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Old 05-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #11
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Didn't notice in the thread,how much of a sand bed and how much live rock do you have?
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:34 AM   #12
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HN1 - thanks for the really useful info on the flame angel, we are starting a larger tank within a couple of weeks, so the angel will be moved when that has fully cycled.

In terms of testing, I may be over cautious, but I test for amonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alk and sg each day and do keep a journal of the results and any changes I have made.

Ricksreef - Sand is around 2" deep, feel free to give any advice here, since the lfs said it didnt matter how deep the sand was as long as it provided a base for the LR. LR is around 30lb which includes 1lb of LR rubble.

Carey - I will try out Salifert test, thanks.

Ryanlawrence - I do a water change every 7 days, I just dont seem to see a reduction in nitrates after the change.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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IMO You need a little more LR,to increase the amount to one and a half to two lbs per gallon.Also I would slowly increase the sand bed until you have at least four inches,that allows for the different levels of nitrifying bacteria to do their thing.I would get the cheaper base rock to add,it will become live very quickly and you won't have to worry about a new cycle possibly starting.

Always remember to take LFS advice with a grain of salt if it is one of the chain stores as their employees only know what they read in the employee handbook.Try to find a close LFS that is Saltwater only and has been in business awhile if you can.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:04 AM   #14
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There are a lot of variables considering how often or how much % pwc you should do, but I typically do a 15-20% pwc.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:28 PM   #15
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Ricksreef, again thankyou for your response, I have some more LR reserved for me at the lfs, he wont let me have it yet until he has 'cured it, tested it and restested it', so your advice is great, Im slowly increasing my stock of LR.

The depth of sandbed is really interesting, makes sense what you say - another stupid question perhaps, but, do you ever, ever turn over/disturb your sandbed or do you just leave it to the snails? If you leave it to the snails - how many snails for a 4"deep sandbed on a 128ltr tank?

Boardsurfer, thanks for the response I'm feeling comfortable about increasing pwc weekly from 15 to 20%, good to know that the 10-15% doesnt represent the absolute maximum that could be changed.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:21 PM   #16
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Your welcome.
No I don't ever turn the sand bed over.Would just start out with a couple Nassarius snails for your size tank and see how it goes.The best livestock you could get is the Diamond Goby.He will keep your sand bed really looking nice plus he is so fun to watch.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:05 PM   #17
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thankyou Ricksreef, good advice.
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:18 AM   #18
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Nitrate test.

So this has been really bugging me - ie the non reduction of nitrate readings despite pwc (discussed in another post), so I did a little experiment last night.

Using Tetra test kit for NO-3.

A. Following the instructions to the absolute letter, added reagent 1, reagent 2, added zinc powder and shook for 20 seconds, added reagent 3 - let it stand for 10 minutes.

Result = 25ppm

Observations - it was clear that the zinc powder had not fully dispersed within the reagents during the 20 seconds of shaking.

B. Following the instructions as above BUT after adding the zinc powder I deviated and shook the tube until my arm fell off and the zinc powder was fully disolved 1.5 minutes in total, then continued as per test instructions.

Result = <12.5ppm (closer to zero than 12.5ppm)

Observation - The zinc powder was fully dispersed in this test - as intended by the test manufacturer.

I cant be sure what is responsible for the change in result

1. Full dispersal of zinc powder or

2. Increased time between commencement of test and test result reading (an additional 1 minute and 10 seconds)

but....... I suspect that failure of the zinc powder to fully enter solution may be giving a false positive result in nitrate testing.

I have emailed tetra to ask more details of just what is in there tests and what effect the above test observations might make on the results, will let you know if they respond.

Really interested to hear anyone elses view.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:47 AM   #19
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Can I recommend you get a different test kit? I have been using API in my FW tank and only have to add the drops, never any kind of powder, and it seems to work really well. Plus having a different test kit may help see if your current one is accurate or not.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:34 AM   #20
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Thanks smitty, yes I'm definately going to buy another test kit, this is the second brand I used, first being red sea marine lab, some issues with that brand also.
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