monday i added about 15lb of live rock and have about 50lb more comming on tuesday. since i have added the rock and my lights have been on during the day i have had the brown stuff start to lie on my sand. Is there anything i can do to speed up the processes this? should i not leave my lights on as long to maybe starve the diatoms or water changes? Any help would be great.
Also, when can or should i add snails and crabs?
This is a normal part of the maturing process of a marine aquarium. That you are experiencing a diatom bloom is actually a good sign, because it indicates that everything is progressing as one would expect.
Now would be a good time to add a few blue leg hermit crabs and a few snails. Soon you will see the diatom begin to withdrawal and begin to see more live appear on your live rock.
Also, now is the time to begin testing your alkalinity and calcium and making the proper adjustments. This will be necessary to encourage coraline algae growth, which is a critical component in prevention of cynobacteria and other undesirable algaes.
im getting conflicting answers now - i just call my pet shop and asked if they had any crabs/snails and they told me i should wait until the end of the cycle to add these? i would love to add them NOW so i can get some life in there but i want to make sure before i kill anything?
any more thoughts on this?
I would take most advice from the LFS with a grain of salt. There are 2 different things at work here. First, the "cycle", which is almost irrelevant in my opinion. Ammonia and nitrite readings of zero should be a given before any discussion begins around livestock. Are you testing ammonia and nitrite? What are your readings? It is very likely that you will never experience an ammonia or nitrite reading because you have live rock.
In the saltwater hobby, it is much more logical to discuss the stability or maturity of an aquarium. You want a mature system before adding fish... at least before adding anything other than the easiest of fish. You will see the diatom bloom come and go. Coraline algae will begin to coat the glass and live rock. Copepods and amphipods will begin to multiply and be visible upon close inspection of the sand bed. Nitrates will begin to DROP as the sand bed matures and denitrification begins. Alkalinity depletion and calcium consumption will become somewhat predictable and your dosing regimine will begin to become routine. These are the signs of a mature aquarium and they have nothing to do with the cycle.
I agree that you should hold off a few days before adding crabs and snail, if you have a high ammonia or nitrite reading. However, unless your live rock is uncured, you probably will never get much of an ammonia or nitrite reading to being with.
nitrate = 0
phosphate = near 0
i dont have an amonia kit :/
well, i decided to pick up 5 snails and 4 blue crabs the other day. By morning they sifted threw about half the brown sand and removed the diatoms bloom! Is this normal? From some other threads i have read reguarding diatoms - you were not supposed to stir it up in the tank and just let it pull its corse. Also, do the crabs bury in the sand during the day and come out at night?
Sounds normal to me. The crabs won't bury deep in the sand, but will keep the surface stirred, which is good. It is coming along fine. Just be patience.
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