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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I's new to the salt/marine world but have run tropical fairly successfully. I have a 65 gal tank that is 36x18x24 high and am running about two inches of crushed substrate and about 45 to 50 pounds of live rock with a little more planned in the future. I have 6 turbo snails, 2 small crabs and two small shrimp (sorry, I don't know the species). for fish, I have a clown and a damsel. The water has cycled a few times and I think is starting to become more stable. My questions are these:

Does the clean-up crew I listed produce much waste in comparison to small fish, like a clown?

What would be a good rule of thumb for not overloading the tank when adding new fish? I'd like to keep them small and non-aggressive, meaning the damsel will have to be moved.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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Yep, everything poops so anything alive you add to the tank is going to add to the bioload. The CUC load is very light though - probably a little less than a small fish.

If your tank is cycling then you shouldn't have anything alive in there. If you're getting any ammonia or nitrite readings then your tank wasn't ready for livestock to be added and I definitely wouldn't add anything else until those disappear. A good rule for adding fish is one every two weeks so your biofilter has time to catch up to each new addition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback and sorry that I didn't respond too quickly - I've been away from the computer for awhile. A good thing, right? My question was based on some information I rec'd in the past regarding how to gauge how many fish for a tank based on the premise of one inch per gallon. I'm seeing the error of that now as it is more important to see how the environment handles waste. The better the management, the more fish. So, I will slow down and let the tank mature for some time before adding anything new.

Thanks again.
 

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Getting away from the computer a while is definitely a good thing. :thumbup:

There' no real rule like the "x- inches per gallon" in saltwater - that's a freshwater thing. There are too many variables in saltwater. Some get very territiorial, some live on rocks, in the water column, or on the bottom, some forage for food on the rock, most don't like fish the same species, color or shape, etc ect. You can't cram them in a saltwater tank like you can freshwater, that's for sure. Stress induced illness and aggression usually cause problems with overstocking before bioload does.
 

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Can you define what the water has a cycled a few times mean. Your water should cycle only once. After that is should just be continuing to stabilize but should not go through the cycling process again. I am assuming you just used the wrong term for stabilizing.

As Chi said, there is no rule of the amount of fish but rather what type of fish and their requirements. You can have a 65 gallon tank and enough filtration to support a 1,000 gallon tank but that does not mean you can stock you tank as such.

Saltwater fish get stressed from over crowding so just because your water parameters stay great does not mean your fish will thrive and do fine. They need their space. Best way to stock a tank is get some guys that hang on the bottom or on the rocks and then some that like to swim in the open water. This way you don't overcrowd anyone's space and can usually have more healthy and happy fish that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Eric. I probably am using the wrong term. When setting up the tank, I had some dry sand and about 10 pounds of live rock. I've since added more and believe I am at about 40 or so pounds. I watched the ammonia levels, but they really didn't rise too much. Then the nitrite level spiked somewhat and came down. The nitrates have hovered at 20 or below since the nitrites reduced. I check using a multiple-test-strip that looks at chlorine, Ph and hardness as well. So far, everything has been really stable, except the nitrates. I'm guessing that I'm feeding too much each day and I'd like to add to my clean-up crew to take care of that. But I stray...

Thanks for the reminder about stressing fish and the other advice. I'm still learning about what "great water parameters" are and how water changes over a year versus four to five months. For now, I guess my focus has been on reducing nitrates.
 

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I'd recommend picking up test kits that use the drops - the strips are very unreliable. Also, nitrates are really ever going to be a steady number. You'll always be adding to them. Your bacteria converts ammonia and nitrite to nitrate - it's the end stop for the Nitrogen Cycle (some do build up bacteria that can convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, but that takes a long time and certain conditions). So basically as long as you have living things that eat and poop you'll always be adding to your nitrate. A skimmer and your water changes are the way to lower these. A CUC is going to eat any left over food, but they're still going to poop. Still equals nitrate at the end.

If your testing for chlorine, I'm assuming you're using tap? That's another suggestion I'd like to make. STOP! Tap is horrible for reef tanks, you want to use RODI (either purchased from an LFS or installing a unit at home) or distilled from the grocery store. Chlorine is bad but there are many worse things in tap water that will throw off the delicate balance in your tank (and likely cause you an algae nightmare in the future).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, not using tap water. I have an RO/DI system but didn't make the connection that it is removing chlorine - despite it being advertised that way in most of the literature. Lot's of things (small, big, catastrophic) to think about when starting out. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Just test your RO/DI water with a TDS meter so you will know if your filter needs to be changed. You should be getting a zero reading on your meter.
 
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