I work at a local independent pet store. We have a small fish room and one separate 40 Gallon cube saltwater tank. Myself and three other people are in charge of maintaining this tank, which I was surprised at how simple this actually is to do.

Lately I've been doing as much research as possible on saltwater, not because I want a tank. I know I'm not ready. But because I often have customers interested in saltwater or have saltwater tanks they are having issues with. In these situations I frequently end up calling the manager of another one of our locations who is our salt fish guru really. I simply hate being so helpless in these situations.

There's the back story. Today I had a customer who wanted his salt water tank tested. His ammonia read at 2.0, and his phosphates were off the chart! In the tank we have at the store, we only test nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and phosphate and I know we just want everything at 0 at all times. He did not mention having any issues with algae. He has a 75 Gallon Reef with two clowns, a "Dory" fish as he said, a clean up crew of hermit crabs and clams and a Foxface. He told me he feeds once a day.

I called the manager at the other store. She told me his phosphates could be depleting the oxygen in the tank, therefore making the fish stressed and causing them to produce more ammonia. She said he may be using tap water and we should test his tap water. She also said that he very likely is overfeeding.

This customer was adamant that he does not overfeed. He also told me he has an RO system. I suggested he bring in a sample of the water straight from his RO. He also uses well water. So for those of you more experienced with salt water than I am, what do you think the issue is? He will be coming in later this week and I'd like to have more ideas to throw out to him.

Thanks guys! And by the way, I've learned a lot from just reading around this forum. What a great resource!