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Thread: Lab_Rat's first SW experience
06-08-2010, 05:53 AM #1
Lab_Rat's first SW experience
Figured I'd start up a journal to catalog my learning experience with my first sw tank. I picked up a 24g Aquapod with stand, live rock, sand, a pencil urchin, and various snails and hermit crabs on Saturday. First thing I did was take the pencil urchin to the LFS where he's on consignment. I know the tank is likely to hit a mini-cycle since I've disrupted everything and I didn't want to have to worry about the urchin. Also, I don't have any desire to keep an urchin at this point.
I rinsed all the sand as well as I could with clean saltwater. There are tons of bristleworms in the sand and live rock. I also rinsed the live rock. I just threw all the live rock and stuff in the tank, with a half and half mix of sw I mixed myself and sw premixed from the LFS. I will be buying all my sw from the LFS as it's cheaper than investing in a RO/DI unit and mixing my own.
Yesterday there were billions of bristleworms all over the tank. At first I thought they were pretty, but it's just too many. Today many of them had died off. The tank was smelly and it is in full swing cycle wise.
Nitrite 0.125 (trace)
pH is low at 7.8 and I can't figure out why
sg also dropped...when I mixed the sw it was 1.022, today it was 1.019 and I haven't added any water. Maybe I mixed it wrong when I mixed the stuff for half of the water. Maybe the two jugs of LFS premixed water varied. I'll be sure to check each jug from now on.
I vacuumed out as many of the dead bristleworms as I could. Unfortunately the large hermit crab and the large snail died. I've pulled as many of the snails and hermit crabs out as I could find. They're in a temporary holding tank so they will not be exposed to the cycle. I wish I'd pulled them out yesterday. I probably caused this cycle by messing up the pH/sg somehow.
Some pics of the cloudy tank. The filtration on this thing doesn't seem strong, I need to look into it more and make sure I'm not missing anything. I need to get a couple of pumps for more circulation. Tank is cloudy because I keep sticking my hands in to snag crabs and snails.
The snails and crabs in their temporary, ammonia free home:
Originally Posted by i_am_511
06-08-2010, 06:27 AM #2
7.8 isnt terrible, for a FOWLR I probably wouldnt do more than add some Seachem Reef Buffer. My guess is your salt has to low of a dKH and to high of a Calcium level to support higher pH levels. Also could be your tap is to blame...either way the Reef Buffer is a cheap fix. I use it once weekly to keep my reef at 8.0...you could also try adding some fresh aragonite sand. It also takes SW around 24hrs of mixing to level out to its true reading.
Scape looks nice, hopefully the spike subsides soon20G High-Tech Planted|50G High-Tech Planted|50G Goldfish Tank|56G Column Low-Tech Planted
4x75Gs coming soon
06-08-2010, 12:14 PM #3
Just wanted to say congrats on the tank and good luck with your first SW experience. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this as I want to do SW someday and following along with your experiences on it will help me to learn some of the basics.
Keep us posted and good luck.
06-08-2010, 02:33 PM #4
Sorry about the die off. I missed the part about reusing the old sand.
If you ever do it again, buy new sand, and then seed it with a handful of the old stuff...that's what most of the guys around here are doing...and most have moved tanks successfully...
Otherwise...looks good! Nice rock.55 g Goldfish Tank - 5 Fancies, 2 Dojos
25 g Tropical Tank - Celestial Pearl Danio/Mixed
06-08-2010, 11:47 PM #5
Thanks guys! Rue, Travie did tell me I should get new sand. I just didn't understand why perfectly good substrate should be trashed at that time...now I do! Jenn, I picked up some of the Seachem Reef Buffer. I'm going to wait and see what happens before adding any.
Last night I added enough salt to get the sg up to 1.021. Today the sg was still holding at 1.021 and the pH had increased slightly, to an estimated 7.9. I'm going to add more salt and aim for a sg of 1.024. We'll see where the pH goes to at that sg. I'm sure I underdosed the salt when I made the water the first time since I measured sg just a few minutes after I mixed it all up. Now I know better.
Today's readings (Day 3):
The cycle seems to be in full swing. I'm so glad I got the snails and crabs out of there last night. Today I gravel vacced up a bunch more bristleworms. I think the dying bristleworms are raising ammonia causing more dying bristleworms. I guess that's one way to cut down on the population. It was amazing how many there were (and still are). I'll continue vaccing them up until there are no more on the surface. Any that stay hidden can stay in the tank. I just don't need a million of them.Originally Posted by i_am_511
06-09-2010, 10:26 PM #6
I added more salt yesterday, but am being conservative so I don't overshoot the sg.
Today's readings (Day 4):
pH 7.7 (I think due to organic die off)
I'll be adding more salt today. The snails and crabs are doing well in their temporary tank.Originally Posted by i_am_511
06-09-2010, 10:45 PM #7
How are you adding salt to the tank?
Topping off with pre-mixed SW, doing a partial water change with greater salinity replacement water or adding salt directly to the tank?
Lighting question: are you keeping the tank lights on for any length of time?African cichlid and saltwater aquariums
06-09-2010, 11:03 PM #8
0Originally Posted by kaybee
I'm keeping the lights on for about 7-8 hours a day (from when I get home until I go to bed). I've been just turning the regular lamp on for the most part, should I be running both lamps (regular and actinic)?Originally Posted by i_am_511
06-10-2010, 12:04 AM #9
Sounds like you're doing everything right!55 g Goldfish Tank - 5 Fancies, 2 Dojos
25 g Tropical Tank - Celestial Pearl Danio/Mixed
06-10-2010, 01:04 AM #10
Oh boy.. I can't wait until I get myself into a SW tank, I'm gunna keep you guys busy, anyway, thanks for posting a thread, it'll be good to see what problems arise and how they can handled!