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Old 11-06-2003, 10:19 AM   #1
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Help! Newbie with problems!

Here's my situation:

About three months ago I set up my first saltwater tank exactly as they told me at my LFS as follows:

30 gal. long tank
Ehein 2213 canister filter
150-watt heater
fluorescent lighting that came with the hood
thin CC bottom
about 6 lbs. LR
(4) damsels
De-chlorinated tap water

During the first two months, the nitrate level went up slightly and then back down to <0.3. brought a water sample to the LFS who told me that the tank had cycled (during this time 2 of the damsels died - water in the tank got too warm I think because it was hot outside - after that i made sure i left the AC on in the house!). i returned the damsels, purchased another 4 lbs. of live rock and 30 lbs. base rock (now have a total of 10 lbs. live rock and 30 lbs. base rock), three snails and a yellow tang. i also performed a gravel cleaning and 7 gallon water change. about a week after all this, i checked the nitrates and they were around 3.0. i freaked out and went immediately to the LFS. they told me that the tank had never really cycled and it was now going thru that process and not to touch anything. during the last three weeks the nitrates have gone up to a very high level (i have been bringing a sample to the LFS once a week). as of this morning the nitrate levels are stilloff the chart and the tang is just about dead. What do I do? the LFS said that if the fish dies i need to drain the tank and start over. is this the case? should i replace the CC bottom with a DSB? If so how deep and what kind of sand? Can the tank finish cycling without draining it? If so, how do I go about that process? Please help me with options. Thank you very much for your help. i really want to have nice tank and thought i would if i followed my LFS exact directions. i have done that and it obviously isn't working.
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:11 AM   #2
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Hey, Jason - you sound like me when I started. Let me see if I can offer some info for you.

The first issue I see is when you bought the second batch of LR (the additional 4 lbs).

After adding the additional 4 lbs of LR, your tank (and since it is relatively small) you would need to cycle the tank again to accomodate the new rock.

After your tank cycled from the second LR addition, you should have done at least a 30% water change (at least 9 gallons) before adding the snails and the yellow tang. I am commited to doing a 50% water change after the initial tank cycling, but that is just me.

From what you have explained above, the Nitrates going up to 3.0 doesn't seem all that shocking.

As far as draining the tank in the event of the dead tang - I've never heard that before.

Can someone else on here address his thin CC substrate?

Don't give up! Keep asking questions! You CAN do this!

Todd
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:40 AM   #3
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A couple of words of advice that I would offer are. Don't get a tang for a tank that small. A tang really needs a minimum of 55 gallons if not more. I would definately look into another type of fish for that tank.

You don't need to have a DSB. The tank will work fine without it, but you will just have to make sure to always check those levels (ammonia etc...) as there won't be the same level of bacteria. Just make sure to not overstock the tank and keep the water fresh and things will be fine.
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:42 AM   #4
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What is salinity and temp of your water?
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Old 11-06-2003, 12:42 PM   #5
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thanks but what do i do now?

what should i do now? how will the tank complete the cycle?

salinity - 1.019
temp - 75
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Old 11-06-2003, 12:45 PM   #6
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current nitrate level

i don't think i mentioned that the nitrates right now are much higher than 3.0
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:01 PM   #7
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The salinity is way too low. I think it supposed to be up near 1.025, and the temp close to 80F. But don't adjust it in one go. Do it gradually.
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:05 PM   #8
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How are your ammonia and nitrites testing? That will let you know whether or not your tank is completely cycled. If it has, then it is time to perform a large water change. What are you wanting to eventually keep in the tank...any corals or inverts? If so, IMO your salinity needs to increase, but I wouldn't worry about this yet. How high are your nitrates?
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:09 PM   #9
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you should probably do a water change and raise your salinity a tad bit. also your temp a few degrees. most will tell you salinity of 1.021-1.023 and a temp of 79-80 is most desirable.

if you havn't done any water changes yet, definitly do one soon. lfs dont always know what they are talking about, especialy if you live in southern california and go one in santa ana, those are the worst! i wouldnt drain the tank, there is really no point, just do water changes.

Also what is your ammonia and nitrite. i know u mentianed your nitrate, but is the ammonia and nitrite that is dangerous to your inhabitants. if they are high i would recomend seeing if your lfs will at least hold the tang for you until your tank is done cycling. if they dont, do water changes often to keep these levels down. HTH
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Old 11-07-2003, 05:01 PM   #10
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Agree with the above. To answer your other question, the tank is cycling right now and you don't need to do anything for it complete the cycle. Water changes will help to keep your present life stock alive, but diluting the ammonia and nitrates.

If the Tang dies, remove him immediately and let the tank continue it's cycle.

Go out and buy your own test kit. You'll need it from now on anyway. The cycle is complete when ammonia, nitrate and nitrites are all 0 for a consistent time period, say a few days to a week.

For this tank and fowlr cc substrate is fine. As the base rock becomes live over the next few months you will have plenty of bio filtration.

Good Luck
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