It says the OP inherited the tank 3 months ago. It should have cycled by now, especially if it was already an established tank that was just moved. If the move was handled properly there may not have even been a new cycle. There are probably two issues going on now. The salinity problem and then the decay of dead organisms killed by that.
Glad you're getting help and things seem to be turning around.
Im assuming RO is actually water treated through a reverse osmosis filter rather than real ocean salt water...
in which case i belive the op has it spot on in there salt levels got scrwede when they mixed the water change water.
op, welcome to the salty world, and dont be too hard on yourself, saltwater tanks can be incredibly hard in the beginning but once you get the hang of it, there increidbly rewarding!
hi just to clarify - yes it is Reverse Osmosis water and not real ocean water
the tank was up and running for 3 years before we took it over...everything was moved...fish, substrate, water, fish, in big buckets and set directly back in the tank as we got home (10 minute journey?)
things seem to be getting better now..we did a huge water change to start off with and are now doing 15% water changes daily until the salt problem is sorted. we've removed all dead/dying coral/plants and placed new carbon pellets in the filter...
yesterday th tank clouded up terribly but it seems clearer today
Welcome to saltwater aquariums. First start running some carbon it will remove the smell and help clear the water. Remove anything that is dead or decaying. I would leave the zoa they are closed but when water clears will open back up. If you haven't been to reef central forum if I was you I would and best thing to do is read. It all takes time. Good luck
Glad your tank is on the mend... it takes a while to get the hang of it.
I only added plain water to top off, and mixed salt water when it was time to do a water change. Hardly had any problems after we got the hang of it other than those darn bristle worms! One time we got a hunk of coral rock and got a bonus mantis shrimp... cool little bugger but only saw it after it got dark.
I currently have a 130 gal sw tank that I will convert to sw after my koi is gone.... which could be forever from now! LOL!