my tank is crashing


New member
I do weekly water changes of about 10% w/ ro/di water. I don't overfeed (if anything I underfeed). I've only had at most 4 fish in my 45g tank. Water chemistry is good: no ammonia, nitrites and nitrates near 0, ph 8.4. I even changed test kits to make sure I was getting good readings. I dose with kalk vis drip with fresh ro/di water, but still have difficulty maintaining cal levels. My tank temp runs on the high side at about 85, but then it has always run high (5 years without problems). Over the last few months, I have lost a hugh colony of Xenia that was my first coral more than 5 years ago, cabbage leather, 4th and 5th generation toadstools that are rotting away, my mushrooms, which I always had great luck with, are nearly transparent and not opening up, zoo's, which a few months ago I was worried might overrun part of the tank, will not open and are receeding. There is brown algae (diatoms?) all over, and brown hair.
Lights are less than 8 months old, and the protein skimmer is working fine.
I took out a lot (most in fact) of the rock a few weeks ago and dipped the soft corals in an iodine dip to try and stop the rot. Didn't help. When I had the rock out, I rinsed them and scrubbed them as best as I could, but with all the shrooms and whats left of the leathers, I did not want to lose anything else. I syphoned the surface of the dsb where I normally could not reach when the rock was there.
Woke up yesterday to a dead percula and a dead coral banded shrimp.
I'm at a loss. Short of gutting the whole thing and starting over, anyony out there have a mericle I can borrow???


catch and release
Team RC
Do you have any stray voltage leaking into the tank from equipment? Has the temp gotten over 85 lately? The danger level is 86-87 and that's awfully close top where you keep it. Has your DSB been in for 5 years? It could be leaking nutrients back out into your system. Just some possibilities.....


New member
I was going to say maybe the lights are going bad at 8 mos (Which would be unusual) but that would not affect the fish. Any chance of contamination from say windex, furniture polish, or other sources. I am no expert but I would do a very large water change and maybe try water from another source to eliminate that as a possibility.

john rochon

New member
going thru the SAME thing! 500g tank. might/probaly is my fault.
things I've changed.#1 lighting was NO for a few weeks [another story]
#2. I was adding heaver substrate [SEIO 2600's being added] and thought I was slow enough but maybe not.
#3. changed from IO to OCEAN PURE salt
#4. took a sandsifter gobie for free.
any of these things or all might be my issue. did you do any of these? I'm also missing a cucumber and snails are falling over.
200g water changes to date.
carbon and chemi clean pads running.
things slowly coming back.
mushrooms and zoos all close, SPS slight bleaching from base and no polyp extention.
diatoms everywere. what a mess! I had an amazing tank till I try'd going fish only due to HYDRO! costs but wasn't happy with that decision.


Having a tank temperature of 85 to me seems to be your underlying problem. If nothing were to die at that temperature you might get away with it, but once something dies your setting off a chain reaction. Put some fans over your tank or try something to get that temperature down to between 80 & 82.

Tu Ku

In Memoriam
Got kids? They love to play with pennies. I would say test for things that you've never tested before, maybe phosphates, too alkaline, carbonate hardness. They're often important and unnoticed parameters. If the fish are dying also, then it could be small traces of alcohol, or anything toxic really. Is your system an open top? Does your dog or cat shed very much? I think you should start considering things outside of the tank, that is if the system has really been running fine for five years prior to this unfortunate mishap.

Tu Ku

In Memoriam
Also, if you're using R.O. and getting brown diatom algae, then you need to change your R.O. unit filters or your LFS does. That is where that comes from, phosphates in your water.


New member
Fishdoc11: Checked all cords and connections, and everything is fine. Temp has not gone above 85, and as I said, this is about where it has always been. The DSB has been in since the tank was started over 5 years ago, and about 15lbs of this came from the first tank I had a few years before that.
jasper24: I make it a point to never spray directly onto the tank or stand when cleaning, and my wife wants as little to do with my tank as possible.
John: I can't remember the last time I made any major changes to the tank, such as salt, substrate, additives(which are none), equipment, etc.
RA: I have two fans in the hood blowing cool air in, and the back of the hood is basically one large vent for the warm air to escape. I also have a small dest top type fan blowing over the sump, with a large vent in the stand.
Tu Ku: My kids are like my wife, in that they love to look at it when I point something out to them, but basically see it as another piece of furniture. I do test those other parameters. Alk was ok, but this was one of the test kits that I did NOT change to something different. Also, phosphates had a very small increase with the red sea marine lab test, but this ws about the same time I started loosing my leathers and xenia. I am using kent phosphate sponge, and I just tested before submitting this reply which came out 0. (I will mention that this test kit is also new).


New member
Is it possible something is leaching out of the dsb?
I just finished making about 20lbs of concrete/calcium chip rock that I wanted to add to the tank. Should I change some of the dsb out while I'm at it? I know this is an area for debate (dsb vs. bare bottom), but I still like the look and benefits of a dsb.


New member
I would run GAC to remove any foreign chemicals that may have gotten into the water. It sounds like some sort of poisoning to me.