Nano SW Tank (10G)

  • #1
Hello everyone! This is my first post on this website and I'm glad to meet everyone. I've been following a few posts here and there and learned that there was an app, which makes it a lot easier for reading! I am a new beginner to the Saltwater hobby, after a few freshwater tanks that frankly got quite boring.

Anyways, I started a Nano Saltwater tank on Saturday, June 4th, 2016. At one of the LFS in my area, I purchased the following based off of information given to me by a store associate (who is also a hobbyist):

-CaribSea 10LB Live Sand
-5LB Aragonite Sand
-Roughly 10LB Live Rock (Indian Ocean)
-10G Imagitarium Pacific Ocean Water
-(1) Aqueon 500 Powerhead
-Fluval 50 HOB Filter
-API Master Saltwater Test Kit
-(2) Blue Damsels

PS: I already had a 10G tank; (2) small-sized heaters [incase one stops working- I read somewhere it's good to have two heaters just incase one malfunctions and the other will kick in].; National Geographic LED Lighting.

A few days after, I purchased my clean-up crew (as recommended by another hobbyist at a different store). They are as follows:

-(1) Scarlet Red Hermit Crab
-(1) Emerald Crab
-(1) Turbo Snail
-(2) Blue Legged Crabs

Here is my tank setup as of now:

I have been measuring my parameters roughly within two days. Here are my recordings:

**I highlighted parameters that are unconditional in blue.

I know my parameters are pretty high and that it is currently going through its cycle, but on the first day as you can see all parameters were just fine. I have been using Kent Pro-Ammonia Detoxifier, pH Buffer, and Essentials for chemicals to try and help fix these readings, but no luck.

I have done one water change as you can see on my recordings, and it was 50% with the same Imagitarium Pacific Ocean Water.

I would like to make sure that I am doing this right, as I said before this is my first Saltwater tank setup and I am completely new to this. I am only going off of what I've read from this forum and what hobbyists are telling me at other aquatic stores locally (Silicon Valley).

I would also like to add that within 4 days of my initial setup, I sadly lost one of my damsels. I noticed very dark and full coloring while I was acclimating him, but instantly went away and became bright blue again when he was in the tank.

My goals for this tank is to become a reef tank with SPS corals. No specific corals yet, and no specific fish yet either. Though I do love the idea of at least a bubble anemone with a corresponding ocellaris clown. And it would be awesome to have a mandarin goby as I think they are beautiful, but I'm not sure if my tank would be suitable for one.

Another thing is I was looking into purchasing a slimmer and probably doing away with my HOB filter all together. Because my tank is so nano, I'm looking at the Reef Octopus NS80 HOB Nano Skimmer. The reason being for wanting a skimmer is because after only a week of an HOB filter, my media was extremely full and dirty.

After all this information (it's a lot, I'm sorry), is there anything I am doing wrong? Is there any advice I can get on what the next steps are I should be taking? Advice on fixing these parameters? Tips of reaching my goal, or if it's even possible? What about the protein skimmer?

Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much for the help.

PS: I am also open to private messages if needed.
  • #2
Welcome to Fishlore
hope our salty members can help you today
  • #3
Your ammonia is extremely high for anything to live in, and unfortunately probably killed your Damsel. Is the other Damsel still alive? Does it say on the detoxifier you're using what level it can detoxify up to? (Ex. Seachem Prime detoxifies up to 1ppm) You need to to a series of water changes to bring that ammonia down because if after a 50% water change the test was still reading 8ppm+, the Ammonia in the tank must have been 16ppm+, which really should be lethal. (Even if the detoxifier you're adding can detoxify unlimited amounts of ammonia, numbers that high will also stall a cycle, and when it does eventually hit the nitrite or even the nitrate stage, numbers will be through the roof which is very toxic in SW)

You also need to bring your specific gravity down, 1.024 is a good middle ground, people keep it lower for FOWLR tanks, or up to a max of 1.028 for reef tanks.

I can't help you with the skimmer decision, on our nano (5.5) we just run a HOB.

Also, as much as the person at your store may seem like a great hobbiest, he should have known better than to sell you fish and uncured live rock at the same time. Imo cycling in Saltwater should always be done without fish. Any new rock to be added in the future needs to be cured in a tank separate from the display tank.
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  • #4
So great news! I was able to get the ammonia levels down to 0.25 ppm. However the nitrite is still at 5.0 ppm, nitrate : 20.0 ppm, specific gravity : 1.030, salinity : 40 ppt. My pH is also at 8.0.

Yesterday I did a 60% water change, as well as changed out my media in my HOB. I kept the big 2x4 sponge that was already in there (rinsed it out of course), added a minI chemi-pure elite bag, and filled in the gaps with floss.

Between this and the water changed, it seemed to significantly bring down my ammonia levels. Not sure how I am supposed to bring down the specific gravity and salinity, I need a little help with that. And I'm assuming the nitrite and nitrate will cycle themselves out?

Also I would like to point out that I did begin with live rock that was already cured! I completely agree with you beau that the LFS shouldn't have sold me any fish so early in the beginning. Bad move on both of our parts.

I decided against the skimmer for now, as I think the new filter change will improve the tank significantly.
  • #5
Sorry, I completely missed that your nitrite/nitrate levels were already rising! They will cycle themselves out, although you'll probably want to get the nitrites a lot lower as they are highly toxic and can stall the cycle. Good news about the ammonia though.

To bring down specific gravity/salinity, add freshwater! Top ups in Saltwater tanks should always be with Freshwater to keep the salinity equal, and if the salinity is high Freshwater will bring it down.

If the live rock was cured, where did all the ammonia come from?
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  • #6
What kind of freshwater? Do I treat tap water with conditioner or is that still not okay? Is there a certain ratio?

I'm assuming the ammonia might've come from the damsel that died in the tank, because I didn't see him until the next morning. However I took him out right away.
  • #7
I personally use only tap water in my SW, but if you have an RO system that is better. I just treat mine with Seachem Prime. Add a bit of water, test the gravity, add a bit more, and then if you accidentally go over just add some more saltwater. With our tank we have a mark on the class where the tank was originally filled to, and then we top up any evaporation to that line with FW. If you haven't had any evaporation and you just didn't quite mix the salt right to start with, it's more trial and error.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Thank you so much Beau. I was able to get my salinity and specific gravity in perfect parameters!
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  • #9
Does anyone have reviews or experience with Nite-Out ii? Supposedly it removes high levels of nitrite. I purchased a bottle and am hoping for good results once I get home from work. Thoughts?

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