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This is a discussion on Help a salt water newb? within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> thats a good question (do you have a cycle if using cured liverock). My instinct tells me yes, you will still see a sequential ...

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Help a salt water newb?
Old 11-24-2008, 11:54 PM   #11
 
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thats a good question (do you have a cycle if using cured liverock). My instinct tells me yes, you will still see a sequential rise and fall of ammonia and nitrites, though it may be quicker than cycling with un-cured or no live rock. I hope someone else with experience with this can comment.

I CAN tell you this though: when your tank is fully cycled, you will have a non-zero nitrate reading, and zero ammonia and nitrites. So if your nitrate is still zero, then it hasn't started yet.

You'll only achieve zero nitrates in the long-run, with good protein skimming and a mature deep sand bed (also helps to have a refugium with macro). So you won't bring your tank up immediately into nitrate consumption. So really, until someone else gives more pointed/correct info, use the nitrates as your barometer for when your cycle is done. If nitrates are steadily rising, and ammonia/nitrites staying at zero, then you're good
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:59 PM   #12
 
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starting the cycle (in a non-cured liverock setting) can take a while, it can be a week or more before you start to see any ammonia show up. It will be another couple of weeks before it drops all the way to zero, during which time you will start to see the rise in nitrites begin.

So depending on how long it has been since you put the LR in, it could still be just starting up. Again, regardless of whether or not you see ammonia or nitrites go non-zero, until you see the nitrates going non-zero, you'll know you're not done.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:02 AM   #13
 
Thank you for the info you are helping me out a lot.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:23 PM   #14
 
Hey there, sounds like your tank is coming along nicely. I set up my first saltwater tank in September, and things have been going nicely. Sounds like you are taking the time to research things and get opinions so I will add my own.

There are a few observations that I have made. First off, what is your lighting? Granted for a FOWLR you don't need anything crazy, but you probably want something a little more than a standard fluorescent hood (I can't tell what's on there).

Next, I would be careful with how much sand you actually put into your tank. If you've done your research I'm sure you know about 'Deep sand beds' and the benefits they can provide. I would, however, be sure that you set it up correctly. You say you ordered 150 lbs? I have a 29 gallon, so thats 12x30 = 360 square inches of bottom and 20 lbs gave me roughly a 1 inch sand bed. I'm not sure what the exact dimensions of your tank are, but I found that a 40 gallon corner has 27" sides. So lets say yours has the same 27" sides and is just shorter than the 40 you have about 365 square inches to work with... similar to mine really.

I would strongly recommend you do some research as to the types and methods of filtration you are wanting. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a sand bed deeper than 4 inches is usually asking for trouble. If you do want to go with a deep sand bed, then read about using a plenum (basically a system to create an empty space underneath the sand bed to allow a natural flow through it in order to prevent the buildup of toxic substances like hydrogen sulphide). Of course there's more to it than I can easily describe here (I am by no means an expert!), but it's something brought up in a lot of reputable aquarium books and is not an under-gravel filter in the traditional sense since it does not rely on air stones or power-heads.

As for your clean up crew, I think you've gotten some good advice.. Start off small, maybe a dozen critters, and then add more over the next few months. I started out with 12 hermits about 2 weeks into my cycle. Since then I've added a peppermint shrimp, 3 turbo snails, a longspine urchin, and an emerald crab. I'll probably add some sand sifting snails, and that seems to take care of my tank quite well. Any algae gets taken care of quickly.

And as stated with your cycling time, even though you bought pre-cured live rock you still have somewhat of a cycle because stuff always dies off when you transport it. Your cycle should be quick though, and you can probably start adding things a week after your sand arrives. As for fish, I would probably wait another 2 weeks and do a water change. With fish, start off slow and do your research (for my first fish I went tank raised, and I'm glad I did!). Don't add more than a fish or 2 at once, and I would stick fairly close to the 1 fish per 10 gallons rule.

Lastly, how about posting some of your water parameters? Specific gravity/salinity, PH, alkalinity, nitrite, temperature, etc. Good luck, just remember to do everything slowly.

Last edited by ajmckay; 11-25-2008 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:53 AM   #15
 
Thank you for the information. Today my sand arrived and I added 5 inch sand bed to my tank and it is really cloudy water now.





I used 100 lbs of the sand.
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:58 AM   #16
 
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On the subject of sand, 4 inches is the ideal depth for proper denitrification. Deeper is not necessarily better, as the hobby has found out the hard way over the last decade of evolution of the live sand bed. The "acceptable" range is recommended at 3 to 6 inches. I have had the best luck with 4 inches and run my current system with 4 inches, and a zero nitrate reading.

I am a huge believer in hermit crabs and see a huge value. These little guys are always working and picking at the rocks and sand, which is beneficial to discourage detritus from settling. I would personally never run an aquarium without hermits, and suggest about 20-25 blue leg hermits for your size tank. They are only $1.00 each, so what do you have to loose?

I would add about 1/3 of your clean up crew within 1 week of adding your sand bed. The sand is capable of calcifying, so it needs activity to gently stir the surface. GENTLY is key, and you should not disturb the sand yourself. Allow the critters to do it for you.

I would quickly figure out how you are going to handle new fish purchases. Have you set up a quarantine tank yet? If not, this will be very simple. Purchase a small sponge filter and place it down into your live rock for the next week or so. You don't even have to turn it on. The bacteria which are ALREADY present in your live rock will migrate to the sponge. Take the sponge out and run it in your q-tank. A 10 gallon tank will suffice, with a small heater and some PVC pieces for the fish to hide. You should isolate EVERY fish purchase for a minimum of 10 - 14 days prior to adding them to your display.

I would highly encourage the addition of a UV sterilizer on your display. They are inexpensive (less than $100) and can be a life saver. Literally. I know opinions are mixed on this subject, but I have personally had much better success on systems with UV's. For the record, my fish room at maximum capacity had 14 marine systems running, so my UV experience is vast and diversified. I even run one on my reef and the corals grow like weeds. (Soft coral system.)
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:58 AM   #17
 
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Sand depth and grain size look perfect. Isn't this fun!-)
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:43 PM   #18
 
Yes this is very fun!!

My new test results

PH 8.2
Ammonia .25
nitrite 0
nitrate possibly 2.5 between colors I think
salinity 30
gravity 1.0225
temp 76.5

Thank you for all the replies they really help me.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:03 AM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmckay View Post
Next, I would be careful with how much sand you actually put into your tank. If you've done your research I'm sure you know about 'Deep sand beds' and the benefits they can provide. I would, however, be sure that you set it up correctly...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a sand bed deeper than 4 inches is usually asking for trouble. If you do want to go with a deep sand bed, then read about using a plenum (basically a system to create an empty space underneath the sand bed to allow a natural flow through it in order to prevent the buildup of toxic substances like hydrogen sulphide).

And as stated with your cycling time, even though you bought pre-cured live rock you still have somewhat of a cycle because stuff always dies off when you transport it. Your cycle should be quick though, and you can probably start adding things a week after your sand arrives...

Don't add more than a fish or 2 at once, and I would stick fairly close to the 1 fish per 10 gallons rule.

Lastly, how about posting some of your water parameters? Specific gravity/salinity, PH, alkalinity, nitrite, temperature, etc. Good luck, just remember to do everything slowly.
There is a lot of great information here. I just want to make sure it is being interpreted correctly, because the first time I read this I wasn't so sure.

On the subject of Deep Sand Beds and Plenums, please realize these are not the same thing. They are 2 very different methods of nitrate removal with different setup and care requirements. I suggest reading anything written by Bob Goemans if you want clarification. The tank in this thread is using a DSB, not a plenum. From observing the pictures, i think he is off to a great start. I personally use a DSB and have found the installation and care easier than with a plenum. I run zero Nitrates in my reef.

On the cycle, I agree with everything said above about the cycle. This is in disagreement with some earlier posts in this thread. The cycle goes very QUICKLY when using cured live rock and it does not take any time at all to begin. Bacteria populations double every 30 minutes (reference: Moe, Systems & Inverts {the blue book}). Any amount of bacteria present on the live rock after transportation is going to very quickly reach a level appropriate for handling the bioload of the given system, IF THE ROCK IS CURED. If the rock is not cured, then the dieoff will be greater than the bacteria can handle and the curing process will determine the time it takes to "cycle".

For the record... live rock also removes nitrate, although not as effeciently as a DSB system. Anoxic bacteria live deep inside the low water flow areas within the live rock. So, in systems with cured live rock and no fish, you may have zero Nitrate after the cycle.

On the subject of fish, i would ignore all rules of thumb regarding stocking levels. Aggression will limit your capacity long before biomass of livestock. Choose your fish carefully and add them in the proper order. Look for reasons NOT to buy a given fish, purchasing only the healthiest of fish. If your list says you are going to add a Six Line Wrasse next, then you should look at several different specimens and watch them over the period of several visits to the LFS prior to purchase. This will go far to ensuring success.

Finally, don't forget to test for calcium. This is often overlooked and is essential for LONG TERM success. The relationship between alkalinity, calcium, and pH are so closely linked that you must test them all to understand any individual reading with any degree of acuracy. Test calcium from day one and add calcium as necessary. On systems without corals, this will be considerably less, but is still needed. Alternatively, you may increase the frequency and size of water changes, but adding calcium directly is easier.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:04 AM   #20
 
Once again thank you for the replies I rely on your information to help guide me into a successful tank. I will go buy a calcium tester today. I just started to think about fish even though I will not add them till you tell me it is ok. The Yellow Watchman Goby interests me.

Just let me know when you think its safe to add the clean up crew. I will keep posting my water test results.

Last edited by Carp; 11-30-2008 at 10:07 AM..
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