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Old 06-16-2011, 05:00 AM   #1
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Help me please!

Okay, tank bought and set up about a week ago. Water added and conditioned for 24-36 hrs. Tons of live rock and live crushed coral substrate added. I added 3 damsels for cycling, 1 has died. My ammonia spiked as it should've, my nitrite went up to 0.5ppm or so and my other damsels started acting funny so I did a 10% PWC now my nitrites are at 0, nitrates are at 0. Is my tank cycled?

One of my damsels is bouncing all around the tank and occasionally getting sucked to the filter but manages to pull herself off after a few seconds. This is a damsel that I haven't seen eat since I got it, the other damsel bullies her out of the live rock completely.

All parameters are 37 gallon, mechanical filtration with biowheel, 2 Koralia 750's, pH 8.0, ammonia 0, nitrite maybe 0.1, nitrate 0, temp 78-80.

What's going on in my tank?!
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:02 AM   #2
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I'm assuming it cycled so quickly due to all the live rock, sand, and the biozyme bacteria I added.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:33 AM   #3
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You will find it is better not to cycle with fish if the fish get a disease then it maybe in your tank for a couple of months.

If your rock was from someone elses tank it might only take a week or so to cycle. With the crushed coral you may end up having nitrates off and on some high enough that will effect the health of your tank.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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I admit that I didn't put enough research into the beginning and only went on what my local Petco said about cycling(I know, they're the only store close that does saltwater). Next time will be fishless.

The live rock came from Petco out of their tanks. As of today, here are my readings in this order: pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates.


This is after vigorous shaking and waiting the required time and the chemicals were made 2010/2011. All I see is that the pH is a little off, probably from a 10% PWC I performed.

Is it possible that the death was caused by fighting? I've never seen that particular damsel eat because the other one would chase it off, it wouldn't even eat while alone after that. It looks like a swim bladder problem.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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You didn't do nearly enough research, cycling a tank with fish is cruel. Like making you breath and swim in your own poo.

You should have done a rock only cycle, yes it take 4-6 weeks but I did that and I haven't has a single loss and it's been up and running for about 8 months, you should take the fish back and let the tank do it's own thing and wait for trates, trites and ammonia are all undetectable, then put a piece of flake food in and test for any change 48 hrs after and if they are still zero then you are ready for a clean up crew ie. Crabs, snails ect and if they are ok after a week or so then you can add fish. Do not rush anything, that is THE KEY to this hobby.

Chin up and keep trying
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:18 PM   #6
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Did you ever see nitrates? If you didn't get a nitrate spike after the ammonia spike then no you are not cycled. High nitrites are just as lethal to fish as ammonia. You have to see the conversion to nitrates. Unfortunately if you want to keep your fish alive... You will probably have to do frequent water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrites down. That will slow your cycle down considerably.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:21 PM   #7
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Ummm... I wouldn't, according to the picture, call that nitrate 0. You posted that everything was 0. If it's zero then no, you aren't cycled. If the nitrates are higher than that... You may be cycled. Cycled with 2 damsels that are going to bully and pick at everything else in "their" tank. Congrats?
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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Without going into the chemistry of your tank for a moment, I have NEVER seen a petco system that didnt have ich. Petco use MARS systems where all the tanks share a common sump, and therefore share the same water. You need to be absolutely sure that your tank doesnt now have ich in it from the rock. Remember that ich can live for around a month without a host. I would wait about 6 weeks before adding livestock. At least during that time, the tank is sure to cycle.

One other thing to be wary about when using rock from a store's display tank is that many stores will treat their water with copper automatically, meaning that your rock might have been exposed to copper. Not a problem unless you plan on keeping inverts.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:46 PM   #9
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Petco live rock does tend to be of lower quality, too. In my first tank I bought it and it was quite dense with nothing of interest other than some long since dead coralline. The Petco I first went to had its fish section run by a guy who now works at my LFS, and even though he knew what he was doing there's no getting past the fact that a lot of what Petco gets is of lower quality, not quarantined, and exposed to disease.

Definitely do a fishless cycle if you can return the fish, because if you do have ich like Affordable Aquatic implied by the time your cycle is done and you do add a fish, any ich will be dead and you'll be off to a decent start.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:56 PM   #10
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We do have an excellent article on Sw cycling in our articles section. Be sure to check it out.
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