Originally Posted by lostanime
What are the 6 small breed fish, and what are their current sizes? What kind of filter are you running and what are you changing monthly in it? What are you feeding, how much, and how often?
Have you tested the water your doing changes with for ammonia? Some less desirable salt mixes contain ammonia and some "RO" water isn't always as pure as to be desired (ie if carbon blocks or RO membrane aren't changed when needed)
It may be worthwhile to have your LFS to also test your water for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate to confirm that there's not something funny going on with your test kit (they do expire and sometimes can go bad)
I'm assuming this was dead coral that you bleached?? Coral skeletons are very porous - did you let it sit out and dry for a few days after bleaching?
Are you running a skimmer?
-my six fish are: Fire fish, six line wrasse, sailfin blenny, bangai cardinal, maroon clown fish and a dwarf flame angel (i know those last 3 breeds get large, but for the meantime theyre very small and young, when they grow i will establish my 60 gal tank when the time is right )
-i feed them a variety of vitamin enriched flakes, pellets, frozen variety by ocean nutrition, frozen brine, frozen squid and dried seaweed (i recently tried all these things because my flame angel wouldnt eat for its first two weeks, but is now eating very well) so its mainly flake and seaweed. i try frozen food but they dont seem to like it much, and brine i read is too much of a pollutant.
-I feed once a day, but i leave seaweed in for them to graze on all day, which they all partake in and love. i've been feeding a minimal amount because ive been trying to get a zero reading of ammonia thinking that i could be overfeeding. but i know im not, they get fed what they can eat in about 15 seconds and it goes by very fast. Each fish gets about 3 mouth fulls of flake, they're very good competitive eaters.
-my tank has a wet/dry filtration i think its called? (its an eclipse with a BIO-Wheel filter and charcoal cartridge)
-i change the filter once a month, but never near when i do the biweekly 20% water change (soon to be weekly since i suspect biweekly is not enough for my bioload)
no i dont test the ro water from the LFS but have never had any problems untill now. when i have water quality issues with my test kit, i always go to the LFS for her opinion which i did today. its quite odd, her tests never pick up what mine does. i use the chemical drop water test kit, and i always get readings of low ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. she uses test strips that never pick up the level im concerned about. ive thought that i should switch to the strips to put my mind at ease since the water quality issues are nonexistent with those, but what if hers are faulty? and mine are more accurate, meaning i DO have some worries with my test results?
i will start testing my ro water before a water change for now on though.
and yes, dead coral, they were bleached overnight (one cup bleach to one gallon of water) then rinsed, soaked in water for two nights, and layed out in the sun to dry for the day. should it have been out longer? i made sure there wasnt a single hint of bleach aroma before adding them to my tank again.
and nope, i havent set up a protein skimmer (yet)
after my visit to the LFS she agreed that i might have wiped out to much nitrifying bacteria by cleaning the coral, and cleaning the subtrate. and that by doing so, the high reading of ammonia may be comming from the fact that the subtrate was stirred up. so we concluded that i should space those big changes out more. for example, i should only clean the subrate once a month, and the filter once a month, but not near eachother. and when i clean coral, it shouldnt be near those times either.
I bought a bottle of (SuperBac) nitrfying bacteria there and added it to my tank (one bottle treats 20 gal) hoping that builds it up more and lowers the ammonia.
She also told me that by now i should be getting zero readings of ammonia and nitrite, and that it being a young tank is no longer an excuse, its been done cycling a long long time.
any idea why they never reach zero? it cant be over feeding, perhaps the weekly water change is the answer. Thank you for your reply! =)