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Old 02-17-2009, 12:10 AM   #1
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Coral Only With Live Rock Nitrates?

I filled up my brand new 42gal. tank with salt water and 40 lbs. Carib Sea Special Grade "dead sand." The sand bed is about 2" deep. I also ran my new AquaClear 110 with just the sponge. After a week I added 50lbs. of extremely high quality live rock that came from a very nice established 400g tank. It was only out of the tank for a 2 hour drive but stayed in a bucket of water that came from the tank. I put the LR and about 15gal. of the water that it came in into my new tank. I also added the activated charcoal bag and ceramic cylinders that came with the filter that same day.

There was a medium sized Xenia, a 3" finger leather, and a few mushrooms on the rock that are doing great. Also, 2 small blue-leg hermit crabs that are doing well!

Here are some water tests that I measured:

Feb 11: pH=8.2 Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=0 (1st day I added the LR)
Feb 12: pH=8.2 Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=2.5ppm
Feb 14: pH=8.2 Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=5ppm
Feb 16: pH=8.2 Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=5ppm

With no cycle, I'm not sure that the nitrate will go back to 0 on its own and I'm unsure how to proceed. What can I expect the Nitrates to do? I want to slowly add some fish and inverts but I want to make sure it's stable first.

I'm open to all ideas and opinions on what to do/check or additional equipment that I need (skimmer?)

Thanks!!

Jeff

p.s. for those that helped with my ID's; I touched it and the rhodactis has no bones in it!!
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:19 AM   #2
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Okay... so the LR that you got is actually Cured then? I think you shouldn't put the water that comes with the LR, but that's just IMO. There's no cycle yet here, have you read up on the cycling without fish using just raw shrimp? You might want to read up that secion on the Getting started, so you can see a spike in Ammonia and Nitrite at least after putting the raw shrimp. Cause I did the same thing of what you did plus adding the raw shrimp, except I didn't add the water that it came with.

as for the filters, slowly you might want to remove those carbon and ceramic with just LR Rubble, but that can be done later on, let's see what experts say with ur situation.
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:29 AM   #3
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Please read the Fishless Cycle Article provided in the forum...
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:32 AM   #4
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I read it (and a LOT more) but I'm not sure if I needed to do that. I hate to throw in a shrimp and watch it rot away if its not needed.



OK, I don't want to spark a debate on what source of water to use but for the heck of it I just tested my source water (dechlorinated tap water) and got a reading of 5ppm.

Maybe the 15gal of foreign water lowered the nitrates enough to not show up on my initial test?

I guess everyone will tell me its time to invest in a RO/DI unit then??
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:43 AM   #5
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with your tank size, I think RO/DI investment is a good call...

Nah, no debate here, because I got help from here with the same question that you had and I threw a shrimp there, I removed it before it got dissolved... Btw Nitrate never goes to 0 by itself... it's PWC that will make it 0, I forgot to answer you that question, it's the Ammonia and Nitrite that you have to watch and make sure it's at 0. I will wait for a week I think, because mini cycle usually tops last for a week since you already got the cured LR. Keep testing it. If within a week the ammonia and nitrite still at 0, nitrate keeps climbing up, I guess we wouldn't see a spike since the bacteria is all there and do at least a 20% PWC to bring down the nitrates.

I hope this helps. Sorry for the confusion earlier, I really thought you wrote Nitrite, instead of Nitrate :O
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:02 PM   #6
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That 50 lbs of LR will help to keep your cycle down. The few corals you have I would keep check of your water . If you see the ammonia going too high I would do some PWC`s so they dont die even though I dont think it will go high. Here is a good article to read on tap water.

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Old 02-17-2009, 08:07 PM   #7
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As others have said, you need to keep an eye on the levels; given that you used cured LR, you may not experience a "spike" at all. Many people mistakenly believe that you have to have a spike in ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in order to cycle your tank. Not true at all. The spike occures, because the number of bacteria initially present in your system are not sufficient to breakdown the waste or organic decay that is occurring. Many people also mistakenly believe that in order to cycle a tank you must use something to provide organic waste or decay (like a live fish or a dead shrimp) again, not true. LR, especially LR that is shipped will already provide enough organic decay to begin the cycle of your tank. In your case, buying the rock already cured means that you already have ammonia and nitrite and probably nitrate using bacteria present in the system. The fact that you are reading 0 ammonia and nitrite, but some nitrate tells me that you don't have enough nitrate fixing bacteria in the system. Nitrate fixing bacteria (which are anaerobic) are found in only two places in the marine aquarium: deep in the LR and in a DSB (if you have one). Nitrate can also be removed from a system by the use of algae or plants (thus why many people run a refuguim in line with their sump). And of course the use of a protein skimmer will help to cut down on the presence of organic debris in the water in the first place, which will help as well.

The one issue I see with your tank, and it may well be the source of your nitrate issue is the depth of your sandbed. Shallow sandbeds (according to most sources) should be between 3/4" to 1 1/2" deep. Deep sandbed should be between 2 1/2" to 3" or more (some sources suggest as deep as 6") to be effective. Between lies an area of risk; the bed is not deep enough to allow anaerobic bacteria to establish and fix nitrite into nitrate, and yet is too deep to allow organic debris to remain floating in the water column. Thus it becomes trapped and begins to decay adding to your problems and often promoting undesirable algae blooms.

As far as the RO/DI, IMO its a matter of cost effectiveness and convinience. RO/DI water can be bought today in most supermarkets and lots of LFSs, so spending the $100 to $150 on a unit becomes not a necessity, but a matter of choice. Of course if you are spending $.21 a gallon on water and doing the standard 10 to 20% weekly water changes, you will use a minimum of 40 gallons of water per month @ $.21 or so, thats roughly $8.00/month, and in 12 months, you've spent roughly $96.00. A good RO/DI unit can be bought for $150.00 + shipping or therearound. OF couse you still have the cost of maintanence (filters etc.) and the additional requirment of monitoring your RO/DI unit. So again, worth it or not . As far as should you be using RO water at minimum, the answer is yes - tap water depending on where you live and filtering system used by your community can have a huge variety of contaminants, from organics (like nitrates and phosphates).

Thats probably way more than you wanted to read, but hope it helps.
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