tank still cycling and need help

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hollieberry

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I am new to this site and after reviewing it thought that someone might be able to help me. I got a 55 gallon salt water tank from a firend and set it up the end of December 2006. I rinsed everything out and cleaned it up to have a fresh start. I placed the crushed coral in the bottom with my bubble bar. Put in my two heaters and put in my biowheel 330, filled with saltwater and also put in 1 1/2 gallons of saltwater from my friends very healthy tank. I let this run for 9 or so days and then put in 6 damsels which Petco recommended. I lost 4 the first week in a half and just lost my last one on Sunday. I did a 20% water change a few weeks ago and did about a 4 gallon water change 4 days ago. My tank is reading unsafe for all the ammonia nitrates and nitrates and my PH is 7.8 I am adding a little buffer for the Ph. I bought a piece of live rock a week ago and don't know what else to do. I now have a full tank with no fish just a brown algae covering everything. What is happening and is this normal. Please someone help.
 
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Mike

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Hi - welcome to Fishlore.

This sounds normal for a new tank going through the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle. Read up on the cycle. How many pounds of live rock do you have? You mention a "piece of live rock", but how much exactly? If it's just a small rock, it probably won't do much for you for biological filtration which is why so many now use live rock. I'd get at least 1 pound per gallon of live rock for a fish only setup.

More info on Live Rock

The brown stuff is the first stages of algae and it is normal in new tanks.
 
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hollieberry

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Thank you so much for your response. I just have a small piece of rock so I will go and buy some more. At what point can you start with turbo snails? Is it better to wait a while ? Also, now that I have no fish what do I do to help the process besides buying more rock? All I do is turn the lights on for 10-12 hours and that is it, do I need to put food in there or just leave it and check the water? Thanks again for your help.
 
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Mike

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If you're getting more live rock (like 1 pound per gallon) that should take help start the nitrogen cycle. If the live rock is fully cured (ask the retailer) then you should see those ammonia and nitrite readings subside soon.

Some say you can add snails/hermit crabs right away once you get live rock, but I wouldn't add the turbo snails until after the live rock has been in the tank for a few days at least.
 

inuyasha_lover_21

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Make sure the live rock is CURED before it goes in the tank. You will have a ammonia spike if you dont cure it.
 
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