newby, in need of help :)

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Mar 15, 2014
Gloucestershire United kingdom
Hello :) im new to this site, and am looking for some help/advice.

I have a 28 litre aqua one, aqua start tank.
At the moment it has a large piece of live rock in it. I'm using shop bought salt water and RO water and I'm currently testing for nitrite and nitrate but have been told to start testing for phosphate and calcium before i move in fish and invertebrate. I'm going to start this next weekend.

Fish move in date is hopefully 19th April (if of course i get all my tests down to 0) Set up date was the 8th of march.
I was told to run the tank for 6 weeks before adding anything to it. so far its been running for 3.

I have a filter, a heater and a Kent nano skimmer.
I have a Fluval hydrometer

I have a drip pipe and valve for integrating my fish.

I also have a bottle of bacteria that I bought from the aquatics shop.

I have testing my tank for nitrite 3 times now and nitrate twice

Nitrite started at 4+, went to 2 and is now measuring at 0.1

Nitrate started at 100+ and is currently at 50.

also i have already done 3 water changes, each Saturday

Can anyone please tell me if i am missing anything, or if something doesn't sound quite right, would be much appreciated.

thanks fern x
Calcium and phosphate have nothing to do with fish. Did you see a rise in ammonia? You should not be doing any water changes until the cycle is done.
I was told that I would need the calcium and phosphate tests to keep the shrimp and crab, but was advised to get 2/3 small fish to start off with... I haven't tested for ammonia yet
Ammonia is the beginning of the cycle. You needed to know what ppm it rose to, because the stronger ammonia count, the bigger your bacteria colony will be. I suggest adding some pure ammonia to the tank and see how long it takes to process it.
As for inverts needing calcium, There is plenty in your salt mix No need to test for that yet.

I would suggest, this being such a small tank, adding one fish at a time and waiting a week or so for the bacteria colony to increase to the bio load.

I really don't think phosphate will have much of an effect on crabs and shrimp either. Not unless it was at some crazy extreme level. Corals would be another story.
When I started my tank on the 8th, I did add some bacteria from a bottle then, I will get an ammonia test rather than a phosphate test and leave the water changes alone for now. Do you think this will prolong the set up time? Because I messed with the water to soon, thanks very much for your help
I think doing water changes mid-cycle delays it. Add some ammonia and see what happens. And, yes, welcome ;)
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