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Old 06-19-2007, 04:10 AM   #1
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cycling question

My tank has been cycling for about a month. I tested the water today and there was no amonia and no nitrites. I did a partial water change and then tested the water again. I am still registering about 30ppm of nitrates. Is that normal? Should I be doing something else to get rid of the nitrates? I just ordered 30lbs of live rock. Will that help?
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:08 AM   #2
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As far if it's "normal" it really depends on how large of a pwc you did after your nh3/no2 got to 0 ppm. It's very normal to have a no3 reading around 20-40 ppm after a cycle which is why most recommend doing a large 50% pwc to get that number closer to 10 ppm before adding any stock.

Having said that no3 test kits do expire after a couple of years (reading higher when they do IME) and even if you bought it new at a lfs it could have been on the shelf for who knows how long.

Never hurts to take a sample to your lfs for testing as well and if they have a much lower no3 number then I'd buy a new no3 test kit (I'd get it online).
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:51 PM   #3
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Thanks. I have a master test kit that uses bottles and test tubes to mix the solution with the water and then it can be compared to a card. I changed about 30 % of the water so maybe in a week I will change another 30%.
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:12 PM   #4
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I have the same test kit and it's been pretty reliable IME. That is one of the test kits that will read higher for no3 after a year but typically I use mine up by then anyways.

A 30% pwc will reduce it to 20 ppm assuming there isn't an nh3 source feeding no3 anymore.

I would do a 50%-75% pwc to knock it down to 10-15 ppm and I would not wait a week unless you are still adding an nh3 source because the bacteria you waited to form for the last month will die off if you don't add more nh3 to fuel the bacteria or stock with 1-2 small fish.

Alternately you could also use Seachem Purigen which will reduce the 30 ppm no3 to 0 ppm within about 3-5 days.

It's still a good idea to do pwc every week for the first 6+ months till the tank stabilizes though. Using Purigen and Phosban (with the reactor) I've been able to do 15%-20% pwc monthly now that my tank is 2 years old and my no3/po4 is always 0 ppm.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:13 PM   #5
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I purchased a medium size tang and a small humu humu trigger the other day. I tested the water last night and the Amonia is 0, nitrites are 0, and the nitrates are around 30. What were you saying about changing 50 - 75%? I didnt quite understand that. I bought a small humu trigger and a medium yellow tang the other day. Should I just do a 25% water change in a few days and then go on a weekly schedule?
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:23 AM   #6
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Lanej20,

Looking at your posting history, I'll go out on a limb and say you should probably slow down. (Although I think that advice may come a bit late.) If I'm reading things right, you've got a 55gallon, that just finished cycling late last week? And you're planning on moving in 2 months? And you just added a trigger and tang? Wow! (Or is the trigger and tang in a separate QT... and not your main tank?)

If you have no live rock other than that 30 lbs on order that you mentioned previously, I'd get a fair amount of saltwater made up in case you need to do some major water changes. Adding a couple moderately sized fish this quick will probably tax your biological filter and cause an ammonia spike. Just be prepared to do water changes to keep the ammonia levels down as much as possible.

The comment about changing 50-75% of the water was to get the nitrates down to as low as of a level as you could... before introducing any fish! Changing out massive amounts of water without fish takes a lot of stress out of the whole process because you don't have to worry about shocking any inhabitants with different water parameters suddenly (pH, salinity, temperature). Additionally, you want those nitrates down as low as possible in the very beginning just to make as good of a start as possible. However... changing out 50% of the water with fish in the tank is still totally doable - just make sure the water parameters of the incoming water match that of your tank.

Keep testing for ammonia daily.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:27 AM   #7
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I agree with everything Kurt said and IMO it's even more critical at this point now that you have introduced two decent sized fish to your tank to get two 100 ml bags of Purigen in your tank ASAP.

IME Purigen will both keep any nh3/no2 spike from happening and reduce your no3 to 0 ppm within days. It does have to be in flowing water i.e. a hob filter, sump, or canister so if you don't have that you will need one of those 3 things to store it in. Canisters work best IME due to limited water being able to get around the media and forcing it through the media.

Having at least 20 gal of pre-mixed SW is also very important to keep on hand with such a new tank in case of emergencies.

Nothing good happens with SW tanks when you rush and I agree you really need to reevaluate your stocks needs and slow down.
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:12 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. I am young and tend to get in a hurry sometimes. Those two fish are the only ones I have so the tank is relatively light. I forgot to mention that I already have about 35lbs of live rock in the tank and I ordered another 30lbs that came the other day (Its still curing). I also have 55lbs of live sand. The amonia and nitrites are still at zero and after my partial water change the nitrate level was around 20ppm.

I have a Penguin Bio Wheel filter. Inside I have the standard filter cartrige plus another filter that removes phospates, nitrates, etc. I went to purchase the purigen and the guy at my LFS told me that it wouldnt work that well in my HOB filter. Should I purchase a Canister filter. If so, should I just get a cheap one and keep my Bio Wheel, or is my Bio Wheel no good? The tank seems to be doing fine and the fish look healthy.
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lanej20
I went to purchase the purigen and the guy at my LFS told me that it wouldnt work that well in my HOB filter. Should I purchase a Canister filter.
IME Purigen does do best in a canister because it lets very little water flow around the media and will force it through it making it more effective.

I have had friends use it in sumps/HOB filters and will either use 2-3 bags of Purigen or use filter floss to help force the water through the media and it's worked for them but tends to be more of a pain.

If you do get a canister then anything in the 200+ GPH range should work fine.

I use the Magnum 350 Pro on my 55 with both wheels spinning and love it personally but the Magnum 250, FilStar Canister Filters, Eheim, & Fluval canister filters are all excellent as well.

A lot of people will tell you to ditch the bio-wheels due to them being no3 factories but IME it hasn't been the case and I enjoy being able to transfer one to my QT at anytime for "instant" bio-filtration if needed

Only thing to really remember about HOB filters/canister is to keep them cleaned weekly rinsing off anything that traps waste.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:52 PM   #10
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Do you take the whole filter out of the water and rinse it in the sink or what?
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