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Old 04-04-2005, 09:31 AM   #1
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brand new to saltwater, cycle started, questions

Hi everyone, I love this forum and have been reading, reading, reading.

I have just put together a 75 gallon tank (10 days ago). I have a sand bottom and a couple of cocktail shrimp in there right now. I heard that's a good way to get the cycle going. But in retrospect, could I have started with just live rock? If I add some good live rock now, with the cycle going, will the ammonia and/or nitrites harm any hitchhikers that may come in? Do I have to wait until all the readings are back to zero to add the rock? Would it help to remove the partially decomposed shrimp?

I have a fluval 304 canister filter and two powerheads. Will be getting a protein skimmer.

Thanks for any and all input!

Diane
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Old 04-04-2005, 10:27 AM   #2
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
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could I have started with just live rock?
Yes you could have. But the shrimp is a sure-fire way to get the cycle going.
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If I add some good live rock now, with the cycle going, will the ammonia and/or nitrites harm any hitchhikers that may come in? Do I have to wait until all the readings are back to zero to add the rock?
It really depends on the rock, if it is fully cured or needs to be cured. Adding fully cured LR with lots of hitchikers to a tank that is cycling will stress them. It is not a bad idea to wait until your tank has almost finished cycling before adding the rock. You may actually see a small ammonia spike after the addition of the rock, thta really depends on the condition of the LR.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:38 AM   #3
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Thanks, now I wish I hadn't started with the shrimp, because I'm very anxious to get some of that lr.com rock!!

And thanks for the welcome! Hope to be around for a while!
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:44 AM   #4
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My readings are ammonia .50, nitrite .20, no nitrate, specific gravity 1. 022. What about if I take out the shrimp and change some water?
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:53 AM   #5
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I would hold off on the water change. Just give it a couple more weeks and the ammonia will probably be gone.
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38 gal SW, CC, 40lbs base rock, 5lbs live, emporer 280, bio-wheel 330,tronic heater, 2 O. clowns, 1 firefish.

29 gal FW, boring...soon to be salt I think.

10 gal SW, 20lbs LS, 20lbs base rock, 1 unhappy domino damsel (he was in the 38...switched the percs and the damesel recently).
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:07 AM   #6
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hiya there dianeww...
i just started a new tank..been running for a month now....
i gotta 35 gall tank and used 30 pounds of cured live rock to cycle the tank...
and used water out of a friends 150 gallon tank...we also put the fluval 404 on his tank for a week before i set up my own tank....(bacterial reasons)
what type of sand have you got ??
if there is nothing in the tank it may be a good idea..to put in live sand....
and good quality live rock (a lot of it)....then leave it for a month or so..
in my opinion is the best way to get the tank going.
you have only been setup a week..so it will do no harm to start a fresh )
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:14 AM   #7
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Thanks, guys, for the input!

Today the ammonia is down a bit, under 0.50, and nitrite up a bit to 0.25.

I had a suggestion from Zack at liverocks.com (where I plan to but the rock) to take out the rest of the shrimp and just go with the live rock at these levels. Should be OK? I guess the bacteria that come in the rock should keep things pretty much under control. My real concern is the if I get an ammonia spike, it'll hurt (kill?) any inverts. Is this correct?

I don't have any live sand, just the fine coral kind. I figure the rock will eventually seed the sand.
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Old 04-06-2005, 03:53 PM   #8
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Hi there....
there is no doubt about it...
u will get ammonia and nitrate spikes...
this is normal....you should be fine with just live rock in there though )
when you start to see bugs on the glass at night...
and your nice white coral sand go a horrible browny color..u r gettin there (took mine 3 week)do regualr water tests (amm...nitri...nitra..ph and phosphate)i also do a 10% water change evey week.
on the 5th week i put a damsel in there...now he has a partner )
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Old 04-06-2005, 09:52 PM   #9
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I highly recommend SeaChem Reef Buffer, or some sort of substrate that adds buffer(or Kent Marine Pro-Buffer dkh). This gives your tank a buffer which stabilizes your ph. You just can't get behind on this stuff or your ph will be all over the place. Ph all over the place causes a cascade of problems.
Measure the Alkalinity and keep it high like 12. My fish shop lady says 16, but the kit says 8-12 range so I keep it at 12. 16 seems too high.
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Old 04-07-2005, 09:52 PM   #10
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Dianeww I said Reef Buffer but I meant Reef Builder.
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Old 05-08-2005, 10:01 PM   #11
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You could also try using a scoop of substrate from an existing (clean and healthy) tank system.
After the intro of healthy bacteria into your tank its usually only a couple of days before the levels on your tests should be good. Good Luck!
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:29 PM   #12
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Diane, I know there are a lot of advice that you receive in forums. They are all great here, very helpful.

What I did with my 55G was I filled it up with saltwater I prepared (Instant Ocean) after putting dead crushed coral in the bottom of the tank. I let that run for 3 days then I added live sand. I let that run for 1 week then I added live rocks. I let that run for 3 weeks then I added damsels. 1 week later I water changed 10%. Now, the fish population is thriving.

With that said, you don't really have to remove your shrimp or worry about what will happen if you add your live rocks. Let your water run and don't change too much. And definitely add live rocks because they help in balancing your pH.

I know there's this temptation to mess with your tank because you want it up and running ASAP. But just let it run.
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Old 05-22-2005, 10:29 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for all the input on this! My tank has finished cycling since I first started this thread.

Water readings are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20, pH 8.1, sg 1.023-4, temp 79.

I have 70 pounds of lr.com live and base rock, with these surviving hitchhikers:
a couple of unidentified small crabs,
two spiky purplish urchins (I assume these guys are OK, ?)
lots of wormy things now in the sand,
a few small feather dusters,
and a half dozen or so of the dreaded aiptasia.

Wildlife added a couple of weeks ago by me:
One gorgeous coral banded shrimp
One amazing serpent sea star
assorted hermit crabs and snails.
two little emerald crabs

And, I have ordered my first fish, a pair of banggai cardinalfish, which I hope will be shipped tomorrow. It's been a long time coming, but I may get real fish this week!!

Lots of thanks to everyone on this forum....both for answering my specific questions, and also for letting me read everyone else's questions and answers!!!

BTW, the "search" feature is fantastic!! Lots of info from long ago to be found!
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Old 05-23-2005, 01:50 PM   #14
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welcome to the site! i just discovered it not to long ago myself.

Id say, it wouldnt hurt to put some live rock in there. I had a 20 lb bag of live sand and just some normal volcanic rock and added about 40 lbs of live rock and it really helped kick my tank in the butt. Its 150 gal been up for almost 2 months now. nitrites are 0 ammonia is almost 0 just trying to ride out my last spike before i get another 60 lbs of live rock and some real fish.

I think the best peice of advice anyone can give is to be patient!! dont get the new tank syndrome and try to rush all these natural processes. take your time and let the tank cycle then throw a few damsels in there for a month or two and see how they react. hold off on all water changes till atleast the tank 0's out.
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Old 06-01-2005, 03:01 PM   #15
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