Hello all the experts out there,
As stated on the title, I just had a fresh tank set up a few days but everything does not seem like what I've read on this forum (I had been following this forum for advices before I bought my tank). So let me start off by describing how I got my tank set up. I bought it used off craiglist so the owner had to break everything down for transportation cuz there was no way he could keep the water in the tank for transportation. The thing is he did not keep the LR with water, but he did have some water with the live sand in buckets. His reasoning was the LR could survive outside the water for 5 days. I did not have any saltwater ready when I took everything home so I had to try to moist the LR by covering it with the live sand and some "leftover" saltwater. So the total amount of time that the LR and LS stayed outside the water was about more than 24 hours a bit.( For right now, I only have one Canister filter, 1 power head and one water pump running because my main intention for the set up was to help keep the LR alive. I will add in a refugeum sump and an RODI unit soon when the tank is fully set up with some more live sand and LR, I do have a HOB skimmer but it does not seem to working properly so I shut it off till I figure out how to fix it). The reason I'm telling y'all this is because of my Ammonia and pH readings. Today is the 3rd day after the set up and the following are my readings for Ammonia and pH:
I think the pH reading is okay, right? I'm more concerned about the Ammonia reading. It proves that there's ammonia in my tank, right? It's not too high or too low for a new set up tank (I didn't add any pure ammonia to the tank to start the cycle.) The only reason I can think of is that the Ammonia present in my tank is from some die off of the LR? OR could it be from my dechlorinated tap water? (I was a bit rushing when filling up my tank so the water could be contaminated?) What would you all suggest me to do now? I want to know if my tank is in the process of cycling given that Ammonia reading?
The second question is about some weird brown spots that I have noticed last night that you can find in the attached pics below, is that brown algae or just built up dust? Is that a bad or good sign?
Is the green thing growing on this LR green hair algae?
There's also a lot of bubbles built up under the LR. Is it good or bad?
The last question is about the HOB skimmer problem like I mentioned above. No matter how high I try to adjust the collection cup, water will overflow the cup and spill back into either the tank or the skimmer body itself. Any suggestion to fix this please? And I don't see any skimmate yet, there are only bubbles in the collection cup.
Thank you in advance for any feedback you will give my in this post. Again, this is my very first tank so please help me to do it right.