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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys! I'm almost three weeks into my tanks cycle, and its showing a pH of 8.1 ish with ammonia and nitrites at 0. the nitrates, however, have bottomed out at about 10 after my latest water change....

Is there a way to remove the nitrates? would more LR remedy this? Or would you go so far as to say at 10, its safe to begin stocking? the only things in the tank are the rock, sand, and the crawlies that came along on the rock (as well as a few astreas and ceriths i added a day or two ago to eat up the diatom)

thanks guys!
-duncan
 

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I personally would wait another week. Your water change lowered your nitrates, which means they were higher before. Nitrates are too toxic, but you should always shoot for zero. If you stock now, you could overwhelm your bacteria and it won't be able to handle the waste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
is there a way to remove the last bit of them, other than biweekly WC? will they hit zero, or a tolerable level on their own with time? From what i understand there isn't much that is favorable in a show tank that will consume nitrates, and being a 10g micro, my understanding is that waterchanges are the most effective way to remove nitrates.

I'm still also considering building a HOB fuge with a macro such as chaeto, do you think this would prove useful?
 

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You've been doing bi-weekly water changes during the cycle? If so, you are keeping the cycle from completing. There is supposed to be a spike in ammonia, nitrites, and then nitrates. If you're doing water changes to lower them, it can't cycle completely as there isn't enough food for the bacteria to establish themselves. And to clarify your tank is 10 gallons?

You need to wait for the full cycle - if you rush it, you'll have tons more problems down the road as the bacteria in the rock will never have time to fully establish themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
my game plan is to change about a gallon of water every two weeks, which i figure should be about 15-20% in my 10gallon given displacement due to sand and rock.

I just performed my first WC a couple of days ago with nitrates reading roughly 15ppm, and it lowered to 10+/-. I waited until my ammonia and nitrites all read 0 and for the nitrates to lower (im sure the growth of diatom the past week or two REALLY helped) before adding or removing ANYTHING from the tank.

I added in a gallon of RO water i bought at meijer along with my salt mix (oceanic) I've considered adding kalkwasser into my WC to help spread the beautiful purple...

Time and patience are a virtue, and when living paycheck to paycheck it's pretty easy to take things slow :) I'm more or less trying to see if I'm on track and if there's anything else i could do or something i should avoid doing to promote the healthiest tank i can.
 

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Sounds like you're right on track. I was confused by your earlier post:)

You should be doing a minimum of 10% weekly - so 1 gallon would be good weekly. If you go 2 weeks in a system that small you'll run into problems as there isn't much water to dilute any waste. Also, be sure to pick your stock VERY carefully, that's too small for nearly everything:) If you post what you'd like to keep, we can help with that too. I would recommend a goby/shrimp pair - I loved mine but only certain species will pair up. I had a candy cane pistol and a red stripe goby.

As far as kalkwasser - if you're going to use it you need a test kit for Alk and Calcium. You can over do it. You also don't need it unless you do sps (which you shouldn't for a year). SPS in a small tank is really tough - I've been in the hobby more than 10 years and its too much work for me in a tank that small. If you do a water change weekly, you won't need to worry about dosing much of anything.

Also, make sure you are using a refractometer to measure salinity (not a swing arm hydrometer), and plan to test twice a week. Things can change very fast in a small system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yeah, i've been planning on the upgrade come tax return. It'll be a bit of a shopping trip! For now i have the janky coralife hydrometer, but I've heard and understand the benefits of a refract. As for the calcium... you think adding my salt mix weekly will provide sufficient Ca and iodine for prolific coralline spread? I'd like to add in some dry rock to start prepping up another tank.

I was thinking of stocking about two smaller fish, and perhaps a shrimp or two? Was leading toward gobies or a true perc. The shrimp selection at the two LFCs i frequent are small, usually limited to a peppermint and sometimes one other option....

I'd like to keep some hardy corals for the first year, perhaps some kenya trees and zoas. SPS is something I'm considering in another year or two, to allow myself some time to get a nice t5 and a couple of tanks drilled.
 

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Yes, water changes will provide plenty of calcium for coralline growth.

If you add dry rock you're going to kick start another cycle. There will be dead stuff on the rock, the stuff will decay - producing a cycle. In a 10 gallon, you won't be able to add any rock with any livestock in it.

I would stick with gobies - clowns actually swim quit a bit and they produce a lot of waste - especially when they're young.
 
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