seemingly perfectly clean new aquarium
So I just started up a new aquarium...my first one ever...and I started it with live substrate and a good pile of live rock. Ran it a few days, testing the water and never had any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate so I went and got three fish and 6 hermit crabs a week later. Its now been two and a half weeks and I have nothing going on with ammonia and nitrite and my nitrates are also at pretty much zero. Is my tank really that clean and healthy or am I to expect some random spike soon that is part of the cycling process?
I'm goin to guess that you used Fully Cured Live Rock in the tank also? This accomanied with the use of Live Sand, your tank is likely not going to go through any type of cycle. You have all the bacteria in the things you started the tank with.
Wow so the guy at the store steered me in the right direction then. I bought live Caribbean sand and a big pile of fully cured live rock which was super expensive...8 bucks a pound. Pretty much what your saying then is my tank is fully cycled?
i aree with reef.now get a nice light and add some coral and anemones.
Maybe some easy Coral, like Zoas or something, but Anemones need a mature tank to thrive. I wouldn't go with a Nem for at least 9 months.
T5 lighting? Or should I saved my pennies for LED?
T-5 is perfectly fine.
I personally would not have added fish as fast as you have. Even though the tank is technically "cycled", it is not mature. The tank should go through a few stages prior to adding fish. If I were to start a tank from day one:
Week 1: Add water, live sand and live rock. Wait for the cloudiness to dissipate.
Week 2: Test Trates, Trites and Ammonia. Make sure everything is zero. pH ~ 8.3
Week 3: Test for NitrAtes, NiriIes and Ammonia if reading was not zero week before. If reading was zero, I continue to test Nitrates anyway. Start Calcium and Alk testing, Cal ~ 400 ppm, Alk ~ 8-12 dKH.
Week 4: Hopefully by now the Diatom Bloom has occured. If it has, I suggest adding a Clean up Crew (CUC). I will have been testing and dosing Calcium and Alkalinity over the past week to make sure my water stays within the parameters.
Week 5: If everything (Trates, Trites, Ammonia, pH, Calcium and Alkalinity) have leveled out and stayed level, then hopefully I am growing coraline algae on the glass and seeing a rise in copepod and astrea starfish populations. At this point, I feel that it is time to add a (maybe two) fish.
Week 6: If everything has stayed level after adding one or two fish, then I will consider adding another fish.
If you don't understand water quality, here is a good article written by a member: Alkalinity and Calcium testing - important for every marine aquarium
And here is a good filtration article by the same author:
Saltwater Filtration 101, How it Differs from Freshwater
Remember, nothing good happens fast in a saltwater aquarium. :-)
Wow dude that is a lot of great information. Thanks! My problem with setting up this tank is my nearly uncontrollable excitement so its been a major temptation to fill that thing up. At this point I think with just the few fish I have I will probably be alright. So far I've gotten zero ammonia nitrite and the other day I got not even 5 ppm in nitrate, which I think actually may have been tester error. I hadn't even thought of the alkalinity and calcium tests. I figured since I wasn't really getting into corals and stuff I didn't need to do it. I purchased a protein skimmer which should be here next week sometime so i should be in pretty good shape once that is all set up and running. The only thing I'm confused about is that from the filter article as I understand it I don't need a big fancy sump filter anymore with the skimmer, live rock and live sand. Would i be right in saying that?
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