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Old 01-04-2006, 08:18 PM   #1
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A SW Newbie seeks help.

Just wanted to start off saying this is a great forum, and someone owes my employer about 8 hours of work today.

Anywho... here's my situation.

I was given a saltwater aquarium setup (in part) for Xmas, which I have wanted for a long while, but was unable to take the plunge.

It consists of:

47g Vertical Top Fin Aquarium w/ stand.
Glass canopy w/ light.
Rena XP canister filter
Marinelife 900
Hydrometer
Instant Ocean Salt

Yesterday, I bought 40lbs of live sand, which seems to be enough due to the profile of the tank, put it in the tank, and mixed the salt in.

After the water cleared today, I used the Aquarium Pharm kit I bought, to test the PH and Nitrates of the water to have a baseline for the rest of my tests.

The PH came back as between 7.8 and 8.0 (hard to tell, in direct light its closer to 7.8, if I tilt it a little bit, it matches 8.0 perfectly).

In addition, the nitrates came back as 10ppm.

Is this normal? Ideal SW should be 8.2 ph, and nitrates at 0ppm I thought. Should I give it a few days to even out, or should I get some additives before putting in the live rock this weekend?

I also just plugged in the heater a little while ago, and tested the salinity, which came back at a 1.022.

Thanks in advance guys, for any suggestions you could provide! =)
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
Good for you for finally taking the plunge.
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The PH came back as between 7.8 and 8.0 (hard to tell, in direct light its closer to 7.8, if I tilt it a little bit, it matches 8.0 perfectly).
Ph is not too important when cycling a tank. Please refer to the "Articles" section at the top of the page for great info on fishless cycling. Ph will become more important once the cycle is complete and you start adding livestock.
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In addition, the nitrates came back as 10ppm.
NO3 is actually the last portion of the cycle. You should first see a spike and fall in NH3 and NO2. This will be a sure fire sign your cycle is well underway.

I urge you to keep reading and researching prior to finishing your cycle.
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Old 01-06-2006, 11:39 PM   #3
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just take your time. don't use any additives. You need the temp to be correct though through the whole cycle. Different things grow at different temps.

Hydrometers are notoriosly inaccurate. be sure you're getting all the bubbles off of it. you may want to take a water sample to a LFS for testing to make sure everything matches your tests.

The aragonite should bring your ph up a bit.

The LR should kick off a cycle for you. if it doesn't get a good spike, you may need to use a piece of shrimp to get it going.
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Old 01-07-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
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Just like they both said. Give it quite a bit of time before your going to have the tank properly cycled. I wouldn't worry much about the readings as of yet. Naturally check them every so often to ensure the cycling process is underway but thats about it. A peice of shrimp might be a good idea aswell to jump start the cycle (worked great for me). Good luck and welcome to AA
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Old 01-08-2006, 03:45 PM   #5
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In the future mix your SW in a bucket/trashcan for 24 hours before adding to the tank. As lando suggested you need to read the articles in this section.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showfaq.php?fldAuto=2
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:39 PM   #6
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Don't see why ph would be 8.0 if there is salt mixed in the water.

Usually it has buffers and what not and ph usually goes straight up to 8.4 or something like that. But oh well not a real concern at the moment.

good luck!
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Old 01-08-2006, 10:46 PM   #7
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Welcome to AA. You`ve taken the plunge. Read about the fishless cycle. Very important. We are here to help.
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