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M320au

New member + cycling fatigue

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brandon429

If at anytime the op wants to buy and *calibrate* a seneye nh3 machine to track true ammonia reports, ask your lfs about their accuracy, they'll sell you one and those updates ran on this tank would be gold

 

 

But I assure you the cheapest move is run steps 1-3 and keep them updates coming

 

And when you test anyway and succumb to sellers training, just don't post it lol

 

only the pics of the tank and we look for signs of pending doom or happy clean tank and water. You paid for a wait time 1/3rd of this duration, you're allowed to use it.

 

Not owning a tuned seneye and missing Randy's nitrite article is where your cycle went wrong. It's secretly ready. Where it's about to go wrong twice will be the potential added reports of non seneye API data, the average aquarist cannot resist. The pics are always going to look great, API will always cause you to buy more bottled bacteria, we simply don't need the doubt. In no way is this reef going to be the first outlier in six years 

 

The original cycle intent worked, it's fine, you have a ready reef. Buy a seneye or at least ask a seneye owner to chime in here. If this thread doesn't get a single seneye owner showing the cycle logs for the first thirty days in a reef cycle we will miss critical perspective 

 

The concern here would be warranted for day 4 not end of month

 

 

 

🙂

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Seadragon

When you have a new member that is requesting advice because they’re on the verge of giving up on the hobby, the right thing to do is to tell them exactly what worked for you in the past, the tried and true method.

 

12 hours ago, M320au said:

Easier said than done. Ive been in lockdown for 8 weeks with another 8 weeks at least to go, and a 3 day weekend coming up next weekend. I’m getting over it. If I can’t put at least at least a hermit crab or a snail in there to entertain me next weekend I think I’m going to give the tank to a relative - not helped by the fact I’ve watched so many videos about successfully stocking with fish on day 1 using the same bacteria solutions I’ve already used in mine weeks ago.

 

For me, it was a bottle of BIO-Spira and a combination of other things.  If I have to start another tank for my wife’s classroom, it’ll be some form of live rock probably taken from my tank.  If it’s my main display tank at home, I’m not into certain types of pests so I’m much more careful.  For my wife’s school tank, having a few pests will be interesting for the students to stare at and study.  Win-win.  Everything depends on your specific situation and in this case, the OP wants solid advice that we know will work.

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banasophia
7 hours ago, M320au said:

Thanks again everyone for the guidance. Re: live rock, actually I haven’t been able to find a fish store who will sell me some - my LFS tell me they’ve chosen to stop selling it. I’ve found one place that will deliver 20kg of it for $800, or a couple of shops which don’t ship it but are rumoured to stock it which are all out of my permissible 5km lockdown radius. So, life rock it is. 
 

So I’ve bitten the bullet and progressed to potential mistake #5, done another 90% WC and ordered some livestock. 1 black clownfish, 3 hermit crabs, 2 torch snails, and a torch coral frag, 😬They will take about 48 hours to arrive as the poor things will have to be air freighted.

 

My current water Params:

- 0 ammonia

- 0.25 / 0.5 nitrite

- havent measured nitrates today (will do tomorrow) but suspecting it will be very low (was reading 50 on a sera test kit this morning before the 90% WC),

- salinity 30ppm, I will slowly tweak it up before the fish and coral arrives.

- temp dropped from 27 to 25 degrees to prepare for the fish.


Suddenly very excited that things are in progress. There’s not a lot for my snails and hermit crabs to eat - apart from a thin film of something on my tank glass which I am deliberately not cleaning off. I’ve got some food pellets - I read I should get the snails some dried seaweed - anyone think it will be necessary?

 

On arrival day, I plan to:

/ check levels. If nitrites have risen above 0.5 I will WC until they are down to 0.5 or below again, (although I doubt they’ll increase given ammonia is 0),

/ toss in another healthy dose of API quickstart,

/ drip acclimatise the fish,

/ lightly feed everyone,
 

Then, I guess my plan is just to test test test! And if nitrites start to rise above 0.5, I’ll just have to do water changes until they drop again. I’ll be sitting next to the tank working from home all day, so it’s not likely things will get out of hand too quick I hope.

 

Appreciate this may not have been the ideal startup process but fingers crossed! Will post another update once everyone has arrived and is settled.

 

mat.

 

Okay, yes, so that was a bit premature to order your livestock. You have waited a long time already, and it was just a matter of figuring out a good plan and taking a few final steps to get your tank ready for your new additions. 

 

I would go ahead and get the salinity where you want it right away, before your livestock arrives… no reason to go slow doing this adjustment that I can think of since you don’t have any livestock in the tank yet. What are you using for your saltwater for all these water changes? Are you mixing it yourself? Why is the salinity that low? 
 

Agree with the plan to add more API QuickStart and I would add it now as soon as you adjust the salinity so it can break down the ammonia and nitrite you currently have in the tank. I’m not really familiar with that particular product, but looks like it has decent reviews. I found it interesting that the website says it’s safe for soft corals (what about other kinds of corals?). 


Of course do not add any more ammonia drops at this point since you are going to be adding livestock instead as your source of ammonia. 
 

I would stop doing all the water changes. Your beneficial bacteria should be consuming the ammonia and nitrite. 

 

I’d get a bottle of Seachem Prime to have on hand and add per the directions if your ammonia or nitrite go up with your livestock in the tank, to detoxify them until the beneficial bacteria can break them down. You could also add a media bag full of seachem matrix, if you can get it… it gives extra surface area for your beneficial bacteria to live and grow. I use it in all of my tanks. 

 

2 hours ago, Seadragon said:

When you have a new member that is requesting advice because they’re on the verge of giving up on the hobby, the right thing to do is to tell them exactly what worked for you in the past, the tried and true method.

 

 

For me, it was a bottle of BIO-Spira and a combination of other things.  If I have to start another tank for my wife’s classroom, it’ll be some form of live rock probably taken from my tank.  If it’s my main display tank at home, I’m not into certain types of pests so I’m much more careful.  For my wife’s school tank, having a few pests will be interesting for the students to stare at and study.  Win-win.  Everything depends on your specific situation and in this case, the OP wants solid advice that we know will work.

 

Fair enough… I see your point there. 👍

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brandon429

Question for the umpires: what validity do you assign to Randys nitrite article, seneye testing, pre studied bottle bac completion date threads, the degree of surface area shown in tank pics here and the timeline off a cycle chart

 

Are those collectively low, medium or high relevance here

 

Are they factored at all?

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rough eye

also i would recommend you DO NOT USE TAP WATER. if there's a store nearby selling distilled water you can use that.

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M. Tournesol
2 minutes ago, brandon429 said:

Question for the umpires: what validity do you assign to Randys nitrite article, seneye testing, pre studied bottle bac completion date threads, and the timeline off a cycle chart

 

Are those low, medium or high relevance here

 

Are they factored at all?

No idea. I am a newbie and don't have the competence and experience to judge.

I started my first (and only) reef with 100% live rocks, waited a month, and added my first fish. I have a lot of pests (mantis shrimp, Xanthidae crab, hydroid colony, maybe majano, valonia, ...), but no cycling or maturity problem 🤣

 

PS: I did read some of Randys articles but not the one on nitrite.

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brandon429

M

 

That's an ideal approach above, that skips the entire wait process plus it brings in years-established bacterial colonies that have transferred to any new tank just fine

 

That type of skip cycle is how 99% of all reef convention reefs are made, to house fifty thousand in delicate corals and fish... for decades

 

 

 

 

 

* Those hitchhikers are part of the reason some aquarists want a totally dry start... pure control over inclusions and some just like the challenge of an all dry start. It's affordable too vs shipping wet items or buying premium live rock from the store.

 

My favorite way is your way, skip cycle and deal later with attachments.

 

But this new way of dry rock cycling, setting up initial colonies to handle bioload plans, those are on a timeline of their own but the neat part is the timeline is already known.

 

Nobody's stewing mix of dry rock, sand, bottle bac and dosed ammonia ever took longer than a cycling chart said it would take to cycle for the appropriate params (ammonia control only, all that matters) 

 

Measuring this among hundreds of aquariums on seneye gives one takeaway about timing inherent to all dry start cycles, while measuring cycle completion off APi gives the masses a totally opposite view of the nature of cycle timing.

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M. Tournesol

Did you test with Salifert test kits? Salifert is the cheapest in Europe.

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brandon429

Want to see a neat additional hidden trick about bottle bac cycling:

 

Try and find anywhere on the web an example of a failed bottle bac cycle where when fish were added, they died

 

Specifically that outcome...a crashed cycle attempt in gray water and the two clownfish are floating dead belly up overnite/like what happens if we add fish to a dry start setup and don't add bottle bac

 

The #1 implied consequence in starting before a cycle is ready is fish loss and crash, try and find one. I've searched pretty old stuff, even at reefcentral so let's see what consequences nano-reef.com can produce. Any thread from any web forum, any date link back here.

 

 

This hunt above didn't use testing as proof, it uses pictures of wrecked tanks and dead animals as the flag, as was recommended to the op here page 1

 

We are now studying the incidence and degree of failed cycle attempts in a common reef tank arrangement using anyone's bottled bacteria. It's touted as a very common event/consequence... is it?

 

Everybody's got a friend who crashed on a bad cycle start, let's see their link.

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brandon429

@M320au

 

 

what do you think about getting a handle on this tank right quick

 

You did a fine good cycle, not rushed at all. It was ready two weeks ago or slightly before. It would take a seneye to know but I'd have pegged day ten/cycle chart ammonia drop date. If you do a large water change, you can begin reefing here due to multiple factors met and none actually stalled.

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M320au

Just an update on my setup,

 

I received a call about my livestock order, apparently my clownfish can’t be shipped because somebody bit his tail off, and my torch coral couldn’t be shipped because the shop said it had developed brown slime. So, I’ve paused that delivery, plus associated hermit crabs and snails, and told them to pause the order until I was ready to order a cleaner shrimp perhaps instead, possibly next week. Cleaner shrimp are quite expensive here - $140, so I don’t want to rush introducing one.

 

in the meantime, my red scrolling montipora frag just arrived 😬. Sadly he was in the post for 48 hours due to lockdowns and arrived in a fairly cold bag of water. I’ve acclimatised it as best as possible and placed it in the bottom of the tank - happy to see something in there at last. I plan to slowly rise it towards the centre, top 1/3rd of the tank.

 

Nitrites have stabilised around 1-2 ppm a stopped growing, ammonia zero, I’ve given the tank a 4 x dose of seachem prime (after watching the effect a few drops had on my api nitrite test) to protect the coral against the nitrites, i’ve also picked up some seachem stability tonight and dropped that in the tank making it my third bacterial supplement. I have been using tap water, treated with seachem prime, and I’ve read online that API Quick start bacteria - the last batch I dosed - are incompatible with seachem prime treated water which, if true, might explain the lack of progress on the nitrite -> nitrate front. Anyway, with nitrites now relatively low, and learning that I can dose with prime every 48 hours if they don’t drop in a rush, I feel as though I’m finally on the way albeit with a reasonable degree of risk.

 

Need to get an an ammonia source in there soon I suspect, so in 48 hours I plan to buy a single tiny clownfish, and possibly add 3 hermit crabs and a few torch snails on Saturday, watch them for my long weekend, then observe closely ammonia and nitrite levels over the next week to see how everyone settles in and if the bio filter finally kicks in, 
 

Thank you for the advice provided to date, appreciating it all. Will seek to obtain a filter for my phone to take some better pics to provide with future updates.

 

 

0805B0ED-3589-471B-A19F-A5A4F11E9AC9.jpeg

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brandon429

Why use tap water on an sps setup vs ro di water

 

Can't the lfs sell you pre mixed water made cleanly, that's what I use

 

Your setup there is a mix of several different additives, this is opposite of the recommends for success with sps setups just curious if it's possible to attain clean source water for the sps coming 

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M320au
2 minutes ago, brandon429 said:

Why use tap water on an sps setup vs ro di water

 

Can't the lfs sell you pre mixed water made cleanly, that's what I use

 

Your setup there is a mix of several different additives, this is opposite of the recommends for success with sps setups just curious if it's possible to attain clean source water for the sps coming 

Thanks, I’ll probably upgrade to an rodi filter in the next 2 weeks or so - if things survive the first bump until then. LFS offered me rodi water upon setup, but, given current movement restrictions and with all my water changes to date, it would have been impossible due to the quantity I have gotten through. 

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brandon429

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/rhf/index.php

 

 

Before dosing mixed supplements for nitrite, while dosing items that cause false nitrite readings ~ that link w help

 

Forego measuring nitrite at any time in reefing, to own the kit sets you back not forward because it creates doubt vs resolve in a matter well studied

 

 

 

 

There isn't another legit source for nitrite in the reef tank other than that one... someone has been misleading you about nitrite and it's causing your water to be a mix of additives vs clean simple reef water in response. If you run cleaner water at the start, your investment will live longer for sure.

 

leave out the other bacterial additives though as they are oxygen competing aerobes with no where to attach in this cycled reef. You have top level corals in it now, must treat the tank as cycled vs partial, being deliberate as a plan will save your investment for sure.

 

You are able to do one big water change using ro di now, no more tap needed. It was a great idea to cycle though with tap vs the expensive water, agreed.

 

The reason cycling articles mention nitrite is because they know you'll keep buying supplements for it in response even if it's chemically neutral and can't harm anything in a reef tank at all (bottle bac sellers wrote the common cycling rules of dosing to 2ppm and factoring nitrite, the perfect stew to cause issues in APi reporting accuracy).

 

The reason Randy says it doesn't need to be tracked is because he's a chemist not trying to lead us into sales buying. Cease testing for nitrite it'll save your reef by causing cleaner water, ironically, than mixed reactive dosing causes. Your monti stands the best chance in all new water matching temp and salinity to the current. Change water here for clean simple reef water without delay, the filter slicks remain attached to all surfaces regardless of how many water changes you do now.

 

Here is the study mentioned earlier. Notice the outcomes, number of tanks fixed, and follow ups there where they're happy. any entrant can be sent a message to verify claims.

how-to-unstick-any-seemingly-stuck-cycle

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M320au
43 minutes ago, brandon429 said:

The reason cycling articles mention nitrite is because they know you'll keep buying supplements for it in response even if it's chemically neutral and can't harm anything in a reef tank at all (bottle bac salesman wrote the cycling articles buyers use as reference).

 

Here is the study mentioned earlier. Notice the outcomes, number of tanks fixed, and follow ups there where they're happy. any entrant can be sent a message to verify claims.

how-to-unstick-any-seemingly-stuck-cycle

I appreciate you posting the link. I did actually read a few articles in the last few days which claimed nitrite was far less toxic for corals and reef fish than for freshwater fish. It surprised me. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it, but there were so many people piling onto the story, and given the two bacterial additives I had added over now nearly 5 weeks seemed to have done nothing when their labels promoted far less, i figured it was time to look around. Coupled with then reading that seachem prime would lower nitrites, I’ve done that also - in the hope of covering all bases. We see how we do, not expecting much luck, but I haven’t invested more than I am prepared to lose in the experiment. How will I know if my red scrolling monti is happy now that it’s in my tank? It’s polyps are so small I can’t see whether they’re out or in - could I be fooling myself thinking the surface looked a little bumpier after 3 hours in the tank with lights than when it came out of the box?? If anyone has any guidance on placement to achieve optimum happiness I’d be grateful.

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brandon429

I'm very impressed you can wade through all the various ways we all compete for best practices and extract a working procedure from it all lol I agree information is conflicting big-time... forum cyclers want simply the best for your animals and retail sellers want that too but they also want your buys, it's tricky to hone all that down into simplest options agreed

 

The monti is tough, I give him a 99.9% chance of success if you change out water for the ideal Ro Di saltwater with no additives, matching current temp and salinity, and shade him a day or so under the rock stack to acclimatize to the new lighting

 

Since it didn't show up bleached white it can easily be saved.

 

 

Move him out into bright light later, feed him something that sps like but not too much since the tank is new. Do not use phosphate or nitrite stripping media, allow those nutrients to build up to a small degree as they prevent bleaching and help suppress dinos invasions common to new setups using GFo for phosphate, for example.

 

 

After the big water change to instate clean sps ready water, do just partial common water changes in the future using the clean water and no more tap. You can see in our study thread on false stuck cycles that instating simple clean water right at the start fixed every single concerned reef posted plus the ones to come in future fixes.

 

* Don't buy or add any more cycling bottles of bac or water treatments here, the cycle was done a couple weeks ago. Your cycle surfaces are wet + full of bac already, there isn't room to hold more cycling bac, any added simply compete for oxygen in the system and swirl around unattached creating a chemical soup mix...that's very opposite from the ultra-clean starts we show above for twenty pages of fixed cycles using only that big initial water change. Getting totally clean and untreated reef tank water in there is your next step, it was the very first recommend given for your unique troubleshoot.

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rough eye

if you have a grocery store that sells distilled water, use that instead of tap water.

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brandon429

I have done that before agreed, nice call

 

 

It's required to get the current water table changed out for new, distilled + your own salt mix is ideal way.

 

If that isn't practical for the future then concern only when next water change is due. The mixed monti needing rehab vs mixed doser challenge water requires a clean start.

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M320au
12 hours ago, brandon429 said:

 

The monti is tough, I give him a 99.9% chance of success if you change out water for the ideal Ro Di saltwater with no additives, matching current temp and salinity, and shade him a day or so under the rock stack to acclimatize to the new lighting

 

Since it didn't show up bleached white it can easily be saved.

 

Ok, thanks, I will go to LFS today and get enough rodi water to do a big WC tonight and will add no more chemicals or bacteria.

 

unfortunately, I worry I may already be too late - I woke up this morning and monti was sprouting long strings of what looked like brown hair algae, some even 2-3cms high, which has never yet occurred anywhere else in the tank. And although the blue lights aren’t on, he doesn’t look all that red, or indeed quite as Orange as I thought he did yesterday while under the lights at least. I lifted him up into the flow and all the hair algae flew off, before setting him back on the substrate. Is he dead already? 😬

 

52D3DD7C-FAF3-46D4-B621-DF8902A1A4FE.jpeg

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Tired

Looks like it bleached. That algae was probably its photosynthetic algae being expelled. Happens sometimes from stress.

 

It's not dead yet. If it can survive long enough to overcome the stress and start regrowing what little algae is still in its body, it'll survive. 

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M320au

Just an update - I invested in an RODI setup and it is running now meaning tomorrow I should be able to do a near full water change to get the tap water out.

 

Current readings:

ammonia 0

nitrite 1-2

nitrates 25-50 but likely not reading correctly given continued nitrite.

 

ive since added a black clown fish (coco), 3 snails, and a tiny green hammer frag. There’s not much for the snails to eat - they keep weirding me out and spinning around to their backs and playing dead - but when I drop in an algae biscuit and put them right on top of it, they come back to life, eat half of it then walk off and hide under a rock. The hammer is doing remarkably well - he was out partying within an hour of going into the tank, spend the next day retracted because he got molested by a snail wanting to eat the scraps of algae off his plug, but I removed mr snail and he’s back out partying albeit possibly with a fraction less luminous green than he had. But after 3 days I’m reasonably happy he’s still alive at all.


Monti deteriorated a fraction more - insofar as he’s now very pale, and overnight grew a few tiny white specks on his top. (I dipped the hammer before adding it so I don’t think it’s a pest). He’s held steady for about 2-3 days now so I’m hoping once I do a an 80-90% WC tomorrow I’ll a) get my nitrites and nitrates down, and b) replace the tap water and prime with rodi water. Hopefully he’ll start to turn around after that. I’ll pick up some copper, alk, calcium and magnesium test kits later in the week.

 

Quick question, do you think it will be less stressful on the Monti to do multiple smaller changes to gradually phase in my rodi water, or better just to do it all in one go? It seems to use a whole heap more salt doing it gradually so if it’s not too stressful I’d rather do it in one go. Unless anyone thinks I need to be more gradual.

 

Pic of my new hammer frag attached moments before being ambushed by a snail.

 

Appreciate any advice.

 

 

5BA60985-95FD-4E82-8B20-E65E533CBB2D.jpeg

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M. Tournesol
1 hour ago, M320au said:

Quick question, do you think it will be less stressful on the Monti to do multiple smaller changes to gradually phase in my rodi water, or better just to do it all in one go? It seems to use a whole heap more salt doing it gradually so if it’s not too stressful I’d rather do it in one go. Unless anyone thinks I need to be more gradual.

I would say to at least do the water change slowly in the span of 1-2 hours.

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stevie1493
17 hours ago, M320au said:

Quick question, do you think it will be less stressful on the Monti to do multiple smaller changes to gradually phase in my rodi water, or better just to do it all in one go?

You may have already completed the WC today, but my thoughts on this are that clean, freshly mixed SW with RO/DI can only do good things for your tank when you are removing tap water (who knows what may be in that) with detectable Nitrite. You can do as large a WC as you want as long as temp, salinity, and pH are an EXACT match or very, very close. Smaller 10-25% or even 50% WC it is okay if temp is a few degrees off or sg is a little different, but when doing a large >75% WC I would make sure the aforementioned params are an exact match.

 

In your situation I would do just that. Mix fresh SW with RO/DI, match sg, temp, and pH, and do a >75% WC.

 

Good luck!

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SaltyGallon
On 8/22/2021 at 7:28 AM, banasophia said:

Seriously… in this forum people for some reason hate on the Caribsea Liferock… you DO NOT need to go get any other rock. The Liferock is totally good and fine. It is COMPLETELY POSSIBLE to cycle Liferock and people do it all the time. 

This @banasophia lol. Here in the UK the vast majority use dry rock and guess what... People have a tonne of success. This forum makes me laugh sometimes - people bang on about not clinging on to 'old school' thinking and then do exactly that. Dry rock is fantastic for a number of reasons and I've started all my tanks with it.

 

For the OP: as I'm sure you know this situation is not ideal, but we are where we are lol.

 

If it were me 'taking on this tank' I'd do a 90-100% water change with the RODI salt water and get it done quickly. I'd then add a splash more of the beneficial bacteria to help tide everything over and cross my fingers for those frags - because they're in for a rough ride!

 

Going forwards the essentials you'll want to monitor are temp and alk, aswell as calcium and magnesium down the line - the Salifert test kits are reliable and well regarded for this. pH is of course important but if you strive to keep the above in check then pH will wobble within an acceptable range.

 

Good luck!

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M320au
4 hours ago, stevie1493 said:

You may have already completed the WC today, but my thoughts on this are that clean, freshly mixed SW with RO/DI can only do good things for your tank when you are removing tap water (who knows what may be in that) with detectable Nitrite. You can do as large a WC as you want as long as temp, salinity, and pH are an EXACT match or very, very close. Smaller 10-25% or even 50% WC it is okay if temp is a few degrees off or sg is a little different, but when doing a large >75% WC I would make sure the aforementioned params are an exact match.

 

In your situation I would do just that. Mix fresh SW with RO/DI, match sg, temp, and pH, and do a >75% WC.

 

Good luck!

Thank you for the advice, my flat has resembled a desal plant for the past 18 hours but I’m now swimming in new RODI. And, although I haven’t done the water change just yet, the water is still heating, I’m pleased to report the monti may have turned the corner - today he’s showing 20-30 new bright Orange spots that weren’t there yesterday. Was tempted to leave the water change for another day or two given the positive signs but after reading your comment above I think I’ll just get on with it and hopefully it might just accelerate any turnaround.

 

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