AFTER 8 WEEKS....
.....my system's running well. I have a 25G SWFO tank, 7# of live rock, using an Eclipse sponge/bio-wheel system. I have 4 fish (royal gramma, 2 small tank-bred clowns, a banggai cardinal), 2 hermit crabs, one small emerald crab, a cleaner shrimp, and 5 assorted snails. I change the water 10-20% every week. I have water tests done every weekend - nitrates are a bit high (12.5). Alkalinity is 7.0 (I'm in Madison Wisconsin). Temperature's stable at 76F, and I feed them twice daily. They're all copacetic.
How do I effectively reduce nitrate levels?
Should I add more cured live rock to my system?
Should I add more circulation? An external power filter? A protein skimmer? If you have a similar ECLIPSE system, is this even possible?
In roughly a year's time, I'll upgrade to a 75G tank, and will add a bicolor blenny, a six-line wrasse, a blue tang, a valentini puffer, and a red flame angel, in that order.
What can I do to prevent my system from crashing?
PS I plan to keep a yellow watchman goby and a pistol shrimp pair in my current 25G tank later on. Or maybe just a picasso trigger?
7# live rock
2 clowns, a royal gramma, a clown goby, and a banggai cardinal
1 cleaner shrimp
blue, red, green crabs
nassarius, astrea, black turbo, margarita snails