Tank Death

Sparhawk

New member
Sadly, I managed to kill off everything in my nano, except for the hermit crabs.
On Tuesday, I pulled everything out of the tank to install an acrylic partition at one end to do some surface skimming and as a mini refugium. I placed the rock and livestock in a 5 gal bucket with the heater and powerhead, overnight while the silicone cured on the partition. The sand went to a different container with a small heater and some water.

On Wed, I washed the sand with RO/DI, and put everything back in. Everything looked great, and I went to work that evening.

When I got home Thursday morning, the clownfish and coral banded shrimp were looking rough, as were all of my corals. I did a quick water analysis and my ammonia had spiked to 0.4! All values before the move were within normal limits.
I did a quick 1 gal water change and dose of Prime....but the damage was done. When I left for work this morning, only the hermit crabs were moving.

I can only guess that simply disturbing the sand was enough to kick off a cycle. The system is about 3-4 months old, everything has been very stable. I do ~1 gal water change every week, and feed the clown sparingly. (Every 2 days, I give it a few mysis shrimp, which I sprinkle in a couple at a time while he chows down, once he stop eating I stop sprinkling, so the 1-2 unused pieces are taken by the coral-banded shrimp, so there is virtually none wasted.)

Thankfully, I didn't lose too much in the way of livestock, since I was planning on purchasing a few items after Christmas travel....but it's still a bummer. I have new respect for the relative instability of nano tanks....

Anyhoo, thanks for reading my rant. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.
Tom
 

ct_vol

Reefing On My Mind
Team RC
Tough luck... One of the hardest parts of keeping nano-aquariums is system stability... I wouldn't give up though... You'll do better next time... ;)
 

andywe

New member
Washing the sand might have been your back breaker. Nano's are small enough that every bit counts. You washed away a great deal of your biologic filtration when you washed the sand. Sorry for your losses.
 

commonstranger

New member
Have to agree with Andy there I wouldnt have washed it. Keep your head up Tom youll end up have a killer tank just stay after it.
 

gabberjaw

New member
I agree don't give up. The frag swap is around the corner and you will have time to get a cycle up and running by then. This is a great opp for you to set up for a reasonable cost. Good luck with your new set up!
 

james3370

Premium Member
my bet is the silicone hadn't cured 100% & leached causing the ammonia spike....it may feel dry to the touch, but until there is no "smell" the silicone isn't safe for water
 

mixer911

New member
my bet is the silicone hadn't cured 100% & leached causing the ammonia spike....it may feel dry to the touch, but until there is no "smell" the silicone isn't safe for water

I was thinking along the same lines. There is no way the fish could have made the ammonia jump up that quick. It had to be introduced from somewhere and uncured silicone will have this. In such a small system the silicone would have introduced enough to be toxic if uncured.

Sorry for the loss :(
 
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