New to Saltwater aquarium - 20 gallon

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macullit

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Hello,

I am new to Saltwater aquarium.

I have a 20 gallon that I would like setup as Reef with Fish. So far I am into 4th week of cycling my new tank. I have the following:

Live Sand
10lbs of live rocks added another 10 lbs of dry live rocks.
2 - blue green chromis.

In first 2 week period, I did a test. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are all 0ppm

In the third week, I added couple of blue-green chromis just to start the cyle or spike up my ammonia(as I am told it would be okay), I am in my 4th week now, and reading ammonia at .25ppm, Nitrite and Nitrate are 0ppm

Does this mean that my cycling is actually starting now, if yes, when(how man days/weeks) should I see the Nitrite to go up? How many days/weeks does Nitrite be in my tank before Nitrate shows up?

Also I've been toping up my tank with Tap water, with Seachem Prime and Stability, with 1.025 Salinity.

Any feedback would be great!

Thanks.
 
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Coradee

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Welcome to Fishlore, hope our salty members can help with your questions today
 

DaddyDeet

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I, personally, wouldnt do fish during cycle..I prefer to do fishless so I can control as much of the process as possible. I use ammonium chloride as the food source for vacteria, and add bottled nitrifying bacteria to start the process.
That being said, if you've got livestock in there, you're doing the right thing by using prime. It will at least take the toxicity out of the ammonia and forthcoming nitrite.
Nitrite will show up first, and then nitrate afterward. Once your nitrite spikes and goes back to zero (the LONGEST) part of the process, you're usually good to go. Patience is the key, and your process has started, so it will happen in time.

In regards to the topping off of evap water, I would suggest investing in a tds meter....they can be found pretty inexpensive on amazon....this will tell you how your tap water measures up for dissolved metals and other "crud" that's In your tap water. Considering you want this to be a reef, most corals will be sensitive to water with high tds levels...which is why you hear so much about RODI water on this hobby.
At some point it would be most beneficial to also invest in a rodi unit, so you can ensure the water you're putting into this major investment isnt going to adversely affect said investment...
 

Jonathon001

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I would highly recommend an RODI unit. I get away with tap water in my Freshwater planted tank, but I wouldn't dream of it in my reef. Reef tanks are a big investment. Why scrimp on the source water? Start with a guaranteed safe source of water and you're half way there. A good RODI will only set you back the cost of 3 or 4 nice marine fish, worth the investment. If you don't want to buy a unit right away, look around for a water store or LFS. They often sell RO water at a reasonable price. Just my personal opinion, but I would never use raw tap water for a reef tank.

As to cycling the tank, I agree with the previous post, fishless cycle is the better way to go but since you're already past that point their advice is sound.
 

Jesterrace

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Fish in cycle isn't a good idea. Cruel to the fish (like exposing someone to a Mustard Gas Attack and then tossing them a gas mask and hoping they make it) and it can be counterproductive. A fishless cycle puts you in control of the dosage (ie Ammonia and bacteria source) and can cycle quicker without complications or harm to a fish. RODI system is strongly recommended since tap has so many random variables and is adding minerals and solids on top of all the minerals and solids in your marine salt (it already has everything you need in it) which more often than not creates unwanted algae super fuel.
 
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macullit

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Thanks for answering and feedback DaddyDeet and Jonathon001 . I will look into getting an RODI unit. Unfortunately, I don't have a space to put a RODI, but I should be able to plug it in and get the water I need then store the RODI unit again. Definitely would like to go reef with this aquarium.

Either of you have experience with this RODI? Aquatic Life RO Buddie Four Stage Reverse Osmosis System with Color Changing Mixed Bed Deionization Cartridge

Yes, my patience is being tested on is, in order to do this properly I have to get use to it.

Tomorrow, I will start use the Seachem Stability for 7 days to see if I can help bacteria in the aquarium.
 

Jesterrace

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That RODI system is a popular choice for first timers and nano users. For someone with your setup it should work well since it is also designed to be portable and can even be hooked up to a garden hose. Replacements cartridges can be more expensive in the long run than the more expensive units but for the limited amount of use and the size of the aquarium it should serve you well.
 
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macullit

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DaddyDeet Jonathon001 Jesterrace , it has been 3 weeks now, still ammonia is present but nitrite and nitrate at 0PPM.
Am I missing something here or should I just start over again, change 70% of the water and start my cycle again?
 

Jesterrace

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macullit said:
DaddyDeet Jonathon001 Jesterrace , it has been 3 weeks now, still ammonia is present but nitrite and nitrate at 0PPM.
Am I missing something here or should I just start over again, change 70% of the water and start my cycle again?
What test kit are you using? API is well known for .25 false positive readings. I would see if you could take it to a local store and get it tested to get a second opinion. Just saying you may be trying to fix a problem you don't have. It does seem strange to have no nitrates though. If you get a second opinion and it confirms the results then I would get rid of the fish and focus on a fishless cycle. One of the other reasons I don't care for fish in cycles is that it's so erratic because you have a constant source of ammonia while the biofilter is still trying to learn how to process things. With fishless you dose exactly what you need to get the cycle started and then let it do it's thing as it only needs ammonia to get things going.
 
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macullit

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Jesterrace said:
What test kit are you using? API is well known for .25 false positive readings. I would see if you could take it to a local store and get it tested to get a second opinion. Just saying you may be trying to fix a problem you don't have. It does seem strange to have no nitrates though. If you get a second opinion and it confirms the results then I would get rid of the fish and focus on a fishless cycle. One of the other reasons I don't care for fish in cycles is that it's so erratic because you have a constant source of ammonia while the biofilter is still trying to learn how to process things. With fishless you dose exactly what you need to get the cycle started and then let it do it's thing as it only needs ammonia to get things going.
I actually contacted one of the LFS, it could have been my initial water that I used. When I first started this, I didn't know that I have to de-chlorinate my tap water, I am only using tap water, now I have the RO/DI, and getting my RO/DI water ready so I will change probably 50% of the water.
Does RO/DI removes chlorine and chloramine? If not, I'll use Seachem Prime, and also start my Stability treatment again.
 

saltwater60

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macullit said:
I actually contacted one of the LFS, it could have been my initial water that I used. When I first started this, I didn't know that I have to de-chlorinate my tap water, I am only using tap water, now I have the RO/DI, and getting my RO/DI water ready so I will change probably 50% of the water.
Does RO/DI removes chlorine and chloramine? If not, I'll use Seachem Prime, and also start my Stability treatment again.
Yes ro/DI removes both. It’s more the carbon block filter. You should look on your water quality report to find out if it is chlorine or chloramine. Chloramine will use up tour carbon and DI faster. If it’s chloramine you can add another carbon block or change it more frequently
 
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macullit

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Just an update, I did a 50% water change last week. I used a RO/DI water.
After 24 hours, I did another test using my API saltwater test kit. The results of the test are as follows:

Ammonia : 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm-5ppm
Ph: 1.025

I will wait another week, then test again, if the same results then, I believe my tank is fully cycled before I posted this question in this forum. I will bring a sample of my water to my LFS for them to test this way, I can tell if my test kit is at fault. If the test comes out identical at the LFS, then I can finally add another fish!

Any thoughts?
 
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macullit

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just an update guys.
did another water test couple of hours ago.

SG: 1.025
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Ph. 8.3

I could see some diatoms on my rocks now.
 

saltwater60

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Good progress. Let the diatoms disappear then your good to go.
 
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macullit

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saltwater60 said:
Good progress. Let the diatoms disappear then your good to go.

once diatoms are gone, I'm planning on getting to Ocellaris Clownfish, is that compatible with Blue Green Chromis? Should I only get 1 Ocellaris Clownfish, then add the second one after a month of adding the first Ocellaris Clownfish?
 
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