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Old 09-02-2011, 03:44 PM   #1
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Cycled? Water Change & Vaccum?

A loaded question for sure, but here's the scoop. I started my 12 gal nano reef tank almost two weeks ago. Water tests using API liquid drop test:

Am 0
pH 8.0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

Brown mold spots and fine algae started growing in my tank on about 4 or 5 days ago. I went to my local FS, and they tested my water and suggested adding some CUC, so I went with their advice and added 1 emerald crab, 5 snails (The ones that bury themselves in the sand) and a couple of hermits. With the exception of one snail, they all seem happy and well this morning (+3 days after introducing them into the tank) and are happily munching away at the algae grown. Well, the crabs anyway, I only see some of the "Periscopes" from the snails, but assume that means they are alive.

My sand in areas has large amounts of brown spots as well as the back part of the tank and the glass.

Here are my questions and believe me when I tell you that I appreciate your patience!

Is it time to do a small water change? If so, should I "Vacuum" the sand. Should I leave the algae growth on the back of the tank, or can I clean that as well?

Should I add more CUC critters? I wanted to be conservative with my intial critters, but I'm not really sure if I should add more.

Finally, has my tank "Cycled" since I have maintained 0 Am, 0 nitrite, for a week now?

Thanks again your help and support!

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:09 PM   #2
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Did you ever have your ammonia spike? Without that and a nitrite spike you can't be cycled. :-(

I personally wouldnt have added anything to a cycling tank but thats just me...
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Carey,

As far as Amonia, I believe after a couple of days the initial testing was between .5 and 1ppm. Again, I saw it remain at that level for a couple of tests, then three days ago, Am was at 0. Again, this morning 0.

My Nitrites did rise to somewhere between .5 and 1ppm and then over the last 3 water tests reduced to 0. They never went above 1ppm though. This morning, after returning from two days of work, I tested again and the Nitrates remain at 0.

It can be a tad overwhelming to read all the various posts on this subject and to figure where my tank falls into the mix. I hope I didn't mess up too badly listening to the LFS.

Anyway, I do appreciate that you always take the time to answer my questions.

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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From that information I would say you cycled, but with a small bacteria base. Did you does your tank with ammonia at all? Or use a dead shrimp? Or was it strictly live rock that you used?
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Carey,

No dead shrimp, just 18 lbs or so of live rock, and "Live Sand," that came with some sort of "bacteria packet," that I mixed and put into the tank.

I did not dose the aquarium with amonia. Honestly didn't know I was supposed to, but the LFS recommended that I use a product called FritzZyme 9, which I used according to the instructions.

Thanks Again,

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:15 PM   #6
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I think you might be ready for a small fish or a pair of clowns if youre after them. Just make sure you test your water frequently as you may have a mini cycle. You have the bacteria in your system since you did have some readings but it's probably not a huge bacteria base so I would err on the side of caution.

Good luck! Can't wait to see the addition you decide on!
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Hey Carey,

Thanks again for the advice and input. I think I'll hold off on the fish until I have ideal, and consistent water conditions. I have a "Stevie T" media rack that should arrive after labor day, so I'm planning on installing that, removing the ceramic rings and bio balls and giving the reef more time to adjust to that change. Then I'd like to add some easy to maintain coral and/or fish in the weeks following.

Do you think I could add more CUC to the tank?

What do you think about a 1.5 gal water change at this point? Which would allow me to suction up some of the detritus and dirty sand? Or should I leave it because it is part of the cycle and food for the CUC?

Thanks again for all of your help!

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #8
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I would add a few more cuc if you like, just remember they need to be fed since you have no fish yet.

I wouldnt change the water yet, let anything like ammonia work its way through the system and maybe it will strengthen your bacteria. You can vacuum very lightly the surface of the sand if you like, but dont; muck it up too bad or you might have a parameter swing.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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Carey,

You're Awesome! Thanks so much for all of your help! I was thinking about adding a surface type snail or two that won't hurt the rocks or future live coral. Any suggestions? I'll leave the water and sand alone for now!

I was under the impression that the clean up crew eats the algae in the tank and on the rock? Although the rock looks a lot cleaner from two days ago! What do I feed the CUC guys?

You've been a great help!

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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They will eat the algae and flake or pellets. SInce your tank is so new it might not have enough algae for them to eat for all of them.

When I had my 55g idle with only hermits and snails every few days i would put in a pinch or two of flake food.

There is also cuc that doesnt eat algae. Narsiscus (sp?) snails dont eat algae for instance but do stir up your sand bed and eat regular fish food.
They are my most favorite cuc members except for bob my sea hare. lol

Ideally you dont want a tank of hungry inverts so go in moderation is my best advice.

How long do you intend on waiting for a fish? A week or two? You can also add some shrimp if your water is stable, they eat flake food too and are neat to watch and feed on flake food too. And anything else they can get their little claws on.
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