My main pump stalled—Iwaki pumps decouple when otherwise they might burn out due to a stall: they continue to run (they’re noisy as all getout…) but are pumping nothing. So no oxygen is getting to the dt (display tank). The skimmer (producer of bubbles, injector of oxygen, and remover of spare amino acids through ‘foam fractionation’, aka sea foam) is going just fine. The water level is high because several gallons have drained down to the sump from the dt with nothing going ‘up’ from the pump…but then I was breaking in a new ATO (autotopoff unit that senses a water level lowered by evaporation and supplies fresh water to make up the evaporated liquid) that WAS sounding an overfill alarm, but I’d been fussing with the level–and clueless in Spokane, I ignored it. Unfortunately, I lost all the fish in the dt but one. I found her a home at the fish store, because you can’t move new fish in on a damsel of her size (nearly 5″) because to her, they’re interlopers and possibly lunch.
So—I gave up on keeping a damsel tank and decided to go for the little guys. I’ve got 3 firefish, a pink margin wrasse, a royal gramma, a starry blenny and a tailspot blenny, —and still on order: a couple of yellowheaded pearly jawfish, a mated pair of yellow watchmen, and a mandarin ‘goby’. [The mandy is actually not a goby but a dragonet, but was misidentified early on and the name stuck.) You can get pix of them by google.
The fishes are all eating, equipment is running as it should, and I spent yesterday carefully adjusting salt levels. Just for a weird tag of information, marine fish live at a salinity of about 1.024 up to 1.026, and can live as low as 1.009 (for treatment of parasites)—which corals and invertebrates can’t take. Many fish stores keep fish at 1.019 to save money on salt, and to somewhat discourage parasites. They’re often shipped at that level. My system is 1.025. Now the next piece of trivia—fish can stand a sudden drop in salinity down to 1.009; but a rapid rise will destroy their kidneys and kill them three days later from uremic poisoning. So if you get marine fish that arrive at 1.019, you have to bring the salinity up slowly by injecting higher salinity water into their water until you’re within .002 of the target salinity. To make matters worse, fish are often 24-hour airshipped in plastic bags—and their respiration and body functions charge that water with ammonium. Now, ammonium is harmless. But they also give off co2—carbon dioxide, which also is present as airspace in the bag. If you open the bag, the co2 floats off, thus starting a chemical change—the ph drop converts harmless ammonium to lethal ammonia, also apt to trash the fish’s liver and kidneys if you don’t get the fish out of that water asap. And, remember, your salinity is higher than that of the bag.
If you’re smart, you open only one bag at a time and get that fish safely into your water. Novices rush to open everything and get ‘the poor fish some fresh air’ —lethal.
So, at any rate, I was busy yesterday afternoon, with 7 fish to get into safe water, because these had just arrived at the store by air yesterday morning.
But it was a ‘happy busy’. The tank will live again!