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Old 09-16-2006, 12:26 AM   #1
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Question:

I set up my 72gal bowfront today:



I had approx 60 lbs of sand already in the tank, I then added 20 lbs of live sand.

I found one piece of base rock that I really liked, so I added that (I think it might actually be a decoration not actual rock).

I added 2 Penguin 550 powerheads for additional water circulation.

My wife (trying to be helpful, not having done any research at all on SW tanks) went to one of the lfs today. The idiot employee told her that you had to cycle the tank with damsels. Well needless to say she bought 3 of them. Of course the store is closed (she got home around 10 pm) and the store does not have a return policy anyway. I went ahead and put them in the tank, as I couldn't leave them in the bag overnight, and since we both have to work tomorrow, there wouldn't be time to return them. As of now they have been in the tank for about an hour, and seem to be ok (man it is addictive watching that tank already )

I know that you are not supposed to cycle with live fish, but what kind of problems might I encounter?

Also what can I feed these guys. I have frozen brine shrimp, and can pickup frozen mysis tomorrow (since I happen to work for PetSmart).

Sorry fir the long post, I know these guys were on 3 for $10 but I would like to keep them alive, if possible.

TIA
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Old 09-16-2006, 12:51 AM   #2
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Well if you actually want them to live you need to make sure all your stats in the water are good.

SG, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate

Those are the main things you have to keep in mind and make sure they are correct.

You will most likely have to do semi-frequent water changes to keep the ammonia level fairly low and keep the fish alive, thus extending the total length of your cycle.

Feed them frozen brine shrimp or anything else that they will eat really.

It's a nice looking tank btw.
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Old 09-16-2006, 02:25 AM   #3
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Well there are many reasons why you should not cycle with live fish.

#1 is that you really are not going to be able to keep your paramters good. High levels of amonia will put the fish through misrable conditions and may kill them. Read up on the "Nitrogen Cycle.

#2 You don't have enough rock to provide a place for the bacteria to build in order to cycle. (Biological Filtration)

#3 3 Damsels are going to be aggressive and probably not going to be a good idea for what you eventually want to live in the tank.

#4 If you cycle your tank with a piece of raw cocktail shrimp you will not have to do frequent water changes which will speed your cycle. Cycling with fish will cause you and the fish to be very stressed.

No offense, as I am trying to help you but you are not off to a very good start IMO. Please try and take the fish back. Then you need to figure out how you are going to filter/cycle your tank to begin the cycle. If your LS was really live it may help. Where did you get it?

Many people use about 1.5 lbs. per gallon of LR or half base rock and the rest live which is cheaper in conjunction with a good protein skimmer. You have

Quote:
Sorry fir the long post, I know these guys were on 3 for $10 but I would like to keep them alive, if possible
At least you obviously care about the fish. Cost does not matter to most of us, but life does and I respect you for caring about them. Trust me, if you care take them back. In the end when you have a tank with nice happy fish you will be glad you did. Good Luck
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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Mike,

I am not offended in any way.

I was not ready to really start my cycling. I know that I need more LR, and had planed on getting more prior to starting my cycle. I had wanted to get water in the tank and let the sand/sediment settle prior to adding the LR (plus the stores all around me have not had a real good selection lately and I was going to travel about 75-100 miles on Monday to a few not so lfs).

The so called "live" sand was CaribSea Arag-Alive. I have seen some movement in the sand, but not much. I am not holding out much hope that it is really "alive"

The lfs that my wife got the damsels at IMO is very shady and I do not like it and had planned on staying very far away from it. One of the many reasons being, they have a NO RETURN policy (it is posted as you walk in the front door) . I was in the store and watched the owner yell at a customer on the phone over the return policy and then hang up on them.

I never wanted damsels, because they can be aggressive. Also, my protein skimmer has not arrived yet (I just ordered it online).

I know about the Nitrogen Cycle, as I have had FW tanks most of my life, and have recently aquired a "certification" in aquatics for my job, of course this only deals with FW as PetSmart does not have SW.

I understand that this is not (and was never intended to be) the way to start. My wife thought she was talking to an "expert", and wanted to supprise me. (we have already discussed this, so as to not have a repeat)

My reason for the inital post is to see if anyone had some ideas about reducing the possible/probable stress on the damsels.

My plan of action I believe will be to let the tank sit for a week or two and keep an eye on the params of the water. I will slowly add LR to the system. I had planned on buying un-cured and doing it myself, but I think that idea has gone out the window. I know that doing it this way will extend the "cycling" of the tank, but hopefully will save the fish, by not having too high of an ammonia spike at once.

As of this morning my params were:

SG - 1.022
pH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0

If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate hearing them. I am going to call the lfs, and see if they will take the fish back, I am just not holding much hope.


***EDIT*** I called the lfs that sold the damsels to my wife. After being yelled and cursed at, and me not being so polite back, I still have the 3 damsels.
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Old 09-16-2006, 12:51 PM   #5
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damsels

I think if you bought a couple of big pieces of cured LR it would help. You are just going to have to do large water changes all the time. I would test the water everyday. You are not seeing any amonia now but it will spike.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:36 AM   #6
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Today (well looking at the time yesterday) I got approximately 40 lbs of already cured LR, which I have added to the tank.

I dont think that I like the arrangement of the rock, and am sure I will play with it some more.

I also fed the damsels a meal of frozen brine shrimp and frozen emerald marine, which they attacked like they had never eaten before. How often should I feed. I was thinking a small amount (1/2 a frozen cube) every day.

Here is a pic of the tank with the new rock in it:

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Old 09-17-2006, 12:01 PM   #7
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Question:

Well, I applaud you in your care for the livestock. I would suggest, have your wife read some of these posts or sign up and you both can enjoy this hobby, together. I say, possibly lower your salinity on your next PWC, try to get it around 1.020, this will reduce the stress on the fish from the cycle. Just keep checking your water and posting here. There are tons of folks that are willing to help.....Any chance you have a fellow AA'er nearby that might be able to keep the fish in a QT, for you? They are tough little guys, looks like you have a blue devil, they tend to get a little nasty as they grow.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:51 PM   #8
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All the PWC`s are going to do is slow down your cycle. I`m sorry to say that you`ve got a lot of trouble to deal with and only for 10.00 . The answer was not adding the fish but trying to find a place that would take it off your hands. Sorry about the bad news
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
All the PWC`s are going to do is slow down your cycle.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to add that! Thanks melosu!
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Old 09-18-2006, 04:01 AM   #10
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Re: Question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64
Well, I applaud you in your care for the livestock. I would suggest, have your wife read some of these posts or sign up and you both can enjoy this hobby, together. I say, possibly lower your salinity on your next PWC, try to get it around 1.020, this will reduce the stress on the fish from the cycle. Just keep checking your water and posting here. There are tons of folks that are willing to help.....Any chance you have a fellow AA'er nearby that might be able to keep the fish in a QT, for you? They are tough little guys, looks like you have a blue devil, they tend to get a little nasty as they grow.
Roka, Thanks for the encouragement, I really needed it. I have shown my wife most of these posts and she spent a couple of hours browsing around earlier today reading up on things. She had done some reading prior to all of this but not much and mostly books which gave mixed opinions.

The three that I have are:

1) greyish brown with a yellowish tail
2) solid blue
3) blue with a yellow tail

1 & 3 are definately the more aggressive right now.

My water parameters are:

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
pH - 8.2
SG - 1.022
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