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Old 06-18-2009, 09:52 PM   #111
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The excessive nitrates are really not a problem at this stage. High nitrates during a cycle isn't going to cause problems with the cycle.

As far as saving salt... in the end, you'll end up using the same either way to get your nitrates down. Regarding what you want to get the nitrates down to, I'd shoot for 0 myself. If a reef tank is in your future, as close to 0 as possible. If fish only, anything under 20 would probably be OK. But just realize that this is probably the lowest your nitrates will ever be.

With nothing living in the tank, you can easily do 50-75% water changes without a lot of concern about matching water parameters. Once you start putting life in the tank, that big of water changes will be tough to do.
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:49 PM   #112
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Hello,
Ammonia looks to be at zero today!
Went down to zero from 0.5ppm last night.
Nitrites: Still at 1ppm (hasnt moved since yesterday)
Nitrates: Still somewhere between 40 and 80ppm (The colors are so close)

Should I do a large water change now or should I wait to make sure the tank will rid itself of the nitrites?

I plan to do a HUGE water change as the sand still clouds the tank for a day if I stir something up. (Move the LR around, add water, ect). I plan to stir up a fierce sand storm and then drain like 75% of the water out and replace with new water. Hopefully the fine particulate matter will be drastically reduced. (When it settles, it settles over everything making the tank look dreary and cold).

Sound good? Should I add some critters soon to keep the bacteria fed?

Matt
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Old 06-22-2009, 03:28 AM   #113
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Hello all,
Its been a few days and I think my cycle has hit a snag. Nitrites havent moved in days. Ammonia is at zero now every day, Nitrates have stopped climbing, but Nitrites are at 1ppm. When I first detected them they were around 2ppm.

I know that things take time, but it seems odd there would be zero activity...Could it be lack of ammonia? I started the cycle around 4ppm for ammonia and havent added anything since.

The temperature is kind of low, I accidentally set it to 79F. Its back up to 86F. Could this drop in temperature have disturbed or killed off some bacteria?

Would it be okay to add a little bit of ammonia to "test" my ammonia loving bacterias? (Im bored!). Seems neat to see the ammonia levels just drop off so quickly.

As a reminder, still no animals and I am using DI water + salt mixture.
Thanks!
Matt
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:57 AM   #114
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Hello,
So my cycle looks to be over. Nitrites and Ammonia at zero. I did a huge water change and the nitrates are low now as well. (Maybe 5-10ppm).

I have two problems:
1-pH is consistently low. Looks like 7.8, even after the giant water change. (It really doesnt look like any of the colors, but 7.8 would be the closest match I guess). This is checked twice a day. (Day and night)

2-That dirty dirty sand that I didnt wash. Its still terrible. EVERYTHING has a covering of nasty silt. Even after two huge water changes in which I stirred up a storm cloud and then sucked out the water. Could this be fixed with a cheapo filter? Could someone recommend one?

I am ready to get some crabs to put into the tank to test the bio filter out! I really want to put in some fish, but would rather make sure something screwy isnt waiting for me.

Thanks!
Matt
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:25 AM   #115
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Good deal on the end of the cycle. I would not stir the sand to much and just blow what's on the rockwork off with a baster. You could get a cannister filter but I don't have a recommendation right now. By crabs do you mean hermits, What type of salt are you using? At this point in your AQ I would not worry about your PH and let your tank find it's own level for now.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:19 AM   #116
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Hello
Yes, I mean hermits. Ive always liked hermits
I am now using Instant Ocean sea salt.
My gf seems to think the pH color matches best with the 8.2 color. My eyes have a hard time with these tests. If this id true, then pH is just fine, no?
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:38 AM   #117
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Okay, I missed this on my first post!!!!! 86 degrees is to hot set your heater to 79-80 degrees for now. 7.8 is not to bad on the ph and 8.2 is perfect for a tank this new. Yes. instant ocean is a good brand of salt and all should be good to go. Bring that temp. down to at least 80 before you add any crabs. Don't overdue it on crabs You only need a few and don't forget to add extra shells or they will kill all your snails.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:18 PM   #118
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Hello,
I dropped the temperature down to 77F last night. This morning, the pH looks much more like the 8.2 on the scale.

I guess all is fine now. Zero Ammonia, Zero Nitrites, and 5-10ppm Nitrates. (Both the 5ppm and 10ppm looks identical)

I guess some hermit crabs are in order, or maybe two small clown fish maybe?

I was looking at some pet stores in town, and surprisingly Petco had the healthiest looking clown fish! Very colorful, active, and funny little guys! They immediately came up to the glass when I got close. Sadly, I saw some poor Tangs in very small looking tanks. They came up to the glass too but gave me a sad look. They were in with the clowns and were just sitting by themselves looking depressed.

One thing that worries me is buying a fish that looks great at the pet store that winds up having some disease that will show up later. Is this a valid concern? If they look great when bought, should the likely be fine?

Matt
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:41 PM   #119
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That is the reason for you to set up a QT tank and QT the fish for at least 14 days. Get a sponge filter and set it in your DT for a few days then get a 10g tank and set that up with saltwater and some PVC fittings (2") elbow or couplings. Then transfer the sponge filter to that tank and there you go. Don't have to be fancy. That way you won't get any unwanted disease in your tank. I know you want to get some fish in there right away, but this step will save you lots of headaches in the long run.
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:33 PM   #120
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Oh yea....The QT tank...Booo...

I found a place in town that actually buys their clown fish from a breeder that is ALSO in my town. I may go by there today and see how they keep them and see if they are disease free.

I know a QT is best, but might it be a "safe" gamble that these local clowns are a safe buy? (If they are the only ones in their tank?)

Seems to me they would be disease free if from a local breeder, unless they are stored with some ocean caught fish. (Potential for disease).

So lets imagine the worst case scenario:
I get some fish and they wind up with fish HIV or something. Pretend I had a QT tank or whatnot. Would my main tank be infested as well? Do most of the diseases need a host, or can they "hang out" on the live rock and in the water?

Also, I plan on two clown fish because that is the most I will want. This will keep them from fighting right? Would they fight with future fish? (Non clown fish). How about hermit crabs and such?

I am eager to stock, but really dont want to have to have much right now simply because the clowns might be jerks.

Thanks!
Matt
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