Frustrated !!!!


New member
First of all, I know, I know, patience, patience, I'm trying but its difficult. Shoestring budget fish only. 46 Gallon bowfront. Had it up for 9 days if you count today. Live Rock, live sand etc. Its the water parameters I cannot seem to get a handle on, I understand the cycle process, I've read everything I can read, I've used this Forum and thank you all so far, my LFS owner and I have known each other for years so that's a good thing there. Yesterday, I tested water as usual daily for now and everything was fine with exception of ammonia, .025. PH 8.2, Nitrate and Nitrite zero.

He said the ammonia not too bad try a yellow tail damsel, give it a week, bring it back and we'll go from there, your tank should be good to go.

Got it home, acclimated it, it hid which is understandable, and 6 hours later it was dead???

So frustrate as to what happened?

Just tested the water as I'm typing this and ammonia, nitrate and nitrite are perfect at zero, but again its the PH, I keep getting fluctuations there, one day its 8 ish next it low 7 again, today around 7.4 to 7.6????

I am thinking that it what happened to the Damsel or the ammonia was too high then but ok now?

Probably most of you will say keep monitoring it and yes its new, but what is causing the PH changes?

Thanks to all for helping, reading it all and doing the right things are so frustrating when it doesn't work out, but I trust you've all been there too.

I had a nice salt reef rank years ago, 2004 and honestly don't remember it being this much trouble, lol, maybe it was...


New member
Bit hasty on the post, after a bit more time went by the ammonia does seem just a bit high still, not zero, but not .25, but close to it.

Should I just relax and let it take its course? I thought the damsel and the subsequent feeding would speed up and stabilize...


New member
you had your tank set up for only 9 days? I would say that your tank is not cycled yet. I've just gotten back into the hobby recently, and my tank has now been cycling for 2.5 months, I'm still in the nitrite spike. I am using the ammonia drops to cycle my tank. My ammonia spike lasted about 5-6 weeks, I think you are still in the ammonia phase of the cycle and have a long way to go. I hope someone more experienced can offer you advice, but I myself think your tank is not cycled, I think you need to be about 2 months kind of patient


New member
Frustrated !!!!

You should be waiting at least 2 months before adding fish.

I don't trust many shop owns. Why? Because there in the business of making money off you. Yes there maybe some good ones out there but they are fare between. When I got in the hobby I was 17. I had just got my first tax return and went to a lfs. The owner sells me a 30hex, salt, sand, hob filter, and chlorine neutralizer. Says go home add sand, tap water, few drops of chem, and salt to the direction on the bag, let filter mix water and come back tomorrow and buy fish. This is no joke, I go back next day buy clowns and anemone. He was pushing my to buy a yellow tang too, but I passed. A few days later everything did. This was 22 years ago so it's not like I could read online what was wrong. I went to library and started reading any books on marine life I could. This was my welcome to the hobby.
Then about 5 years ago I was doing some ground and pound work for the reef club I'm in and went to a lfs to see if I could leave some fliers at his register so his clients could grab them (trying to get the club new members). The shop owner tells me "œNo, I don't need my costumers getting smarter and spending less money with me, the clubs and forums steal so many good paying customers". So his goal as a shop owner is to keep his customers dumb and let them kill things and pick there pockets, great business model.

But hey you go ahead and keep listening to your lfs owner he has no problem taking your money.


Staff member
RC Mod
9 days and your store tells you put in a fish?!@! Don't take any more advice from that source. Expect a four week cycle and feel lucky if you get it sooner. Do not put in so much as a snail until you get clear evidence of a cycle.


Cloning Around
Staff member
RC Mod
Premium Member
Your LFS owner suggested a damsel because they can sometimes survive a cycle and low levels of ammonia. Obviously, this one couldn't. No matter what your LFS says, DO NOT put anymore fish in the tank until both ammonia and nitrite read zero.

If you want to boost the tank's carrying capacity for eventually adding fish, add a small amount of fish food every day. When you can add fish food and later still read zero ammonia/nitrite, you'll be ready to add fish.

Good luck!


Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
We've all been there. This hobby can frustrate! The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with knowledge. Fish stores are in a conflict of interest situation, that they can't help. And business is hard. They need to sell stuff to survive. So you need to be smart, and more knowledgeable than the staff. You don't want the salesman to be your information source. You want to be the one to teach HIM something.

Sinn Sage

Did you put any cycle kickers like Dr Tims One and Only in your water? You know, the stuff that starts your cycle on a brand new tank. There are several brands or chunk a piece of raw shrimp in there if you're lazy.


Premium Member
If you have ammonia fish should not be added till it is zero. Ammonia burns fishes gills.
Once that is gone then you can add a hardy fish. Problem with damsels some are mean and once added you wont be able to add something else.


New member
You are being unrealistic because with the resources of data on cycling a tank no one has yet come up with a cure in a bottle to cycle in a week.
Anyone who does will be extremely wealthy fast and make a LOT of new comers happy campers.
The reality is after you read all the info on this fact you will find it takes a few weeks just to get thru the ammonia stage then comes the nitrites stage then nitrates only then do you add ANYTHING alive to the DT.
Testing all these are a must so you need all parameter tests in advance.
One good thing is a new frag tank once cycled does not require dosing as the corals are tiny & you have no coralline growing yet so mineral uptake is easily taken care of via Reef crystals sea salt, make sure you use Reef salt not reg salt.
Said it yourself patience..........A tank to mature the various bacterias takes months sometimes even a yr. or more, my own tank took 2 yrs. to fully mature.
Figure being patient for 1-2 months IF you want a stable tank AND then ONLY add 1 fish at a time or the Clown pair then wait a month before adding another to allow the bacteria to build up for the next fish addition this is how its safely done. And only buy fish from a reputable store that does a QT on all fish & then do a FAST pour in the bag acclimation on the salinity if a non match no more then a hr.