I have something really strange going on and thought that maybe someone else may have experienced something similar.
I have a new Buyo TL 550 (138 liters). I filled it with RO mixed with Tropic Marin salt and got the salinity to 1025 and put in about 15kgs of live rock. I let it cycle for about 5 to 6 weeks. During this time, I regularly tested the water to see if I could notice the maturation spike, but during this time, all levels (NO3, NO2 and Ammonia) remained pretty much at zero.
My LFS said that sometimes tanks don't show the typical maturation 'spike' and that it should probably be alright to start stocking it really slowly.
At this 5 to 6 week stage, I put in 2 common clowns and a starfish. They all seemed happy and were feeding fine, although the male cf was not as interested in food as his mate. There was quite a bit of green hair algae on the tops of the rocks and it was suggested that this was quite normal for a new tank and that it would probably settle down within a few months.
After stocking, I noticed a slight increase in NO2 (about 0.02) and NO3 (about 2). All this time the PH had been around 8.2.
About a week into having stock in the tank, I noticed that the ph was starting to drop, so I used a teaspoon of TM Buffer, which brought it back up again.
I then noticed that the ph was constantly dropping and started using buffer on a weekly basis.
I then noticed that NO2 and NO3 and ammonia was fine, but the hardness was increasing significantly (it went up to about 16 at one point). The lfs shop suggested that I stop buffering, as this was causing the increase in kh, which I did.
When the ph dropped to 7.6, I got nervous and the lfs suggested that I try dosing with kalkwasser to get the ph back up again (without increasing the hardness). I was mixing a teaspoon of kalkwasser in about 340ml of ro water and when the solution cleared so that he unmixed kalkwasser was at the bottom of the bottle, I tried putting a tablespoon in at a time and the increase in ph was insignificant, so now dose about 200ml, to get an increase of about 0.15 at a time.
The hardness is coming down a bit (it is now on 11), but the ph just keeps dropping.
I was using a digital ph meter and thought that it may be faulty, so decided to get a Profilux 3 (I know - serious overkill, but intend to use it when I get a bigger tank). The ph probe has been calibrated with GHLs ph7 and ph9 reagents.
It was thought that I might have a lack of flow issue, so I got two controllable tunze nanostreams.
I also keep the lid open everyday until lights on time, so the lid stands open for at least 8 hours a day.
I introduced a cleaner shrimp about four weeks ago and he is happy. After about three weeks, the male clown was not looking happy and I took him into the lfs who put him in a quarantine tank and he sadly didn?t make it. They were sure that it was not tank related, so I replaced him about a week later and after about a week, the female started looking off (she seemed disinterested in food) and she died as well. It was thought that possibly the original two cf might have been from a bad shipment.
The water is clear and the algae has dropped significantly (since putting water in, we are about three months into the life of the tank).
I do a wc once a week with about 30lt of water. Last week, I did a big 50% change to see if I could sort out the ph. It was sitting at 8.1 after the change and within thee days, it had dropped back to around 7.86.
The tank is standard as sold (other than the Profilux and two tunzes - skimmer is the Buyo WG308, it has two bags of ceramic rings and a dozen or so bio-balls and it has a 1400 l/hr Buyo circulation pump.)
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Can anyone shed any light on what might be causing it?
Sorry that this is such a long-winded post, but thought it better to give all the details, than possibly miss something that might be significant.
The current readings are: KH 11 NO2 0.02 NO3 10 NH3 0.07
I always thought that RO water was a ph of 7, so I learned something with this.. it is reading 6.8, but once mixed with TM salt, it goes to around 8.04.
I did tiny kalkwasser doses yesterday, all day, to get the ph from around 7.85 up to 8.1 last thing last night.
This morning it is down to 7.92. I know that it would naturally be lower in the morning, and will check it this afternoon, but am certain that it will have dropped further, if this trend remains true to form.
The substrate is AragAlive (sorry I ommitted that - my slip!)
Just a quick observation if you still have the ceramic rings and bio balls in your tank I would remove them, you don't need them if you have live rock and live sand. They will only give you nitrate problems in the future as will any sponge you use.
hello I guess you must be mad at what's happening.
for the fishes, i is quite surprising they unfortunately did not die before, must have been pretty resistant...
what is your magnesium level?
the presence of No3 is not abnormal since all the coral and the fishes 'presences naturally lead to the production of this element. But the presence of No2 and amonium is totally abnormal, from my experience, the rising of amonia and nitrites very quickly provokes a ph drop .
What is left in your tank as regards living animals?
remake all your tests now, see the evolution .
what is the aspect of the water?
What is the quality of your rocks : artificial ou real? were they new or second hand? in which conditions were they stocked?
Do you have the possibility of of replacing the whole volume of water of your tank ( total reset ?)
What is the exact quality of your water used for the making? have you tested it?
Do you have the possibility of buying real living bact?ries ( the ones stocked in a fridge in the shop), sorry don't know the British brands....
The point I have in mind is that for some reason there is an element which has stopped or unables the natural degradation of nitrogen into nitrates, thus leading to a ph drop.
but honestly you have to get prepared to restart all again, which is the most certain eventuality from what you wrote.
the only thing you dont mention water changes, how often do you do water changes and how much each time, where do you get your RO water from, and do you check it before you mix it? have you used any premixed salt water from any shops, and what salt mix do you use to mix in if you do it yourself? :o)
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