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post #1 of 289 Old 09-21-2009, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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New saltwater tank

Hi everyone

I recently started a 20 gallon saltwater tank, I need some help with knowing where I am for the cycle...
tank has been running about a week with cured live rock.
I tested the water and both ammonia and nitrite are at 0, nitrate was at 5.
would appreciate some help with knowing where about I am.

I plan on getting 2 -3 small fish max, would also appreciate any suggestions

Thanks
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post #2 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 12:13 AM
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Clownfish are my favourite! omg i love them so much :)

black clowns are pretty pretty!
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post #3 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 06:15 AM
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If the live rock you purchased was cured, then your aquarium is already cycled. That being said, lets talk marine tanks for a minute.

A cycled aquarium, being one that has the bacteria in place to process ammonia and nitrite, is not something to be overly excited about. More important than being cycled, is the general concept of having a "mature" aquarium. When we speak of a mature aquarium, we are talking about a few things.

First, the water has cycled. Second, the diatom bloom will have come and passed. The diatom bloom is a brown algae that quickly spreads across your sand bed and rock, and then receeds to a minimal problem. Third, you will notice that populations of copepods and amphipods begin to spread and are visible on your glass in great numbers. Finally, you will see coraline algae begin to cover your live rock and possibly the glass.

These signs of maturity are how you should judge the stability of your aquarium and its ability to support life.

I will check in again with you tonight to see if you have follow up questions about any of these concepts.
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post #4 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info, there are a few living organisms on the rocks, not quite sure what they are, they are white tubes with a wider round part at the end, and they only come out when I open the light, and plenty of purple (different shades), light reddish and pinkish white and very little dark green coverage on the live rock already, hope this is an indication that the tank is somwhat ready for inverts?
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post #5 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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I have also done another test, nitrite and ammonia still at 0, but nitrate seems to have risen from 5 ppm to between 10-15, what does this mean?
PH level is at 8.4

Thanks

Last edited by terryap; 09-22-2009 at 08:16 PM. Reason: forgot to mention PH level
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post #6 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryap View Post
Thanks for all the info, there are a few living organisms on the rocks, not quite sure what they are, they are white tubes with a wider round part at the end, and they only come out when I open the light, and plenty of purple (different shades), light reddish and pinkish white and very little dark green coverage on the live rock already, hope this is an indication that the tank is somwhat ready for inverts?
What you are seeing is the normal progression of live rock as it settles into the tank. The majority of what you see now will slowly disappear and be replaced by coraline algae growth, which is what you want and is a sign of a stable environment.

Your nitrates are rising because some life on the rock is dying off, which is typical after a transition to a new tank. Your pH of 8.4 does not tell us much, because you need to test for alkalinity and calcium in order to correctly interpret the pH reading. Actually, going forward, the most important test for you will be alkalinity, calcium, and nitrate. These test need to be done weekly, and adjustments made when necessary to maintain the desired range.

On the subject of nitrate, we need to discuss your filter system and sand depth. Can you give some details?
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post #7 of 289 Old 09-22-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, sand is aragonite #4 nature's ocean, about 3 inches, skimmer is seaclone 100 ( I know, I have read the reviews..., I plan on getting a much more efficient model in a few months)
and have 30 lbs of live rock in the 20 gallon.
plus 2 power heads.

hope the above gives you enough info, appreciate your info

thanks
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post #8 of 289 Old 09-23-2009, 11:20 PM
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Are you planning on having any corals at all?
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post #9 of 289 Old 09-24-2009, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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I was thinking maybe a couple of mushrooms, since some of them do not require special lighting.
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post #10 of 289 Old 09-24-2009, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryap View Post
thanks, sand is aragonite #4 nature's ocean, about 3 inches, skimmer is seaclone 100 ( I know, I have read the reviews..., I plan on getting a much more efficient model in a few months)
and have 30 lbs of live rock in the 20 gallon.
plus 2 power heads.

hope the above gives you enough info, appreciate your info

thanks

I think your Seaclone is an excellent skimmer for your size tank. I would not think about an upgrade.

You do have an issue with the depth of your sand bed. At depths between 1'' and 4'', denitrification is limited and detritus tends to accumulate, resulting in increasing phosphate levels and algae outbreaks. You want to target less than 1'' of sand, or even better between 4'' and 6'' for effective denitrification.
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