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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I've got my 29 gallon tank all set up and I think I'm ready to start stocking it. One of my concerns is that I've only had it set up with water and everything for about 3 weeks. I did the raw shrimp in the tank, got a big ammonia spike, but now that's at 0, my nitrite is at 0, and my nitrate is between 5 and 10 ppm. I know I need to do the 25% water change, which I have some saltwater aerating for now and will be doing that tonight.

The only thing I really know for sure is that I want a pair of clowns. I'm going to kick it off as FOWLR and then either get a bigger tank and start considering corals, or just go straight to corals. My big question though is what's the best way to kick off stocking the tank? Should I start off by grabbing a few snails and hermits and letting them hang out for a while or should I grab some of the smaller fish I'm going to use to fill out the tank first?
 

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Im not an expert but i will tell you what i did and my fish and snails are happy as can be, it sounds to be your tank has went threw its cycle, i would say your ok to either add a fish or you can do some crabs/snails etc, i wouldn't add any snails or crabs just yet if you have no algae. But others will chime in and let you know what the best path to start with. But IMO starting with a fish would be just fine.
 

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Crabs!!! Lots and lots of crabs!!! :lol:

Seriously though - in terms of fish stocking you want to start with the least aggressive and end with the most aggressive. This gives the peaceful fish a chance to stake a claim and stand up to pushier fish.

You could start with a few inverts but without a lot of algae they won't have much to eat. You should be hitting the uglies here soon though and I would wait a couple more weeks to let it mature and then maybe add a few snails or hermits.
 

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You could do that yes or some frozen food for algae eaters. Usually when the cycle completes you hit an algae bloom - mostly diatoms. A few CuC members will eat them but not many. The nori or frozen would be fine though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much guys! I appreciate all the help. I can't wait until I get this kicked off. I'm going to let it sit until next week I think like was suggested to make sure everything is good. I did the water change last night so I'll let it run do another one next monday, then add some of my CuC I'll feed with some Nori and see how it goes!
 

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Just to add, I guess some of the CuCs are carnivores? I think the whelks that come in the cleaner packs. So I guess they would need some food like the fish will be getting as that's what they will be cleaning later, not algae

It's really cool how specific they are
Correct. Most sites should tell ya what each one eats. Frozen foods for omnivores would work fine as well. :)
 

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Thanks so much guys! I appreciate all the help. I can't wait until I get this kicked off. I'm going to let it sit until next week I think like was suggested to make sure everything is good. I did the water change last night so I'll let it run do another one next monday, then add some of my CuC I'll feed with some Nori and see how it goes!
Letting it run for another week without adding any additional ammonia is not going to tell you if your tank is truly cycled. If you have no ammonia right now and don't add anything to the tank, then you are not going to see a spike in anything.

Also, not sure how long it would take but eventually without ammonia the bacteria will have nothing to eat so they will eventually die off as they need the ammonia to live.

Best thing to do is either add some pure ammonia to the tank and make sure your tank can cycle it within 24 hours. That is how you can tell your bio filter really is ready. Being you only have 5-10ppm of nitrates, it sounds like your ammonia spike must have not been that high since those are still low numbers and even at a level where adding a fish is perfectly fine. Some people shoot for that range after there initial water change which is why I say make sure your tank is ready.

Probably fine for 1 fish but I still recommend checking with the pure ammonia test before you do your water change. Then, i would do the water change a day or two before adding the fish, not a week before.
 

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Letting it run for another week without adding any additional ammonia is not going to tell you if your tank is truly cycled. If you have no ammonia right now and don't add anything to the tank, then you are not going to see a spike in anything.

They used the shrimp method, got a big spike, zero'd out on all and now have nitrates. That's the cycle. Not all tanks end up with large amounts of nitrates. Mine never have.

Also, not sure how long it would take but eventually without ammonia the bacteria will have nothing to eat so they will eventually die off as they need the ammonia to live.

Quite a long while. Some add some fish food every few days but it'll take months to have any measurable decline in bacteria.

Best thing to do is either add some pure ammonia to the tank and make sure your tank can cycle it within 24 hours. That is how you can tell your bio filter really is ready. Being you only have 5-10ppm of nitrates, it sounds like your ammonia spike must have not been that high since those are still low numbers and even at a level where adding a fish is perfectly fine. Some people shoot for that range after there initial water change which is why I say make sure your tank is ready.

This can be done yes but you only need to be able to process 2ppm of ammonia in 24hrs. Some use the ammonia method and some don't. It is in no way necessary. However the amount to dose to is far smaller than a large spike that the OP mentioned. At least I don't consider 2ppm large. My 44 ended its cycle with about 10ppm nitrates and the system (now existing in the 90) has had nothing more than a trace due to denitrifying bacteria that has taken hold.

Probably fine for 1 fish but I still recommend checking with the pure ammonia test before you do your water change. Then, i would do the water change a day or two before adding the fish, not a week before.
All we are looking for in the cycle is a spike and then reduction in ammonia and nitrites and then nitrates. The week or two I mentioned is to give the system time to stabilize and mature a bit. There's always a chance at a mini cycle so I never add livestock right at the conclusion of a cycle.
 

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All we are looking for in the cycle is a spike and then reduction in ammonia and nitrites and then nitrates. The week or two I mentioned is to give the system time to stabilize and mature a bit. There's always a chance at a mini cycle so I never add livestock right at the conclusion of a cycle.
If there is nothing in the tank to produce ammonia and you wait a week or two how would you get a mini spike and what exactly at that point is stabilizing if nothing additional is going into the tank?
 

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Maturing and stabilizing are pretty basic principals in reef keeping. There doesn't need to be anything going in the system for that to happen, at least in the short term. Practically all new tanks go through some form of the uglies. Just because a new system is cycled or can process a certain level of ammonia in a given timeframe doesn't have anything to do with its stability or maturity.

Sorta like tossing a bunch of bacteria in a bottle products into a new system. Even if they work as advertised it doesn't mean the system is matured and stable. But if you're adding food to feed the bacteria then you most certainly do have an ammonia source.
 

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Maturing and stabilizing are pretty basic principals in reef keeping. There doesn't need to be anything going in the system for that to happen, at least in the short term. Practically all new tanks go through some form of the uglies. Just because a new system is cycled or can process a certain level of ammonia in a given timeframe doesn't have anything to do with its stability or maturity.

Sorta like tossing a bunch of bacteria in a bottle products into a new system. Even if they work as advertised it doesn't mean the system is matured and stable. But if you're adding food to feed the bacteria then you most certainly do have an ammonia source.
Yeah, but if you don't feed your tank for the week or two that your tank is fallow after it cycled, will anything happen? That was why I was suggesting to feed the tank up until ready to add fish.
 

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I'm guessing that's an auto correct error and should read cycled? :)

Just about anything can happen. A piece of LR that wasn't properly/fully cured causing a mini cycle or some of the shrimp used broke off and is hiding out decaying. Or too much ammonia causing a stall in the cycle which eventually recovers and continues on as normal.

I just personally like to wait until I'm seeing the beginnings of the uglies with some diatoms before looking at adding any livestock. That's usually a couple weeks after nitrates have appeared and ammonia/nitrite are zero.
 

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I'm guessing that's an auto correct error and should read cycled? :)

Just about anything can happen. A piece of LR that wasn't properly/fully cured causing a mini cycle or some of the shrimp used broke off and is hiding out decaying. Or too much ammonia causing a stall in the cycle which eventually recovers and continues on as normal.

I just personally like to wait until I'm seeing the beginnings of the uglies with some diatoms before looking at adding any livestock. That's usually a couple weeks after nitrates have appeared and ammonia/nitrite are zero.
Yes, not chucked but cycled. LOL
 
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