Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jjwin98 12-17-2006 12:47 PM

new to this
hi i have a 75 gal tank i just switched to salt water about 4wks ago, it will be a fish only with live rock, the tank never cycled untill i put (cycle) in it about a week ago, now my levels are 7.8 ph-8.0ammonia-1.0 nitrite-20nitrate, ago my question is how long will the levels stay up that high and should i just let it go down by it`s self also i have about 7 lbs of live rock and two damsels in it (tried to put 2 more in and now i can`t find them maybe dead not sure)also the tank is getting very cloudy, i have a wet dry filter crushed coral for the bottom any help would be great
thank jjwin98

trreherd 12-17-2006 12:55 PM

you say you have crushed coral for a bottom. a lot of people on this site will tell you that crushed corlal will cloud the water,do you think thats y your water is cloudy?
It could just be a bacteria bloom. or the dead damsels are poluting your tank.
Y are you using cyle? there relly is no need.

jjwin98 12-17-2006 12:59 PM

i used cycle once don`t think i will use it again since the levels are up now i cnat` seen to find the dead fish i looked everywhere in the tank

usmc121581 12-17-2006 01:04 PM

Crushed coral is a no no. It can cloud your tank for the next 10 years. No matter how much you rinse it it will cloud if it is messed with as for the fish you should find them because if they are dead they will polute the water. also its rare but I have heard that the water can cloud during the cycling process. But never seen it.I would do a water change since you have fish in there. to keep the levals low.

bettababy 12-17-2006 04:43 PM

There are a few things I would do differently... and NO MORE FISH at this point is one of them. With ammonia and nitrite both spiked, this is toxic to the fish. The more fish in the tank, the higher the toxicity level.

I would get rid of that crushed coral now, while the tank is new and unestablished. The live sand is healthier, and will allow for more fish options later. Live sand will help to cycle your tank, along with the live rock. Crushed coral will do nothing for cycling. Crushed coral is much much harder to care for, and requires a lot more maintenance. I have a 72 bow account I take care of. When the guy first set it up, he put only 2 small pieces of live rock into it, and crushed coral. The rest of the rock was lace rock (one of the worst kinds to use in saltwater because of its density), and hte fish population was damsels, coral beauty angel, clownfish, and a bubble anemone. When I took over the tank maintenance, I insisted on making the change from coral to sand, and what used to be a constant problem of a tank, always looking dead and covered in cyano bacteria, is now bright, clean, and thriving. Maintenance used to take about an hour every 2 wks, now it takes 15 minutes once/month.

Crushed coral will not allow much for inverts in the tank, either. Cleaner animals will be almost completely out of the question with crushed coral. It's too coarse and sharp, and they tend to get injured quickly. Fish such as eels and other bottom dwelling animals will also have problems in the coral because of sharp edges.

The other thing I'll note is that 7 lbs of live rock in a 75 gallon tank isn't going to do much for cycling at all. That size of a tank should have 75 - 90 lbs of live rock in it, right from the start. To cycle it, simply leave the rock in there for a couple of weeks and watch your water quality.

Some tanks will cloud from bacterial blooms, the 92 bow I just set up in a Dr's office did that. I left it alone for another week, went back and it was crystal clear. Of course, this tank has 90 lbs of live rock, heater, filters, power heads, and live sand all in place, as well. The trick in cycling a saltwater tank is patience.

caferacermike 12-17-2006 06:14 PM

The advice given thus far has been excellent. Please pay attention to it.

Get rid of the crushed coral and switch to aragonite.

You definitely need about 70 lbs of high quality live rock if you plan to use it as part of the biological filtration. Keep in mind that a FOWLR can handle some extra NitrAtes and you could get away with runnning a nice canister filter or 2.

Your levels are toxic. Your PH is way way to low. My friends keep their freshwater tanks at that level. Look at what is causing the deficiency. Your salt mix should be plenty good enough to maintain the 8.3 that you need. So what caused it to either not get that high or to drop out? You can add some buffer to the water to help it come back up and stabilize it. But first you should figure out what happened to it.

jjwin98 12-17-2006 07:04 PM

thanks for all the help, i plan to put in more live rock but it costs a lot, what kid of live sand should i get,or aragonite i guess cyano bacteria looks brown and sits on the bottom, lace rock? i am new to salt water so all the help is great.i will not put in any more fish till later i sware lol. also is fake rocks or other stuff ok just for looks( ships buildings ect) should i try to bring everything down with chem or wait for it to go down by it`s self :dunno:

bettababy 12-17-2006 08:44 PM

Most important right now because there are already fish in there, I'd be wanting to get your water quality straight. More live rock, changing out that coral, and some small but frequent (daily) water changes, about 10 - 20% at a time should help a bit. If you wish to use the crushed coral to help keep pH up, then do it in the filter, where you can bag the coral and let the water run over it and circulate back into the tank. I would add the crushed coral in a nylon stocking, enough that it fits into your filter, and just set it in. When you notice the breakdown and decrease of coral, simply fill it back up again. This will also prevent the crushed coral from being wasted. There is a use for it, just not as substrate.
Considering your waste levels, I would be looking for aragonite sand, but get the stuff bagged wet and marked as "live sand". You will get some of your bacteria culture started faster and easier this way. Unfortunately, saltwater can get expensive, as the live rock that you mentioned. This is why I always warn people to allow for the expense before selecting animals and adding them to the tank. The best lesson anyone can teach, especially in saltwater, is patience.
Can you test the pH in your tap water and post those results? It may be that your tap water is coming out at 7.8 and a buffer will be needed, as was suggested.
Also, if something should happen and the current damsels don't survive, don't get anymore until the tank is really ready for them. With the proper amount of live rock and the live sand, the tank will cycle without the fish, just be patient and let the tank do it's own thing. Also, what is your salinity/specific gravity? And, what is your calcium level reading? These are things you will want to check often, especially as the tank is just getting started. If you post those test results for us, we may be able to help you further.

jjwin98 12-18-2006 03:43 PM

my salinity/gravity is 1.020-1.021, i never took a calcium reading is it inportant now or later.i saw on natures ocean live sand 20lbs would this be good for the bottom of the tank or other stuff, also any specific kind of live rock (fuji, tonga)it`s a lot cheaper on line, i will be gettin some once i find out a good kind.should i get cured or uncured. i just want to get the tank running right(live and learn never listen to the big stores) the ph was good till i added the cycle to the tank i will start the water changes now

caferacermike 12-18-2006 05:51 PM

Cyano comes in many colors. Brown slime is probably a diatomaceous bloom. Common with new tanks. Will generally sort itself out in about a week.

For live rock check Monica sells rock at great prices. The type of rock, marshall, fiji, tonga, is totally up to you.

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