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Old 04-05-2017, 05:24 AM   #1
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Question New Saltwater tank cycling help



Hello all, first of all I would like to say how happy I am for having access to this community.
I wouldn't know how else to go about my first salt water tank experience.

So here is the story...

Long story short I always wanted a SW tank but I've taken a year to learn about tank keeping with a FW tank first. Now finally after learning the basics, I've done lots of research and I decided that I am ready for my first try with SW.

I have a 1.00 x 0.4 x 0.4 m tank (=160 liters // 42 american gallons) with 14 kg of live rock and an external filter (Tetra ex 700), using RO/DI water currently cycling.

As I was quite anxious to set up the tank ( please don't hate me for that), I asked the fish shop (a GOOD and reliable shop) to give me some of their filter media and I put it directly inside of my filter.

Day 1 - I had all readings zero (I am assuming this - because I have RO/DI water) and I added some fish food to add up ammonia and quick start the process. I also threw two of my old filters from my FW tank (I squeezed them in the water).

Day 2 - I added the filter media from the fish shop and 30 ml of nitfrifying bacteria (Colombo - Marine water)

On day 3 - I received my professional kit test and I tested the water. I was expecting to read some ammonia (as I added some myself) but surprisingly ammonia levels are zero, No2 levels were <0.2 and NO3 levels were about 0.2 (see pics attached).

What does this reading is telling me? I was not expecting to read NO3 that soon, but could that be because I used a good amount of filter media from the fish shop?
I am doing a 20% water change now, but what is the next step?

Does it mean my tank is ready? What would you do?

Your advice is highly (I mean highly) appreciated. Many thanks folks!

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Old 04-05-2017, 11:11 AM   #2
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I would suggest adding either pure ammonia or a cocktail shrimp instead of using fish food to cycle the tank. This will avoid unnecessary build up of things like phosphates.
The goal for a cycled tank, which is building up the bacteria in your rock/sand, is to process ammonia/nitrites in 24 hours. To assist with this I'd suggest 1 lbs of both rock and sand per gallon in the system for the bacteria to live in/on.
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Old 04-05-2017, 02:01 PM   #3
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I would suggest adding either pure ammonia or a cocktail shrimp instead of using fish food to cycle the tank. This will avoid unnecessary build up of things like phosphates.
The goal for a cycled tank, which is building up the bacteria in your rock/sand, is to process ammonia/nitrites in 24 hours. To assist with this I'd suggest 1 lbs of both rock and sand per gallon in the system for the bacteria to live in/on.
Thanks Sniper.

Yes I have already 14kg of life rock and sand substrate (approx. 4kg)..
I thank you for the advice about the ammonia as well. Was just that I didn't have it at hand when I needed..

But what else should I expect from the cycling? It is possible that I already have a good reading of Nitrate while ammonia is zero because I already have some good amount of live bacteria in the filter/ live rocks?

I am really looking forward to add a pair of clown fish in the tank , do you think that is advisable?
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Old 04-05-2017, 05:16 PM   #4
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Yes and no. There might be enough bacteria in the rock if it was bought as 'live'. But as time goes on with no ammonia source, the bacteria dies off and would then be unable to support the waste produced from a fish being in the system.
I would not add any livestock until you can see the test results of 0 detectable ammonia or nitrite in the system after 24 hours of ammonia being put into the system. That is the only way you can prove that there won't be any issues with ammonia or nitrite poisoning.
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