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Old 08-16-2003, 01:59 PM   #1
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Just figured I'd give an update, what looked like a giant milkshake is begginging to clear and my tank is actually looking pretty nice. I thought I did a pretty bad job aquascaping with the LR but with the sand in it looks nice. The biggest challenge was fitting it all in to the tank. The tank is set up so it creates two seperate rooms out of my basement, so it can be viewed from both sides. It was pretty hard to do that using the whole (I think it was about 125 pounds) of rock I got. Im getting good lighting tommorow, I think I will get the coralife PC thingy. Starting today I am going to take measurements during cycling. Is it important to test for anything other than ammonia, nitrite, and I guess nitrate during cycling? I also wanted to make sure it was alright to do a 50% water change when the tank is finished cycling, so is that a good thing to do? Lastly, this being my first saltwater tank, is there anything I really should keep an eye out for, or expect to happen during the early stages of my tank?
Thanks for all those here helping me out as I begin to get into the saltwater/reef hobby.

My fish will kick your fishes butt
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Old 08-27-2003, 07:01 PM   #2
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A 50% change might be a little too much, IMO I would go with about a 20%. Watch your ammonia counts aswell. The only thing I can tell you to watch out for is an increase in your chemicals, they should then start steadily dropping down. I would also watch out for any large increases in alge. If this does happen your house water or whatever you used may not be very clean. Also if more alge pops up and you dont like it, just keep your lights off for a little while and the alge should die down. I am not an expert, but these are a few things that have happened to me in the past. HTH!

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Old 08-27-2003, 08:44 PM   #3
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Also, there is no need to test for Nitrate until the cycle is complete and you have fish in the tank. Nitrate is a byproduct of fish waste and decomposing food being consumed by bacteria in the tank. You won't have any nitrates until you've added livestock. During the cycle you should test your ammonia (and you should see a spike in the ammonia readings) then as your bacteria colony matures and grows the ammonia will be consumed and turned into Nitrite. Once you have a nitrite reading of zero then your tank has been cycled and you are ready for livestock. I agree that a 50% water change is too much. I would go with a bit more than 20%. Perhaps more like 30% and then for your normal weekly or bi-weekly water changes you can back off to about 20%. After your tank has cycled and you have livestock thriving, you should only need to test for Nitrate, salinity, and calcium and alkalinity. Calcium being the most important for your corals because this is the TE that they require for growth. Other trace elements should be replenished sufficiently by normal water changes. All I ever need to add to my tank (150 gallon reef with LOTS of LPS and SPS corals) is calcium and carbonate alkalinity supplements. I use AragaMilk for this because it has the calcium and alkalinity in the same supplement so the two are always within normal levels and not offsetting one another. B-ionic is also good for this because both elements are supplemented with B-ionic at the same time as well.

I'm no expert but everything seems to be working for me!
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Old 08-28-2003, 09:43 AM   #4
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testing for nitrates is important if you plan on putting any invertibrates in your system. Inverts are much more sensative to nitrates than fish are. If you plan on putting inverts in your tank it is important that the bacteria for removing nitrates has had a chance to establish itself as well so your cycle, in that case, is NOT complete until your nitrates are also reduced.

I will agree with stemonia that about a 20% water change is all you should have to do at the end of the cycle (and for your regular water changes as well)

I disagree, IMO, on only testing for nitrates, sg, ca and alk. You should continue to test for amonia and nitrite as well as Ph. If something happens to your biological filtration, these will spike, and cause harm, long before you notice anything "odd" in a nitrate test. Especialy if your system normaly has low to 0 nitrate reedings. Nitrates are, as stemonia stated, a byproduct of bacteria turning ammonia to nitrite, then nitrite to nitrate. so if the process breaks down at the ammonia or nitrite level, your nitrate levels will not change but there is certainly a dangerous problem if the system break down at that level.

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