Zoey's Reef - For the Joy that Should Have Been . . .

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by Maritimer, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Devastation and disaster, to put it mildly . . .

    ~Bruce, who _has_ to go to work, understanding why people leave this hobby. :(:mad:
     

  2. rayn

    rayn Bluefin Believer R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Partner Member 2018

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    Oh no. What happened?
     
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  3. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    So here's where the drama arose this morning...

    All of my fish have been in quarantine for a couple of weeks, under "Cuprion" ionic copper, because that's what the reef shop I was in at the time had, and because my Salifert test kit can't "see" Kordon's "Safe Copper Aid". (I've since found Cupramine in a couple of other local spots...) Over the last week, the coral beauty had been trying to pick a fight with the kole, and had taken a few tang-shots to the base of its tail, which were looking pretty infected. After a 24-hour shift at my weekend job, I hit up three pet/pet supply places in town for antibiotics, finding only Erythromycin and half-courses of Tetracycline and Tri-Sulfa. While trying to figure out which might be best to use for the angel, my son called from a LFS three towns away - I had to tell him that I didn't want the matted filefish or domino damsel, but would he please bring home some Maracyn and Maracyn II? "Knowing" that those are supposed to be safe with copper, I treated the tank at about noon yesterday. At the evening meal, everyone ate - mysis and "Angelfish Formula" frozen yumminess, although the angel only picked. By the time I went to bed, everyone looked OK, if a bit stressed. (The kole had been gilling a bit, I'd assumed that there might be a few ich trophonts hiding in her gills)

    Just getting ready to step into the shower this morning, and I turn on the lights - and it looks like a battlefield in my QT. Bodies everywhere, and a few fish gasping and struggling. Gone are the tang, the angel, two small royal grammas who'd been getting along swimmingly together, and a chubby and feisty tailspot blenny, along with two flasher and two fairy wrasses, and my sole remaining blue gudgeon. (Had three, never saw one look ill, nor found a body in or out of the tank....) Quickly performed a couple of "faux" five-gallon water changes, emptying and returning the same water to boost the oxygen levels, and prepped a real water change of about the same volume. Let that saltwater mix while showering, and added it to the tank as I was leaving for work (and already late) Now, I'm back for a quick-check at lunch hour. Remaining are two zebra-bar darts, my pair of fire-dart gobies a trio of azure damsels and a starry blenny. Also remaining is the "dissection", my need to try to sort out what happened, and what I can do (aside from not trying to house and medicate so many fish at one time in a 40-b) to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    ~Bruce
     
  4. DeniseAndy

    DeniseAndy Valuable Member

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    So sorry to hear!

    Were all those guys in the same QT? All at the same time? How was QT created? Just asking because I had to QT a larger order of fish once and did so in a 55g, but still got a huge ammonia spike and lost many (only saved the ones I moved to new tank). Although I think in my case it was something in the tank I borrowed, not the qt process. However, too many too fast could spike ammonia that spikes bacteria that zaps oxygen.

    Were the dead ones gills openish and red? If so, probably ammonia toxicity. I do not use copper, so no input there for you. Sorry.
     
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  5. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    They were all in there, DeniseAndy, but their gills weren't jammed in the open position - the QT is a 40-breeder with an Aqua-Clear 110 on it. The sponge in the filter is previously used, it's the older, finer, more durable sponge material. There's also a sleeve of the ceramic "noodles" in there, which were held in my DT's sump for a couple of weeks before starting up the QT. Seachem ammonia badge has been holding at yellow - no ammonia - since startup. QT was started with 50% water from the display, but since then I've been mixing its water separately. (RSCP for the DT, Instant Ocean on-sale-for-$30 for the QT) Good thought though . . .

    On the plus side, without fish in it, Zoey's Reef itself has never looked better! <Grr.> Corals and anemones are open as never before. Sheets of Ulva are growing from some of the frag plugs. Nitrates are at or near zero. (Finally!) Hopefully, that'll slow the algae a bit . . . It has kind of taken over. GHA, cyano, diatoms (maybe even some dinos!!) and bajillions of tiny copepods and isopods scurrying between the strands. The water is brilliant, and the colors are ever-changing - even where they really shouldn't be, like on the sandbed.

    ~Bruce
     
  6. DeniseAndy

    DeniseAndy Valuable Member

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    Bummer. Sounds like ammonia would not be the problem unless the badge was bad. Sounds like how I set up QT. I have never (besides that once) had any issues with a similar method.

    Could you get a necropsy done? Curious if it was disease.
     
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  7. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Honestly, I'm about 88% (plus maybe 11%...) certain it was something I did wrong. These are the two probabilities running through my mind...

    A) pH dropped, increasing the toxicity of the copper.
    B) The addition of the antibiotic lowered the oxygen content of the water below what the fish and bacteria required.

    The remaining fish appear to be pretty comfortable now - and it looks as though the dartfish who perished was one of the zebra-bars, as the blue gudgeon has since put in an appearance.

    All of which means that the $100 or so I spent on antibiotics yesterday was nothing more than an etravagant way to kill half of my fish . . . including any with suspected bacterial issues. :oops::mad::(

    ~Bruce, now kind of embarassed to even show his face at any of the LFS' . . .
     
  8. DeniseAndy

    DeniseAndy Valuable Member

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    Low o2 sounds right. I just have no experience with copper to know implications.
     
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  9. Luka

    Luka Active Member

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    Sorry to hear that Bruce terribly unfortunate. Try returning the antibiotics, if you have the receipt it should be fine. I have yet to QT my fish and I know I should I am fearful of it. Anyways stuff happens you learn and we all learn. Stay with it!
     
  10. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Nah ... Can't return antibiotics with one dose gone.

    Decided to go ahead and complete the antibiotic course of treatment, as the other zebra dart showed up after all (how do they vanish for two days with nothing but a few PVC fittings to hide in?!), and he's got an infected jaw. (I think he whacked it on the liverock while darting for cover on the reef - and it looks as though it'll remain deformed for a while... perhaps for a lifetime.) Also added an oversized powerhead with a venturi to keep flow and oxygenation up - so far, everyone looks pretty good, and everyone's eating alertly. <fingers crossed>

    After running afoul of ich in my reef, I'm now more fearful of _not_ quarantining.

    Are you going to the Frag Farmers' Market? I've never been, but it sounds pretty epic!

    ~Bruce
     
  11. Luka

    Luka Active Member

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    Yea can't say I ever had ich but doesn't sound like fun. How bad is the zebra darts jaw? And the frag market I am not sure if I am, when is it? I know it's in storrs which is kind of far. I don't want to drag my parents there, they already a get tired when I am in an LFS for 15 minutes.
     
  12. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    The dart's jaw is a mess. He still eats well enough, but it's just as well he doesn't chew his food . . .

    Ich .... no. Not fun. I wouldn't wish it on any aquarist, even if they were just plain nasty folks. (And I don't know any who are.)

    Frag Farmers' Market - well ... maybe you can catch it next year. Pure awesome. 40+ vendors from local hobbyists to LFS' to Jason Fox and Justin Credible. Corals from $1,000 to five bucks. (That was when the day opened up. As the selection got smaller, so did the prices! I picked up some cool stuff for cheap cash!) Scored some more acans, a red Blastomussa, a Duncan, a Leptoseris (teeny li'l frag, but as bright as a neon sign under the blues!), some fun zoanthids and a few of what I was told might be hardier SPS. Also scored some rock-flower anemones, mini-maxi carpets - and a little bright red carpet anemone with a green mough that's kind of cool. Stays under 3", from what I gather, and looks like a scrap of velvet. I think once things grow in, Zoey's reef will look amazing without another coral. There were plenty of fish, macroalgae and dry goods, too. I think I came home with _just_ enough money to cover lunches 'til payday, LOL!

    CTARS is planning a "Fragtoberfest" for later in the year - might want to pencil both events in on your calendar.

    ~Bruce
     
  13. Luka

    Luka Active Member

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    Sounds awesome! You got a lot of corals. I have been getting. Plenty as well think I might need a bigger tank if that's possible. I will definitely keep Tahoe events in mind, google them see if I can find out when and where they are. Your lucky u still have enough for lunches haha. But those corals seem awesome and well worth it!
     
  14. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I think so . . . Zoey's Reef, even covered in algae as it is, is looking better than ever. Very "natural". (Except for the frag plugs...) Water is as clear as any I've ever seen in an aquarium. Colors are brilliant and endlessly fascinating.

    I'm familiar with tinytank syndrome - every time I walk into a reef shop, and especially at Frag Farmers', I keep thinking "I really should brace the floor and go for the 150 . . . .

    The corals from yesterday are unfurling, extending their polyps and tentacles, and looking wonderful. "Tubbs Blue" zoanthids, though tiny, have added a delightful touch of color. Rock-flower anemones, half-buried in the sand, offer peeks and promises of color. "Nuclear Green" Palythoa, situated in a corner with plenty of flow, are already catching things to eat. Stylophora birds-nest corals are wide awake, but the Montipora and millipora polyps only seem to be venturing out a little tiny bit.

    Think I'll run a full battery of tests, and see if there's anything in the water that they might not be loving . . .

    ~Bruce
     
  15. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    While the fish in QT have been ... frustrating, to say the least, Zoey's Reef itself has been improving.

    The battle with nitrates seems to have been won - at the cost of running a tank green and red with algae!

    Here's a snapshot of the waters that flow around the reef:

    Temperature - 76 degrees f
    Specific Gravity - 1.0255
    pH - 8.0
    Nitrates - 0.0
    Phosphates - 0.0
    Magnesium - 1600
    ALK - 3.0/8.4
    Calcium - 430

    pH measured with API, all others with Red Sea.

    Never thought I'd say this, but I think I may wind up wishing to have some nitrates back . . . I've been feeding about half the day's regimen to the DT and half to QT. Most days, that works like this:
    AM - Thaw one cube of either "Formula One" or "Formula Two" as I go into the shower. Mix with RO/DI, and feed half after I step out, half when I'm dressed and ready for work.
    Midday - Each tank gets a pinch of freeze-dried "Cyclop-eeze", a pinch of Omega One's smallest pellets, and a pinch of "Formula One" flakes.
    Evening - Thaw a cube of frozen food, cycling through a half-dozen different varieties, from "Emerald Entree" to "Angelfish Formula" to LRS, and distribute it between the two tanks in two feedings each, about a half-hour apart.

    Everyone who isn't dead seems to really appreciate it. :/ All that nutrition seems to be getting locked away by the algae / bacteria / invertibrates almost as soon as it hits the water!

    ~Bruce
     
  16. Luka

    Luka Active Member

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    Nice feeding plan! parameters look great. You feed the corals at all?
     
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  17. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I do - most of my corals are LPS and zoas, so they're happy to take the same food as the shrimps & fish - up to and including whole mysis! When I feed frozen, I don't separate the "juice", so any smaller filterfeeder who wants that is welcome to scoop it out of the water (or the skimmer will...), and also add a shot of Kent's phytoplankton or zooplankton every few days.

    ~Bruce

    P.S. - Temp has been bumped to about 79, on the recommendation of a couple of members here.
     
  18. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Update; Zoey's Reef . . .

    It's about two weeks until the end of the fallow period, and the reef is looking awesome:

    [​IMG]

    Things have finally settled down in QT - I've discovered that there's a _huge_ difference between chelated and ionic copper (fairy wrasses seem to tolerate chelated, die agonizingly in ionized at surprisingly low concentrations...), and that TTM might not be for me - after having two fish find holes in the eggcrate over a 10-gallon sitting next to a kitchen sink filled with dirty dishes and hot, soapy water . . . :oops:

    At the moment, life is good on Zoey's Reef, but my fingers are crossed and I'm knocking on this desk!

    ~Bruce
     
  19. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Special Update from Zoey's Reef:

    Zoey's little brother is due to arrive in early October. Mom (my daughter) is taking it very easy through this pregnancy as nobody wants another stillbirth. Big sister (my granddaughter, who'll be six soon) is very excited and happy to share her world with a baby boy - her preference, lucky girl! Any positive energies anyone cares to direct toward mother & son would be most welcome.

    Granddaughter is a big part of the reason for Zoey's Reef; she loves animals in general, including inverts such as snails. (She's a huge fan of "The WildKratts") Nowhere is there more invert diversity than a coral reef, and nowhere is the interaction between species more evident! From watching clownfish host in a coral (the 'nems on Zoey's Reef aren't of the sort to host clownfish... though they'll host sexy shrimp!) to the basic chemistry of a pH test, I can't think of a better way to introduce a child to practical science.

    ~Bruce
     
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  20. Maritimer

    Maritimer Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Well ... Fallow period is officially over on Saturday, at 76 days. QT has developed ... issues. Water is cloudy and fish are gasping, even with two 50% changes a week, AquaClear 110 and a powerhead with a venturi injecting bubbles into the water. Got a nasty surface film, too. Everybody's been through copper and Prazi-Pro (twice!), so I think I'm gonna jump the gun here, and move fish onto Zoey's Reef, before they all die in QT. Will likely nuke the QT and re-start for future fish, using bottled bacteria.

    Come through too much to lose it all in the homestretch . . .

    ~Bruce
     
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