Got my tank up and running... Some questions/comments - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-07-2008, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Got my tank up and running... Some questions/comments

Hey guys, after researching and asking questions on setting up my first saltwater aquarium, heres what ive got so far

20 Gallon Long
5.5 lbs of live rock
3 inch caribsea aragonite base
protein skimmer, rena 20 gallon filter (running with no filter pad), and a powerhead

Salinity- 1.023
calcium concentration- 440 mg/l (ppm)
alkalinity- 10 dkh 179 ppm kh
phosphate levels- 0
nitrate- 5ppm (mg/l)
Ph- 8.2

I only got 5.5 lbs of live rock because my LFS had a poor selection and said they would get some more in next week, so I got the 2 prettiest pieces I could find. This is only day 2 with the live rock.

How long should the cycle take? With more live rock would it speed up? What about using bio-spira? What else do I need to test?

I had some hitchhikers on my live rock, I think I have identified them, my pictures couldnt make anything out, but here is what I have found

1 feather duster
3 mushrooms
1 some type of almost microscopic starfish
a lot of something that looks like tiny featherdusters
about 3 really small shrimp
a redddish orange centipede lookin thing

I gotta go to a student council meeting, so let me know what you guys think so far.

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post #2 of 3 Old 09-07-2008, 04:30 PM
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Re: Got my tank up and running... Some questions/comments

Originally Posted by skimmer247
How long should the cycle take? With more live rock would it speed up? What about using bio-spira? What else do I need to test?
The traditional concept of cycling an aquarium does not really exist with live rock. Normally, when you say "cycle", you are talking about the growth of bacteria within the aquarium. This does not exist in the traditional sense with live rock, as all of the necessary bacteria are already present on and inside the rock. So, no you should not use bio-spira.

That being said, there is great value to being patient. Your live rock will "seed" the sand bed, allowing it to become live and creating the denitrification effect we are looking for in a sand bed. Additionally, the live rock will have some degree of die-off that could temporarily spike your ammonia and nitrite. Very often this does not happen, and aquariums set up with live rock from day 1 never experience an ammonia or nitrite reading of any kind. This is typical for live rock that has been established in the holding tanks at the LFS for a period of several weeks or longer.

I think you are off to a great start. You just need to add some more live rock. By the way, I would allow the live rock to cure at the LFS for a week or more before adding it to your aquarium. The die off that comes along with new live rock will only cause you headaches. (i.e algae blooms, nutrient accumulation, etc.) As an alternative, you could cure the rock yourself before placing it into your aquarium.

Curing at home: Use a plastic storage tote, say 10 gallons. Fill it with saltwater. Put the new live rock in there, along with a power head. Initially it will stink, and you will need to do 75% water changes every day or 2. After a couple of weeks it will stop stinking and you should find ammonia and nitrite both test zero.
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-07-2008, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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How long should the sand bed take to be ready? Im guessing this doesn't have a straight answer, so what are the signs of a good sandbed?

Once I have all my live rock, when will the tank be ready for the clean up crew and what species should that consist of? When should I be ready for fish and what do I test waterwise?

Do my featherdusters or mushrooms need special lighting or nutrients? Do they multiply?

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