Worried for my GSP's and their home.

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Since this board has been up, we have found there are several questions that routinely get asked in order to help diagnose problems. If you can have that information to begin with in your post, we'll be able to help right away (if we can!) without having to wait for you to post the info we need.

1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers.

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include algae eaters, plecos, everything. We need to know what you have and how big the tank is.

3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc)

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so. Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference.

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it? If you don't know what cycling is read this: Fishless Cycling Article and familiarize yourself with all the information. Yes. All of it.

We want to help, and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster.

While you wait for assistance:
One of the easiest and best ways to help your fish feel better is clean water! If you are already on a regular water change schedule (50% weekly is recommended) a good step to making your fish more comfortable while waiting for diagnosis/suggestions is to do a large water change immediately. Feel free to repeat daily or as often as you can, clean water is always a good thing! Use of Amquel or Prime as a dechlor may help with any ammonia or nitrite issues, and is highly recommended.

Note - if you do not normally do large water changes, doing a sudden, large water change could shock your fish by suddenly changing their established water chemistry. Clean water is still your first goal, so in this case, do several smaller (10%) water changes over the next day or two before starting any large ones.

Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Thu May 03, 2012 7:15 pm

Please forgive my ignorance as this is technically my first SW Aquarium.

I am starting to seriously worry about my 55G GSP tank. Ever since I converted it to full marine by increasing the salinity .002 every week or two, my water has become cloudy with brown/grey algae blooming over the last two water changes that I have done. However, during the last 4 water changes I have not mixed my own SW but instead got two 5G jugs of premixed SW from a small LFS that I have grown to trust. (essentially a 20-30 percent water change during each salinity increase)

Now prior to the last water change (50 percent) that I performed yesterday., my water tests came out to be the following:
(from my API Freshwater Test Kit)
PH: 8.2
Salinity: 1.020
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0.50 ppm
Nitrate: 20.0 ppm

Concerning results right? So I went back to the aforementioned LFS and got a second opinion since the owner is one of the few around here that specializes in SW testing. He ran a phosphate test along with checking my other perameters which is the one thing I could not test with my FW test kit that I had and it read an astounding 5 PPM! He said unless I gave him a contaminated sample he does not know how I do not have a tank full of dead puffers right now. (which was a cryptic response from him obviously) he said to check for any decaying food or livestock in the aquarium and give the substrate a good cleaning.

So with that said I got my two 5G jugs and filled them up in preparation for a 50 percent water change along with stripping out all of the decor to clean the gravel substrate thoroughly along with scrubbing out all the algae. I done that and waited 24 hours and unfortunately the test results got worse:
PH: 8.2
Salinity 1.022
Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm

I feel like an idiot as it seems I was overzealous in my cleaning and caused my tank to go into a cycle.
However, my GSP's all seem to be behaving normally and look fat and bright. What to do from here?

NOTE: There are two Penguin 550 Powerheads in each corner of the tank along with a Penguin 200 and a Emperor 400 Power Filter so my water circulation and filtration is more than sufficient. I also have plenty of aeration in the water as well. The only other inhabitants to the aquarium is a couple of surviving Ghost Shrimp and Red Clawed Crabs, the only recent additions are 12 small brown legged hermit crabs and two small pieces of live rock that have already started to seed the dead rock that I had in there before.
Last edited by sgtmyers88 on Fri May 04, 2012 1:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Thu May 03, 2012 7:24 pm

How many pounds of liverock do you have? Also, when you were cleaning the tank, did you take the rock out of the water?
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Thu May 03, 2012 7:27 pm

They were just two small fist sized pieces placed on opposite ends of the tank so it is no more than 5lbs altogether. I did remove all the dead and live rock but kept it all moist with some tank water in a small tub during the substrate cleaning.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Thu May 03, 2012 7:34 pm

Do your filters have cartridges or anything in them?

The fact that all your dead rock isn't seeded yet may be part of the problem.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Thu May 03, 2012 7:44 pm

Yeah they are the cartridge type. I have been debating on following the advice posted and ditching the bio wheels. Perhaps I should look at getting more live rock?

The SW hermit crabs and live rock have only been in there for about 3 weeks. Which come to think about it makes me suspicious as the cloudiness did not start until a week after I got them.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Thu May 03, 2012 7:53 pm

I'd say your best bet right now would be buy some biospira (Dr Tims). If you can afford some more live rock, definitely go for it, too. Also, most of the time having cartridges and those filters in marine tanks causes HUGE problems. I would recommend just tossing the cartridges out, and just letting the water flow through the filters, so you still have current, but your cartridges aren't collecting junk and making your tank worse.

Do you have a skimmer on the tank?
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Thu May 03, 2012 8:01 pm

I am in the process of looking for a cheap HOB skimmer to hold me over until I upgrade. (so I can save $$$ on finding a complete SW tank setup) And I should ditch the filter media altogether? I was actually thinking of rigging it up with aquaclear sponges or filter floss so I can still have some sort of mechanical filtration.

I already posted a wanted Ad for live rock on Craigslist. ;)
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Thu May 03, 2012 8:18 pm

I will tell you now, I am not an expert on this so I cannot give you a 100% answer, but from everything I have researched myself everyone says don't use filter media, because it doesn't work the same way anymore. It just hold nitrates and stuff and causes bad levels. I know you can use ceramic rings and bioballs still, but I'd say ditch the cartridges.

See if you can find a used Bakpak skimmer or something, maybe on Ebay. The Dr. Tims though will help seed the rest of your dead rock and get all those levels down quicker than if you continue waiting for it to be seeded by the liverock. When seeding from liverock if you do a 50-50 mix of live and dead it takes appx. 6 months still and since you have less live rock, you'd be waiting longer. So, do what you can as soon as you can afford it. You're probably going to have to be spending quite a bit on salt for water changes until you get everything adjusted though.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Thu May 03, 2012 11:31 pm

Posted a video:

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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Fri May 04, 2012 12:25 am

Why are you still using aquarium rocks?

Very cute puffers =]
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Pufferpunk on Fri May 04, 2012 12:34 am

HUH??? Phosphate doesn't kill fish. Something very wrong with that LFS. My guess is the LR is cycling/curing. Where did it come from?

If you're going to bring your tank to SW levels, you must start treating the tank as SW: sand, live rock, good flow (powerheads), protein skimmer. Marine filtration is nothing like FW. I owuld have prepared for this before raising the SG so high. Large water changes are in order here.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Nuclear_Glitter on Fri May 04, 2012 12:44 am

He only has about 5 pounds of live, and the rest is dry.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby LongGrain on Fri May 04, 2012 12:48 am

also, you have your nitrite and nitrate mixed up. 20ppm nitrite would kill your fish in the blink of an eye, 20ppm nitrate is hardly anything to worry about.

brown algae bloom is actually diatoms, its normally for a cycling marine tank, it will go away on its own.

you do need to be doing water changes to bring those ammonia and nitrite levels as close to zero as possible, Dr. Timm's one and only or BioSpira will jumpstart your tanks cycle and help seed your dry rock.

once those things are taken care of, a skimmer and flow are all you need.
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby Pufferpunk on Fri May 04, 2012 12:49 am

I wonder how long that rock was dry?
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Re: Worried for my GSP's and their home.

Postby sgtmyers88 on Fri May 04, 2012 1:45 am

Pufferpunk wrote:HUH??? Phosphate doesn't kill fish. Something very wrong with that LFS. My guess is the LR is cycling/curing. Where did it come from?

If you're going to bring your tank to SW levels, you must start treating the tank as SW: sand, live rock, good flow (powerheads), protein skimmer. Marine filtration is nothing like FW. I owuld have prepared for this before raising the SG so high. Large water changes are in order here.


Well I am gonna assume I misunderstood as he may have been referring to my other water readings. He did wish to make it clear that I needed to do a large water change immediately and work on getting some additional live rock and a skimmer established just as you had mentioned. That may be why he said what he said that my fish should have been dead under the current conditions.

I had got the live rock at a totally different LFS which is where I had also got my dead rock many months ago. The live rock was housed in a 60 gallon tub of SW sitting on the floor with some kind of filtration bubbler system running in it. As for the dead/dry rock, I had actually got it a while back from when I first set up my tank as a light brackish setup. Their dry rock was kept in a dry barrel tub thingy. I dunno how long it had been in there. They did have a huge selection of it though.

LongGrain wrote:also, you have your nitrite and nitrate mixed up. 20ppm nitrite would kill your fish in the blink of an eye, 20ppm nitrate is hardly anything to worry about.

brown algae bloom is actually diatoms, its normally for a cycling marine tank, it will go away on its own.


Thanks I corrected my OP regarding the water parameters. I assumed the same regarding the algae that it probably had something to do with a cycling issue. I changed the natural daylight florescent bulbs out with some cooler color enhancing ones to mitigate the bloom a bit.

Nuclear_Glitter wrote:Why are you still using aquarium rocks?

Very cute puffers =]


Thanks and yes are you referring to the gravel? Yeah I know I probably should have changed the substrate out long ago. I still have plans to upgrade to a whole new tank and my plan was to establish a proper setup with that one. I have not had much luck with finding another decent 100+ gallon tank setup for SW that is within my budget so I may have to settle for a 75 or a 90 gallon that I am currently looking at on Craigslist.

My plans for the substrate was to get a couple bags of Aragonite crushed coral or sand and use pool filter sand as a filler for it to save $$$ if I cannot find a tank that already has some included. Again forgive my ignorance as this is my first SW aquarium.
Last edited by sgtmyers88 on Fri May 04, 2012 2:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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