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Old 09-08-2005, 04:59 PM   #1
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Could I be ready for a fish?

I just did all the tests on my new saltwater tank, it's been set up since last Saturday. I did readings 2 days after I set everything up and had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and between 0 & 5 nitrates it was hard to tell. Anyway I just tested everything for the second time this afternoon.


Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates a definite 10
pH 8.2
my temp is at 80 degrees....should this be brought down? I had set it at 80 hoping to make bacteria thrive.

Anyway the test kit is AP master kit for saltwater and it's brand new. My only concern is there was no ammonia or nitrites either the first time I tested or this time. I'm assuming the nitrates are from the live rock but should I still wait for ammonia and nitrites to spike or will that not happen since the live rock was cured?

Should I add a fish? Also I have been advised repeatedly to start with a damsel.....but I don't want one. I'd rather start with a percula clown and perhaps a hermit crab. The starfish that was on the glass disappeared and I haven't seen it for a couple days. The shrimp I can still usually find when I look for it. The clam moved from where it was to a new spot but I have never seen it open. Is that normal?

If everything sounds okay I'd like to get the clown and a hermit crab or two this weekend. The hermit crabs are on sale locally at petco but they are just sold as aquatic hermit crab so I have no idea what kind they are. Maybe I should just get one crab at first? As for fish, from my understanding I should just buy one fish and wait for a good eight weeks or so before adding more. Is that right? 8 weeks seems like a long time.

Also should I do a large water change? When setting up freshwater tanks I always perform a large water change before adding some fish.

Oh and I plan on ordering the Concientious Marine Book the next time my husband gets paid. I will order it from amazon.....but where's the link I should use so AA gets some credit? I have apx 6 other books I got the library that I have been reading in the meantime. However they all seem to have different advice in them

8O The only thing that is consistent is that I should start with a damsel but they also consistently say damsels can get mean and nasty when they are mature.
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:01 PM   #2
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How/when was your tank cycled?
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:04 PM   #3
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My tank has only been set up since last Sat. I did nothing to cycle it except add already cured live rock when I set it up. I didn't dose any ammonia or use a shrimp. I do have a couple of critters in the tank that came with the live rock.
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:04 PM   #4
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no, wait for about 4 weeks and you should see all your reading go high during the phase of your first cycle.

a cycle is like a hill, you just started so your reading are low like the bottom of the hill then you will start going up to harmful even deathful levels for fish which is the top then you start going down. after that you need to maintain. search for cycling your tank.
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:08 PM   #5
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I understand what your saying and my only previous experience has been with freshwater tanks. But I guess I was thinking that since I now have readable nitrates (presumably from the live rock) I may not see any rise in ammonia or nitrites. Is this thinking wrong?
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:24 PM   #6
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And if your saying that I need to wait longer don't I need to start doing something to feed the nitrate bacteria I have.....or it could die off?
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:37 PM   #7
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Looks like you and I are in the exact same stage of setting up a tank. I set up my 29 gallon (Small, I know, but should be fun!) last week, put the water and salt in it on Tuesday and let it circulate until Saturday, when I put in the LR. 30 pounds of aragonite substrate, 30-35 pounds of base rock, 25 pounds of cured LR. Ammonia and nitrite began, and have stayed, at zero. Nitrate is climbing, now up to between 40 and 60. I've been wondering the same thing about the bacteria dying off. From what I've read/been told (and I've done a lot of reading and have been told lots of stuff ), it's possible that with the cured LR I may never get a cycle, that it may already be cycled. The die-off from the LR will keep feeding the bacteria. I'm going to wait maybe another week or so (zero ammonia/nitrite, rising nitrate), and if the parameters continue as-is, I'll start slowly adding the cleanup crew (snails).

Of course, this is my first saltwater tank, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me!
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Old 09-08-2005, 06:06 PM   #8
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IMO if you used cured LR you may not have a cycle. Will it hurt to add a shrimp and wait a few weeks and see what happens No.
I used 60 lbs of cured LR on my 55 and I never had a cycle and had a fish in there after a week.
If your sure it was cured LR then I would say your good to go, add a small hardy fish that you want to keep and let him test the waters for a few weeks then add another.
what size tank and how much LR do you have.
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Old 09-08-2005, 06:07 PM   #9
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wait a couple more days,the ammonia might go up and it might go up a lot. Its kinda of a 50/50 chance with cured live rock with most people.i would add 1 fish but well...im impatient lol. like i said wait a couple days or another week just to make sure and not have everything be fine then all of a sudden everything dies.
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Old 09-08-2005, 06:15 PM   #10
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I have 16 lbs of cured liverock in a 29 gallon tank. I think I'm going to go ahead and add a percula clown & hermit crab this weekend. I will keep a close watch on the tank readings and test everyday after adding the fish and do water changes right away if I see a rise in ammonia or nitrites but I don't expect that I will.
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