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When to start water changes?


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Hi guys


I set up my first nano reef tank 3 weeks ago. Last week I added my clean up crew as nitrites were 0 and ammonia was between 0 and 0.25.


Just wondering when should I start weekly water changes? And when can I add fish and corals? Another 2 weeks?


Thanks, john

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When your ammonia and nitrites drop to zero and nitrates are reading on your test kit, do your large water change. When my systems are done I add coral and fish, some wait longer.

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Ok thank you. My Nitrate isn't high i will do another test today and my Nitrite is 0 ammonia is still around 0.25. Hard to tell as the test kit colour between 0 and 0.25 is very similar.



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I've only been at this hobby for several months but here is what I have found starting my 4 tanks.


1. "Micro-Reef's" 7 gal rectangle

2. "JBJ" 3 gal Picotope.

3 "Aqueon" 5 gal cheapo rectangle (used as quarantine tank).

4 1/2 gal betta bowl as an experiment (will post build thread soon)


At first, I was like every other beginner and started testing after 2 or 3 days. I was frustrated when it looked like no cycle was starting and then frustrated not knowing when it ended. I guess i was obsessed with testing and trying to determine EXACTLY where my tank was in the cycle process.


After listening to some good advice, here is what I do now.


I start with live sand and live rock and only floss in the filter/fuge. I then just let it run lights off for about 3 weeks while not testing at all except for PH and spgr and of course topping it off with fresh water when needed.


At that point, I will resist temptation to add anything at all to the tank or change water. I will then wait one more week for good measure while still not testing and then

THERE, THE TANK IS CYCLED and (assuming you used live rock and sand), ammonia and nitrites should test zero and nitrates should be high.


Then do a large water change and you're good to go.


I have read so many posts about people asking about cycling and testing and adding dead shrimp and stuff to hurry the cycle but if you're patient and let nature take its course, the tank will cycle whether you test often or not.



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