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Old 08-05-2006, 01:23 PM   #1
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New to the forum, new to the saltwater scene

Hello everyone, I'm new here. I just started cycling my first Saltwater fish-only aquarium. I did all my research, and everything seems to be going smoothly so far, all except for my ammonia. although it is low (0.4), i still want to get rid of it. everything else is sitting at zero (nitrite, nitrate) and my ph is at 8.3, and my salinity is at 0.021. i know thats a tad low, so i am going to do a water change this weekend to adjust that and see if i can bring down the ammonia and ph a tad. i just want to make sure i am doing everything right! i also know that i should start adding fish after it's been cycled (4-6 weeks) and it will be one week on monday. i read on many sites that damsel fish are the best to start with as they are very hardy and easy to care for. any one else have any suggestions that may help me? i REALLY want to make this work.... Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2006, 02:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!!

First off, how did you cycle? Fishless or w/ fish? It sounds like your cycle is just starting. 8.3 PH is fine. Your SG is perfect for FO tank. Don't add any fish til your NH3 and NO2 are both zero. HTH
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:12 PM   #3
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If you're cycling fishless; I'd hold up on buying any fish. Damsels are very aggressive, and are hard to have in with most other fish even large ones. Unless you have your heart set on damsels then go for it. But their are other fish out there that you can get that are great first time SW fish. Clowns being one of them. They are generally not aggressive, and are great to watch. Some hawkfish, cardinals, chromis, and some people will say gobies.

The only reason I suggest people to stay away from damsels is people will want to add other fish, and then the damsels will attack the new fish. Then these damsels get brought back to the LFS hopefully.
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:31 AM   #4
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i am cycling fishless, and i just started the cycling last monday. i do like damsels, but i also like percula clownfish. my tank is a ten gallon, so i could only keep 2 fish until i upgrade my tank. i was just wondering what i should use to break in the tank without killing it... my first try didn't work out as well as i would have liked it to so i am taking things a little bit slower this time around. should i add maybe a few crabs or shrimp to help break in the tank before i add the fish once the cycling is done?
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:35 AM   #5
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Don't worry about the NH3 level. This is completely normal for it to stay elevated for a while. How are you cycling? If you put in a raw shrimp from the grocery store it will surely kick things of for you and you will experience a good hard cycle. Adding some LR will also be of benefit.
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:26 PM   #6
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raw shrimp? lol what is lr? i'm not used to these terms hehe
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:36 PM   #7
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raw shrimp?
yup...raw shrimp. Pick up a raw shrimp from the grocery store and throw it in the tank. This will really help get your cycle going and is the prefered technique for a fishless cycle.
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lol what is lr?
LR = live rock. The single best biological filtration media for your tank. It is the best thing you can do for your tank. 1-lbs/gal is a good goal. Check out the "Articles" section at the top of the page for great info on LR and fishless cycling, as well as a host of other wonderful info.
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Old 08-06-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help. i will go over to the grocery store and pick up a raw shrimp and let it decay in my tank... lol i was thinking of acclimating a mollie to start the tank in 3 weeks so that things will be better when i add my first saltwater fish. anyone have any luck doing that before?
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Old 08-06-2006, 02:31 PM   #9
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The raw shrimp will cycle the tank for you. You don't want to do water changes to remove the ammonia as long as there are no live fish in the tank. The higher your ammonia spike the more good bacteria you will have later. The ammonia is the beginning of your cycle. it will turn into nitrite and then nitrate on its own. Right now the ammonia is a good thing
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Old 08-06-2006, 03:44 PM   #10
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A fishless cycle is a bit faster as you do not need to do water changes. If you used fish to cycle, then water changes would be in order to keep the toxic levels a bit lower so (hopefully) you fish would survive the cycle. Doing water changes will slow things down. Wait a few days after the addition of the shrimp. You will see a very high spike in NH3. As it declines you will see a spike in NO2. As that falls NO3 will become detectable. This means your cycle is about over. Wait until both NH# and NO2 have climbed and reduced to zero. At this point you can expect a very high NO3 (40-80). Do a 50% water change and wait another few days. If you still have no detectable NH3 and NO2 with a lower level of NO3 you tank has cycled and you can start adding fish. This is wehre a lot of new hobbiests make mistakes. Once your tank has cycled, livestock still needs to be added very slowly to let the tank's biological filter catch up to the increase in bioload. Once fish every few weeks is good.
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