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Where are my spikes?
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aspychalla01
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Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2009.04.21(Tue)10:36    Post subject: Where are my spikes? Reply with quote

I'm starting to get a bit confused and I'm not sure if its because my tank has good chemistry or I'm just being impatient, but here's my situation:

I've started a small saltwater tank and its been running for about 2 weeks now - 4 days with live sand (roughly 2? inches deep), a mixture of RO and tap, a generous portion of Cycle and Essential Elements, etc - Followed by about 10 days with lots of very established live rock. This rock is COVERED in algae, sponges, polyps, etc and has a large number of little critters like snails, copepods, bugs, worms and other creatures inhabiting it. Everything in the tank is thriving, growing, etc - I'm seeing tons of new things every day. Some things have died off a little already. All appears to be going great. But heres my problem - There has been almost NO change in the chemistry of my tank. Some small fluctuations, yes, but my levels for everything have remained ideal if not just barely off, ever since I put the sand in my tank.

Are my spikes still coming and I'm being impatient, or is my aquarium just doing exceptionally well? Id REALLY like some input on this. Is this unheard of? Whats my next step?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2009.04.21(Tue)13:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you have little or no ammonia to get things started. If you are using uncured rock there will be some die off, and and least some amounts of resulting ammonia. However, it is possible that until you start either feeding the tank with a larger ammonia source (like chunks of dead raw shrimp for example) or adding significant livestock you may not really get much of a spike.

There is no doubt that live rock and/or bacterial seeding techniques which some of us have used for years can reduce the cycling period. I have done this myself many times. But you still have to watch it.

Also, if you are running a skimmer during this time it can interfere with proper cycling, which is why I usually suggest turning skimmers off during the cycle period. In some cases, hobbyists who are employing large amounts of live rock, water changes, big skimmers and/or seeded substrate can avoid extended ammonia spikes completely, but I feel the best procedure is still the addition of livestock very slowly over a period of several weeks to allow the bacteria a chance to catch up to the bio load. It's best to proceed with caution and monitor for ammonia and nitrite carefully in the first 30-60 days, because ammonia can kill or damage your livestock very quickly---and with or without ammonia---new tanks are usually not very biologically stable and highly susceptible to the inevitable algae blooms, parasitic attacks, etc.

As for your next step---if you haven't already, I would suggest using this time to make sure your corallines are thriving on that rock and also set up your quarantine/hospital tank and cycle that as well!
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aspychalla01
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Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2009.04.21(Tue)13:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

No protien skimmer - I was told it wasnt neccessary with a tank under 20 gallons as long as you were doing regular water checks/changes. Would it be okay to put one fish and/or some invertebrates in then, to see how it goes?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2009.04.21(Tue)14:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking at your other posts, and it appears you have a 6 gallon tank, as you know, this is really unsuitable for most popular species of fish, and calls for extra caution as the water chemistry can change very fast. My suggestion would be to wait another week before adding any delicate livestock and as I said before, proceed very slowly. A small goby might be okay down the line, but make sure your tank is cycled first and please try to upgrade to a 29 gallon for better stability and less worry. A small mantis shrimp (stomatopod) by itself might make a fascinating specimen tank for your current setup. Best wishes for your success.
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2009.04.23(Thu)5:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not at all surprised that you did not get an ammonia or nitrite spike. You added 10 pounds of established live rock to a six gallon aquarium, which is more than enough to handle the biological load. Be sure to add livestock slowly and you should not have any problems.

I agree the tank is extremely small, making everything much more difficult than necessary. A 20 to 29 gallon aquarium would make for a very nice upgrade and make the overall care much easier.
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