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1 Week Old 15 gal in office ... next steps?

Jeffrey Richard

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Jeffrey Richard

My 15 gallon reef tank is one week old today … looking for advice on next steps.


Here are “the facts” …

- standard 15 Gallon glass tank

- 96 watt Coralife Powerquad PC w 50/50 bulb

- 2 Maxijet 400s with sponge prefilters for circulation

- AC500 fug with sand, rock and chaeto, also have a bag of Chemipure in fug

- 9 watt Allglass PC screw-in bulb to light fug

- 20 lbs of established live rock I obtained from a local hobbyist; includes Xenia, Polyps, Mushrooms, Green Star Polyp

- 1.5 inch layer of live sand (from the same hobbyist)


History …

- mixed up salt & water a week ago last Wednesday … ran in my tank for a day and a ½

- tested water on Monday … Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, pH = 8.1

- Most of the life was doing well, except the Xenia … it is “wilted” and “shriveled “

- Added rock and sand on Friday last (2/10) … no fug and lighting was “temporary “ standard florescent bulbs (3 20 watt) … waiting on replacement PC Powerquad bulb

- Added fug, chaeto and some mushrooms on Wednesday Feb 15

- 20% water change on Friday, Feb 17 … tested water; Ammonia = 0, Nitite = 0, pH = 8.1, Nitrate = 5 ppm. Added spoonful of Seachem Marine Buffer


NEXT STEPS … I want to add clean-up crew next week

- 3-4 Red Legged hermits

- Snails … 3 or 4 each of Trochus, Super Tongan Nassarius, Cerith

- 3 sexy shrimp


Any reason not to add as the water parameters seem fine?


Following week – pair of Percula clowns


Please comment/advise



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Your water parameters are fine now. the cycling of your tank might not have started in full yet, I would suggest before adding any "fish" wait at least 1 month, having your water parameters staying all at 0. Clean up crews can handle a spike here and there, but I wouldn’t go adding a pair of clowns in the tank until you a sure the tank has fully cycled. a tank can take up to 2 months to finish all cycles.


What type of filtration are you using?

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Ditto - slow down and be patient.


You're live rock came from an established tank so you may not see much in the way of ammonia or nitite spikes. The presence of some nitrate indicates that the tank has some capacity to complete the nitrogen cycle. What you are waiting for is for that capacity to increase to the point of being able to tolerate more inhabitants.


Adding a clean up crew or fish too soon will overwhelm that capacity and the waste that is produced by the new inhabitants and food will surely result in some unwanted spikes.


As far as the xenia goes. That stuff is tempermental. it will shrivel up and look bad one day then come right back the next. Just have to see what happens.


A word about the "cycle". It never really ends, if it did our tanks would be in trouble. In fact the goal is to build the capacity of the system to constantly cycle the wastes produced. It's a matter of maintaining equillibrium in the system.

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