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newby30gallon 01-29-2010 11:05 AM

Critical stage of new tank
I am about a month out from a new 29-30 gallon tank marine land - Marineland Instant Ocean Saltwater Aquarium Kit customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings. This kit comes with a carbon filter, biowheel, and 100 watt heater. I have added Live aragonite sand and five pounds of live rock, 10 pounds of dead. See pictures.

I have taken some of the advice from alot of people and ordered a protein skimmer: Needle Wheel Super Protein Skimmers | Venturi Models | Protein Skimmers | Aquarium - and a powerhead: HYDOR componenti per acquari. Waiting for these to come in.

Here are my issues so far and i appreciate any help going forward. I have had good numbers in the tank from the very beginning, execept for PH. My tank seems to be maturing, i had green algae growth and what appeared to be three little white/transparent worms on the live rock, diatom bloom on the live sand, and just saw this morning a TON of little white moving things, which i assume are copepods.

I have taken the advice of many books at the start and purchased a yellow belly damsel about three weeks ago. Unfortunately, I added the decholorinator in the tank and the fish started eating it, so like a rookie I may have chemically killed the fish, very rookie and upsetting. I diegress. Anyway, about a week ago now i purchased two turbo snails, to help with the bloom and algae, and they are great about cleaning. My wife wanted a hermit crab so i purchase a scarlet hermit. unfortunately, i saw him dead this morning and this has raised my concerns.

I checked all the parameters i could this morning, Temp 78F, Nitrite O, Ammonia 0, KH 12, PH 7.7-8.0, and specific grav 1.023. I have been trying to buffer the PH by adding baking soda, which i believe answers the KH problem. I use Tetra test kit and i believe that the PH is reading wrong. I did the test with LFS water and it came out 8.3, so i dont know what to do.

Sorry so long, I do want to let you know that to help mature the tank i left the old fish in the tank to decompose and never did a filter change. i did do a 10% water change to fix the S.G since it was 1.028 and it is now at 1.023. I really want to get a fish in two weeks and would appreciate any help.

I am hoping that i have a large copepod pop, i would like to buy a mandaran goby.

Let me know

newby30gallon 01-29-2010 11:11 AM

I have to buy calcium and nitrate test kits, i will upload pics tonight, work computer wont allow

Bluetangclan 01-29-2010 11:33 AM

Dont even think about a mandarin. In a tank of that size it would wipe out the pod population within a couple days. Are you sure the hermit is dead and didnt just molt? Stay away from damsels, they tend to be aggressive with a few exceptions. I dont know yellow tails off hand. There are alot of fish you can get in that size tank, think about fairy wrasses, lined wrasses(obviously not both since wrasses(unless its a harem)dont like each other.), fire fish, basslets, clowns, gobies. You get the idea. You are on the aquafer like I am so shouldnt really need to mess with the PH i would think unless your water compnay does something weird. I ought to measure my PH one day...
Otherwise your tank sounds pretty normal for new tank syndrome and I wouldnt worry. A mature tank takes awhile and isnt something you can effectively rush. Think in the year-year and a half time frame. Its not just pods, there are chemical balances in the water as well that are pretty much out of your control that have to be established. You will know when it happens though.
Put up some pics, lets see what you have.

Pasfur 01-29-2010 12:08 PM


Originally Posted by newby30gallon (Post 315197)
I checked all the parameters i could this morning, Temp 78F, Nitrite O, Ammonia 0, KH 12, PH 7.7-8.0, and specific grav 1.023. I have been trying to buffer the PH by adding baking soda, which i believe answers the KH problem. I use Tetra test kit and i believe that the PH is reading wrong. I did the test with LFS water and it came out 8.3, so i dont know what to do.

Alkalinity is an extremely complicated subject, so don't be to overwhelmed by not knowing what to do at any given point. Baking soda adds bicarbonate buffering ions, but does nothing to add carbonates. Given that the primary buffer in natural seawater is calcium carbonate, and that your goal is to produce a system that is as natural as possible for the sake of the health of your livestock, I can understand why you would become frustrated adding a bicarbonate buffer. Randy Holmes Farley, the guru of alkalinity in a marine aquarium, has written many an article discussing this topic. You might find a quick google of him helpful, although understanding his high level discussions can often be very difficult.

By the way, I think you pH was correct when tested at home, and was also correct when tested at the LFS. These types of swings are common when using a 1 part bicarbonate buffer (baking soda), and in fact I would be surprised if you did not see this type swing.

In practice, you would be much better off adding a buffer that is intended to maintain the natural balance between calcium carbonate and other buffers, including bicarbonates. I personally test for alkalinity and calcium, adding Kent Marine Superbuffer DKH and Kent Marine Liquid Calcium Chloride to accomplish this goal. Another experienced member here, Wake49, practices almost an identical routine, but adds the 2 part additive BIonic to maintain these ratios.

At the end of the day, if you continue with the baking soda buffering, over the course of time the balance between the major and minor buffering ions will not be correct, and you will essentially have water with salts added, as opposed to "saltwater".

I suspect your livestock deaths are due to large pH swings. This is simple to fix, so don't worry. Here are the products you need.

This is what I use:
Kent Marine Liquid Calcium 8 oz
Kent Marine Liquid Calcium 8 oz

Or, this is what Wake49 uses, and many others:
Kent Marine Liquid Calcium 8 oz

newby30gallon 01-29-2010 12:42 PM

the scarlet is in the live rock outside of its shell and "appears dead" i will check when i get home tonight. do i need to worry about the other inverts? and thank you again for the help

also if the crab is molting do i need to get a new shell for him? i am sure he would go after the snails

Bluetangclan 01-29-2010 12:56 PM

Sounds like a molt. A cycling tank is stressful on inverts and one of their reactions I have noticed is to molt. He very easily could be hiding inside his shell until his real shell hardens. Takes a day or two. Depends on how big he is. You will need to get some new shells for your hermit and for future hermit buys. Sometimes they just go after snails anyway.

newby30gallon 01-29-2010 01:22 PM

one last question for now....... can i get rid of the biowheel when the skimmer arrives or should i let both run?

Pasfur 01-29-2010 06:16 PM

The skimmer and the biowheel have no relation. The biowheel is an artificial method of processing organic waste for aquariums that do not have live rock. This is a rarely used concept, generally only for quarantine tanks and some very large predator systems. Live rock is far more efficient, and does not result in such a rapid buildup of nitrate.

If you have a good live rock structure, then you can remove the biowheel now.

martin1 03-24-2010 08:07 AM

one more question please
i have a good live rock structure,and biowheel also so that i can remove it now?
although it does not give me any problem?

AQUAPOD 24 03-29-2010 11:48 PM

i would just leave the biowheel... it cant hurt

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