Well, after a day or so in the quarantine, the Mandarin was acting a lot better, probably because the temperature finally got up to 79 degrees. I was told he would eat frozen brine shrimp, but he didn’t seem interested in anything that we gave him, so I did a little bit of reading and I read that he mostly eats microscopic stuff that’s in the live sand and live rock in the tank. With starvation outweighing the benefits of keeping him in the quarantine, we decided to put him in the display tank. He seems like he’s doing a lot better now, and he spends pretty much all day grazing over the rock in the huge tank he has all to himself. We’ll hopefully be getting some more gobies on Tuesday, and I think we’ll get the two-spot goby then as well, since it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to quarantine any of them effectively. Here are some pictures:
Hopefully he’ll be happy in there. Since the gobies can’t be quarantined, that means I’ll be looking to find some blennies this week also. I’m not sure what kind we’ll be getting, it depends on what’s available, but I’ll post pictures like before when the time comes.
Also, the clean-up crew has sort of spread out. The two largest turbo snails have made their home at the very top of the rocks — I doubt they’ll stay there when some of the more aggressive fish enter the tank, but it’s kind of interesting to watch them as some of the other snails crawl up there and then crawl back down. Here’s a picture:
Hopefully I’ll update again on Tuesday night…
I haven’t updated in a while, which is because not much went on this week, except for more overtime at work. I’ve updated the Excel sheet for measurements, so here’s the link again:
The nitrites spiked on one day, which makes me glad I’m waiting to add anything live until the tank has been stable for a while. By this weekend, it will be ready for the clean-up crew, and I’ll be looking into quarantining any gobies or blennies I can get my hands on.
Also, we went to the fish store yesterday and picked up a couple of things for the freshwater tank. I added some sword plant to the corner of the tank, and Herbert seems to really like it. I also got two leopard danios and another gold zebra danios, for a total of 7 danios in the tank. Everything seems like it’s doing pretty well in that tank. Here are some before and after pictures:
Here are the measurements for tonight:
Thursday November 12
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
We can now start the clock for an ammonia and nitrite-free tank. In two weeks I’ll add the clean-up crew, that will be on Thanksgiving. I made an Excel sheet for the cycle, and I’ll continue to keep it updated just in case something goes crazy, but you can see a low-resolution version of part of the cycle…
I probably will only take measurements every other day after this weekend, maybe just three times a week, and if it’s just a measurement update I’ll just update the spreadsheet and not this FLog, but in the meantime I have two weeks to brainstorm exactly what types of fish will end up in the tank and which order that will go in. I’ve already started, and I’ll probably post pictures of the types of fish I’m looking at.
Measurements from tonight’s test:
Wednesday November 11
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.1 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
This is awesome! The nitrites are already coming down! It seems too good to be true, though. I’m taking it to mean that I should at least wait a couple of weeks and see if the parameters stay stable for a while before adding any livestock, and hopefully I won’t find out that there’s really a big problem here…
I took some measurements last night, and I was actually kind of surprised:
Tuesday November 10
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5 ppm
I add enough ammonia to put the concentration well above 2 ppm, and in less than 24 hours, there’s already enough of the right bacteria to take that concentration down to zero — a clean zero, like more zero than I ever got from the last tank. I know this part of the cycle is supposed to go by quickly using this method, but I didn’t think it would be this quick. Now we only have to wait until the nitrites come down and we’ll be ready to fly.
I started seeding a couple of small filters: one off of the display tank (in the refugium) and one off of the quarantine. When I need them, they’ll be ready to quarantine the first fish, which will be gobies and blennies. The clean-up crew (snails, shrimps, copepods, etc.) will go directly into the tank.
Another update: I started dosing the tank with ammonia on Saturday, so last night was the third time I added ammonia. I add about 20 mL each time, but I’m not sure the concentration of the ammonia solution I use. Originally I put enough in to put the tank up to 4 ppm, which is a lot. Before adding ammonia last night the concentration was all the way down to 0.25 ppm. Nitrites are up to 0.5 ppm, so it looks like I’ve made some significant progress on the cycle. I’ve started brainstorming ideas for stocking the tank and exactly how I’ll go about doing it, and hopefully I’ll have a concrete plan by the end of the week. There are a lot of options…
Monday, November 9
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5 ppm
I’ll be taking measurements every day. I may not post them every day, but updates should be more frequent and probably more boring for the next couple of weeks.
One other thing, I may have mentioned this a while back, but when I got some ghost shrimp for the freshwater tank, a fry accidentally made its way into the bag, and into the tank. I didn’t realistically think it would make it, but it has grown to at least three times its original size and is starting to get more bold in exploring the tank, even towards the top. I know it’s a guppy, and had thought it was a female for a while but it’s starting to grow a nice tail so it might be male. I was finally able to get a decent picture of it, even though the picture isn’t all that good:
It’s swimming right above the plant. It has a name if it’s female: Latrina. I’ve always given female guppies ugly names, but if it turns out to be male, then I guess I have to rethink the name.
I’ve just finished installing a float switch that will automatically turn off the pump if the water level in the refugium gets too low:
This makes the system even safer, meaning that the pump should never run dry, and I’m super-sure that the plumbing won’t cause any floods or bad things to happen. Setting it up was actually very easy. I could only use one zip-tie to tie it on to the mount because I wanted it lower than the mount would let me, so I hot-glued it in place as well.
After three weeks of no ammonia reading, I decided to start dosing the tank with ammonia myself. It will be a little more difficult to cycle this way, but it should be quicker, so hopefully in three weeks I’ll be ready to start adding livestock. I added ammonia until there was about 4 ppm in the tank, and I squeezed the filter from the quarantine into the display tank to help start the process. I should be monitoring the levels closely from here on out, so even if I don’t update every day, there will at least be measurements for every day when I do update. I know that isn’t much consolation, but hopefully there will be some more life in the tank soon.
Oh, and by the way, Sarge says hi:
Here’s an update on the freshwater tank: the plants are starting some new growth, and the java fern looks very good as a result of the lighting change. Even the fish seem a little more active and happy about it. On the sad side I’ve lost at least two of the ghost shrimp. I’m not sure why, I did an ammonia test and it was zero, and it appears that there’s no other damage.
As far as the quarantine tank goes, I think it’s about done cycling. I took some measurements last night:
Nitrite: 0.05 ppm
Nitrate: 7.5 ppm
The nitrite keeps getting closer to zero, and the nitrates are under control as well. It’s nice to know that something in the saltwater world is going right…
The main tank, on the other hand, is starting to confuse me. I took measurements last night and I found zero on everything — still. It’s been 2 1/2 weeks and I haven’t seen anything resembling a higher ammonia level. The raw shrimp I put in there don’t appear to be decomposing at all, and it’s gotten to the point where I’m wondering if there’s something I’m doing wrong. I’ll have to ask about this in the forums. Speaking of the forums, I think I’m going to stop posting these messages there because nobody seems interested. Oh well, I’m over it.
The float switch setup arrived in the mail. I’ll be installing it this weekend for sure, since I now have everything I need.