New to saltwater - few questions

xxAlexxx23

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So i started up my 20 gallon nano reef tank about a month ago and i had recently put a few corals and some fish in there.

Now in the tank i have a protein skimmer, heater, wave maker and LED lighting. I was curious as to if i would also need a hang on the back filter with the protein skimmer because i started to realize that there are waste floating around and just ends up sitting on the sand. Could use some advice/assistance.

Also, the protein skimmer makes the tank very "bubbly" if that is the correct word for it i feel like it just doesn't look correct and might need to add on the filter to help it out.

Also salinity level on the water is at 31 slightly under 32
 
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Colin_T

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If there are fine bubbles in the tank from the protein skimmer, you need to put a course sponge over the outlet of the skimmer to stop the fine bubbles getting into the water.

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If you have lots of live rock in the tank and not many fish, you don't need a power filter to remove ammonia and nitrite because the rock does it for you. However, you will need something to clean up the poop that floats around the tank and an external power filter will help with that.

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Also salinity level on the water is at 31 slightly under 32
Not sure what that reading is but you want the salinity around 1.022- 1.026
 
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xxAlexxx23

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If there are fine bubbles in the tank from the protein skimmer, you need to put a course sponge over the outlet of the skimmer to stop the fine bubbles getting into the water.

---------------
If you have lots of live rock in the tank and not many fish, you don't need a power filter to remove ammonia and nitrite because the rock does it for you. However, you will need something to clean up the poop that floats around the tank and an external power filter will help with that.

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Not sure what that reading is but you want the salinity around 1.022- 1.026
I have two big pieces of live rock but i test my water and i have high nitrate and nitrite. I did a water change yesterday and tested the water again this morning and it is still high.

Nitrite reading - 2.0 ppm
Nitrate reading - 40 ppm
Ammonia reading - 0.50 ppm

I could use some major help on this
 

Colin_T

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Your tank is still cycling. If there are no fish, shrimp or corals in the tank, just leave it to run until the ammonia and nitrite levels have dropped to 0ppm. Then do a big water change and add some live stock.

If you have fish, shrimp, corals or anemones in the tank now, do a 80-90% water change to dilute the ammonia and nitrite levels.

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Don't bother testing for nitrates until the tank has finished cycling because nitrate test kits will read nitrites as nitrates and give you a false reading.
 
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xxAlexxx23

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Your tank is still cycling. If there are no fish, shrimp or corals in the tank, just leave it to run until the ammonia and nitrite levels have dropped to 0ppm. Then do a big water change and add some live stock.

If you have fish, shrimp, corals or anemones in the tank now, do a 80-90% water change to dilute the ammonia and nitrite levels.

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Don't bother testing for nitrates until the tank has finished cycling because nitrate test kits will read nitrites as nitrates and give you a false reading.
unfortunately i do have fish, shrimp, and corals in there. When i did the test strips my water was perfectly fine and it was ready for fish but after that everything skyrocketed. Kind of scared to start losing my corals and fish one by one.
 

Colin_T

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Stop feeding them and do a 90% water change every day until the ammonia and nitrite levels are 0ppm.

If you are using artificial marine salts, make the salt water up 24 hours before you use it.

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Get a bottle of liquid bacterial supplement (beneficial filter bacteria) and add a double dose every day for a week, then pour the remainder into the tank. Try to add the bacteria near the filter intake so it gets sucked into the filter where it's needed.

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Keep the tank lights on for 16 hours a day to encourage algae. The algae will use some of the ammonia. When the tank has cycled, you can reduce the lighting time and wipe the algae off, but wait until the tank has cycled.
 
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xxAlexxx23

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Stop feeding them and do a 90% water change every day until the ammonia and nitrite levels are 0ppm.

If you are using artificial marine salts, make the salt water up 24 hours before you use it.

-----
Get a bottle of liquid bacterial supplement (beneficial filter bacteria) and add a double dose every day for a week, then pour the remainder into the tank. Try to add the bacteria near the filter intake so it gets sucked into the filter where it's needed.

-----
Keep the tank lights on for 16 hours a day to encourage algae. The algae will use some of the ammonia. When the tank has cycled, you can reduce the lighting time and wipe the algae off, but wait until the tank has cycled.
As of right now i only have a protein skimmer running as a filter. I think im going to purchase a hang on the back one as well to help.

UPDATE - I went and purchased an over the back filter for the tank just now. Talked to my LFS and they said to do a 2 gallon water change and add bacteria (cap full) everyday for the next 4 days.
 
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Colin_T

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A 2 gallon water change on a 20 gallon tank is not going to do anything to reduce ammonia or nitrite. And in a marine tank with a pH of 8.5, you need to get the ammonia down to 0ppm asap. The more time the fish are exposed to ammonia in that pH, the more chance of them dying.

The easiest way to reduce ammonia and nitrite is to do a massive water change. The bigger the water change, the more it will dilute the ammonia and nitrite and the less that will remain after the change.
 
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xxAlexxx23

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A 2 gallon water change on a 20 gallon tank is not going to do anything to reduce ammonia or nitrite. And in a marine tank with a pH of 8.5, you need to get the ammonia down to 0ppm asap. The more time the fish are exposed to ammonia in that pH, the more chance of them dying.

The easiest way to reduce ammonia and nitrite is to do a massive water change. The bigger the water change, the more it will dilute the ammonia and nitrite and the less that will remain after the change.
So i did a water change of 50% last Wednesday and have been dosing the tank with bacteria every single day till yesterday went to get my water tested and Ammonia and pH were fine, my nitrites were really high according to what my LFS said.

Tank is still not fully cycled i guess and i need to keep dosing it with bacteria still
 

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