Okay, I need suggestions.

2fishy

New member
I saw another aquarium last week, which was a very similar set-up to mine. It was a 55 gallon with 8 small fish in the aquarium, and I believe probably about 55 lbs of live rock. It has a wet/dry w/ bioballs (I know, I know). While I was admiring the fish in the aquarium, the owner of the aquarium came over and we began talking about aquariums. I explained that I had the same size, and how much fun it is. The owner had the Nova Exteme 4 bulb 48" fixture like mine I believe, but could have been another brand but I am certain it was t-5. While we were talking the owner asked me if I had clams, which I do not, but would love to have them. The owner went on to explain that the empty clam shell that I could see, had been a living clam in their aquarium, one is still living, and that the hermit crabs and snails keep dying. There is a healthy anemone in the aquarium, a leather, a tree coral or two, a bubble coral, mushrooms and polyps. The corals are not doing as well as they had been and the mushrooms are down to just a few, but had been growing across the rock. The same with the polyps. Fish are healthy and then here's the kicker, they have a living scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp that has been in there for a while. The owner asked what I thought of why the corals were getting smaller. I asked about the water quality, nitrates were one I questioned because of green algae on the substrate, and calcium levels. They were not sure what the exact reading were as someone set up the aquarium for them and comes back and tests the water. At that point the owner got called away at their business and I couldn't ask any more questions.

-my first thought was that maybe they weren't doing weekly water changes, so the trace elements, calcium, and iodine, etc. are being used up inbetween water changes. I can't confirm that they are not doing regular water changes but the water was on the low side on the sump.

-second thought, was if copper was ever used in the aquarium. It would explain the loss of inverts and problems with the clam. But it would not explain why the other corals, anemone, and cleaner shrimp are doing okay.

-so the only thing that I can figure that it might be is that they are using city water for saltmix, not RO/DI. They need to maybe switch to weekly water changes, if not permanently, at least long enough to figure out if this is the problem, maybe seeing a change after 20 gallons have been changed out, doing a 10% a week, they may begin to see a difference on weekly water changes in maybe 1 month, at least in the amount of algae on the sand bed.

Why this is still bothering me, I am not sure, other then I would like someone else to have a successful aquarium rather then thinking about getting out. Any thoughts or suggestions, please recommend them. I will answer anything that I think I might know the answer to, but remember this is just an aquaintance so I do not know anything for sure about this aquarium other then the little information that came up in our short discussion. Thanks everyone!:)
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
I'm suspicious of the bioballs, yes: they provide a rollercoaster of nitrate and boom and bust for the sandbed, but I'm more suspicious of leathers---softies produce chemicals when they're annoyed. If their alkalinity got out of whack, it can affect the comfort level of various corals, and if leathers get mad, look out: they shed chemical misery throughout the tank. Running carbon can help.

The usual cry of protest is "But the leathers are the only thing looking halfway happy in my tank!" To which I answer...yesssss. That's what's going on. They're winning, but they won't be totally happy until they rule the tank and the other guys are gone.

A clam filters the water to eat. And I'd worry about one in a tank with a mad leather coral. Anemones are like leather corals, only more so, and they get up and move to be annoying. So a reefer who succeeds in all has done quite a juggling act, and may have been real lucky on placement. Again, carbon can help, but it can't cure a seriously aggressive softie.

Not a guaranteed answer, but my best guess on the data provided.
 

2fishy

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8101233#post8101233 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Sk8r
I'm suspicious of the bioballs, yes: they provide a rollercoaster of nitrate and boom and bust for the sandbed, but I'm more suspicious of leathers---softies produce chemicals when they're annoyed. If their alkalinity got out of whack, it can affect the comfort level of various corals, and if leathers get mad, look out: they shed chemical misery throughout the tank. Running carbon can help.

The usual cry of protest is "But the leathers are the only thing looking halfway happy in my tank!" To which I answer...yesssss. That's what's going on. They're winning, but they won't be totally happy until they rule the tank and the other guys are gone.

A clam filters the water to eat. And I'd worry about one in a tank with a mad leather coral. Anemones are like leather corals, only more so, and they get up and move to be annoying. So a reefer who succeeds in all has done quite a juggling act, and may have been real lucky on placement. Again, carbon can help, but it can't cure a seriously aggressive softie.

Not a guaranteed answer, but my best guess on the data provided.

Thanks Sk8tr, I will suggest that she put carbon into the aquarium or maybe I will go by and drop some off for her to try. It's worth a shot!:D
 

2fishy

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8103119#post8103119 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by BurntOutReefer
ask your buddy what lights he has and how oftn the water gets changed.

I am assuming that the lights are on a timer w/ the actinics on 12 and the white on for 10 but am not for certain. I do know that they are T-5 lights, 4 bulbs with two of each white and actinic. I am not sure how often water changes are done, but by the evaporation in my aquarium being the same size as theirs I am again assuming that water changes are being done no more then every two weeks. However, that is an assumption on the amount of evaporation that I have based on weekly water changes, glass tops, and a power filter. They have the same size aquarium, with glass tops also, but they have a wet/dry filter so I am unsure if they would lose more due to evaporation because of the wet/dry or not. Now for the water changes, I think the water changes are mixed with regular tap water and not RO/DI water, so I am assuming that may be a big part of the problem.

Now, going back to adding carbon to the sump. I understand with the media bag and adding carbon, but how long would you recommend running the carbon in the aquarium? If they would decide to remove the bio balls, I understand removing them gradually, but would you replace it with anything or would you just recommend running an empty wet/dry filter, or putting live rock in there? Last question.:) If you were going to start doing water changes with RO/DI water, would you do the standard 10% weekly water changes to it or would you recommend smaller amounts to work it in? I didn't think it would matter to do the regular 10%, but want to make sure, as I do not have anything in my aquarium other then some star polyps and some zoa's so I would just do the 10%, but I don't want to recommend something that is going to harm their corals or clam.
 
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