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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just recently started up my first saltwater tank and did so quite hastily. I put it all together and let it cycle for about a week before I started putting live rock in it, then waited another week before putting fish in. I've have a lot of problems with my fish dying, but none of my inverts. I've had it running for about 2 months now and have a longhorned cowfish (which I was not informed about upon buying), 3 pink skunk clownfish, red knob sea star, fire shrimp, peppermint shrimp, emerald crab, 2 hermits, about 50 lbs. live rock, long tentacle anemone, rose bubble anemone, rabbit ear leather coral, and a rock that was apparently loaded with mushrooms.

I have grown to absolutely love my cowfish, but he is already starting to grow a decent amount and i'm afraid he's been the culprit for my mass death among the tank a couple weeks back. I really don't want to get rid of him, but I'm afraid I'm not going to have a choice when it really comes down to it.

My ignorance and lack of self control has put me in a situation where I have tank mates that are not compatible with each other and I'm not sure what do to. I do constant water checks and at least a 7% water change every week, my water quality has been impeccable thus far but I still have random deaths in my tank. Any suggestions on what could be causing this other than just my tank not being cycled all the way through?
 

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Cornelius
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95 Posts
I have not done salt for about a year, so my info may be out of date. That long horned cowfish needs 180 gal minimum and will eat your coral. They can also exude a toxin when stressed that will kill your entire tank. I would NOT recommend them for beginners. I do not remember them being aggressive, just dangerous because of the toxin thing.

How large is your tank? I suspect you need a lot more live rock. Plan for 1 lb per gallon. It also sounds like you added a lot of fish very fast. That my be the cause of your deaths right there.

Clowns can be quite territorial, but I am not familiar with the pink skunk clownfish. If they are stressed or being territorial they may be killing your other fish as well.


Edit: I found the pink skunk's in my book. Cool fish! The book says they are more easily intimidated by boisterous tank mates then the other damsel's. My book does not lead me to believe they are causing a problem. It is possible you just added to much to fast. Have you seen any signs of disease or stress at all?
 

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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
no signs of disease, but i just lost another invert. My red knob sea star which has been thriving and was doing fine earlier today when I left for work was dead and twisted on the aquarium floor. did a water change and everything was fine, all my other fish are doing fine, and never show any sign of sickness, they just suddenly die off. I'm getting very frustrated because I've lost so much so fast. if anyone has any more suggestions please help.
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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411 Posts
When I see a post like this it makes me furious. You have absolutely no idea about what you are doing! All you have managed to do is to kill a bunch of livestock. In all the years that I have been in this hobby I have never heard of such self centered and irresponsible behavior.

You need to stop acting impulsively and learn about how to properly set up and cycle a tank before you attempt it.

If you have any concern for the livestock in your tank, you need to return all of it to the LFS where you got it (even if they give you no credit for it).

No livestock should have been added to your tank before it had completely cycled. That usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks.

If you want to set up a saltwater tank correctly, there are many folks here who will help you. If you want to continue to do things your way, I doubt that anyone will help you.

The reason that you have not received any offers of help so far is probably due to none of our members wanting to advise you of what I just have.

Unless you really knew what you were doing, I doubt that you would pack your own parachute and jump out of a plane. So why do you think you can set up a tank in a couple of weeks and expect not to kill everything in it?
 

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DrHank may have been a little gruff in what he said, but I agree with him 100%.

Lighten the load on your tank. Return as much livestock as you can to the LFS. It stinks to lose some money, but you're going to lose out when everything dies anyway. At least you can prevent the further loss of life.

Let the tank settle for a few weeks. Use a month or so to read and learn about the hobby and become more informed. I've been a freshwater hobbyist for the better part of twenty years. I got my first saltwater tank last December. I've wanted a reef ever since, but I'm being patient and trying to learn before adding creatures I didn't fully understand. It's been a long time, but I will start construction of my reef this weekend.

My point is, start slow, be patient, take your time and understand the requirements of the living things you add to you tank, before you add them.
 

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Cornelius
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95 Posts
Ouch, tough but true.

I am going to need more specifics on tank and conditions before I can help anymore.
At minimum I need to know the size of the tank, what type of filter and how large it is, specific water levels for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate, salinity of the tank, and PH.

If you are using tapwater for water changes instead of deionized that could be a direct cause of what you are describing.

Are you running powerheads or something else to get water movement? Another possibility is that you have some dead spots where ammonia and nitrites are building up.

I know you have said your water conditions are good, but it just doesn't seem possible.

Edit: Big and Ugly's post is true as well. Marine takes a lot of planning. I spent months planning what fish I wanted in my tank and the order in which I would be able to stock them. Even minor details like knowing what trace elements are in the sea salt you are adding to the water can make a difference in the long term health of the tank. There is a lot to know, but it is all easily accessible information and will save you a headache in the future.
 

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Aquarium Fanatic
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1,267 Posts
i will say that i dont think we can help if you dont lighten the load on your tank and stop impulse buying, in contrast i can say that my 90 reef tank has been running for 6 months and you have more livestock then me, in these kind of tanks you need to really take your time and make sure everything stays balanced and your tank is ready, i speak from experience there
 

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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate all of your help, and you all told me exactly what I thought I was going to hear. As much as I don't want to, i'm heading back to my local store and taking everything but my live rock....this is a horrible day for me
 

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~/root
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661 Posts
When I see a post like this it makes me furious. You have absolutely no idea about what you are doing! All you have managed to do is to kill a bunch of livestock. In all the years that I have been in this hobby I have never heard of such self centered and irresponsible behavior.

You need to stop acting impulsively and learn about how to properly set up and cycle a tank before you attempt it.

If you have any concern for the livestock in your tank, you need to return all of it to the LFS where you got it (even if they give you no credit for it).

No livestock should have been added to your tank before it had completely cycled. That usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks.

If you want to set up a saltwater tank correctly, there are many folks here who will help you. If you want to continue to do things your way, I doubt that anyone will help you.

The reason that you have not received any offers of help so far is probably due to none of our members wanting to advise you of what I just have.

Unless you really knew what you were doing, I doubt that you would pack your own parachute and jump out of a plane. So why do you think you can set up a tank in a couple of weeks and expect not to kill everything in it?
First and foremost "technically" i agree with most of what you just said DrHank. However I would like to say:
You're kind of post makes me furious. You sir are one of the main reasons I (and a lot of reef keepers i know) don't frequent forums as much as we would like to. You may have more experience then most here and I for one know you are usually the first to assist in a salt water issue. But please for your own good stop being ....for lack of a better word: *******. Pleas stop being a SW know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

Also telling him to return EVERYTHING.........are you ****ing kidding me? Hopefully he hasn't taken everything back yet.


ltownsalty:

Relax a bit. First off i would agree with everyone here. For the most part impulse buying never leads to anything good. You do indeed need to lighten your stock a bit. I would suggest reading some books or looking up fish.inverts before you buy them. Just remember this is not supposed to be a hobby where you do things right the first time. This hobby is supposed to be about having fun. No one does it right the first time. How did you learn lessons as a kid? Always the hard way.

Remember its about learning the best way for you. No one here can tell you the complete proper way to do things. I can say this because no matter what anyone says here it is in-fact true.

Just because John Doe uses tap water and stress coat doesent mean thats going to work for you

Just because i always use a skimmer doesn't mean you have to use a skimmer.

All these rules that seem to be "NEEDED" aren't actually needed. You need to learn from your mistakes and upgrade accordingly. You will find your niche along the way.





As for everyone else. I am ashamed to be a part of such a forum which ridicules a man for getting excited about a dying hobby.

-GetITCdot
 

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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I appreciate all of your help. I didn't take everything back today, and thankfully I know one of the guys there pretty well. I took back my cowfish, and my peppermints along with two of my hermits. I got in store credit because I told him about how I bought all of this at once (THANK GOD!) from the same person. long story short, my tank now has 3 clowns, a fire shrimp, one hermit, about 30 lbs live rock, rose bubble anemone, long tentacle anemone, and a rabbit ear leather coral. i had them double check my water quality for me and everything checked out to be fine.

I'm running a 36 gallon, ho 48 watt t5 lights, fluval 205 cannister, fluval heater with digital readout, sea clone power skimmer, and a marineland powerhead for water flow. i also use ro/di water from my local pet store
 

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Cornelius
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95 Posts
^^
Not to pile on too much, but that is the reason I quit going to the local marine club in town. Got real tired of asking questions in an elitist crowd, I was sorry I paid my dues as I only actually showed up to 2 meetings before they burned me out. Anyone asking for help in a hobby should have help coming out of their ears. There is a huge stockpile of knowledge and experience.

Salty, grab up a nice book by the way. There is only 1 marine fish store in my area that won't tell you anything you want to hear in order to close a sale. Independent research is key in this hobby.

That said, if you want to share your tank information, I am still in to help if I can. I almost sold everything in my tank when my first marine fish died. It was very disheartening. A bad start is no reason to not try again.
 

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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I don't plan on giving up, im actually an aspiring chef with big dreams. I will soon have my own restaurant where i'm trying to base it upon sustainability and do my part with over fishing. This tank is how I'm going to learn how to eventually breed my own snappers and possibly a tuna or two. I got rid of my cowfish today because I knew I was eventually going to have to give him up and I'd rather do it before I got too attached to him, and one of my anemones and some shrimp. Long story short, I'm trying to lighten my load and hope to have a fresh start. Cool thing about getting rid of boxxy brown (my longhorn) he swam straight into the cup when I put it in the tank.
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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411 Posts
My apologies for being insensitive. Apparently you just placed too much faith in the folks at the LFS and followed their advice blindly. Unfortunately there are individuals who's primary concern is making money. In your case, they gave you the tank that you wanted nearly immediately rather than to help you establish it gradually.

I also do apologize for coming off like an a$$. I probably should have either tried to help or said nothing. Although I may appear to know-it-all, I never will be. I learn something new about the hobby nearly every day.

The advice that you've received above is right on the money. Now let me try to make amends by offering some advice that I suggest you seriously consider. You've almost got your tank to a manageable level. I would also remove the RBTA and long tentacle anemone. They both require a well established tank with very stable water conditions and pristine water quality. Normally a minimum of six months operation is recommended for the RBTA and 1 year for the long tentacle. Unfortunately, your tank is too new to safely accommodate them. Additionally, if they die in your tank, and it is very likely that they will, you will experience a massive ammonia surge. This would jeopardize the rest of your tank inhabitants.

I would recommend that you purchase your own liquid reagent saltwater master test kit. This way you can check your own water as you need to. It's fine to let the LFS do it for you as long as they let you watch and see the test results. Unfortunately, they can't test it for you if you need to have it done when they are closed.

In order for the many folks here to be able to really help They will usually need to know your tank volume, the numeric values for your parameters, the amount of live rock that you have, what type of filter(s) you are using, what skimmer you are using, what type of lighting you have, the number of tubes and/or bulbs, and the wattage. There may be other specific questions dependent on the problems.

I should also point out that the amount of live rock that you have is about the minimum that would be required to support a 29 gallon tank which would be just about completely stocked with your 3 clownfish alone. Personally I would not recommend less than 1 1/2 lbs per gallon for someone just starting out in the hobby. Perhaps you can use your credit to purchase more live rock.

Again, my apologies for my hasty remarks. You appear to have placed too much trust in the LFS and they took advantage of your lack of experience. A shame that I can't redirect my anger at them. You may wish to reassess whether they are looking out for your tanks best interest or their sales interest.

Slow down and take your time with future purchases. Research thoroughly before making a decision. Ask for other opinions and evaluate the responses that you get. There are many folks here who can be of help and apparently many are more tactful than I.

Best of luck with your tank. I'm sure that you will eventually have the tank you want. It takes time but going slow and watching a reef grow is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby. Remember, you only have the rest of your life to get your tank just the way you want and to enjoy the progress. Don't rush it, enjoy it. I've had many tanks in the 45+ years that I've kept aquariums. I've made many mistakes in the past. I'll probably make a few more in the future. All we can do is to try to learn from them and to pass along as much information as possible to try to help others avoid the mistakes that we've made. You'll make mistakes too but hopefully they will be small ones that are easily corrected.
 

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~/root
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661 Posts
I appreciate all of your help. I didn't take everything back today, and thankfully I know one of the guys there pretty well. I took back my cowfish, and my peppermints along with two of my hermits. I got in store credit because I told him about how I bought all of this at once (THANK GOD!) from the same person. long story short, my tank now has 3 clowns, a fire shrimp, one hermit, about 30 lbs live rock, rose bubble anemone, long tentacle anemone, and a rabbit ear leather coral. i had them double check my water quality for me and everything checked out to be fine.

I'm running a 36 gallon, ho 48 watt t5 lights, fluval 205 cannister, fluval heater with digital readout, sea clone power skimmer, and a marineland powerhead for water flow. i also use ro/di water from my local pet store
Alrighty lets start from the top.

With you nems in there your going to need some better light. I would suggest around 3 watts per gallon. You don't want to lose an anemone with only 36 gallons. that would completely crash it.

Not to mention that rose bubble tip is a 100 invert ;)

I would see if i could sell off one of the nems or get better lighting.
 

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dankest chef u wont meet
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I also have a tall 15 gallon quarantine tank with simply the basics in it, I was thinking about moving one of the anemones to that for the time being with my current lighting, i found a 100 watt t5 set up from a friend who is also just trying to help me out for the time being. So far the healthiest things in my tank are those two anemones, followed by my rabbit ear, and my mushrooms. Within the last couple of days my rose bubble has started to fade in color. I added the light that came with the hood to hopefully give it just enough light till I can afford to get a new one. And doc, i do appreciate the apology because i was just trying to do what the people there told me. After today I did some searching around my surrounding cities and with my friends who got me in the hobby and think I've found a new place to make my purchases. Thank you again for all the help!
 

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~/root
Joined
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661 Posts
I also have a tall 15 gallon quarantine tank with simply the basics in it, I was thinking about moving one of the anemones to that for the time being with my current lighting, i found a 100 watt t5 set up from a friend who is also just trying to help me out for the time being. So far the healthiest things in my tank are those two anemones, followed by my rabbit ear, and my mushrooms. Within the last couple of days my rose bubble has started to fade in color. I added the light that came with the hood to hopefully give it just enough light till I can afford to get a new one. And doc, i do appreciate the apology because i was just trying to do what the people there told me. After today I did some searching around my surrounding cities and with my friends who got me in the hobby and think I've found a new place to make my purchases. Thank you again for all the help!
Keep in mind a 15 gallon is not what you want for one of those nems, HOWEVER looking at the current issues at hand your best bet would be to try to get that second tanks water params. exactly like your current take and move over the rose. Mainly because it is the more expensive of the two. Now what i would suggest is to get that t5 and another t5 you can and hook those puppies up. You want to make sure everything is getting its light requirements. once we figur out how to get things back in order we can place the rose back, however just an FYI keeping a rose and another nem in a 36 will be cramped and eventually lead to stressed inhabitants. I would work on trying to seel off some stuff OR better yet.......buy a bigger tank :)
 
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