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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about 1.5 years ago after having my reef aquarium being totally setup and wonderful for 3 years, I decided I needed a new filter. I left my old filter running for 2 months and for 6 months everything was fine. I decided, on the recommendations from my local Big Al's, that I should clean the filter. It's a canister filter and I rinsed out the cartiridges and other stuff thats in there with tap water like I have always done in the past.

Well since then my tank has slowly been "dying" over the past year. I have had 1 fish death that was not old age related and about 15 corals die!!! Polyps, mushrooms, brains, donuts, cabbage, etc that were previously well for 2 years have died at different times. These corals don't slowly decay either, when they die they are fine one day and completely bones or gone within 2 days!

I have star polyps growing like weeds...a few leathers that are fine, a brain, a donut, frog spawn, and a few mushrooms that seem perfectly fine.

I have 5 percula clowns, 1 sand goby, 1 marine beta, 1 blue tang and snails and other assorted invertebrates.

I have a canister filter, protein skimmer, appropriate lights (the name is escaping me now), powerheads galore, and a heater.

I have had my water tested time and time again and everything is within the normal range. Temps are around 80

Could temperature be the problem? If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! As my local fish store does not have any suggestions and my tank looks horrible!

Thanks
Jenna
 

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I haven't had a reef tank setup in many years, so perhaps I'm not the best one to respond. But have you fraged any of your corals yet? After all those years they must have grown as well as your fish growing. Could coral agression or overcrowding be the problem? You said you have polyps galore. Some tend to take over the tank.

When you rinse your filter in tap water, the biological portion of your filter is dead and must start cycling all over. That could have contributed to the sudden decline in your tank's health.

Just my thoughts. I'm sure the experts on the board will have better solutions to your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was doing every second week about a 20% water change, but stopped because it seemed to be making everything worse. Right now I am "topping" the water up as it evaporates and nothing else has died but nothing seems to be growing either.
I havent been doing major water changes over the past 3 months and I have found that nothing new has died but the only thing that seems to be thriving is the star poylps!

I got new light bulbs in january and get new bulbs every year.

I do not overfeed my fish either.

I thought there might be some coral warfare going on as well, but it doesnt explain the overall crappiness of my tank!

Jenna
 

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When you rinse your filter in tap water, the biological portion of your filter is dead and must start cycling all over. That could have contributed to the sudden decline in your tank's health.
Fishfinder is right. When you rinse your filter you should use tank water. The chlorine in the tap water will kill helpful bacteria.
 

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Tap water usually contains chlorine which would kill the helpful bacteria in the tank supplies you are cleaning. When making a water change make sure you use the old tank water you emptied out of the tank to clean the supplies or just use some RO water to clean the tank supplies. If you like make sure to ask your friendly neighbors at the forum to help with a specific question to double check on your local fish store advice.
 

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So about 1.5 years ago after having my reef aquarium being totally setup and wonderful for 3 years, I decided I needed a new filter. I left my old filter running for 2 months and for 6 months everything was fine. I decided, on the recommendations from my local Big Al's, that I should clean the filter. It's a canister filter and I rinsed out the cartiridges and other stuff thats in there with tap water like I have always done in the past.

Well since then my tank has slowly been "dying" over the past year. I have had 1 fish death that was not old age related and about 15 corals die!!! Polyps, mushrooms, brains, donuts, cabbage, etc that were previously well for 2 years have died at different times. These corals don't slowly decay either, when they die they are fine one day and completely bones or gone within 2 days!

I have star polyps growing like weeds...a few leathers that are fine, a brain, a donut, frog spawn, and a few mushrooms that seem perfectly fine.

I have 5 percula clowns, 1 sand goby, 1 marine beta, 1 blue tang and snails and other assorted invertebrates.

I have a canister filter, protein skimmer, appropriate lights (the name is escaping me now), powerheads galore, and a heater.

I have had my water tested time and time again and everything is within the normal range. Temps are around 80

Could temperature be the problem? If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! As my local fish store does not have any suggestions and my tank looks horrible!

Thanks
Jenna
I see your using carbon. This is for you carbon users

Hope this helps

Granular Activated Carbon or GAC is manufactured from carbon, typically coal. The two most common forms are bituminous and lignite based. Another form that is not made from coal is coconut shell based, which is also referred to as hardwood GAC.

What Does GAC Do?

The use of activated carbon in marine tanks is considered to be a form of chemical filtration. Working through absorbtion, GAC removes gelbstoff (the compounds that give water in an aquarium the yellow tint), some large organic molecules, medications, chlorine, pollutants and toxins, as well as many other types of chemical elements and compounds from the water that a protein skimmer or another means of filtration may not remove.

What Filtration Method is Best For Using Carbon?

The best method appears to be by "active" means, which translates into passing water through the carbon by way of a carbon chamber at a slow water flow rate, because if the water is passed through too fast it does not give the carbon a change to fully do its job.

Passive filtration works to some degree, which means placing the carbon in a mesh bag and mounting or hanging it inside the tank or a sump with the water circulating "around" it, but is not really effective for removing yellowing compounds.

How Often Should Carbon be Used?

The two main concerns about using carbon in a saltwater system is that carbon often leaches phosphate into the aquarium, and that it removes necessary trace elements needed by reef animals, particularly corals.


The Phosphate Leaching Issue
As far as phosphate goes, you want to remove this element from your tank, not add it.

A high phosphate accumulation in saltwater aquariums can lead to aggressive hair algae blooms that are difficult to get rid of, and since some brands of carbon may leach phosphate into an aquarium, you should test the carbon you are using, or going to use, for leaching. If you find any relevent traces, change to a different brand.

The Trace Element Absortion Issue
There has been an ongoing controversy amongst aquarist for years if you should use carbon continuously, just when needed, or even at all. The trend leans towards using carbon only when there is really a reason its use is warranted, because a healthy system, particulary one that has an adequate protein skimmer installed should not require it. Richard Harker's iodide absorption test results lead him to conclude that, "the use of carbon has minimal impact on iodide concentrations and that passive use of carbon has no lesser affect on iodide levels than active use." Our conclusion here is that if you decide to use GAC on a continuous basis and are concerned about the possible loss of trace elements, add some trace element supplements in conjunction with the activated carbon, as well as bypass the water flow through the carbon for a short period of time before and after supplements have been added to allow it to be absorbed by the reef life and not the carbon.
How Much Carbon Should Be Used?

More is not always best, and using the least amount of carbon necessary is recommended. The general concensus here is that a quantity of about 3 level tablespoons of GAC per 50 gallons of actual tank water volume should be sufficient to keep a saltwater aquarium or reef tank system color free.

How Often Should Carbon Be Changed?

Like most other absorbing compounds, carbon can only absorb as much as it can hold. Once it has taken in as much as it can, it becomes exhausted, which means it is unable to absorb anything more. For this reason it needs to be changed and replaced, or rejuvinated for reuse. Not all aquariums run the same, so as far as determining when to change the carbon, this is something you will have to figure out on your own. By sight you definately know it's time when the aquarium water begins to get a yellow tinge to it, but there are ways to test it as well. The bottom line is that it's best to use smaller amounts changed more often. The FINS Reefkeepers Granular Activated Carbon FAQ provides a WARNING to take into consideration; not changing all the carbon too quickly if your water is significantly yellow, as this can expose corals to too much UV light abruptly which can lead to coral bleaching, and possible death.

(((((((Forgot to add get yourself a copper test kit.)))))))
 

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First off, what specifically are your water parameters? Good is often times an opinion. Perform a comprehenisve test and post the results here for:
Salinity(tested with a calibrated refractometer):
pH:
KH:
NH3:
NO2:
NO3:
PO4:
Ca:
Mg:

You should target:

Salinity: 35ppt/1.026 SG
pH: 8.0-8.4
KH: 8-10dKH
NH3: 0mg/l
NO2: 0mg/l
PO4: below 0.5ppm
Ca: 400-450ppm
Mg:1300-1400ppm
Secondly, check with your local water supplier to see if they are using chloramine. This information can sometimes be found online. Chloramine is a stablized form of chlorine and much more stubborn to remove. It can be missed by R/O DI units. To combat this, use a good dechlorinator(Seachem Prime) in additon to R/O DI water. Large water changes, if performed correctly, should not upset a tank, or make a situation worse. It is the opposite if chloramine is present, as you will only increase the level in your system. Keep in mind also, that even if they are not adding chloramine directly, it may form if there is NH3 present in the water lines.

Using fresh R/O water will have the same effect as tap water when it comes to killing bacteria. Any hypotonic solution will do that. Use water from your tank to clean your filter media.
 

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What other filtration and water "conditioning" equipment do you have? Are you doing an Kalkwasser additions? Do you have a CO2 reactor? Are you adding any trace elements of any kind (including 2 part products)?

You must have live rock (true)? Do you have a sand bed?

If you have both of these, then the problem was not your filter cleaning. You have 1000x the colonies of beneficial bacterial on the surfaces of your substrate in the tank compared to that in the filter. Forget about the chlorine in the rinse water. You would have to dump gallons of fresh tap water into the tank to make any difference.

Did you notice any other changes in the tank like hair algae, slime algae or diatoms on the glass growing at an increased rate?

It seems like you have some coral dying while others of the same genus are remaining healthy. Is that true?

After I see your answers to my questions, I might be able to give you a bit more of a rendering.

Good luck!
 

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first of all, how big is your tank? do you have a protien skimmer?
do you also have a sump running? what kind of lighting are you using? how often do you feed your fish? what kind of canister filter is it? what do you have in the canister filter?
how many pounds of live rock is in the tank? what are you using for circulation for the water ( power heads? ) are you using sand for the bottom of the tank? if so, is the sand hard on the surface?
 
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