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Old 05-29-2011, 12:18 AM   #1
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Help with Setting up SW Tank

Hi everybody, its been a while since I posted but I had some questions about the steps I have taken so far in setting up my fishtank.

So far, I have added the live sand and live rock to my fishtank, prior to that I had only added the salt water and measured the levels with the hydrometer which said everything was okay. Right now I have the tank running with the filters and heaters and am not sure what to do next!

The people at my local fish store say that I could start stocking it slowly within a day or two but I am nervous. They said that I needed to add at least a fish or two for them to poop and start the biological process, this being said they never asked me to measure the water or anything besides salinity and temperature.

What should I be doing next? I do not have a problem waiting for a tank to cycle however the worker at the LFS said not to wait too long, because the live rock bacteria need something to eat and may die off if I do not add some fish. Can someone help me please?
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:26 AM   #2
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get some dead shrimp and put one in your tank, let it cycle, and don't trust your LFS.

Cycle means, Put shrimp in, let it decompose, and watch your ammonia lvls rise

then watch those drop and your nitrites rise

then watch those drop and your nitrates rise
once everything hits zero xcept you nitrates do a 50% water chance and text your water again, then if everything is zero in a day, add fish one every two weeks is suggested
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:03 AM   #3
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I've heard that before but I was hoping there would be another method that is more widely accepted. I was under the impression that the live rock and sand would cycle the tank by themselves but ever since the worker said to add fish I am confused.
Can I get another opinion thank you
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:08 AM   #4
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If you cycle with fish you will be torturing the fish with ammonia levels unless you do water changes every day. that ammonia that they poop out has to be converted to nitrites and then to nitrates.

If you cycle with a dead shrimp you are replacing the poop from the fish as your ammonia source. Since theres nothing alive in your tank you don't have to do water changes every day if you cycle with a dead shrimp.

it's better for you and better not to subject a fish to cycling. Ity can permanently harm the fish.

Please make sure you have a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate before you start. You will actually be able to watch as your tank cycles if you test every few days. With live rock it makes the cycle go faster.

As far as a test kit try to get the API liquid master kit. Has everything you need for around $25.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:43 AM   #5
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Thank you I have and had no problem waiting for the tank to properly cycle. Just so I have everything understood, I can just leave my tank alone and continue to test it with the master kit and it will gradually become 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and 0-20ppm nitrates? Is that what I should be looking for?

Also, are you saying I need to put the shrimp in? When I was considering a freshwater tank I was advised to place pure ammonia in, will this work considering the live rock/sand? And last question, would I need to add adjustment medicines to the tank if the readings come out incorrect? or just leave it be.

Thank you for your help, I am already relieved to be told this and not rush into getting fish. I am in no hurry to kill anything ;T
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:54 AM   #6
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I cycled my sw tank using pure ammonia rather than the raw shrimp method. Just have to make sure it is pure ammonia, like from ace hardware.

And yep, the ammonia level will start at around 4ppm if you dose, shortly after that ( days at least) nitrites will show up. You just sit it out and wait for the nitrites to drop to 0. at this point you should have a high nitrate level which will be a good thing. Youll do a water change to drop the trates and youre ready to go.

You will see the ammonia each day slowly drop until the 4ppm you dose becomes 0 ppm in less than 24 hours.

Hope that helped!
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:03 AM   #7
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How much and how often should I be dosing?

And when the nitrates show up do I continue dosing the ammonia?

Thank you and yes you are a big help , just one last question though (because I will look up the cycling sticky), does anything change due to the fact that I already have live rock and sand inside the tank? Thank you so much Carey for the help and wisdom.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:19 AM   #8
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The live rock can help accelerate your cycle. I;ve cycled in days with just live rock. Alot depends on the quality of the rock and how long if any time it was not submerged.

You would dose ammonia every day if it falls below 4ppm. even after nitrites and nitrates show up.

The cycling sticky is very very good. It will answer most of your questions and address other things you haven't even figured on yet. LOL

Good luck! Youre just a post away from answers when you need them, this forum is super helpful.
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:34 AM   #9
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One last question Carey I'm sorry!
There are currently 2 hermit crabs and 1 crab that appear to have come in from the live rock, will these die off during the cycling stage? (when I add ammonia) :T
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:25 AM   #10
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The other crab you will want to id it could be something good or something bad that will eat your fish. Crab Hitch Hikers Some crabs and little critters make it fine through a cycle others don't all depends on how the tank is cycled. Like Carey said it might only tank a few days because you are starting with live rock already.
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