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Old 01-01-2009, 01:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tank2379 View Post
Yup it's like smoking 10 packs of cigarette's a day.......... I can't BREATH!!!!!!
Ya beat me to it! I know plenty of people that appeared healthy as an ox, while smoking a pack a day. Later in life, they ain't so healthy.

Welcome to the site Emma... and unfortunately you've found the most frustrating thing about this hobby: everyone has a different answer to the same question! Good advice, for the most part, given already, but I'll add this: do as much research as you can, both here and in published books. I guarantee that you'll find conflicting advice. But as you collect all the advice in your head, you'll start to remember some consistent things that successful folks do. Don't rely on just us, or just the LFS, or just a friend... take all that info together find some of the common themes and decide for yourself how you want to run your tank, and why you're doing what you're doing. I lurked this site for 3 months before buying a single piece of equipment. Granted... you don't have that opportunity now that you have a tank, but you can still do a lot of research in a short time.

My advice?

*Stop adding anything to your tank. It doesn't need it yet.

*Don't assume the rock is "live", so add a single cocktail shrimp from the fish counter at your grocery store and watch it dissolve over the next few weeks. Yeah... you can cycle with fish too, but why? You get the same result by using a dead shrimp and don't have to worry about stressing out or killing innocent fish, or trying to get the buggers out of your tank afterward! All you're looking for to cycle a tank is a source of ammonia - and that easily comes from the decomposing flesh of Mr. Cocktail Shrimp.

*Get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit, read up on the nitrogen cycle, and chart your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels over the next 4-6 weeks.

*When your ammonia and nitrites have risen and then dropped to zero, and your nitrate levels are measurable (probably 10-20ppm or so) then your cycle is complete. Do water changes until your nitrates are undetectable, then you're good to add livestock.

*Only add one fish per month, and only after it's been in a separate quarantine tank for at least 4 weeks.

*Get your own test kits and don't rely on your LFS. Until you understand enough to know when a store is a good one, and when they're just trying to sell you stuff... assume they're just trying to sell you stuff. (Don't get me wrong - there are great LFSs out there. It's just that there are some stinkers, too.)

*Do 10% water changes weekly for the first year. Religiously.

*Keep reading, researching, and learning. Just with any hobby, the minute you think you know everything and get complacent ... something will happen to remind you that you really don't know everything.

*Oh... and keep asking questions. There are no dumb ones. Well... there actually are, but we'll just assume you won't ask those.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson View Post
*Oh... and keep asking questions. There are no dumb ones. Well... there actually are, but we'll just assume you won't ask those.
LOL... I know I've asked some dumb ones!!!! I think I still do....
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:31 PM   #13
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Wow,, I am thrilled with all the replies,, and help

I will get my own test kit
hope I didnt mess up my tank, as I put a raw ( not cooked shrimp in a few days ago... guess I will take it out (turned pink right away,, looks like cooked, maybe because temp is 80%??
will ad 2 cooked ones now

will be patient and just test water and let it cycle for the 4 wks

question does live rock bring up PH?

question; when i used a flash light at night I found 2 diff types of bugs,, well what ever you call a water/tank bug,,,one was like tiny centepeeds,, saw at least 5 of them,, and the others were a tiny bug,, dont know how to describe, assume they were living in the wholes of the live rock

are they dangerous to my tank/ future fish???

oh I also have 2 diff tiny stem plant/flower things that are stuck on the rocks

thanks again for all your help!!

so excited
-- looking fwd to watching all the diff forms of nature working together in this tank in my living room!!
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:52 PM   #14
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During the cycle dont worry about the PH. It will bounce all around as your ammonia and nitrites rise and fall. After your cycle is over and you do a PWC then we`ll worry about the PH. Right now Ammonia, Nitrites and nitrates are all we have to worry about.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:13 PM   #15
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Your Shrimp is suppose to be Raw. If you have one in there now let it be. Also try to keep you water temp around 74-78 degress. Good luck with your cycle hopefully will get some pics of your Tank.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:51 PM   #16
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my temp is 78

the shrimp is raw

I had the water tested again==

8.2 PH
Ammonia .25
Nitrite .25
nitrate 5.0

the pet store said leave the tank to cycle

and dont do any water changes at all or otherwise the tank will have to cycle again

again,, very confused

who do I listen to??

looking for good book to read on the subject of starting and maintaining salt water tank
for purpose of Coral reef/fish

thanks
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:26 PM   #17
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If you haven't already, read the articles in my sig for the nitrogen cycle and fishless cycling, this will explain it all to you.

Since you have no inhabitants yet, they're right - just leave the tank to cycle now, continue to monitor your ammonia and nitrIte levels until your tank finishes cycling.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:51 PM   #18
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I Agree with Neilan. Read through the article section, that will answer a lot of your questions. After the tank has gone through the cycle; Ammonia spike decline, NitrIte spike decline, and finally NitrAte spike, this is when you will do your water change. At that point your cycle should be complete but you will still need to check your water parameters regularly at least through the first 6 months or so.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:12 PM   #19
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Nielanh-- I read 2 of your articles; nitrogen and fish cycling
wow,, I am slowly understanding the Whys---
i just wish i could read the bacteria level, but i guess the other levels will tell me when its ready=
I have had the shrimp in a wk now
so wont use the amonia way

will raise the temp up-- keep lights off more

I dont know why they sold me ph to ad, I had no ph reading then they told me to ad it , now its 8.2
your thinking 7 is good
bought test kits and will watch the ph and others and post what they are to make sure cycling is going as its supposed to

I plan on some how sucking out those centeped critters some eve- so I can be rid of them b-4 I get my coral

when my tank is ready and i can put fish in
when do i ad the clean up crew,,
and how about time - signs for adding coral??

thanks for all your help and articles to ALL who have written to me

I dont want to be impatient or discouraged and quit nor do I want to kill anything
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:37 PM   #20
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Great, glad those articles were helpful! Basically the monitoring of your ammonia and nitrIte will tell you when the bacteria are built up enough, so just like you said, you'll know.

I'm a little confused about your comments about the pH. For SW tanks, 8.3 is pretty much where you want to be once your salt is mixed in well. You're pretty much right on the mark, but the pH tends to swing around while your cycling, as the ammonia and nitrIte will affect the pH test. But no worries, just don't bother with worrying about your pH right now until after your cycle is complete and you're able to get a worthwhile test reading.

Usually a small clean up crew is a good idea after your cycle is complete. Many places will recommend a large or a complete clean up crew for your size tank, but your tank needs time to build up the stuff the CUC needs, so don't put in a full recommended crew right away. A few snails, craps and/or shrimp, but not many, or they'll starve to death.

Fish can go in anytime after your cycle is complete too. Just don't put in a lot of fish at once, you'll want to wait several weeks in between each purchase to allow the bacteria and your tank to get used to the new inhabitant.
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