Just Starting Out! Need some advice.
I have just started to set up my saltwater system. I am using a 60 gal. tank with a maxi jet 900 powerhead, a cheap Tetra Whisper power filter (no filter media just for added circulation), water heater and tomorrow I will have a protien skimmer. The water has been in the tank for about 4 weeks now with 2lbs of live rock and 60-70 lbs of my own made rock. I also have about 5" of sand and substrate mix on the bottom.
I opted to make my own rock from substrate, crushed coral and sand mixed with potland cement, as I came accross a large amount of it for free from a local pet store that was closing. I also thought this would be much cheaper opposed to buying all live rock. So I guess I'm propogating my own rock and sand. I know this is a very slow way of doing it but, I don't plan to add any fish for at least a year or two.
So, I made my rock, gave it a 24 hr dose in vinegar, then I rinsed it 4-5 times and let it soak in freshwater for the last couple of months. I performed a complete water change weekly on the man made rock to ensure that there was no left over toxins that could be harmful to fish or my saltwater setup.
After this long process I introduced the man made rock to my saltwater system. (3 days ago) I have noticed that the water has changed drastically during this cycling process. My ph has went from 8.4 to 9.0. but the salinity has dropped to 24 ppt and specific gravity is at 1.018. I have also noticed that there seems to be a white slime build up on the powerhead and in the overflow of the power filter. I have no idea what this stuff is. I'm thinking it's either calcium or salt build up?
Also I am using a 36" actinic blue strip light and natural sun hits the tank for about 6 hrs per day.
This tank is going to be a FOWLR. I plan on letting it cycle for at least a year so I can get the tank stabilized and learn as the tank matures. I am also aiming for a nice covering of coraline algae on my rocks. I'm new to this hobby and am very interested in learning how to do this properly and have fun. I have 4 other freshwater tanks at home that have been very successful for me and now I want a bit of a challenge and to see some more vibrant colours.
I will be seeting up a SUMP once I get a bit more established. I hear this is the way to go and is more maintnance free, so to speak.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.:-)
ok so lets take one part of the puzzle.. did you test the water going into the base rock you made and then test it before you took it out? in theory when i have seen others do this they check before and after to ensure that when its cured it reads the same in and out .... that is to say if the water going in reads 8.3 then after any amount of time (a week) the reading of that same water before you take it out should read 8.3.. that said i dont think it cured long enough or in the right manner... again this is simply from the research and the few experiments i attempted all of which failed BTW.... luckily you have no stock in there at this time i would recommend trying one of the following options
take it out and re-cure it using tests and clean the tank very verry well
attempt to cure in the tank (not a good idea IMHO)
or my preferred method toss it all out clean the tank with 100% vinegar and start again....
I have read quite a few of your posts and you seem to know alot about the hobby. I look forward to hearing any of your advice or opinions to help me learn more about this new and exciting hobby!
To be extra cautious I would test both pH and alkalinity on a daily basis and record the results for the next week or so. For tracking purposes, it would be ideal to test in the morning before the lights come on.
I received the following question by PM. I attempt to avoid private conversations, because the purpose of the forum is for everyone to benefit. Great question here:
"How can I bring my ph down from 9.0 to 8.2/8.4 without affecting my salinity? I would like to do this as natural as I can without the use of chemicals. I'm cycling my tank and trying to get some nice coraline algae growth and a stable set up. There won't be any type of fish going in this tank for at least a year. I may have to introduce some snails and crabs to keep unwanted algae to a minimal."
I would strongly recommend that you do nothing to attempt to lower the pH. The factors which cause pH to increase are not permanent. This all relates to alkalinity and the presence of buffers driving the pH to an unnatural level. Time is the answer. Honestly, I am concerned that the problem has originated with this rock, because pH levels of 9.0 should never happen.
Also, it is important to point out that the salinity level and the pH level are in no way related. Changing one will not have a direct impact on the other.
Thanks for the advice and input on this sittuation. Great help!
Thanks in advance,
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