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Old 04-23-2005, 11:27 AM   #1
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Ok, did I miss it?

This is the second time around for this tank, I have a 40Gal long, that I got very lucky and had given to me, it was up and operational at the time, but due to some un-forseen circumstances about a year and half ago we had to move. So the tank had to stay "out of commision" for about a year and a half. In January we bought a house and I finally got around to getting it set back up.. , I added water, about 20 lbs of Florida crushed coral, 16 lbs of base rock, and a 15lb bag of live crushed coral, then kicked the sump on March 27th, three days later I added 5 damsels and for the next 2 weeks have been adding pieces of Live Rock (Pukani and Fiji). I have been very diligent with testing the water btwn 3 and 4 times a week but have seen little change in any parameters. The only significant change (which IMO wasn't "MAJOR") was my ammonia level raised btwn .25 and .5 ppm on week two, but it is back down now to a little less than .25ppm. I used Biozyme as per instructions starting on week 2 and weekly since. My current levels are:

SG 1.022
Temp 77
pH 7.8
Ammonia ~.25
Nitrate 5 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm

FILTRATION
SeaClear 150 wet/dry, Penguin 150 BioWheel, SeaClone 100 Protien Skimmer and a rotating powerhead.

Some other interesting milestones:

1. Late week two, I woke up to a beautifully brown tank 8O , so I stopped into the LFS and was advised to add the following: 3 Turbo snails, 10 crabs (3 scarlet hermits and 7 blue legged) and 1 queen conch. 2 days later all the brown was gone!! That cleaning crew was awesome!!!

2. The live rock that I had been buying had small amounts of purple and green coralline algae. Today I am seeing purple and green tint all over the base rock and new growth on the existing live rock (which shocks the heck out of me), also I had purchased several pieces of lr that had snake polyps and zoathus on them, they "appear" to be thriving. I see new growth on them as well.

The wife is starting to get very impatient 8O , (she thinks damsels are TOO boring) ,but has expressed a surprising interest in the tank, and is pestering the crap out of me to add fish (Nemo, Nemo's "PAD", and Dory) to be more precise , but I am leary about doing so because I didn't see the tank "cycle" the way I thought I would and do not want to spend the money and kill the fish in a week!! I consider myself to be an extreme newbie even though I have had a freshwater tank with Oscars for years and been successful at it.

Soooo.....

Is it possible that I missed the nitrogen cycle?

Do I not have enough bioload to start it?

If things weren't right with water quality and filtration I shouldn't see things as healthy as they are, right?

I read some of the experts posts cycle times of 4 - 6 weeks, and I am NOT one of them so I anticipate it should take me a longer time to "get it right".. right?

Is it possible that biological organisms in the wet/dry could have gone dormant for that 1.5 years and not died, which would have made the cycle process quicker?

any ideas.....
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:09 PM   #2
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There are a lot of factors that affect cycling so you cant put a specific time on it. LR helps to speed the process along. How much LR do you have in the tank? Since your ammonia level went up has gone down you definitely have bacteria converting ammonia. The ammonia gets converted to nitrite so if you dont see nitrite its also being converted, so again you have a bacteria population converting nitrite. So your tank probably cycled already. When my tank cycled Ammonia only went to .25 then dropped to zero never saw nitrite or nitrate.
Are you keeping the damsels and adding to the tank? If so your between a rock and a hard place. Taking it slow would be best to allow the tank to acclimatize but the longer the damsels are in the tank the more established their territories so new comes may be picked on.
A recent suggestion I read was after guarantee the new fish move damsels into guarantee and new fish into tank. let the new fish become acclimatized then add the damsels back.
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:21 PM   #3
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Quarantine, did you mean? The damsels will be a problem for you. My cycles only take 2 to 3 weeks but all you needed was the lf to cycle. You didn't need the fish. The brown bloom was diatom algae and usually clears up on it's own after a week or two. Tell your wife to relax because"impatience killed the fish but only money brought him back". Impatience is the number one cause of tank failure when it comes to saltwater. The only way to help insure success is to be very patient, diligent, and research till your sick of it. And by the way, Dory is very,very hard to keep alive. We've been through 3 and none lasted more than 3 weeks due to ich which we don't have a problem with in the other fish.
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:22 PM   #4
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I meant live rock not lf(whatever that is).
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Old 04-23-2005, 03:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick responses, I have about ~10 lbs of lr in 10 different pieces the tank now. I am just about out of space, so I am not sure I will be adding anymore. I did a lot of research on culturing my own lr, thats why I started out with the base rock and the smaller pieces of lr. I must admit, I didn't think I would want to get into the reef side as much, but after a few short weeks watching the changes with the little lr I have, I am really liking it!!!

I put the Damsels in under a direction from a lfs, I have kinda stopped dealing with them on account of more than one instance of bad info, this news doesn't surprise me. I was kinda counting on the fact that only one or two would make it. I guess I can either remove them or pray that they will not hinder any new fish from acclimating when I add them. I have noticed the "territorial" behavior already with several of them. I don't really have a quarantine tank setup, so I am not sure what I am going to do. I guess just keep an eye on them and if aggressive behavior becomes a problem them the damsels will go!!

If I take the Damsels out when I add the new fish, will that change the bioload on the tank enough to throw it into a tailspin?

As far as being patient, I can wait if thats what I need to do, but I don't want to wait longer than I have to...

I am excited just to have new lr and zoanthus growth!!! But if the tank is ready for the next move I am ready to give it a whirl... I just don't want to do it at the expense of an anemone, clown and tang...
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Old 04-23-2005, 04:45 PM   #6
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Just as a side note, 40g isn't really big enough for a tang, in general.
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Old 04-24-2005, 12:01 AM   #7
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You can use a plastic bucket as quarantine tank, just add a heater and a power head. If you remove the damsels and replace them with fish of the same size it will not affect bioload. Are the rocks stacked or just single layer in tank? An alternative is to take the damsels out of the tank and rearrange the rocks put the new fish in then put the damsels in (Might confuse the damsels).
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Old 04-25-2005, 10:58 AM   #8
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I could do the bucket thing, thanks!!! As far as the rocks, I could probably do some re-arranging there as well. I think the lesser of tweo evils will probably be the bucket though... here is a pic of the tank now... sorry for the double...

Kat.. I know that 40 is small for a Tang, I got a 100gal long coming, it will be setup probably around the third week in June, so I planned on doing some moving of stock in late July, you think I should just wait on that one? The lfs I was planning on getting them from gets weekly shipments of Blue Tangs around the 3 - 5" size. Thats what I was planning on getting...
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