Urgent Help! ICH, ammonia spike and loosing fish! :(

Discussion in 'ASAP' started by swhetzel, Apr 17, 2011.

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  1. swhetzel

    swhetzel Plankton

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    Location:
    Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Hello All! I am new to the reef forum, so bare with me! Also, my husband can give more specifics on the tank if needed :) I am hoping you all can help solve some of our problems. We have had our 90 gallon predrilled saltwater tank established for a year now. We have enjoyed the tank, and have had no problems until recently. We have a 120 Gal protien skimmer, which is placed in our refugium (a 100 gal wet/dry with no prefilter). We currently have numerous corals; including several pipe organs, several branches of frogspawn coral, numerous zoos and sps, favias, frags and brains. 2 percula clown fish, a black clown, a tomato clown, a royal gamma, 3 blue chromis, 5 firefish gobys, 3 pajama cardnials, a bi-color angel, a yellow headed sleeper goby, a blue and pink spotted goby and a blue hippo tang. (yes i know we have a lot of fish, however we have maintained more than this until our tank got ich) About 3 weeks ago, we noticed white spots on our 2 butterfly fish (long nose, and heniochus) this progressed when we started treating it with kordon ich attack (herbal formula) and the ich started attacking our yellow tang, blonde naso tang, and blue powder tang. Unfortunately, we lost those 3 tangs, and the two butterfly fish. Our PH dropped to 7.8 overtime( which i have been reluctant to raise it, knowing our ammonia level is high) and has remained at this level. Now i can see our corals closing up, and non-colorful like usual. Our nitrate level today is 20 ppm, and nitrite is 0. SG is 1.022. Temp is 79.8. When we noticed our fish dying, our ammonia level at it's highest was 1.0, and has maintained between 0.25-0.50. Last night, i bought the aquarium pharmacuticles ammo-lock and put 45 ML's in our refugium (as directed). Today our ammonia level is 4.0!! YIKES!!! Our fish do not seem in anymore stress than they have been in since this whole issue began. I didn't know if our testing kit, which we use the master AP kit, is reading the ammonia level wrong, or if the ammonia is indeed at this level. I am starting to really get discouraged. Our fish still have these white spots, and with the ich treatment, we lost 3 starfish! I'd also hate to loose our corals (seems we have more $ in corals than fish left at this point!) I would love suggestions!!! Thanks.
     
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  3. BTowned

    BTowned Peppermint Shrimp

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    You need to start making water and doing a series of large water changes....You can also buy some Prodibio StopAmmo which works well for lowering Ammonia. Basically your best course of action is to dilute your polluted tank....water changes...doing large WC won't harm anything, as long as you have the water as close to identical to your tank's water. Ph, Alk, Mg, Ca, temp, and sg are most important especially if you have sps. I hate to say it, but having 20 fish in a 120G tank is a lot, and without carbon dosing, will eventually lead to situations like this, whether its coral dying or fish.

    First thing is first, make your water or buy it, along with the supplements needed to make your water as close to what your tank is used to. Get your skimmer to skim wet and keep an eye on your SG while doing that. Make sure your refractometer is calibrated too. Start feeding your fish vitamin enriched pellets, flake, frozen. Kent's Garlic and Selcon are what I have used effectively to help build the fish's immune system to help combat ich. At this point, trying to chase and catch the rest of your fish to qt will probably kill 1/2 your remaining fish. Don't use those reef safe ich medications, they just don't work.
     
  4. rlman41299

    rlman41299 Skunk Shrimp

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    Location:
    bay area, california
    that is a lot of load for a 120g. when you start losing star fish it is getting worse. i had ammonia spike at 8 and never lost a starfish. tho my brittle starfish started the ammonia spike.

    i was in your same situation a couple of weeks ago. i would still consider you lucky compared to mine for my ammonia spike reached 8!!!!! and at the smae time battling ICH!.
    what i did was a major water change in a span of 4 days. i did a 700% water change the first day, another 40% on the second day, 40% 3rd day and on the 4th day i did 20% change. it didn't totally lowered my ammonia to 0 ( ammonia is 8!!) but my biological filter kicked in and fnally had a 0 reading 2 days after the last water change. it was a drastic water change but it was better than loosing everything in the tank. in the process i have lost a hammer, torch frogspawn, a couple of sps but save d most of my corals. the tank has now rebounded and treated my ICH after that with Kordon ich attack (same one you are using) and it worked for me. ich attack is a hit and miss but has worked for me.
    Good luck with your tank.
     
  5. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    I would stop using any products to treat Marine Ich in the display tank ASAP. I know it says that you can use it in a reef, but it also says it eradicates Marine Ich which it does not. The Ich is a symptom of a another problem stressing the fish, there by lowering their immunity and allowing an opportunistic parasite to set in.

    As suggested keep doing the water changes with quality water. Get the parameters in check again and then move on to dealing with the ich.

    Marine Ich - Myths and Facts

    Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon irritans - A Discussion of this Parasite and the Treatment Options Available, Part I by Steven Pro - Reefkeeping.com
     
  6. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Welcome to 3reef, by the way. :)
     
  7. rlman41299

    rlman41299 Skunk Shrimp

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    totally agree!!!!
     
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  9. swhetzel

    swhetzel Plankton

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    Location:
    Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Thanks for the response everyone! Our tank is slowly recouperating! We stopped using the ich stuff and everything else. We have performed numerous 25 gallon water changes with the use of stress coat. Our ammonia last night was 0.25, PH was 7.8 (which I added buffer), Nitrite 0, and nitrate was 20-40. I spoke with an aquarium representitive in our area and he said that once our biological filter kicked in, our ammonia would decrease and nitrate level would increase.. Which is has. Thank GOD! We have been feeding our fish the live food (a multipack for saltwater) and we also use kent garlic because we do have picky eaters. (which smells like SKUNK btw ;) ) We haven't lost anymore fish, however we did loose a toodstool mushroom (XL) and numerous SPS :/.... Thanks for all advice!!!!
     
  10. swhetzel

    swhetzel Plankton

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    Thanks! Enjoing it so far!
     
  11. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Sorry for the looses, but at least it's sounds like it's turning around for you.

    Before you add buffer are you testing your alkalinity?

    A pH of 7.8 at the beginning of the day/lighting schedule/photoperiod is not unusual if you are not dosing.

    You can also bring up the pH and decrease swings by increasing surface agitation with a powerhead or having a sump with algae on a reverse lighting schedule.
     
  12. SAY

    SAY Ocellaris Clown

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    i would consider removing some of those fish or i'm afraid these situations will continue to happen. imo, your bio-load is too large. With the butterflys and tangs that you lost, it must have been off the chart.