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FAQs on Marine Aquarium Maintenance/Operation 14

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Related FAQs: Marine Aquarium Maintenance 1, Mar. Aq. Maint. FAQs 2Maint. FAQs 3Maint. FAQs 4Maint. FAQs 5, Maint. FAQs 6, Maint. FAQs 7, Maint. FAQs 8, Maint. 9, Maint 10, Maint. 11, Maint. 12, Maint. 13, Maint. 14, Maint. 15, Maint. 16, Maint. 17, Reef Maintenance 1

Hey, wanna Zagnut? Come'on, I got something good for ya. Antennarius hispidus (aka Shaggy angler) pic in N. Sulawesi by DianaF.

dead lionfish and stuff on my rocks, poor English, incredible mistakes, no reading  -- 03/10/08 hey crew, what's up? im writing to you today, because my Volitans died on Friday. <...> My tank is a 29 ga, with a undergravel filter, >... a volume of this size... too small for a Lionfish...< crushed coral base, 1 powerhead, an aqua clear 20 to 50 gal filter. I have bout 5lbs live rock, about 5 lbs of dead rock, and various plastic plants, and a plastic hollow log in it. I did have a 4 to 5 inch Volitans lionfish, a ccstar, and 2 turbo snails. I know the tank was small for the lionfish but was all I have right now. I was working out a trade for a bigger tank till my buddy died. I went to work on Thursday and he was fine, I was out at work all day plowing snow. I got home at about 10 that night, and went and got some dinner. when I got back i turned on the light, and looked at my lil friend, and what I saw broke my heart. the only way to describe what happened is to say it looked like my fish melted. the cuticle on his long fins was just hanging in little pieces, and like I said, it looked melted. most of them was just the bone and he had some spots on his body that looked the same. im curious to know what you think could have caused that, and how to treat the tank fo it. <A lack of understanding...> now for my real reason to write. I have been noticing this powdery stuff collecting on my rock and one of my plants, and on my log in there. its real bad on one of the live rocks. <BGA... look it up, read about it...> I do a 30% water change every 2 weeks and as of now my water readings are nitrate 20 nitrite 0 alkalinity is 300 and ph 8.4, spg 1.22 to 1.23. <... no> so im kinda lost here. <Oh, this IS sensible> I have enclosed some pics of my rocks with the stuff on it. the snails tend to stay away from the spots where the stuff is on the rocks also. if you could help me out I would be very grateful. <Please... follow directions... run your writing through spelling, grammar checking before sending... Look for what is posted re your situation ahead... What you write, have is ludicrous... Bob Fenner>

Marine "Mulm" Woes!!! 2/20/08 Hello once again! <Hello again John.> In my AP24, I have replaced the stock recirculating pump with a MaxiJet 1200 last summer. I also have two Koralia Nanos that I installed about 6 months ago. The Nanos are on either side of the tank and sort of "shoot" at each other (I read that this creates random flow). <Yes, an effective way to do it.> Calculating my flow, I come up with 775 GPH. Since my tank is a 24 gallon, this works out to a turnover rate of 32.29x/hour, but realistically with all the LR, sand and other stuff in there I'm estimating that I really only have about 20 gallons of water, so the turnover rate is probably closer to 38.75X/hour. <That calculation assumes the pumps are at full capacity also, they usually are not.> I think this is enough. <Yes.> However, I still tend to get a lot of "mulm" in several areas of my tank. You know what I mean - that gross fluffy stuff that tends to accumulate on LR that isn't being constantly blasted by Amazon River-sized currents. I think it tends to clog out LR critters so I am worried about leaving it in my tank, to say nothing about how unappealing it looks. <It is not desirable to see, that is for sure.> If I move the Nanos around to try to "blast" those areas, then they tend to get (and stay) cleaner. Unfortunately, this usually creates two other problems: 1) It tends to cause OTHER areas to now suffer from less flow and in turn creates a mulm buildup in those areas, and/or 2) certain corals (like my open brains) now get hit with what I feel is "too much" flow. Once a month I hook up my Vortex Diatom Filter and go to work with a turkey baster. I squirt off each and every square inch of exposed rockwork and let the water get all mucky, while the Vortex cleans it all up. By the time I am satisfied that I cannot possibly get any more gunk off my rocks the color of the diatomaceous earth in my filter has gone from a pristine white to the most yucky shade of brownish crud you could imagine, and my water is so clear that it looks like my fish are suspended in air. While I know that using a diatom filter is a great way to really polish a reef tank, I also understand that I am in the vast minority and very few people need to resort to this sort of extreme filtration methodology to keep their tanks clean and "mulm-free". It almost seems too extreme to me. <No, you should not have to do this.> I WILL note, however, that when my Vortex is hooked up, all of my fish seem so much more "alive" and "frisky", even though the damned thing is tossing them about like they were in a tidal wave! They seem to LOVE to swim against the current. BTW - the Vortex adds ANOTHER 250GPH circulation to my tank, bringing the grand total to 51.25X/hour!!! <Fun for a while.> I didn't note it but I do NOT have ANY active filtration in my tank. I have been told that while canister filters are great at removing detritus, they are also nitrate factories and I have been advised to stay away from them and just rely on circulation and lots of LR rubble in the back chambers (I have several pounds back there). I also do not use a filter sock (no place to put it) nor any sponge media (gets too smelly too fast). <This is the problem. You have plenty of circulation to keep the detritus suspended to a point, but nothing to catch and export it. A canister filter can work fine, the danger comes from the out of sight out of mind maintenance approach that often accompanies them. Canisters just need to be cleaned frequently, as does any other mechanical filtration. A skimmer will work wonders in your situation, although simply using the sponge media and washing it every few days is the simple answer to your issue.> Am I going about filtration the wrong way here? Do I need to upgrade to (2) Koralia 1's instead in order to really increase flow? Maybe a 3rd Nano would help here? <No, you have plenty of flow.> I'm looking for any suggestions as to how I can get rid of my "mulm" problem! <Needs to be taken out of the system somehow.> Thanks John <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Re: Marine "Mulm" Woes!!! 2/21/08 Hi Scott, <Hello again John.> Thanks for the (as ALWAYS!) detailed and prompt reply. <I am glad to help.> I do want to let you know right away that I have a Sapphire Aquatics AP24 skimmer in the R/H side rear chamber. It runs 24/7. The cup gets pretty gross every day. I run a somewhat wet skimmate. <Great!> I see now that flow is not my problem - it is detritus export, of which I have ZERO! <Yes.> OK, I think I'm going to go with an external canister filter and just be super-anal-retentive about cleaning it. <Sounds good.> I really cannot live with this gross grayish-brown crud all over my LR. I need to get it out! <I know the feeling.> So, how often is a good cleaning regimen for such a filter? <At least once a week'¦in the past I have been OCD, cleaning daily.> Also, I am sort of leaning toward Eheim - can you recommend a good model for an AquaPod 24? <I am a fan of just about all of this company's products, a small filter in any of their product lines will do a fine job.> Regards, John <Happy reefing, Scott V.>

New to marine tanks; op. 12/19/07 Hi to all! Great site! You all helped me a great deal a while back when I started my first freshwater tank! Thank you! <Welcome, thank you for the kind words.> All is perfect with it. (55 gallon). I even moved it 3 hours away and didn't lose one fish! Than you for all your help! <Awesome!> Now I really need help. I just acquired a used 55 high tank. It was previously a reef tank. He lost everything in a move. Didn't want to start over. It has not been run for a while. The sand was dry and had some dried leaves and bugs. I sifted the old dry sand that was in the tank from some dried leaves and bugs and such. Everyone I talked to said to re-use it so I cleaned it by running tap water through it and really mixing it to get the debris out of it. <Will be fine assuming it was not exposed to any pesticides, herbicides or other outdoor chemicals while outside.> It had been sitting on his porch for a while. I filled the tank with water that I dechlorinated and added an extra 15 lb. bag of "new" live sand over top of the old. I have a wet/dry system made by Sealife, a Rio 2500 powerhead for return, and a protein skimmer all running now. Salinity is within range now. It also has (2) 96 watt bulbs. One blue (actinic?) and one red. <Red??> There is also a pretty new Current light fixture that is not working. I am working on having that looked at. Tank filled on Sunday. Sand and salt added Monday. It has been 3 days since sand and salt. Salinity in range on third day. <OK> I am trying to do all my research in the best way to cycle my tank. I have been told so many things by so many pet stores!! All the websites tell me different ways as well. I don't want to spend a great deal of money on live rock, just to have it all die because I am not an expert in what I am doing. Nor do I want to kill fish unnecessarily. <Agreed.> I have been told to cycle it with 2-3 damsels only, but when the cycle is finished they become very territorial and I might have a problem adding more fish. <Yes, damsels are good if you want damsels! Since you are planning a FOWLR, I recommend taking the biomedia out of the wet/dry and stick with live rock.> Some are telling me to use live rock only. <The way to go.> Do I need to add chemicals to add live rock? <No.> Some tell me to just add it now. Some say don't add it until your tank is cycled! <Add it now.> I am so confused! I have always wanted a saltwater tank. I am aware that they are extra work to maintain. <Depends, not always.> I know I am not ready for a reef tank, but I really would like to at least attempt a FOWLR tank over a fish only tank. So my questions are; Fish cycle or live rock cycle? If live rock is the way to go, could you tell me what the minimum I would need in order to cycle the tank properly without wasting too much money if it dies? <I would start with 40-50 lbs or so and go from there. It is very difficult to actually kill live rock. I would suggest looking in your local classifieds/internet listings. Sometimes you can find great deals on live rock.> I know that some will die off when I get it. Should I scrub it first? <Not unless there is a lot of decaying matter on the rock.> Should I keep it moist with a saltwater spray for a few days to remove any unwanted critters?? <Put it in the tank.> Is my lighting ok for live rock? If so, how much lighting is needed daily? <You will want to read through the FAQ's on lighting and determine what bulbs you have in relation to what is appropriate as far as spectrum. The wattage you have will be fine.> Also, do I need to add another powerhead in the bottom of the tank for the live rock? <More circulation wouldn't hurt.> If so could you recommend a size/brand? <MaxiJet, Hagen, Tunze. The Hydor Koralias are fairly nice also. Anywhere from a couple hundred gph to six or seven.> Any chemicals prior to or during the cycle? <No. Just keep your skimmer running and be prepared for water changes.> Wow! I am really stressed!! I know you can help me!! <Stop, relax, breath!!> Thank you in advance!! Raesunrae <Welcome, keep reading to familiarize yourself with the basics here. Start with the link below, it will tell you what to do with the rock once you get it. Best regards, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm Brown Residue, SW algal succession  12/5/07 Hi. I've been trying to set up a saltwater fish tank for a couple of months after switching from fresh water fish that I've done for many years. I'm taking my time and about a month ago I added 2 gobies that seem to be doing fine. A couple of weeks ago I started noticing a brown residue all over my live rock, sand, filter head, etc. <Mmm, typical> I've been testing my water the last 2 weeks (salinity, nitrates, ammonia) and everything seems to be fine. I live on a farm with well water, but the water isn't hard (no sulfur, very low iron). Thank you, I appreciate your time. William Fisher <Likely a combination of Diatoms, with some greens, perhaps BGA involved... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm and the linked files above... and be patient. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Inherited saltwater fish tank--help! 12/2/07 Dear WWM crew, My husband and I have inherited a saltwater tank from my brother-in-law who is moving. I am clueless about saltwater tanks, and my husband doesn't know much more. After doing some reading on your website, I have realized that we have a pretty big glass anemone and bristleworm problem. From your advice, it seems that getting a few peppermint shrimp will help to address both of these problems. I hope this is correct. <They can, no guarantee. Bristleworms in general have a bad reputation that is undeserved. Most are beneficial to your system. An abundance of both indicates a problem with excess nutrients/overfeeding.> To give you some background info, we have a 30 gallon tank with live rock (it's all grayish in color, no pretty coral) and the groundcover is this white gravel/sand. <If it is too course and trapping detritus it is not helping your problem.> I have noticed a patch on the ground cover that is bright Kelly green (algae maybe). The only living thing other than the worms and anemones is our clown fish. There was a snail, but he died about a month ago. (Maybe the bristleworms ate him? Or maybe the tank water is way off?) <Likely died and worms are doing their job.> I would like to really work on the tank, but I'm not really sure where to start b/c I don't want to lose our little clown fish- he is such a trooper- and I don't want everything I put in there to die. Do you have suggestions on what would be good next steps to take? Thank you in advance for your help. Sincerely, Stephanie Aring < I would start by getting water quality readings. Either by a test kit and hydrometer or take a water sample to your local fish store, most will test it for you. Past that you should read through the FAQ's on marine substrates, water quality, filtration etc. I would also highly recommend picking up a copy of Bob's book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist to orient yourself with the basics of keeping a marine tank. You can email DiLagg@Hotmail.com for a great combo deal on this book. It is very much an enjoyable hobby, keep with it. Good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Maybe Aiptasia and something else'¦ Update... now, mar. maint.  11/20/2007 Hey Mich... thanks again!! <Hi Jason... Welcome again!!> I got rid of the Proclear skimmer. I got a super deal on a Berlin. The Proclear is several years old and I am having the worse time trying to tune it in w/o getting micro bubbles. The Berlin seems to be the best skimmer that will fit in my sump as well as being a reputable product. <Ahh, upgrades are good!> So beneficial food huh?? <Yup!> Good deal, those "Scuds (Gammarus shrimp) or Mysis shrimp" they seem rather peaceful and just scurrying about the rocks. <Oh they are peaceful. They are detritivores. And your future fish will find them tasty!> Believe me I'm taking my time. I don't plan on adding any corals or fish until the middle of January or so. This will give the system 2 months to acclimate itself. <Excellent!> Now on to my lighting. I have a PC 260 watt, w/ moon lighting. I have been running actinics 11 hrs, daylights 9 hrs since start up. I have some noticed some live corals, looks like some polyps, on a couple of rocks. <Good!> Should I continue to run the lights like so, or should I cut back the timing b/c of the algae bloom? <I think I would continue to run the light as you have been. The algae is a normal part of the cycle. If it gets bad I would increase the frequency and quantity of your water changes.> Well that's it for now. Thanks for the valuable info again. <You're welcome as always. I'm happy to share. Mich>

No Questions'¦ But a Story... mar. maint.  11/2/07 <Hi Bridget, Mich here.> Just thought I'd share. <OK. Got any chocolate you can share as well? I could really go for some right about now!> I have 14 aquariums <Severe MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome)> and have been pretty addicted since I was about 8 yrs old. <Admitting it is the first step...> Most of my tanks have guppies, I breed 4 lines. I also have 2 Calico Oranda's that I adore, my grandson's favorite. 7 blue blushing angels and 1 electric blue hap (cichlid) for disposing of the bad guppies. <Yikes! I'm a good guppy! I'm a good guppy!> Multiple bottom feeders. Really like fancy/exotic Pleco's <I am woefully ignorant of fresh water fish... but I do know what guppies and bottom feeders are!> We set up the salt tank (our first) about 2 yrs ago, it was hubby's tank and I've let him enjoy and kind of stood back on it. WE started with the breeding pair of True Percula's and a long tentacle anemone. They have done well and thrived as well as our 3rd fish the Coral Beauty. That's all the fish we have in the tank at this time, due to that darn Green Brittle star. <Yes, they are quite predatory... Also called the green death for good reason.> 3 Hawaiian feather dusters. Hubby's cheap about some things and he built most of the reef with lace rock and has added a few select pieces of live rock here and there. <I am a fan of LR.> I can honestly tell you that my interest in the tank was minimal until he got that live rock. Now I find myself constantly in front of the tank. There's just so much going on all the time. <Yup. I spent many of hours just staring at the live rock... Be cautious who you tell that you enjoy spending time looking at rocks... people will question your sensibilities.> We have a few pieces of coral, we've started adding it over the past 6 months or so. Those don't thrill me nearly as much as the live rock does. <Yup.> Their names tend to come and go in the memory banks. Just recently purchased something called a green plate coral. He's interesting, has this big mouth that opens up at feeding time and these little feelers that reach out and grab the food and flipping it into his mouth. Kind of looks like the electric green Ricordea mushrooms we have (4). <I see how you might say that.> We also have some LPS coral that came in on the live rock, looks like Aiptasia, with a yellow ring around the red mouth. <A pic would help to Id this...> This I've noticed is really active at night and expands probably quadruple its daytime size. <Hmmm...> It's far away from anything it can hurt just to be on the safe side. <Likely a good idea!> 2 other corals that slip my mind on names, kind of generic looking plant type's that wave their hands at the food, dancing something. <Pulsing Xenia?> We have about 6 or 7 of the red hermits and one black and white striped hermit. <Am not familiar with the black and white striped... perhaps it is green and white striped (Clibanarius sp.)?> I can tell you my personal favorite out of everything in the tank is that striped hermit. He is just the most amusing animal out of all the tanks. I sit in front of the tank and he finds me, comes racing up and "plays" with me. I pretend I'm scratching his back and he rolls his shell around at me against the glass. I stop and he tries to climb the glass to get closer to me, <Heehee! I'm very glad that this animal is giving you so much enjoyment! Your connection to this animal is truly the reason to keep aquariums.> he'll also run up and down in front of me waving his little claws at me. <Don't you wish you could know what he was thinking?> I can honestly say that I was hesitant to buy him, he's nowhere nearly as colorful as the reds. <Color is not everything.> But I'm really glad I did. <Very good.> I can honestly say that I would be happy with 100lbs of live rock and him. Nothing else. <Heehee! Would be a wonderfully low maintenance system!> The fish are fun and we love our anemone's (long tentacle, rose bubble tip and the little flower) <Oh this is not good. You should not be mixing multiple species of anemones. Please see here and many related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm > and corals. But it's the live rock that really grabs me. <It's amazing the life that is present here. And if you had a microscope you'd be even more blown away!> Take care <Thank you, you as well.> and thank you for all the help you do. <We are happy to help.> I am on your site by the way looking at your books and I do plan to purchase them. <You might want to check out the daily Q&A's... Bob has been posting some bargains on his books there: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm > Too bad the posters aren't in book form that would be fun too. <I would agree with you there. Thank you so much for sharing your story Bridget. I do hope you share your passions with your grandchildren as they are the stewards of the future. A wonderful story! Thanks again, Mich> Bridget

Re: No questions'¦ But a Story... mar. maint.   11/5/07 > <Hi Bridget, Mich here.> > Just thought I'd share. > <OK.. Got any chocolate you can share as well? I could really go for some right about now!> Chocolate yuummm <<One of my favs!!!!>> > I have 14 aquariums > <Severe MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome)> Yes very severe <<A common ailment!>> > and have been pretty addicted since I was about 8 yrs old. > <Admitting it is the first step...> Lol you're too funny, this was great to wake up to this morning, has had me snickering to myself all day. <<Laughter is a beautiful gift! Happy to entertain!>> > Most of my tanks have guppies, I breed 4 lines. I also have 2 Calico oranda's (fancy goldfish with the outside brain looking things on the heads) <<Genetic mutations gone wild!>> > that I adore, my grandson's favorite. 7 blue blushing angels and 1 electric blue hap (cichlid) for disposing of the bad guppies. > <Yikes! I'm a good guppy! I'm a good guppy!> LOL snicker <<Heehee!>> > Multiple bottom feeders. Really like fancy/exotic pleco's > <I am woefully ignorant of fresh water fish... but I do know what guppies and bottom feeders are!> > We set up the salt tank (our first) about 2 yrs ago, it was hubby's tank and I've let him enjoy and kinda stood back on it. WE started with the breeding pair of True Percula's and a long tentacle anemone. They have done well and thrived as well as our 3rd fish the Coral Beauty. That's all the fish we have in the tank at this time, due to that darn Green > Brittle star. > <Yes, they are quite predatory... Also called the green death for good reason.> He's going back to the pet store in the morning <<OK.>> > 3 Hawaiian feather dusters. Hubby's cheap about some things and he built most of the reef with lace rock and has added a few select pieces of live rock here and there. > <I am a fan of LR.> > I can honestly tell you that my interest in the tank was minimal until he got that live rock. Now I find myself constantly in front of the tank. There's just so much going on all the time. > <Yup. I spent many of hours just staring at the live rock... Be cautious who you tell that you enjoy spending time looking at rocks... people will question your sensibilities.> > I will heed this warning, lol <<Wise!>> > We have a few pieces of coral, we've started adding it over the past 6 months or so. Those don't thrill me nearly as much as the live rock does. > <Yup.> > Their names tend to come and go in the memory banks. Just recently purchased something called a green plate coral. He's interesting, has this big mouth that opens up at feeding time and these little feelers that reach > out and grab the food and flipping it into his mouth. Kind of looks like the electric green Ricordea mushrooms we have (4). > <I see how you might say that.> > We also have some LPS coral that came in on the live rock, looks like Aiptasia, with a yellow ring around the red mouth. I had the description wrong on that, it has a red ring around the yellow mouth and is on this page on you site, first picture, candy coral? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stonycoridfaq.htm <<Mmm, the block where candy coral is mentioned is in reference to a different picture. The top pic on the page looks more like something in the family Dendrophylliidae than the family Faviidae. But could be wrong. Perhaps yours is a Balanophyllia? An image here: http://www.poppe-images.com/images/image_info.php?picid=929380 >> > <A pic would help to Id this...> > This I've noticed is really active at night and expands probably quadruple its daytime size. > <Hmmm...> <<This behavior is more common of the family Dendrophylliidae than the family Faviidae.>> > It's far away from anything it can hurt just to be on the safe side. > <Likely a good idea!> > 2 other corals that slip my mind on names, kind of generic looking plant type's that wave their hands at the food, dancing something. > <Pulsing Xenia?> Yes one pulsing Xenia, and one dancing hands xenia, the dancing hands is much more active. <<Mmm, never heard of a dancing hands xenia... Perhaps the more active one is xenia and the other might be anthelia?>> > We have about 6 or 7 of the red hermits and one black and white striped hermit. > <Am not familiar with the black and white striped... perhaps it is green and white striped (Clibanarius sp.)?> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitfaqs3.htm this page second picture, he never ID'd it <<Mmm, sorry, many possibilities...>> > I can tell you my personal favorite out of everything in the tank is that striped hermit. He is just the most amusing animal out of all the tanks. I sit in front of the tank and he finds me, comes racing up and "plays" with me. I pretend I'm scratching his back and he rolls his shell around at me against the glass. I stop and he tries to climb the glass to get closer to me, > <Heehee! I'm very glad that this animal is giving you so much enjoyment! Your connection to this animal is truly the reason to keep aquariums.> > he'll also run up and down in front of me waving his little claws at me. > <Don't you wish you could know what he was thinking?> You want the honest truth he's probably telling me it's his tank, <<He very well could grow to be the boss!>> although today I was playing with him and he flipped upside down and exposed his tummy, coming about halfway out of the shell. I wouldn't think exposing himself like that would say that he's being aggressive. Maybe submissive? <<Perhaps, generally is with out 4-legged animals, but... don't know with a hermit crab.>> > I can honestly say that I was hesitant to buy him, he's nowhere nearly as colorful as the reds. > <Color is not everything.> > But I'm really glad I did. > <Very good.> > I can honestly say that I would be happy with 100lbs of live rock and him. Nothing else. > <Heehee! Would be a wonderfully low maintenance system!> > The fish are fun and we love our anemone's (long tentacle, rose bubble tip and the little flower) > <Oh this is not good. You should not be mixing multiple species of anemones. Please see here and many related links in blue: > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm > Yes I know, the long tentacle was purchased and the other 2 were hitch hikers, we keep them far apart right now, the flower is only about 3/4" and I don't think it'll get any bigger, we've had it about 4 months now. <<Time will tell>> > and corals. But it's the live rock that really grabs me. > <It's amazing the life that is present here. And if you had a microscope you'd be even more blown away!> > Take care > <Thank you, you as well.> > and thank you for all the help you do. > <We are happy to help.> > I am on your site by the way looking at your books and I do plan to purchase them. > <You might want to check out the daily Q&A's... Bob has been posting some bargains on his books there: > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm > Darn already bought the one on Amazon, couldn't find any others, grandbabies are due any minute so got to run for now but will check back and see if I can get the other books. > Too bad the posters aren't in book form that would be fun too. > <I would agree with you there. Thank you so much for sharing your story Bridget. I do hope you share your passions with your grandchildren as they are the stewards of the future. A wonderful story! Isn't that the truth!! > Thanks again, Mich> > Bridget You have a wonderful day <<Thank you! Wishing you the same Bridget!>> Bridget

Help with white slime...  10/2/07 Hello. I have a problem I have set up my saltwater tank and it has been running about 2 months. It is a 50 Gallon with Berlin style sump I made myself. The filter sock and sponges keep getting clogged, almost on a daily basis, with a clear to white slimy substance. <Interesting... and frustrating> I am also seeing what looks like clear strands of slime on the live rock and walls. When I first noticed it I did a 25% water change and have been doing 10% every 2 weeks. It has not seemed to combat the problem. I am running 250 gallons per hour through the sump, and I am using 2 Maxi-Jet 1200 power heads. I am getting good skimmate from my skimmer and am still scraping the aquarium and cleaning the filter sock and sponges almost daily. I have searched your site and the only things I saw close was maybe a biological bloom, but they were for freshwater. What else can I do to fight this? Also, should I be brushing the stringy "slime" off of the live rock? <Well... most all new systems go through definitive "stages" of apparent development/unfolding (evolution if you will)... with some, due to available nutrient, light, other conditions, a dearth of competitors, predators... an earlier start, predominating due to prevailing circumstances... Often these are NOT desirable life forms as here... the question/response really becomes/is, "What to do that's appropriate" to re-set, upset the dynamic/s here to favour the types of life you'd like? You can just skip ahead and introduce some life form/s that can/will supplant the mix of Protozoans/Thallophytes/sponges that the mess you currently have is likely mostly made of... (which is what I'd do), or you can try to change some chemical/physical property/ies to damage the equilibrium present that is favoring them... Or even, the most extreme, poison the system and start again... What other life have you installed? Do you intend to add? I'd like to chat this over, and suggest you go ahead with something that is most likely to survive, overcome the current mix. Bob Fenner>

Pale brown clinging dust in my saltwater tank   10/21/07 I have a 135g saltwater tank that has been up for about 8 years. It was originally a beautiful reef tank before I had an explosion of Aiptasias which dominoed into a total tank wipeout of my corals. <Yikes!> I kept the live rock and fish going but had this brown clinging trash appearing. Frustrated I started over with a fish only with fake coral and some live rock (4 yrs ago) I took the original sand and tried filtering out all this brown dust like waste. To this day I cant get rid of this , I take out all the decor and clean it from time to time but this clinging fuzzy crap keeps coming back. Water changes don't seem to help so I quit trying that. My water parameters check out fine and I use RO as that is how I make a living. I'm looking at starting over with new sand and everything but I don't know if that is a necessary expense. This stuff settles to the bottom when you scrape it off the glass and rocks and clouds the whole tank . It looks so unnatural and doesn't look like diatoms or any other algae i read about. What is this and do you have any ideas on what I should do? Thank you Jason Henderson <I wonder what is "dust" is exactly... Do you have access to a microscope? Do you imagine it is biological, abiological? Algal? I might try a diatomaceous earth filter (likely a LFS about will rent you one) in the short term to try and screen most of it out... But if this is something live, replacing it with more desirable competing and/or predaceous life is the route to go... Again, really need to know "what" it is... Adding a live sump/refugium, with purposeful, lighted macro-algae, a DSB there... will likely be my further suggestion. Bob Fenner> Re: Marine Systems...The Need To Read -- 10/11/07 Hi Eric, <<Hey Mickey!>> Thanks for your valuable advice. <<My pleasure to give, mate>> I will be deploying an external skimmer very soon as I am aware this is a must really. <<A very useful and valuable bit of kit, yes'¦might I suggest you have a look at the offerings from AquaC (http://www.proteinskimmer.com/productsnew.htm)> As for the brown coral sand will this eventually go away? Or do you think it will only be eliminated by using RO water? <<If your tap/mains is the source of the silicate then yes, will require an RO/DI unit>> Once again thank you so much for your help. Micky <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Questions... SW maint.  -- 10/04/07 Hi Mr Fenner, <Kamal> Many thanks for the advice and prompt reply. I have checked my water quality and they read: ammonia at 0.0, nitrite at 0.0, nitrate at 10ppm, Ph at 8.3, gravity at 1.022 (should I drop this to 1.020?). <Mmm, no... I would keep this nearer to seawater strength... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm and the linked files above> I'm hoping that my water conditions aren't the reason for the problems with the raccoon and flame. <Are at least a contributing influence> I have removed the raccoon from the main tank into my quarantine tank as advised. <Good> Yes I will be investing in a larger tank soon when my LFS has a sale on next month. <Good> About my filtration, if I wasn't upgrading to a larger system what kind of filtration would you recommend? A sump? <Mmm, yes... and for you to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.hthttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm> Final question: I have noticed these white things attached randomly all over my tank, what are they? <Could be a myriad of things... A photo might help> I tried taking them off with my magnetic algae remover - and I found it to be a challenge to do so. Thank you my friend. <Keep reading Kamal, you'll do fine. BobF>

Some questions... w/o looking first, reading  10/3/07 Hello All!! Quick run down I am still battling the blue green yuck after the heater disaster it is receding though!! Yay me! I was looking at the tank and thinking I want to take the crushed coral out. There is 15 lbs of it in there mixed in with the Arag Alive (60lbs) I think I need the buffering but the sand fell right through it and to top it off now I have the cyano I am assuming from detritus. I also wanted to add a few critters down the road and wondered if that particular substrate would pose a problem for them. The tank is 55 gallons. current occupants 5 Astraea snails, 3 blue green Chromis, a camel back shrimp, and a chocolate chip starfish. I really need something to help turn the substrate over. I am open to suggestions however let me list my wish list first and see if maybe you have a compatible recommendation. Percula clown Royal Gramma Blue Hippo Tang Lettuce Nudibranch- <... none of these> I haven't been able to find much on compatibility of them <Posted on WWM.> And I really want a sand dollar. <Not here> Haven't been able to find much on them either. <Keep reading> I also love the coral beauty but realise I probably wont have room for it. would all of the above minus the coral beauty be overstocked? <...> So I was wondering #1 can you mix star fish? <Posted...> I considered a sand sifting star or 2 but didn't want anything that might bother the chip. Also will I need to remove the crushed coral? And how? I considered sifting it out but am leery of doing anything that might bother my little critters in the sand. Should I simply add some sugar fine sand until I cover the coral? Seems to me that would just trap all sorts of junk in there but obviously I am not am expert so thought I would ask. Another consideration, I was thinking of adding some maiden hairs to the tank. Also what about sea lettuce? I really love how it looks and seems so beneficial. Also one more thing. In which order should I add these things to make it a smooth transition for everyone? I should also point out that there are no corals in the tank only about 30 lbs). I would like to add more of that also and yes I realise it will be a full year with all that QT'ing) before I will have all that stuff in it. Patience is a virtue right??? Thanks again to you all! You have helped more than I can even tell you!! Melissa <Have just skipped down. Learn to/use the search tool, indices... BobF>

Oil on top of water maybe from yellow head jawfish?? Iodine article almost complete. 9/13/07 Bob and or crew. <James> Sorry for the delay on the iodine article. I have had a summer of tank issues as had my associate (mostly temperature fluctuations but also the following question). I have lost some frogspawn colonies and his corals have seen better days with a dramatic temperature shock when the heater burned out attempting to maintain tank temp on a cold night with a fan left on from the hot day. <Yes> Before going away I prepared some frozen food for my mother-in-law to feed the fish. I used the usual thaw and decant the pack liquid method and thought I did a reasonably good job of removing the excess pack juice and oils. Upon return there was a layer of oil on surface of the 24 gallon tank (the 75 gallon tank cleared up much easier). I first blamed the food as one brand of frozen matched the general consistency and odor/color. This was discarded. It has been two plus months and the problem continues to persist. Despite skimming the oil off with a plastic container and letting the top layer drain into the cup the oil continues to return. I parted ways with the Condylactis anemone (to reduce tank load) and have increased the frequency of small water changes. Temperature fluctuations have been a big issue all summer with inconsistent air flow and 5 degree F temperature swings sometimes occurring despite my best efforts and abilities to keep the upstairs air conditioned or windows open when conditions allow. Could the oil on the top of the water be from the jawfish (stress response perhaps)? <Mmm, no... Could be from another endogenous source but much more likely from an exogenous... Simple cooking oil use, aerosol in closely contained indoor environments very often entail such coatings... Can be an important impediment to gas exchange... I'd keep wicking off with plain, white, non-odorized paper towels...> Bob, please send me an email with some contact information to send the iodine article. <Oh! Can send along here as an attachment or my personal addr.: fennerrobert@hotmail.com> Writing it has been a struggle to keep it both an easy read yet stay true to the science behind the halogen family. <Ahh!> My associate has done the testing and is less than impressed with the test kits thus far. <Heee!> One of his former occupations was water testing in an environmental lab. Again, sorry for the delay. Thank you. James Zimmer <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Cleaning Magnets...Which Ones Are Safe To Leave In The Tank? -- 08/03/07 I have been looking into magnetic cleaners for cleaning everyday tank build up. <<Wonderful devices>> Of course I checked with/through your wonderful web pages first. <<And...?>> A little concern. <<Oh?>> You mentioned in one of the FAQ's that there are some magnets that shouldn't be taken out. ". . .Most aquarium magnets are safe for leaving in a system... but not all. I would pull these out when not in use... Please have your brother contact us re water chemistry checking, use of Polyfilter... as moves to correct the situation. Bob Fenner>" I have felt to use it every day or at least every other, it would be more convenient to leave it in. <<Indeed, and there are some brands that are very safe/designed for such use...is what I use. Please take a look at the 'Algae Free' and 'Magnavore' brands. I have a pair of Algae Free Tiger Shark Float magnets that have been in my tank for 'years'>> Somewhere else it was mentioned that not all magnets are made out of steel. <<Tis true>> So steel magnets are not good right? Or wrong? <<Steel magnets can be fine as long as they are 'sealed' from exposure to the water. Keep in mind that virtually all 'submersible' pumps contain metals>> Can you please tell me what to look for as far as what they are made of, or maybe even brands that you know of that are good or which are hazardous to the corals? <<Any of the cleaning magnets from the two brands mentioned will serve well. They are a little pricier than most others, but... There are other brands that are/can be safe as well, but these two brands are the best in all aspects, in my opinion>> Thank you as always for your never ending help. Trisha <<Always a pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Help! My tank looks like a plantation! 8/1/07 Hi y'all :) <Hello there> After a 30% water change due to a faulty Ph probe and associated calcium depletion, things in the tank are back on track <?... previous corr.?> and the livestock and coral are all fine. And except for this one teensy problem, I'd say tragedy averted. But there is, for the lack of a better term, cotton growing on the bottom of the tank. I added another 2" of Aragonite and this is on top of it. It just started yesterday. July was a bad month for me, but it's after midnight here so I'm crossing my fingers this is common, harmless and removable. Thanks so much for your help. Lisa <... Is likely an opportunistic algae et al. population growth... taking advantage of the new substrate, lack of competition... If all else is balanced... enough competitors, nutrient export... all should be fine. Please peruse: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Bob Fenner>

Help my reef tank! Alg. cont.  -- 07/30/07 Hi. I have had brown slime algae in my reef tank for a while now. I bought red & green algae. Now I have brown slime algae & hair algae. Can you please help me??? <Shore. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Stable water temperature? SW speculations on a return from HI snorkeling...  6/21/07 Aloha Mr. Fenner! <Howdy!> I just got back from the Big Island and Kauai, where I spent ten days snorkeling to my heart's content. <Bet you have a nice tan!> I want to ask you a question that's been on my mind for some time. I have read, over and over again, on this site and in your book how important it is to keep the water in one's aquarium at a stable temperature, and that stability is more important than achieving a specific temp. <Mmm, yes> The reason given is that the enormous ocean environment provides a stable temperature, which our livestock is inherently accustomed to. <Agreed> So, on to my question: I have noticed in years past, and again on my recent trip, that when I snorkel, I encounter patches of colder water, and then patches of warmer water, in the same general area, while I'm observing species that I have in my tank at home. What do you think? <You are certainly correct... Particularly on the Big Island, there are zones where much cooler freshwater is intruding from "Pukas" and cracks in the rock... having traveled from higher elevations... this presents a difference in osmotic pressure and density as well as a varying thermal regime... Yet the life there appears healthy to me> Are these temp differences I notice more subtle than I realize? <I believe so... Maybe one way of putting this situation in perspective is to realize that the motile animals (do note the difference in species make-up and abundance in these areas in the way of not-so motile and attached biota) do move in/out of such zones (near the land, surface)... and that they are in good shape to begin with... and I'd speculate that the mixing in these areas is to their advantage in avoiding predation...> I have been very curious about this, as I do struggle to keep a stable temp in my tank in my south florida home, especially in winter months. By the way, I was struck by the incredibly strong currents in the ocean! <Heeeee! More than Tunze and Hydor powerheads?!> I have four power heads in my 130 gallon, and I fear they are woefully inadequate! <Ah, yes... a useful lesson> I appreciate whatever comments you have to make, and continue to enjoy and learn from this site, so thanks! Elise <Thank you for sharing... I do think "constancy" is an important aspect of our successfully maintaining a small part of a captive sea... but it is only one area of concern/influence. Cheers and a hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>

How To Clean Sand & Rock w/o Clean Up Crew 6/20/07 We have a 72-gallon tank w/about 60lbs of rock. We just got our first fish, a sunset wrasse (about 4 inches). It's totally cool! My understanding is he'll eat crabs and probably snails. <Possible> Assuming that's true, how do I keep my rock clean of algae? As always THANKS!!!! <Same way you would with snails and crabs, water changes and limiting nutrients. Scavengers are over-rated in the control of nuisance algae since they don't actually remove any of the nutrients that are fuelling them. They help but ultimately controlling algae is done by the tank owner.> <Chris>

Water change bio-filter & Ca/alk question   5/14/07 Hey guys- <Wes>     First off, as always, thanks.  I do believe I have read all the relevant FAQs, but I could be wrong, there's a lot on your site!  :-)   <Oh yes... and much more to go> Couple of quick questions (hopefully).  For my SW tanks, I use tap water (gasp!) mixed in a Rubbermaid container.  I am in the habit of doing 10% changes once or twice or weekly (40 reef, 50 FOWLR).  I have been immediately replacing the water taken with tap water (gasp!) adding a few drops (aprox 2mL) of AmQuel +(will switch to regular am-quel next time around), and then slowly adding in salt.  The water is constantly being aerated and there's a powerhead mixing up the solution.  The water usually is heated and stays around 75-80 degrees.  I'm a relative newby, but this seems to be working well and allows me to do frequent small changes.  My question is if the container constantly has SW in it, has a biological filter developed? <Mmm, maybe a bit> My tap water does have trace amounts of ammonia from the faucet, but it is undetectable in the Rubbermaid after AmQuel and storage (even overnight).  Is this because of dilution, bio-filtration, or the am-quel? <Or out-gassing likely> Would it be a good idea to put any amount of substrate in there for bio-filtration to build up, or would the widely varying chemicals and salinity wreak any chances of life? <I would not change your protocol> Getting rid of extra chemical additions would be nice.     Next, I have been dosing Kalk overnight to maintain pH and keep my calcium and alkalinity up (in the reef only).  I have no troubles keeping calcium at 400-440, but the alkalinity has suffered. <As it will with sole Kalk use...>   When I started the tank, it was around 130ppm, now it's staying around 90.  I was wondering if there is something askew because I use tap water to make the Kalk, or if calcium might be elevating and precipitating out the alkalinity <Bingo> though I have seen no snowstorms and no precipitation is noticeable on my powerheads or the like.  I was wondering if it would be a good idea to drip a pH raising alk supplement (SeaChem reef buffer) nightly while monitoring until the levels fall more into balance and then switching back to Kalk. <Yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above> Wes ps--  I have to mention that every time I email you guys I have to resist asking a million more questions than the ones I planned.  Time for more reading!  hazah for WWM!  HAZAH! <Heeeee! "Hey, I didn't get a huzzah out of that guy in the corner... Watch your sphincter!" (Mel Brooks', Blazing Saddles). BobF> Sandstorm In Tank/Lack Of Info 4/4/07 Hello there fish Gods, <No gods here.> I have a 135 gallon salt water tank that is aprox 2 years old. 50 lbs LR, aragonite bottom,  Porc Puffer, Fox Face and a Coris Wrasse. The Porc and Foxface (Kai and Krueger) are inseparable, they even sleep together in the same cave. the Fox Face presses himself against the puffer and camouflages himself to look like him (so cute!). I have a few snails, can't tell you how many as they do become midnight snacks for Kai the puffer. My problem is the amount of "dust" in the tank. I realize something is really munching my rock but I need to get rid of it. The tank, rock, hardware, coralline, heater is COVERED in dust.  I did see a looooong white ugly wormy thing about 3 inches long with a million legs about a month ago, <What was the actual leg count?:)> may be him?  There is the occasional clicking sound at night but have not seen any signs of a Mantis. <Could be a Pistol Shrimp.> If I do manage to get rid of the menace, any ideas on how I can get rid of the dusty film? <Shirley, I would like to more on your maintenance practices such as water changes, vacuuming of sand bed, etc.  I can then assist you better.  James (Salty Dog)>

A Couple Problems... Algae ID/control, crustacean external fish parasite... Reading  2/18/07 Hey WWM Crew I have just a couple of questions that involve a couple problems that are currently going on in my tank. <Okay> For one, I believe what I have growing on my aquarium glass and gravel is brown diatom algae. From the look of the pictures, I really think that is what I have. <Very common... and not a worry> Almost positive. Now, my tank has cycled a month ago, and I really only  barely noticed it on the gravel. Now, it is starting to really spread. It is not  serious, but sure will be unless I start cleaning it. It is mainly on the front  cover of the aquarium glass, and is slowly spreading across the front end of the tank. <Almost always "cycles out" on its own in time...> I wasn't sure how to get rid of it, I figured if I scrubbed it off, it  would spread, if I wiped it, it wouldn't easily come off, and if I used a  syphon, it wouldn't get any off. <Mmm... not Diatoms...> I am looking on how to get rid of this stuff. I  have about 6 snails, including 2 Margarite, 2 astrea, and 2 Turbos, along with 3  red leg hermits, 4 blue leg hermits, and 3 Nassarius snails. I have seen all of  the snails munching on it, but I don't feel as if these little guys can do such  a big job. Any suggestions or tips? <Yep... Read... re algal ID, Control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down...> Second, I noticed a small organism hanging on my fish a few times. It was on my clown goby 1 in the center of the body, and another on the tail. It fell off,  and jumped right back on. <A crustacean... was it summat like a "Pill bug?"... An isopod then...> My goby has not had many signs of distress though, but  not sure what it did. Now it has hopped onto my Flame Angel,  sitting on the back fin just hanging on there. I am not sure whether to put  them into the Hospital tank or not, because I don't know what to treat them  with. <See WWM re Isopods... I'd physically remove it/this...> There is only 1 that I know off, and have not seen any crawling in the  tank or more than one on the fish. <Mmm... if/when you read you'll understand a bit re these organisms life histories...> I know it would be hard to identify w/o a  picture, but it is very difficult for me to get a good picture with the type of  camera i have, and the way my fish move. All I know is that it has black beady  eyes, and you can see inside of it. It looks almost like a fish fry. The  Flame Angel is not acting funny atm, but looking for quick advice. <Search, read> Third, there was the strangest looking thing hanging on my live rock. I had no idea what it was, but I sent a picture to fish geeks forums and nobody really said much. Now it has fallen off and I cannot find it anywhere in the tank. I figured that it broke apart, or the hitchhiker crab I have took it, since   every piece of food I drop in the tank he snatches, so he doesn't bother anyone,  and he hasn't yet. Unfortunately I cannot find my picture, and when you respond I  will easily send a picture back so you can identify what it was. I was  afraid it was an egg or some sort, or maybe even has to do with the parasite on  my fish. <Not likely... but can only guess... vague descriptions yield vague speculation...> If you can answer any of these it would be greatly appreciated, but I am   confident you guys can help me out, you have before. From A Happy Hobbyist Joe <Read on Joe, read on. Bob Fenner>

Fungus/algae help needed. SW   2/13/07 Hello, <Hi there Greg> I have a 480 gallon swim only <?> with live rock saltwater tank.  I have looked all over the net to find out what is wrong with my tank.  There is an almost translucent jelly like fungus/algae growing in my tank on the live rock and covering the sand bed. <Ahh... a mix of organisms... decomposers and algae most likely> The tank has been up and running for around 6 months now so I am sure it is cycled but can not for the life of me figure it out. It looks almost clear, a bit milky maybe.  Feels like a gelatin.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Would be neat to look through a microscope or two... Is likely "natural" decomposition product/resultant... You can "speed up" its unfolding to other life forms... by increasing aeration/circulation... filtration... You do have a good skimmer I hope/trust... what do your water quality tests tell you? Have you read on WWM re? I would. Bob Fenner> Re: fungus/algae help needed. SW maint.  Just needs to search, read...  2/14/07 I have 2 giant octo <? Not familiar...> skimmers in sump on the system, all parameters are great. <Subjective evaluations are of no use... numbers, values please> I cannot seem to keep any snails or inverts alive in the tank but the fish are healthy. <... something amiss with the environment...>   I thought maybe some ammonia or nitrate or even phosphate problem but they all test at 0.  Perhaps a small electrical current getting into the tank? <Please... follow instructions instead of writing us... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snaildisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Algae ID Question 2/1/07 Hello, <Hello Jason> About 3 days ago, I noticed one piece of live rock in my aquarium had a opaque white coating algae I suppose) spreading over a portion of it, the portion has been spreading very slowly (still about the same size). <May not be algae at all, possibly coralline growth.  A pic would help.> Also, my maroon and gold clown fish has some similar "stuff" on his underside and the edges of his fins are a little bit tattered.  I have been dosing SeaChem Stress Guard to see if it would help, but it hasn't shown any sign of doing so.  Also, I am not sure if it would have made all of this occur, but I was in the process of transitioning from tap water to distilled. More or less when this began, and it all kind of popped up overnight. <Don't think so.  Is your newly mixed seawater clear when you change water?> Also, the clown shows his normal activity level, still interacting normally with the purple tip sebae.  Any advice you could give me would be highly appreciated.  Also, my Nitrates had been let get out of hand were ~160ppm, <Howsie wowsie!  I hope this reading is total nitrogen and not NH+4> they are no down to ~60-80ppm after 1 water change with distilled water and daily top off (I use SeaChem Reef Trace, on a side note, what size dose should I use for 1 gallon of water? Bottle says 5mL per 20 gallons twice week, I top off daily very close to 3/4 gallon I also buffer pH, Alk, and Ca). <You should treat the entire tank, not the top off water.> <<RMF would NOT do this... better to make such changes, as always, through gradually changing water through change outs>> Please tell me what I am doing wrong, as I have another water change planned, <Planned?  I suggest on a regular basis 10% at least every two weeks.> and if there was something I was doing wrong, my guess would be with the water. <My guess is not enough maintenance/water changes.> I doubt it matters but I use Reef Crystals as my salt, and have a recently (about 2 weeks, maybe 3) set up sump-refugium with Chaeto and miracle mud. <This will help much in lowering the nitrates.> I also run a mechanical filter with a polypad, super activated carbon, and Purigen. <Overkill, stick with one product.  I'm a fan of Chemi-Pure.> And of course, a skimmer (CPR hang on). <You didn't mention the size of your tank.  The CPR may not be enough skimmer if you have a large tank.> Sorry for the long rambling message. Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jason

Clear Slime in New Tank 10/24/06 Hello, <Howdy> I have been reading the postings on your site a lot lately and I really have found a lot of useful information.  Thank-You. <Welcome> For my current concern I have seen a few items that appeared at first to be close but nothing that really matches what I am seeing. I have an AGA 92 gallon Corner pre-drilled with a MegaFlow Model 3 sump filter and a mag-drive 9.5 pump, Coralife Super Skimmer 220, 40 watts of 8000K light over the sump (at night), a 96 watt 36 inch and 65 watt 24 inch light(s) elevated 4 inches above the tank (during the day)  {one hour of overlap in the morning and at night}. This tank has only been setup for 3 days.  80 lbs of dead sand and 20 lbs of live sand, <Mmm, would have held off on the LS for a few weeks> 30 lbs of dead rock and 10 lbs of live rock (cured at the LFS - no visible coral and no visible live stock) in the tank.  Few small pieces of live rock in the sump (probably less the 1/2 lb. I plan to add purchased algae once the tank is more established. <Good> Live rock and live sand added about four hours after the tank was setup (temp 78 and salinity 1.021). <Mmmmm further... would have waited on the LR as well... and would raise your spg to 1.025.> Depending on which advise <advice> you take I could have been early or right on time but I have four damsels in the tank (after setup for 36 hours so they have been there for about 36 hours). <.... more Mmmms and waiting> Water parameters have been as follows, which I wouldn't think are too surprising for a new tank. After one day: Ammonia  1.0 Nitrite  .25 Nitrate 0 PH 8.2 Salinity 1.021 Temp 78 After two days: Ammonia .5 (+) Nitrite 0 (+) Salinity 1.021 Temp 80 After two and a half days:  (I recorded this test as I thought the second reading seemed strange this early and because of my main concern below.) Ammonia 1.0 Nitrite .25 Salinity 1.021 Temp 82 (This is what prompted me to move my lights to four inches above the tank.) I am still trying to get my temp to settle at about 78 but this morning it is at 82 (obviously too high but that is part of why we wait a while to put any valuable fish in the tank). <... do research before buying... patience...> I have moved the lights from right on top the glass to four inches above, completely shut the heater off, and left the glass cover-door open My room is about 68 degrees.  The 9.5 pump is suppose to use 93 watts and the skimmer's pump about 32 watts (if I read correctly). <Mmmm, not all converted to "waste" heat...> I didn't think that I would have heat problems with almost 115 gallons of total water volume, but I guess I am still learning. <You're in good company here> This morning I noticed a fair amount (two patches totaling about 8 to 10 square inches) of clear slime (about 1/4 of an inch thick) on the under side of my dead rock (live rock is setting on top of this dead rock).  Before I even researched my reaction (I still don't know if it was right or wrong) was to remove this slime (it felt much like a jelly fish but this was obviously not what it was - just trying to be descriptive).  Now I am wondering what this might have been and if it is anything to be concerned about? <Mmm, nope... likely bacterial, fungal mix... no need to react> The four fish seem to be doing fine.  (Again, they are just there to cycle the tank.) <And possibly infest it with parasites...> No algae (that is noticeable) growing anywhere (nor would I expect it yet). <A few more days, couple weeks...> I have read about some corals releasing a clear slime if they are stressed but I don't have any corals and this slime was on the bottom of the dead rock. (But, not the part that is actually touching the sand.) I have read about some speculation that there my be a clear slime algae but it seems too early for really any algae. The fish do not have any noticeable slime on them. Could this be a build up of some kind of bacteria this fast and with the water pattern seen above? <Yep> In the past 12 years I have cycle one other large saltwater tank and one large freshwater tank and I don't recall having ever seen a substance such as this growing in either of those tanks (ever).  But, they were both without sumps and were setup with under gravel filters, which were still very popular at the time.  And, neither of them had any live or dead rock, which of course the freshwater wouldn't have had. Again, I would really like to thank-you for any help you might be able to provide and for you site in general. James Wilson Louisville, KY <No need to do anything other than be calm, careful re feeding at present. Bob Fenner> Fish Not Growing 9/23/06 Hi, <Hello Krystal> I have had a 120 gal SW tank for a little over a year now.  I am currently running a wet/dry filter system with a 1200 gal/hr main pump, a Euro Reef RS100 skimmer, a Arctica chiller and a 10 gal refugium that I built myself.  I have a female Watanabei angel, a Halfback Mimic Tang, a pair of Percula Clowns, and an Orange peel Dottyback.  All have been in the tank for over a year except the angel who was introduced in December of 2005.  My question is, that none of my fish have grown at all.  I do weekly 15% water changes with RO water and my parameters are good. 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 0 ppm nitrate, ph around 8.2, and KH between 8-10.  The fish are fed at least once a day, most of the time more and a little algae in the tank to munch on in the mean time.  I was wondering if you could shed some light on why they are the same size as the day I bought them. <I'm sure they are growing, you just do not notice growth on a day to day basis.  I suffer from the same syndrome.  Friends of mine that haven't been over in a month or so, will often say, "Boy that False Lemonpeel has sure gotten big."  And to me, it seems he hasn't grown at all.  Feeding good quality frozen foods and adding a vitamin supplement such as Selcon's, will help speed up the growth process.  James (Salty Dog)> Of Cats and Fish 8/23/06 Hey Guys <Hi> I have 4 cats and as anyone that has had cats knows that cat hair is everywhere and as it seems also to be in my fish tank! <Yep, I've even found whole cats in mine before, that did not go well.> Now I mean it is not a lot but enough to notice and I mean it is everywhere! <Not sure I understand, a few strands here and there are no big deal, if you have hair balls in your tank, that is a problem.>  I make sure to keep the water that I am adding to the tank during water changes up high or away from the cats but when I go to put it there is a layer of cat hair on the top of the water! (ITS IN THE DAMN AIR lol) <Need to get the container covered, preferably with a loose fitting top so there is still O2 exchange.> But I was wondering can this cat hair be harmful to my fish(10 gallon, 3 bronze Corys, 2 skirt tetras)? <Can be, is biological material and does add to the bioload/nitrogen cycle of the tank.> I mean I think it won't and after a while it ether gets sucked through the filter or settles to the bottom, but still I would just like to make sure!! THANKS P.S. ......is my tank overstocked......(I am new to this) <It all depends on how much is in there. Keeping it all out is impossible, but limiting the amount is important.  Also, hair can be tough on equipment, jamming up the pumps and shortening the equipment's lifespan.  Best to cover everything as much as possible.> <Your stocking level seems fine, but I would not add any more fish.  Also, in future correspondence please spell check your message before sending, it takes too much time to correct before posting.> <Chris>

Cyanobacteria/Control  - 08/15/06 Hi crew, <Hello Mohamed> I have a problem with brown slime algae. My nutrients are low. Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Phosphate 0.05 DI water used only for top off. TDS reading 2. Magnesium 1190, busy getting it higher Calcium 440 KH 7 Temperature from 26 to 27,5 degrees in a day. I do get a bit of sunlight on the tank. What are the possible cause and solutions, please? <Read here and above links.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Mohamed.

Maintenance/Stocking  - 07/30/06 I was wondering if you could give me some feed back regarding my current saltwater set up/maintenance routine.  I think I've got it set up pretty well thanks to all of your advise and, I have done  some changes in the stocking to align with your recommendations.  Here is what I have.  55 Gallon tank with canister filter that has a gph of 200. Every Sunday I do a 10% water change with Catalina Water <What is Catalina water?> <<Is a natural seawater supply company located in California RMF>> and clean the filter. During the weekly cleaning, I change 1 of the 3 different medias in the canister (Sponge, Floss, Carbon). I have three power heads that turn 175 Gallons each one on both sides facing each other cutting the surface of the water and one in the middle cutting the service of the water as well.  I have a Prizm Skimmer that I clean weekly and spend about an hour adjusting after each time I empty the collection cup ( I will be getting an Aqua C Remora when Funds allow). <Will be a worthy improvement> During the weekly change I add Iodine and buffer. There is about 50lbs of rock and several fake corals etc.  The water is testing zero for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The temp is 78.5 and the sg is 1.023. The current critters are as follows: 3 Chromis,2 Tank raised Perc. Clown, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Six Lined Wrasse, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp and various snails and hermits.  The lights are timed to go on from 9-9 I feed Spirulina flakes in the morning at 7:00 with just the room lighting on, I also add 3 Clips of Seaweed Salad <Going overboard here with three clips, one is plenty.> throughout the tank that are removed at 4:30 Pm. At 4:30 its frozen time and I rotate between Brine Shrimp, Formula 2, and Emerald Entree.   <Watch the amounts you feed, feed only what they will eat.  Start with small amounts and only add more if the eating frenzy is there.> At 8:00 I feed Spirulina flakes again and some Marine Gro or Ora Glo ( Royal Gramma's Favorite).  Because of the CBS I have decided not to get Cleaner Shrimp and was wondering if I could add a Cleaner Goby or 2?  I also want 1 Banggai Cardinal but am not sure if this would be pushing my luck. <You are close to your limit now.  Let well enough alone, give the tank time to season would not add any more fish.>  I have done a lot of work and still due to have this awesome tank and would not do anything to hurt my current fish.  Thank you so much for the feed back and please let me know about the Goby/Cardinal and if you would change anything with the set up/feeding/maintenance. <Read here and related links on maintenance.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm Thank you so much for all of the help you give and the money you save. <I don't save any money, broke, but thank you the same.  James (Salty Dog)>

Many Thanks from a SW beginner !   7/24/06 No questions here just typing a quick thanks to the crew. I've learned more in a couple of weeks of reading WWM posts than I have in all of my previous trips to the LFS. I have not had any issues escalate to problems with my 29g marine tank since finding this site   Future plans include turning the 29 into a sump for the (for now) stand-less and lightless 55 along with the purchase of a few more inverts (shrimps , clams and hopefully corals) . I love the site !! Keep up the good work. <<Well thanks, I like it too :).>> Tank setup (for cut & paste purposes later on) Hardware: dbl bulb N/O fluorescent w/ 1 50/50 and 1 actinic bulb, 35 lbs of LR, plenum, 2" of coarse aragonite, 3 " of Seaflor reef sand, SeaClone 100 skimmer, & HOT Magnum filter. <<You should really look to upgrade your SeaClown' skimmer.>> Livestock: Black Clown, Orange Clown (My reading suggests true perc, no behavioral problems thus far), scooter blenny, 4 bumble bee gobies (drip acclimated over 3 days to 1.021) ,6 - 8 red legged plus 1 scarlet hermit crab, peppermint shrimp, a dozen assorted snails ( my next bit of reading will involve gastropod identification) manageable amounts of nuisance algae and roughly 35-40% LR coverage of various coralline algae types. <<Are you culturing 'pods for your dragonet?>> Supplementation: regular applications of SeaChem pH 8.3 marine buffer, reef complete, reef builder, reef advantage calcium. Weekly 15% water changes and trips to LFS for the use of their free water testing . <<You should invest in your own kits.  Why all the buffer?>> Feeding: 1 to 2g /day of enriched froze brine shrimp. <<Brine shrimp, especially frozen, is junk nutritionally.  I'm glad you love the site.  Keep coming! Lisa.>>>> CA: how much is too much article    7/20/06 Bob or whoever <Howdy> Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the recent article "putting on the brakes how much is too much". Gee the pendulum is swinging back? <In constant motion... sometimes a bit more oscillation than others> When I first started back in 76 I had many many problems until I read Robert Gasser's 1979   article "some old (or are they new) thoughts on aquarium keeping" FAMA (or something like that LOL) basically Leiden aquarium techniques. Tried it it  worked and I never looked back. <Ah, yes> I went through a similar process in 2002 when starting my current 55g mixed reef. Finally (again) settled down on much the same techniques yet am constantly  flamed and told how wrong I am. <Heeee! A thick skin can help... a prudent mind even more> Yet we have a local here who has a giant clam and SPS corals in a 75g with  3 4' 2 tube shop lights. <Can be done> I have had fish, soft corals in my 55g for over three years using  4 2 tube shop lights, silica play sand, silica and lava landscape rocks, an in  tank refugium, filtering the water with 5x water flow through crushed oyster shells, tap water, no water changes, no heater or chiller (the tank is in an air   conditioned room), no skimmer or any filtering other than the oyster shells and plant life (macros and coralline). Fish include a yellow and blue regal tangs, two clowns, purple Pseudochromis, Banggai cardinal, yellow watchman goby, and coral catfish.  Clowns are 2",tangs , cardinal and purple Pseudochromis 4", coral catfish is  6-7" According to various message board you would get the impression I am doing   many things "wrong". Yet things are thriving. I attribute that to the in tank refugia with heavy macro algaes. For instance, my tap water is reported to have  30ppm phosphates <Yeeikes! Dangerous to drink> and I have measured it at 5ppm the max of the test kit. Yet nitrates and phosphates are immeasurable with the aquarium pHarm**** test kits. <No wonder Al, Joel and co. sold! Those lucky pugs!> Calcium basically stays at 400ppm and alk at 6 dKH. I do buffer the  alk up to 9dkh with baking soda. And, if I get carried away with the baking soda,   I do have to bump calcium back up with calcium chloride. <Good> Mag is in the 1200ppm  range with no buffering. Over the past 4 years I have noticed that macros in refugium have made a come back with less emphasis on DSBs. But then that does not surprise me.   I went through a similar experience back in 79. <Me too> Glad to see an article like the one you posted. I feel newbies would have much better with Fw and marine aquariums if more such articles were available. <Agreed> IMHO simply balancing out the aquarium with plant life right from the start is the key to success. Everything else is secondary to that basic  fact. Bob Beasley. <Thank you for proffering your input. Bob Fenner>

Re: CA: how much is too much article  07/21/06 Bob (or whoever) <Bob> Would help if I got the email address right. LOL Bob Bob (or whoever) Thanks for the reply and excellent as usual. Would not bother ya again but my ignorance makes me ask: reference: "and I have measured it at 5ppm the max of the test kit. Yet nitrates and phosphates are immeasurable with the aquarium pHarm**** test kits. <No wonder Al and co. sold! Those lucky pugs!>" I am confused?  Inside joke?  Who is Al and Co (aquarium pHarm****) <Al Abrevaya and partner Joel were the old owners/friends of AP...> Or did you mean their test kits should have measured something.   Woops I meant unmeasurable not immesurable. Gee that is a big difference. LOL. Bob   <I understood you to mean the former. Cheers! BobF> Algae & copepods, mar. maint.   7/16/06 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> How are you? Hope everything is fine there. I have a slight problem in my tank at the moment. Everything went smooth for about 3 - 4 months now but suddenly my algae on the back and side walls of my tank disappeared due to no particular reason and there is a huge growth of copepods population in my tank. I see my Butterflies and my tang eating them now but there is a lot of growth. My green and brown algae have disappeared from walls which I never clean. I only clean my front glass and also my skimmer doesn't pick anything up lately. It's working fine but the collection of dirty water is almost nothing. This whole thing was a gradual but quick process. I recently checked my water parameters my ammonia is undetectable and nitrite also is undetectable but I didn't check for nitrate as my kit is expired and also my pH seems to be higher <Numbers please... not subjective commentary> as I use 4 teaspoons of Sodium Bicarbonate every other week to maintain my pH but because of the higher pH value <Won't raise beyond about 7.8...> I stopped doing this for just about a week now. But I do a 25% percent water change every month and my fish seems to be doing alright and they eat fine. My tank is an 80G tank with a lot of live rock, one 4' Klunzinger's Wrasse, <A neat species> one 3.5' Bannerfish, one 3' Auriga Butterfly and one 3.5', Hippo blue tang.  I am worried about this situation. Do you think it's because of the higher pH value my Algae died? <Possibly related> Or is there any other reason for this algae death, copepods population growth and the change in my skimmer's collectables? Please help me. Thanks, best regards, <Mmm, in a word "succession"... changes in chemical make-up, availability of some/less nutrients, population growth of predators, competitors... not necessarily a problem... Such changes/succession are a universal characteristic of captive systems. Bob Fenner> Rachel Becoming a discouraged fishtank owner... New type of hobbyist? Further introspections into the nature of the truth... scarce can I name salvation but fearful thunder echoes in mine ears  7/10/06 Hello Crew, <Christy> It seems like I read and read and read all day long about marine tanks, but still I fail. Everyone gives me such different advice. I just don't know what to do anymore. <... Mmmm, study... from the general to specifics... determine what are facts from "opinions, advice" (a difference modern media are rapidly losing)... Understanding the science, underlying principles will enable you to go forward with clarity, confidence> I've had my 25 gallon saltwater tank for about 4 months now. Its a marineland eclipse <Proper nouns...> with 36watts of actinic lighting. <A small system... mis-lighted. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm> 30 lbs of liverock. About 1.5 inches of sand. For the first 4 months, with all of my reading, I did not know that you're supposed to pre-mix the water 48 hours in advance. For the past two weeks I've been premixing the water now. I do water changes once a week, syphoning the sand very well. Last week I tested the water and the ammonia was about 0.25mg/l nitrite 0 and nitrate 20. I'm now switching to 10% water changes twice a week. I feed the fish once a day, alternating between brine shrimp and bloodworms, <... what are you feeding here. What livestock?> soaked in garlic elixir supplement. <Just like in the wild...> I also did not understand until recently the importance of keeping the Ph at 8.3, it had been 8.0 up until a week ago. I'm now adding a buffer more regularly, <Mmm... 8.0 is not a problem... how you may be adding the buffer is> and checking the Ph everyday. After cycling, my first fish, a royal Gramma, he died of starvation. <Not surprising, given the food items listed...> I then purchased a black and gold damsel and two blue green Chromises. I was told they would get along, but they did not. Both Chromises died after about a month. About three weeks ago I purchased a cleaner shrimp who is doing great! He has shed three times <Too much stress...> already, and has gotten huge. I gave away the damsel because he was too aggressive. I then bought a few purple mushrooms which seem to be doing well. I then brought home a pair of Percula clowns. The female did not do well from the start, and died about a week later, from I believe Brooklynellosis. Now the male clown doesn't seem so well. He acts healthy and eats a ton.. but he has weird marks on him, looking similar to how his dead wife looked in the beginning. Sorry for the load of information, but I just don't know where to go from here. <Mmm, "back to square one"... You could really use a "guru", unless you're quite given to learning through reading...> I want a colorful tank and to eventually upgrade my lighting and be able to have hard and soft corals. <Mmm, your tank is too small...> I would like a small orange Linckia seastar, <Way too small for this> a green clown goby, and a small hippo tang. <And this> I don't know where to start. Should I keep adding invertebrates like more mushrooms and feather dusters? Or should I just stick with trying to keep a fish even though they all keep dying? What colorful reef safe fish do you recommend in a 25 gallon that will be hardy? <... Get thee to a local marine hobby club... join, visit with other hobbyists, go on "tank tours" visiting their homes... read one or three good, complete marine aquarium books. Your haphazard, "listening to everyone" approach, buying things and tossing them in will not work. Immerse yourself in a systematic manner here, or go on to another interest. Really. Bob Fenner>

Mar. maint. mostly... few questions    7/1/06 Bob - I read your book and found it to be very helpful in getting me started in the right direction.  I have also spent many hours on the website and find it very valuable.  You and the crew at wetwebmedia are providing a wonderful service and it is greatly appreciated.  I am new to saltwater tanks and have a couple of questions for you regarding my new set-up.  I have a 90g tank with one overflow, <Two would be better... am sure we agree> 180lbs of live rock, & DSB of aragonite.  I installed 4 x 96W PC lights (two 96 watt Dual Daylight 6,700k/10,000k and two 96 watt Dual Actinic 420nm/460nm.  I have a 30 gallon sump with an Aqua C EV180 skimmer, and  a 500gph mag-drive return pump.  3 MaxiJet 600 powerheads are in the main tank.  I intend to stock the tank with a couple of  fish (clown pair, hippo tang), 2 cleaner shrimp, snails, and hermit crabs. In addition, I hope to keep some LPS corals, mushrooms, and leathers.  With this set-up do you think I have adequate water circulation? <Likely so... could be increased> Should I switch one of my actinic lamps to another 6700/10,000k lamp? <I would, yes> On another matter, my house uses well water.  I tested the water and found it to have about 10ppm of nitrates, <Yeeikes... I hope/trust you're not drinking, cooking with this> so no surprise my tank is also testing the same.  I am considering the need for a RO unit, but don't want to spend the money if the nitrates are low enough not to be problematic. <They are a health issue for you, your captive aquatics> My tank just got done cycling and now it seems to be (hopefully) finishing an algae bloom (diatoms).  I tested the water for phosphates and it was 0.  Again, thank you and your crew for being of such great assistance! Dan. <Mmm, welcome. Phosphates like the popular label "terrorists" are a fluid measure... likely your present algae are taking up what is available... Bob Fenner> First Salt Water tank... for sure    6/14/06 Hi, I am in hopes of guidance because after someone recommended your website I was amazed of all the answers... too many. <Not possible... they are indexed, there is a competent search tool...> My problem is that I decided I finally wanted to start my first salt water tank and the Local Pet Shop recommended for ease to start with a Reef and add fish as I go along. SO that is what I am trying to do.  I truly love the look and am sure I will love the hobby.  Part of the problem is that I went into this not realizing that this would be such a money pit. I shopped and shopped and now have the following set up. * 145 gal Acrylic Cube type Aquarium 36" wide x 30" deep by 30" high. <Very tall... hard to light, get your arms (hope they're long) into...> o The tank is plumbed underneath the back overflow inside the tank <?> * 30 gal sump (no filtration or internal walls, simply a tank * ASM G2 Skimmer * 150lbs of Live Rock * 100lbs of Live Sand * Gen-X PCX 40 Pump * Tunze Stream 6060 Pump * 250w Pendant Metal Halide * SCWD current switching device * Kent Marine Aquadoser 5: Float switch and auto-refill * Rio 2500 powerhead pump * UV Sterilizer (not sure of make or model) The main problem is that I got 100 different directions.  Since I am a total rookie, I wanted first to master the easy way to do the reef and then play with it as the previous owner did. <No shortcuts here... you need to learn what you're doing...> I had a guy come out to set up my tank for me (Recommended by the Local Pet Shop) The guys told me that I had no filtration going on so he recommended that I put bio-balls in my over-flow. He hooked up my UV sterilizer and I put in about 200 bio-balls in the over-flow (didn't make a dent). The guys that sold me the tae told me that I shouldn't use a UV Sterilizer or the bio-balls.  The guy that sold me the Skimmer told me to use the UV sterilizer. I am totally doomed! <I wouldn't go that/this far> I picked up a book (Natural Reef Aquariums, Tullock) <Know John well> and it just provides a lot of suggestions but not for my particular case. Can you help?  If I don't do the bio-balls what filtration am I using? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm See the blue file names? These are links... read the ones on filtration> If I don't use the UV Sterilizer am I more likely to get sick fish? <Whether or not... see WWM re UVs...>   I thought the UV sterilizer was an easy answer to a possible complicated problem. <Is a useful tool, not a cure-all by any means> Needing help.  BTW, how do I become a member? <We don't do/have memberships... by participating, reading, writing... you are> Michael Grose <Take all this a bit at a time Michael... not hard, but involved... can, will become engrossing, but needs your giving/taking. Bob Fenner>

Re: High Nitrates in a Fishless Tank  6/5/06... barnacles, alkalinity, sw maint. Lisa, <Mmm, Bob this time> Back again.  It has been a while, I wanted to test the water and just watch and wait to see if I could get it together.   <Okay> The water I have been changing faithfully once a week between 5-7 gallons in a 55 gallon tank and a 29 gallon tank.   <Sounds about right> The 55 gal. has no fish still, just the live rock and inverts which seem to be doing very well.  The Caulerpa is thriving as well as all the inverts.  The sponge is growing and the feather dusters are fine.  We do seem to have a lot of barnacles.  Is there such thing as too much? <Mmm, can be... Cirripedians can be pests/parasites to fishes as larvae...> I just do not like. Going on 12 weeks now after losing all fish... The Nitrates were high and now seem to be stable at 20 ppm (tap water registers 10ppm)  We do not see a lot of waste in the media of the Fluval. <Canister filters can be problematical... transient pollution sources>      Ammonia sometimes shows 0 and sometimes goes up to .25  The nitrites are always 0.  The PH is what really fluctuates.  The last check was between 7.8-8.0   It always seems to drop. <A lack of buffering, restoring chemical make-up... Alkaline reserve>   I am checking the PH on the new water that I am changing out as it is low and actually raise it high to balance out the low PH of the tank. <Good... but need to check the alkalinity, not simply pH> What other suggestions could you recommend.  I am leery of starting over until certain all the water issues are corrected.      <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above> The 29 gal.  has live rock and 2 damsels.  The water registers 80ppm nitrates, <Way too high>   0 nitrites, 0-.25 ammonia and Ph also fluctuates low in this tank as well.  Any help is greatly appreciated. Sandy <... please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM... A link/beginning to nitrates: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm Bob Fenner>

Sandbed maintenance 5/14/06 Hey guys, <Hello> I just want to say thank you for all the problems you have helped me solve in the past. I have noticed that my sand bed is disappearing. I have a 55 gallon and I bought 3 20lbs water packed AragAlive Bahamas oolite to start off. My tank is about 1 yr and half old and now my sand is starting to diminish. <Common occurrence, dissolves over time, helps buffer the water.> If I need to add more sand I would like to get the finest due to the natural look of the ocean bed I love and my sand sifting creatures. <ok>  Would I have to get the water packed Arag alive or can I buy the dry packed sugar sized sand? <The water packed stuff is no better than the dry in my opinion.>  How much should I add at a time and will this screw up my ecosystem happening on the sandbed? <Add a cup or two a week, this allows sand bed creatures to migrate to the top without getting smothered.> Thanks Joe <Anytime> <Chris> Something about BGA, green algae, marine aquarium?  - 05/13/2006 tank 3 weeks old now covered in green hairy type stuff, gradually being taken over by black slimy stuff (all on live rock ) am a newly obviously ! the wife says scrub the rocks clean what do you think? just added 2 clown fish all doing well apart from assetics thanks t <Is this English? Are you a non-native speaker/writer? Have someone look over your mail before sending... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm and the linked files at top... Bob Fenner>

Brown algae   4/30/06 Dear WWM Crew: <Yo!> I have a two year old reef tank/mud refugium system.  Four weeks ago, I went on vacation for about a week and left the tank in another's care.   Since our return, there has been increasing proliferation of brown algae - previously we had none visible.  All tank specs are in order save for nitrite level at 0.2 mg/l.  Any suggestions on how to deal with the algae? <Sure: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm and the linked files above> Separately, I have been told that the mud in the refugium should be replaced every couple of years save for a small amount off the original mud that was in the tank - do you share this view? <Yep, posted> Is it possible that the bacteria levels in my tank are low resulting in problem above? <... not likely> Finally, I have tried on a couple of occasions to grow xenia and have had no luck.  Realizing they can be temperamental, wondering if the conditions I maintain for the benefit of other corals makes it more challenging for the xenia? <Can> Thanks in advance for your advice. SPL <Keep reading. Bob Fenner> New and don't know what to do!  4/30/06 We started a 65 gal saltwater tank about 3 months ago. My husband was in a local store that had several reef and saltwater tanks that were beautiful. We asked questions and finally decided to purchase equipment to get ours started. Unfortunately, I think these people were more concerned with us spending money than making sure we had correct info for proper care of our tank and fish. <<Sadly, this is often the case.  That is not to say that they don't care... just that they often don't have the time or quality help to do better.>> Our first fish after getting our tank started were 3 damsel fish, only one survived. He was fine for about a month and all levels were fine so we purchased (under the supervision of the store helpers...HA!) a yellow eyed tang, a blue hippo tang, and a  Naso tang. I have read since that we should only have 1 tang with our size tang so I realize we have a problem here. <<Only one tang, and at that... only the yellow eye is even OK by itself.  The hippo and Naso quickly get way too large, even if they are the only tang in the tank.>> Anyway, all was well for close to a month. Then we started developing red slime algae at a pretty fast rate. Around the same time I noticed that the yellow eyed tang was throwing himself into the sand almost constantly. He also seemed to have a pale spot forming on his nose spreading between his eyes and toward one side of his face. I went to a different fish store that specializes in saltwater fish and they said I should treat for parasites and leave the red algae alone until the parasites were treated. We changed the water, took out the filter pads and started treating with Chem-Marine reef safe because we have xenia and a few polyps. That was about 3 days ago. The first two treatments I over treated by a couple of teaspoons, and discovered my error and now am giving correct doses. Is this harmful? <<Treatment should never take place in a display tank.  In order to make treatments "reef safe", the manufacturers often reduce the dose to the point where it is not effective.  Also, the rock and sand in a display can absorbed medications, reducing their effectiveness.  Last, but not least treatments can be harmful to all of the beneficial critters that live in live rock.>> Well today my domino damsel died. He seemed perfectly healthy up until now. My yellow eyed tang is acting normal, I think! He hides alot but seems comfortable with the other fish. He seems to be shy mostly when we humans are near the tank. However, his white spot is growing. I have read about hole in head disease, parasites, ich....I don't know if any of these things resemble what my fish has. <<It is probably an abrasion or other injury.  If the fish is healthy and well fed, it should heal on its own.>> There are no white dots, no red dots or holes. The white area doesn't appear to be a "hole". I can't get a great look. He always hides when we get near the tank. To top it all off my blue hippo tang (at about the same time as the yellow eyed tang developed his white face) has a place where his fin starts at the top of his head. It looks like his skin was rubbed off of the very first, uh... bone?.. The person I talked to at the store seems to think that this is what happened. I don't know. <<I agree that it sounds like a scrape, but it is a bit of a coincidence that two fish have this.  Do keep an eye on it.>> We hear so much different info that I don't know what do or not do, and who to trust. I think fish store people are only interested in making money. They don't care what happens once we get our fish home. Help!!!! I want to get this tank stabilized with a good bit of coral and a few fish. What should I do? A lot of the info I have read on your site has been helpful, however, I am so new alot of it is foreign to me. If you could give a reply soon that would be great. Thank you, John and Amy <<Please write back with a description of your system, including the size of the tank, the type of filtration, amount of live rock, how much and what kind of sand, what kind of lighting, skimmer and water movement you have, and the levels (not just "good or OK") for all of the parameters you test for (especially pH, Alkalinity, Salinity, temperature, etc.).  Also include a brief description of your maintenance procedures, including the amount and frequency of water changes, feeding, etc.  With that information, we should be able to zero in on any problems.  Best regards.  AdamC.>> Fish life spans  - 04/24/2006 Hi Bob, Thanks for your reply - I'll look at the website later - I'm currently browsing the reefs.org site mentioned in the back of your book. <Also very worthwhile> If I could just ask one question - why is there so little information on expected life-spans of different species anywhere? <Such data has been compiled for a few species... by public aquariums... and can be calculated for many more by some perusing, math with data presented on fishbase.org> Best regards. Martin <Bob Fenner> A Marine (Water Quality) and a Freshwater (Discus Injury) Question - 04/22/06 Hello, and many 'thank you's' for all the wonderful help you've provided me over the years! <<Howdy...and you're welcome>> I have two concerns that call for your brand of expertise: <<Alrighty>> 1) My 55gal reef tank has quite a layer of 'scum' on the surface and has had quite an algae problem over the last week or so and 2) My discus is breathing better and I'm wondering if he's going to keep on keeping on or what. <<Okay...lets split these queries up and tackle one at a time, shall we?>> Reef details: I recently (3 months ago) moved from having very good water (20ppm total hardness strait out of the tap) to having very hard water (340ppm out of the tap). <<Mmm, indeed...though should be a moot point if you are filtering your tap water before use>> Our area is also home to a very large phosphates mine-I don't know if this could effect the water supply, but I thought I'd throw it in just in case. <<Ah yes, there is likely a huge excess of phosphate in the ground water>> Until about 3 weeks ago I hadn't had any problems. <<Building up in your system over time>> Then I got a slight scum on the surface that lasted a couple days and went away...for a week...to be replaced with a worse scum for 3 to 5 days and went away...for 5 days or so...to be replaced by the current scum layer which continues to get worse as the days go by.  My surface skimmer is drawing just fine, I have about 780gph turn over in my tank, and my skimmer is only producing about 1/2 cup of dark skimmate every day. <<Hmm...is curious that the surface skimmer can't handle/remove the "scum">> I'm replacing 2gal. of top off daily that is filtered through a PUR-tm faucet filter. <<Ahh...herein lies the problem.  This filter is inadequate for your needs, it is neither designed nor intended to filter water to the quality you need for your reef tank.  It may have proved adequate with your previous tap water supply, but it seems obvious you need something with "more power" now.  Do look in to either an RO/DI or Kati/Ani filtration system...can make all the difference here>> I need to replace the 10000K 250w MH as it is around a year to year-and-half old. <<I doubt these are your problem...probably even have a few more months of useful life to them>> I also have 130w CFL super-actinics that are about 3 month old.  I have about 15 sm. snails of varying types and about the same number of sm. hermits.  The bioload is 1--3" Coral beauty angel, 1--2 1/2" Yellow watchman goby, 1 Fire goby, 1--2" Ocellaris clownfish, 1 med. coral banded shrimp, 1 pr. skunk shrimp, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1--2" sea hare (not the normal species...smaller and bright green).  Soft corals include: sm. Stolonifera, 8 anthelia polyps, and various mushroom, Xeniid, and Kenya tree frags.  I also have a 3" bubble tip anemone. <<Ugh...you were doing so well up to this point <G>.  I hate to see motile invertebrates housed with sessile invertebrates...especially in a small system such as yours>> Discus details: During the move (three months ago) the largest and most hale of my four 3" discuss managed to make a dive for the floor during transfer from the transport tank to the show tank. <<Ouch!>> From that point on he's been sickly and dark, and his gill covers have been unevenly distended. <<Likely suffered some physical trauma>> His right was hardly moving and the left was always twice as open as the other discuss.  Well, four or five days ago he started hiding in the back and got really dark...trouble signs...and I was about to separate him to his own hospital tank, when, two days ago, I noticed that he was back up front, lightening up, and HIS GILLS WERE BOTH WORKING! <<Yea!>> Well, he's kept a better color, though still not his best by a long shot, and he's still using both gills equally.  Do you have any idea what happened? <<Specifically?...no...but it's obvious he suffered injury/stress from the fall to the floor...and appears to be recuperating nicely on his own>> Thanks for both helps. Branon. <<Cheers my friend, EricR>>

... SW over-stocking, learning about Dominos  4/21/06 Hello there! I am sorry to trouble y'all, but I can find no definitive answers anywhere about a couple of questions... I am fairly new to the saltwater hobby...about 4 months.. I have a 46 bow front reef tank.. that is about 3.5 months along...I cycled it with 4 damsels..2 dominoes, 2 yellow tail...who made it through just fine by the way.. lol I then added some Nassarius snails, some red and blue legged hermits...couple of bumblebee snails....then a frilly mushroom rock...l8r a couple of emerald Mithrax crabs...which btw are all doing fine...then I added a yellow-eyed tang.. my favorite fish...and a royal Gramma...Everyone was fine for a couple days then the tang and the Gramma started to get spots.. as I did not have a q.t. tank set up yet...which I know do. I had to treat the main tank with reef safe ich attack....treated for 3 days and the tang died. after getting some discoloration by the gills and towards his tail. the Gramma will be dead by the end of today.. and the 2 dominoes have it now.. what do I do?? Nathan <Please read on WetWebMedia regarding ich, quarantine, treatment, stocking....  All that you are asking is already out there for you to use, in articles and FAQs....  These are *living things* in your care, please study their care requirements.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm .  -Sabrina>

Impressive but You are not a Jedi Yet (More Research/Reading Needed) ... mar. maint.  - 04/19/06 We set up a 55 gallon marine aquarium four weeks ago. <Sounds fun.> The salinity is good. <'Good' is relative, be specific in the future.> The temperature is about 78 degrees. The PH is 8.2. The ammonia is zero. <Nitrites? Nitrates?> We started with some live sand, a live rock, and after the first couple weeks we added  three little damsels. <Uh-Oh, even if we exclude the aggression'¦..what about disease introduction, did you quarantine?> The nitrite level has not spiked and the nitrate level remains at zero. <It appears your nitrogen cycle is complete if the levels have not spiked with in the 4-weeks (30-Days) you should be in the clear'¦should be.> We have the regular tank lights on between 12 and 15 hours each day and are getting some algae growth on the sand. <Normal.> My first question is; why haven't the nitrate and nitrite levels changed? <Every tank is different, some nitrogen cycles are quicker than others. Did you add an ammonia source? Was the LR cured or un-cured?> One of the damsels (a white and black striped one) has developed some tiny white fuzzy dots. <Sounds like marine ich (cryptocaryon), search WWM re:.> He is a very aggressive <Very is putting it lightly..> little fish and I think he may be sick <Sounds so.> even though he eats well and is quite spunky. My second question is; What kind of problem are these dots, and how do I treat them? My little yellow damsel  and the blue one with the yellow tail are just fine for now. <See above.> Sincerely, XXXXX@XX.com <Adam J.> Holy Moley-Yes Folks Aquariums Need Maintenance To Function'¦'¦  - 04/19/06 Hello, <Hi Dan.>      I have very high nitrate levels in my 55 gal. tank. <Uh-Oh!>   Can I get rid of these levels by using a combination of Aquarium salt and Cycle? <Huh? No'¦'¦?   I don't want to, but if I have to I'll do the water changes, <What? Not wanting to do water changes. Sir, excuse me if I sound bold but if you don't have the time to do at least weekly (ok maybe bi-weekly)'¦.then you should not own any type of aquaria.> the only question I have about the water changes is...How long do I wait after refill to start again, assuming I will need to do more than one water change to bring the levels down? <Read WWM re Water Changes for your answers my friend. I will say a few consecutive daily water changes (10% to 25%) over the next week.> Thank You, <Mmm-hmm.> Dan C. <Adam J.>

Re: Holy Moley-Yes Folks Aquariums Need Maintenance To Function..  - 04/19/2006 I'm sorry I didn't mean I don't do the water changes at all, what I was saying was if I have to I will do the rapid water changes.  I read where you can reduce the nitrates in the tank rapidly by doing a 60% reduction, filling it back up to 80% capacity, then doing a 40% reduction, filling it back up to 100% capacity, then doing a 20% reduction and again filling it to 100% capacity.  This is the water changes I was talking about,  I own two tanks and have had them quite awhile, so I'm very careful of my levels in both tanks. <Okay, sorry for the confusion. I don't like to perform LARGE changes in one swoop, I would perform 25-30% water changes, but do about 5 of them, one a day or one every other day over the course of the week or two. Also find the root problem that are causing these nitrates to be so high.> Dan C. <Adam J.> Marine Set-Up/Questions    4/8/06 Hello,  <Hello Randy>  Thanks in advance for all of your help and dedication to our hobby. It's greatly appreciated over here.  I read over the site all the time.   My main question is this: Will I be able to sustain this tank indefinitely on my current setup? I have a 46 bow reef setup, with 50-60lbs of established live rock and some hardy soft corals.  It has been up for 3 months.  My filter is a Emperor 400 (changed monthly) <Weekly would be much better>.  Also, how bad on the fish/reef is the debris blow out when turning the Emperor back on after cartridge changes. <Not good to let this get into the system, just adds to nutrients and nuisance algae growth.>  A Seaclone skimmer that works decent, once I got it adjusted right (but does have quite a bubble problem).  I plan I getting a BakPak soon (I know it's not great either but better and I got a line on a used one) <Much better than the SeaClone>.  1" pink Fiji bed.  1 power head for additional circ..  RO water is used.     -My fish are as follows: 2 Yellow Tail Damsels, 1 small Green Chromis, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby and a Coral Beauty (will he eat a cleaner shrimp or a peppermint-for Aiptasia?) <No, but why ask after the horse is in the barn>.  I am mostly concerned about the longevity of the Emperor 400.  Is it enough with my given live rock?  <Yes> If not, what filter setup do you recommend? <A big improvement would be to replace the Emperor with a hang-on refugium.> I don't have a lot of room for a sump below and I am weary of a hang on tank overflow losing it's suction <Yes, they can be problematic>.  At a later date(8-12mos), I will be able to move the stock to a different tank(65 gal) while I get this tank drilled (if necessary) to guarantee a crash free system (if possible).  What maintenance schedule do you recommend for my setup.  Also could I add a False Percula Clown or two to this setup or am I maxed out on my fish?  <You could add another small fish.  Tank maintenance info easily found on the Wet Web Randy.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm  In future queries please do a spelling/grammar check before sending and no abbreviations please.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again,  <You're welcome.> Randy

Newbie Marine, Livestock and Maintenance    4/4/06 Good afternoon! <Good Night'¦.I'm Sleepy, hehe.> I am working on setting up my first SW tank. <Congrats'¦> I put the water in it this week, and am testing out my equipment. I will be ordering my LR (70 lbs.) and LS next week. I am looking at setting up a peaceful/community tank with some soft corals. Here are my specs:    55 gallons tank with overflow (not drilled)    26 gallon sump, usual capacity will run about 13 gallons    I will be including a fuge in my sump.    In-Sump protein skimmer (Turboflotor 1000)    Overflow and 3 powerheads/wavemaker for water movement    Orbit 48' Compact Florescent 4x65W  (dual actinic/dual daylight with lunar lights)    I will be installing an auto-top off system and aerating my replacement water for a week before use. <Sounds pretty good but do keep an eye on that (I'm assuming) syphon overflow.>    I am also setting up a 10 gallon QT, and hope to start cycling this soon. <A bit small, be sure to monitor it closely as things can get out of hand quite quickly.>    I plan to quarantine new arrivals for 1 month. <Yes 30 days minimum.> I would like to be ready to order my first fish as soon as my QT is cycled, <'¦Not to mention the display.> but wondered what would be the best order to introduce them in. <Let's see'¦'¦'¦> We plan on (I say "we" because my kids picked out what they wanted and have already picked names for some of them!): <Cool.> 3 blue/green Chromis (Larry, Curly and Moe)   2 False Percula Clownfish (George and Gracie)   1 Firefish (magnifica) (Twitchy) 1 neon gold goby And maybe 1 blue dotted watchman goby. <All potentially good choices.> Through reading your site, I find that Clownfish can be rather territorial and that Firefish don't do well in quarantine alone. <Generally speaking'¦'¦'¦.> And the Chromis, although the most docile of the bunch, are still damsels. <Quite true.> Should I QT the Firefish and the gold goby together? <No, your QT is to small.> Should the Clownfish go in last? <Along with the Chromis.> And will the watchman and neon gobies get along? <In this size tank, they should'¦but again they are individuals.> Two other unrelated questions: for circulation, I will have my overflow (roughly 300 gph), and the powerheads, which alternate through the use of a wavemaker (one at a time). They are rated at 160 gph. Would it be better to have at least one of these going at all times and <I think you will be fine either way, just have them aimed at each other to create turbulent rather than linear flow.> having the other two alternate, or is it o.k. to alternate them like this? I know my tank should turn over between 5 and 10 times an hour. <I prefer more turnover for reef tanks, 20+ to be honest.> To cycle my 10 gal. QT, a friend let me put the sponge from my Whisper Power Filter in her aquarium. How long should it be in her tank before I can use it to cycle my tank? <A few weeks, though keep in mind if you need to medicate during quarantine you will likely kill any beneficial bacteria, which means you will have to compensate w/ H2O changes.> Thank you very much! I have found your site to be extremely helpful. <Thanks.> Pamela Trang <Adam Jackson.> Marine Set-Up/Newbie Difficulties    4/3/06 Hello,  <Hello Dennis> Thank you so much for your website; it's been an invaluable resource.   <You're welcome.> I've been looking through the FAQs and as of yet not been able to come up with an answer to my aquarium woes.  I'm hoping you can provide some much needed assistance. My partner and I have recently setup our first marine aquarium (it's on it's way into it's third week and is 95% through the cycle process).  We did a lot of research before hand and thought we were well prepared for the trials and tribulations but I've started to think otherwise.  We've both had freshwater tanks in the past and were very much looking forward to moving into the marine domain.  Now that our tank is up, we're consistently putting literally hundreds of dollars a week into it and I'm not sure we're doing it right.  That's where you come in. <I've entered> We have a 45 gallon tank with a Penguin Emperor HOB Bio-Wheel dual pack, Activated Carbon filter, a Fluval 350 canister filter (added after the fact), a CPR BakPak II protein skimmer (also added after the fact), two power heads, a self contained UV sterilizer, 75 lbs. of Arag (sp?) live sand (works out to about a three inch substrate) and 14 pounds of live rock.  We test the water every two days and we clean the HOB filter every other day and the Fluval on weekends.  <So far so good.> We put the tank together by the instructions that were provided by our local pet store and all seemed well for the first week:  The tank sat for two days to run through as recommended and then we added Damsel fish for the break-in.  (PLEASE, if you have any influence over aquarists at all, encourage people to use fishless cycling.  It's so much more humane and it's easier on both your tank and your conscience.  <Do not understand you here. Damsels are hardy and can withstand higher ammonia levels.> Unfortunately, we didn't find out about fishless cycling until we already had our damsels in the tank so we've been fighting with that since we started . . . but I digress.)  So far, the break-in seems to be going OK.  At our last test (04.02.2006) the NO2 was 0.3 and NH3+NH4 was 0, KH was 11 and Ph was around 7.7 (KH and Ph were both normal on 03.31.2006 when we tested and we think it's a decorative ocean rock that we put in yesterday to give the damsels a bit more hiding spaces that caused the KH an Ph to go haywire.  It's a calcium dead coral rock and we believe that's what shot the KH up so high and dropped the PH. We looked it up on the web and everything we could find suggests that it isn't a major problem and will eventually return to normal after things have settled).  <Yes, will take time for the system to age and stabilize.> The main problem right now is our skimmer.   When we started the tank out, it had a SeaClone SCPS100 skimmer that was working fine (this was before the Fluval was added to the system) and we were pulling out about a half a cup of skimmate each day.  Then we got the canister filter and set it up putting in ceramic prefilter, activated carbon, PhosBan, a resin contaminant remover (I can't remember the name), bio mass and a polishing pad into the filter trays (in that order), hooked it up and started it running and suddenly the skimmer stopped working.  <It stopped working because you have other nutrient removing media in the system.  I wouldn't   use carbon on a continual basis if you have a skimmer, wasting money.> It was producing tons and tons of fine bubbles in the reaction chamber, wet bubbles that would fill the collection cup to almost overflowing and it was dumping tons of the micro bubbles back into the aquarium.  We started looking things up on the web and found your site among several others that said certain chemicals added to the tank can cause problems with the skimmer.  The only additional chemicals we'd added were the PhosBan and resin filter media.  <These should not cause this.> So we removed those and replaced them with activated carbon packs.  So the Fluval is working now with prefilter in the first basket, activated carbon in positions 2, 3, 4 and biomass and a polishing pad in positions 5 & 6 respectively. Once we got the new chemicals out of the Fluval, we shut the skimmer air flow off for twenty four hours as the SeaClone website recommended.  When we turned it back on, it was still producing the same fine bubles, not pulling any skimmate out of the water and still dumping the bubbles back into the aquarium at a fairly rapid rate which, again, stressed the fish out. <New skimmers will put bubbles into the tank when new.  The plastic has to age, usually two weeks.> At this point, we were sure the skimmer had broken so we went out and bought a new one, the new one being Coralife Super Skimmer.  We got it in and got it hooked up but it was jury rigged in that the Skimmer really wasn't designed as a HOB skimmer (I've found multiple testimonies to that fact on the web - unfortunately, they were found after the fact). When we turned the skimmer on, it did exactly the same thing as the SeaClone, <It would with the carbon addition.> only it did overflow.  Again, my thinking was that it wasn't functioning because of the manipulation I had to do to get the thing on the tank.   This time, we hit the net for some much needed research (we had relied on the recommendation of the pet shop owner for the first two skimmers) and found some pretty good reviews of the Bakpak skimmer and settled on that after returning the Super Skimmer.  So we purchased it and it is now hanging on the tank.  But when we turn it on, we get the same micro bubbles we got with the others and there is no skimmate going into the cup.  <In searching skimmers you should have come across info regarding new skimmers and their traits.> Well, there is something going into the cup.  The cup still fills rapidly with water, but unlike the other two skimmers, it isn't clear water.  The water is sort of a dingy murky yellow colour which tells me the skimmer is pulling SOMETHING out at least but I could be wrong about that.  It also runs for a bit returning clear water to the tank and then it starts dumping the fine bubbles back into the aquarium (I believe this is because it takes time for the micro bubbles to work their way up to the outlet through the CPR Bio Mass). <You are probably injecting too much air into the column which can cause this.  Do email CPR for suggestions here.> As I've said before, these bubbles stress my fish out never mind the fact they make the aquarium look like it hasn't been cleaned in a month.  At this point, we're putting antibiotics in the tank to treat one of the damsels for Pop Eye (Stripe, he's a great little fish that has just been a wonderful trooper through this whole cycling thing but unfortunately fell victim to the stress related complications that often afflict fish used for cycling aquariums (another valid reason for fishless cycling)). <Do not agree here.  Did your dealer ever mention quarantining new arrivals so you do not have to treat the whole tank?  Not a good idea medicating the entire aquarium.> For information, the skimmer was producing the bubbles and the collection cup was filling before we started using the medication.  We've been doing that for the last four days and our fifth and last treatment will be put in tomorrow morning.  We're planning on putting new activated carbon in both filters in on Tuesday.  <The medication will be close to useless if you didn't remove the carbon and shut down the skimmer prior to medicating.> Needless to say, I'm at my wits end (not to mention the bottom of my banking account - the SeaClone was $100.00 and the Bakpak was $250.00) trying to figure out what's happening with our skimmer. <Nothing is wrong with your skimmer.> I don't want to leave it off for fear of harming the fish. <Will not harm fish.> I can't turn it on and leave it on all the time because the cup fills so rapidly <Again, too high an air input to the skimmer.> and I don't want to risk it running over and flooding my apartment.  I've made all the adjustments I can find on the web and have ordered the surface skimmer and bubble trap for the Bakpak (it hasn't arrived yet). So my questions are: 1) could the Fluval be causing these problems 2) if it isn't the filter, could the addition of the resin remover or the PhosBan have mucked <Not mucked up, aided the skimmer.> up the water so that the skimmer can't do it's job 3) will it ever get back to normal or should I plan on breaking the tank down and starting over or 4) should I just be patient?  <There you hit the nail on the head.  This hobby requires much patience and do practice it.> That last one is a pip; since this is my first marine aquarium, I'm stumbling in the dark which is making patience a bit difficult.  I don't want to hurt the fish and I'm afraid I might be overprotecting them instead of leaving the ecosystem to repair itself. Any advice would be helpful.  <Do search Marine Set-Up on our site, read that and related articles/FAQs.> Warm regards,  <Thank you, James (Salty Dog)> Dennis Marine Aquaria; Lack of Research, Over-Stocking, Not Quarantining'¦..same old, same old  3/30/06 Thanks for all the articles, <Quite welcome.> but I'm not finding the answers I need. <Hey Crew?!'¦'¦We've heard that before huh?> I'm a beginner at this, have had my tank almost a year and I'm having problems. <I'm here to help.> I have a 90 gallon fish only tank with an under gravel filter with 2 - 802 AquaClear powerheads <Ooh'¦.UG is probably the utmost worst possible way to filter marine aquaria.> I am running copper. <Mmm'¦I would not do that in the display, read WWM re.> I do water changes religiously every two weeks, as my nitrates will run very high (100ppm). <I blame the UG plates, read WWM re marine filtration, at the least you need a protein skimmer, I would suggestive rock but with copper in the system'¦..> My salt water advisors/fish store sources here are limited, and all but my source in original advisor in Orlando want me to change to live rock, and other filter systems. I have recently added a used Magnum 350(date 2/22/06). <Sorry to be negative but aside from UG, canister filters are also one of the poorest choices for marine filtration.> Otherwise have had  no problems keeping Am 0, Nitrites 0, Ph 8.2 <100ppm nitrates is a big problem'¦.need to be 20 or less for an F.O. tank.> Presently 1 - Male Blonde Naso Tang 7" 1 - Yellow tang  4" 1 - Blue hepatus Tang 3" 1 - Dwarf Angel Coral Beauty 2.5" 2 - Ocellaris False percula clownfish (had 5 to start - 3 died late last year) <You are grossly overstocked here dear, the Naso alone has a potential 21' size'¦.and copper is not my medication of choice for surgeons to say the least.> Most concerning presently are my Coral beauty, and hepatus tang which are scratching. Gill Flukes? <'¦Could be a number of things including Cryptocaryon irritans: marine ich'¦..> I've treated the tank once forgot what it was called/did not write it down, got it from my local advisor/fish guy who seems to be too busy for me and can not find any meds locally) <Read WWM re: quarantine, any medicating needs to be done there not in the display.> for this when only the hippo was scratching, now both fish are scratching regularly. What can I do? <First you need to get control of your water quality through water changes, and other means of nutrient export such as the protein skimmer mentioned above'¦.then you should identify the disease of any (the critters may just be suffering from poor water quality) and treat accordingly, read WWM re'¦> In the last two months I've added a number of fish with problems. <I would discontinue with the addition of livestock, the tank is overstocked as is.> I know these places I buy fish from do not hold them before selling them - in one day out the next. <This is not a good practice by the stores'¦..but even more prudent, it is a good reason for you to quarantine.> 2/10 added Square Anthias - believe it was the coral beauty nipped at him, but things were looking happier after a couple of days for the anthias, but the yellow tang stopped eating, 4 weeks later anthias died, yellow tang started eating again. 2/28 Added a blue filamented wrasse 3/6 my Royal Gramma Basslet of almost 8 months died in a 4 day time frame 3/7 anthias dead 3/14 Wrasse dead <Water quality and overcrowding are to blame, and possible disease form lack of QT.> I'd like to add a few more fish again, <You don't have the room nor is your tank ready to accept any new livestock by any means.> royal Gramma again, will research for others, but will take any suggestions you can give me. <Well you mentioned you liked our articles, after reading your query I suggest you continue to read them.> This sure can get frustrating!!!!! Lots of info on your web site searches, can spend way too much time trying to get specifics <Well ma'am it is evident from your mistakes that you have not searched our site to thoroughly, if you had, you would have avoided many of the mistakes you had made. Other than that we would love to hear any suggestions you have regarding spending to much time and making it easier on you, the reader.> Know this may be a lot to ask but do so appreciate your time and knowledge. <Anytime.> Brenda Crabbe
<Adam Jackson.>

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