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M320au

New member + cycling fatigue

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M320au
9 hours ago, banasophia said:

What’s the ammonia level? 

Zero ammonia. It’s the one I am watching the closest.

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M320au
10 hours ago, rough eye said:

i don't know how long it's been since you added the clownfish or if anyone mentioned that you should wait a month between adding fishes to allow the biological filter to adjust and establish.

Clown was in for 3 weeks. I had read somewhere to wait 1 week between fish so figured that 3 weeks for two should be ok - albeit, cycle wasn’t yet fully complete at the time he was added obviously.

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Tired

Two weeks is about the bare minimum you want to wait before adding more fish. A month is better. 

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M320au

Another update, as I commence week 9, my nitrites are still above 5 and showing no sign of dropping. It’s been a little stressful because my new Banggai cardinals, which I now believe to be wild caught and imported from Indonesia, refused to eat anything until today - 9 days since added. I tried pellets, frozen mysIs with garlic, frozen brine shrimp with garlic, not even the slightest of interest. Tipping all this food into the tank in the hope of whetting their appetite had the obvious impact of ammonia rising to 0.1ppm, this triggering another 50% WC and a day of no food which thankfully immediately resolved it. Today I unveiled my last offer, live black worms, and thankfully they’ve chowed down a heap and stuffed themselves full. LFS tells me I need to wean them off the black worms ASAP -  by ‘nearly starving them if necessary’ - and gave me some of his the pellets he claims he fed them up I suspect didn’t. For today, I’m just super relieved they’re eating at last, and therefore presumably not about to die. In preparation for the food games ahead, I’ve dropped in four hermit crabs this evening. Certainly hasn’t been a straightforward few weeks but the moment these nitrites finally drop I hope it will be smooth sailing!

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Tired

Do you have a good supply of blackworms? If so, give them a good few days to stuff themselves on worms before you even think of trying anything else. Don't nearly starve them after they've already been away from food for that long. Maybe mix some frozen or similar food in with the blackworms, see if they eat any accidentally while going for the worms. 

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M320au
4 hours ago, Tired said:

Do you have a good supply of blackworms? If so, give them a good few days to stuff themselves on worms before you even think of trying anything else. Don't nearly starve them after they've already been away from food for that long. Maybe mix some frozen or similar food in with the blackworms, see if they eat any accidentally while going for the worms. 

Yes, I’ve got a weeks supply of black worms. So happy days for the cardinalfish ahead. Clownfish can’t believe his luck having been served a smorgasbord of different foods 3 times a day over the past week, he’s starting to look a little podgy even.

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Critteraholic

I read this thread and I say the same thing. Stop testing and doing water changes at the drop of a hat. 🙂  I'm not trying to be nasty. You've got nitrate, had diatoms and now normal algae, so you're done. You're cycled. I've read and talked to people who have had problems with ammonia products that detoxify the ammonia screwing up their tests. You might be getting weird nitrite readings because of the test fluids reacting with whatever is in the bottles.  Some of this could also still be in your rocks regardless of the water changes. I don't ever test for nitrites in saltwater cause it really isn't much of an issue.  (Now my freshwater tanks are another story.) So I feel you're making yourself crazy for nothing. You are cycled, your tank says so.

 

As for your overfeeding / ammonia issues, the ammonia should have been gone no later than the next day. You will always have an ammonia reading in the hours after feeding. The majority of animals like to relieve themselves after eating. Plus you have to give your clean-up crew time to clean-up. And that's also why you have bacteria on your rocks. To take care of the nitrifying cycle.  And at the level you listed for the ammonia, it wouldn't have bothered anyone.  So no water change needed. 

 

You tank is doing well. You're taking good care of it. And it's cycled and looks good. But there's such a thing as too much care. If you keep correcting everything, you're taking away your tanks ability to learn how to stabilize itself. It will make enough bacteria to help keep the ammonia down if you feed a bit much. But you denied it the chance to do so with the water change and not feeding the next day. Long term this will slow down your tanks maturation. Also, by not feeding the fish, you're not getting any poop. Fish poop is full of nutrients that have been broken down enough for the corals to feed on them. Your hammer will adore you for the extra feedings. 😄 It's time to let your tank grow!

 

Side note on your cardinals. Caves for them to hide in can help them calm down if you're willing to add more rock.

 

Good Luck! And have fun!!!

 

PS:  Love the way you designed your sand bed!

 

 

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M320au

Hmm, well after being so fussy about food they nearly starved themselves to death, one of my banggai cardinals has now become quite aggressive towards my beautiful friendly harmless young male clown that was in the tank 3 weeks before him. He’s constantly swimming right up against him, in front of him, pushing him against the wall of the tank, occasionally nipping at him, taking his food. Total bullying even to me who knows nothing about fish behaviour. Oddly enough the clownfish (coco) doesn’t seem to care and hasn’t retaliated to the provocation in the slightest - he just keeps wiggling his way around seemingly oblivious. The other banggai seems ambivalent and hides in a cave. Only the 3 of them in the tank. I thought the banggai cardinals were a peaceful fish? Is this just a game of dominance? One thing I certainly feel like doing is cutting off the supply of blackworms, going back to the mysIs shrimp, and letting  the clownfish gorge himself while the banggai’s watch, too fussy to eat it themselves. Might clownfish need a mate to balance things up?

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M. Tournesol
3 minutes ago, M320au said:

Hmm, well after being so fussy about food they nearly starved themselves to death, one of my banggai cardinals has now become quite aggressive towards my beautiful friendly harmless young male clown that was in the tank 3 weeks before him. He’s constantly swimming right up against him, in front of him, pushing him against the wall of the tank, occasionally nipping at him, taking his food. Total bullying even to me who knows nothing about fish behaviour. Oddly enough the clownfish (coco) doesn’t seem to care and hasn’t retaliated to the provocation in the slightest - he just keeps wiggling his way around seemingly oblivious. The other banggai seems ambivalent and hides in a cave. Only the 3 of them in the tank. I thought the banggai cardinals were a peaceful fish? Is this just a game of dominance? One thing I certainly feel like doing is cutting off the supply of blackworms, going back to the mysIs shrimp, and letting  the clownfish gorge himself while the banggai’s watch, too fussy to eat it themselves. Might clownfish need a mate to balance things up?

you could do black worms + mysis shrimp.

Since your cardinals don't seems to eat pellet, you could also feed pellet for your clown fish.

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rough eye

my fish haven't been very fond of mysis so i don't feed it often. do you have other frozen foods?

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Tired

If the clownfish isn't stressed, and all parties get enough food, that's probably fine. 

 

The cardinals might be stressed due to former hunger, and now have enough energy to act on that stress. Feed them really well and give them a bit to settle. 

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Jakesaw
3 hours ago, rough eye said:

my fish haven't been very fond of mysis so i don't feed it often. do you have other frozen foods?

My fish " LOVE " Brine shrimp, and eat Mysis.  I rotate foods to keep a balanced nutrition.  Got some flake ( had to train ) Mysis, Brine, and pellets.  

 

My clown's favoritism ranking is 

1) Brine shrimp

2) Mysis

3) Flake

4) Pellets

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M320au

Yay at last! Today my nitrites have dropped substantially - I can’t find the card but it’s suddenly right down in the light blue instead of that damn dark purple. 10 weeks to the day since I started! And I’m finally getting an accurate reading on nitrates, which are only 10 - presumably since I changed the water so many times before now. Cycle finished!! No deaths!! And 3 very happy, now slightly fat, fish. Thank you all for the help in getting here! Next addition will be a cleaner shrimp I suspect.

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M320au
On 9/24/2021 at 1:31 AM, Tired said:

If the clownfish isn't stressed, and all parties get enough food, that's probably fine. 

 

The cardinals might be stressed due to former hunger, and now have enough energy to act on that stress. Feed them really well and give them a bit to settle. 

After a week of live blackworms twice a day, everybody is now best of friends and happy to hang out to have a chat.

 

FF148097-5DAA-454D-ACE7-3C1FB5FA6246.jpeg

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banasophia
2 hours ago, M320au said:

Yay at last! Today my nitrites have dropped substantially - I can’t find the card but it’s suddenly right down in the light blue instead of that damn dark purple. 10 weeks to the day since I started! And I’m finally getting an accurate reading on nitrates, which are only 10 - presumably since I changed the water so many times before now. Cycle finished!! No deaths!! And 3 very happy, now slightly fat, fish. Thank you all for the help in getting here! Next addition will be a cleaner shrimp I suspect.

My understanding is that it’s best to wait longer to add shrimp because they can be sensitive… be sure to do some research on this. 

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Tired

Yeah, you definitely don't want to add a cleaner shrimp right after your cycle has finished. 

 

What is that below the cardinal on the right? Looks a bit like a coral. 

 

Good to hear they're all getting along. The cardinals probably just needed some time to settle.

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M320au
2 hours ago, banasophia said:

My understanding is that it’s best to wait longer to add shrimp because they can be sensitive… be sure to do some research on this. 

Ok, will do. Thank you!

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M320au
2 hours ago, Tired said:

 

What is that below the cardinal on the right? Looks a bit like a coral. 

It’s a bright yellow gonipora flowerpot. About 2 weeks old and now finally coming out to party quite nicely. Seems to be an item of discussion this afternoon. My banggai’s are seriously beautiful. I’m starting to suspect they might be a couple.

 

89508B6A-EE15-4727-A52D-0ECDF443931E.jpeg

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Clown79

I had similar issues with my bangaii. It would only eat mysis.

I finally got it to eat tiny pellets by mixing them with the mysis. But this took time.

 

It refused to eat flakes or large pellets. It would spit them out 

 

It loved going after phyto when i dosed phyto.

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Tired

Ah, if you've got happy corals, you shouldn't need to wait long to add a cleaner shrimp. Best to just have some precautionary delay, I think. 

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M320au
On 9/28/2021 at 3:30 AM, Tired said:

Ah, if you've got happy corals, you shouldn't need to wait long to add a cleaner shrimp. Best to just have some precautionary delay, I think. 

Just an update to report that everyone is very happy and tank seems to have properly settled at last. Nitrites have been zero for 2-3 weeks, ammonia obviously zero also, nitrates hovering around 8-12 however I am doing 10-20% water changes every Sunday to keep that in check and it is falling rather than rising. Have expanded my test regime to include calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium given I am mostly growing LPS - are safely within optimum params. Corals seem to be thriving, banggai cardinals are occasionally even swallowing the odd brine shrimp by accident, and even my new cleaner shrimp has settled in beautifully after 2 weeks also. So far, the only fish willing to be cleaned is the clown - and only then by duress - but cleaner shrimp is turning out to be quite a character and if I don’t feed him directly he still seems to find a meal pretty soon after tank feeding time.

 

At last, I think i’m happily settled. Thanks everyone for the help getting here. Will post some new pics soon.

 

M

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mcarroll
On 9/20/2021 at 5:18 AM, M320au said:

Another update, as I commence week 9, my nitrites are still above 5 and showing no sign of dropping. It’s been a little stressful because my new Banggai cardinals, which I now believe to be wild caught and imported from Indonesia, refused to eat anything until today - 9 days since added. I tried pellets, frozen mysIs with garlic, frozen brine shrimp with garlic, not even the slightest of interest. Tipping all this food into the tank in the hope of whetting their appetite had the obvious impact of ammonia rising to 0.1ppm, this triggering another 50% WC and a day of no food which thankfully immediately resolved it. Today I unveiled my last offer, live black worms, and thankfully they’ve chowed down a heap and stuffed themselves full. LFS tells me I need to wean them off the black worms ASAP -  by ‘nearly starving them if necessary’ - and gave me some of his the pellets he claims he fed them up I suspect didn’t. For today, I’m just super relieved they’re eating at last, and therefore presumably not about to die. In preparation for the food games ahead, I’ve dropped in four hermit crabs this evening. Certainly hasn’t been a straightforward few weeks but the moment these nitrites finally drop I hope it will be smooth sailing!

Unless you've been exaggerating your stress levels it seems like you could be in the wrong hobby.  Other hobbies, even freshwater, are much less full of surprises and adventure...might be better suited to your pace as well.  What a stressful thread just to read, let alone to experience!  After reading, I'm literally sorry you've gone through this so far...it doesn't seem like you're enjoying anything.

 

If you want to progress, my suggestion is to slow down your pace (even more), select one or two old books on the topic and read them.  Anything from the 1850s onward, really.  And just notice as much as you can about how they started a tank in the period when the book was being written, what the concerns were at that time, and notice the differences and similarities with what you've been told to date, and try to go from there.  None of the relevant factors have changed since then....bacteria, fish, corals, et al, act just like they did back then.  Our approaches have just become more convoluted and in many cases less informed....all of which would obviously make things harder for the newb.

 

Reading should shed a lot of light on both right and wrong things you're being told here and at the LFS which don't seem to be registering (very much) now.  Some things... Bacterial additives and the convention of "fishless cycling" are completely distracting and unnecessary to what's happening between a newbie and a new reef tank, for example.  Ammonia chemistry, as it applies to us, has gotten a fair treatment in a number of books over the years – there's no good reason for folks to believe that nitrites are toxic in saltwater, yet it's still a commonly held belief in 2021.  Maybe more to the point, there's no good reason to even be aware of nitrites – if you did your tank the old fashioned way (the slow, natural method) you wouldn't need to be.  Testing and chasing the numbers has been nothing but distracting and stressful to you, in your case.  All of that distraction and stress could have been replaced with an AmmoAlert badge...or even just 30-40 days of patience.  (Yes, a complete cycle will happen by itself, without intervention, in 30-40 days.  The bacteria involved are like that.)

 

Folks have been successfully starting reef tanks since the 1850's – more successfully in some cases than many newbs posting threads through the 2000's.  Everything new in the hobby is more or less unneeded or a mere convenience, sometimes even detrimental to the tank or our experiences...but it's essentially impossible to see or know any of that as a newbie taking in the hobby through social media.  That seems especially true of the last 5+ years.

 

Lots of words....hopefully some of it will be helpful as you move forward!  Sorry for your experience so far....

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banasophia
4 hours ago, M320au said:

Just an update to report that everyone is very happy and tank seems to have properly settled at last. Nitrites have been zero for 2-3 weeks, ammonia obviously zero also, nitrates hovering around 8-12 however I am doing 10-20% water changes every Sunday to keep that in check and it is falling rather than rising. Have expanded my test regime to include calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium given I am mostly growing LPS - are safely within optimum params. Corals seem to be thriving, banggai cardinals are occasionally even swallowing the odd brine shrimp by accident, and even my new cleaner shrimp has settled in beautifully after 2 weeks also. So far, the only fish willing to be cleaned is the clown - and only then by duress - but cleaner shrimp is turning out to be quite a character and if I don’t feed him directly he still seems to find a meal pretty soon after tank feeding time.

 

At last, I think i’m happily settled. Thanks everyone for the help getting here. Will post some new pics soon.

 

M

Glad things are going well, looking forward seeing some new pics.
 

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Tired

I wouldn't chase those nitrates. 12ppm is a perfectly reasonable level, you don't really want to be lowering it. Low nutrients in a new tank is a great way to get dinoflagellates. Half that much nitrate would probably be fine, but there's no sense in intentionally lowering a level that doesn't need changing.

 

Sounds like your tank is cycled, and has things in it to enjoy. Now you get to watch everything grow! 

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banasophia
On 10/12/2021 at 6:26 AM, mcarroll said:

Unless you've been exaggerating your stress levels it seems like you could be in the wrong hobby.  Other hobbies, even freshwater, are much less full of surprises and adventure...might be better suited to your pace as well.  What a stressful thread just to read, let alone to experience!  After reading, I'm literally sorry you've gone through this so far...it doesn't seem like you're enjoying anything.

 

If you want to progress, my suggestion is to slow down your pace (even more), select one or two old books on the topic and read them.  Anything from the 1850s onward, really.  And just notice as much as you can about how they started a tank in the period when the book was being written, what the concerns were at that time, and notice the differences and similarities with what you've been told to date, and try to go from there.  None of the relevant factors have changed since then....bacteria, fish, corals, et al, act just like they did back then.  Our approaches have just become more convoluted and in many cases less informed....all of which would obviously make things harder for the newb.

 

Reading should shed a lot of light on both right and wrong things you're being told here and at the LFS which don't seem to be registering (very much) now.  Some things... Bacterial additives and the convention of "fishless cycling" are completely distracting and unnecessary to what's happening between a newbie and a new reef tank, for example.  Ammonia chemistry, as it applies to us, has gotten a fair treatment in a number of books over the years – there's no good reason for folks to believe that nitrites are toxic in saltwater, yet it's still a commonly held belief in 2021.  Maybe more to the point, there's no good reason to even be aware of nitrites – if you did your tank the old fashioned way (the slow, natural method) you wouldn't need to be.  Testing and chasing the numbers has been nothing but distracting and stressful to you, in your case.  All of that distraction and stress could have been replaced with an AmmoAlert badge...or even just 30-40 days of patience.  (Yes, a complete cycle will happen by itself, without intervention, in 30-40 days.  The bacteria involved are like that.)

 

Folks have been successfully starting reef tanks since the 1850's – more successfully in some cases than many newbs posting threads through the 2000's.  Everything new in the hobby is more or less unneeded or a mere convenience, sometimes even detrimental to the tank or our experiences...but it's essentially impossible to see or know any of that as a newbie taking in the hobby through social media.  That seems especially true of the last 5+ years.

 

Lots of words....hopefully some of it will be helpful as you move forward!  Sorry for your experience so far....


 

Hey @mcarroll, you gonna enter the new contest that just started? I’d love to see what you come up with for a nano-reef. You just have the 125 g right now, right? Is this your tank?

B0170FFB-5526-47B3-A197-B3B251211679.thumb.jpeg.af951ef3be1a5c0cf7cb13b68e20a7e5.jpeg

 

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