As for the ro/di, it shouldn't have any chlorine after it passes through the carbon block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hng said:
First, welcome to TRT and GO STEELERS! Next, it doesn't really sound normal to have your ammonia levels that high after 2 months. In fact, I don't think you should have ANY ammonia detectable in a cycled tank - so I think your tank is not mature enough to handle that fish load. You may still be having die-off from the LR. Do you have a protein skimmer going? I use Prime as well and have never had a problem. You may want to add some to your tank to get the ammonia level down. As for the ro/di, it shouldn't have any chlorine after it passes through the carbon block.
Nice to see another steelers fan. :) Yeah, that's what I had thought too concerning the lingering ammonia levels. I have a new EV-120 skimmer that I will get going as soon as my sump comes in the mail. I know that the prism is a hunk of junk, but it seems to produce a decent amount of foam. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the ammonia will go to zero soon.
 

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Add some Prime to lower the ammonia. It's a quick fix and won't last long, but at least it will relieve some stress on the fish. You could also add a product like "Cycle" which would add a whole lot of bacteria to your system and help get the nitrogen cycle finished. Maybe someone else has some ideas.
 

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well cycle wouldnt help the ammonia if its caused by die of on the rock, so you would have to use something like ammo lock then. (which doesnt work, by the way)
 

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zxcv123 said:
well cycle wouldnt help the ammonia if its caused by die of on the rock
Why not? "Cycle" adds bacteria that would help the nitrogen cycle along. You know, ammonia to nitrite, nitrite to nitrate, yada, yada - regardless of where the ammonia is coming from.
 

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In the end it would seem we have some problems here that will need some extra help. First i want to recommend that you not add anything to your tank. If you can't test for it you cant know if it is at toxic levels in your tank. trying to speed up the cycle or remove the ammonia will only lead to more problems. here are a few points to consider...

1). using uncured LR without scrubbing it off may cause an extended die off period and hence an extended cycle. you should never show Ammonia, or nitrite in your tank after the cycle is done. And you should never have fish in a tank with an incomplete cycle.
2). RO/DI will remove any Chlorine in the water so don't add any remover to the water when you top off for evap.
3). I would strongly recommend taking your remaining fish out and finding someone to "babysit" them for you while you stabilize the tank.
4). Do a 50% WC once the fish are gone and if you can... pull the rock out and scrub it off in SW then put it back in, assume your starting the cycle over again for another 30 days.
5). I know they are expensive, but you should probably look into a better test kit like salifert or something. these are your lifeline in a crisis.

I know it seems like a lot but if your patient you will should have a much better tank soon. It is better to take the long careful route and be sure that everything is ok for the sake of your critters.
 

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you are deep into the sit on your hands stage of reef tank setup. :D

in the first 6 months a lot happens in a tank, most of it not pretty. if you can wait it out before putting anything in there the happier you will be.

lets see, so far i have a 125g, that has nothing in it since April. i hope to actually put some fish in it by August.

G~
 

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Just want to add that while you're getting .25 ammonia readings, I really wouldn't trust that test. Chances are good, you're actually at zero.

All good advice so far. I think increased water changes, and patience in stocking are your best bets right now.

Welcome to TRT, and GO STEELERS!!!
 

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Ammonia, in any amount, is highly toxic. Can you describe how they were behaving just before they died? Probably the reason why it's still registering is that you used such a large amount of uncured live rock. There is a product called Right Now which combined with a carbon the company sells, can cycle your tank in 24 hours. Think it might be in order to do a large water change first to help speed things along. Also, below are some links you might find very informative:

http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/quarantinetanks.html
http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/diseases.html
http://www.marineaquariumadvice.com/Marine-Aquarium-Fish-Disease-2.htm

Good luck.

KG
 

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Five fish is a lot of fish to add for a tank that is only two months old. Perhaps that is why you are having the ammonia spike? You are doing the right thing by asking advice in a forum such as this. One thing that is very important though is reading and doing research before buying fish. The cleaner wrasse does very poor in captivity and should be best left in it's natural habitat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks everyone for your good advice. It is so nice to know that you folks are here to turn to when something like this happens. I'm going to invest in a salifert ammonia test and check levels with that. Also, won't add any other fish until levels are in limits. Thanks again!
 
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