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Old 10-12-2012, 10:24 PM   #1
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Cycling Question

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie when it comes to saltwater fish but, I've set up a 56gal tall tank with saltwater. It's a FO set up, I have live sand and a Fluval 406 filter. I started the tank exactly 3 weeks ago and I have 4 damsels to start the cycle. I just did my first test and there is absolutely no ammonia, no nitrate and nitrite seems a hair less then 5ppm. I haven't done a water change obviously. I actually do two small feedings per day (mini pellets in the am, brine shrimp at night). The lights stay on from 2:30pm till 10:30pm. When should I start to do water changes?

Also, the temperature is not staying steady, I live on long island so around this time of the season the temperature outside at night is about 40 and goes up to high 60's during the day. So the temp in the house goes down to low 60's at night and up to low 70's during the day. The temp in the tank is 78during the day and goes down to 76 at night. The heater is brand new. How crucial is that 2 degree variance?

Last question, how many fish can I safely raise in a 56g tank and will the damsels be okay with some clowns and tangs?

Thank you everyone for your time in advance,

Al
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:18 PM   #2
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I'm sure someone else with more experience than I will answer your questions better than I can but from what I've read Tangs need a 6ft tank, their big swimmers. As for Damsels, they are pretty aggressive! I'm not sure how the Clowns will fair with them. All I know is that I've got a 175 gallon tank in the build process and I'm not putting any Damsels in there with my Clowns. Sorry to be so negative.

Liveaquaria.com is a great resource for compatibility check out their chart, it also lets you know minimum tank sizes and the aggression of the different fishes.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply and the source.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al.Ilgaz
Thank you for your reply and the source.
Nitrate should be present at end of cycle useing api test?
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:01 AM   #5
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No problem, your one up on me, when I fist started I didn't know about this site so I made lots of mistakes, at least you ask questions. I saved the compatibility chart from that site to my iPad, so now that I'm stocking my big tank I keep going back to it. Between this site and sites like live aquaria I'm hoping not to make so many mistakes.

Once you get thing up and running don't forget to post some photos, if there is one thing I've learned on here we all like to look at other tanks.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Nitrate should be present at end of cycle useing api test?
Yes, the way you say that makes me think that the API is not accurate.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:04 AM   #7
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First off, I wouldn't worry about a 2 degree temp drop at night. Not that big of a deal.

You should do your water changes weekly, but since you are still cycling I wouldn't worry about it. You are not getting any readings because there isn't enough of an ammonia source yet. You have nitrate readings because the ammonia that did develop has been consumed. I'm no fan of damsels to cycle a tank because it can be difficult to cycle and keep them alive...though them dying would def provide the ammonia source. I would get an uncooked shrimp and toss it into the tank to provide the ammonia source. Test your water daily and if you have ammonia/nitrite levels do a water change to bring the levels down to prevent killing off your damsels. You could also toss in a bunch of food, but not as easy to control as the shrimp method.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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First off, I wouldn't worry about a 2 degree temp drop at night. Not that big of a deal.

You should do your water changes weekly, but since you are still cycling I wouldn't worry about it. You are not getting any readings because there isn't enough of an ammonia source yet. You have nitrate readings because the ammonia that did develop has been consumed. I'm no fan of damsels to cycle a tank because it can be difficult to cycle and keep them alive...though them dying would def provide the ammonia source. I would get an uncooked shrimp and toss it into the tank to provide the ammonia source. Test your water daily and if you have ammonia/nitrite levels do a water change to bring the levels down to prevent killing off your damsels. You could also toss in a bunch of food, but not as easy to control as the shrimp method.
Op said 0 nitrate thats why i asked about test kit api nitrate test you really have to shake it vigerously for 1 minute to get proper readings after 3 weeks of up and running there should be some nitrate present
2į temp drop at night is no big deal imo no water changes until cycled
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:55 AM   #9
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Agreed about there should be nitrates after 3 weeks. I just don't think there is enough ammonia. Even if it isn't shaken properly, high nitrates will still provide a reading even if inaccurate, would say they are there and you should do a water change.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:56 AM   #10
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Even though I'm used to tests with my freshwater tank, I read the API instructions literally step by step. It said to shake both the test bottle and the tube for 30 and 60 seconds, then waited 5 minutes to get an accurate reading. I couldn't have followed guidelines any stricter being that it was my first time with this tank.
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