View Full Version : My tank has crashed and it can't get up!
02/25/2006, 04:07 PM
So the cascade effect that started at Christmas has escalated...today the pom-pom crab died. Only livestock I have left is my cleanup crew and possibly the hitchiker pistol shrimp. Zoas look like crap, although they're still alive (mostly, anyway). They haven't opened up since Christmas. Mushrooms and hairy mushrooms melted a few weeks ago, when I tried taking everything out, toothbrushing it, and changing half the water. Ricordia finally died last week. Xenia looks like it wants to die; candy cane is dying. Brown gook everywhere, maybe diatoms, maybe cyano, although it's not red. I did a big water change again yesterday (after taking some water in to CR to have it tested; everything was great exc. pH was 7.9, but the water had been in the car a few hours). I vacuumed the sand, scrubbed the rock gently and sucked out the guck; but it's back today. Yesterday I took out the powerhead and changed the heater out, on the chance that one of them was leaking current; so the HOB is the only water movement I have right now.
So there's no ammonia, trates are <10....what is going on? Do I just act like it's a new tank and let it cycle? Should I quit on the water changes for a while? Turn off the lights? Throw the whole damn thing away???!!!
Yeah, I know...small tanks are hard to keep...etc etc.....but it was great for almost 12 months....
Any feedback, good or bad, is welcome!
02/25/2006, 04:44 PM
I don't know what the problem is...sorry about that. Maybe it's fungus? But I just wanted to say that I am sorry you are having so many problems! I thought about you on the way home from the reef club meeting and wondered what happened to ya!
02/25/2006, 06:13 PM
Sorry to hear that. Got a few questions for you, though.
Do you have a surface skimmer? If not, I would recommend one ($10 at most LFS or online). I had some issues with my 5.5 gal at work and my wife's 20L before I installed one on each tank. The surface was getting very little oxygen exchange because of the funk layer. You can adjust the surface skimmer so it pulls everything and makes it nice and crystal clear.
Do you run any powerheads? A really small one might make a world of difference.
Do you run carbon beside the miniscule amount in the filter pads for the eclipse? A small bag hidden somewhere (even if only temporary) might help with some issues.
How old are your bulbs and what bulbs are you using? I know there is debate about how long bulbs are good for, but I replace all of mine at no longer than 6 months (except my DE MH. I let them go a year). I can tell a huge difference in my VHO's after replacing at six months old (on my 125). I run the screw in 20W 50/50's on my 5.5 (and ran them on the eclipse when I ran it). You have to remove the socket (remove the screw that secures the plastic socket cover) to get them in sometimes, and they touch the hood, but I never had an issue with them aside from the fun of removal and replacement of the socket when I changed bulbs. It says not to exceed 15W, but I did for well over a year with no issues...
You may also want to try adding an airstone to one of the filter chambers in the back of the cube. We did that and threw a layer of plastic wrap over top to keep it from spraying the electricals and it seemed to help overall.
Has anything changed around the house? New cleaning sprays? Running the heat or a/c more often? I'm wondering if maybe there's something in the air that's causing your issues?
02/25/2006, 09:02 PM
Good point, Fred. It doesn't take much for aerosols, etc., to make their meandering way into a tank...
I think we've been over everything else...I'm at a loss unless there's some sort of contaminant getting into the tank...
02/26/2006, 07:36 AM
Thanks for all the replies! Yeah, Mel, I'm still around. Seems like I'll never get to another meeting...there's ALWAYS a conflict or something!
OK.....The surface skimmer might help; I've thought many times about trying to make one to work with my HOB, instead of buying one. The surface isn't real bad, though; I've done so many water changes in the last few weeks! I did run a powerhead, a micro-jet, but I took it out Friday to see if possibly it was an electrical problem. I'm not sure how to test it. I'm not using the filter that came with the Eclipse; I had a hood made, and I have a Millenium 1000 on the back. I run sponges (that I change out at least once a week), carbon and poly-filter. The bulbs were replaced in December; I have one 13w 10k and one 13w 50/50. I did have one of the screw-in 20w 50/50 builbs, but I took it out.
Would the airstone be just for increasing oxygenation? I could do that, heaven knows there are enough air pumps lying around. Fortunately (?) I am a slob of a housekeeper, and there are no aerosols or anything new. I keep thinking something got into the tank over Christmas when all this started, while I was out of town....but I've done so many water changes and stuff since then! I haven't painted, or done much except mop the kitchen floor (and that rarely); no endust or anything...On that front, the fw tanks seem fine; the plants are taking over the world!
Anybody want to rescue some poor pathetic zoas ? I have some cool colors...Gary, some are even yours....I hate to let them die.
What about candles? Anyone else in the household doing anything?
Have you tried running carbon and/or a Polyfilter for a week or so?
02/26/2006, 05:21 PM
No candles, although I have some I someday intended to burn...not a good idea, huh?
No hobbies like building models or anything; kids play soccer, play with the dog/guinea pig/hamster/frogs/newt/fish (well ok you can't really PLAY with a fish...), husband watches TV, runs the soccer organization....
I always run carbon and a poly filter.
I hate to let everything die, but I feel like that's what we're up against.
02/26/2006, 05:50 PM
A simple test to rule out electrical problems would be to plug into a GFCI protected outlet, with the electrical device in saltwater.
Do you use R/O water and aerate it for days before doing water changes? Remember nothing good happens fast.
Are you using supplements?
02/26/2006, 07:38 PM
If you can get a hold of a meter, you can test the potential in the water, too.
02/26/2006, 08:16 PM
Sent you a pm, Your welcome to store your live stock in my frag tank until you get the problem figured out.
I think we're down to the nitty gritty now...something has to be causing the problem.
Electrical would be one thing to rule out, as would ORP. Water that tests perfect by our standard tests may have something else wrong with it.
You do use RO water too correct? Otherwise I'd suspect maybe something the water company started adding...
02/28/2006, 07:07 AM
Art, thanks so much for the offer! I will let you know if we decide to take you up on it...
I buy salt water from Coral Reef. I use R/O from Wal-Mart (Culligan) to top off. I do not supplement with anything. Wouldn't there always be electical potential in saltwater? I can try the GFCI thing with the heater and powerhead. Fred, what do you mean by ORP? I have wondered about things that aren't covered by standard testing, like copper (although wouldn't the snails have died first?) or other stuff. I am guessing the water has to be OK, generally, because otherwise things at the store and other people's tanks would be sick. It could be the top-off water. I could buy some distilled bottled water for a while and see if things improve.
One basic problem is that my house is not grounded. It was built in the late '40's and the circuit breaker box is grounded but not each outlet, as per code now. An electrician told me it would cost thousands to do it....in a tiny house we paid $50k for.
02/28/2006, 08:12 AM
I would put my money on the top off water. Be careful with distilled it may have copper in it from the pipes. How many gallons do you need? I can fix you up with some good water for free if you want to make a trip to Cove Lake area (lafollette). You could bring a garbage can and I will fill it for you. (I have 3 garbage cans in my basement). I have some aged and aerated saltwater also if you need some. Mike
02/28/2006, 07:54 PM
Mike, I really appreciate the offer of water. I'm not sure if I can take you up on it; I have very little storage space, and what little I have is taken up with AYSO equipment and materials at the moment :rolleyes: I usually get a 5g jug at a time; I also use it to fill an ultrasonic humidifier for the frog tank, feed the guinea pig (they form bladder stones, I've found, if there are too many minerals in their water) and water the carnivorous plants. But with all those uses, it only lasts about a week or so.
I dunno....I'm too tired to think...too frustrated, too....
Fred, what do you mean by ORP?
Oxidation-Reduction Potential. Since a full-length explanation would likely make our heads explode and take up another forum all on its own, here you go:
03/01/2006, 07:44 AM
One basic problem is that my house is not grounded. It was built in the late '40's and the circuit breaker box is grounded but not each outlet, as per code now. An electrician told me it would cost thousands to do it....in a tiny house we paid $50k for. [/B]
You can still install a GFCI receptacle (or use a GFCI power strip) and have it function without a ground leg. The neutral is the grounded reference for ground-fault potential -- so long as the neutral is bonded to ground in the power panel it would work. Even if this doesn't reveal your problem, I would recommend it for safety reasons.
If you ever get the chance, you can install GFCI receptacles in the high-usage or wet areas or your house for added safety. It is much cheaper than re-wiring the entire house.
03/01/2006, 12:34 PM
Shoot, Fred, I was trying to forget all that stuff from chemistry and physics...and here you go reminding me of redox potentials....Thanks for the response, though. I went to buy some more water (I bought some R/O water too) at CR and was looking at a GFCI adaptor thingie they have for sale...wasn't sure if it could work right without a ground on the outlet it's plugged into. I have GFCI in the garage and bath....probably ought to put some in the kitchen, too. I'm running to Wally World in a minute, I'll see if they have any strips with GFCI's.
Probably Art will get custody of all the zoas and we'll start over...maybe with a bigger tank....
I know someone who'll have a 155 for sale in a few weeks. ;)
03/02/2006, 06:44 AM
:lol: Thanks Fred, maybe not that big....I was thinking more of a 10 or 12g....
03/04/2006, 08:35 AM
jane i second that i could help you on good water if you need it just give me a call and let me know when you need it 556-7845
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