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FAQs on Marine Aquarium Maintenance 4

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The Saltwater Gourmet! Scott, Thanks for getting back to me. Glad to see that at least I'm on the right path. <Glad to be of service!> Thanks for the heads up on the molted shell. Somehow got the impression to leave it in the tank, (it was kind of late when reading through stack of printed FAQ's). <No harm done. It's just not a good idea to leave anything around that could decompose and degrade water quality, ya know?> Understand from your repeated comments about the marine based food. Found a local (well not so local) pet store that carries formula one frozen (read it's good for the clowns), also mysis shrimp (high fat content, freshwater though, plan to alternate when blood worms are finished. <All excellent foods!> As for the flakes, I basted all in the general area of the shrimp, (small quantities for observation purposes), he took them all, (marine, Spira, and even the freeze dried krill (picked the shell, then discarded). Planning to make him (and fish) the good stuff this weekend. <They'll love you for that!> I thought that "cleaning" was pretty much a given, but I guess it's up to the fish? And may possible never happen? <Unfortunately, that's correct- sometimes doesn't!> Understand about the "clam juice" overload. I use it sparingly and baste at the dusters. <Great technique!> Water changes consist of 4 gallons every two weeks (it's a 30 ga tank) as per your sites recommendations(?).( RO water aerated, 24 hours, slightly buffered, aerated 6 hours, salt added (instant ocean/reef crystals), aerated 24 hours. (heated if required, but room temp pretty much constant). <Again- great technique! You may even want to try smaller (say, 5% changes twice a week and see how that goes for you..> Talked briefly with Anthony prior, about adding a refugium when upgrading to 75. He mentioned a gravel, below tank refugium with no light would make "killer zooplankton". <Yes it would!> Was wondering if the fish and dusters would benefit from adding "sweet water - zooplankton" to the tank? Just trying to keep the diet varied and all happy. <Sweetwater plankton is a great food, but it's basically a form of Daphnia, and I'm afraid it's too large for filter feeders> (Since finding your site, husbandry dramatically improved). <Glad to hear that!> Amazed to find that clowns can live 10 to 20 years? <Even longer!> My one prior to this along with a few damsels lived about 4 years. (thought I had it figured out). I'm in the process of trying to get the clowns to mate. They have paired off and became a happy couple, fun to watch, and with a healthy diet hoping to see eggs soon. <No doubt you will!> It's only been a few months so from the way I understand it, they still have a long courtship to go. <Just be patient!> Thanks again, the crews help and sharing of knowledge has benefited tanks everywhere, I'm still amazed on how much information can be found on WWM. dave <So am I! Thanks a ton for stopping by again, and best of luck with your breeding efforts!  Scott F.>

White spots on rocks and tank I have 75 gallon saltwater tank, which was set up in January 2002, using crushed coral, 2-330  penguin bio-wheels filters, Berlin protein skimmer, 30lbs of live rock, I have noticed in the past 3 months white spots building up on aquarium glass, and on all accessories and live rock. Is this called "Bubbles" How can this be eliminated?      <David D. at your service! If it's bubbles, simply wipe it off. However, I suspect the "white things" are probably little sponges. These little sponges are not harmful. You can remove them by siphoning them out during a water change. Their appearance on the scene is usually a sign of high organics. Lower the organics and they will disappear! There is lots of information about this and other matters at wetwebmedia.com>

Using an Acrylic Tank with Built-in Components Hello WWM! After searching your Web site, I found that a handful of people have asked you about the Tenecor Simplicity Plus-type tank with the internal sump built in the back of the tank. I was wondering if you could answer my many questions about setting up one as a reef tank. <I will try.> Here's some background. The tank I am trying to modify is a flatback hex and measures 48" x 18" x 20". I'm guessing that the sump takes away around 15 gallons of capacity, which leaves about 50 gallons in the display area. If I could avoid drilling and external circulation plumbing, my wife will be happier and more comfortable with the project and my kids less likely to break something catastrophic to the tank. <Ok> I know this makes the setup less than ideal, but I am more than willing to limit the amount of inhabitants as a result. <That is nice to hear. There are probably many compromises we can come up with.> If I had to designate a critical species I would like to keep, it would be Tridacna clams. The "skimmer" area of the sump is inadequate. <I agree and difficult to work on.> Do you think a better alternative would be a hang-on skimmer? <Yes> I already have an Aqua-C Remora that can probably be made to draw water from the skimmer area. <Perfect!> In the wet/dry area of the sump, I would do away with the bio balls and place live rock rubble. The area is a kind of small. Do you think it can house enough rock rubble to serve as an adequate refugium for growing critters? <Time will tell, but anything is better than nothing.> For circulation, I am pretty much relegating myself to powerheads. <I agree in this situation. There is no way you will be able to force enough water through the built-in overflow.> I have already "tested" the use of powerheads in my 20 gallon mini reef. I have been able to keep the temperature around 79 degrees, even in the summer, with the use of a little fan bought at a hardware store. <Good, this is plenty cool enough.> I will be using a grounding probe, and the powerhead(s) is (are) going to be located in the sump. <I don't know if you will be able to get enough water circulation through this sump nor will it be possible in the standard configuration to create random currents. I have only ever see these units with one output or perhaps a spray bar. This in combination with another powerhead or two strategically hidden in the display will help.> Does this adequately address several drawbacks of powerheads: heat transfer, electricity leakage, and noise in the main display? <Seems ok for those concerns, but still need at least 500-1000 gph total and more importantly multiple outlets.> Will there be a problem with shearing critters from the refugium to the display? <That is debatable. If an adult amphipod attempt to go through a powerhead, I am sure it will get sheared, but their eggs, sperm, and larvae should be small enough to pass through unharmed.> The Hagen 901 is rated at 935 gph at zero head. Can it feed a mini version of the Calfo closed-loop manifold? <I am sure you can adapt the PVC to fit.> Since the manifold is fed by a powerhead, would I have to use vinyl tubing and accessories instead of PVC? <Perhaps at the point of connection between the pump and pipe, but the rest can be PVC.> Is this even a remotely realistic method for circulation via a powerhead? <Yes, but I am not sure the overflow can keep up with a pump this size.> Maybe I'll have to use multiple powerheads? <That is what I think you will have to do.> For lighting, is a JBJ 220-watt Formosa that has 2 10,000K and 2 actinic bulbs provide adequate and correct lighting for clams and the tank as a whole? <I think you said this tank is 20" deep. If so, you should be ok for Derasa and Squamosa's, but you may need to elevate Crocea and Maxima clams. Have you picked up Daniel Knop's excellent book, "Giant Clams"? For calcium supplementation. I would prefer to use a calcium reactor. Is it possible for a calcium reactor to be placed below the tank in the stand and still feed the internal sump? <I don't think that will be a problem.> Is this going to be the Achilles heel of my setup? While I (hopefully) still have your attention, I was wondering about the one and only fish in my mini reef. It's a lawnmower blenny, and I'm curious about his behavior. He seems healthy and is constantly munching on the glass and live rock. But he does other things that may be unusual. For instance, he seems to change color. I swear that sometimes he looks "darker." Are you familiar with this? <Yes, this is not unusual. Most fish have some ability to alter their coloration to fit their mood. Algae Blennies seem particularly good at using this to help them hide.> Also, he likes to rest in the strangest places: on top of the powerhead, wedged between the skimmer bubble trap box and the back of the tank, and wedged between the thermometer and the side of the tank. Is he just hanging out or is it a sign of stress? <This does not strike me as something to worry about.> I really want to move him to a larger tank and that is one of the reasons why I am looking to set up the Simplicity Plus as a reef tank. Thank you for your time and input. Your site is fantastic. J.D. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: little white eggs I have a 135 reef aquarium everything in the tank is doing just fine... But I have these little white spots in groupings on the glass and on anything that doesn't move. They are about 1/8in. in dia. and if you look close with a flashlight you can see little yellow eggs inside the white dot. Can anyone please suggest what these things could be? Thank you, Dale <Could be many things, not likely harmful. There are endless little creatures in your captive ecosystem, no worries, enjoy! Craig>

Stocking and Misc. Questions I know its typically a bad idea, but what are your thoughts on live plants with a UG filter and 1, 48" fluorescent? <Tough to generalize, but on the whole, I'd say that a UG filter and live plants is typically problematic, in the long run. I think that there are some better options, as far as filtration for a plant tank is concerned. Also, a single 48" fluorescent may not be enough light for many plant species. This also depends, of course, on the size of the tank and the species involved.> Next tank and question.... My 125gal FOWLR, The only current resident is a 4" puffer (currently in his first week of cu QT), <Love to hear that you're using quarantine, but IMO, copper is not usually necessary unless you are treating a disease.> so I'm trying to get the main tank ready. Redox has been low (120-150) for a month even with 75mg/l (right measurement?) of ozone. Water flow is a common question, I'm currently using an overflow box (1), with a RIO 2500 return.  I suspect the RIO is only pushing about 500-600 gph with the head it has. <You may want to supplement the circulation in this tank with some external powerheads, or other methods. Even with a FOWLR tank, it would be nice if you could get 10 tank turnovers per hour, IMO. A lower Redox reading may not be corrected simply by the application of ozone, so please look into other water quality issues to correct the cause. Although Redox is useful in getting a feel for the water quality, please don't get overly fixated on achieving a number, say 350mv. Instead, become fixated on exploring ways to achieve and maintain the best possible water quality, such as water changes, nutrient export mechanisms, etc. You'll enjoy your hobby a lot more that way!> I plan to build a new stand (with doors big enough to fit things through opposed to what I have now) and build a new custom Sump / Wet dry / Refugium.  The tank is drilled (1 is currently blocked and the other is the return with a spray bar). MY plan is to put in new bulk heads, and make the drilled holes the drain (2 of them) to the sump, and use a new Mag pump to return the water via those nifty pvc U things you guys seem to like:)   What Mag pump would you recommend?  A Mag 12? Will I have issues with water returning to the sump to fast with 2, 1"overflows? <You'll probably be about right. A MAG 12 will move about 1050 gph at 6 feet of head. 2 one-inch standpipes in your overflow should be about right, but do test and be prepared to modify your overflow or adjust pump discharge if needed.> What size PVC should be return be?  3/4"? <Well, since the MAG that you are considering has a 3/4 inch MPT outlet, that would be your easiest choice. Lots of possibilities for things to do with the return (I.e.; oscillating water return devices, like Sea Swirls, for example, or a manifold with lots of outlets, etc.). All depends on your preferences and needs, and the needs of your animals.> I plan to get 4-5 fish total.  I was thinking of my fish list looking something like this: Porcupine Puffer (have him) Juv. Emperor or Asfur angel (3-4") <I'd really avoid an angel with a puffer, as the puffer could nip tankmates, and an angel with its finnage is a good target. Also, do consider the adult sizes of the angels (can reach 15" in the case of the emperor...With the adult puffer at almost a foot- too much bioload for this tank. You'd need a larger (hundreds of gallons) tank for this combination> Wrasse or hog of some sort (any preferences?) <Do look into one of the smaller Thalassoma species as a possibility> Purple Tang (3-4") <Could work, but can be a bit belligerent at times, and can reach almost 10 inches or more> Not sure what else, 1 maybe 2 others. Perhaps something algae eating like a Foxface but I don't really care for Foxfaces or Rabbitfish. <Lots of possibilities. DO look under the fish resources on the wetwebmedia.com site> Lastly, the QT Tank is a 20L with 2 big pieces of PVC (thx for the info the elbow grease worked great lol), a heater and a Duetto 100 (says its good up to 30 gallons), which is more or less a small sponge filter with a smaller sponge prefilter and a carbon container I emptied out (thx copper). There is also a Mini-Jet in the opposite corner the Duetto moving water. I am very happy with the Duetto so far, but my ammonia will not go below 0.2. pH is 8.2, no nitrites. Do you think this is ok?  What would you recommend? <Keep up regular water changes. You can do smaller changes two or more times a week. Siphon all uneaten food and detritus out during changes> What of your books would best benefit someone who's been in the industry, but hasn't read any new books other then The Reef Aquarium (sprung) and Marine Aquarium Reference (Moe). <Those are both excellent books, but you could make some nice additions to your library with Bobs "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation", and Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes". These are all useful books that you'll enjoy.> Thanks again as always! Mark <Best of luck! Scott F.>

Oops...overfed? Hello again guys.  This one is stupid.  I have a 120gal FOWLR.  9 damsels, and a Flame Angel.  LFS has a gorgeous Naso Tang and a Pyjama Tang for unbelievably cheap, so I came home tonight and tested the water to see if I could go buy them tomorrow.   <please don't buy the pajama tang...they are very inappropriate for captivity. They have extremely challenging dietary needs (they are one of the few coral feeding tangs) and most don't service more than 3 years in captivity with most of them dying within 18 months. The ones that do acclimate are extremely aggressive/territorial.  Besides, their adult size with the Naso at 18" (adult) is too much for a 4 foot long tank> For over a month I've had 0 Ammonia, 0 NO2, <25 NO3.  Temp is 77F, Salt at 1.023, and pH at 8.5 (or so says my test kit...is this too high?).   <not too high by day> Anyway, I tested tonight and to my dismay (my wife laughed at me because now I can't buy the fish) the nitrites were at about 0.15 and the ammonia was trace...not quantifiable, but still not absolutely 0.  Here's the thing...I am pretty sure I overfeed.  I give at least one cube of either frozen brine, frozen plankton, or frozen Daphnia (Hikari) every day, plus some algae tabs and either flake or pellet food.  This is probably way too much for these guys, right?   <not at all... small frequent feedings are one of the keys to long term success with marine fishes and corals. Your lingering remnants of nitrification are more likely a tell tale sign of a nutrient export flaw. Lack of water changes, lax use of carbon, and most likely a skimmer than does not give you a full cup every day of skimmate (something that should be easy with this load and feeding schedule)> And this probably could have caused the nitrogen spikes, right?   <could have> So, my main question is:  will the Flame Angel be alright without being fed until the nitrogen compounds are gone?   <yep> There is live rock to munch on.   <agreed... more the better> How long before I absolutely have to feed him again?   <5-7 days... but examine your filtration instead> Also, should this drop back to 0 NO2 take long, assuming the bio filter is mature?  Thanks so much, you guys are my saviors....my LFS doesn't seem to know what they're doing most of the time. Matt.  PS  I got a 10 gallon QT as insisted by Steven Pro....great for peace of mind. <awesome! Forward progress my friend. Anthony>

More about my 30 Gal Marine Aquarium Dear Bob, Well I am happy to report that I have nothing but good news for you. <Oh! Refreshing...> The Cu did suppress the Ich and all the fish ( I can't call them specimens now that I have come to know their personalities) seem to be healthy and fairly content. <Great!> The Yellow Tang has shed his spots, healed his holes and is gaining a little weight. The black blenny (for want of a correct name for him) and the tang have been eating the algae and the added Caulerpa plus the Nori. So the algae is under control growth wise. Water quality has improved to zero Ammonia and Nitrites, and Nitrates are to low to turn the sample more than just a little pink. Lighter than the lowest concentration detectable with this chemistry set. Salt is hanging at about 1.022 to 1.023 with weekly 5 gal water changes. Temperature is 79-80 (variation due to the 60 watts of lights.) I have purchased a 75 gal Oceanic and am now going through the shopping list as the budget allows to get the filter system. I found an over the side protein skimmer with a bio-filter section similar to the one on page 68 of TCMA, right hand side of the picture. Since I could not afford the tank with a hole in the bottom (called reef ready ?) and I had the over the side skimmer filter, I think I will go with a dual wheel over the side filter similar to what I have now. <Okay> I am considering a fish and invertebrate tank with live rock, live sand, fish, shrimp, crabs, tube worms and maybe some leather coral or star coral later. I figure this should take the better part of a year to 18 months to get going due to budget and other considerations. <Very good> I say all this out loud so that you can critique it not because I am trying to show you I have learned everything I need to learn from the fish only tank. I am still feeling my way along trying not to kill the fish. So blast away if need be. <All sounds very good... Congratulations on your success, progress. Bob Fenner> Regards, Tom

Ants Around Aquarium Good evening, folks: <cheers> My 125G FOwoLR is three-tiered. The lower cabinet houses the sump, the middle is the aquarium and the upper cabinet provides access to the opening of the aquarium, as well as to lights, air pump, etc. My question pertains to ants that appear on the side shelf of the top of the aquarium. While I do not believe that they are getting into the water, they are very unsightly. I know that I cannot use anything toxic, so I was wondering if you may have any suggestions as to a safe method to get rid of the little critters. Thanks, Mitch <have you tried the small plastic (stickable) bait traps? They contain bait that the ants carry back top the nest to kill the colony. Indeed you cannot spray anything fumous. Else I suggest sticky traps/double faced tape. Do find the source though at any rate... not cool in the house :) Best regards, Anthony>

Maintenance Dear Sir, Thanks so much for all of your help in the past and for providing such an informative website for all to utilize. I have been to your maintenance FAQ section and cannot find anything specific on the topic of cleaning a wet/dry filter. <Ok> I am wondering, other than the obvious pre-filter maintenance, how often I should actually clean the wet/dry sump and foam water polishing block in the bottom of the filter? <The foam block and prefilter should both be cleaned as often as possible. It is amazing how much material can be removed from your system with daily cleaning of these mechanical filters. The sump should be siphoned clean of settled detritus whenever you do water changes or debris accumulates.> I know not to immerse the bio balls in fresh water and a clean, salt water dip is ok to remove detritus matter, but what about the rest of the unit? Thanks so much! T. Michael Basciano <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Triggerfish, crab/food, misadvice... we have purchased our new trigger fish, he has been in the tank for one week and the nitrate? levels have increased, so on advice from the pet shop we have placed a poly filter in the tank. we were also advised to get a crab? Well less than six hours later we don't have a crab and the fish is fighting for his life, full loss of colour and very heavy breathing, he seems to stay near the protein skimmer. Is there any advice you can give. <... water change, now! Hopefully with pre-mixed water... and add aeration, cut the food (more crabs included) to zip, nada, nothing... and go to a store that knows what they're doing and seek out a microbial nitrate reducer (my choice here: Cycle by Hagen)... How large a system is this? What filtration? Polyfilter for nitrates? Please, please, please read through our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re all the above terms...  Bob Fenner> P.S. we don't have a quarantine tank

Re: New Tank Syndrome Hi Bob & Experts, It regarding my new tank again.... My tank 4 x 2 x 2.5 ft tank - 150 gallon. Invertebrate - 4 small common hermit crab (1 inch shell) - 10 Astraea Snail - 1 small Serpent star (3 Inch diameter) a) Ammonium NH4 - 0.0 mg/l b) Nitrite NO2 - 0.01 mg/l c) Nitrate NO3 - 20.0 mg/l  d) Calcium Ca - 500 ppm e) pH - 8.2 f) KH - 13 g) Salinity - 1.023 h) Temperature - 26 oC  The tank had been set up since 28 Sep 2002 (2 Weeks) and I notice that there are brownish substance underneath the substrate (3 - 4 Inch) which can be seen at the glass panel but none can be find at the glass panel.. I think its diatom. Q1) Is this the new tank syndrome ? <Diatom growth happens in most new tanks.> Q2) Should I stirred up the substrate or leave as it is ? <I'd leave it, it will go away in time.> Q3) I used SeaChem PhosGuard to reduce silicate and phosphate, but this still happen, why ? <That's just the way it goes, no matter how hard we try we cannot control everything.> Q4) If high calcium, will it reduce the grow of nuisance algae (Diatom) ? <No, your calcium level is fine, I would not try to alter it.> Q5) If the grow of diatom, what should I do ? manual remove or with cleaning crew ? <You could do both, siphon out what you can, a clean up crew would help, but this will go away on its own in time, once your tank is cycled and established. Patience will help a lot in this situation. When I first set up a marine tank I fought like crazy to get rid of the diatoms, then one day they just started going away on their own, like magic. There is more information on the link below. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/diatomfaqs.htm> Thanks Regards Danny

New marine tank Bob: <Gage here this afternoon.> I read your book, The CMA, cover-to-almost-cover and I have learned a lot. <It is a great resource.> My new setup is as follows: 55gal (48x12x21) All-Glass aquarium (newly cycled) Emperor 400 filter (dual BioWheel)  Powersweep 228 (270gph-creates millions of bubbles) Standard, 40-watt fluorescent hood 40 lbs crushed coral substrate 12 lbs LR 5 damsels: 1-three-spot domino 1-four-stripe humbug 1-unknown two-tone ("purple-on-top, yellow-on-bottom") 2-blue devils (with the black stripe through the eye, right?) testing shows: pH: 8.4 spg: 1.021 ammo: 0.0 nitrite: 0.0 nitrate: 2.5 (was 20.0 before LR; could that be in only 9 days?) <It is possible, you can always have your LFS test your water to double check.> temp: 78F Currently I have the brown diatom thing happening (diagnosis based on what I have read here).  <Very common.> I know I should've decided upon the fish up front, but I just haven't. I am leaning towards the peaceful variety. Also, hardy invertebrates would be nice. Maybe a coral or two after upgrading system lighting/filtration/both? I am bursting with excitement now that my tank has cycled, but I intend to go VERY slowly. <You are a wise man. It is amazing how much patience pays off in this hobby. You will need to upgrade your lighting if you want to keep corals, also some more filtration to add current, maybe a few more powerheads.> I would like to start by adding a small amount of crustacean life. I certainly do not want them by the dozen! Maybe a shrimp or two; a crab or two; what do you think? <Sure, My tank went for months with Live Rock, Hermit Crabs, and a Cleaner shrimp. I just told people it was my hermit crab tank. Be sure to research the crustaceans you plan on adding, especially the crabs.> I am very flexible for later on as far as fish are concerned (unfortunately, no Niger Trigger for me, right). <Right, it would outgrow the 55 pretty quick. Think about what type of fish you want, make a list, do some research, if you have any questions let us know. Best Regards, Gage.> Thanks, Rich

Light Foam on Top... and trim the sideburns Hello, Im getting a lite film on the top of my water and I am wondering if this is something to worry about, Or will my filters eventually get it. I have a 120 gallon saltwater, with live rock and two large canister filters and the main filter is an EBB & FLOW w/ protein skimmer. The film almost looks oily with fine particulate matter in it. Thanks for your time in this matter and thank you for having this page. Thanks again, Tim Calaway. <<Hi Tim! Yes, proteins have an affinity for the surface, that's why many people use skimmer/overflow boxes that skim this thin layer of water off with all of it's rich organics. You can skim it off with a clean glass or cup held just at the surface to pull the scum into the glass. A clean, white, scent free paper towel will also soak up some. Maybe think about an overflow or skimmer box. Craig>>

Any advice? Please help... (Marine operation, troubleshooting...) <<Hi Ron, Sorry to hear of your difficulty, let's get this resolved.>> Hi Bob, great site you have with a lot of great information! Here is my predicament and believe me-I have learned my lesson and will use a quarantine tank from now on. Last Saturday I had a yellow-eyed (Kole) tang pass away. I thought he may have had "hole in the head" and was told to give him more vitamins, in any case it did not work. What I figure now is that he must of had a secondary infection. That Saturday I bought a blue jaw trigger and a blenny and added them to the tank. This tank is newly established, 8 weeks now. On the Monday my flame angel had passed away. We talked to our pet retailer and they suggested Rally Ruby Reef after they had seen the flame angel's body-figured it was a parasite.  <<Snake oil I'm afraid. May have then contributed to your further difficulties. Next time catch them and treat in QT, never in main, no matter what they say at the LFS.>> Treated the tank for 3 days but our blue jaw trigger and maroon clown were getting worse, the blue jaw had a white velvety look to him and his body was discoloring and the maroon just looked thin with dark eyes. By Thursday evening I had very sadly lost my beautiful trigger. Today (Friday) we were told to try Aquatronics Greenex after using carbon in the filter overnight to remove any Rally med left. Well today my maroon passed away.  <<This sounds like Velvet, fast moving, affects gills first thus slowly asphyxiating fish. Remove FISH ONLY to QT with copper as per the disease FAQ's on WWM. The stars are having problems because of the Rally, Greenex, and the accompanying water conditions. I would do several large water changes over several days and hope for the best with your stars unless you can move them to another tank besides the QT. Copper will kill all of your inverts including stars, so be careful with it and wash hands between tanks and after handling copper treatments.>> I am devastated, I still have the blenny and 3 gorgeous serpent stars. My yellow serpent seems to be loosing the tips of her arms only, maybe 1 mm, my green serpent looks as though he is shrinking and although still eating, has seemed to curl himself into a ball by the rock-very odd-my serpents are always on the go and not shy. My question is, is it possible that whatever killed all of my fish is killing my serpent stars? <<Not unless it's crashing biocapacity from using Rally and Greenex or affecting your water quality which it surely is.>> By the way-water quality is great. My red serpent is doing fantastic-she's very large. My second question is, should I remove my red serpent star and put her in my other aquarium or is it possible that I could infect that tank too by moving her there? Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Devastated Chris,  <<If you have two tanks AND a QT, you could move the stars to a clean unaffected tank, QT the fish and treat them, and leave the main tank fallow (no fish) for a least one month, preferably longer. You will need to stay on top of the QT water quality, testing every other day and test carefully for copper with the correct test kit for the type of copper. (See WWM links below) Watch the Blenny carefully and use the recommended dose according to the WWM disease FAQ's as Blennies can be quite sensitive to copper. Maybe give him a FW dip (matched pH and temp and aerated) for 5 minutes or so before moving him into a CLEAN uninfected tank. If you need tanks or containers try a Rubbermaid container. Try this link and follow those at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm Also- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetfaqs.htm This should get you back on track. I wouldn't stock anything until your system is stabilized. My best wishes, Craig>>

Re: Any advice? Please help... <<Hi Ron and Chris>> Hello again, thank-you so much for getting back to us so quickly! I have one other question, how do I move the stars to my other tank? I'm assuming the tank that they are in now still have the parasites in the water??!! I just want to make certain that my unaffected tank does not become affected by moving the stars in it. Thank-you so much for all of your help. The green and yellow stars have seemed to get worse over night. Chris & Ron <<You are very welcome!! Yes, it will. Does the other tank have fish? If so maybe you should go the extreme water change route on the main (infected tank) to alleviate their problems while it runs fallow of fish. If you can improve the water and conditions they are in now it will help immeasurably. Perhaps a couple large H2O changes over a few days if you don't have a clean spot for them w/o fish. Or a Rubbermaid container with rock and substrate from the main. You are correct in maintaining strict isolation and cleanliness between tanks containing fish. I sure hope this helps you out! Craig>>

Re: Any advice? Please help... Thanks again for your help. <<No problem my friend>> My infected tank has sand and live rock, will the parasites continue living on these?  <<YES, but the stars don't host ick or velvet, so no issue for them if you get the water changed enough to relieve them from the Rally and Greenex induced dregs>> And what about the buckets that I have used to already do a water change on the infected tank and the net I used to pull out the dead fish-do these need to be sterilized?  <<ABSOLUTELY!!! and perhaps a good dip between uses as well. Scrub out and wash thoroughly.>> My other aquarium does have fish in it-how do I maintain the stars in a rubber-maid container exactly and for how long will this have to be done? I'm a little confused as I do not have a QT and always thought the biological filter was in place (3-6 weeks) before you could even add starfish??!! Thanks, Chris. <<Yes, do remove some sand and rock from the main (especially sand) for the stars in the Rubbermaid if you choose this route over leaving them in the main and doing some large water changes. The sand and rock would be the biocapacity in the Rubbermaid. Please go to: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm And do hit all the links at the top of the page. Craig>>

Re: Any advice? Please help... (Quarantine... and) Sincerely grateful for all of your help. I think I will treat the blenny in a QT that I will have to purchase and leave the stars in the main tank and do the necessary water changes. What percentage of water should I change, how often and for how long? How long will it take before my infected tank that will just carry my stars, sand and LR be able to safely hold fish again? After putting the blenny in the QT should I continue the other 2 recommended Greenex treatments or just use the copper on him. He doesn't seem to be as affected as the others that passed away. Much appreciated, Chris <<Hmmm, maybe FW dip the blenny and see if he's affected at all before treating him in copper. Copper can be hard on blennies. (See the links from the previous post for treating parasites.) I wouldn't use Greenex myself. If he's flashing or scratching, then give him the minimum dose of copper for two weeks. Then regular SW with no copper for two more to be sure he's clean. I would leave the main fallow for a month to two months.  For the main, I would do something like a 25%-50% change up front and run carbon like crazy to see if they don't react better. You want to change as much as you reasonably can to improve conditions for the stars, they need chemical free water. Good luck, Craig>> 

Where do I start? (marine troubles... operation... need of local guru) I have a 46 gallon, bow front tank. I have a 300 Aquaclear filter, Lee's counter-current in tank protein skimmer, 36"twin bulb hood with marine glow actinic blue and sun lite (I run it about 10hrs a day)...I also have about 17lbs of live rock...My tank has been setup for about 2 months, I am very new to salt water. I use "Cycle" every week. I started with two damsels for the first 3 weeks, after my Nitrate level increased to about 10ppm and my nitrites and ammonia were at 0ppm, I added a strawberry Basslet one week, then I added a camel back shrimp and two hermit crabs the next week and then the next week I added a Kole Tang and a Per. Clown.......every thing was good for about two weeks, I tested regularly and ammonia and nitrates were a zero and the nitrates stayed between 5ppm and 10ppm based on water changes.<Everything sounds pretty good up to this point.> I was doing a 5gal water change weekly, but once things started going bad I did a 45% water change about a week ago. Here's what is wrong. About two week ago my Strawberry Basslet started swimming slowly and spending most of the time upside down and riding the current, <<They do this....>> but the Basslet would eat and had no visible skin problems and wasn't breathing faster than normal. A couple days later White spots appeared on my Tang and clown fish as well as the Basslet (the Basslet was still riding the current around the tank) I though the spots could be from the nitrates, so this is when I did the 45% water change. Well about a week later I put the Basslet out of it's misery (he was in rough shape, never got better) and the clown fish and Tang still have the white dots on their fins. The damsels are fine. All the fish eat, my tank tests still red 0ppm Nitrites and ammonia and Nitrates are between 5 - 10 ppm. <ammonia should be 0> Another problem I have in my Kole Tang has no color. He has been a light peach color, he won't eat anything green (I tried zucchini, dried green algae and dried blue algae) The tang eats flake food, brine shrimp and other frozen foods regularly.<keep offering a variety of food, but do not overfeed, leftover food will contribute poor water conditions.> I feed them once a day. I think the color loss in the tang is from stress....<probably>what am I doing wrong? Is there any other chemical in my tank that might be bothering my fish?...none of the fish breathe heavy and all of them eat regularly.....Please help...I'm going crazy!!! Could my red seas test kit be faulty?. I also check the PH, alkalinity and Salinity regularly too. One thing is that my tank's temp ranges between 75-80 daily<Bingo>, is this bad...never below 75 and never above 80........ <A temperature swing from 80 to 75 is a pretty big swing anything over 2 degrees is going to really stress your fish, which will in turn weaken their immune system which will allow the ich (white spots) to take over.> thank you in advance and I look for to hearing from you....I love the site Bonus question, I was looking to upgrade my skimmer from the Lee's to maybe a hang on Prizm skimmer. Would this be wise, everything I read states that my Lee's skimmer is a good a Prizm. Would it be worth the money to invest in the Prizm...or should I stay with the Lee's until I can afford a more expensive one? I am looking for an increase in performance as well as something that doesn't tank up space in my tank. <I would wait on the Prizm, I have an Aqua C Remora that I am happy with. Check out our skimmer FAQs for more information on different skimmers and other peoples experiences. http://wetwebmedia.com/skimbestof.htm  Now, about the fish problem. It sounds like your fish have ich. The link below will give you more information on this disease and how to treat it. http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm -info on dips Your fish are going through a stressful period right now, once everything stabilizes and they are back in good health, then I would worry about their color, but right now color change can be expected. Please get back to us if you have further questions, and if so also include your ph, salinity and any other tests that you have done. Best of Luck, Gage>

Disaster from the beginning (anemone et al. troubles) Dear Bob , <<Hi Breanda, Let's see if we can't save your tank and your sanity. It won't be easy, but let's salvage what we can and go from there.>> I'm new to this site, it's late and I just got home from work. I don't know if I am supposed to write to you or what. Even if you answer me I will not know where to look for the answer. Let me tell you something about my 55gal tank I bought at Wal-Mart a year ago. I have had nothing but trouble from the start mostly death for the first few months then things started to do good life was going on corals were starting to do very well. and the fish also. Then it was the algae. I got through that, then it was the saltwater ick. I used a product that said it was reef safe, but they lied I lost almost everything. <<Yes, unfortunately common. The ONLY way is a quarantine tank to avoid introducing problems>> Hundreds of dollars. I'm not rich I live pay to pay. A little extra to go somewhere or to dinner. Well this latest disaster after having the tank for a year was caused by a bubble-tip anemone medium size. He died. I woke up one morning last week and the tank looked like the fog from London settled in my tank so I did a water change. Left the fish in there because I had other anemones die on me, but nothing like this. It's been a week and3 partial water changes on half the tank and 5 total water changes and I'm still getting extremely high ammonia readings. I did move a beautiful piece of organ pipe coral to the 10gallon seahorse tank and a Koran ,yellow tang that now has pop eyes and red around it's mouth, 2 percula clowns died in the big tank , gobies angle fish live rock, feather dusters, mushroom corals. I had to move all these things to another tank because of all the ammonia in the big one. I can't get rid of the ammonia no matter what water changes, prime, ammo lock, put in bacteria vital also added precluded filter media nothing is getting rid of the ammonia and more and more fish are dying and all my corals are dead. When I went to the tank today and saw the coral beauty dead he looked like some kind of a slime was coming off his body, but he was fine last night he even ate these fish were all taken out of the 55 gallon and put into the 10 gallon tank and that tank's readings are good) I lost it I started crying and I'm not the crying type. I just spent a little over 200 dollars in different kinds of chemicals to get rid of the ammonia, but nothing is working. Could it possible be the live sand holding the ammonia level this high . I did get out the dead worms at least the ones I could find. Please I need all the help I can get. I don't know what else to do.  <<Alright, from what I read your BTA crashed your incapacity and killed enough of your inhabitants that their decomposing is feeding your ammonia, soon to be nitrite. You need to tear this tank down enough to find and remove all of the dead inhabitants, some of which I'm sure are in the rock work, sand, etc. The rock and sand is either overwhelmed or crashed, so I would recycle the tank as if new. This means you need to move and maintain everyone that survived in another tank. 10 gallons sounds like a small tank for this job, so I suggest something inexpensive like a Rubbermaid container to hold, heat, light and circulate, filter and skim your living stuff. Please test this water at least every two days for ammonia/nitrite and make changes to keep it under control. Get all of the dead matter out of your 55 and treat it like it's new, testing for 0 ammonia and nitrite and the presence of nitrate will indicate you can *slowly* re-establish your 55. You will need your fully equipped 10 gallon to *slowly* make the switch unless you can afford another heater and some circulation for the temporary Rubbermaid tank. I would buy a heater and maybe borrow a powerhead or two from the 55 during the switch. The trick is to maintain good conditions in both the 55 which will be cycling, and the Rubbermaid, which needs the same equipment/conditions. The Rubbermaid will be accumulating the same waste as the 55, so test, test, test, and make water changes to control it.>>  I better go now it's really late it's after 2am and I'm getting tear drops no my keyboard. here is my e-mail address maybe you can tell me where to look for the answer.  my name is Brenda Thank you for at lease listening to my story. <<I'm really sorry you have had such a hard time, hopefully in time you will be able to look back at this as a learning experience. I strongly recommend you purchase a really good book or two to help you in stocking your tank with easier to keep inhabitants that are less toxic. I don't recommend anemones as they are demanding, toxic, require pristine water and move about if these conditions aren't met. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm  <<Best of luck, Craig>>

Marine Aquarium Operation Thanks Anthony, But I've got a few more for you. I will put a sump on my tank to keep the water parameters more stable, and I've got a few problems. I am getting a new drilled 29 gallon for the display. First, the sump ( old 29 gal) will need to go behind the existing wall that the tank is set up in front of.  <OK> The plumbing will go through small holes in the wall, but I'm not too sure if I should do PVC or flexible tubing...what do you think? <hard pipe if possible... and as few bends and elbows as possible. Soft bends preferable (45) to hard (90)> Second the temp in the basement where the tank sits is very unstable in the winter.  <not good here... insulate the sump and use double heaters if necessary. Temperature fluctuations can cause many problems especially with parasite flare ups> I've got an old woodstove that I need to fire up come winter, and the temp gets to about 100. Don't gasp yet, I think I've got a solution. Where the sump is going will be much cooler, around 60 or less. Would that cooler water from the sump be enough to keep the display in a reasonable range?  <no idea and even if so it would be unreliable/inconsistent. It doesn't sound like a great idea to me> Should I just invest in a chiller?  <hmmm... not clear here... we're talking about a cold basement but an overheated upstairs? You'll need to do some experimentation and take temp readings before buying any livestock> Third, is an aqua-clear 802 powerhead (250 gph) enough flow for the return,  <only for 2-3 foot head. They do not work well as a return pump under pressure. You need to figure the height and run from the sump pump to the tank display. The head rating is listed on most pump boxes... add 1 foot of head to the actually distance of the pump to the top of the tank per elbow and 10 foot of run. For example... a return through 2 elbows (2') five foot away from the display in the next room (.5') and going up four foot to the top of the tank (4') is a total head of 6.5' (2+.5+4)> and what do I use to return the water with, should I just drill two holes, a bulkhead for one, and a return line for the other?  <much to learn here... too much for the body of an e-mail. You really need to visit one of our aquarium society meetings for lots of good fellowship and free advice. Check out the Pittsburgh club's website at www.pmas.org> This is turning out to be a doozy of a hobby!  <for your overflow... it depends on if the tank will go reef or not. At any rate... you'll want at least 2 holes for drains. 3-4 would be better... marine aquariums need a lot of water flow. If heat is not an issue with the tank, a Supreme Mag drive pump is a nice and cost-effective pump series. Something around 1000 Pgh will be close> Thank you guys! ;) Jen <best regards, Anthony>

Please help. (Powerheads? Marine Set-up...) I am setting up a 125 gallon reef tank, All-Glass aquarium, with model 3612 ecosystem filter powered by Iwaki WMD40RLXT. <I would remove any biomedia here.> Should I put any powerheads in the tank? <that or a closed circulation system) What model(s) do you recommend? <Most people like and use Maxi-jets> What flow rate? <ten times total volume overall> Where should I locate? <This is an individual consideration depending on how the tank/rock/inhabitants are placed or configured and what you want to keep. Please do look into a good book that will provide the various conditions for whatever you plan to keep.> How much live rock should I use? <Depends on the type/density/weight of the rock. For Fiji the recommendation ranges from 1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon. This is also a personal/appearance decision. The above recommendation factors in bioload.> Thanks for all your continued help. You are very welcome, have fun! Craig

Re: Power Heads for Reef Tank Craig, Biomedia is stuff like Chemipure, etc? <No. Bioballs, sponges, etc. If it's sponge and you want it to filter particulate matter, then it needs to be cleaned at the very least, weekly. Most sponges, bioballs, media etc. produce nitrates from nitrites. LR and DSB's resolve this.> Do you like the Power Sweep power head that rotates? <No, and you won't either. They sometimes last a whole week!> What brand do you like for calcium? <I use SeaChem products as they are balanced and supply minor elements in proportion to the major element you are supplementing. IE: Seachem calcium also contains magnesium, strontium, etc.> What brand do you like for alkalinity? <Ditto, Seachem buffer or Reef Carbonate depending on what is happening with your pH. (read the labels) Kent makes a good buffer/carbonate builder as well> What brand do you like for iodine? <I'm not particular. I use Lugol's Solution according to test, label and response.> I hope this helps! Craig

Re: Power Heads for Reef Tank Hi Steve, Because bioballs *produce* nitrate waste, they do not consume it. This is okay for fish which can tolerate higher nitrate levels than inverts and corals. Removing the bioballs removes the problem, and the LR and DSB will process your nitrites into nitrate and nitrate into gas which then leaves the system. This is not possible with the added nitrates from the bioballs. Processing nitrite to nitrate is an aerobic process (requires oxygen) and processing nitrate to gas form is an anaerobic process (requires the absence of oxygen). Bioballs are bathed in oxygen, hence they only perform one part of the process. Does this explain it? For more check WWM, WWF, or Anthony Calfo's excellent book. I hope this helps! Craig

Thanks for writing the book. (marine system operation) I only wish I had been able to read it BEFORE I bought the 30 Gal FO Saltwater tank with too many fish in it. <Me too> So I live and learn. Too bad more of the fish didn't. I lost about half of them to Ich before I learned enough to keep them alive. That did provide enough room for the survivors to be more comfortable. I now have a 10 gal quarantine/hospital tank being set up for future episodes. Methylene Blue seems scarce around here but I have some on order. <Good improvements> The livestock are 2, juvenile damsels (1 inch), 1 engineer goby (3 inches), 1 Black Blenny with a sometimes white tail (2.5 inches) and a Yellow Tang (3.5 inches). <A bit too much for a thirty gallon system> Water quality is now Nh3=0, NO2=0 NO3=10 Ph=8.2 (stable) Temp=79-80 (lights off/lights on) Cu=~10 Salinity=1.023. <Copper at? 10 ppb? 0.10 ppm?> The holey rock I added is showing signs of bright red and dark green algae but the tang is not grazing on it. <Likely this/these are forms of blue green algae (Cyanobacteria) and the Tang won't eat them. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Walls have a lighter green algae on which the fish do occasionally nibble. Is this brightly colored algae probably coralline (lighting is 30 w actinic 03 and 30 watt coralline on timers actinic=14 hours, white=12 hours)? <Sounds good> Filter is over the side dual wheel and over the side bubble fractionator. No under gravel. I would like to add 3 neon gobies as cleaners and reduce the Cu to 0. However I think that may pushing it in a 30 gal tank even with the filtering and weekly water changes (5 gal/week). <No to adding more fish life w/o taking something out (perhaps the damsels, more likely the Yellow Tang... If you get a Neon Goby, make it singular, just one to this size, type system... and please read over the Copper use areas on our root web (if you like our books, you'll really like our sites): WetWebMedia.com. You don't want measurable residual copper in your system.> If you have time, I would enjoy your reply ( no matter how critical). Best Regards, Tom Gentry <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Thanks for writing the book. (marine system operation) Dear Bob, Thanks so much for your reply. I mis-typed the cu level. The Cu level is expressed in mg/l Cu=~.10 mg/l <Ahh, as I suspected... just wanted to make sure> At the end of three weeks I am removing the copper from the system completely, crossing my fingers and hoping the Ich has been suppressed enough for the fish to handle it now. <I as well> After the Cu is gone could I consider some herbivores such as snails, hermit crabs etc. ? quantity ? <Perhaps... but do assure it (cupric ion) is really gone... with activated carbon and/or Polyfilter (tm) use> So no more fish for now in the 30 gal. <No> I am shopping for a steal on a 50-70 gal reef ready tank which I will set up per your instructions (chapter 5 TCMA) for fish and invertebrates. I will probably convert the 10 gal to a filter sump and the 30 gal to the quarantine tank. I will hold off on any more fish until I have a larger tank or as replacements for casualties. <A good plan> As for the algae, I will carefully monitor the situation and see what develops while gently removing what I can at weekly cleaning/water change time. I am of course hoping for a desired algae but I have no reason to expect such a good result except the actinic lighting. <These populations can be managed best by controlling nutrient levels... though a multiple input management plan (competitors, predators...) is optimal> Under these conditions would the introduction of Caulerpa possibly be beneficial or not ? <Would be, yes> Regards, Tom Gentry <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Tank (Troubles... with move, stress, disease...) Hello, <Hi there> I have been reading the questions and answers for hours and I am very impressed. I recently purchased a 54 gallon saltwater aquarium. I had a freshwater 75 gallon aquarium. I wanted the 54 to be fresh and the 75 to be salt. So we emptied all the rocks out of both aquariums and rinsed thoroughly. We were unable to move the Fluval 304 Canister filter to the 75 gallon because the BioWheel from the 75 would not fit on the 54. On the salt aquarium we have a BioWheel, protein skimmer, and a wave maker, with two bubble walls. The BioWheel will be replaced shortly with a canister filter. The new saltwater tank has been running for about a week now. <I see> These are the following measurements of the saltwater aquarium; pH-is 7.8, yes it is on the low side which confuses me because my tap water is 8.6 and then adding the salt, I would think would elevate the PH.  <Buffered "both ways" to be "about right"... this measure may be accurate... in the early AM. Try again at different times of the day... perhaps look into an alkalinity test-kit (as important as pH)> any suggestions on getting this to normal range, would be great?  <They would be? Much to state here, and it's been: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the FAQs beyond> Nitrate is less than 10ppm. Nitrite is not even measuring, way below 0.2mg/l. Ammonia is approx. 0.2mg/l (A little on the high side).  <Just part of the process... patience, this too shall pass> Temperature is approx. 81 F., elevated to help with the ick.  <What ich? You placed fish in a new tank?> The salinity is approx. 1.020. The fish store I have been dealing with told me to take out the carbon filters in the BioWheel because that takes all the copper out of the medicine, is this going to cause serious problems with the waste level? <Possibly> This is the problem, all the fish that came with the saltwater aquarium were put through a lot of stress.  <Came with it? Not a good idea> They were all in a bag for about three hours. The fish are as follows; Spiny Box Puffer he seems to get along great with the other fish), one Purple Tang, one Rabbitfish, one Saddle Valentini Puffer, one Clownfish. Also one starfish and one anemone these two are in a small two gallon tank for now, so I don't kill them with the ick medicine) The bottom has crushed coral with some live rock. I thought having all of her crushed coral and decorations would help this tank cycle quicker for saltwater but I am wondering if that may be part of my problem. <... would strongly suggest "going back to square one" here to aid you in your development in the marine hobby... what you have is a mix of species and situation that is trouble... I would "trade in" the anemone, starfish... and "limp along" with the system as it is, unless you have the great fortune to have a shop or other hobbyist who will take on your fishes temporarily while your system "settles in"> My problem is this the Spiny Box Puffer has not eaten for a week, well since he was put in the 75 gallon tank. About two days after he was in the 75 gallon tank he was running into the walls, the next day he was completely covered with white spots I believe to be ick). <Likely so... and brought on by "stress" more than anything> I began treating with Quick Cure( yes I heard that is not always the best from your website).  <Very toxic... likely forestalling the establishment of cycling> The next day I started noticing a few white spots on my other fish. The fish have been treated with the Quick Cure for about three days, I am noticing a slight improvement with the behavior of the Spiny Box Puffer, with not bumping into walls. I have not seen these fish except when sick, so I am not familiar with the normal behavior. The Box Puffer still will not eat anything, as a nurse I know he needs too, LOL. I did one freshwater dip on all fish for three minutes I know not long enough). Every fish was lying on its side the entire time and this really concerned me. What can I do to get these fish better?  <From the tenor of your note I sense you are not joking, trying to "get a rise" out of me/us... but really, what needs to be done at this point is to place all these fishes in a large-enough quarantine/treatment tank, lower spg, elevate temp. and treat them with a chelated copper solution (with testing)... And not in the main tank...> I will not have a quarantine tank for at least another month, how big should the tank be?  <Oh! Likely 29 gallons plus> Would you quarantine all fish if one showed signs of being sick?  <All... and leave your main system fallow (w/o fish hosts) for a month or more... as proscribed on WWM> The box puffer is really sick, I really don't want to go through all this work to get him better if he is going to be more prone to disease. Also in addition to the above information, I believe that my Purple Tang for sure is suffering from HLLE (poor nutrition most likely from previous owner) My Rabbitfish may also be suffering from it. I know that a better nutrition will help cure this but is there anything else to help these fish? <Time, good steady care, learning on your part...> Plus I do not want to lose my Purple Tang due to the fact that this fish is rare and expensive. Would it be good for me to take the Purple Tang out of the tank and put him in the two gallon?  <No, not good. Would likely hasten its demise... Do you "get better" by being put in a closet when you're sick, your environment is unsuitable? Me neither> I really don't know if I should because Tangs need room to swim and I don't want to stress him out more than I have too.  <Ah, yes> After all of this with the Spiny Box Puffer, I don't know if I want to keep him. So I considered for the good of the aquarium and other fish to give him to a pet store once he is better, I feel horrible about it but I don't want any sick fish!!! <Too late... and too "western"... please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm A very valuable model, understanding of your situation, occupation, life itself> To be honesty with you I really don't know much about aquarium fish being sick. I had the freshwater aquarium set up for six months and my fish where never sick, I only lost a total of three fish with the new tank syndrome out of about 26 fish. Of course the fish were added over a period of time.  <Bingo!> I also took great pride in what my fish ate and when they ate. The lady that I bought this saltwater aquarium from didn't take too much pride. She only fed every other day and mainly meat products, very little algae food. She also stated she had a problem with ick. I am improving all the fishes diet with more variety and vegetables. <A shame... her and the planets loss> Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I am sure it looks horrific!!! LOL. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Annette <You show concern and intelligence in your writing. Apply yourself here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Saltwater Tank Hello, again, Here is why I ended up with the tank and fish. What happened was a person was selling a 54 gallon corner bow tank with stand and all equipment and fish, it was a really great deal ($200).  <On the face of it... a bargain> I would have never had that many fish to start with in a new tank, but I was hoping with the already existing crushed coral and live rock, all with good bacteria would help cycle this tank.  <And maybe you could save those organisms from their apparent ill-fate> I have found a home for the starfish and anemone.  <Ah, good> I am not going to wait to purchase a quarantine tank, I am actually working on purchasing one now. I also will start treating with Hex-a-mit and perform 15 % water changes every other day. <The Hex-a-mit... Metronidazole... is not the route to go... I strongly suggest you do a bit more look/seeing... perhaps the various chatforums (ours: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/), reefs.org, ReefCentral... even books... for a tried and true course of treatment for ich> I also purchased some formula one and formula two, to help with the nutrition of the fish. You also recommended performing several other tests, besides pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. <Actually, I just suggested alkalinity> Well I am having trouble finding the testing kits around my area, any recommendations for online supply stores that would carry this?  <Several posted on WetWebMedia.com under Marine Links, E-tailers...> Sorry I sounded as if I was trying to get a rise from you or your staff. I was just trying to apply common sense to the whole situation, maybe a bad idea. <No... the whole situation sounded so out of place for what else you had stated (success with freshwater) that I thought (this happens quite often...) that you might be "pulling our leg, fins...", but realized from the overall construct of the msg. and its "voice" you were/are serious... we're here to help.> A local aquarium store owner is coming to take a look at the tank this afternoon.  <Ahh! Very good. Commendable> So hopeful with your assistance you have given me and this store owners assistance with some more research I will be able to help get this system into proper working order. Thank you for the time, Annette <Very well. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Hurricane Hello all! I hope we are all doing well. <Very well in fact. I am getting very excited for most of the WetWebMedia crew to get together at MACNA.> I was wondering what your opinion is on what a person should do in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane (Isadore has her eye on Texas) and evacuating becomes a necessity? <If they evacuate you, I am going to assume it is serious and not smart to delay at all. I would have a few battery operated pumps on hand, throw those in the tank, and rush out the door.> Is it better to leave your livestock behind in hopes that when you get back that they are all okay? <I like my fish, but value my family and myself much more.> Or is there an emergency evacuation plan that can be used for some of the livestock that could possible handle a temporary relocation? <There is no telling how long you would be gone for, plus factor in how long it would take most folks to catch their fish.> I realize that battery powered air pump and maybe even power heads will be an advantage if you have leave all behind, but is there anything that can be done besides hoping for the best and making sure your insurance covers your investment? Kim <Cross you fingers and be glad you made it out. -Steven Pro>

Re: Fish Tank Crisis (marine set up, anemones, calcium, maintenance...) Good Afternoon WWM Crew! Hope you're all having fun! Anthony has been helping me with this on going crisis which may now have a happy ending. We had the 55gal. filled with bad choices... <I recall seeing this correspondence (as moved about on WWM). Antoine is off on a junket (he REALLY seems to be enjoying traveling about, chatting re coral prop.), so I'll respond.> So we took back: Sweetlips (they had two more at the store already) Coral Beauty, Both anemone's, Hammerhead Corals, and both Nudibranchs. We are left with: Male/female Anthias, Brittle star (light green all over), neon velvet damsel, two clowns, marine Betta, one coral, several shrooms, and several feather dusters. Questions FOR THE ALL KNOWING:;-) You suggested only one anemone, why? <One or none... in the wild these animals are almost always widely separated as individuals... or if there seem to be a bunch in one place, these are often genetically identical (from dividing, splitting)... anemones "don't play well together"... chemically or physically... and their "sparring" in small closed volumes in captivity can be a source of real trouble... is this enough of an explanation?> Will our Star want to play with our anemone?  <Hopefully not... but this is a very small "world"... and the way things go, "the bigger the better" with aquariums... diluting effects, stability... all increase more than arithmetically with increasing size of systems> It seemed he was with our last one... The pet store said we should give Calcium daily when we had two coral and that it was good for our fish too.. Is this still a good idea? <Yes... but... and... with test kits... knowing what you're up to... Too much to give a "complete" answer here... I encourage you to read over books, WWM re alkalinity, calcium... what they are, significance, adjustment, testing... before getting products, administering them> How do we know what and when to supplement. Have been up late every night, even falling asleep on/with Bob's book and he say's ideally foods will give everything - but supps. good idea....for us? <Likely so... with the biomineralizing life you have... size of system... but do get/use test kits... it may well be that you'll have "enough" of what your organisms need/use per the make-up of the seawater, lighting... w/o supplementing> when we first started with the calcium as soon as the liquid hit the water it looked like a snow storm in our tank but last night it didn't, do you know why? Is this normal? <Not normal as in desirable... but does happen due to imbalances in the existing water... again... a bit too much background necessary to give an overall explanation here. Please read through the WWM FAQs files re calcium supplementation and pH/Alkalinity> I learned from The book taking into consideration the selection of fish we have, that our tank would benefit from a few more scavengers. Is there any harm in bringing "several" snails and hermit crabs home at the same time? <No harm if the system is stabilized (not new), and there's sufficient food material for them...> The book also mentions that it is a good idea to purchase cleaner shrimp of the Lysmata Genus for our Anthias... Will our Beta eat them (the shrimp of course)? <Not likely... but the Sweetlips would have almost for sure> How can we be sure our Beta is getting the proper nutrition? <Observe it feeding> We have a Rio Aqua Pump/Powerhead (90) that we are using for H2O movement but again I think our tank would love and flourish with more, my boyfriend doesn't agree.... PLEASE, tell me I'm right, I love being right, I wanna be right just this once.. :-)No really though what do you think? Thanks again, for saving the day... as always, Laura

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