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Old 12-15-2004, 01:15 AM   #1
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Quarantine Tank Question

Hello.....

I have had my first salt water tank up and running but no fish yet. Upon the advice of forum members I set up a quarantine tank with water from the main display tank and it has been up and running for 12 days now, but I am a little concerned about water condition readings and am wondering if it indeed is ready to place my first fish in which will be a clown.

Here are the readings:
Nitrate=20
Nitrite=.5
alkalilnity=40
Ph=7.0
ammonia=.50

This is my first time having saltwater fish and I am not feeling too sure about the quarantine tank and if I should do or add anything to the tank before getting the clown. I have live rock in the main tank and wondering if I should put one of them in the quarantine tank or if that would not be a good idea.

Thank you.

Steve
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:33 AM   #2
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You want your PH at 8.0-8.2. 7.0 is VERY low. What brand salt are you using with what water?

Your ammonia and nitrite is also high. What kind of filtration are you running (a simple HOB will usually do)
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:45 AM   #3
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You do not need to put the lr in the quarantine tank. No substrate and a pvc pipe big enough for a fish to hide in is all you need. As theatrus noted, a simple hob filter should be enough for filtration. Remember that when you put a fish in quarantine you need to consistently check your water parameters and do water changes accordingly.
Why is your pH so low? When you test your main tank, is the pH at 7.0 as well? You need to get that up to 8.0-8.2 and be stable at that reading before you even think about adding any livestock. You can use pH buffers if your current salt doesn't get you into the targeted range.

Keep asking questions, and then more questions. No harm in asking, right? Good luck to you!
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:47 AM   #4
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And another question, what is your SG?
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Old 12-15-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
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I sounds like the main tank has not been completly cycled.
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Old 12-15-2004, 11:59 AM   #6
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Thanks everybody for input..

The brand of salt I am using is called OCEANIC natural salt.

Here are the readings from main tank

SG is .020 ( which I think could be a little low)
Nitrite=0
Nitrate=20
Alkalinity=80
PH=7.3
ammonia ( between 0.25 and 0.50 )

The main tank has 3 pieces of live rock in the 29gal tank and has a nice group of bright medium green algae. I used the fresh shrimp approach to cycling and it was determined earlier by members of the forum that the tank had cycled although I need to get the PH up in the main tank as well.

It is the quarantine tank I am worried about and want to know what can be done to raise ph and get ammonia to 0. The SG in the quarantine tank is also only 0.20 and I am using the hob filter as well.

Thanks....Steve
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:24 PM   #7
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How long has your main tank been set up? This is important because we don’t know if you tank has been successfully cycled. Are you familiar with the Nitrogen Cycle? Water changes will bring the ammonia down if it’s a well established tank but it it’s not it will only prolong the nitrogen cycle. I would not start QT fish before I had my main tank stable…especially if you are using water from your main tank. You should really focus on your main tank because that’s going to be your long term fish environment plus that ammonia that you have in your main tank will not fix it self if it’s an established tank. Nitrite and ammonia should be (0) in a well established tank

Info on the Nitrogen cycle. This must be completed before setting up any new tank.
http://www.algone.com/cycle.htm
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:40 PM   #8
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IMO no real need to cycle a QT as long as the main is completely cycled. I keep a 10gal on hand for QT. When I think I am going to need it I put a sponge filter in the main for a few days to build up biological load. When ready simply fill the bare QT from the main place some PVC and sponge filter and you are set.
The key is to have the main cycled though. No need to cycle or continuously maintain the QT this way.

As suggested above make sure are your levels are good in the main before you start this.

HTH,
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:12 PM   #9
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Correct Aaron.....to cut down on additional maintenance and creating a whole new environment….I always tear down the QT.
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Old 12-16-2004, 02:12 AM   #10
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My Main tank has been up with lr and piece of raw shrimp since October 13. At that time nitrate was 20, nitrite was 5, and ph was 7.3 and SG was 1.020. After a couple of weeks nitrate still at 20 and nitrite dropped to 3.0. Ph was up to 8.4 In another week, nitrate still 20, nitrite was 0 and ph 8.4. On
Day 25 nitrate at 20, nitrite at 0 and ph now at 7.8 and the piece of raw shrimp almost completely disappeared. All through this period thus far their appeared some of the yellowish tan stuff in the tank and most of that has now disappeared and now have bright green algae growth. On day 35 nitrite at 0, nitrate at 40 and ph 7.8. I did my first ammonia test and it was at 0.25 On the second of December I did an approximate 50 per cent water change and currently main tank is nitrite 0, nitrate 20, ph 7.3 and ammonia between 0.25 and 0.50.

I am thinking that my SG may be a little low because after doing the water change I did not add the additional salt until just yesterday and right now it is very close to 1.020. Should it be a little higher? 1.020 is on the low end of the acceptable levels on the meter I have.

Thanks again everyone....

Steve
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Old 12-16-2004, 10:08 AM   #11
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Do you have a protein skimmer? They are good at keeping ammonia and nitrites down. Also, have you used any binders in your tank i.e. any ammonia remover products? Those products make ammonia less toxic but doe not remove them, and they usually make test kits give false readings. When doing water changes make sure the water and salt mixture has aged for at least 24hrs before adding it to the tank this will ensure the salt has fully dissolved(never add un-dissolved salt directly to your tank), Use a power head and heater to mix the salt and water. The power head will ensure mixture and the heater will keep the temp the same as your main tank. All are good practices once you get fish because salt water not aged 24hrs before adding to the tank can be harmful to the fish.
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Old 12-16-2004, 11:02 AM   #12
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RoboCop:

I have not purchased a protein skimmer yet but it looks as though I may have to. Still wondering what kind of readings you like for SG? Thanks....Steve
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Old 12-16-2004, 11:25 AM   #13
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What type of PH test are you using. For freshwater tanks the test comes with a highlevel PH and A low level ph. What you want to be testing is high level ph. The color cards are shades of purple to magenta.
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Old 12-16-2004, 02:50 PM   #14
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For most fish the SG should be between 1.020-1.025 with 1.022 being optimal
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Old 12-16-2004, 05:16 PM   #15
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Thanks Robo on that SG level info......I haven't tried any binders yet to control ammonia; would like to avoid that if possible.

Damien...the tester kit that I have been using is called the 5 tests in one and it is made by Jungle. The ph chart does not indicate high or low test just starting at 7.0 (medium orange color and going all the way up to 8.8 which is a medium/dark magenta. Well, wait a sec....I they do say 7.0 and 7.1 is too low and then 7.9 acceptable , 8.4 ideal and then 8.8 too high. The are strips and I think they are a little hard to read because the levels/colors on the strip after dipping do not seem to be real distinct.

I am going to add some more salt and get that up more into the mid range...just have a hunch that might help ph and amonia readings. Gues I better start looking for a protein skimmer....( do you keep the hang over the back still on when you are using a skimmer)....then should have a power head as well. Thanks
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:18 AM   #16
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Safe range is 1.020-1.025 so you are dead on the low end.....1.022 or 1.023 is a happy medium
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:08 AM   #17
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Consider taking a water sample to you LFS for comparison. Hard to believe you PH is that low.
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:46 AM   #18
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try buying a test kit that has test tubes and chemical reaction to the water being tested or have your lfs test your water for you. I would think oct. 13 would be long enough for the tank to cycle.
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:49 AM   #19
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oh yeah BTW, what time of day are you testing for PH? Its usually lower in the morning.
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Old 12-20-2004, 10:30 AM   #20
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year......

Got my SG in the range suggested.....
I will try that checking the PH late in the day and if still low I will take a sample to the LFS.

Just ordered skimmer and powerhead from PETCO on-line so hope that improves water conditions after they arrive.

I think I am going to look for the "test tube" water testing kits. The strips do not appear to give a real clear reading.....little color squares even had two colors sometimes.

Thanks again eveyone and will give you update in very early 2005.

Steve......
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