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Rover88
09/27/2017, 04:33 PM
https://i.imgur.com/sV7atI7.jpg

Greetings everyone!

I haven't been involved in the aquarium hobby for long, and I've recently turned my interest towards saltwater tanks. There is a local reef shop near me that has been a wealth of information for me, and I've scoured the internet extensively. Something I have noticed is that forum posts date back EASILY 10+ years, and the information changes. So its hard for me to discern what was old and made obsolete, or whats the new trend and husbandry!

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here is my setup.

30 Gallon Long tank

2 x Koralia Nano 425's
1 x Eheim 2113 Cannister filter (Running empty, used for flow)
1 x Coral Moonbox LED Plus wifi light.
1 x Eheim in-line 200 watt heater attached to Canister filter.
1 x Aquaticlife RO/DI Buddie

- 15 lbs of Live Rock from the local reef shop. It had been cured in a large garbage can with lots of flow, a fish, and treatment by the guy that knows what he is doing. It was driven to my house in a 5 gallon bucket with water, and immediately placed into the tank. I hoped to minimize the die-off as much as I could.

- 40lb bag of aragonite sand, not too large and not super fine. I didn't keep the bag so can't tell you exactly what kind. It was not 'live', it was dry.
It was carefully seeded with sand from the reef stores established aquarium.

- Critters: 1 single hermit crab. This poor little fellow ninja'd into the sand seeded from the reef store. I thought I was getting empty shells, but nope... One of them got up and started scuttling around! He has been doing alright so far, and I dropped in a food pellet both so he'd have something to eat (He parked on it and hasn't left it yet) and so there would be something to produce ammonia.


Testing Equipment
- Red sea refractometer
- API Test Freshwater kit
- API kH and gH test kit
- Simple fish thermometer in tank.

Metrics
Temperature: 77
Salinity: 1.026 SG
Ammonia: ... 0? It went all cloudy and I'm not sure how to read it.
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Under 5 PPM (The API test kit is not terribly precise)



SO!

I'm waiting patiently for the cycling to happen. It was not my intention to have something alive in my tank when I did this, but the little hermit crab snuck himself in, so there he is.

I have already seen little tiny white starfish (asterina starfish?) on my glass, and long spindly-legged starfish looking guys as well. There are all sorts of little clear translucent SUPER small 'bugs' jumping around on the filter foam I have around the intake to my canister filter.

The tank has had water and sand in it for about two weeks, but its only nearing its first week of having the live rock and live sand added in. I have only put in a few sources of ammonia (the food pellets) and I have the little hermit crab happily chomping away on those.

So far, I have not seen any rise of Ammonia, or any rise of nitrite. I know! don't go too fast. :headwallblue: I'm waiting patiently to be sure its going to be okay before I purposefully put anything living into the tank. Last thing I want is something to perish because I'm impatient. But a number of places I've looked have suggested that if you properly set up a tank with fully cured rock you might not see any obvious signs of a cycle (Ammonia/nitrite) spikes. The nitrates DID go off zero, and my RO/DI water seems to be closer to zero then the nitrate, but I wasn't sure if thats because of the salt/sand/rock/lifeforms in the water or not.

So!

My first post. Here I am, and I hope to be around for a while. :rollface:

Rover

jlmawp
09/27/2017, 07:02 PM
I have already seen little tiny white starfish (asterina starfish?) on my glass, and long spindly-legged starfish looking guys as well. There are all sorts of little clear translucent SUPER small 'bugs' jumping around on the filter foam I have around the intake to my canister filter.

The tank has had water and sand in it for about two weeks, but its only nearing its first week of having the live rock and live sand added in. I have only put in a few sources of ammonia (the food pellets) and I have the little hermit crab happily chomping away on those.

So far, I have not seen any rise of Ammonia, or any rise of nitrite. I know! don't go too fast. :headwallblue: I'm waiting patiently to be sure its going to be okay before I purposefully put anything living into the tank. Last thing I want is something to perish because I'm impatient. But a number of places I've looked have suggested that if you properly set up a tank with fully cured rock you might not see any obvious signs of a cycle (Ammonia/nitrite) spikes. The nitrates DID go off zero, and my RO/DI water seems to be closer to zero then the nitrate, but I wasn't sure if thats because of the salt/sand/rock/lifeforms in the water or not.

So!

My first post. Here I am, and I hope to be around for a while. :rollface:

Rover

Stubby-armed starfish are asterina stars. The spindlier ones are mini brittle stars, almost for sure. Super-small bugs are pods, which is a good sign, and they'll help in the future for sure.

Considering that your rock was already cured/cycled, you could be right. However, you have a good 40 lbs of sand that needs some bacteria to colonize on. I had the same "issue" (quotes because IMO, it's a good issue to have). I put super-mature rock in my tank to cycle, which fast-forwarded everything. At this point, I would keep doing what you are doing for another week or two. Keep feeding everyday to seed ammonia to the tank, and you should see at least some sort of ammonia/nitrite level at some point. Nitrates being at 0 are a pretty good indicator that you have some time to go yet. They won't be at zero at the end of a cycle.

You have the right attitude. Just be patient :) The hermit should be fine.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to put a bit more rock in there to add to the filtration. A lot of people say 1 lb of rock for every gallon of water. That might be overkill for some tanks, but 50% is on the lower end. The more natural filtration, the easier time you'll have in the future when dealing with ammonia spikes from inevitable die-off. Let nature do the work for you!

Rover88
09/27/2017, 07:34 PM
Stubby-armed starfish are asterina stars. The spindlier ones are mini brittle stars, almost for sure. Super-small bugs are pods, which is a good sign, and they'll help in the future for sure.

Considering that your rock was already cured/cycled, you could be right. However, you have a good 40 lbs of sand that needs some bacteria to colonize on. I had the same "issue" (quotes because IMO, it's a good issue to have). I put super-mature rock in my tank to cycle, which fast-forwarded everything. At this point, I would keep doing what you are doing for another week or two. Keep feeding everyday to seed ammonia to the tank, and you should see at least some sort of ammonia/nitrite level at some point. Nitrates being at 0 are a pretty good indicator that you have some time to go yet. They won't be at zero at the end of a cycle.

You have the right attitude. Just be patient :) The hermit should be fine.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to put a bit more rock in there to add to the filtration. A lot of people say 1 lb of rock for every gallon of water. That might be overkill for some tanks, but 50% is on the lower end. The more natural filtration, the easier time you'll have in the future when dealing with ammonia spikes from inevitable die-off. Let nature do the work for you!


Thank you for the feedback! I was going to get more rock, just budgeting issues with that ;)

I'll keep watching my nitrates to see if it grows, and I'll continue to feed the lonely herbit crab. Also, damn that little guy moves. He just scuttles along the glass almost non-stop, then bunks down on the rock for the night, and next morning he is chasing the glass in circles again. Active little dude!

I'll probably wind up getting some more live rock in a week or two, and then wait another week or two before adding anything else.

The long term fish plan is: (talking months here)

Two ocellaris Clownfish
One Goby
One Blenny
Maaaaaaybe a skunk cleaner shrimp?

And of course, adding in the cleanup crew slowly as the livestock goes up.

Rover88
10/03/2017, 05:27 PM
Rounding the two week point.

I've put in food pellets, the sinking kind I usually feed my freshwater cory catfish, for the hermit crab to eat. He has gone to town on them. I also wanted to start something in there to feed ammonia into the tank.

I've been doing that about a week as the pellets disappear, and the only other changes I have made to the tank is to fill it with RO/DI water as it evaporates.

None of my parameters have budged. Ammonia nitrite still zero. The nitrate hasn't seemed to gone up, but lets be real.... API test kit, and its reading under 5 ppm, it could be a while til I see a noticeable change.

If I was going to see a spike of ammonia, would I have by now?

mcgyvr
10/03/2017, 05:34 PM
you won't have a cycle as you stared with locally sourced live rock kept wet..
plain and simple..
All the needed bacteria is already there..

enjoy the tank..