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Old 09-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #1
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just started my tank and im so overwhelmed. please help

okay so my girlfriend went to the local aquarium store and got me a bunch of stuff to convert my 55 gallon tank to saltwater. so i went and talked to the owner of the store and he told me everything i needed to get it up and running, but now after reading alot of articles online, i feel like he really didnt explain everything to me and i might have made a huge mistake. i already had an emperor 400 filter, and i got another tetra whisper ex45 filter. i also got a new 200 watt heater and a hydrometer. as far as chemicals, we got bio-spira, stress coat, and pro clear. so we put in the sand and the water, and mixed the salt. the next day we added the stress coat, pro clear, biospira, and a couple hours later we put in 20 pounds of live rock and 4 damsels. this was all by the stores instruction. its now 2 days later. after reading online for about 4 hours last night im finding myself extremely overwhelmed with all the information about cycling. i didnt even know what a cycle was until last night. i guess my main question is... now what? should i just let it go and see what happens? or should i start over? what should i expect to happen? if anyone has any advice i would really appreciate it. thanks.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:31 PM   #2
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Take the fish out of the tank and back to the store you got them from.

You don't need all the chemicals and I would suggest not using them.

Either order online or find another fishstore and get a Refractometer, toss the hydrometer. You will also want to get RO/DI water or a RO/DI water filtration unit (look on ebay). Saltwater needs to be started out with the best water possible and tap water just doesn't cut it.

To have good bio-filtration you need 1.5-2lbs of LR per gallon of water. Go to the article section of our site and read about cycling your tank.

A lot of people get drawn in with SW tanks and then lead astray by the fish store. You don't need a lot of junk to run a SW system, just a few tools and you will be just fine.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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Your LFS definitely was not thinking about the poor fish when he sold you the damsels. We have a great article on Sw cycling in our Sw articles section. It will tell you everything you need to know. Remember the LFS is out to make a sale that`s why he`s selling you everything. One cocktail shrimp would have been all you needed to cycle. If it was me I would take the damsels back and cycle the humane way.
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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what do i do with the live rock?
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #5
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You can keep the live rock in there. That will be a place to house your nitrifying bacteria. The bacteria is what convert fish waste and uneaten food from harmful ammonia, to less harmful nitrites, then to harmless nitrates. It is known as your biological filter.
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:11 PM   #6
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I plan on picking up 100 lbs of live rock within the next few days. If I take the fish back, put in all the rock, put in a couple of shrimp, and get a tester kit and just keep checking it I will be okay. Correct?
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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You need to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the beginning along with pH. Read the articles. In the first weeks all that matters are the ammonia. When that drops you need to monitor that and nitrite, then add nitrate to the testing.

When all are reading zero, you do a 30% water change with aged (24 hours) sw, then add the pH test to your regimen. Test at about the same time of day each time you test.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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okay so ive decided to just start over. i want to do it the right way and not have to fix mistakes. i might be picking up a 125 gallon tank with everything i need for a steal. i also have to cure about 100 lbs of rock so i figure ill just break it all down and start over. thanks to everyone who gave me advice. ill create a thread once i get the new one up and running
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Great idea. And if you have any questions or need advice this is the place to ask!
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:43 AM   #10
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good move.Not to put more stress on you but that 55g will make a great sump for the 125!!
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