well, its been over a month since my last post... All that time I've been experimenting with the setup while waiting for my rock. Marshall rock was and still is not available and I dont know when it will be, so I finally gave up and bought 100lbs of semi cured fiji from my LFS
. That was two weeks ago... the tank is cycling now.
I dumped all 5x35lb bags of aragonite sand, which gave me about 6 inches of DSB
. Although, the sand was rinsed, it still made my perfect ro
. And it stayed that way for a week not clearing up even a bit. At that time I was still not aware that the skimmer can do wonders, so I ditched all the cloudy water and added another 100 gallons of ro
. The water got cloudy again, than I realized I got a skimmer... the water became crystal clear by the morning.
A few trips to lowes later the setup got a lot less loud as I sealed all holes inside the stand and had the skimmer discharge valve piped below the sump water level (yes, I made a big hole at the top of the pipe to let the air in).
Speaking of the skimmer, it took me awhile to figure out how to adjust it for proper operation... If i open the discharge valve all the way, it produces so much foam that it overflows the collection cap and all wastes washed back into the sump. The only way I got it to work is by shutting the valve enough to cause the skimmer to barely produce air bubbles... perhaps this is just for now while it is all new and cycling, may be not. At least it does collect plenty of wastes every day.
Now back to the cycle. So, I put all 100lbs of rock all at once and added two jumbo shrimp. Some rock had few dieoffs as well, so I figured it should be enough to kick in the cycle. In a couple of days I got the ammonia spike, a few days later the ammonia started to go down but nitrites went up alot. In a few more days, nitrates went through the roof while ammonia got down to zero, shrimp was all gone by then. As of tonight, ammonia is at zero, so is nitrite. Nitrates went down alot and are now at 20ppm. It seems that I should be all set for the cleanup crew by the weekend.
The only problem is in pH level... it stays at 7.9 all the time and does not seem to be improving, and I dont expect it to, not without pH buffer anyway. So this is next on the list.
More pics are coming soon.