Oh Joy! What a long weekend. As stated earlier, I pulled the pump that was sized for a small lake off and returned it. The good news is, I was able to get the new pump and a protein skimmer for the same cost. The events of the weekend went something like this:
I woke up Saturday and started to mix salt into the tank water. I would remove 5 gallons, mix in as much salt as I could get to disolve and re-add to the tank. I then would wait awhile and when the powerheads had sufficiently mixed the new salt water, repeat the process.
I originally bought a 150 gallon mix of salt, and I intended on putting it all in. My wife is so smart. She asked about thef act that alot of water was displaced from the substrate we had added, and asked if that would affect salinity. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. The good news is that I hadn't added all the salt yet... and even better, she is starting to get interested in the tank. I taught her how to use the refractometer, and she thought it was very interesting. She is somewhat scientific in nature. She then asked "why can't we start getting some live rock since the tank has heaters and powerheads installed. Bonus!
So, on saturday afternoon, the new pump came in from FedEx. I love living this close to Drsfostersmith.com. I didn't have all the plumbing pieces I needed since the input/output of this pump is 1/4" smaller than the lake pump I originally bought. We decieded to go get plumbing supplies and some live rock on Sunday.
Sunday morning, I got up, tested all the water, and was very surprised. As expected, using RO
water, my phosphates were zero, ammonia zero, nitrites zero, nitrates... 10? The only thing I could think of was all of the sand we put in the tank. It was dry argonite, but obviously something had nitrates in it. I know it isn't cycled yet, but I was surprised to see any readings here. I also tested two other things that I need your help on.
Calcium came back at about 550. I am new to this, but that seems high. Also, my KH
came back at like 25 drops, which is off the scale which tells you the degrees.
What is going on here?
So sunday I spent all day shopping for live rock, found 50 pounds at a reasonable price, but to be quite honest once getting it home I wasn't really happy with it. Its nice big base pieces, but there is nothing on them. Some green algae which I take as starts of coraline, but other than that, it looks like base rock they had soaking. They claim it is "fully cured" but I am not buying it. We also picked up the rest of the plumbing supplies. Let me tell you, a 1" MPT x 3/4" FPT reducing bushing is not easy to find. For future reference, MENDARDS has TONS of plumbing supplies, and lots of those little pieces you can't find at HD. Because of how the outputs lined up on the pump (and the fact that Gen-x puts their output at some weird angle coming out of the top), I was unable to reconnect everything with hard plumbing. I gave up and just used some barbed connections and ran about 5" of tubing right at the pump to the union directly above it. There were alot of swear words involved when trying to put elbows together to make a 25 degree angle or what ever that output comes out of the pump at. No matter what I tried, even if I could get the pipe to run straight vertically, it wouldn't line up with the hard plumbing I already had installed. I gave up, not happy about using the tubing, but it works.
I got the pump installed, and let me tell you about the lesson of the day.
When installing a bulkhead, the gasket ALWAYS goes on the flange side, regardless if the nut is inside or out. My bulkhead nut is inside my return chamber, so I figured that is where the gasket would go. It was leaking like crazy. Read online about the correct location, flipped it, and wouldn't you know, water tight.
Tank and sump are fully, running great, got all my heaters down in the base, added 20 pounds of crushed coral to the substrate (wife insisted), and all is well.
The water is still really cloudy, but I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up this morning that I could see the rocks in the distant middle of the tank.
Pictures to follow. Thanks for following along!