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Luke78

Luke's 20 Gallon Simple Reef Tank

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Luke78

Hello everybody! I came here to make a journal for my 20 gallon long tank which I have recently redone. I chose to take everything apart, clean it, get rid of the sand and drain all of the water because the fish in the tank died and the water was no where near suitable for corals. The main reason that I took it apart is because I had become lazy with my maintenance routine and the tank became infested with algae and you couldn't even see through the water. I cleaned the inside of the tank with boiling water and scrubbed down the inside of my skimmer and powerhead. I also made sure to scrub down the live rock, which I chose not to clean with any chemicals or boiling water. After I replaced all of the water and cleaned everything, I put the rocks back in as well as my equipment. I then added about .50 ppm of ammonia to the tank just to make sure I didn't kill the cycle and I found out that I somehow managed to kill the bacteria in my rockwork. After I saw that the ammonia was not cycling through, I raised the ammonia up to 2 ppm and now I am currently in the process of re-cycling my tank. I also discovered that I have vermetid snails or some other kind of pest because I can see little lines of mucus on the bottom of the tank(probably because I didn't do anything special to clean the rocks). I chose to leave the tank bare-bottomed and I am now on day three of cycling the tank. 

 

Here is a rundown of My equipment for anyone wondering

-Standard Aqueon 20 gallon long tank

-Fluval Sea PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer

-Fluval Marine and Reef 2.0 LED Light Fixture

-14 lbs. of dead rock (previously live)

-Aqueon 100w Heater

-Aqueon Circulation Pump 500

-Instant Ocean Sea Salt

 

Day one

 

image2.jpeg

Parameters

Ammonia: 2ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 0ppm

Ph: 8.1

 

Day 2

 

 

image3.jpeg

 

 

Parameters

Ammonia: 2ppm

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 0

Ph: 8.1

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Luke78

Day Three 

 

 

image4.jpeg

 

Parameters

Ammonia: 2ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 0ppm

Ph: 8.1

 

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Luke78

Sorry for the bad camera quality by the way. I will aim for better quality pictures in the future. 

Also, the sandy looking stuff on the bottom of the tank is un dissolved salt. I figured it would have dissolved by now, but it hasn't. Is that normal? I always get a little bit of undissolved salt in the bucket that I mix in and I'm usually able to keep it out of the tank, but this time I let some into the tank by accident.

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Tired

What on earth were you doing that the water in the old tank was no longer transparent? 

 

Snails (including vermatids, so long as they aren't right up next to your coral) are fine and usually beneficial. They help keep things clean.

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Luke78

I had gotten really sloppy with cleaning and water changes (maybe once per month) and that was in combination with one of my snails dying when I was on a trip and it just sat there and rotted for three days. Also, my sand had gotten really nasty and had tons of detritus in it. A lot of it was due to burnout and me being irresponsible, but I’m ready to give it another try now and religiously do cleaning and water changes.

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Luke78

Okay, so the weirdest thing just happened. I added more ammonia to get it to be 2.5 today and when I came home, my ammonia levels were at 0. Is my test kit broken or could the bacteria in the rock have been stunned from the sudden change in water condition and now they are working again? I've never seen this happen before in my 4 years of being in the hobby. Could I get some input on this?

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Tired

Best guess is you had enough bacteria that they've multiplied. You may want to test again to be sure you got a real result, though. 

 

IMO, you should also get some live rock that hasn't been beaten up so much. Some little, highly porous pieces full of pods and other beneficial scavengers.

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Luke78

I started running more ammonia through the system as soon as I saw that it was zero, just to see if it was valid. Before I remodeled the tank, I had tons of amphipods in it, but I should buy some more live rock and let it cure so that I can give my biodiversity a boost. 

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Luke78
Quote

 

Turns out that I, in a moment of extreme stupidity, took the ammonia level of the wrong water sample and the ammonia level of this tank is  at 2.5 ppm as of now. Sorry for the misinformation. I will have an update of the tank later today.

I don't know why the quote thing is above this post. I can't get rid of it.

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Luke78
18 hours ago, Luke78 said:

Okay, so the weirdest thing just happened. I added more ammonia to get it to be 2.5 today and when I came home, my ammonia levels were at 0. Is my test kit broken or could the bacteria in the rock have been stunned from the sudden change in water condition and now they are working again? I've never seen this happen before in my 4 years of being in the hobby. Could I get some input on this?

This is all void due to a mistake that I made while testing my ammonia.

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Luke78

Day 4

 

image1.thumb.jpeg.7bf0d8e09bf7d0953eb0f4c8bd17413d.jpeg

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.50

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

Ph:8.1

Salinity: 1.022 (looking to raise this to the 1.025-1.026 range)

 

Everything seems to be moving along normally and the protein skimmer seems to be dialed in. The extra salt still has not dissolved and I'm confused as to why it hasn't. 

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Tired

Any particular reason you haven't added a good jumpstart for your tank? Live rock, live sand, etc? I wouldn't rely on that rock for bacteria, since whatever was on it seems to have died. 

 

Also, you don't need to measure pH every day. It shouldn't really be doing anything, and you don't have much in there that could be hurt by a change anyway. Once a week or so is probably more appropriate. 

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Luke78

The reason I have not added any sort of a jumpstart is that the nearest aquarium store that sells marine fish and live rock is over two hours away and I have not found the time to go this week. Is buying live rock/sand online a good idea, or should I just wait and get it from the store? Also, thanks for the advice on the ph testing.

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Tired

You likely wouldn't be able to buy a small amount of live rock or sand online. You may be able to get a reefer on here to mail you a baggie of live sand from their tank, though, if you offer to pay for shipping.

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Luke78

How would I go about this process?

 

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Tired

Go post in the "looking to buy" section saying that you want to buy a couple handfuls of live sand from a disease-free tank, and that you'll pay for shipping. $10 or less, cheaper than bottled bacteria, and pretty much guaranteed to work unless the box gets frozen or baked in the sun. Just throw the sand in there, in a container if you want to be able to take it out later, and it'll seed your bacteria.

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Luke78

Thanks, I’ll look into it.

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Luke78

Day Five

1665956823_image1(1).thumb.jpeg.7ca5d3da5eac60ffdc3ab223493ff5cc.jpeg

 

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.5

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

 

It seems that there is some kind of protein film on  the top of the water. To combat this, I have pointed the powerhead at the surface of the water so that I can have some surface disturbance. Hopefully, this will fix the problem. (this picture was taken before the adjustment)

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Reefjunkye
On 10/22/2019 at 6:29 PM, Luke78 said:

Day 4

 

image1.thumb.jpeg.7bf0d8e09bf7d0953eb0f4c8bd17413d.jpeg

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.50

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

Ph:8.1

Salinity: 1.022 (looking to raise this to the 1.025-1.026 range)

 

Everything seems to be moving along normally and the protein skimmer seems to be dialed in. The extra salt still has not dissolved and I'm confused as to why it hasn't. 

regards to the salt, did you mixed it in the tank? I have the same problem. but is because I mixed my water in the tank. my tank is still in cycle progress and still have some fine salt on the bottom, i can clearly see them because I am going bare bottom.

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Luke78
4 hours ago, sean86114 said:

regards to the salt, did you mixed it in the tank? I have the same problem. but is because I mixed my water in the tank. my tank is still in cycle progress and still have some fine salt on the bottom, i can clearly see them because I am going bare bottom.

I didn't mix it in the tank, but I did mix it in a bucket and some of the left over salt from the bucket got into the tank when I was pouring the water into it.

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Luke78

Day 6

 

image1.thumb.jpeg.ed8a3e7d3447c4e96cc1b9b37266b59d.jpeg

 

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.5

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

 

It's hard for me to tell if there are any minor changes in ammonia, because I use an api ammonia test kit. I guess I will just have to deal with it for now.

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Luke78

Day Seven

 

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.5

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

 

The tank is now a week old and I will look to buy some live sand within the next couple of days. The goal for this particular tank is to just be a softies and lower level lps tank with a pair of clowns(or something else, I haven't decided yet). I am also glad to report that I saw some amphipods moving around in my rockwork. Hopefully, these will survive until the cycle is over. Some brown algae is also staring to appear in some places such as on some of the rocks and on the bottom of the tank. I hope that it won't be an ongoing problem in the future. 

image1 (1).jpeg

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Tired

You're going to have a lot of algae, every new tank does. You can keep it a little bit in check by adding some macroalgae to compete with it. The best way to get rid of the ugly new-tank algaes is to maintain a reasonable and steady level of nutrients (so things other than super-hardy pest algaes can feed and grow), and to have a biodiversity of many types of algae as competition for the pest stuff, plus a good cleanup crew. 

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Reefjunkye
On 10/25/2019 at 7:55 PM, Luke78 said:

Day Seven

 

Parameters:

Ammonia:2.5

Nitrite:0

Nitrate:0

 

The tank is now a week old and I will look to buy some live sand within the next couple of days. The goal for this particular tank is to just be a softies and lower level lps tank with a pair of clowns(or something else, I haven't decided yet). I am also glad to report that I saw some amphipods moving around in my rockwork. Hopefully, these will survive until the cycle is over. Some brown algae is also staring to appear in some places such as on some of the rocks and on the bottom of the tank. I hope that it won't be an ongoing problem in the future. 

image1 (1).jpeg

I am on my day 20, I algae is going nuts, my cuc cant keep up with it. so I think its all part of the process.

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Luke78

I was away from home yesterday and was unable to upload an update. I will have one posted later tonight.

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