Thanks for the info. I don't mean to argue or anything, but here's my take...
Originally Posted by cy88
The way that the LFS
owner taught me was:
Week 1 Day 1
-Add in the sand
-Add in water (with water conditioner)
-Mix the salt in the tank to get to the right salt level
-Add in the two filters I have
-Let it run for around 2 week
Unless that sand you mentioned was sand seeded with bacteria from an established tank, at this point you have no bacteria in your tank, and no ammonia source to feed any bacteria.
Week 3 Day 1
-rinse the materials in the filters with the tank water
-add in the LR that were already cured at the store
If that sand WAS live, it isn't now because the tank has gone 3 weeks without ammonia. The LR
you added, if fully cured, should have some good bacteria in it. But it just surprises me that only 3 lbs in a 20g tank would be enough to really do anything.
Week 6 Day 1
-Tested the levels in the tank - 0 Ammonia | 0 Nitrite | 3-5 Nitrate | 8.0-8.2 pH
-Added in the new fishes
Again... even if you HAD bacteria on your LR
, you just went 3 weeks without any ammonia source for it to survive on. Think of ammonia (fish waste, fish food, etc) as bacteria "food." It needs it to survive. A tank with bacteria, but no ammonia source, will kill off the bacteria.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites because you haven't had anything in your tank yet to generate the ammonia. The nitrates are probably from some minimal die off from the live rock, or perhaps from unpure top off water.
I told him, "Hey, you didn't teach me to cycle the tank! What should i do now?!". His response was, "You did already! With the way I told you to do, did you see your water levels?".
Again... your water levels were fine because there was never anything in there to make them bad!
At that point I was a bit confused, and I thought he was just bluffing me. To my surprise, he actually brought up the method that melosu58 mentioned above: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...q=2&fldAuto=15
He also advised me that it is not the best way to do it as it might produce some harmful bacterias.
I've heard that excuse before. "Don't cycle with shrimp, It'll poison your tank."
Again... I'm not arguing, just pointing out that while things seem OK now, don't let your guard down and stop testing for ammonia/nitrites. Shoot... maybe 3 lbs of rock in a 20g is just fine. But with that tank picture you've posted, if that tank has cycled, that's the cleanest "cycled" sand I've ever ever seen! Personally... I think you got some real bad advice from the fish store, but if things are working for you, that's great!
Oh... agree with the others - 20 lbs minimum, 30 if you can fit it in.