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Discussion Starter #1
So I lost my only fish and am wondering what to do now. Here's a synopsis:

29gal biocube
Added live sand, dry rock (not cured, first mistake) and premixed water from the LFS.
Keeping it short, fish died (was itching but no external signs of ich - my theory was dino toxins as I did see a lot of bubbles on the rock). I did blackout period and bubbles haven't returned but too late to save fish (if that was even the cause). Cleaners are fine.

Now that I have no fish, how should I proceed? I refuse to trash my cleaners but part of me wants to start over completely. Another part thinks I can seed the rock without killing my cleaners. I have no coraline and never did get any hair algae. I'm sure my rock never properly cycled but parameters are stable. I ordered some biochem hoping to seed the rock but am I better off doing it the natural way? Is it worth completely tearing down the tank for a more "text-book" startup?

I tried to keep it short but I have much more info including pics and video if it'll help.

Open to any suggestions and criticisms as well.
 

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Man that stinks, I am sorry to hear of your loss! Curing dry rock can be a long and dangerous (for life) process. As I type this I have a bucket of dry Pukani rock from BRS curing. For a few days my ammonia was as high as 5 and right now my nitrite is nearly off the scale. If it were my tank I wouldn't add anything for a really long time. I would continue to test and watch the tank go through its cycle. At the end of the cycle I would do a 100% water change. Otherwise you will fight high nitrates and phosphates for a really long time. More than likely your tank is through the ammonia phase and the cleaners might be fine but there is a huge chance some will or have already died in some dark place you won't notice. I personally would try to remove them all. Depending on what your tests are saying there may not be anything for them to eat for a really long time. You generally don't get any green algae until after the cycle. Adding chemicals may help but i suspect your tank is already through the ammonia phase of the cycle and from my past experiences cycle additives do not do a lot to nitrite. The best advice I can give you here is to test your water daily to watch the cycle progress. Also personally I like to mix my own water. I do not trust any LFS to have zero tds water. There are cheap portable RO/DI units on amazon ( I think around 70 dollars) that I have used in the past. They seem to be good for about a year for a smaller tank. Though if you have the funds and space I would suggest a good BRS unit. RO/DI really is the cheat code to a good tank.
 

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Setup a quarantine tank. Put your fish purchases in there while your rock cures and your tank cycles. For fish that a copper treatment is appropriate for use it. Once the tank fully cycles and the fish have made a full quarantine time add them to the display. Each new fish purchase should go through the same process. Skipping quarantine even once negates the whole process. Rock will seed with bacteria with or without additives. Go slow, be patient. It will save you time and money in the long run.
 

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How long did you have everything running before the fish was added? Was the tank cycled already?

At this point there's no need to tear it down. Add a bit of food (mysis shrimps, flakes, raw shrimp or whatever you have readily available) and let the tank cycle. The bit of food will also help feed your cleaners, here I'm assuming you've got a mix of crabs and snails. Give it a couple weeks at least, test your water for ammonia (should be zero) , nitrites and nitrates (almost zero) to make sure it's gone through a complete cycle. After that you should be good to go.

I also hope that a LFS didn't send you home with live sand, dead rock and premixed water along with the fish.

So I lost my only fish and am wondering what to do now. Here's a synopsis:

29gal biocube
Added live sand, dry rock (not cured, first mistake) and premixed water from the LFS.
Keeping it short, fish died (was itching but no external signs of ich - my theory was dino toxins as I did see a lot of bubbles on the rock). I did blackout period and bubbles haven't returned but too late to save fish (if that was even the cause). Cleaners are fine.

Now that I have no fish, how should I proceed? I refuse to trash my cleaners but part of me wants to start over completely. Another part thinks I can seed the rock without killing my cleaners. I have no coraline and never did get any hair algae. I'm sure my rock never properly cycled but parameters are stable. I ordered some biochem hoping to seed the rock but am I better off doing it the natural way? Is it worth completely tearing down the tank for a more "text-book" startup?

I tried to keep it short but I have much more info including pics and video if it'll help.

Open to any suggestions and criticisms as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tank "sort of" cycled, as in, after the first few days, I barely detected ammonia and nitrate. A few days later it was zero. I waited a couple weeks of zero readings before adding the gramma, 1 turbo snail and two small hermit crabs. I didn't have a ton of algae so I didn't go crazy with a huge cleanup crew.

When I did the blackout period, I had a small ammonia spike that gradually went away. This was probably from the algae die off. I thought this might be a legit cycle now but that was about 3 weeks ago. No sign of coraline, just green algae. Not hair, not slimey. Ammonia back to zero but nitrate slowly climbing. Changing 25% water tonight.

I agree about the quarantine tank. Even for us nano reefers.
 
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