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NEWBIE! --new water-question 14g Biocube


Cliff Z

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Folks,

Getting my tank stand today and hope to fill tank in the next few days. After reading the forum posts, please confirm initial water fill.

1-Mix in (2) 5gal Home Depot pail salt and distilled water (going to airrate not circulate-no extra pump)

let water mix for a day--confirm levels. (1/2 cup salt per gal as a guide)

2-Place live rock first then Argonite in tank--(can i add live rock another day?)

3-Fill tank with salt water if levels are good.

4-Walmart polyester fil in 2nd chamber--heater in first chamber-nothing in 3rd chamber?

5-let tank cycle checking levels daily

 

I see amazon .com has API master saltwater kit on sale (not reef kit) --is this the correct kit to purchase?

Thanks

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IME it doesn't really matter how you start.... When I started my last tank I just filled the tank up with water and then added salt and let the circulation pumps do the work for me.

 

Then I added the LR and sand. Note that if you have really fine grain sand you might consider turning off your circulation pumps when you add it so it doesn't get clogged. Wait an hour or so for the sand to settle then turn everything back on. IME it doesn't really matter which you add first. I usually add sand first and then LR. It depends on what kind of livestock you'll have, and the shape/texture of your LR. The reason some people add LR and then sand is to keep as much of the rock exposed to water as possible. In the end though it all mixes up.

 

Finally, IME it's not necessary to test levels daily during a cycle. I mean if you want to by all means do it, but don't expect it to reveal anything to you. If you've done your research on the nitrogen cycle (which you should do right now if you haven't yet) you should know how the progression works (though I admit it's fun to measure as well). If you do test, I would only test NH3 (ammonia), NO2 (nitrite), and NO3 (nitrate). I don't think it's necessary to test pH, cal, alk, etc. at this point because they'll be all over the place, and many people are tempted to use buffers and dose all sorts of crap to get their levels perfect when in reality all it needs is some time and a gradual progression.

 

www.bigals.com has good prices on test kits. The master saltwater has everything you need for now. But if you plan on getting a good selection of corals (especially sps/lps) then you might consider getting the reef master kit as well. It's not mandatory though if you just keep a regular water change schedule (given you don't have a heavy load of corals!).

 

Good luck on your tank!

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Thanks for the detailed response!!!

 

Please confirm i just put floss in chamber 2---do i remove shelf? Thanks

 

IME it doesn't really matter how you start.... When I started my last tank I just filled the tank up with water and then added salt and let the circulation pumps do the work for me.

 

Then I added the LR and sand. Note that if you have really fine grain sand you might consider turning off your circulation pumps when you add it so it doesn't get clogged. Wait an hour or so for the sand to settle then turn everything back on. IME it doesn't really matter which you add first. I usually add sand first and then LR. It depends on what kind of livestock you'll have, and the shape/texture of your LR. The reason some people add LR and then sand is to keep as much of the rock exposed to water as possible. In the end though it all mixes up.

 

Finally, IME it's not necessary to test levels daily during a cycle. I mean if you want to by all means do it, but don't expect it to reveal anything to you. If you've done your research on the nitrogen cycle (which you should do right now if you haven't yet) you should know how the progression works (though I admit it's fun to measure as well). If you do test, I would only test NH3 (ammonia), NO2 (nitrite), and NO3 (nitrate). I don't think it's necessary to test pH, cal, alk, etc. at this point because they'll be all over the place, and many people are tempted to use buffers and dose all sorts of crap to get their levels perfect when in reality all it needs is some time and a gradual progression.

 

www.bigals.com has good prices on test kits. The master saltwater has everything you need for now. But if you plan on getting a good selection of corals (especially sps/lps) then you might consider getting the reef master kit as well. It's not mandatory though if you just keep a regular water change schedule (given you don't have a heavy load of corals!).

 

Good luck on your tank!

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1-Mix in (2) 5gal Home Depot pail salt and distilled water (going to airrate not circulate-no extra pump)

let water mix for a day--confirm levels. (1/2 cup salt per gal as a guide)

Wouldnt it be easier to just buy SW from your LFS, assuming there is one near you. It should be a little cheaper as well.

 

2-Place live rock first then Argonite in tank--(can i add live rock another day?)

The main purpose here is place any live rock that will be resting on the bottom of the tank in first before the sand. So you can just place your base rock in, then put in sand, and then scape with the rest of LR. Also, if you are getting dry sand, rinse before you put it in the tank. Basically, put some of the sand in a bucket, rinse with hose water and dump water out. Repeat several times until you see the water not as cloudy, then repeat 2 more times with RO/DI water or distilled. Then on to the next batch.

 

4-Walmart polyester fil in 2nd chamber--heater in first chamber-nothing in 3rd chamber?

Make sure you get the walmart poly-fil that doesnt have the flame retardant. Or you can buy poly-fil from mediabaskets.com (on Wednesday for discount I think). You can also buy a media basket from that same website that is well worth the money.

 

5-let tank cycle checking levels daily

I see amazon .com has API master saltwater kit on sale (not reef kit) --is this the correct kit to purchase?

 

I wouldnt say daily, but maybe every other day or third day. Get the kit that measures pH, Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia.

 

 

Not sure if you have done any of the mods to your back chambers yet, if not, make sure to do those as well before you fill up.

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I'm doing the cycling thing right now, and a few points that come from my experience; feel free to disregard if ya prefer.

 

Your live rock will cycle the tank IF it is shipped/cured, or uncured. If it's fresh from the LFS tank pretty likely you won't get a cycle at all. Let's call the first situation A and the second situation B.

 

Situation A, curing with the live shipped/cured or uncured. In this case (and I'm including much information garnered from Wet Web Media here, which I highly recommend):

1. You have a choice to make about whether or not to scrub the rock. Scrubbing will kill a great deal of what might otherwise make it through the cycle and provide diversity to your tank. NOT scrubbing will lead to an absolutely massive initial ammonia spike (I went this route, and my spike was probably in the 80 ppm range). This will mean a great deal of water changing - 50% or more per day at times to try to keep the ammonia as low as possible/practical. This will slow down your cycle as you're pulling some of the ammonia munchers along with the water. Pros - good chance for a lot of diverse organisms, cons - stressful, labor intensive, and costly.

 

2. You could do what many do and just nuke the rock by letting the ammonia run wild. In this case you'll lose the majority of the diversity on the rock, and basically end up with bacterially active dead rock. Not the best option unless you plan on adding a small amount of LFS live rock at a later date to bring the organisms back into the picture; even then better to do it with dead rock in the first place. Pros - cheap, cost and labor effective, very heavy cycle means lots of bacteria and few hitchhikers you may not want anyway. Cons - death of majority of organisms you might want anyway, smells like a pirate's arse.

 

Situation B:

1. If you're using LFS rock from the get-go you probably won't have a cycle at all if the rock is fairly quickly moved from tank to tank. In that case you can kick-start your own cycle by adding fish food, a raw shrimp or cleaning ammonia to the tank. I favor the shrimp. Cleaning ammonia you need to be VERY VERY SURE that the only ingredients are ammonia and water, nothing else. Get your ammonia to .25 - .50 on a test kit, take out whatever you put in if possible (good reason to go with the shrimp) and your cycle is moving along.

 

In any situation (other than just nuking the rock, in which case hell with it) I'd check ammonia daily and run a nitrite test starting after two or three days. Once you're detecting nitrite that's your main parameter until the ammonia is at 0 - I'm going to get in trouble for saying this but with no stock in the tank the nitrite is just a good way to tell that things are going in the direction you want. When your ammonia zeroes out you can probably stop testing it and test only nitrite and nitrate instead. When nitrite zeroes out, I usually do a full battery of tests once to make sure that the ammonia is truly out of there - if it still is, you're pretty well ready to finish the cycle by performing enough of a water change to pull nitrates down below 10ppm and start adding livestock. Lower is better; probably the first livestock you'll add will be a CUC and they don't like nitrates much. This is a good time to add whatever you're using to get rid of them or do more water changes. Under 5ppm you shouldn't need to worry about.

 

Sand or live rock first - if you're going for diversity, add the sand first/at the same time. Some critters will want to escape into the sand. Otherwise barebottom is probably easier to clean during the cycle, and many like the rock all the way on the bottom glass. I don't.

 

I use the API master salt kit for a beginning cycle; has everything you need for that purpose (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate along with pH). You'll want to pick up a Reef kit a little later for KH, phosphates and calcium. You can always upgrade to salifert kits (most like them better) or probes if you're wealthy.

 

I don't trust walmart polyester. Reefkeeping is an expensive hobby; a large bag of reef-ready floss runs something like four bucks at LFS/fosters/whatever. If the wal-mart stuff has chemicals that are harmful, you're out a lot more money than the four bucks and shipping.

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Cant thank you enought for taking the time to reply with such detail,

I'll be going with Scenerio B--LFS live rock.

Getting rid of Walmart floss

Can you detail what goes in the chambers as I start my initial Fill?

chamber 1-take supplied media cartridge out and dispose, add floss-(how much?) , add heater

Chamber 2-floss in top tray only?

Chamber 3-nothing--just pump?

When do u add raw shrimp? for how long?

 

Thanks!!

I'm doing the cycling thing right now, and a few points that come from my experience; feel free to disregard if ya prefer.

 

Your live rock will cycle the tank IF it is shipped/cured, or uncured. If it's fresh from the LFS tank pretty likely you won't get a cycle at all. Let's call the first situation A and the second situation B.

 

Situation A, curing with the live shipped/cured or uncured. In this case (and I'm including much information garnered from Wet Web Media here, which I highly recommend):

1. You have a choice to make about whether or not to scrub the rock. Scrubbing will kill a great deal of what might otherwise make it through the cycle and provide diversity to your tank. NOT scrubbing will lead to an absolutely massive initial ammonia spike (I went this route, and my spike was probably in the 80 ppm range). This will mean a great deal of water changing - 50% or more per day at times to try to keep the ammonia as low as possible/practical. This will slow down your cycle as you're pulling some of the ammonia munchers along with the water. Pros - good chance for a lot of diverse organisms, cons - stressful, labor intensive, and costly.

 

2. You could do what many do and just nuke the rock by letting the ammonia run wild. In this case you'll lose the majority of the diversity on the rock, and basically end up with bacterially active dead rock. Not the best option unless you plan on adding a small amount of LFS live rock at a later date to bring the organisms back into the picture; even then better to do it with dead rock in the first place. Pros - cheap, cost and labor effective, very heavy cycle means lots of bacteria and few hitchhikers you may not want anyway. Cons - death of majority of organisms you might want anyway, smells like a pirate's arse.

 

Situation B:

1. If you're using LFS rock from the get-go you probably won't have a cycle at all if the rock is fairly quickly moved from tank to tank. In that case you can kick-start your own cycle by adding fish food, a raw shrimp or cleaning ammonia to the tank. I favor the shrimp. Cleaning ammonia you need to be VERY VERY SURE that the only ingredients are ammonia and water, nothing else. Get your ammonia to .25 - .50 on a test kit, take out whatever you put in if possible (good reason to go with the shrimp) and your cycle is moving along.

 

In any situation (other than just nuking the rock, in which case hell with it) I'd check ammonia daily and run a nitrite test starting after two or three days. Once you're detecting nitrite that's your main parameter until the ammonia is at 0 - I'm going to get in trouble for saying this but with no stock in the tank the nitrite is just a good way to tell that things are going in the direction you want. When your ammonia zeroes out you can probably stop testing it and test only nitrite and nitrate instead. When nitrite zeroes out, I usually do a full battery of tests once to make sure that the ammonia is truly out of there - if it still is, you're pretty well ready to finish the cycle by performing enough of a water change to pull nitrates down below 10ppm and start adding livestock. Lower is better; probably the first livestock you'll add will be a CUC and they don't like nitrates much. This is a good time to add whatever you're using to get rid of them or do more water changes. Under 5ppm you shouldn't need to worry about.

 

Sand or live rock first - if you're going for diversity, add the sand first/at the same time. Some critters will want to escape into the sand. Otherwise barebottom is probably easier to clean during the cycle, and many like the rock all the way on the bottom glass. I don't.

 

I use the API master salt kit for a beginning cycle; has everything you need for that purpose (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate along with pH). You'll want to pick up a Reef kit a little later for KH, phosphates and calcium. You can always upgrade to salifert kits (most like them better) or probes if you're wealthy.

 

I don't trust walmart polyester. Reefkeeping is an expensive hobby; a large bag of reef-ready floss runs something like four bucks at LFS/fosters/whatever. If the wal-mart stuff has chemicals that are harmful, you're out a lot more money than the four bucks and shipping.

Link to comment
Cant thank you enought for taking the time to reply with such detail,

I'll be going with Scenerio B--LFS live rock.

Getting rid of Walmart floss

Can you detail what goes in the chambers as I start my initial Fill?

chamber 1-take supplied media cartridge out and dispose, add floss-(how much?) , add heater

Chamber 2-floss in top tray only?

Chamber 3-nothing--just pump?

When do u add raw shrimp? for how long?

 

Thanks!!

 

No problem, happy to put in my 2 cents.

I'm using a JBJ nanocube, a little different than yours, but seems like there are some similarities.

 

I put my floss in the first chamber the water flows into; it's a filter for the particulate matter in the tank only, and you're really the one controlling what it takes out. It catches the big stuff and you can either wring it out and rinse it in RODI water or just throw it away when it gets nasty.

 

Not sure exactly how the media baskets are set up on a Biocube; my basket is a three-part media tray, here's what I'm doing:

 

First tray, floss to catch solids. I use enough to cover the incoming water flow; in my media basket, that's a chunk about the size of my palm.

Tray two, Chemi-pure Elite.

Tray three, Chaeto algae (this chamber is lit from the rear).

 

Generally people use the second tray section for some kind of nutrient removal; I like Chemi-pure elite, but the opinions and preferences and successful tanks using different treatments are legion. A third tray section for some kind of fast growing, easy to trim and remove algae is another popular choice.

 

I'm cycling a tank right now also, and the only items I have in my media trays are filter floss, thrown out daily, and some activated carbon in a media bag. No need to put the rest in until the cycle is over.

 

For the shrimp - if I were you, I'd set up the tank the way you like it and get everything running (don't forget to do a wet and electrical test first just in case something is broken/defective). Put in your rock. Wait 24 hours or so and do a test for ammonia; if you have .25-.50 ppm then no need to use the shrimp at all, the rock will cycle the tank. In that case skip the next paragraph.

 

If you're testing at 0 ppm after 24 hours I'd add the shrimp then. Let it sit and check your ammonia every 24 hours or so. It might take a little time; you're waiting for the shrimp to rot, after all. When the ammonia hits .25-.50 you've started a nice, light cycle. Chuck the shrimp out and wait.

 

Keep testing ammonia every 24 hours, you can add a test for nitrite either when the ammonia starts to drop or when you feel like doing it (you'll notice that the nitrite test is almost never used when you're not cycling a tank because you'll be testing either its in product - ammonia - or its out product - nitrate, so don't be afraid to use the bottle). When ammonia is dropping and nitrite is climbing nicely, start testing nitrate. When you've zero'ed out your ammonia and nitrite, that's when it is time to do a big water change and get the show on the road.

 

almost forgot - make absolutely sure the only thing in the shrimp you're putting in is shrimp. No preservatives, uncooked, etc.

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