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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought a 60 gallon cube tank last Thursday, it has 4 fish a few corals and a small cuc. The tank has been running for over a year. I had to drive 2 hours with it and with it being my first reef tank i didn't want to feel pressured to speed through the set up process so i got a LFS to hold the fish for me.

I got the tank set up and running for 2 days. Then I went back to the LFS, they kept my fish for free,maybe because i bought a radian XR15. I have the light mounted to the side because it will not fit on the back due to the overflow.

Here is the tank all set up!


Here is the sump, it is a little small for my system. Currently the filter system goes through a filter sock, to a section with Reef Octopus 110 SSS and a group of Micro algae. I plan on upgrading this as my next large project.



I removed 2 large rocks from the tank for 2 reasons, one they had a large amount of a coral i did not want in the tank, old owner referred to it as a weed. Yes i know xenia is a weed to but it looks nice and i have it isolated. Also when I pulled them out they smelled horrible so i figured they would be causing alot of ammonia and die off in the tank. they are in a bucket of salt water currently i was told i should put in tap water and bleach, kill everything off then add it back to my tank?

Here is my tank chemistry for the last 3 days
pH 7.6/7.8/7.8
Ammonia .15/.15/.1
Phosphate .05/.05/.05
Nitrate 5.0/5.0/8.0
Nitrite 0/0/0
KH -/11/11
Calcium 360/320/360

For this i am adding PRIME daily to ensure the fishes help, as well as i was doing 5 gal daily water changes, yesterday i moved up to 10 gal. The zero on nitrite worries me. i understand it will have a short recycle, but i figured it wouldn't be a completely new cycle? Also thinking about picking up a calcium supplement as my calcium has been up and down. Maybe this is due to the salt i am using Instant Ocean Sea salt. is there a better brand i should buy?

Here are my fish.

Mated pair of Snowflake clowns, and the firefish. They all wanted to pose for a photo together, or i was about to feed them.



And here is the Diamond Back Goby.



And time for some corals.

Large Xenia, These have been doing good sense day one.


Group of Palythoas, These didn't open up till yesterday.


Group of Zoanthids, I believe they are starting to split off and grow a few new heads.


another group of zoanthids (i think they are from the same cluster but my girlfriend sees a difference)


Here is the frogspawn frag(my favorite coral so far)


Clean up crew i have 3 blue legged hermit crabs and 2 smaller hermit crabs. and 4 snails. i also found what was identified as a micro brittle starfish

i just ordered these from Reefcleaners.org
25 Dwarf Cerith
7 Assorted Hermits*
9 Nassarius Vibex
9 Florida Cerith
6 Nerite Snail
15 Medium/Larger Empty Hermit Shells
1 Emerald/Ruby Mithrax Crab*
1 Limpets*
1 Fuzzy Chiton*
1 Reef Pods

As for other equipment not mention or showed i have a Refractivity, an RODI unit(with a 40 gallon trashcan, 5 gal bucket flooded and i had to upgrade) Tank controller lite, which is only programed to control the temperature of the water, shutting off heaters and turning on a fan if it gets to hot. An ATO that I don't have running yet because i do not want to overcomplicate the system till i understand everything going on and get it running well.

Things i would like to add or change.
The ATO added in Possibly with Kalkwash.
Upgrade the sump to as large as will fit into my stand. Hopefully upgrading the refugium section.
Adding Ball valves to my Return pump and overflow(to make the sump easier to remove and work on)

Any input or advice moving forward things i am doing right? things you would do differently.(besides nothing good happens fast in this hobby i have heard that a few times ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Tested levels
pH 7.9
calcium 400
dkh 11~12
Ammonia=.5
Nitrite=5
Nitrate=0

WAIT .5 AMMONIA. i started searching for dead snails to explain the spike. Had my gf redo the test and she got a 0. Guess i just cant handle the tests.
 

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You should have zero nitrites as well before adding livestock to the tank.

While not as dangerous as ammonia it is still bad for them but more then that it is a sign your tank is not fully cycled or to much ammonia is being created and your nitrites cannot be processed fast enough yet.

Obviously anything could have happened during the move to your bacteria. Did you use the old sand, new sand? Did you transport the rock in water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I added the clean up crew, everything seemed to be doing good except for the chiton and limpets. One of which is just sitting on the clamshell he came in on, the other was and then i looked away to add the hermits and he was gone, a little worried he got eaten by my goby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am heading to town where my LFS is tomorrow morning. Im gonna pick up a magnesium test, a magnet cleaner, and some sort of long tweezers to work in the tank if they have them. Anything else that i might need? just some need to have stuff around for the tank?

Also would picking up 2 corals be a bad idea? thinking of getting a 2nd zoa for my rock, as well as another soft coral or LPS havent decided which yet have been looking like crazy(probably just eyeball it at the store)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ended up with a rather large(11 head) acan coral. And a 5 polyp zoa I liked. Really nervous about acclimating and dipping them. Got reef dip for the dipping.

Is an acan ok to put onto the sand-bed? I have heard yes and no. The store kept it on the sand-bed.

Also will the zoa be ok going straight onto the rock with the other zoa? It will be only 2 inches above the sand-bed.

I also need to place my frogspawn and my palythoas.

As always thanks for advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Moved my Frogspawn up here.



Plan on removing that Xenia when i get a good set of tools, that rock use to sit next to the xenia rock.

Here is the Acan i just got.



It is all closed up now but it was amazing looking in the shop. How long till it should open up? i am hoping it will open tomorrow when the "sun" rises. but that might be a lot to expect.



Here is the zoa frag i got, in hind site i should have scratched off the algea on it but my emerald crab is already eating away.

Any advice on placement or dealing with a new coral? also will that frogspawn do ok at that slight angle? also do i need to glue the frag plugs on? if i don't will they grow onto the rock? i think the zoa will but i think the frogspawn will need to be placed somehow
 

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having a slight ammonia issue again, its back up to around .2, idk why it is going up and down, all the while nitrite sitting at 0.0
Transfer time and a month or 2 thereafter is a fantastic time to
supplement the vulnerable weak N cycle with a high quality
live bacterial supplement to prevent this. It's just a bumpy road
to settling in. Like some meds for bacterial infections weaken the N cycle
transferring also disrupts it.

No UV or skimming during a transfer or supplementing. 72 hrs is a good
time frame for the bacteria to multiply safely and not be subject to skimming or UV.
 

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I need to turn off my skimmer?
Transfer time
No UV or skimming during a transfer or supplementing. 72 hrs is a good
time frame for the bacteria to multiply safely and not be subject to skimming or UV.
also do i need to continue dosing prime and doing large water changes or should i lay off?
Dose Prime if you are not dosing bacterial supplement , and do WCs to
lower the ammonia if you have any livestock in the tank like
pictured in the 60g tank in your link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dose Prime if you are not dosing bacterial supplement , and do WCs to
lower the ammonia if you have any livestock in the tank like
pictured in the 60g tank in your link.
Ok i have also heard it could be a couple other possiblities
1 the test kit is not accurate enough,
2 the prime i was dosing is messing with the tests
3 the salt i mix has a natural Ammonia content of .1-.2

i can find out if 1 or 3 is the cause tomorrow when i fill up my salt bucket i will check the ammonia level.

The reason i think the test might not be accurate is because the tank was well establish and has a low population, as well as i have never gotten a reading over 0 Nitrite and 5 nitrate. it makes me think the cycle is working properly.
 

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You're absolutely correct, and my reply was based on accuracy
but does not refute that during a transfer situation is a fantastic
time to bolster your bacteria by supplementing it.
Small spikes like you just experienced is not uncommon after a transfer.
Supplementing bacteria cannot hurt anything besides your wallet if you
skimmed it out when you add it.

Since ammonia is not an ongoing problem to test for, and bacteria help
to clean the tank, money would be better spent on bacteria and use it
before the expiration date, than to buy a more accurate NH3,4 test kit.
Now and earlier is the time to have either on hand. Once settled in
neither are needed, but the bacteria could be added after large WCs
without consequences, a new test kit will just expire on the shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
After 2 days of not dosing prime as suggested by LFS i got a zero reading on ammonia. It seems like the prime was giving a false reading. The fish and coral seem healthy and happy so i will stop dosing prime as of now.

My 2 new corals have already opened up.





The acan is strongly opened it is crazy how much it expanded. i might need to move the palythoas next to it. Do you think it will be ready to Feed yet? i bought some food because i want it to grow. GROW BABY GROW!!!!
 
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