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Old 07-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #1
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Intro and Question No. 1

Hey everybody. Been lurking for awhile, but first time posting. Thanks to everyone who contributes!

My 55 gal tank is finally up and running! I put about 60lbs of base rock in a week ago, then added 5lbs of fully-cured live rock and 40lbs of sand on Saturday. Question is: What do I do next?

Test kit shows no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. Should I drop some ammonia in and see what happens? Guy at the LFS said to give it a week and then I'd be ready for a fish or two.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:16 PM   #2
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I assume its not cycled? drop in 2 cubes of mysis shrimp and wait haha
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard A.A. You're going to have to do something to get that cycle going and start building up bacteria levels. Lots of threads on here about both fish in and fishless cycling (you can do a search using the search window). Personally, since you don't have any fish in the tank yet, I'd go for fishless. Just drop a cocktail shrimp or some ammonia into the tank to get things started.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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I don't know. Guess I'll find out. Shrimp it is. If no ammonia and nitrite for a few days, does that mean I'm good to go?
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:37 PM   #5
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Oh no, with only 5lbs of live rock and 60lbs of base rock and 40lbs of sand, your going to have to wait for all that substrate to become colonized by bacteria. It may take a day or two for the ammonia levels to start showing up as it will take a bit for the shrimp to begin to deteriorate. Once the shrimp gets nasty, you can go ahead and remove it from the tank. Once you have detected ammonia, you want to start testing for nitrites. It will take some time for nitrites to show up, once they do, you start testing for nitrates. Once the nitrates show up, you do a large scale water change (about 50%), and then you are ready to start adding fish. Usually takes several weeks to fully run the cycle to completion, and you most likely will experience a diatom bloom. Sand and rock surfaces will turn a rusty brown color. Perfectly normal, and just tells you you are on the right track, it will clear itself up eventually. Best of luck and welcome to the hobby.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:45 PM   #6
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Awesome, thanks for the reply. That clears it up for me. Now, on to the cycling.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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Alright, shrimp's been in the tank for a couple days now. It's looking pretty nasty and I have the rusty brown stuff showing up on my rocks, sand, and powerhead. Ammonia's at 0.50 ppm. Nitrite's at zero. Is there a certain minimum amount of Ammonia I should be trying to get to?
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:46 PM   #8
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You want zero ammonia, zero nitrites and to keep nitrAtes as close to zero as you can.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #9
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try to get to 3-4 ppm on the Ammonia it will build a strong bacti base
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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+1 on the 3-4 ppm. AFTER the cycle I think is what Todd was referring to.
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