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Old 01-10-2005, 10:02 PM   #1
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**** this thing.

I've been a FW guy for about 10 years and recently turned my 160 gal into a SW. Started this on Nov 26th. Id like to know if I got some bad advise or is something wrong with my tank.

Took a sample into the store (Jan2nd) I frequent and he tells me my nitrates are too high and to change 20%, wait 24 hours and come back with a sample again. Do that and nitrates still too high. I go to another popular store and he tests for nitrites. He said those were high and not to put anything in the tank till those drop. He also told me a 20 % change and to open the canister filters and change the carbon plus see if anything is wrong. Its been a week since Ive done this and the nitrites are exactly the same.

The first place told me 12 damsels would be fine for cycling, but I knew and still think hes full of it. The 2nd store told me 32 damsels!!!! I dont know which store to listen to or who to believe. They both knew the date I set up my tank, and they both knew they were testing the water to see if the water was ok to introduce fish. Should I just start all over or did I just set the cycle back a few weeks???

BTW, I started with 12 damsels. 4 died in 2 weeks. Bought 4 more and 1 died today.
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:30 PM   #2
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If the nitrated are high I would do a 50% water change and check it again. How is your tank set up? LR dsb etc. DO NOT add the damsels untill the water is right.
The tank should have had time to cycle if the correct procedures were taken.
You may want to run a skimmer if your not allready. Give us some more details on your tank set up.
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:31 PM   #3
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Wow. First, please do a search in the forums for saltwater fishless cycling. I think you should be nearing the end of your cycle but since you are cycling with damsels and forced to do water changes(for the sake of the fish), it could take longer. You should first see a spike in ammonia, that should subside and be replaced by a spike in nitrites. When your nitrites start to go down and your nitrates rise, you know your close to the end of your cycle. You may never see your nitrates go to 0. It depends on your water, but you want to keep them under 20ppm.
I would return the damsels and throw a couple raw shrimp (from your grocery seafood counter) in your tank to finish your cycle.
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:41 PM   #4
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You got rotten advice from both stores. Cycling with fish is not the way to go anymore. I would suggest reading through the articles here at AA. After 6 weeks your tank should be cycled or very close to it. Get yourself some test kits and a new LFS.

BTW, Welcome to AA.
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:48 PM   #5
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I have a 2-3 " bed of crushed coral. A protein skimmer and 2 big cannister filters (brand new). No live rock but quite a bit of lava rock, which I was told would be be fine. A couple big dead coral designs.

I did a search and thats when I read that maybe I shouldnt have changed the water. I read that a cycle could last up to 8 weeks and I figured with only 12 damsels in a 160 gals, it might take as long.

Only thing now is I have almost no ammonia, but high nitrite AND nitrate. Fish are always hiding and skurry when someone walks by. I know thats not right. Are you serious about the shrimp from the store thing?? How long would I leave it in there??

Thanks phases. I know you guys get tired of us rookies, but hey, we give you something to laugh at right??? :P I did get some test kits cause I was tired of dragging water samples all over town.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:00 PM   #6
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No one is laughing at you. We have all been given lousy advise from LFS trying to sell us something. I have about $300 in chemicals that I'll never use - supposed to make cycling easy. HA! Keep asking questions. Everyone here is great with the responses, and very sympathetic when something goes wrong.

I agree about the damsels. Take them back and cycle with shrimp. I did my cylce with LR. It was easy, and no fish had to die. That's real important here. I'm sorry you were given such horrible advice.

Keep asking those questions.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:11 PM   #7
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Here is the article on the fishless cycle:

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=15

The key to saltwater is to be patient. A good rule of thumb is that everything takes much longer than FW. I just transitioned from years of FW to SW about 14 months ago and my tank is finally well established.

It is all worth the wait though. You are at a good forum to get help.

Good Luck,
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:20 PM   #8
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Thanks afilter...I appreciate it.

Wow, I just read the article and Im almost tempted to start over. At 6 weeks and high nitrite and nitrate levels, should I just wait or what? The next step is..........................???????
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Old 01-11-2005, 12:10 AM   #9
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Take a look at what stusclan said. The cycle is already started. See if you can return the fish and throw in some shrimp. With a 160 gal you may want several.

Have you considered what kind of set up you want. FO, FOWLR, or Reef? With a 160 gal you have a lot of options for fish. Damsels are usually not high on the want list when people figure out that they are considered aggressive and territorial. Not to knock damsels, If you do like damsels they should probably be one of the later fish you consider adding.

You can search AA for some fish ideas or many use this site:

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pcatid=15

It provides some good descriptios and basic requirements for most popular species.

Good luck,
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Old 01-11-2005, 12:19 AM   #10
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I know how it is to get bad advice from a lfs. believe me when I say I've had plenty to. IMO you may want to take out the cc and start over with a dsb now while it would be easier. The cc is going to be harder to keep the water right later on down the road. Take the fish back to the store and throw in a shrimp untill the cycle is complete. Believe me when I say it will be well worth the xtra effort.
Keep asking questions and doing searches on this site for info. You can learn more here in a couple hours of reading from the pro's here, "Not Including Myself" than anywhere I have found.
Take your time and do it right the first time and the rewards will be outstanding later on.
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