Animals Apartment Aquarium

Salt water blues

Better living through chemistry, originally uploaded by Gavatron.

I’ve lived with a saltwater aquarium for the past two-ish years now, ever since Heather moved into the apartment. To this point, I’ve been pretty hands off the whole endeavour, not because I wasn’t interested, but because of the steep learning curve associated with keeping a salt water tank. Heather’s picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), Trigger, shed his mortal coil on the day that I returned from the Yukon. You can read into that act what you wish.

We had talked about changing the kind of tank, from a fish (one fish, really) to a reef tank. It’s proving to be challenging. Mysteriously, the three shrimp purchased for the tank have all died. They were all delicious (just kidding!). When two expired sometime on Friday night / Saturday morning, it was time to figure out what was going on.

A battery of tests later, we now know that the Nitrate levels in the tank were waay too high for the shrimp (curiously, we have blue-legged hermit crabs in the tank and they seem to be doing fine). What all of this means exactly, I don’t know. This is where the learning curve comes in. So the plan has been to aggressively cycle the water (we did a 20% replacement on Saturday and a 20% replacement on Sunday). I tested Nitrates today and frustratingly, the level doesn’t seem to have come down. Our ammonia levels are down (to undetectable) but our phosphate appears to be up.