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seemingly perfectly clean new aquarium
So I just started up a new aquarium...my first one ever...and I started it with live substrate and a good pile of live rock. Ran it a few days, testing the water and never had any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate so I went and got three fish and 6 hermit crabs a week later. Its now been two and a half weeks and I have nothing going on with ammonia and nitrite and my nitrates are also at pretty much zero. Is my tank really that clean and healthy or am I to expect some random spike soon that is part of the cycling process?
Originally Posted by evanlundberg4 View Post
I personally would not have added fish as fast as you have. Even though the tank is technically "cycled", it is not mature. The tank should go through a few stages prior to adding fish. If I were to start a tank from day one:
Week 1: Add water, live sand and live rock. Wait for the cloudiness to dissipate.
Week 2: Test Trates, Trites and Ammonia. Make sure everything is zero. pH ~ 8.3
Week 3: Test for NitrAtes, NiriIes and Ammonia if reading was not zero week before. If reading was zero, I continue to test Nitrates anyway. Start Calcium and Alk testing, Cal ~ 400 ppm, Alk ~ 8-12 dKH.
Week 4: Hopefully by now the Diatom Bloom has occured. If it has, I suggest adding a Clean up Crew (CUC). I will have been testing and dosing Calcium and Alkalinity over the past week to make sure my water stays within the parameters.
Week 5: If everything (Trates, Trites, Ammonia, pH, Calcium and Alkalinity) have leveled out and stayed level, then hopefully I am growing coraline algae on the glass and seeing a rise in copepod and astrea starfish populations. At this point, I feel that it is time to add a (maybe two) fish.
Week 6: If everything has stayed level after adding one or two fish, then I will consider adding another fish.
If you don't understand water quality, here is a good article written by a member: Alkalinity and Calcium testing - important for every marine aquarium
And here is a good filtration article by the same author:
Saltwater Filtration 101, How it Differs from Freshwater
Remember, nothing good happens fast in a saltwater aquarium.
Wow dude that is a lot of great information. Thanks! My problem with setting up this tank is my nearly uncontrollable excitement so its been a major temptation to fill that thing up. At this point I think with just the few fish I have I will probably be alright. So far I've gotten zero ammonia nitrite and the other day I got not even 5 ppm in nitrate, which I think actually may have been tester error. I hadn't even thought of the alkalinity and calcium tests. I figured since I wasn't really getting into corals and stuff I didn't need to do it. I purchased a protein skimmer which should be here next week sometime so i should be in pretty good shape once that is all set up and running. The only thing I'm confused about is that from the filter article as I understand it I don't need a big fancy sump filter anymore with the skimmer, live rock and live sand. Would i be right in saying that?
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