Hoping things are going right

Discussion in 'Just starting out (SW Beginners)' started by Leigh, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Hi sorry if this question has been asked and I'm just being too impatient or something but needed to ask for advice that I might understand other than contradicting statements on the dreaded Google searches..
    I'm on day 7 of a cycle in my rsm 250 had a prawn/shrimp in from day 4 to boost things up a bit so not expecting ammonia from that yet but I already have 0.1 ppm nitrite 10ppm nitrate and 0 ammonia ph is 8.3 salinity is just over 1.025 temp going between 76.8f /79.2f
    I'll add that I'm not running skimmer but have been running lights to work out stabilising temp and set up at the start using r/o water r/s live argonite sand and cured live rock .
    I have no algae outbreak yet either .
    Are the nitrate/nitrite levels normal at this stage or does this seem unusual for early readings ?
     
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  2. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    What you have is fairly normal. Things do varry quite a bit from thank to tank though. Don't panic and just give the tank some time to establish.
     
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  3. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Just what I needed to hear than you .It's hard to decide what is normal when so many searches say too many different things ..much appreciated
     
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  4. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    Since you know your numbers, keep testing every 2-3 days and record results. Cycle time varies dependant on the maturity of LR and can be virtuously "instant" where the age and amount of this rock is factored in.

    Keep in mind that your "filter" is the population of bacteria which lives on the hard surfaces in you DT, and this population must increase proportionately to each inhabitant you add.....soooooo.....when ready add 1 fish (the most peaceful)

    Fish don't care too much in levels of Nitrate, (but less than 50 I would think) Assuming at one point you want to keep corals then, maintain say 2-5ppm Nitrate. Weekly 10%WC to me is mandatory. As you know, Ammonia and Nitrite can kill.

    When WC cannot keep up with Nitrate (5ppm), consider carbon dosing, this will lower your nitrate ( an a small amount of phosphate)
    I use NoPox but I hear vinegar and vodka work the same)

    Carbon dosing increases bacteria populations and thus the more critters, the higher ammonia loads ( more fish) can be sustained.

    As you add fish, also watch your phosphate level (if you keep corals) and this level should come in around 0.02 -0.05 ( max of .1)

    Maybe some of this helps?
     
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  5. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    A collection of sw reefing tips compiled from RS post... for success with a re-occurring theme

    Be Patient. Ecosystems do not develop over night!
    Go Slow, relax and enjoy every step of the process.
    Have lots of patience, don't rush it.
    Nothing good ever happens fast in a saltwater tank.
    Learn the art of GO S-L-O-W!! patience will be your biggest virtue.
    Just remember to go slow and do your research
    Go slow....slower than you think
    The trick is to go slow...
    The best advice anyone here has give me is GO SLOW
    Rules for Reef tanks 1. Go SLow 2. Go slow 3. GO slow
    Nothing happens fast in a salt tank except bad things so go slow
    The biggest advice that I could give you is that you should go very slow
    Just go slow. Slow, slow, slow is my best advise
    Go slow and do things right and your setup will thank you for it later
    Remember the number one rule of reefing,,GO SLOW...
    Go slow and enjoy..never rush any decisions ever..do nothing on impulse.
    Go slow, and during that time, read, and practice the maintenance routines of water changes
    A reef tank is like a race car. The faster you go the harder you crash
    "gospel" of reef tanks ... go slow...
     
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  6. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    So I should definitely go slow then.. I was more worried that having no ammonia whilst already getting the nitrate and nitrite and was just hoping that this was normal .I'm not adjusting anything and am mostly observing right now other than testing and fine tuning equipment over time .I was worried that you guys thought I might be being impatient but had to ask on here as I know the advice I get from here will be best advice. Many thanks for the replys guys I'm slowly learning how to go slower than slow :walking:
     
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  7. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    It really really hard not to move forward, this, every one of us will agree.
    But creating an stable and consistent environment will pay you back 100 fold.

    Good luck, ask what you want, when you need us......otherwise....enjoy!
     
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  8. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    haha, yes. take it slow. Anything you can do to help speed it up usually just kicks issues down the proverbial road. Let it do its thing and test frequently so you can watch the magic.
     
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  9. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Sooo at 4 weeks and 2 days I've only just started seeing algae growth on 1 or 2 higher l/r. The diatoms are spreading through substrate but not a lot of discolouring to the l/r I feel things are SLOWLY starting to happen now nitrate has been around 100ppm for couple weeks if not more but still only 0.1ppm nitrite and still not getting anything on the ammonia test at all and I've had a deli prawn in there for 3 weeks which I dont think is the right type as it's not really decomposing much by the look of it I'm still leaving well alone and just waiting but if anyone thinks that I could do something differently I'm all ears other than that I'll wait another 4 weeks before worrying lol
     
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  10. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    I would like to see nitrate decrease indicating the nitrate is turning to nitrogen gas and leaving the DT.
    Ensure you have sufficient flow at surface to aid in this exchange of gas.
    This would complete the cycle.

    Then your due your 50% water change and your first addition, maybe some snails and one, smaller, least aggressive fish, maybe a firefish. ( now he becomes the ammonia source)

    Let these guys settle for month and then you can add, very, very slowly so each time you add, the bacteria can increase its population to counter.

    If nitrates still high, say 40-50 ppm, then consider dosing with Nopox which feeds the bacteria and increases population of same, will reduce nitrates over time ( months) if keeping fish only nitrates should be below 40, if keeping corals 2-5ppm is the nitrate target area.

    From this point, you want to test all your parameters regularly so you can achieve stability.

    Stability is everything in this hobby!

    As an example for ranges
    Temp 78-79 no more than 1 degree on/ off variance
    Salinity 1.020-1.023 ( fish only) 1.025-1.026 for corals
    Nitrate 2-5 ppm (important for coral growth and colour)
    Phosphate 0.03 - 0.07 ( together with light, to control algae)
    Ammonia zero
    CA 420-450 ( these three for keeping Stoney corals)
    MG 1260-1360
    Alk 8.5 - 9.5

    The more you keep your water chemistry stable the better everything does.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  11. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    You really can't have the wrong type od deli shrimp or prawn as long as you got one that is raw (uncooked). Since your seeing nitrate and still seeing nitrite at low levels, your initial cycle should be close to complete.

    Once the nitrite drops to 0, your good to go, but with nitrate around 100 PPM, you may want to do one or more partial water changes to get the nitrate level down. A 50% water chage will give you a 50% reduction in nitrates. It's not too unusual for some people to do a 100% water change once the initial cycle is complete.

    While it is good to wait until you see the nitrate level start to drop naturally, this requires the denitrification process to get established. This can take weeks or months, since this is a very slow process. In a new system, where nitrate can be really high, the water changes can help it along.

    Gas exchange in SW systems is usually not an issue as long as your getting decent circulation. If you have a skimmer or sump, or a good circulation pump, you will not have an issue.
     
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  12. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    I have 2 power heads along with the standard 2 flow pumps that come with the max 250 (probably a little too much ) which may be another reason I'm not getting much algae growth .its quite hard to tell what is too much flow until I see how tha fish handle it when I get to that point but cant see that not having too much algae will be a problem .I think I should have maybe used a few prawns instead of one small one as I'm not seeing a spike of ammonia as it gets consumed quicker than produced (I'm hoping) the brown diatoms covering around 70% of the sand tells me there is a source of food for the bacteria to grow so I'm still just patiently watching levels for few weeks yet I'm not going to jump straight in until I know I'm 100% sure its established well enough for live stock then probably only cuc to begin and watch for couple more weeks for any spikes in levels and the the correction of such levels to happen before adding something a bit nice .I'm so grateful for all your responses .I'm sure I'll be back for help more so when moving on to coral keeping after around a year or so of successfully keeping fish only ...and yes I'm going to be very selective of the fish I add from the start so not to make any major mistakes when It comes to adding coral .thanks again for all the good advice it's good to know it's only a question away when needed
     
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  13. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Just researched my so called l/r its apparently a man made alternative not what I wanted really but should be 100% critter free and cured what's everyone's opinion on this type .I've been told it does same job as l/r by lfs a I being fed a load if ammonia causing crap or is that the truth ?
     
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  14. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    I would not think man made dry rock... would cause ammonia... if this helps - lots of tank use similar with success.
     
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  15. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    Yes I realise that it wouldn't produce ammonia as there will be no dead organisms to deteriorate to create it .so that being said the only form of bacteria in my tank would be from my red sea live sand which seems to be doing its thing as I have diatoms and nitrate. The prawn I put in has never given off enough ammonia to cause a spike so I am planning on either adding pure ammonia up to around 4ppm so I can watch it disappear and go through the motions in the tank or adding a few deli prawns in a stocking mashed up a little and create the ammonia that way either way I need to be sure the bacteria I have is strong enough to cope with an amonia increase so as not to find out too late that it's not
     
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  16. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    At this point, since you have already added a deli prawn, and waited several weeks, your tank is almost certainly through the initial cycle. Do not over think this and mess it all up by adding ammonia or a bunch of prawns.

    Tanks often don't cycle just the way you'd expect, and adding the live sand may have contained enough bacteria so that you didn't see much of an ammonia spike. You also have a nitrate reading which usually indicates that the initial cycle is well under way. Once the nitrite reading drops to 0, you are good to go. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just leave things alone.

    As for the man made rock, other than it being very dense, using it should not present an issue. You may find that you need more than the usually recommended 1 lb per gal since it's a lot more dense.
     
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  17. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    So think I'm week 6 this weekend now .(stopped counting due to takes as long as it takes) . My question is I'm using salifert test kits to read my levels and had 0 nitrite 0 ammonia but 100ppm nitrate I have very good flow and have changed out 50% of the water (125l of 250l) and still no change in nitrate .had to change the water in 2 half due to not having big enough vehicle to get 4x 25l drums in so half on day 1 then rest on day 2 I had a cloudy water spell which I think was a bacterial bloom for a couple days before it cleared up almost completely the day before 1st part of water change then day after 2nd half of the 50% water change its cloudy again and the nitrates are still same .......if using salifert how do you guys read it as when read through side of the test vile/pot its 100ppm but from above looking down on it it reads 25ppm what do I go by ?
     
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  18. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    some great vids... that really help... google & looks at vids... here one example - hope this helps

     
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  19. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    Nitrate (NO3) reduction is directly proportional to percentage of Water Change

    If you change as an example... 30 gallons of water in a 60 gallon tank, you should have reduced nitrates by 50%
     
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  20. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

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    my nitrates must be rising rapidly cos I've changed 50% of water and no change at all maybe a slight lighter tone but not enough to be in the lower numbers at all I'll keep going with water changes until it drops like someone already said it may be that I need a 100% water change . Is there any harm in changing it out 50l at a time as thars what I have to do at mo due to not having a larger vehicle .I had watched that video which suggests looking through the side of the pot to read level but I know you guys have been there and done it not just trying to look good for a video
     
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