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  1. #1
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    15G going downhill fast

    I'm not sure what is going wrong. we got a bunch of bubble algae and bought two emerald crabs many months ago. THey are eating every bit of coraline algae in the tank.

    Then cyano hit, now a fuzzy brown algae (diatoms?) is taking over the tank.

    The greenstar polyp and corals aren't opening and it smells like something died in it.

    And our cleaner shrimp who's been happy and healthy and molting up a storm over the past year died this week.

    Any ideas what is causing this tank to crash - the emerald crabs?

    Tank has been set up for two years.

    I also have an occellaris clown fish and I'm worried about the water quality and hoping he doesn't get sick.

    I'm planning on going out today and buying a bin and tearing down the tank to find what died. Maybe a snail or an emerald crab. And lightly washing off the brown algae.

    Tank setup:
    15G
    AC110 for extra water volume and circulation
    2 Hydor Nanos
    17lbs live rock
    1" sand bed
    Water changes 30% a week. We have been buying BigAls RO saltwater but prior to this bought Culligan water for water changes and use instant ocean salt.
    Biocube type skimmer - forget the brand name.
    Coralife 96w quad light - low light corals - some zoas, greenstar polyp and mushrooms.

    Any ideas how to save the tank?

  2. #2
    Junior Member Aqua Man's Avatar
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    Are you using a U/V sterilizer ?? It was the best investment I made. Works great for algae.

  3. #3
    liv
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    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    any tank paremeter fluxuations ?.. any other things you might have done recently.. like did you change salts or water recently.. You mention above that you changed water. what are your parameters like ?
    temp:
    ph:
    alk:
    po4:
    nitrates/nitrites:
    how often do you clean your skimmer ( honestly he he ) :b2: most people dont clean it enough times.

    anything you might have dropped in there.. or had dirty hands ?

    also, what are you feeding the tank ?

    changed bulbs recently ?

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  4. #4
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    You might want to check your Culligan water as well. I started purchased water awhile back, and with a TDS meter it show > 300ppm.
    58 gallon display, 20 gallon sump, Octopus Recirc 110, Mag9 return. Nova Extreme lighting.
    55lbs live rock.
    Yellow Tang, 2 Clowns, Kupang Damsel, Yellow Watchmen.


    24 gallon AquaPod, 24lbs live rock.
    Valentini Toby, Coral Beauty, various snails, hermits.


    12 gallon AquaPod, 12lbs live rock, lots of mushrooms.

  5. #5
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    Nothing comes to mind at all. We did have filter floss in the AC110 (it holds the heater and nothing else) for a couple of weeks. Would this have caused a phosphate blip or the diatoms?

    If anything this tank is underfed because of the cyano. Would this cause an imbalance?

    Tank inhabitants - 1 1.5" occellaris clown, 2 small emerald crabs (maybe 1 something is dead and they hide very well), cleaner shrimp just died, and about five digging snails, and four scarlett hermit crabs. Zoas, greenstar polyp, 2 paly's that won't reproduce, and a handful of small mushrooms are in the tank also.

    We feed mainly flakes. I do have cyclops in the freezer and pellets. I stopped with the mysis shrimp when we had a cyano blip a while back. Everything survived this.

    No changes in salt. Except the change in water to the bigals water.

    Nothing that I think of that could have contaminated the tank. We are very careful. I don't even add corals as I want the fish to stay healthy and I worry about bringing bugs into the tank. The only thing thats been added was three months or so ago we added the emerald crabs which have cleared over half of the live rock of coraline. Almost all the rock was covered in purple coraline.

    The skimmer never fills up. We rinse it a couple times a week but it only ever fills up to about an 1/8th of the container. Again the tank is not overfed. I would like to feed the clown more.

    Bulb was changed in November. We were without a light for three weeks at that time due to a shipping mixup. We used lighting that wasn't suitable to a saltwater tank and this is when the bubble algae appeared.

    Had to go out and buy new test kits. I had lost my salifert nitrate colour card. I've also lost a phosphate reagent so I can't run a phosphate test today.

    Tank results:
    15 gallon
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0 - .05
    Nitrate 1.0 - is this because of the low stocking levels and 17lbs of live rock and the live sand? Wish my freshwater tanks read like this.
    Alkalinity 161.1
    Calcium 320
    PH 8.0

    I tested the TDS on the culligan water and it is 001.

    Any suggestions for getting the diatoms under control?

    The guy at big als today said they should run themselves out.
    Cut the lighting back to a few hours a day?
    Increase water changes?
    Increase feedings/change foods?

    Thanks for helping.

  6. #6
    liv
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    looks like you started a new tank cycle somehow...
    the lack of light and supplementation of a different type didn't help thats for sure. skip the flake food and replace it with the cyclopeese with a tiny bit of mysis. the flake is mostly junk in my mind loading your tank with phosphates.

    water changes may help depending on how far you are into this cycle.
    if its at the beginning of it, i would not cycle the water... let it run its course, if your near the end, then yes, do a gentle water change maybe 25% every other week... water changes slow down the cycle.. so during a cycle its not something you want to do.. as it may help the creatures, but slows down the process that has started already.

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  7. #7
    liv
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    if you fear your fish will perish, you might want to setup a hospital tank to keep the fish in ( heater, bubbler, a few clay pots to hide in ) until your tank is back.

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the reply.

    My nitrates have always been crazy low. I thought it was due to the low stock level and not overfeeding with weekly water changes and the live rock.

    Something smells dead and I can't find it. I did find a chunk of seaweed that had not been eaten that had somehow been pulled into the sand bed. I haven't torn down the tank yet. I guess if I've lost the cycle I've got nothing to lose.

    I might have to find a home for the occelaris . I don't trust my RO water and I'd have to buy it daily to keep her in an uncycled ten gallon.

    We are only keeping the tank lights on about four or five hours a day which seems to help with diatoms.

    But... the coraline on the walls of the tank seems to be dying. Is this due to the cycle crash, lights out or another clue? The coraline on the rocks seems fine still.

    This is so frustrating. I miss the cleaner shrimp

  9. #9
    liv
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    coraline will bleach with no lights on or bad water.. coraline comes and goes.. but goes alot quicker when things are wrong.

    its part of the hobby to learn from our mistakes.. like any hobbies i guess.
    one thing to get out from this is find the cause first, then stop it from happening again.. if it was light, keep new bulbs aside.. ballasts etc.
    you got to have a spare for everything or just about in this hobby.

    maybe start by getting yourself a nice rodi unit & do some water changes.
    if you lost everything.. i'd scrub the rocks a bit, wash the sand many many times with good rodi water and start the tank fresh.

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

  10. #10
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    Still don't know what went wrong. Almost all the coraline on the walls has died off and lots on the rocks. We are still getting a ton of diatoms. With the lights out, nothing. Lights on, by end of day there is a coating on the rocks. Would a new bulb cause this? I'll order a new one - its just a 96W quad light.

    The corals are back to open though and the Paly that never replicated the whole time I've had it has a new one started.

    I have a question for anyone that opens the thread. I don't know if the emerald crabs have cleaned off the above sand cleaning crew (forgot the names of the snails) or if they've died off with age - they've been in the tank a year and a half now. What are the risks of introducing disease if I just add new snails? I'd love another cleaner shrimp too but want to make sure the tank diatom situation stabilizes first.

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