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Well guys and gals... it has been 3 days since my last post. Since then I have added a 3 1/2" southdown sandbed and fired up my Rena filstar xp2 canister filter and a no name skimmer good for 150g bought off ebay. Both seem to be working great. though all my levels were severely out of wake I was able to cure them by a few products bought from aquarium pharmaceuticals, inc. Salinity is right at 1.024 my trates are both at 0 and ammonia reads 0. High range is at 8.2. That being said I'll tell you I was on my way to the lfs tomorrow 2 pick up about 30lb live rock and some xenia. I quickly became discouraged after reading about Jay's misfortune. I remeber a reply stating that all test kits are not created equally. If there is truth to that you can't help but wonder if my levels are actually what my test kit is telling me. I am using the aquarium pharmaceutacals saltwater master liquid test kit for everything. Can anybody tell me if this is a reliable brand??? being I am on an extremely small budget I would hate to loose anything...even the tiny algea on my rocks. Also, my filtration at this point is fairly minute (not good I know) i rarely here anybody gloating over how well their "canister filter" is working. However it seems to being cycling the water really well.. i wouldn't mind some pointers on what i can do to maximize filtration while minimizing cost.. which is why i went whith the rena in the first place. On top of that i am curious to know what animals you guys started out with and which ones seem to have tolerance for new tank dummies. I think I should invest is those first.. talk you ya later..thanks.
 

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wow, where to start. great to hear you have gotten things up and going! now comes the waiting game.

about the only thing i can recommend you put in the tank is Live Rock. i would get as much as you can afford. hopefully it is less than $7 a pound. just even if you can only get a 5-10 lb rock, it is enough to get started. LR is the only thing you should be putting in a new tank for at least a month! it takes a long time for all of the bacteria to get going. the reason why everything reads zero is because it is only 3 days old with nothing in it. about a week after you add the first piece of LR you will start to see your levels going up. this is the hardest part in SW aquariums the initial waiting. the good news is, if the LR is good, there are all kinds of interesting critters to watch in that first month. you just need to look close.

enjoy,

G~
 

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Ughhh.. Dinoflagelettes..
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1,262 Posts
Here's what you're looking for to determine the cycle stage...

Stage 1: Ammonia will start to trace, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate
Stage 2: Ammonia will spike hard, nitrite will trace, 0 nitrate
Stage 3: 0 Ammonia, Nitrite will spike, Nitrate will trace
Stage 4: 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, Readable Nitrate

Once you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and readings of Nitrate, do a 20% water change....

For the next few days, test for Nitrite... It may spike a bit... If it does, let it ride it out until it reads 0... Then do another 20% water change... The tank is fully cycled when you can do a 20% water change and not have a nitrite spike...


To control your Nitrates, do weekly 10-20% water changes... There ARE methods to control Nitrate other than water changes, but water change is the most reliable and it's always good to refresh the tank a little bit...
 

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TRT Staff The Mominator
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No corals, fish or critters until you cycle. You'll only waste your money and feel badly because they croak on you. :( You'll have fun watching the "What the heck is that?" critters pop out of the rock.

Alice
 
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