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Old 02-27-2012, 11:26 PM   #1
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HELP! I Added Salt to an already established fresh water tank

Hello everyone I recently decided to sell my African cichlids and make the change to Saltwater. The guy at the fish store told me to just add salt to the freshwater and let it go through a quick cycle. So thats what I did. After I added it I thought I would look online to see how long it would take to cycle and found all kinds of posts saying you should start fresh and take the tank down completely and clean it before you start a saltwater tank. Too Late... I understand the process of cycling a tank and I've kept healthy fish for over 5 years in 55 gallons and now my new tank which is a 125.

My tank is a 125 with aragonite sand
I have 2 AC110 HOB filters and 1 Rena XP3 canister filter
2 Large pieces of lava rock very porous
2 powerheads

Here is my question:
Now that I've already added the salt, even though people say to break it down and clean everything first. Will my tank be ok? I'm not worried so much about waiting for the cycling to complete because I read that the salt will basically kill everything that was in my tank before anyway because they are different types of bacteria, But I was wondering if the dying bacteria and algae from the fresh water(that died from the salt) would kick start the cycle for the salt water? What would be some of the causes for concern? I would hate to throw away the money I just spent on all this salt If the tank would be ok. Please let me know from experience if this is ok even though some say not to do it, as I've already added the salt. The day before I added the salt I cleaned all filters with tap but just rinsed the sponges and filtermedia in tank water in a bucket and did about an 80%water change. I do not have any fish currently in the tank.

Thanks a lot for any and all input.

Brian

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Old 02-27-2012, 11:31 PM   #2
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If you were not using ro/di water for the fresh water tank, I would drain and start from scratch. The tap water will cause all kinds of algae to grow in salt water. You will also need alot more rock, since that is the basis for your filtration and will house your beneficial bacteria.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response, I'm not sure if I want to travel back and forth to the LFS everytime I want to do a water change and being that its a 125 that would be alot of water that I would have to haul right? I know there is so much reading to do and I have been looking online for the last week and I appreciate your knowledge. but based on my previous post If I decided to use tap what do you think about my situation with the freshwater that I added salt too?
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Freshwater beneficial bacteria and saltwater beneficial bacteria are different. When you added the salt, you probably killed the freshwater bacteria. You need to start from scratch and start a new cycle.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:50 PM   #5
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Freshwater beneficial bacteria and saltwater beneficial bacteria are different. When you added the salt, you probably killed the freshwater bacteria. You need to start from scratch and start a new cycle.
Thanks I understand that. But what I'm guessing is that I'm essentially starting from scratch anyway by having a die off of the old bacteria which will produce amonia and then be converted and so on. Do you see where I'm trying to go with this?
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:06 AM   #6
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I understand "where you are going with this". But, if you set up a tank without using ro/di water, the tank will probably cycle, but you will have a ton of issues with algae....etc. So, I guess the answer you want to hear is "yep, that should be fine". The need for ro/di water is why many of us in the saltwater hobby have our own ro/di systems. They can be bought relatively cheap and solve alot of problems that will inevitably creep up.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoonman
I understand "where you are going with this". But, if you set up a tank without using ro/di water, the tank will probably cycle, but you will have a ton of issues with algae....etc. So, I guess the answer you want to hear is "yep, that should be fine". The need for ro/di water is why many of us in the saltwater hobby have our own ro/di systems. They can be bought relatively cheap and solve alot of problems that will inevitably creep up.
Yes he will have algae issues but as long as he adds a detoxifier to rid his tap water of chlorine ect. he will be fine IMO. He is just trying to save on the pail of salt he just poured into his 120. It may take a while to cycle, but from there on in if he does pwc and topoff with rodi he may avoid alot of the algae issues with tapwater .

On the otherhand i agree he may want to look into getting some liverock to seed his sandbed and to add to his rock. 1 pound per gallon is a healthy amount
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:27 AM   #8
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I set my tank up with tap water. No conditioners. It took about 3 weeks to get nitrates down. My LFS suggested to use Brightwells Bacteria and carbon to get phosphates down. I had some nasty hair algae but all died off after 2 weeks of Brightwells. I'd love to use RO/DI water but I can't at work. I do use a drinking water filter now for top offs and water changes. I think it goes through 4 or 5 filters. I wish I knew if it did RO filtering. My water seems fairly clean. It's a gamble by most aquarists view. With RO water you have a safer bet and I would use it if I could. If you've got a Walmart near its dirt cheap. I'm in Korea and would have to add it to a community bathroom which is why I don't use RO water. So far the drinking water + water conditioner is working okay. I'm nearly three months in with inverts and coralline algae growing. My hermit has molted once too. I'd just recommend that you use better water from here on out if you can't or don't want to restart with RO water.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:45 AM   #9
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Honestly I started my tank with tap water that was conditioned it was fine, I had algae but my cuc and algae scraper with WC helped. It's more work with tap but not a big deal IMO. And to answer your question the way you set it up will be fine with enough water movement. I would still add some type of ammonia source to ensure you get a good cycle. Throwing some frozen shrimp in will cycle the tank if you're not planning on more lr.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:52 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. I am looking into an RO/DI setup and the LFS sells saltwater already so I guess I could do the big water change with RO/DI water after the tanks cycled. and yes I am trying to save some money, Bein and single dad taking care of my 3 year old son is hard work and preschool aint cheap...

Brian
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:58 AM   #11
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And By the way I havent added anything into the tank yet as far as amonia or shrimp or anything and I already have an amonia reading of 1.0 and I just added the salt last night so that gets back to my origional question which was, when I put the salt in did it kill all the old bacteria and start the new salt water bacteria cycle????
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:01 AM   #12
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The die off probably caused it which is good. Your cycle got a good start to it already. Now its just a waiting game
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B View Post
And By the way I havent added anything into the tank yet as far as amonia or shrimp or anything and I already have an amonia reading of 1.0 and I just added the salt last night so that gets back to my origional question which was, when I put the salt in did it kill all the old bacteria and start the new salt water bacteria cycle????
Yes. All the freshwater bacteria died and that is the ammonia source.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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Brian, go to P U R E W A T E R C L U B and look at the "Portable" RO/DI units. They do not have all the bells and whistles but you can get one for under $75. If you don't use RO/DI you are setting yourself up for failure in my opinion. As you said, you are a single dad with a 3 year old. You will not have the time to fight all the problems that will arise from using tap water. While this hobby requires dedicating time, it can be reduced greatly IF you do it right. If you try to take short cuts you will end up spending 10 times as much time and have no time to enjoy it. That is just my opinion but I think it is a good one. Good luck.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:09 AM   #15
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I would drain it and start fresh. If you want to do saltwater, doing it right the first time makes it easier and less worries about contamination. RO units are a great investment. Saves you a lot of money in the long run.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:16 AM   #16
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That's a good idea. Have you ever used the portable unit? I really only need to mix about 10g. How long would it take to make this much? If it was a quick connect, fill 10g and disconnect I would seriously consider this. At the moment I'm taking 2 liters of water from the drinking water filter at work to fill my 5g salt bucket or my 33 liter (roughly 13g) plastic storage container for water changes. It's literally an all day task. I don't think I'd get any. Complaints if I hooked it up for about 5-10 min in the bathroom and filled it up after office hours.

This is a similar model filter I use at work:
http://coway-usa.com/product/02_wate...04AL_tab3.html

Although I really don't know if the model at work uses an RO filter. In this model pictured does anyone see any potential problems with the filtration? I guess I'm playing Russian roulette here but I havent done any extensive water testing, everything in my tank looks fine and healthy. I had some ich on two of my fish but after a partial water change it cleared up in a few days, with significant improvement in the first 24 hours.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #17
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When I bought mine, the 100 gallon per day unit was $65 but you could get the 150 gallon per day for $10 more so I went with that. I can currently make about 10 gallons in maybe 2 hours but the depends a lot on the water pressure it is connected too. I do a 5 gallon water change once a week plus about 5 gallons of fresh for top offs so this works great for me. I start my weekend routine by refilling the 5 gallon bucket I keep in the closet with fresh water for the upcoming weeks top offs. Then I fill a different bucket with 5 gallons of mixed salt water and set aside. I then transfer 5 gallons of fresh into the mixing container and add salt to start it mixing. I then do all my water testing. Next, I remove 5 gallons from the tank, do my cleaning etc and use the mixed water in the bucket to refill the tank. By the time I have completed all of that, I have made the 10 gallons of water needed for the following week.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #18
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I would suggest starting over also. Bad advice by your LFS IMO. One thing about tap water. And by the way I do work for a large water municipality so I do know what they do add to tap water to make it drinkable. Good for us humans but bad for our reef tanks. One thing about tap is that it doesnt cause problems over nite. It takes a prolonged amount of time for problems to arise. Amounts of heavy metals and excessive nutrients are adding up like a ticking time bomb. I have seen instances where beautiful reefs were going great and all of a sudden everything is dead. IMO the prolonged use of tap was the culprit. I have an article in the SW articles section on tap in the Reef tank. As I said in the beginning I would start over from scratch if it was me. JMO
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #19
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I understand that you need to save money but saltwater is pricey and if you dont do it right you shouldnt do it. Because the tank will be unhappy and then thats money spent on a glass box of algae. also its good to brake the tank down and clean it out because you want to start fresh and give your tank the best chance it can have for being clean. Also for a tank that size you should really have a protein skimmer if you dont already. also a sump would really help the system.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:18 AM   #20
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I am looking into RO/DI filters and am taking your guys's advice. Do you all think spectra pure is the way to go? and even tho I have a 72" tank from what I've read I wont be doing very big water changes? Sorry but I just sold my 30+ fish and am used to doing 50% or more weekly..... So if I am only doing small water changes lets say 20% a week(is that a good number?) which size would I need what are your suggestions?

THANKS
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