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what to test during cycle


goochs

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My tank was started 4days ago and is cycleing with live rock.

I used distilled water to mix the salt and made sure the specific gravity was correct. My ph seems to hang around 7.8 to 8.0 and my kh/dh seems to be on the low side. The temp is 77~

I don't think I should be adjusting anything until the tank has cycled as long as it is close.. is that correct?

One thing I can't figure out is that I have had to add a little water because of evaporation and was figuring to find my sg to be high because water will evaporate before salt but it was just the opposite.. I needed to add a littel salt??

Should I monitor.. nitrite, nitrate??? Should I add a buffer??

 

My base is crushed coral and shell which I thought would be more than enough buffer.

 

Thanks

Phil

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I am very new to the hobby, but the pH seems a bit on the low side. I think that over 8.0 is suggested. Usually this is achieved with salt and with a buffer containing substrate. Also, increasing your KH (carbonate hardness) will increase your pH (more basic/less acidic).

 

Evaporating water for the most part is pure water. The chemistry involved in evaporation is complicated, but it is pretty safe to assume that solids do not evaporate with the water (dissolved liquids on the other hand will evaporate with the water). You should be replacing evaporation with DI or RO water to keep the sg constant.

 

When cycling first test amonia. Look for a spike. When those spike high, watch for nitrites. The nitrites will also spike. At that time, start watching nitrates. When the nitrates go up the other two should hopefully be low. Do water changes. You want NH4 and NO2 at zero. Nitrates will be detectable just becaue there is some load in there, but they should still remain low. How low depends on what you plan to keep.

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did you mix the salt and water in the tank initially? if you did not get a good mix between the two, it may have messed up your initial reading. fresh sw should be mixed outside the tank to allow pH and sg to stabilize before adding to tank. you should only have to top off with fresh water. no need to add buffers during a cycle. it'll be chronically low during the cycle because of the organic acids from waste and die-off. if you must test at min measure nitrite. i used the nitrite/nitrate test from seachem. i don't even have an ammonia test kit.

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My sg tester is one of those glass floating ones and my method might have been off. I know take a sample and test the sample out of the tank. I think the huge current my filter is creating acually was pulling the glass bulb down. SG is good now. I'm still surprised at ph but when my new probe for my old pinpoint comes I'll be able to be more precise. For now I will just check the nitrite/nitrate and log those, later maybe alkalinity.

Thanks

Phil

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