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Old 02-14-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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First timer, funky SG readings

Yesterday i mixed sea water, and a few hours later got an SG reading of 1.024.
I wanted to go get Live Rock and Substrate today, but checked the SG again before leaving for the LFS, and found my SG to be 1.032. I've drained two o fthe the 6 gallons from the tank, and now get an SG reading of about 1.023... just under 32 ppt on the other scale. What is going on?
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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The water in the tank is giving me a reading of 1.023 right now. The water i drained from the tank is way higher.....air bubbles???

I smacked the crap out of the hydrometer with a pencil to dislodge air bubbles. What do i do?
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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What do you do? Buy a refractometer, they are more precise. Until then, make sure there aren't any air bubbles in the hydrometer. If you can, it is best to let the water mix overnight, around 15hrs-24hrs.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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In addition to the above, a hydrometer is also dependent on the water temp. As the temp gets higher or lower, the SG reading on the hydrometer can change.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #5
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Well, the water in the tank is 78 degrees, The thermometer says so, plus that's the only setting the heater i use has. I measured the SG in the tank, and got a high reading. So i drained some water, and took another reading, and it was normal, but when i checked the water i drained, it was high again. The only thing i can think of is that i had air bubbles in my hydrometer. I will let it sit another hour or two, and take another reading. If it comes out normal, i will go ahead with the live rock and agronite.

Cycle:
Internet sources suggest the shrimp method. However, the book i have says since i will be using fully cured live rock, all i need to do it check the ammonia and nitrate levels for three days, if i get three zeros, i can begin to stock the tank...
Anything?
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:11 PM   #6
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If you can get fully cured LR then you`ll probably skip the cycle or only have just a mini sike at the most. The problem is making sure it` s cured LR. Some LFS will put it in a tank for a day and say it`s cured when it`s not. You`ll be able to tell with your water tests kit.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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Get an ammonia and nitrite test kit and check ASAP.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:10 PM   #8
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And even with cured live rock, throwing a shrimp in is a good thing - just to make sure it's truly cured. If it is, you shouldn't see any ammonia/nitrites... or very little... and nitrates should start showing up quickly. Better to find out before adding any critters!
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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Put a raw shrimp in with the live rock a few hours after adding the rock to the tank.

Last night
Ammonia:0.5 ppm
PH:8.2
Nitrite:No change in sample
Alkalinity: Normal-high range
SG: Swing arm needle just under the 1.023 mark
I did not check nitrate levels.

Today
Ammonia: 1.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5->1 color range
Nitrate: 20ppm
PH: 8.2
SG: 1.0225 (Needle dead center between 1.022 and 1.023 marks.)

It would appear that i have the proper bacteria in my system.
Could salt creep be the culprit for my slight drop in salinity? I have some pre-mixed water on stand by. Should i consider adding a minute amount to my tank to bing it back up?
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
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...

It would appear that i have the proper bacteria in my system.
Actually, no... it doesn't. Looks like the normal beginning of a cycle. If you had a good population of bacteria you wouldn't see any ammonia or nitrites.

Quote:
Could salt creep be the culprit for my slight drop in salinity? I have some pre-mixed water on stand by. Should i consider adding a minute amount to my tank to bing it back up?
I'd say the hydrometer is the culprit for the drop in salinity.

I wouldn't worry about the salinity right now. Looks like you're going to have a few weeks while the tank cycles and at the end you should do a massive water change to lower the nitrates. At that point, you can adjust your salinity as required.
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