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Returned from vacation to a trashed tank.. can i save it?

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So I went away for an extended time and trusted my friend to take care of it. He's had plenty of freshwater tanks and said he didn't mind so I felt confidant going away leaving some detailed instructions. Came home yesterday and cried after seeing my tank. Everything is covered in a thick black algae and hair algae. I lost some prized corals to the algae, the rest are not even visible it's so thick and I lost at least three fish.. some are still missing. My best guess is he didn't up keep up any maintenance at all or added bad water to it? Idk... I'm so upset I'm not sure what to do or if I can save it. Has anyone come back from something like this? The rocks were 50% covered in soft corals and zoas. His suggestion was to bleach the rocks.. eeps! I'm glad he didn't do this before I got back. Help!!

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I'm so sorry.  It is so frustrating to take such careful care of a tank only to have it crash due to neglect.  The first thing I would do is nail down what exactly your friend did for feeding, dosing, maintenance, etc.  That might help you hone in on what the problems are.  Assuming you don't get any helpful information from him/her, I would probably try to clean the tank as much as I could--scrape the glass, toothbrush the hair algae, etc.  Then do a large water change while all the crud is floating around.

 

Some other information that might be helpful:  (1) What are your parameters (temp, salinity, alkalinity, calcium, magnesium, phosphates, etc.)? (2) How long were you gone? (3) How big is your tank? (4) What livestock do you have? (5) Post pics.

 

Don't throw in the towel yet!  There are lots of people on here that have had tank crashes for a whole variety of reasons.  I'm sure my number will come up someday and I'll have a horror story myself to tell.  Good luck!

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Don't bleach the rocks. Start with a Water change 50%, siphon out as much algae as you can. add a large cleanup crew, and start the rebuilding process.

 

Also, add some carbon...and start testing the water....I'm guessing your friend just grossly overfed the tank.

Edited by Mandinga

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Wow, that sucks. How long were you gone? If he was doing no maintenance at all, it sounds like the tank would be doing better. It sounds like a combination of possibly overfeeding and using tap water. What size tank do you have? It sounds like there is a high amount of phosphates in the water to feed the algae. If you can remove the rocks and dip them in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes this will not kill your zoas but first thing is run some tests to see where you're at with all of your levels.

 

All is not lost, frequent water changes and running carbon will help. I'm assuming your nitrites, nitrates and phosphates are probably through the roof. If you don't have test kits (I don't) then take a sample to a LFS just to see where you are at.

 

Sorry this is happening. 

I believe I live close to you so next time you are gone for an extended time, I would be happy to check on your tank for you.

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It's a 20 gallon Im nuvo. Always test at the store and with this ice.. stuck here with no accurate params. Attached some pictures before and after (sorry about the potato quality). It was over a five week period, give and take a few days from my last maintenance. I was visibly upset when I saw it so he plunged his hands in the tank and started ripping out the algae before I stopped him. This actually looks better then when I first saw it! There was a very thick black algea (cyano?) on the bottom, you can kind of see it still in the third photo where he buried it a bit in the sand bed.

nK7OY2b.jpg

q5xTql2.jpg

zoe6QTd.jpg

Edited by pippa

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Sorry this is happening. 

I believe I live close to you so next time you are gone for an extended time, I would be happy to check on your tank for you.

 

I appreciate that.. thanks!

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It's a 20 gallon Im nuvo. Always test at the store and with this ice.. stuck here with no accurate params. Attached some pictures before and after (sorry about the potato quality). It was over a five week period, give and take a few days from my last maintenance. I was visibly upset when I saw it so he plunged his hands in the tank and started ripping out the algae before I stopped him. This actually looks better then when I first saw it! There was a very thick black algea (cyano?) on the bottom, you can kind of see it still in the third photo where he buried it a bit in the sand bed.

nK7OY2b.jpg

q5xTql2.jpg

zoe6QTd.jpg

 

Looks like over feeding and using tap water just my 2 cents.

 

That or nothing was done to your tank what so ever while you was gone.  What a friend gosh if I was watching someone tank and seen it start going out of wack and didn't know why I would at least get with them asap.

Hope it all turns out ok I would do water change clean the rocks as said above and check everything. Also a good clean up crew as said above to

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Thanks everyone, I haven't heard about vinegar dosing but i will look into it. I cross posted on nano-reef and they are helping out a lot over there as well. I assumed that not hearing anything was good news, apparently not. I excluded on here that said friend was actually my boy-friend. He just moved out, apparently my animals stressed him out too much so now he's an ex.. what a day.

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Plain old carbon will remove any chlorine if he used tap. I wouldnt do vinegar or vodka...no need to overcomplicate...water changes will help alot...and the hair algae will be chowed by a clean up crew. 

 

Most people overreact when then tank semi crashes, and things get worse before they get better. Your tank doesn't look too bad, I have seen much worse. And the fact that your fish are still alive tells me that if he did use tap, he didnt use much.

 

Just have a local shop do a battery of tests, but your tank will recover in 1-2 weeks judging by the pictures.

 

Reefing is this way...disaster management...and recovery management. And now you know next time to ask someone with experience, or someone who actually loves animals enough to follow detailed instructions.

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Advantages of a nano is water change is pretty quick and easy. I would try to siphon out as much algae and waste as possible. If you have a good skimmer, try vodka dosing. Otherwise vacuum the sandbed with water change will help a lot.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk

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Thanks everyone, I haven't heard about vinegar dosing but i will look into it. I cross posted on nano-reef and they are helping out a lot over there as well. I assumed that not hearing anything was good news, apparently not. I excluded on here that said friend was actually my boy-friend. He just moved out, apparently my animals stressed him out too much so now he's an ex.. what a day.

That's a bummer but if he can't handle feeding/ cleaning a fish tank then he can't handle taking care of women properly. ????

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I agree water changes are you friend right now . Dilution is the solution to pollution! Good luck your tank will be rocking again in no time =)

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This sucks..... I've come home to a busted heater, stray voltage and tank crash. Lost a few corals and a clam. I agree with above comments of keeping it simple water changes and carbon. It will turn around quickly. Good luck

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I'm curious how long you were gone? Seems like a tank should be fine for a couple weeks with just top offs and feeding. 

 

Maybe a fish died and he just didn't notice? That could add some nutrients to the water for sure....especially in a 20g.

 

I'm just curious what we can nail down as the issue...more just because I want to know!

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Maybe the light got left on? Maybe it's part of a normal tank cycle. What happened to the tank?

Edited by Mandinga

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She ended up taking the tank down, I bought all of the livestock and it had zero hair algae or anything when I picked it up. Seeing the tank the day I bought it all, I would have never guessed it went through this.

 

Sent from my SM-G928V using Tapatalk

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Sad day after all that stress that she took it down... Maybe I'll be more careful/detailed leaving it in the hands of my fiancé next time! I know she stresses a bit when I leave town for a couple days.

 

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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