I posted what I was looking for and got some feedback here:
From there I decided that a nano-customs 3.24 system was perfect for me ( http://nanotuners.na...products_id=280 ).
I added some equipment items from drfostersmith then ordered a nanopack of live rock from LiveAquarium ( http://www.liveaquar...cfm?pCatId=1949 ). Two of the pieces were too awkwardly shaped for the aquascape I wanted to try so I gave them to a friend.
PH - 8.0
Nitrite - .5
Nitrate - 2.5
Ammonia - No idea, not to scale
SG - 1.026 measure with a portable refractometer that was calibrated with distilled water.
7/25/06 1.5 Week Update
Ok small update. Its been 1.5 weeks since startup. White growth (dieoff) has stopped. Some areas are coming back in deep red. The new development which you will see in the pics is a growth of brown algea on the rocks, sand and lower glass. Diatoms I suspect.
Here are the parameters measured 1 day before this breakout:
ph - 8.0
amm - .25
trite - > 1
sg - 1.025
Brown on rocks (you can also see some deep red coming back)
Brown on Sandbed:
8/4/2006 3 Week Update
Things I have done since last update:
1.) I have replaced the stock pump with the MJ900 and a HYDOR FLO. I can tell flow is getting into more areas that were stagnant before. Surface agitation is also up. Have not noted any decrease in temps due to swapping pumps as of yet.
HYDOR FLO fit perfect with one of the provided adapters. I did not have to use teflon tape. The HYDOR FLO does not produce micro-bubbles in my tank like some have experienced.
2.)Conducted tests again.
PH - 8.4 (up from 8.0)
Ammonia - trace (not .25 but not 0.0 either)
trite - .1 (finally came down from off the chart readings in the past)
trate - 50 (basically still off the chart)
SG - 1.025 (holding steady).
I was so glad to see some downward movement in the trite. Ammonia finally started its decline last week and now trite is following suit. Now for the trate to go down! I am not sure why or what implications of my PH swing from 8.0 to 8.4 is but I will keep tabs on it. Is it normal as you cycle for PH to go up? My plan is to monitor conditions over the next week(s). When I am able to hold zero's across the board for 1 week I will add some snails for the 1st part of my CuC. If all is well 1 week later I will add a cleaner shrimp.
3.) Still worried about heat cause the tank swings from 78.5 when I am home at night with the A/C pumping, up to 83.0 when I am at work and the windows are open, tank lid closed, ossilating fan in the room. Important to note that here in NY we had 3 consecutive days of 100deg weather. Taking this into consideration I am not going to buy an ICA chiller or anything of the sort till temps return to normal here in NY and I can get a grasp on "normal" operating temps.
4.) I purchased some Purigen to have on hand. Some swear by it some says it's junk but I got it on special. I will probably run this in chamber one after cycle sitting atop the sole sponge I left in there (gets changed weekly the sponge).
5.) I purchased some small tubing and a gang valve. I am all ready for drip acclimation fuss free.
6.) I finally set up my light timing so right now the two 10k bulbs run from 7pm till 11pm. The single actinic comes on at 6pm and goes off at 12pm (starts 1 hour earlier and runs one hour later). This simulates the dusk/dawn effect. Moonlights and fans are on 24/7.
7.) Purchased a long handle algae scraper and gave the glass a good cleaning. Previous I was only using the mag-float that came with the tank. That doesn't cut it too well. Lots of brown that I didnt even notice on the glass is now off. You can really tell a difference in tank clarity now.
8.) I decided to pull the aquascape away from the sides and back wall to make cleaning easier. One rock I turned over. One rock came to the left side from the right. This is my final scape and will stay this way. See pics below:
Future to do list:
- Test switching one or both fans so they blow out instead of in to see if it helps my temps at all. Maybe replacing them both with Vantech fans.
- Deciding about fuge lighting (galaxy light? / DIY home depot? / submered LEDS?)
- Continue waiting for cycle to end.
- Test all parameters again in 4 days.
- Purchase a "nimble" glass cleaner.
Update Time - 4 weeks since cycle began
Well here are the tests:
PH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0.0
trite - .05 trace
trate - 50 (basically still off the chart)
SG - 1.025 (holding steady).
Alk - in normal range on my red sea test
8/15/2006 4 week update
So it's 4 weeks and I wanted to add a Clean Up Crew but my nitrate is sky high.
Time to take some action. This is what I did:
1.)Lighting only with actinics for 4hrs a day not daylight bulbs to try to stop any algae growth.
2.)25% water change
One day after the water change I tested all parameters again and nitrate is down to 20. Some progress. Here are my options as I see it:
-Remove the sole sponge I have in chamber 1 because it maybe trapping nitrates (I rotate and clean it every week right now) ?
-Add the purigen I have to chamber 1?
-Do another water change this week?
-Scrape the possible red slime / cyno algae off my top rock manually because it maybe screwng up my nitrate?
-Buy the proper light and cheato and start my refugium in chamber 2 right away?
-Sit and do nothing for the next week and hope the cycle finally does end?
8/18/06 5th Week Update
Completed my refugium lighting. I used this light here:
Here is a picture of the light itself and the box it came in:
I planned to attach the light to the back of the tank with velcro tape. Here is the light fixture with velcro added:
Here is a shot of the rear of the tank after measuring up, cutting the vinyl and attaching the opposite end of the velcro tape. I made the cut out low on the tank to avoid any kind of spillover by having the refugium light mounted too high:
Here is a shot of the light mounted up against the tank nice and tight, held on by the velcro tape:
This shot shows the minimal spillover from the top of the light (none from the sides):
This shot shows how light enters the chamber from the rear. No spillover, sucess!
8/25/2006 6th Week Update
I added the Super Nimble from Jerome at http://www.nimblenano.com/ Great product. My inside glass have never looked cleaner and I am able to get to every part of my glass. It's good in tight spaces. Thumbs way up for this product.
I received a calcium test kit that I will start using when I add some livestock.
I also received an ebo-jager 50w heater as a backup heater to have on hand if anything was to go bad with the one in the tank. For now I will use it to heat the water I use when doing water changes. For the time being the WC water and the tank water have been close enough that I havent needed to heat it. Also there is no livestock in the tank so adding proper temperature water hasn't been an issue. It will in the coming weeks so this purchase was in preparation for doing temperature correct water changes.
I performed a 20% waterchange on friday after nitrates were still hovering in the 20ppm range. I will test nitrates again this evening and perform another 20% WC if neccesary. I have purigen on hand. I have been reluctant to add it to the tank still. I want to get the tank just right before adding any type of chemical filtration. I am still hoping to add my clean up crew right after Labor Day weekend if I can get a handle on these stuborn nitrates.
Here is an updated FTS:
Edited by twan, 28 August 2006 - 07:38 AM.