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  1. #1

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    Question Customer Questions!


    0 Not allowed!
    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!

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    What is he using for filtration? How long has the tank been running?

    If he has ammonia readings, his tank is not cycled yet.
    It sounds like he needs to culture a population of bacteria in his filter/live rock, and get the tank cycled.
    20gal long planted community

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to the above

    Either the tank is not cycled, or something was changed to cause a spike
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    0 Not allowed!
    I know he said he had a canister filter. He said his tanks been up "for years". He did just introduce an anemone, but that wouldn't do it would it?

    I was always under the impression that you could still get ammonia when a tank was cycled? Just from overfeeding, a fish dying, or too many new fish? Is that incorrect?

  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    No, you are correct. Too much bioload added too quickly, a decaying corps, and/or a LOT of fish food added in one shot (a lot more than normal) can all give you a ammonia spike. That's what I was trying to get at when I meationed about something changing in the tank

    But for a spike of 2.0ppm, I would guess it must have been something big that changed

    It's not all that different from FW that way

    I would be curious about the rest of his paramaters as well.

    With water quality that poor, his anemone won't last long at all, poor thing


    Edit: anemones don't have a large bioload (unless you are overfeeding it) so I do not think that would cause a spike at all
    Last edited by Cliff; 02-19-2012 at 05:25 AM.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff
    No, you are correct. Too much bioload added too quickly, a decaying corps, and/or a LOT of fish food added in one shot (a lot more than normal) can all give you a ammonia spike. That's what I was trying to get at when I meationed about something changing in the tank

    But for a spike of 2.0ppm, I would guess it must have been something big that changed

    It's not all that different from FW that way

    I would be curious about the rest of his paramaters as well.

    With water quality that poor, his anemone won't last long at all, poor thing


    Edit: anemones don't have a large bioload (unless you are overfeeding it) so I do not think that would cause a spike at all
    Ah okay! I understand now :)

    Yeah, I only tested his water for phosphates, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. Nitrates and Nitrites were 0. I was really kind of expecting to see some Nitrates.

    Poor anemone :(

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Do you ever test for calcium alkalinity and magnesium ?

    IMO, they are critical eliments for a stable PH.

    Phos off the charts and no nitrate seams very odd to me as well, even more so considering the customer has a canister filter on the set-up. Could your test kits be giving you bad reading ?
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    i wonder what media that customer has in his canister filter? Sounds like it expired at any rate. I'd also wonder how often he back flushed his RO unit. Being on a well could mean the membrane is clogged, and the tap water source is bypassing the membrane all together. That could be his source of high phosphate.

    Dave
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  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    I didn't, we actually don't even have those tests as bad as that is. I actually asked the girl who set up our salt tank the other day why we don't test for those elements in our own salt tank and she told me basically we just "hope those are great" because of our strong filtration? Not even sure if that makes sense.

    What do those elements do to a tank when they are "off"?

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7   Chocolate always makes a body better.  Glad you're on the ment - fishmommie   Here's to a quick recovery my friend. - mommy1   Happy Holidays. - gadget228   Have a Candy cane ;-) Merry Christmas - steeler58   

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    0 Not allowed!
    That can cause swings in your PH, and, in very very extreme cases I have heard of it causing a tank to crash.

    More commonly swings in the PH and changes in those parameters will help nasty algaes to take hold and slow down coraline growth


    I think Dave66 has some great suggestions for your customer to look into
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

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