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Old 03-18-2005, 10:29 AM   #1
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Sand Cloud and Cycling

So, I've got my brand new 110 gallon almost ready for cycling. I've got 4 inches of Southdown as my dsb, I've got the tank filled and I'm waiting (patiently) for the sand to settle. Its been 5 days and its only slightly clearer than when I first filled the tank. I didn't have any ph's going until last night. I've got two maxi-jets going near the top and it seems to be settling a little faster now. I still have 2 more maxi-jets to place near the bottom but I don't want them too close to the sand while its settling.

Can I mix in the salt while I wait for the dust cloud to settle? Seems like a stupid question, but I didn't know if the sand cloud affected specific gravity readings when mixing salt.

I'm getting about 60lbs of lr from lr.com on about 3/29 (their next shipment) and 40lbs from lfs. I've already got 60lbs base rock in the tank. So while the sand is settling, I'd like to get the water to temperature, mix salt, get the 40lbs from lfs to kick off the cycle before lr.com stuff gets here. Then, continue the cycle with lr.com rock.

Is that I good plan, or is there something I'm not considering? Do I need to wait for the sand to settle for any reason?

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Old 03-18-2005, 10:34 AM   #2
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you've already got the water in so don't worry, but you should have mixed the salt in the water before it went into the tank. Add the salt now, heat and mix with the PH for at least 24 hours before checking SG. Then adjust from there. Don't worry about any cloudiness still in the water from the sand. As you cycle, bacteria will build on the floating silt just as it does the sand, and this will help to settle the silt in the water column. The only comment on your plan, which for the most part is sound, is that the addition of the shipped LR may "Re-start" your cycle if there is much die off. I would say, get the temp and SG ready and just wait for the LR to get there. Add the LR and a shrimp and you'll be cycling in no time.

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Old 03-18-2005, 01:49 PM   #3
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BillyZ, why do you say that the salt should be pre-mixed outside the tank, since SkinnyPete does not have anything living yet in the tank? I understand why you should pre-mix any water change once you have LR/LS/livestock in the tank.
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Old 03-18-2005, 02:12 PM   #4
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I don't have any "proof" but merely... what make sense to me, so keep that in mind when reading this response.

basically, the goal of a cycle is to breed the different species of denitrifying bacteria in your substrate. For this bacteria to form/maintain itself, the environment must be right. This means the proper temperature/ph and Salinity of the water (and obviously a food source: ammonia). My concern is that if you add sand, then fresh water and mix in the salt afterwards. the sand will be immersed with fresh water, while the saltwater sits above it. Because its in fresh water, the bacteria may not form (or perhaps the wrong bacteria).

It will take additional time for the salt water to diffuse with the fresh water in the sand Meaning it will take longer for the right bacteria to form. Thus prolonging the cycle as well as causing fluctuations in your Sg as the fresh water and saltwater eventually balance out.

Now the original poster doesn;t have anything to worry about really.. I just suggest leaving an extra day or so after mixing the salt in before testing and adjusting the salinity to be sure the water in the sand has mixed with the water in the main water column.

... I hope I said what I meant hehe... let me know if I didn't make any sense...
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Old 03-18-2005, 02:40 PM   #5
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Actually, that makes a LOT of sense, BillyZ. I've always mixed salt after filling the tank for the first time because its easier but I've never actually used sand in a sw tank - just CC, so the deep sand bed will be soaked with fresh water while the salt is mixing. I hear you.

I'll throw in salt tonight. I can't get rock until Tuesday anyway so it should be pretty well mixed by then.

Thanks all.

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Old 03-18-2005, 05:33 PM   #6
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Hey pete, i added the salt the night i filled my tank, i noticed that when i added my salt it was even cloudier for a couple of days. i would say a good 5 days. I noticed that when i added my base rock it cleared up rather quickly.


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Old 03-18-2005, 07:55 PM   #7
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Maybe you should mix the sand around a bit with your hands to get the salt mixed in.

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