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Old 04-21-2011, 12:29 PM   #1
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Just need an accurate step by step on what to put in and which order. I try to piece a lot of info together but eh. I got the sand in the tank about to put the water in after my bio balls come in. Should I also put the skimmer in my sump right away? I made a spot for it in my sump.

Before I get fish do I need to have some live rock in the tank or does it matter? I heard lr could spike ammonia levels.

I'm just lost lol. Need some guidance.
I don't have a ro/di filter, but I do have chemicals to make the levels right... Before I drained my tank to rinse my sand everything was good with the water which was last night.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 04-21-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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If you are going with lr I would dump the bio balls. They can be nitrate factories. The way I proceeded was rinsed sand, water, lr and then a fishless cycle of the tank for about 4 weeks (yours maybe faster or slower). I ran the skimmer during the cycle but kept the lights off.

The choice is obviously yours but using tap water with chemicals could lead to an algae issue down the road. It may not seem like anything now but when you are pulling your hair out figuring what went wrong you are probably going to wish you had gone with ro/di water. There will most likely be an algae bloom after the cycle but beyond that I mean.

Hope that helps...Steve

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Old 04-21-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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I would basically follow Steve's advice. Sand or water first, followed by base rock, then live rock. Fishless cycle. I would not run the skimmer during the cycle as I want all that junk in the tank helping the cycle. You can use the lights a few hours/day if you want to see what's going on (probably nothing to see).

After the cycle is complete do a 30% - 50% PWC, wait a week and if the parameters for ammonia, nitrate and nitrate are still good you can test for Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium. If those ratios are good then don't worry about pH as long as the SG (measured with a refractometer) is good.

Come back and ask questions whenever they arise.
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #4
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Thank you both... Time to invest in the ro/di filter lol. Grrr
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:07 PM   #5
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I would personally put the LR in first(at least the bottom pieces) then the sand and water.this helps stop any rock fall from critters burrowing under any rock.
Old Chinese proverb:
Don't go to bed with ichy bum
wake up with smelly finger!!
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:48 AM   #6
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I wrote this in another thread so I'm just copying and paste-ing how I would proceed with a new tank. It doesn't include anything about cycling though, just rock, sand, and water:

This is from personal experience because I messed up and hated myself.

1. Arrange your rocks first before adding anything else. This will help you decide which rocks will go where because you need to know which rocks will be on the bottom. I suggest taking pictures to remember where everything goes.

2. You should add the bottom rocks in your tank first because if you add sand and then put rocks on top of it, any creature that disturbs the sand can make your whole aquascaping collapse.

3. After you have decided on the rocks you want to put on the bottom, leave them in place and pour sand around the rocks.

4. After all of your sand is in, put a bag on top of the sand, I used the bag the sand came in and it worked perfectly.

5. Put a low and wide bowl on the bag.

6. When you start pouring water in, you want to pour it into the bowl. This will help decrease the water's current and lower the amount of sand stirring up to prevent as much cloudy water as possible. You want to pour the water into the bowl and when the water spills over the bowl, it lands on the bag. Having water flow from the bowl onto the sand will stir it up also.

7. Wait a few days for your water to become less cloudy and add the rest of your rocks

Some more advice on adding sand and water. I have a 36g and its recommended about 1lb of sand per gallon, but when I added 20lbs, it seemed pretty high so I did not add the other 16lbs. After a few days the sand began to sink down and I had to add the other 16lbs which clouded my water completely and also covered my rocks with sand. Took me a week to blow the sand off the rocks and wait for the water to clear up enough to start blowing more sand off.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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Once you have done this,add 1 shrimp/50gallons(fresh not frozen) and let it decay after a while test for ammonia(dont bother testing anything else)this should go up to around 4-5ppm,keep testing every 4-5 days until this starts dropping,then start testing for nitrites aswell,the ammonia will decrease and the nitrites will rise,again keep testing,once ammonia is 0 start testing for nitrates aswell,again keep testing,once ammonia and nitrites are 0 test for nitrates,if this is less than 30ppm do a 30% pwc,if its more do a 50% pwc.the next day add some fish food then the next day test for ammonia,if 0 you are good to add your cuc and your first fish,add 1 fish/month.

Old Chinese proverb:
Don't go to bed with ichy bum
wake up with smelly finger!!
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