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View Full Version : **GURUs** EXPERTs** lets stop killing fish!


rojonez
02/04/2016, 09:44 PM
Sorry for the rant from a R.C.-newbee. However... I did saltwater 20 years ago... and I know that losing a new-fish within 3-days sucks, and is not normal. Without my prior experience... I would have given up by now. Bottom-line... Ammonia kills fish.

I did saltwater 20 yrs ago (before powerheads & skimmers... UV was infant, bass/balsa-wood-air-stones were used when skimmers came-about). I Never had the problems of today (live rock, refugium, thin sand in the display, etc.)

Twenty years ago I did saltwater fish (only). Parasites seemed to be controlled by 1.018 and out-breaks controlled by freshwater dips... rairly followed by copper (one time in ten years). Fast-forward twenty years later, my kids are now grown... I started a 150 gallon. I cannot describe the frustration of loosing Queens, Annularis', and many others within a few days of introduction... and I am not alone. Forget the cost. Losing a beautiful fish sucks. This community MUST establish a short-list for protecting life. My conclusion... is... Ammonia.

I cannot even find an under-gravel filter for purchase. While it is true that 20yrs ago I had to break-down my system and remove debis under the plastic-UG substrate... I never lost a fish within 3-days of purchase (except when I "hard-way-learned" - groupers eat fish ~80% of their own size). Now-days my family cringes when I buy a nice fish cause they know it will be dead within a short time. Even-though I have fish are more than 3yrs old... my new fish DON'T fair well... kept in the same tank as my existing fish! Why do new fish die? Many others have the same issue. My conclusion... Ammonia. Gurus may laugh at my mistakes & failures.

As an engineer... canister filters and under-gravel filters provide a POSITIVE forced flow... meaning... any water sucked in WILL pass-through biological-media. The NEW "organic" method of thin-sand & live rock relies on "magic" for biological-flow. From my "hang-gliding" experience I have learned that fluids of different-densities DO-NOT mix... Similarly, Bio-chemistry within live-rock... may contain & build, but has no incentive to mix other than venturi flow... until internal densities and/or thermal-deviations provide physical-potential to eventually release&mix with the greater aquatic environment. This is NOT a "positive" flow, and may create "deadly pockets" within an aquarium.

New fish hide... and all fish excrete waste... A new fish hiding in it' s "secure" spot... most-likely creates an ammonia-pocket within it's hiding spot. And... lack of "positive flow" may exasperate this issue. Do other territorial fish excrete waste in this same spot? Who knows... Bottom line... New fish that die within 3-days are LIKELY to be victims of ammonia. Water-flow by fluid-dynamic-principals... has NO reason to penetrate "clusters" of live rock... this is NOT positive controlled-fluid-flow, more-over... it is wish-full thinking. Fluid flow avoids obstacles.

So... when does live-rock "excrete" biological-by-product? Yes... biology is active... but... when does the internal-fluid "flow-out?" Fluids of differing-densities do-NOT-naturally-mix (hang-gliding-thermals)... So... does live-rock release "by-product" when density and/or temperature resulting from the "biological process" demands a release? Who cares? POSITIVE FLOW PROVIDES BETTER FILTRATION. Natural is great... but I don't have time to figure out tidal flows dictated by phases of the moon, nor the desire to recreate them in my 150 gallon tank.

My guess is debate will continue indefinitely. But... many "enthusiasts" are flushing/burying fish... and subsequently "exiting" the hobby. Twenty-years ago it was NOT this hard... and today... I know 10x the chemistry & biology compared to what I knew when I started this hobby 20yrs ago. People may argue about disease or supplier-intermediate-incubation today... However twenty years ago people were arguing about using dynamite to "stun" and collect the fish that eventually "recovered" from the blast.

The bottom line is this:

a. positive flow of water through biologically-active-maximum-surface-area-media coverts ammonia/nitrite/nitrate... oxygen vs deprived is for advanced.
b. Under-gravel provides positive flow & huge-media-surface-area.
c. Layered substrate coarse/medium/fine separated by-screens provides minimal penetration of macro-waste and excellent fluid-flow characteristics.
d. CFD/Fluid dynamics predicts zero-incentive for flow to penetrate live-rock clusters.
e. Death is the number-1 reason for "enthusiastic" hobby-ists to "give up."
f. Success by newbies is the best way to propagate the hobby.

Again, sorry to interrupt anyone's agenda... but the "organic-natural" filtration method may not be working for the average hobbyist. Death sucks. And... robust methods for biological filtration are a definite positive that can eliminate potential for local ammonia/nitrite zones... an EXCELLENT starting point for an enthusiastic beginner.

Searching the web provides seven answers for one newbie question.

A clear & concise simple manual for newbies & intermediate hobbyists which provides a high success rate is a great way to energize new members. From my experience... live-rock & thin-sand-display-tank... ain't it.

Refugium... yes... DSB... Yes... Calupera... yes... skimmer-pinwheel...yes...UV...yes... bio-balls...yes... cleaner-shrimp... yes... 100-micron bags...yes...Phosguard...yes...RO...yes... blah...blah...blah... sporatic success-today... twenty years ago...simple... none of this...but with much-higher-success... priceless.

xitto
02/04/2016, 11:45 PM
In my opinion, just my opinion... now then hobby can be as difficult as you want it to be. There are hundreds of additives, filters, pumps, all kinds of tech-stuff but there is no need to build a nasa-tank if you dont want to.

My tank, for example (just 50 gal) runs with no skimmer, no sump, no controller, just water, rock, salt, alk-mag-ca additives (i almost do not make waterchanges), heater, and lights. I realized that you can build a nice tank, not the best one, just with basic stuff, time, and a balanced selection of fishes. I'm proud to say that I only lost one little fish in 5 years, died after 2 years in the tank (it was not a saltwater tank)

I think the keys are:
- Time
- Do not overstock your tank

Member No. 1
02/05/2016, 04:05 AM
Bare Bottom, no sand, no refugium, minimal rock (about 40-50lbs in an 80 gal) no gfo, no carbon, no nothing but a skimmer, Ca and Kalk reactor to maintain levels, Ozone and UV, daily AWC, pretty heavy fish load, only feed frozen foods, and I feed heavy, sps dominate, clowns, banggai breeding, no dinos, no algae, no fish deaths, no coral losses.
Hmmm.... I must be doing something wrong...

More than one way to skin a cat.
Use whatever works for you.

KafudaFish
02/05/2016, 07:01 AM
I am sure you are extremely frustrated but as already mentioned, there are many ways to be successful in this hobby.

You won't like this but it probably is not your system but human error that is the weak point. There is something that you are overlooking that is responsible for these deaths.

Biological systems do not rely on magic and ammonia certain would not form a bubble around a hiding fish.

You should read the stickies in the new to the hobby and fish disease forums and see if anything hits.

You should also start eliminating the possible causes of the deaths.

Did you test for ammonia?
Did you buy the fish from the same place?
Could you have stray current in the tank?
Did you QT the fish first?
What was their behavior during those 3 days?
Were the fish eating?

You cannot make broad sweeping statements about what does not work when many have long-term successes uses those methods.

Good luck and I hope you solve the mystery.

jimmyj7090
02/05/2016, 11:01 AM
Where to begin?

If you think about current reefkeeping trends through the lens of what we were doing 20 yrs ago, then yes it does seem like we're probably doing it wrong. Read up and come to understand how and why things are being done the ways that have become popular more recently and you'll rapidly start wondering how we kept anything alive 20 yrs ago.

In short, tanks these days tend to have lots more in tank circulation, which adds to the natural tendency for things to mix and equalize on their own. (apparently unlike different air masses when hang gliding??). Live Rock isn't oozing ammonia, quite the opposite the life in and on the LR processes ammonia. Canister filters and UG filters do what they do well, but they also trap most all the solid wastes produced in the tank and hold it indefinitely to rot, decay and generally pollute the water.

Best of luck getting back into the hobby, and I hope you find what is going wrong in your tank. That said, don't drop your new car off at the junkyard because you can't find a carburetor to adjust :)

gone fishin
02/05/2016, 11:11 AM
If your getting fish from online sources and doing long acclimations then your probably right ammonia is killing your fish.

sde1500
02/05/2016, 11:27 AM
Yea I think you may have a few things mixed up. Also, a lot of details missing. Like other said, where did you buy your fish, how did you acclimate them? Did you QT all your fish, there may be a disease/parasite in your tank.

Grandlotus
02/06/2016, 10:52 AM
. . . I don't think any of us are intentionally killing display tank fish, dude . . .

Salmon is a different story, however.

shermanator
02/06/2016, 12:06 PM
I cannot even find an under-gravel filter for purchase.

Drs. Foster & Smith sells them (as do others).

As for your rant: I disagree.

Member No. 1
02/06/2016, 07:34 PM
OP?

Post count remains at 2

I hear crickets.

kcinnick
02/06/2016, 07:46 PM
1.18 salinity was probably your crutch to success.

albano
02/06/2016, 08:40 PM
...Refugium... yes... DSB... Yes... Calupera... yes... skimmer-pinwheel...yes...UV...yes... bio-balls...yes... cleaner-shrimp... yes... 100-micron bags...yes...Phosguard...yes...RO...yes... blah...blah...blah... sporatic success-today... twenty years ago...simple... none of this...but with much-higher-success... priceless.

Been into SW fish since 1973... IMO/E people that enter the hobby now and take the time to learn/understand what is necessary for success, are WAY better off than 20 yrs ago

timnem70
02/06/2016, 08:51 PM
Bare Bottom, no sand, no refugium, minimal rock (about 40-50lbs in an 80 gal) no gfo, no carbon, no nothing but a skimmer, Ca and Kalk reactor to maintain levels, Ozone and UV, daily AWC, pretty heavy fish load, only feed frozen foods, and I feed heavy, sps dominate, clowns, banggai breeding, no dinos, no algae, no fish deaths, no coral losses.
Hmmm.... I must be doing something wrong...

More than one way to skin a cat.
Use whatever works for you.
Pictures paint a thousand words... Just like that college dissertation this thread began with.

Member No. 1
02/07/2016, 05:22 AM
Pictures paint a thousand words... Just like that college dissertation this thread began with.

Pictures yes, video better.
As requested...
VeTK6CosdA4

johnike
02/07/2016, 06:14 AM
I think PaulB has an extra UG laying around.
Probably won't sell it though.

Paul B
02/07/2016, 08:39 AM
UG filter is the secret but I won't be sharing mine anytime soon. I like having a very old tank with virtually no problems and fish on social security. I don't have time for all the problems so my tank is very simple, like myself. :fun2:

Cobrasvt1999
02/07/2016, 04:21 PM
I'm no "guru" or even remotely an "expert" in this hobby, but I honestly cant agree with your points. Even in areas of extreme low flow, osmosis is still happening and would quickly lower the concentration of ammonia in a small pocket. Also, even the simply flip if a fish fin would be enough to break up such a low flow area.

just my .02

dkeller_nc
02/08/2016, 07:32 AM
Well, that was odd.

I'm guessing the OP doesn't actually have an engineering degree that required coursework in chemistry, fluid dynamics and mass transfer. And a somewhat sketchy background in biology/marine biology as well.

And those of us that were in the hobby 20 years ago (for some of us, much, much longer) know that success rates for animals back then certainly weren't higher than they were today.

csb123
02/14/2016, 10:08 AM
Amen

Convict Tang
03/03/2016, 09:08 AM
The tried and true in this hobby has always been:

- Have LOTS of patience and do not rush anything
- Don't buy exotic/large fish and stick to hardy smaller fish
- Understock don't overstock your tank
- Don't get lazy with tank maintenance

The 4 of these are timeless and not following them IMO have usually led to massive losses for hobbyists. For Example:

Lack of patience - Hobbyist buys like crazy and does not QT - fish get sick and die

Exotic fish - Hobbyist gets Tang fever in their 40 gallon tank and buys a "Dory"...fish gets sick and dies

Overstocking - Hobbyist buys a ton of fish and squeezes them all in a tank too small - fish get stress, sick, and die

Tank Maintenance - Hobbyist stops changing water and maintaining equipment. Either nitrates spike and fish die or equipment fails and fish die.




Powerlosses would be the other main reason - though that one is sometimes out of your control.

cougareyes
03/06/2016, 01:21 PM
I was thinking on a similar line recently, I started sw almost 30 years ago, we didn't quarantine and the biggest thing you had to worry about was if your fish was collected with cyanide. I kept my fish for many many years, re homed them into large hotel and public aquariums. Today I find there to be much more disease and death. I re entered the hobby about 4 years ago, after an absence of several years. I've experienced 10 times more death in the last 4 years than the whole time I've been involved Total. I dont know why except I do find the spirit of collectors, distributors, online retailers, and my lfs's to be that the fish and coral are just disposable, just get another one.