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jaysix79 01-18-2010 06:00 PM

Cycling my tank... need guide suggestion and input for right direction
 
Hi everyone

I have a 26 gallons tank cycling with
* About 10 - 15 lbs of live rocks (came from an established salt water tank)
* Macroalgea very small
* Play sand and live sand half and half 20-30 lbs total (the live sand came from an established salt water tank)
* Hang-on filter with no filter media (using it right now to get water circulated)
* One power head
(soon in a few days i should be receiving my protein skimmer and will install this week)
** im also planning of adding a 15 gallons sump to house my protein skimmer, heater and maybe more live rock and some plants (i have sump box already just waiting for my pump and skimmer to install)

My water parameters right now are

1-17-2010 after 4 days
• pH 8.2
• alkalinity between normal and high (it's hard to read my test I’m using the red sea test kit turns out light blue)
• nitrate 0.2
• Temp 79
• S.Gravity 1.020

1-18-2010 (same reading) after 5 days
• Alkalinity between normal and high (it's hard to read my test I’m using the red sea test kit turns out light blue)
• Nitrate 0.2
• Temp 79
• S.Gravity 1.020

I'm using the red sea starter kit which came with salt, hydrometer, nitrate test, pH test and alkalinity test

Can anyone suggest the next step or thing(s) I need to fix? My tank is been cycling for little bit over 5 days. So far I haven’t done any water change

Pasfur 01-18-2010 06:23 PM

It sounds like you are off to a good start. I feel your pain when using the Red Sea alkalinity kit. I use the same kit, and being is the light blue color zone is good. When it starts to drop below this you need to be adding a buffer. For the record, it is essential that you also test for calcium in ALL marine aquariums. Calcium is the major buffering ion in saltwater, and replenishing calcium directly is necessary to achieve the balance and stability you want from your marine system. More on that here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...-marine-33079/

You mention that you have some live sand and some play sand. It is likely that the play sand contains silicate. It is assumed that silicate is a cause of algae, but the hobby has had a difficult time proving that this is actually true. This being said, I hope you plan this tank to be a FOWLR tank and not a reef. The risk of using silicate based sand in a reef is probably not worth the money saved. It is a high enough risk that I would personally consider starting over today, rather than moving forward, if you plan to keep a reef. If you are going FOWLR, then I would not personally be worried about the sand. For the record, you should have a 4'' to 6'' sand depth for proper denitrification. If you are not aiming for denitrification, then keep the sand a 1'' or less to avoid problems with organic accumulation in the sand bed.

Your salinity is low. Increase it to 1.024 to 1.025. I have no idea why some LFS continue to advise keeping the salinity at levels below natural sea level. You will not gain any benefits (parasite prevention) at 1.020. All indications from experienced successful hobbyists are to keep the salinity at a natural level.

Power filter: When you say you have no media, do you mean you are running it empty? Or are you using the filter pad? If so, you should not be using the filter pad. These particulate filters trap detritus, causing organic decay and nitrate buildup.

Do you have a protein skimmer? Have you considering this purchase? We can make some good inexpensive recommendations for a smaller tank. Over the long haul, the skimmer will save you a lot of money, so you may as well buy one.

You say you have not done a water change. No big deal. I see no reason for doing a water change at this stage. You really would not be accomplishing much. Are you testing for ammonia and nitrite also? I suspect you will never see an ammonia or nitrite reading, because the live rock is established from another tank.

At this point, wait for the diatom bloom. The diatom bloom will appear as brown algae that spreads rapidly over the rocks. It will fade in a couple of weeks. You should then see coraline algae begin to take its place, assuming you are correctly testing and buffering for alkalinity and calcium. For the record, this is a good stage to add a clean up crew. For you, 2 or 3 hermit crabs and 1 snail will suffice to start.

You should also wait at this point to allow the population of copepods and amphipods to flourish. You should begin to see populations on the glass and in the sand bed. The diatom bloom passing, coraline algae growing, and pod population thriving are early signs that the system is maturing nicely and ready for livestock.

The final sign of a tank maturity will be when your nitrate levels peak and then begin to DROP. Yes, nitrates will drop back to near zero in systems that utilize a deep sand bed, live rock, and a protein skimmer. This takes a few months, but is a great indicator of long term health.

Lets talk livestock. What are you considering? Also, can we get pics of the complete setup?

jaysix79 01-18-2010 06:59 PM

My tank is not going to be reef tank. I'm new to this hobby and this is my first time trying out the saltwater. Maybe once I feel comfortable with saltwater I will try the reef tank. In my tank I have about between an inches of sand to 2 inch of sand.

Do you think it’s better to have around 1 or less of sand over having 4-6 inches?

As for my hang on power filter, I don't have any filtering media in it. I just running it to keep my water circulating and I have one power head as well to get my water circulating around

As for calcium and ammonia test I don't have that reading yet because the kit I bought did not come with one. But I will be buying them once I have time to go the pet store.

Also I did buy a protein skimmer just it hasn’t arrived yet. Is there a down side using a big skimmer? I kind of picked up a skimmer that is rated for 75 gallons tank and I only have 26 gallons tank?
I also mention that I will be adding a sump that holds about 15 gallon of waters. This is where I’m going to house my heater and skimmer and maybe more live rock in the future. And I will get rid of my hang out filter once my skimmer arrives.

As for livestock I don't have any idea what to get yet. But for sure I’ll be getting community fishes so I’m open to any suggestion.

When should I add a cleanup crew? Right now? Or once I see the coralline algae



Once again thank you for taking the time looking at my post and giving me advice to the right direction... i will keep updating my post for any change...


Jon

jaysix79 01-18-2010 07:12 PM

heres my post
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1643.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1643.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1643.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1642.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1642.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...00118-1642.jpg

Pasfur 01-19-2010 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jaysix79 (Post 308472)
In my tank I have about between an inches of sand to 2 inch of sand.
Do you think itís better to have around 1 or less of sand over having 4-6 inches?

As for my hang on power filter, I don't have any filtering media in it. I just running it to keep my water circulating and I have one power head as well to get my water circulating around

Also I did buy a protein skimmer just it hasnít arrived yet. Is there a down side using a big skimmer? I kind of picked up a skimmer that is rated for 75 gallons tank and I only have 26 gallons tank?

I also mention that I will be adding a sump that holds about 15 gallon of waters. This is where Iím going to house my heater and skimmer and maybe more live rock in the future.

When should I add a cleanup crew? Right now? Or once I see the coralline algae

Jon

I like your plan Jon. For sand, I think 4'' is best, and 1'' or less is 2nd best. However, your tank size is small and this is a FOWLR, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. If this were a reef, then you would probably need to add more sand.

You say you will be adding a sump. Is your tank drilled? Do you have an overflow box.

It will not hurt anything to have a larger skimmer. In fact, I prefer to use the most aggressive skimmer that I can afford on a given tank. What model did you purchase?

Talking CUC (clean up crew), keep in mind, your tank will only sustain 1 or 2 snails and 2 or 3 hermit crabs. I would suggest adding the crabs when the diatom bloom occurs, and waiting a few months on adding snails.

For stocking ideas, check out this website:
Fish Index

You want to stick with Basslets, Blennies, Ocellaris Clowns, Gobies, Hawkfish, Jawfish, and Pseudochomis. Depending on the exact fish selected, you have room for 2 - 5 total fish.

jaysix79 01-19-2010 01:03 PM

cool thanks again for so much good information.

my sump will have an overflow box and i'm using the bank amircle look exactly like this
http://www.bostonreefers.org/forums/...1&d=1171403236

but i will not use the bio balls.. my question is should i put live rock inside my sump or is it better putting my live rock in the main tank?

if you look at the sump set up and if you think putting live rock inside the sump is the best idea.. do you suggest putting the live rock suspended like the bio ball or it should be on the bottom of the sump box.

i don't think my protein skimmer is a big name brand unit.. its called quadples spraying protein skimmer by sky enterprise ( i just got them today soo im going to be install it today) including the sump

since my tank already started cycling is it a bad idea to be moving the rocks around? or the sand around?

should i add a cured rock right now or should i wait till later on?.

sorry for soo many question... i just dont wanna mess up my first marine set up


once again many many thanks to your advice....

jon

jaysix79 01-19-2010 02:24 PM

here is my skimmer http://www.shopjebo.com/images/produ.../large/182.jpg

jaysix79 01-19-2010 04:24 PM

the fish i think that i want to keep are these:

butterfly fish
damsel
bassletts
or psuedochomis

i know those aren't the fish you recommended but would it work with my set up and me being a newbie at this hobby?

Pasfur 01-19-2010 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jaysix79 (Post 308763)

but i will not use the bio balls.. my question is should i put live rock inside my sump or is it better putting my live rock in the main tank?

if you look at the sump set up and if you think putting live rock inside the sump is the best idea.. do you suggest putting the live rock suspended like the bio ball or it should be on the bottom of the sump box.

since my tank already started cycling is it a bad idea to be moving the rocks around? or the sand around?

should i add a cured rock right now or should i wait till later on?.

jon

Put the live rock in the display. Additional rock in the sump is ok, but first build a good reef structure in the display.

I would not mess much with the sand, but it is ok to move the rock structure around until you are satisfied with the aquascapping.

Add the cured rock now, yes.

On the sump. The design honestly sucks. It is a trickle filter by definition, meaning that the water level is not controlled in any way. Evaporation lowers the water level. This will cause the height of the water in your skimmer column to drop as the water evaporates. You would be best to add a couple of "baffles" to the sump prior to installation. You will create a chamber for the drain line, a chamber for the skimmer, and a chamber for the return pump. All evaporation will occur from the chamber with the return pump, if you install the baffles correctly.

Read this articleand if you have more questions feel free to ask: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...g-sumps-15930/

If you want a Damsel, stick with the Yellow Tail Blue Damsel. You should be able to add a Pseudochromis or a single Basslet with it. However, you will be choosing from territorial species, so you are honestly limited to only 2 total fish. I think 3 would be asking for trouble.

There is absolutely, without question, no possible way that you will be able to maintain a Butterflyfish of any type in this tank. I can not say this with enough conviction.

However, if I heard you correct, you said this is a 26 gallon tank, not a 20 gallon? Am I right? What are the dimensions of a 26 gallon tank? I may have a few more fish choices for you, depending on the length.

jaysix79 01-19-2010 05:08 PM

my tank dimension are 24L x 15W x 21H its a bow front tank

this is how it looks like

http://www.aqua-dreams.com/mediac/40...a/IMG_4900.JPG


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