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Old 06-07-2005, 10:09 AM   #1
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First Saltwater Tank

I am new to saltwater but have had freshwater tanks before. I started a 60 gallon Hectagon tank. I asked the local fish store to help me get started. The temp 78% and Salt level is 1.022 within the range I am told. They said to only run the sand filter and I have an extra powerhead to move the water at the bottom. 2 bags of live sand and rocks (from the store not live yet). Then I added 4 bottles of bacteria from fish guy (in a couple of days). Then I added 5 damsels and was told they will cycle the tank in 30 days. I was going to give him water sample in 10 days to check. Well 2 Damsels were gone by morning and the other 3 the next day. I called fish guy and he said the water must be contaiminated by us filling it up (perfume, cologne, or something). Any advice or comments much appreciated.
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Old 06-07-2005, 10:51 AM   #2
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To help cycle a tank you don't need to buy live fish, just get a couple of raw, unseasoned (of course) shrimp and dump it in the tank. If the damsels which are very hardy fish died, then your H2O must be pretty bad. When you start a SW tank, you should put in your live rock first, if it is cured then add the substrate and the shrimp I told you about. After a week or before start testing for ammonia, it will take a while for it to go down (say 3-4 weeks), when ammonia reaches 0 start testing for nitrite, when nitrite reaches 0 then start testing for nitrates, and nitrates should be 10ppm or less, some people have it at 20 ppm and that's ok. This process takes anything from 4-8 weeks by the time the tank is cycled. If possible you may want to use RO water too, it will save you future headaches. As far as adding chemicals to a tank, bacteria or whatever it is, at least for a SW it is a no-no. Just let nature work. I would recommend the book "The new marine aquarium" by Paletta, it will guide you step by step. Hope this helps
Oh and don't trust the LFS people too much, they just want to sell you stuff.
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Old 06-07-2005, 11:27 AM   #3
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Read this article: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=15

4 bottles of bacteria? that's problem number 1 - bacteria should form naturally, not artificially. Furthermore if bacteria in a bottle worked, one would be sufficient. Plus, the whole idea of snakeoil...I mean bacteria in a bottle, is that it's supposed to cycle the tank.

I would switch LFS's, or simply ignore there advice (or at least confirm it with us before you follow their suggestions).

A SW tank can be really easy to setup and maintain if you do it correctly. It can be a nightmare if you cut corners or rush things.
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:06 PM   #4
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start over?

Should I empty the tank and start over...The tank has been filled for about 2 weeks and there is 4 bottles of bacteria in it.
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:29 PM   #5
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Honestly, I would empty the tank, give it a good cleaning and start over. I know is expensive, but is more expensive trying to fix something over and over... I suggest to buy a good book, it will save you lots of $$ later on.
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:37 PM   #6
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I'd do a big water change, but I wouldn't worry about the cleaning. Those bacteria bottles aren't full of toxic chemicals...but the stuff in them has most likely polluted the water, and I"m not sure a skimmer could remove it.

Then I would follow that fishless cycling article, and if your budget allows, pick up a little live rock...which depending on how fresh it is, or how far its cured, will already have some good bacteria on it to help start your cycle.

This will also give you time to do some research on the fish you can keep. If you want a really great book, Robert Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" is hard to beat. It covers setup, stocking, and gets into some fish and coral profiles...probably the best 'current' comprehensive book on SW out there that can be understood by newcommers and experienced reefers.

the other book would be Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium"...but as I own and have read both, Paletta's book is much better if you haven't yet purchased anything, as it deals mainly with setup, cycling, and new tank issues.

I bought both as a package deal at amazon.com for a sweet price...they probably still do it. Paletta's book is what I loan to people who get the itch for SW.
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Old 06-07-2005, 09:22 PM   #7
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Hmmp adding bacteria to the water is a testy situation but if you think about it adding it to the tank might just be like adding a piece of LR to the tank which has bacteria gwoing on it. Was this like bacteria or just some of his water? Also 5 demsels may also be a bad idea wonderful for cycling but once there in a tank its a problem to get them out I started out with 4 for cycling they all surrvied then started to pic at some coral and other fish. Took me a week to get them all!
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Old 06-07-2005, 09:35 PM   #8
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The bacteria was in a small bottle marked TLC (bacteria product). Thank you all for the advice...I am goin to try to cycle the tank without fish first.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:46 AM   #9
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Man those lfs really burn me up. I can't believe they told you that. What a waste of life and time. When you start out next time, just throw a piece of raw shrimp in there from the grocery store for cycling for a few weeks. This is way better, and more humane than using a live fish. Do yourself a favor and shop somewhere else. Your lfs has no clue on how to successfully setup or maintain a SW system. Just venting here...sorry.


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