What am I doing wrong?

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#1
Hello guys, I’m new around here. I’m sorry if I’m breaking any rules with this post. I don’t know where to turn.

So here’s my story. I have a 55gallon tank that was used for turtles about a year ago. Earlier this year I cleaned the tank and let it sit for a month or two then cleaned it again and let it sit until I could buy al the items for my tank. Fast forward to September. I bought a cascade filter, saltwater in a bottle and crushed coral.

I let my tank sit for 4 - 5 days as the dude at ***** suggested. I felt weird because everywhere I’ve read they’ve said that you should wait about a month. But a lot of the forums are old so I figured maybe some new tech came out and would help the progress. So I bought two clown fish. Almost immediately after putting them in the tank I started seeing the colors fading on the fish. One fish stayed at the top of the tank behind the pump and the other seemed fine. He was zipping through the tank just fine.

The next morning I woke up to find the one that was at the top of the tank dead. So I took him out and I left the other. This was a mistake on my end as I know now. That night the next fish died. Now I had followed a “guide” I found on YouTube. They told me to take the fish out the tank and put them in a qt tank. I bought a bunch of medication for my tank and fish. Needless to say, it didn’t work. The fish died later that night.

So I did the medication for the tank and waited two weeks like I was told. The guy at this aquatic store said that it was ich and ich would die if I treated the tank with some api products. He said it takes up to 4 days for the parasites to die. And I should wait a week after that to put any fish in. So I waited 2 weeks after the infection and I tested the water and all seemed well. I went to a different fish store and bought some chromis.

The chromis were healthy. The guy I bought it from gets his fish himself. So he says lol. It’s been about 3 hours and all my fish are dying. I bought 6 and one is gone already. 2 are dying and the other three have just developed the spots.

Am I doing something wrong? I have the instant ocean hydrometer and it says my water is fine. I got a thermometer and my water is at 78F. Here’s my setup

55 Gallon tank
cascade 700 filter
Aqueon pump 950 (x2)
Store bought saltwater
Crushed coral
Three decorative items.

I am seriously close to throwing my hands in the air and saying forget it. Or switch to freshwater. But then I can’t get the corals and stuff.

Please help. Sorry for the essay, I needed to give as much detail as possible.
 

jay0705

Well-Known Member
#2
Welcome to saltwater. Now first off you have to big issues. Crushed coral is HORRIBLE. Use sand, arogonite sand. Not play sand. 2nd you don't have any live rock, you need something to cycle the tank
 
#3
Welcome to saltwater. Now first off you have to big issues. Crushed coral is HORRIBLE. Use sand, arogonite sand. Not play sand. 2nd you don't have any live rock, you need something to cycle the tank
Thank you for your reply and advice.
When I was buying everything for my tank the guy at the aquarium store said to use crushed coral because it’s better. I’ve spoken to a few people about it and some said sand but majority said crushed coral. I wanted sand because it looked better. Do you have a brand in mind that I should try?
 

lmforbis

Administrator
Staff member
#4
Any argonite sand will do. I don’t like the super fine stuff because it will fly all over. I’d also look at some dry rock. My preference is Pukani (just google pukani dry rock). It has a lot of crevasse and generally looks pretty nice. You will need around 20 to 25 lbs. then you will need a nice chunk of live rock from a reputable source. Not the store you went to. It should be free of aptasia and other unwanted stuff. Again google aptasia you don’t want them. Set the tank up,rocks first then sand. Start feeding it. You will need at least 2 power heads (500-800 gph) one on each end of the tank pointing toward the middle. This is important for saltwater fish.

I’d stay away from the store you went to. There are several reputable online fish sources including Saltwaterfish.com. They will give you better advise and be able to recommend better products.

In the meantime buy some good salt water test kits, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite (Red Sea and Salifert are good brands) at a minimum and a refractometer (not a hydrometer). Be sure you know how to calibrate the refractometer and do it frequently. Find a source of RODI water, either store bought or a system to make your own. You will need this for water top offs (replace evaporated water) and mixing salt water. Your tank will need a good 6 weeks or longer to cycle. During this time you keep feeding it as if there were fish and you don’t do any water changes. You test it. Ammonia will go up then fall to 0. Same will happen to nitrite then nitrate.

While your tank is cycling, buy a small 10 gallon tank, a sponge filter, a small power head, and a small heater. Doesn’t have to be fancy $30-40 at Walmart it pets mart for the whole system. This will be your quarantine tank. This gets no sand and no rock, just a bare bottom. Buy a few pieces of PVC pipe, I like the connectors, Ts, elbows etc in different sizes. Do the same thing to this tank as far as cycling. This will be your quarantine tank. You will need some liquid bacteria (like Dr Tim’s) to seed the QT. I like to keep mine only about 60%full of water. Often fish come in low saline water and the QT water needs to have the same salinity as the fish come in to prevent osmotic shock. It is easier to dilute water at 1.026 quickly than to bring the salinity up. All new fish will need to go into this tank first to be observed for 30 days. You can treat any diseases here and keep them out of the main tank. I like to use SeaChem ammonia badges on my QT. It is a quick way to check ammonia levels.

When both tanks are ready only then do you buy fish! One at a time. Quarantine them then add to the display tank. Proper QT will essentially eliminate disease in your tank.
 
#5
Thank you
Any argonite sand will do. I don’t like the super fine stuff because it will fly all over. I’d also look at some dry rock. My preference is Pukani (just google pukani dry rock). It has a lot of crevasse and generally looks pretty nice. You will need around 20 to 25 lbs. then you will need a nice chunk of live rock from a reputable source. Not the store you went to. It should be free of aptasia and other unwanted stuff. Again google aptasia you don’t want them. Set the tank up,rocks first then sand. Start feeding it. You will need at least 2 power heads (500-800 gph) one on each end of the tank pointing toward the middle. This is important for saltwater fish.

I’d stay away from the store you went to. There are several reputable online fish sources including Saltwaterfish.com. They will give you better advise and be able to recommend better products.

In the meantime buy some good salt water test kits, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite (Red Sea and Salifert are good brands) at a minimum and a refractometer (not a hydrometer). Be sure you know how to calibrate the refractometer and do it frequently. Find a source of RODI water, either store bought or a system to make your own. You will need this for water top offs (replace evaporated water) and mixing salt water. Your tank will need a good 6 weeks or longer to cycle. During this time you keep feeding it as if there were fish and you don’t do any water changes. You test it. Ammonia will go up then fall to 0. Same will happen to nitrite then nitrate.

While your tank is cycling, buy a small 10 gallon tank, a sponge filter, a small power head, and a small heater. Doesn’t have to be fancy $30-40 at Walmart it pets mart for the whole system. This will be your quarantine tank. This gets no sand and no rock, just a bare bottom. Buy a few pieces of PVC pipe, I like the connectors, Ts, elbows etc in different sizes. Do the same thing to this tank as far as cycling. This will be your quarantine tank. You will need some liquid bacteria (like Dr Tim’s) to seed the QT. I like to keep mine only about 60%full of water. Often fish come in low saline water and the QT water needs to have the same salinity as the fish come in to prevent osmotic shock. It is easier to dilute water at 1.026 quickly than to bring the salinity up. All new fish will need to go into this tank first to be observed for 30 days. You can treat any diseases here and keep them out of the main tank. I like to use SeaChem ammonia badges on my QT. It is a quick way to check ammonia levels.

When both tanks are ready only then do you buy fish! One at a time. Quarantine them then add to the display tank. Proper QT will essentially eliminate disease in your tank.
thank you so much. I was thinking of starting over again. Cleaning out the tank and buying new water. Do you think that is best?
I have a 20 gallon tank just sitting around, I’ll use that. I’m going to take another tour of the site. I’m just looking for a reputable source. I went to ***** and I noticed a few of their fish had ich. I told the guy and he looked at me like I just told his biggest secret. So if you can vouch for the site I’ll start shopping here. I have a few more questions but I have some things to take care of I’ll come back later to pick your brain. If that’s ok
 

jay0705

Well-Known Member
#6
Alot of folks buy fish online. Personally I prefer to actually see what iam buying. Equipment wise online is the way to go
 
#8
The substrate is pretty irrelevant, its the cycling that is important. If the tank was used for turtles, and cleaned with who knows what, then don't rule out it containing a toxin. Start small. Get a piece or two of cured live rock and let your setup run a month. You can get instant pricey bags of stuff with bacteria in it already or you can wait a month with just the cured live rock and whatever substrate you like. Get yourself maybe a few cheap hermit crabs and feed them a bit and just wait for the beneficial bacteria to seed. Then get one fish. I like to plan what I'll get before I set a new tank up. Start with the least expensive, most docile ( to reduce territorial aggression later), and easily cared for fish, then move up by price and aggression after you have had success. Test your water, At the very least ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, salinity, before you add fish.
 
Last edited:

beth

Administrator
Staff member
#9
Have to differ with the substrate not being relevant. Crushed coral is detrimental to any sand creatures that may habituate in the sand. Coral that is crushed has very sharp edges that rips apart any creature that sifts through sand. Also the nature of the CC is that it traps detritus in its layers and inhibits the export of nitrates during the continuous process of the nitrogen cycle. This results in the tank always having rather high and unacceptable levels of nitrate.
 
#11
Any argonite sand will do. I don’t like the super fine stuff because it will fly all over. I’d also look at some dry rock. My preference is Pukani (just google pukani dry rock). It has a lot of crevasse and generally looks pretty nice. You will need around 20 to 25 lbs. then you will need a nice chunk of live rock from a reputable source. Not the store you went to. It should be free of aptasia and other unwanted stuff. Again google aptasia you don’t want them. Set the tank up,rocks first then sand. Start feeding it. You will need at least 2 power heads (500-800 gph) one on each end of the tank pointing toward the middle. This is important for saltwater fish.

I’d stay away from the store you went to. There are several reputable online fish sources including Saltwaterfish.com. They will give you better advise and be able to recommend better products.

In the meantime buy some good salt water test kits, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite (Red Sea and Salifert are good brands) at a minimum and a refractometer (not a hydrometer). Be sure you know how to calibrate the refractometer and do it frequently. Find a source of RODI water, either store bought or a system to make your own. You will need this for water top offs (replace evaporated water) and mixing salt water. Your tank will need a good 6 weeks or longer to cycle. During this time you keep feeding it as if there were fish and you don’t do any water changes. You test it. Ammonia will go up then fall to 0. Same will happen to nitrite then nitrate.

While your tank is cycling, buy a small 10 gallon tank, a sponge filter, a small power head, and a small heater. Doesn’t have to be fancy $30-40 at Walmart it pets mart for the whole system. This will be your quarantine tank. This gets no sand and no rock, just a bare bottom. Buy a few pieces of PVC pipe, I like the connectors, Ts, elbows etc in different sizes. Do the same thing to this tank as far as cycling. This will be your quarantine tank. You will need some liquid bacteria (like Dr Tim’s) to seed the QT. I like to keep mine only about 60%full of water. Often fish come in low saline water and the QT water needs to have the same salinity as the fish come in to prevent osmotic shock. It is easier to dilute water at 1.026 quickly than to bring the salinity up. All new fish will need to go into this tank first to be observed for 30 days. You can treat any diseases here and keep them out of the main tank. I like to use SeaChem ammonia badges on my QT. It is a quick way to check ammonia levels.

When both tanks are ready only then do you buy fish! One at a time. Quarantine them then add to the display tank. Proper QT will essentially eliminate disease in your tank.
What is
Have to differ with the substrate not being relevant. Crushed coral is detrimental to any sand creatures that may habituate in the sand. Coral that is crushed has very sharp edges that rips apart any creature that sifts through sand. Also the nature of the CC is that it traps detritus in its layers and inhibits the export of nitrates during the continuous process of the nitrogen cycle. This results in the tank always having rather high and unacceptable levels of nitrate.

I've never had an issue with nitrates and crushed coral. I guess I have avoided sand and sand sifters because I don't like the sand getting stirred up and the risk of Sulphur building up in the deep dense sand beds where oxygen is lacking.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1983606
 

beth

Administrator
Staff member
#13
Sand and crushed coral are two different things. A DSB will not support CC. I'm not sure what you are pointing to with the discussion in the link?
 

beaslbob

Well-Known Member
#14
IMHO the best thing you can do for any tank is to balanced it out with various plant life. In saltwater that is various algaes like macro algaes. On my old 55g for instance I just crammed in to plastic 1/4" square grid (egg crate) used for lighting diffusers in dropped ceilings. a 4 ftx2ft piece was about 10 bucks or so at building supply stores. I just put it 3 inches in front of the back glass then added 2 4ft 2 tube fluorescent shop lights behind the tank pointing forward to light up that area. Actually now a days you could probably get good led plant lights to do the same thing. Then I put macro algaes like claulerpa and chaetomorphia I the area between the back glass and egg crate. With the livestock in front the algae was protected. That made the system stable and balanced and forgiving of my mistakes.

Whatever you do best of luck and hope you have many success in the future.

my .02
 
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