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Old 07-07-2002, 08:23 PM   #1
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some questions

I am very new to salt-water, and have just set up my tank. It's been running for 2-3 weeks now. I started out with 5 damsels, and now I have one. So far the one that has been living has been doing well, it's been alone for about a week now. I just got my water tested, my pH is normal, my ammonia and nitrate are very high (as it is with new tanks), and my salinity is fine. So, here's my questions:

1. My dealer told me to do water changes once the aquarium gets 'established.' (as in levels of chemicals and bacteria correct- ammonia, nitrate, ect.) The dealer recomended 6 weeks of letting the aquarium run, and then doing water changes. Does this seem right?

2. When doing water changes, should you add some salt to your regular reverse-osmosis water, or just add regular reverse-osmosis water? I've been adding some regular reverse-osmosis water for when the water evaporates, and the salinity is going down.

3. How do the levels of salinity correspond with the temperature? Like, when the temp. is lower than it is supposed to be, is the salinty lower or higher than what it would be with a reg. temp.? If that's the case, then what's the temp. to salinity ratio? (How many degrees off affects the salinity to how much?) Sorry if I made this sound confusing. If I made it too confusing, just respond, and I'll try to make it more clear.

4. I have a lot of brown algea (sp?) in my tank, that I've been told are "diatoms." Should I clean them out when there are too many, or just let them stay there? Are they good for bio-filtration? When should they go away?

Sorry if I made this sound more confusing than it really is! I've attatched a picture of my 26 gal. tank and my damsel if you want to see.

Thanks,
Laurel
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Old 07-07-2002, 08:47 PM   #2
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Thanks for the photos. The damsel looks very small.

Quote:
1. My dealer told me to do water changes once the aquarium gets 'established.' (as in levels of chemicals and bacteria correct- ammonia, nitrate, ect.) The dealer recomended 6 weeks of letting the aquarium run, and then doing water changes. Does this seem right?
While this is usually good advice I would advice a water change at this point because you said your ammonia and nitrite levels are high. Given that you do have one damsel left we should do all we can to keep it alive. A water change of 20% should help the ammonia levels. Dont syphon the water from the substrate just syphon it off from the top/mid level. Since most bactera live in the substrate and on physical objects taking water from the middle of the water column should not affect them do much.

Quote:
2. When doing water changes, should you add some salt to your regular reverse-osmosis water, or just add regular reverse-osmosis water? I've been adding some regular reverse-osmosis water for when the water evaporates, and the salinity is going down.
When doing water changes you should premix your water and salt 24hrs in advance and make sure the SG of the new water is the same as the SG of the tank. Also get a small heater so as the water can be as close to the tank temp as possible.
As water evaporates from the tank the salt remains behind. Slowly as the water levels drop the SG will rise in the tank unless the evaporation water is replaced. When replacing evaporation you use "unsalted" RO water. I am confused when you say that your SG is going down as you replace evaporation water. Unless your filling the tank higher than it was initally.

Quote:
. How do the levels of salinity correspond with the temperature? Like, when the temp. is lower than it is supposed to be, is the salinty lower or higher than what it would be with a reg. temp.? If that's the case, then what's the temp. to salinity ratio? (How many degrees off affects the salinity to how much?) Sorry if I made this sound confusing. If I made it too confusing, just respond, and I'll try to make it more clear
As the water temperature rises the SG reading on most hydromoters does down slightly. So if you test water at 70F and at 80F with all else being equil the 80F water will have a lightly lower SG than the cooler water. This change is very slight. Water that might test at 1.025 at 70F might test at 1.023 or 1.024 at 80F.

If you keep your SG between 1.023 and 1.025 then your within acceptable range.

Quote:
4. I have a lot of brown algea (sp?) in my tank, that I've been told are "diatoms." Should I clean them out when there are too many, or just let them stay there? Are they good for bio-filtration? When should they go away?
From the two pics the brown algae does ot appear to be to prevelent. It will go away on its own once the ammoina and nitrite levels are back down to undetectible levels.


Never hesitate to ask a question as the only BAD question is one that goes unasked.

Feel free to ask any additional questions you might have about what I said above or anything else that should come to mind you dont quite understand.[/url]
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Old 07-07-2002, 09:30 PM   #3
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Re: some questins

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbriar15
I am very new to salt-water, and have just set up my tank. It's been running for 2-3 weeks now. I started out with 5 damsels, and now I have one. So far the one that has been living has been doing well, it's been alone for about a week now. I just got my water tested, my pH is normal, my ammonia and nitrate are very high (as it is with new tanks), and my salinity is fine. So, here's my questions:
What size tank? What type of filtration? Is there any LR or LS? Is there any Auxillary equipment, like a skimmer? Normal is a subjective term, please provide the actual numbers when posting water parameters. PH of 7.9-8.0 is normal, but can be indicitive of a few things, for us to help specifics are important.

Quote:
1. My dealer told me to do water changes once the aquarium gets 'established.' (as in levels of chemicals and bacteria correct- ammonia, nitrate, ect.) The dealer recomended 6 weeks of letting the aquarium run, and then doing water changes. Does this seem right?
Yes and no, aquariums are like people, no two are exactly the same. Most aquariums cycle between 2-6 weeks, depending on the method used to cycle the tank. Your aquarium will be ready for fish when the ammonia and nitrite (notice the i in nitrite) reach 0. Please take the fish back to the dealer, and use a table shrimp to cycle this tank.....

Quote:
2. When doing water changes, should you add some salt to your regular reverse-osmosis water, or just add regular reverse-osmosis water? I've been adding some regular reverse-osmosis water for when the water evaporates, and the salinity is going down.
Yes, when doing water changes, use saltwater (mixed to the same specific gravity and temp) to replace the water that was removed. Make sure always to add the salt to the water, not the water to the salt, if done improperly you can cause some elements to precipitate from solution. Also make sure the water is mixed for 24 hrs before use, there are many chemical reactions taking place in the newly mixed salt water.

When replacing evaporation, you should only add H2O, since that is all that evaporated. I can think of a couple of reasons the specific gravity (unless you are using a refractometer, or you are using a salinity test kit, by Salifert you are testing specific gravity with a hydrometer) might drop:
1. The hydrometer was new and air bubbles were stuck to the lever (giving you a false reading), and as the hydrometer was used more it has "broken in" and the bubbles don't stick to the plastic anymore, and now you are getting a truer reading.
2. The hydrometer was dropped and is not functioning properly anymore
3. You have lot's of saltcreep and the specific gravity is actually going down (probably caused by an airpump and airstone)
4. your tank is more full than when you originally took the readings
5. You have a leak and you are not actually evaporating that much water, but simply losing S/W

Quote:
3. How do the levels of salinity correspond with the temperature? Like, when the temp. is lower than it is supposed to be, is the salinty lower or higher than what it would be with a reg. temp.? If that's the case, then what's the temp. to salinity ratio? (How many degrees off affects the salinity to how much?) Sorry if I made this sound confusing. If I made it too confusing, just respond, and I'll try to make it more clear.
As the temp rises the water becomes less dense, specific gravity goes down. As the temp lowers the water becomes more dense, specific gravity goes up. For more info about temp and salinity and their relationship take a look at this article by Ron Shimek.... What are Natural Reef Salinities and Temperatures…Really…
and Does It Matter?



Quote:
4. I have a lot of brown algea (sp?) in my tank, that I've been told are "diatoms." Should I clean them out when there are too many, or just let them stay there? Are they good for bio-filtration? When should they go away?
They will bloom covering every surface in the aquarium, and then they will eventually slow down as the silicates are consumed in your system. Once your cycle is done, there is a simple solution, algae (notice correct spelling) grazing snails. More info about algae types and control can be found at http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=15

Quote:
Sorry if I made this sound more confusing than it really is! I've attatched a picture of my 26 gal. tank and my damsel if you want to see.

Thanks,
Laurel
Not a problem, if you need any clarification on anything I posted, just let us know. We have all been new to this hobby, you will learn more in your first six months in this hobby than you did in 3 years of high school 8O
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Old 07-07-2002, 11:56 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for helping me. I've attatched a photo of my tank again, one taken tonight. (the others were within the first week of starting the tank) In this photo you can see the diatoms. My dealer said that I should keep the SG at 1.019 for a fish-only aquarium. Are the ones you (fishfreek) posted for a reef-aquarium?

reefrunner-
I just got my water checked at a pet store, so I didn't get the specific information, sorry. Next time I post I'll post all of that information. (now that I've bought a kit) I have a 26 gal. tank, fish only. No protien skimmer.

I think I have a choice of wheter or not to do shrimp or not. I've chosen not to, because I am atleast already halfway done with my cycling, and I would probably do more harm to my fish and spend more money doing the shrimp. (can't return the fish, I have no other supplies to put the fish in another tank temporarily, and I think I'm almost done with cycling, so it would be more of a hassle to go and get the shrimp.) Next time I will do the shrimp if I start again.

Sorry for all of my mispellings. Oops, and I just noticed the typo in the subject of this, opps... *some questions Thanks for all of the helpful articles.

Both of your help is very much appreciated!

Laurel
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Old 07-08-2002, 12:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbriar15
I think I have a choice of wheter or not to do shrimp or not. I've chosen not to, because I am atleast already halfway done with my cycling, and I would probably do more harm to my fish and spend more money doing the shrimp. (can't return the fish, I have no other supplies to put the fish in another tank temporarily, and I think I'm almost done with cycling, so it would be more of a hassle to go and get the shrimp.) Next time I will do the shrimp if I start again.
I'm sorry you feel that way...about taking the fish out I mean, of course you have a choice. I'm not trying to flame you, I was simply offering advice, it was a request not an order. It would be irresponsible of me to make no mention of this, you may have asked the question, but hopefully you are not the only one that reads the answer. In the original post, you said the ammonia is on the rise, you are not almost done with your cycle. Probably only about half done.

Quote:
Sorry for all of my mispellings. Oops, and I just noticed the typo in the subject of this, opps... *some questions Thanks for all of the helpful articles.
There is no need to be sarcastic. You asked some questions and I answered them, you brought up the spelling issue in the original post.
Quote:
4. I have a lot of brown algea (sp?) in my tank,
The question mark after sp, meant, to me, you were unsure of the spelling, I offered you the correct spelling, it won't happen again. On the nitrite issue, there are three substances in the nitrogen cycle: Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. I stressed the "i" because there is a tremendous difference between nitrite and nitrate, it was strictly for clarification. I could care less how you spell, I certainly make my share of typos, and to slam you for spelling would be shortsighted to say the least.

Quote:
Both of your help is very much appreciated!

Laurel
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Old 07-08-2002, 12:37 AM   #6
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I did not mean to sound sarcastic, I was just appoligizing for all of my mistakes, as I am very new. I am very sorry if I sounded sarcastic, I didn't mean for it to sound that way. It's really hard to tell the way someone is trying to express something just by reading text on these computers. Thanks for helping me, and I am tremedously sorry if I sounded in any way offensive to you, as you are the one helping me.

Thanks for the advice.

Laurel
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Old 07-08-2002, 12:45 AM   #7
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I am sorry for the misunderstanding. You didn't offend me, I just have a habit of speaking my mind, I am sure I have offended plenty of people on these message boards. I totally agree about expressing yourself in type rather than speaking, I mean, (for us puter illiterates) the difference between sarcasim and humorous banter can be difficult to differentiate. Please don't let any of this exchange inhibit you from future postings, I meant what I said. In this hobby you learn quickly, and forums like this are one of the reasons why.
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:19 AM   #8
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Maybe when we are being sarcastic we should ad some smiles to the post so as to show we are not trying to be negitive.


8)

A little smiley action goes a long way

No biggie with spelling. Everyone knows I am horrible when it comes to that aspect. But there are a few key words that need to be spelled correctly as a common misspelling is acutally another work. Nitrite and Nitrate are one's in particular. One is toxic to fish and the other is not. Both are not so good for corals.


I did not suggest the cocktail shrimp because I remembered we had discussed that in chat and knew you could not return the damsel so you had to try to find a method of keeping him alive.

Just to clarify the acutall expense with the cocktail shrimp method would be the cost of a single "raw" shrimp from the grocery store. Not sure what they would say when you asked for 1 shrimp. THey might think ok 1lb but when you say no I just want a "single" shrimp.

Shoot they might just give it to you given that they would have difficulty in figuring out how much 1 shrimp might cost.
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