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Question on water testing


Marlin

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I have a Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit. The question i have is the kit tells you when comparing test tube against color chart to "be in a well lit area" (no doh) and "the tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart". Now here comes my question...Do i put the tube "on" the card as to not allow any light to come from behind the tube? If i let some light come from behind the tube i have zero ammonia. If its right on the card then i have .5 ammonia. Nitrite is 0.0 and nitrate is 10. Tank has been set-up for 3 days with 12 hour light cycles.

 

The main reason i ask this is to confirm how "live" my rock is. I got the rock from a lfs and guy said it was "almost cured Fuji". The rocks have lots of nucks and cranys with small bits of green and red colors (but not much) also it looks like they all have small remnates of vegitation on them. Aside from 2 small feather dusters on one rock, i have found no other life/hitch hikers. Does this sound about right for new live rock? Is the rock "too cured" to properly cycle my tank ie should i add alittle fish food or a piece or shrimp?

 

Thank you for any light you can shed on this subject.

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The only way it wouldn't cycle your tank is if it was dead/almost dead base rock. You should be fine. Or really mature fully cured rock.

 

You could post some picks here though. I had a really bad experience with an LFS selling me base as Liverock and telling me it would be fine.

 

I've never used this type of test kit so I can't help here. What I do know is that the test I have is really obvious if ANY ammonia is present.

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Does the kit come with 2 vials that you slide the colored plastic piece into the left beside the water? If so, I just put the color chip into there and hold the entire vial in front of something white. Normally, I use a sheet of printer paper. You should be able to compare the color against one of the blocks on the color chip. HTH

 

Mel

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post-21171-1151956587_thumb.jpgpost-21171-1151956607_thumb.jpgthe kit im using has test tubes that you fill up with 5ml of water then add drops and wait a certian amounts of time to check color change using an inclosed color chart. If you hold it say half an inch from the chart and light shines though the tube from behind it, the color looks alot lighter then if you hold it against the chart.

 

I'm attaching a couple of pictures of my live rock...Idog, look like good live rock to you?

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It looks okay, but is hard to tell in that light. It's not base rock. While it shouldn't smell pungent, there is a definite cycling odour that should be present when you open your lid. Kinda like low tide... that is the die off smell and usually signifies the presence of ammonia being produced.

 

I would take my water in to the LFS for testing and definitely wait before adding anything living. Your ammonia is probably on the way up so test it at least once a day to catch the spike.

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post-21171-1151963097_thumb.jpgHere is a picure or the ammonia test result, where would this fit on the chart?

 

Oh, and i dont realy smell anything when i open the lid.

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To me that looks like 0. Test daily and it should stat to rise and then crescendo, fall while Nitrites rise and cescendo, then finally 'trates do the same. Be patient, You'll be into the green soon enough. If you go a week with no change, then there are 2 possibilities:

 

1- not enough live stuff on those rocks to start a cycle.

2- rock is fully cured and tank is cycled already.

 

if 1, toss in a raw peice of shrimp to start the decay process and start the cycle.

 

if 2, add a small cleanup crew and add subsequent livestock very slowly, as your tank may be cycled, but bacteria levels are very low. Once you have some ammonia producing animals in there it will reach a balance.

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I went ahead and did the other 2 basic tests

 

Nitrite was 0

Nitrate was 10

 

Does that help figure out which of the 2 possiablitys are more likely?

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FishTechNH

Be very careful with this brand of test kit as it is very inaccurate. Also, the light that you hold it under will change the readings colour. Best bet is to hold up by a window with direct sunlight coming through. The NO3 kit of this brand is very touchy. Be sure to vigorously shake the #2 reagent for no less than 30 seconds and then shake the vial well for 60 seconds after adding the reagent #2 or you will get a false low reading.

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I am more inclined to think that you are one of the lucky ones and just got fully cured live rock. This means that essentially your tank is cycled. You still need to be cautious however. Your tank parameters are balanced now, but bacteria levels are low due to 0 bioload. Your sand, which is huge part of your biological filtration is still basically "dead". Without a high bacteria load, your tank is susceptible to crazy nutrient swings as it does a bacterial balancing act to process wastes.

 

If I were you , I would get a very small cleanup crew. Maybe $10 of snails and crabs. Give them a pinch of food to eat. Wait a week or two and if they survive then add the rest of the cleaners. Wait another week or two and you can add a fish or corals. If all is going well keep up this pace. Of course you need to test frequently to catch the swings. Don't add any snake oil to soak up nitrate/ammonia, you need your tank to be able to do this on its own.

 

Keep us posted.

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Thank you for the help. Im going to test daily for anougher week to see what happens. I'm just a bit worried that my live rock isn't very alive. Aside from the 2 small feather dusters i have seen no signs of life. Will a couple of snails and hermits add any bio load to the system? If i did get well cured live rock and just need to slowly add live stock to build up the rocks ability to filter the water, will the snails/crabs start this process? You say "$10 worth"...prices vary greatly in this hobby it would seem, how may of each? Mabey 2-3 of each? I would get small ones (half the fun for me is watching stuff grow).

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What did you pay for the rock? Anything $4 or less from an LFS and you probably got base rock cured with the live stuff. Really good live rock will almost look "muddy" with all the die off.

 

I meant maybe 2 crabs and 2 snails. If you feed them then they shoud kick off the process. If your tank isn;t cycled they may not make it. They are a bit of a barometer.

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I payed the classic $8.99 per pound for my rock. When i did a slight rince before putting them in my tank i got some muck and stuff off of them, and still more after i put them in my tank.

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That sounds like you might have some really cured rock. I would at least hope for that price. I think you should be fine with adding the said clean up crew and watch and see what happens!

 

Looks good so far.

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Yeah, i payed alot but when your dealing with such a small amount of rock in a small tank, you really want to pick the sizes and shapes of your rock (something you cant do by mail order). I couldnt be more happy with the formation i created in my tank, i think it looks very natural and on scale with the size of the tank. I'll keep an eye on all my levels untill next weekend and if all are still good ill put in a couple crabs and a couple snalls. I'll just have to find a food for them as the tank really doesnt need "cleaning" yet.

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The other thing to keep in mind is that you will get a diatom/algae explosion as soon should the nutrients get out of whack. These are inevitable to all new tanks.

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gollum31548
Yeah, i payed alot but when your dealing with such a small amount of rock in a small tank, you really want to pick the sizes and shapes of your rock (something you cant do by mail order). I couldnt be more happy with the formation i created in my tank, i think it looks very natural and on scale with the size of the tank. I'll keep an eye on all my levels untill next weekend and if all are still good ill put in a couple crabs and a couple snalls. I'll just have to find a food for them as the tank really doesnt need "cleaning" yet.

 

I added a Reef Tank Tuneup crew from IPSF after my AquaPod 24 had been running for a month with a 4 inch DSB and 25 pounds of LR from DFS. I haven't put ANY food into the tank so far. The lights feed the algae and diatoms which feed the snails and hermits, their waste feed the bacteria which feed the copepods which feed the amphipods and so on and so forth. I am doing 2 gallon water replacements twice a week to keep the water quality high and it must be working because my tests are always quite good.

 

If your rock has a lot of brown stuff on it go ahead and put in some snails (Trochus sp preferrably) and some hermits. All the food they require for several weeks / months is right there on the rock already.

 

These little reefs are amazing. I had one (that I know of) Aptasia anemone located in a highly visible location which I had watched grow from just a nub to about 1/2 inch from base to tentacle tip. This morning there was just a shredded nub left, and now even the nub is gone. Somewhere in my tank is a worm which deserves a medal along with my heartfelt thanks !

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thats a good idea, but my tank is only 5 days old...the way the tank was cycling made it seem like i had lifeless rock or fully cured rock, i was just trying to figure out which it was. Now i'm seeing tons of pods moving around on the rocks and sand so im figuring the rock is cured or almost cured.

 

So in a nut shell...

 

tanks is 5 days old

13 lbs of cured live rock

15 lbs live sand

found 2 feather dusters that seem happy

tons of pod moving about

getting some green hair starting to grow

 

ammonia and nitrite has been 0.0 from day one

nitrate is 10

tank has never had any smell

 

with this info, what would you guys do?

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start stocking, but go very slowly.

 

Small cleaning crew first. If you overdo it, trouble awaits.

 

Do a search for "new tank syndrome"

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The other thing to keep in mind is that you will get a diatom/algae explosion as soon should the nutrients get out of whack. These are inevitable to all new tanks.

 

 

I wake up this morning to a nice brown layer on my sand bed...

 

this means my nutrients are out of whack?

 

Can you elaberate alittle on this subject?

 

My ammonia/nitrite/and nitrate are still good

 

Is a small clean-up crew still a way to go or should i hold off?

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Those are diatoms. They will plague your tank until it uses all the silica present in the system. This is the result of nutrient export. Nitrates, phosphates, and silicates are all being exported from your water and being deposited in this nice brown carpet. That is why your parameters are okay.

 

Time for a cleanup crew. You can help get rid of this by getting some Astrea, trocchus, turbo snails for the rocks/glass, and some nassarius snails for the sandbed. It will have to run its course. After diatoms usually come green algae blooms, hair algae, and cynanobacteria. It's a cycle that will subside in few months when the tank stabilizes.

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gollum31548
I wake up this morning to a nice brown layer on my sand bed...

 

this means my nutrients are out of whack?

 

Can you elaberate alittle on this subject?

 

My ammonia/nitrite/and nitrate are still good

 

Is a small clean-up crew still a way to go or should i hold off?

 

I would add a clean-up crew now. From your description a diatom bloom is starting to occur and Narita sp snails and some hermit crabs will chow down

on them happily. I recommend IPSF because their Reef Tank Tuneup crew

has kept my AquaPod squeeky clean (and the Strombus have started laying

egg sacks on the glass).

 

Just be sure to use a slow drip acclimation method for the inverts and you should be quite pleased with the results. My sand bed was starting to look pretty bad with a brown covering and some white hair-like accumulations and now it is pristine once again !

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chellekins29

Hmmm... no to hijack this thread but i think it goes hand in hand: so after diatoms comes green algae, hair, and cyano? That's where I am at and wonder what can be done about it. Or is it more a waiting game for the tank to stabilize?

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