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Saltwater 1st time! - maybe I shoudn't..

Discussion in 'Marine and Reef Chit Chat' started by agusf, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. agusf

    agusf Member

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    Hey fish hobbyists!

    *****small personal intro here
    so I actually first came to this forum 8 years ago (seems like forever ago) I was 14 and started a 200 liter freshwater tank, I enjoyed it a lot. posted quite a bit and learned soo much too. Since then though I haven't been active at all. I actually had to go on a bit of a scavenger hunt to find my account I forgot this was the exact forum LOL! Not that I stopped keeping an interest in the hobby, had little projects and tanks here and there and helped others with theirs.
    ***

    Now as of late I've been wanting to start a new tank; and with the purchase of a 38 gallon bow front the intent is now serious. I've also acquired some other materials that constitute most of the heavy financial investment. Like the aquarium itself, most are all second hand but in great condition - including a huge canister filter that could probably serve 90+ gallons, backup filter, huge heater, two backup heaters, automatic feeder, air pump, gravel hand filter/pump, water conditioner. I was first thinking of just going freshwater since its what I know, but then I figure why not saltwater considering I have the background hobby experience and this will be a fun new challenge to reinvigorate the hobby. I'll document lots of the process and constantly update here so that I can learn from the community as I did with freshwater. Is there another forum that I should keep a thread to document it? Right now I mostly had some big questions that I need to act on-

    So, going off of my prior experience I'm aware that it may take several months for my tank to start to look like what I want it to be. I'll have to cycle it and all. Is algae as serious of a problem? god I hated algae in freshwater. is the nitrogen cycle quite the same - ammonium->ammonia->nitrite->nitrate?
    Are there such a thing as starter fish for saltwater tanks?

    I'll be leaving my apartment for 3 weeks on Sunday, and being considerate of the time it takes to start up a tank I thought well just maybe I can capitalize on that time by leaving the filter running.
    Will that do anything - like especially if there's nothing in there i.e. no starter fish? is it even worth investing in any starter fish in there while I'm gone? Also, I'm interested in getting live rock in the tank; how long into the process does that take; does it bring the difficulty up by much? I did learn, with freshwater, the difficulties that switching from fake plants to real ones brought in, and the additional additives, special lighting, light timing, and plant-friendly fish species I added. Like does live rock require UV light?

    And then, what I'm mostly needing to consider now... is what else should I consider investing in. I read protein skimmers are important, not necessary, but they will lessen the maintenance required by the tank; i.e. lengthen the interval between water replacement. I read venturi skimmers are the best. I found a 2nd hand venturi listed for sale here -
    https://us.letgo.com/us/i/red-sea-c...-skimmer_04677f81-f814-49a2-84d9-37bd2e4b6388
    would this be a good buy?

    There's more to ask. Like, I'm thinking about mounting a shelf to put my aquarium on. Which I know sounds like a terrible idea, but I'm no novice handyman either. I've mounted TVs and such, so I know I'd have to bolt the rack supports onto the studs. And even then, I just thought I could also add a leg at the point farthest from the wall.
     
    #1 agusf, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  2. NickAu

    NickAu Member
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    Hi

    These things are rubbish and thats where they belong, do not use it.
     
  3. agusf

    agusf Member

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    is 140 liters so small that an automatic feeder would really put the nitrogen cycle out of whack? I remember having one years ago and having it on the lowest setting, so it just helped to maintain a feed consistency and I could supplement the rest as needed. I don't remember learning how to tell when fish needed to be fed again just from observation, and well, tbh my preferred way of fishkeeping is to set up my tanks so that they require the least upkeep, maintenance & care. Note, not that I don't care about my fish or tank - I very much did/will, and for me that's an integral part of the hobby(ofc!), but I just like for things to be as automated as possible without losing significant quality in all aspects of life. I guess it's personality, or my generation; up until recently I was studying computer engineering.
     
  4. NickAu

    NickAu Member
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    If you are going to supplement by hand feeding why bother with the automatic feeder?

    I feed my fish once a day.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome back to the forum :)

    Cycling a marine tank is exactly the same as a freshwater tank. Add ammonia and let the beneficial filter bacteria develop over the next month or so. You want the ammonia and nitrite levels to go up and come back down to 0 before adding any fish or life forms.

    Any ammonia produced in a marine tank will be extremely toxic due to the high pH (8.5) of the sea water. You need the filter to be established before anything goes in otherwise it will probably die from ammonia poisoning.

    There is one exception for this. If you have live rock in the tank and use that as the filter, you don't normally cycle the tank with ammonia. Instead you have a heap of live rock in the tank and add a few fish. Feed a small amount a couple of times a week and the live rock should keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels at 0. But you need a lot of live rock for this.

    Most people use a normal filter and don't rely on live rock for filtration because a filter is safer and less likely to have an issue.

    --------------
    There are no starter fish for marine aquariums due to the high pH of sea water. Some shops suggest using mollies to cycle the tank. this is a cruel and barbaric practice that should not be done because it harms the fish.

    --------------
    If you want to add live rock to a tank you can add it any time. It's just like adding an ornament to a tank.

    --------------
    If you are going away for 3 weeks, start cycling the filter and tank now. Add liquid ammonia and let it run.

    --------------------------
    Don't bother using automatic feeders. They cause more problems and aren't necessary. Most marine fish won't eat dry food and if you have to go away for a week or two, healthy adult fish can easily go without food for that time.

    If you are going away for a month or more, then measure out some food and keep it in small ziplock bags. Get someone to feed the contents of one bag, several times a week while you are away.

    --------------------------
    Protein skimmers remove proteins from the water, which helps keep the water cleaner for longer. They also remove plankton so aren't the best if you have a natural tank with lots of plankton in or are trying to collect newly hatched fish and shrimp larvae. However, in a normal aquarium with fish, they are beneficial and will help keep the water quality cleaner for longer.

    Power skimmers use a water pump to force air and water together in a reaction chamber. The clean water is allowed to flow out of the skimmer and the waste protein is forced up the skimmer and into a collection cup. You need to empty the collection cup regularly.

    Air operated skimmers are not as effective as a power skimmer but will help.

    All protein skimmers need to be fine tuned so they remove maximum waste with minimum water. There should be directions that come with the skimmer unit that tell you have to adjust the air/ water flow and what colour the waste water should be.

    Normally you want dark brown to black coloured waste water in the collection cup. It the waste water is light brown or clear, the skimmer is putting too much water into the cup and that will need to be reduced.

    --------------------------
    Algae in any aquarium grows when there is too much light and not enough plants to use that light. It grows in fresh, brackish and saltwater aquariums.

    If you have a fish only tank or a fish only tank with some live rock, you don't need much light and a single fluorescent globe above the tank will allow you to see the fish and won't encourage too much algae.

    If you keep sea anemones or corals you want lots of light and you will get algae growing on the glass.

    Algae on the glass is not a big issue and can be wiped off reasonably easily. There are also plenty of marine fishes that graze on algae including: blennies, tanks/ surgeons, angelfish and even damsel fish will pick at it.

    --------------------------
    You don't need UV light on any tank.

    --------------------------
    A fish tank weighs a lot more than a television and a shelf that holds a TV will not hold a decent sized tank. Build a proper stand for the tank and don't take short cuts. Over engineer the stand rather than risk flimsy materials that could collapse.
     
  6. pov

    pov Fish Fanatic

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    I really want a fishtank that is about ten foot long in my lounge room, but cant because the weight would destroy the house I have about 350 litres atm which isn't real much but you can feel them bounce I cant let people walk around here if somebody comes around I have to block there path with coffee tables ec.
     
  7. agusf

    agusf Member

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    ok, well advice is what I came here for so I'll err on the side of caution and put the tank on a stand instead of the rack I was thinking of.
    So.. What do saltwater fish mainly eat if not dry food :blink:
    This will be an interesting challenge, for sure.
    Ok, so then to cycle the tank while I'm gone, I should just set up the main filter alone, fill up the aquarium (all the way?) and then add some ammonia to the water? should the water in the tank already be salty i.e. add salt to it and measure it to a certain gravity? there isn't anything else I should add like a starter additive with billions of the beneficial filter bacteria?

    And what about the venturi skimmer I linked? appropriate for the setup I indicated?

    Also is this subforum where I would document the setup of tank.

    Thanks -:friends:
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Most marine fish eat frozen or live food like raw or cooked prawn, fish, squid, brineshrimp, mysis shrimp, or any marine based meat. Most pet shops sell a frozen food called Marine Mix or Marine Green. These are a combination of marine foods with plant matter and can be used for fresh or salt water fishes.

    Some fish (mainly captive bred damselfish) might take flake or pellet food but for the most part it's frozen (but defrosted) and live foods.

    --------------------------
    To cycle the filter you set the tank up with some marine sand/ substrate on the bottom, a few rocks (if you like), and fill it with seawater (either natural or artificial). Connect the filter and get it going. Then start adding liquid ammonia. There is more information about cycling tanks at the following link.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/

    You don't need the light on when cycling the tank.

    If using artificial marine salts, you need to get the salinity (specific gravity) to the correct level. It takes about 24 hours for all the salts to dissolve into the water.

    If you are using tap water with artificial salts, you should add a dechlorinator about 30 minutes before adding the salt. Aerate the mixture for 24 hours before using it in a tank.

    You can add liquid bacterial supplements if you like. They can help speed the cycling process up. If you use them, add a double dose every day for a week and then put the rest in the fridge. If there is only a bit left you can pour the rest into the tank. Try to add the bacteria near the filter intake so it gets drawn into the filter.

    It takes about 4-5 weeks for the filters to develop.

    --------------------------
    I have no idea about that brand of skimmer. There are several types of skimmer, ones that fit in a sump and others that are smaller that fit in the main display tank. You can also get skimmers that sit outside the tank and water is pumped from the tank into the skimmer.

    Skimmers aren't essential and it depends on what you want to keep. If you want lots of fish or predators then a skimmer is useful. If you want a few corals and a couple of small fish, then you probably won't need one.

    Skimmers can be added any time so you should probably look around and visit a few pet shops that sell marine fish and find out what skimmers are available in your area.

    --------------------------
    On the subject of sumps, some people set up a display tank and have a trickle filter/ sump underneath it. The sump is connected to the main tank by pipes and gives you more water volume. Water drains from the main tank into the sump where it is filtered and then returned to the main tank by a water pump.

    Sumps can also be used purely to add extra water to the tank. If you have lots of rock in the tank, the rock displaces water and a tank that holds 200 litres of water might only have 100 litres of water after the rock has been added. If you have a sump attached to the main tank it can give you more water volume.

    The sump can house heaters, filters, protein skimmers, live rock, macro algae like Caulerpa and Halidema.

    Sumps are not essential but can be useful by increasing the total water volume of the tank.

    --------------------------
    The following link is where you start a thread showing your tanks.
    http://www.fishforums.net/forums/members-aquarium-and-fish-pictures.22/
     
  9. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
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    Just to add a note on auto feeders, since I have done them quite successfully with marine for several years now...

    I use auto feeders on somewhat smaller tanks (20gal US, or ~75L). Tank size isn't the issue - it's how much food the feeders dump in and how often they trigger. One of my feeders is flakes, the other is pellets. There are two reasons it works for me: the auto feeders drop in VERY LITTLE each time and both tanks are VERY lightly stocked (they are mostly coral+invert tanks with only a few fish). I have occasional trouble with the pellet one adding a bit more than I'd like due to the shape of the pellets I use, but the flake one never has that issue.

    Many captive bred marine fish will eat these kinds of foods with no problem, as will many that have been wild caught and kept in good health. In my time keeping marine fish, I've actually had none that were frozen food purists - all eventually ate flake/pellets, although it took some time with a few. Fish I have fed with auto feeders over the last several years include various cardinal fish, damsels, basslets, gobies, and some blennies (algae & starry). Of course, I haven't kept any species where they have a solid record of being finicky across the board - so please don't try this with things like mandarins and the like that are nearly certain to starve if they don't get live food or exactly the right type of substitute. If you think you may need to use an auto feeder, get species that are not picky eaters.

    I use auto feeders because I travel and have extremely irregular commuting schedules the rest of the time and find that my fish do better having food right on the tick at a particular time of day - otherwise one of my fish in particular doesn't eat and just gets freaked out that there's commotion when he's not expecting it. On days when I am home, I still feed a bit of frozen and other foods manually in addition to the auto feeders because they add so little and obviously you can't do higher quality frozen foods with them. I feed those extra things lightly as well. Because the feeding is light, I have hefty cleanup crews, and solid filtration (although I don't skim due to having a lot of filter feeders), I have no hair algae or other annoying issues resulting from running things this way.

    Both my feeders are the cheap, thin round type on Amazon. Ironically, I had poor experiences with the more expensive brand name types getting wet and not dispensing food properly - they were too wide and needed too big an open area in the lid. This is what I use and I keep the opening to let food out quite small: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EY9R1EG/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    That said, auto feeders are still NOT something I would recommend in most cases unless you have a highly irregular schedule or lengthy travel issues that require it. If you have a regular schedule and are only out 1-2 days at a time periodically, then I do NOT recommend using auto feeders. It's much better have a bit of a gap for a couple days and to otherwise monitor the tank with each feeding. If I had a more regular schedule that's what I'd be doing and it's what I did for many years before my works schedule got whacky. However, auto feeders can work with marine if you have a situation like mine where regular light feedings have to happen when you're not around.

    (Edited to fix a couple word mistakes)
     
  10. agusf

    agusf Member

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    ----> Thanks for all the input guys.
    With regards to feeding, if live foods are essential then I would rather have like a small brine shrimp tank than have frozen food and have to deal with thawing, etc; I have a hard time remembering to take food out to thaw for myself already. Plus, the brine shrimp could perpetually reproduce and sustain their numbers right? so there would be cost savings. I could keep the tank underneath next to my sump tank.

    OK so, I've now filled up my tank, added some marine salt and gotten the filter going. Got some new doubts & questions I wanted to resolve.

    Should I have the heater running in the tank as well? Like, maybe to ensure the right environment for the beneficial bacteria.

    Does the water salinity/gravity have to be in a specific range / correct right now, during this cycling phase?
    I've added salt, according to the directions of the packaging. I bought 15.5 lbs of Omega Sea premium marine salt. It indicated that 1/2 cup of salt should be mixed for every gallon of water. That would be 19 cups for my 18 g tank, plus maybe 1/2 for volume in the canister (its really big) and eventually more for sump tank. I don't have sump tank set up yet that'll have to come later. I erred on the side of too little, as more salt can always be added, and mixed 12 cups. making sure to stir until no salt was collecting on the bottom glass.

    Do I have to condition my water at this time? I filled my tank with tap water; I have tetra aquasafe plus and easybalance. I have no idea what the quality of my local tap water is like, I live in Miami, FL.
    I did read (on the directions of the salt packaging and somewhere else on this forum) that you should use reverse osmosis water as standard; as in going forward, when doing maintenance and replacing water. That's an added level of complexity that I didn't know about and would like to try to avoid; how does that play out? I know reverse osmosis water can be bought for cheap at like any pharmacy around here; I just wanna avoid it anyways. I considered, and consulted the guy at the pet shop about just collecting water from the ocean here, but I think I wanna avoid that because right now south east florida is suffering from red tide Algae blooms; & who knows how long it will last, it is something that seems to be recurring having to do with the offshoot from agricultural production.

    I know I'm going to need something to measure water salinity/gravity. I'd rather invest in a more precise refractometer (like the imagitarium brand at the store - is that good?) than the little plastic things, but idk - is it worth it? is there a better third option?

    To jumpstart the cycling, I really want to add ammonia & introduce a dose of the beneficial bacteria. When at the pet shop they didn't have like pure ammonia for sale; is that something you can even buy like at a pharmacy here in the U.S.? The worker at the shop said I could just dump some fish food (or just food waste of my own if I wanted) and eventually it will decompose and increase ammonia levels. I'm keen on doing that, probably dump some dry fish flakes, I'll avoid my food waste lol I don't want anything weird happening while I'm gone from the apartment.

    The filter media I'm using in the canister is actually the same one from the previous tank that was running in my parents house, although that tank was abandoned & drained after I left for college and my mom had a hard time maintaining it. I'm using the same media not just because I want to save as much cost at this time but also because as I learned previously, this could be beneficial as the media previously hosted beneficial bacteria; at the same time I know I want to avoid harboring illnesses from the previous tank; I don't think it ever had an outbreak of ich or the likes but I do remember my mom had a bunch of discus fish die on her in the tank :(. I think it had to do more with improper introduction into the tank/ plus those are very difficult finicky fish :/

    The guy at the shop was also pretty keen on getting a protein skimmer. I think I will get one - the more stable & clean I can keep my tank, the less chance of having issues and the easier it will be to maintain. Still looking for recommendations/ a review on this venturi skimmer I previously mentioned -
    https://us.letgo.com/us/i/red-sea-c...-skimmer_04677f81-f814-49a2-84d9-37bd2e4b6388

    Also, the pet shop worker said that I don't really need to add any of the beneficial bacteria, that it'll just 'appear'; but my rational mind tells me that even if that would happen, which I'm sure it eventually could, I'll be much more on the safe side by using one of the little jump start products. He expressed that he didn't trust the products, as he couldn't see how that sort of bacteria could be kept alive in a bottle on a shelf, considering that even a filter turned off for a little over an hour or 2 will essentially kill a whole colony of bacteria that took a while to establish.
    I see his point and turn to you guys for advice.
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Frozen food is easy to use. It comes in small squares and you pop out 1 square and wiggle it about in the tank water. Bits of food defrost and fall off and float around the tank. The fish eat the bits. You do this until the fish have eaten as much as they want and then stop feeding. You can also put the block/ cube of frozen food in a bowl for a minute or two and it will defrost pretty quickly.

    Live brine shrimp do not develop self sustaining populations. The eggs have to be taken out of the tank, rinsed, dried and then added to sea water after drying or they won't hatch. Plus, adult brineshrimp isn't that nutritious unless it is fed on single celled algae.

    Live brineshrimp is useful when getting new fish to eat, especially wild caught fishes like angels and butterfly fish. But once they are eating dead/ frozen food they only need live food as a treat. After a couple of weeks most fish will take dead/ frozen foods.

    -------------------------
    Turn the heater on so the temperature is around 24-26C (75-79F). If the water is that warm without a heater then don't bother using one. But if the water is less than 24C then turn the heater on.

    You do not need the tank light on during cycling unless you have live rock or are growing macro algae.

    You should increase aeration during cycling to maximise the oxygen in the water.

    -------------------------
    Yes the salt level needs to be at the correct level, the same as seawater (about 1.020 - 1.025) on a hydrometer.

    You can get floating glass hydrometers for measuring the salinity in sea water. They are reasonably cheap and accurate but do break easily so you need to handle with care.

    The other type of hydrometer is a plastic square that is about 1/2 inch wide. You fill it with sea water and an arm floats in the water and points to the salt level, which is printed on the side of the unit. They are pretty accurate. The only thing to do with them is give them a gentle tap after filling with sea water to remove any air bubbles on the arm. The bubbles can cause the arm to float higher than it should. And rinse the unit with fresh water after use to stop salt building up in it and possibly causing weird readings.

    When adding salt you are better off adding a bit less and then add more if needed.

    To work out the volume of water in the tank:
    measure length x width x height in cm.
    divide by 1000.
    = volume in litres.
    When you measure the height, measure from the top of the substrate to the top of the water level.

    There is a calculator/ converter in the "How To Tips" at the top of this page that will let you convert litres to gallons if you need it.

    -------------------------
    If you live in the US you probably have chloramine in the water supply and this needs to be broken down into chlorine and ammonia so it comes out of the water. So you should dechlorinate any tap water before it is used for fish. This includes now while you are cycling the tank.

    You can use dechlorinated tap water to top up the tank when water evaporates. If you have a coral tank then most people use distilled or reverse osmosis (R/O) water to top up the evaporated water. But that is purely to reduce nutrients like nitrates going into the tank.

    If you have hard water that is fine to use and will help replace some of the calcium that is absorbed by the organisms in the tank. Just dechlorinate any new water before adding it to the tank.

    I have never bothered using R/O water to top up marine tanks. I just use dechlorinated tap water.

    -------------------------
    If you have red algae blooms in the ocean, avoid the water until it is clear and safe to go back in.

    -------------------------
    You can use fish food, a dead fish or prawn (eg: fishing bait) or liquid ammonia. The liquid ammonia is cleaner and more accurate and available from most hardware stores or some supermarkets. Get pure ammonia without soaps.

    If you add food use a pellet or wafer that is easy to remove. Add the food or dead prawn/ fish and leave it in the tank for an hour or so. Wait until the ammonia level gets to about 3ppm and then remove the food.

    Monitor the ammonia levels and when it drops to 1 you can add a bit more food, leave it in the tank until the ammonia level goes back up to 3ppm and then remove it.

    If you leave the dead fish or food in for too long the ammonia levels can get too high and the cycle will stall because the filter bacteria can't grow when there is too much ammonia. It the ammonia gets above 5ppm the cycling process will stop. If you aim for 3ppm there is less chance of it getting too high and stopping.

    -------------------------
    Filter bacterial supplements can help speed things up. These products contain different strains of beneficial filter bacteria that have gone dormant by being kept in certain conditions. They remain dormant until they are added to oxygen rich water at which time they become active and if there is ammonia or nitrite in the water they will breed and grow.

    The filter bacteria will occur naturally in an aquarium and they get into the water from bacteria that are floating around the air, or on live rock or in natural sea water. In a very clean house it can take a bit longer for the bacteria to get into the tank but it will eventually get in. In a room where there are other marine tanks, the bacteria will get into the new tank faster because there will be more of them floating around in the air.

    It normally takes around 4-5 weeks for a filter to develop the beneficial bacteria. This is the same for fresh, brackish or salt water aquariums.

    If you want to add a filter bacteria supplement, use a double dose every day for the first week and then put the rest in the fridge. If there is only a bit left just pour it in the tank. Try to add the supplement to the tank near the filter intake so the bacteria get drawn into the filter.

    -------------------------
    If the filter has been used in another aquarium but has been left to dry out, then wash it all out with tap water and get it clean. Then set it up on the tank.

    Old dry dirty gunk in a filter is useless and will not help the tank cycle. And if the filter was on a fresh water tank, the bacteria will not live in salt water. There are different species for fresh and salt water filters.

    -------------------------
    Don't waste your time or money on a skimmer until you work out what you plan on keeping in the tank, and wait until the tank has cycled. If you have big predatory fishes then get a big power skimmer. If you have seahorses, don't bother with one.

    Most pet shops push skimmers because they cost a lot and you usually have to buy a pump and a few other bits so you spend money.

    They are useful but cycle the tank first.
     
  12. agusf

    agusf Member

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    Alright, thanks for the info again Colin.
    I took out the filter media and rinsed it through thoroughly.
    So, now I have the tank filled up with the thermometer in, the filter running, and I've put a small pump with a tube leading into an air stone at the bottom. I've added tetra aquasafe plus as indicated on the bottle. I have a bio booster (with the dormant beneficial bacteria) but haven't added it yet. I tried looking for pure ammonia in a hardware store but all they had was a huge bottle of ammonium hydroxide that was 'lemon scented' - anyways, I decided to just go the bio route, so I've dropped a decent amount of prawn I had frozen in my fridge in there. You can see the prawn in this photo>
    [​IMG]
    I also got an ammonia testing kit and tested twice now, before adding prawn and a couple hours after adding prawn. I know it'll probably take longer to start decomposing; before it tested between .5 and 1 ppm and after it was between 1 & 2. Only thing I didn't get yet was a gravity tester for the salinity so I might not have the salinity on par just yet..
     
  13. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    That is way too much prawn. Remove most of it. You only need to add 1 or 2 prawn tails to get ammonia. Generally less is best because the ammonia levels don't suddenly jump up to high levels and need a water change to get them back down.

    Once the ammonia level hits 3ppm, remove all the prawn.

    wait till the ammonia levels drop to 1pmm and then add new prawn for a bit and let it go back up.
     
    #13 Colin_T, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  14. agusf

    agusf Member

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    Yep, it did prove to be too much. I tested the tank in the morning, it came out to like 4 ppm ammonia. I did a 15-20% change of water adding salt and aquasafe; tested again, that test wasn’t very clear I did it too soon after the change I think and the water was still settling. I took all the prawn out and left just two, and dumped half of the bio booster bottle with beneficia bacteria near the filter intake. There was a lot of icky bubbles collecting at the surface of the tank (before the water change). I wish I had a chance to post earlier but I was a little huried doing all this considering I have a flight today (I’m currently waiting to take off). I feel pretty confident with how I left the tank for it to cycle while I’m gone.
     
  15. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You don't need to leave the prawn in the tank once the ammonia is at 3ppm. You remove it until the bacteria starts to use the ammonia and convert it into nitrite. That takes a couple of weeks. When the ammonia levels go down, you add a bit more prawn to bring the level up.

    You will probably find the ammonia levels are much higher when you come back and you will need to do another water change.

    If the ammonia level hits 4ppm you can normally leave it there but I aim for 3ppm. If it hits 5ppm then do a water change.

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    The cloudy water is from different bacteria (not filter bacteria) eating the prawn. It will clear in a couple of weeks.
     

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