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Old 04-27-2007, 03:14 PM   #51
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I am assuming you are using one of those swing arm hydrometers instead of a refractometer. If that is the the case, the swing arms aren't extremely accurate and that could be part of the problem. Also, the temperature of the water you are testing changes the reading on a swing arm hydrometer, so that too could be the issue. If you ARE using a refractometer, then ignore this!
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:23 PM   #52
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Ahh Hah - It is indeed a hydrometer. And yes the tank has started to vary in temp. It never did this untill I added all the LR to it. You would think the LR would help stabalize the temp. The ambient temp seams to change frequently when my wife is home lol. She likes to make the room warmer and I like it kewler so we constantly sneak over to the thermostat and change it. (I should probably install a locking thermostat with a key! lol

Ohh another thing I am curious about is if I should indeed have this skimmer hooked up. I have read that it will not skim with no bioload. Since I dont have any fish or anything in the tank should the skimmer not be hooked up? If thats isnt the case and it SHOULD be connected should I expect it to start skimming in a few days after its break in cycle?
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Old 04-28-2007, 01:19 AM   #53
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A couple things...

1. If your nitrate readings were truly 80ppm before your 10% water change, then they can't be 5ppm now. One of those two readings were off, and there's a pretty big color difference between 80 and 5 if you're using the API test kit - which I think I remember you are. You probably realize that, but thought I'd point it out just in case you didn't. Either there was some "user error" there, or you have an old test kit.

2. Good to see your ammonia is dropping from those high levels. Looks like your nitrites are getting ready to start heading up for a spike. Seems like your cycle is progressing nicely.

3. If you're trying to test the salinity of your saltwater immediately after you mix it up, it's hopeless. Until you let it sit (preferably with a heater and powerhead in it) for a day or so, adjusting the salinity is useless - it's just too unstable. Same goes with the pH. After about 24 hours of aging, you can check the parameters and adjust as needed. And as mentioned previously, a hydrometer is going to make it tough no matter what. A refractometer is a really really really good investment. All you need is a drop of water and about 10 seconds of your time and you've got your salinity. It's probaby the most useful thing I bought for my tank.

4. Depending on what salt mix you're using, a 1/2 cup per gallon usually gets you to about 1.021 SG. For Reef Crystals, I mix 2 cups salt with 3.5 gallons water and I get a salinity of 1.025+ and after a day or two I add some DI water to lower the SG to 1.024. In my opinion, it's way easier to purposely mix it saltier and then just add fresh water to lower the SG versus having to add salt mix to make it saltier. Add salt gets you back to the issue from #3!

Oh... and running the skimmer now won't hurt anything. It's a good time to get it broken in. Then again, it's no big deal if you don't run it either!
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:26 PM   #54
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Hey thanks for the tips! Thats why I wished I did another test rigtht before I did mywater change. (To Verify that 80ppm). Anyways - I am going to test again this evening. I dont mind doing the tests at all so might as well do them!

I just read the salinity about 24hours after its been mixing. The problem is its never consistant. I can add 1/2 cup per gallon everytime and get different readings everytime. Its probably due to the hydrometer. I will probably try to get one of those refractometers in a week or so but untill then I am stuck with the Hydrometer! (Which came recomended from the LFS! grrrrr) wish they would have told me about the refractometers! My fault for not researching enough before going to the place.. anyways... The tank is nice and clear and buzzing along. Cant wait to see what it does next!
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:12 PM   #55
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Well, I am predicting this thing will be done cycling by this weekend probably..

Temp - 74
SG - 1.021
pH - 8.3
NH3 - 0.0ppm
NO2 - 1.0ppm
NO3 - 10.0ppm

What should I get to put into the tank first? A few snails and then a single fish a few days later? I dont want to mess this up haha...
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:16 PM   #56
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That does look like the end of a cycle.
Why is your temp so low?
You could add a small clean up crew and even a fish. The clean up crew don't count toward your bio-load.
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:56 PM   #57
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I have heard the yellow tail damsels are a no go because they are "mean little buggers". Does this go for all damsels? I say a really pretty blue one at the lfs that was tempting. I do want the fish I posted on the 1st page tho. I will plan on adding 1 fish and a few snails then.

What should I keep my temp at? 74 is dead smack in the middle of the green on my thermometer. Should it be higher for sw?
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:06 PM   #58
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Generally the damsels can/will become agressive. The blue one you saw might have been a blue devil damsel, and mine is mean. You might get away with adding one last to reduce aggression, depending on your other tank mates. My yellow tails aren't that bad but they are in with other damsels.
I keep my temp at 77-78. Stability is important, you don't want any more than a 2 degree swing.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:46 PM   #59
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I can raise is up and steady it at 78 if thats whats needed. I just thought it was suppose to be 74. So out of the fish I was considering what should I add 1st?
(The list is on the 1st page)
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:28 PM   #60
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Hmmm, I just reread what you are thinking. If you can get the gobies and firefish as true mated pairs you will be good to go. I would start with the clown. Then the firefish, then the gobys. My reasoning is, the addition of 1 fish in a newer tank will get the beneficial bacteria used to a real bioload. After that, you can add 2 at a time.
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