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Old 12-04-2011, 09:17 AM   #1
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New to saltwater

Hi guys!!!
Got a few questions. I've got a 120 gallon tank currently cycling. Right now there is 80# live sand and 20# live rock. There is an Eheim 2080 and I've got a Hydor power head that moves 1050 gallons an hour. I will be adding more live rock as budget allows, but well before adding live stock. I intend to get 90-100# more LR.I do not have a sump and my tank is not drilled for overflow.
Questions
I was wondering if there ws a stand alone protein skimmer not hob, but something I could plumb in without a sump.
Do I have enough substrate and if I need to add more, does it need to be life sand.
Finally, I couldn't really find a step by step on setting up a tank' so I winged it and assumed for ls the water needed to be in first then add ls. It got REALLY cloudy, so I changed all the water, the bag saino rinsng need, so I didn't. It was CaribSea ls. After adding in the new water, it still gets really cloudy, if I need more sand, how can I add it without the dust storm?

Really love the info I've found here. So far, by far the most informational.

Looking forward to your help. Thanks a bunch.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:11 AM   #2
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As far as the sand goes, CaribSea does take a while to settle down, in my experience. I always use Nature's Own (??) Aragonite live sand. Some people think the live sand in a bag is a gimmick. As long as you can see water in the bag, then the bacteria is still theoretically alive. I have had no cloudiness issues at all. Live sand is just personal preference though. You only need more sand if you want a deeper sandbed - it's really up to you.

Can't help with the skimmer, sorry.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks a ton for the advice. Now I need some more.
Got a water problem. I am amidst cycling my tank and have 3 shrimp decaying. Finally got some ammonia readings after 2 days. My problem is my test readings. Here they are as of this morning:
Ammonia .25
Ph 8.0
Spec grav. 1.022
Calcium 320ppm
Phosphate 0
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Hardness 16dkH

I started dosing the water with baking soda the last 2 days with 10 tsp each nite but not helping with ph.
Any suggestions? Also are the water conditions affecting my bacterial growth?
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:22 PM   #4
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Oh temp is @ 76° f
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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I wouldnt worry too much about the ph, calcium and hardness while you are cycling.

Do you have surface agitation that can help with the ph without dosing stuff.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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I'm not exactly sure what the problem you are referring to is? As I see it, your ammonia is rising from the shrimp which is correct, Ph range is 7.8-8.3 so you're good there. Salinity range is 1.021 - 1.027 so yes on the low side, but nothing lethal, especially with no livestock. Calcium is on the low end, but without corals you don't need it to be much higher. Alk is through the roof - 10dkH is a high number to shoot for. Nitrites and Trates at zero just means that the ammonia hasn't started to break down yet.

I would stop dosing anything right now, and allow the tank to cycle. After the cycle completes, you should retest, but you shouldn't have to dose anything. Water changes should bring all of your parameters where they need to be.

Are you using tap water? If so, I would switch immediately to using RO/DI water.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:16 PM   #7
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I thought I should have water parameters ready to go already, but ok. That's why I was using the baking soda to raise the ph. I am using salt water from my lfs. I tested the water before hand and all the parameter fall where they should be. It went out if sack after adding it to the tank. I did have REALLY cloudy water after adding the live sand.
I will stop dosing and wait for cycling to complete.
Thanks for the input.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:17 PM   #8
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Oh and yes I have a powerhead pointed up. Lots of surface movement.
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