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Old 01-19-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Hi, my name's Mike. I started my first saltwater tank in early november. It is a 29g tank, fairly tall but not very deep. I went through a 5 week cycling process, but was interrupted by having surgery. By the time I went home, the cycling process had finished. Over the past 3 weeks I've added 30 lb's of live rock, 2 false percula both fairly small still, 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 6 snails and 2 blue legged hermit crabs, which are also very young.

I see everyone post about pH and gravity and stuff, but could someone explain all of the chemical levels and why you check them? I just have 2 different bottles of chems, which my LFS provided me, and told me to use a specific amount, on certain days. And any water tests can be done there for me, for free. So I didn't see the point in spending money on test stuff at this point of time.

I regularly go on google to find answers about stuff for my tank, and this site always comes up, so I figured I should join. Looking forward to meeting you all, and learning from you, because I'll be honest, I have no idea whats happening sometimes. Thanks.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:25 PM   #2
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A test kit is probably the most important thing to buy. It will let you understand most of your problems. Local fish stores sometimes test with strips which are not accurate. You should not add chemicals which you are not testing for. Otherwise you will not know how much to add and might be causing problems yourself. With regular water changes (10% weekly or 20% bi-weekly), the needed elements will be added with the new water.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Actually thats not really a problem... Its a mixed bottle of chemicals designed for reef tanks, and you use a capful so you always get the same amount... and they test with a few machines... its a high end LFS.... only one in town, but they dont use strips... I take my water to be tested regularly, my question was more, what do these tests report? like what does gravity mean?
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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Additionally, you're adding the chemicals on a set schedule, so its extremely reliable, from what I understand
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ReefKnot
I take my water to be tested regularly, my question was more, what do these tests report? like what does gravity mean?
Gravity is salinity of the water. It measures how much salt is in the water. Online you will see a range from 1.022 to 1.026. Having your water tested by someone else is not guaranteed because they just might tell you your water is fine and not the actual specs. Did they give you the numbers? If so can you please list them so that we may be better help. These tests report the actual numbers of your water. The numbers can tell you where you stand and research can tell you where you need to be.

A nitrates reading can be 15ppm which not entirely dangerous for fish so your fish guy can tell you your water is fine although the goal is zero.

Ammonia- ?
Nitrite - ?
nitrate- ?
Phosphate - ?
Calcium - ?
Salinity-?
Alkalinity- ?
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:15 PM   #6
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Since i havent mentioned it, welcome to AA. Some people can seen rude on here but they are just trying to help. Its like that annoying IT guy at work who thinks he knows everything lol. They will be the first to tell you not to do this and not to do that but its because they have learned from those mistakes and are trying to keep you from making the same mistakes.

So when you get a chance post the numbers so that we may help in the next step. Remember, water changes are your best friend.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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Ok well they keep it recorded on paper at the store. I was going to take a sample in tomorrow, so i'll write the numbers down.

I dont really know how evryone else deals with their LFS, or why people might tell you false numbers, but I'm from a small community, the story is family owned and run, and they have never encouraged me to buy things that are not necessary for my tank. They said not to worry about buying test kits from them, because I can bring it into them for free. So why would I be told false numbers?

I'll get back with some numbers
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:31 PM   #9
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I dont think they would give you false numbers purposely. Some lfs have employees who do not know what they are doing or are triained incorrectly. That sounds like a nice store you got there.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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yeah its fantastic. I couldn't imagine dealing with anyone else. They walked me through the entire cycling process step by step, week by week as I went along, and told me what inverts to start with, and pretty much anything I needed help with as I went. They have a system, complete with written instructions on starting a tank. Anytime I have any question I can call. They do this with their entire clientelle... And they dont try to brainwash people into thinking they need unnecessary crap... Downside is it is a little expensive, but I live in Northern Ontario, so it costs alot to get stuff up here...

What test kits should I look at getting? I'm guessing you're all going to say all of them, but what are the important ones? The ones I'm most likely to need... I take my water to be tested regularly, so if I can avoid spending money on non-essential tests, I'd like too.... And at the moment I do not have any live corals. Just rock, 2 clowns, a shrimp, 2 crabs and some snails...
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