Brand new to reefing!

ReefNoobs

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Good morning everyone! Really happy to be a part of this community and have already learned so much! Been wanting to get into reefing for a very long time and finally pulled the trigger. Got myself a Waterbox 25g Peninsula and officially started my fishless cycling on 4/13/24. I used Carib Sea Arag-Alive sand and Life rock. To start the cycle, I used Dr Tims and then a decently sized pinch of fish food. Been testing for ammonia the past two days and still showing 0 ppm which I imagine is normal for the method I am using.

The question I had is when should I expect to see ammonia levels? I figured it would take a few days until the food starts to break down, but just wanted to make sure I haven't been doing something wrong. Also should I be testing for nitrites if I don't see ammonia? Any and all help is appreciated!

I'll attach some photos of how the tank is looking thus far.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg
 

Jtuvey

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Tank looks good! It will take a few days for the food to break down then you will start to see some ammonia. Another option would be to get some fresh or frozen cuisine shrimp, then put one in the tank and let it decay, it should give you a bump in ammonia.

I wouldn’t test for nitrites until you see some ammonia. Then you can test the nitrites and soon after nitrates to see the cycle come full circle. It could take a week or so to see the nitrite spike and then another week or two to finally see the nitrite drop to 0 and nitrates to go up.

I wouldn’t do any water changes until you see your nitrates spike up.
 

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You can get ammonia in a bottle and seed your tank that way if you want. You can also know the precise amount of ammonia you are putting onto your tank. Theres no way to know how much ammonia food will make. But if you go the food route it can take a few days for sure.
 

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Nice scape. Don't add coral that you plan on keeping alive until you have coralline on your pumps. Zoas and pulsing Xenia might be the exception. I suggest getting some livesand from tamapabaysaltwater.com to speed things up. I went the Sterile route in one of my tanks. I'm now 6 months in and still no coralline. The ugly stage just passed though. Another tank, I used 5% live rock and added coral on day one. I got dinos 3 days later and beat them after 3 months. Dinos however is the reason that 90% of newbs sell their equipment to us in the classifieds for pennies on the dollar. You have been warned... good luck!
 
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Thanks everyone for you speedy responses and help! Looking forward to the journey and will be prepared for this "Dinos". I will probably be back on here once I see them to get advise.
 
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Little update....we have ammonia! Never thought I would be excited to see ammonia in my life. Using the Red Sea marine care multi test kit and even though the color is faint, it appears to read .2 PPM. I was just curious and tested for nitrites as well and that test seemed to show .05 PPM. Super exited though. Anything else I should be doing?

I was thinking of buying a small 10 gallon tank so I can start quarantining my first fish that I get. Seeing as that can take ~30 days, I figured the cycle would be done by then and would work out perfectly.
 

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Little update....we have ammonia! Never thought I would be excited to see ammonia in my life. Using the Red Sea marine care multi test kit and even though the color is faint, it appears to read .2 PPM. I was just curious and tested for nitrites as well and that test seemed to show .05 PPM. Super exited though. Anything else I should be doing?

I was thinking of buying a small 10 gallon tank so I can start quarantining my first fish that I get. Seeing as that can take ~30 days, I figured the cycle would be done by then and would work out perfectly.
Do you have a quarantine tank that is Cycled?
 
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Do you have a quarantine tank that is Cycled?
I do not. Can I use a tank with only salt water in it to quarantine? Then drip acclimate it to my main tank after or is that a no no? I was watching BRStv on youtube and was just kind of going off their little quarantine build.
 

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I do not. Can I use a tank with only salt water in it to quarantine? Then drip acclimate it to my main tank after or is that a no no? I was watching BRStv on youtube and was just kind of going off their little quarantine build.
You will need a cycled Quarantine. If you do only saltwater the ammonia will build up and make your fish sick before they go into your tank. You will need some sort of filter for that tank. Wether it is an air Stone sponge or something like a HOB. You can put some media in a bag in your new tank and Cy ke some media and then put it in your quarantine to make it cycled but you will run into problems just putting fish into anything uncycled.

I think most people when they start a tank put their first fish in their tank and don't add anymore for 30 days. They usually start off with one or two fish let their bacteria continue to build up for about 30 days then add more fish.

But you can definitely quarantine your first fish as well. It isn't bad practice. You will just need to do something to make sure you don't ammonia poison those fish in quarantine. Especially if it is more than one fish in a 10g uncycled. You might hate yourself if you had to do a waterchange everyday for weeks to keep ammonia down.
 
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You will need a cycled Quarantine. If you do only saltwater the ammonia will build up and make your fish sick before they go into your tank. You will need some sort of filter for that tank. Wether it is an air Stone sponge or something like a HOB. You can put some media in a bag in your new tank and Cy ke some media and then put it in your quarantine to make it cycled but you will run into problems just putting fish into anything uncycled.

I think most people when they start a tank put their first fish in their tank and don't add anymore for 30 days. They usually start off with one or two fish let their bacteria continue to build up for about 30 days then add more fish.

But you can definitely quarantine your first fish as well. It isn't bad practice. You will just need to do something to make sure you don't ammonia poison those fish in quarantine. Especially if it is more than one fish in a 10g uncycled. You might hate yourself if you had to do a waterchange everyday for weeks to keep ammonia down.
The daily or every other day water change is what I had in mind. I would love to have a separate cycled quarantine tank, but the Mrs. would kill me :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes:. My idea was a 10 gallon tank with a heater and a little Fluval 20 filter. I have a 50 gallon drum that would house the salt water that I needed to change out regularly.

I am going to slowly try and ease into having a whole separate quarantine tank though haha. I know it many reefers also suggest quarantining corals when it comes time to add those.
 

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The daily or every other day water change is what I had in mind. I would love to have a separate cycled quarantine tank, but the Mrs. would kill me :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes:. My idea was a 10 gallon tank with a heater and a little Fluval 20 filter. I have a 50 gallon drum that would house the salt water that I needed to change out regularly.

I am going to slowly try and ease into having a whole separate quarantine tank though haha. I know it many reefers also suggest quarantining corals when it comes time to add those.
I usually dip corals and then put them iin my display but you can QT corals you will just need another light and to keep the parameters stabile in the QT as to not harm the corals. You can keep media with bacteria on it in your display if you ever need to start a QT move over the media for an emergency if the Mrs. Won't let you keep a QT full time.
 

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Yep I would do same as above a good dip then in your reef . Keep us updated with photos and how your getting on
 
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You guys are awesome! I will certainly post photos as I progress through this cycling process. One thing I am trying to tackle is my temperature. My tank will not go below 80 degrees no matter what I try. The tank is upstairs so I know it's going to be a bit hot, but I got home today and checked the temp at it was sitting around 82! I know that isn't going to be good for future fish and corals. Rocking an EHEIM 100W right now, but I don't even have it plugged in anymore since the tank sits at 80 comfortably.
 

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You guys are awesome! I will certainly post photos as I progress through this cycling process. One thing I am trying to tackle is my temperature. My tank will not go below 80 degrees no matter what I try. The tank is upstairs so I know it's going to be a bit hot, but I got home today and checked the temp at it was sitting around 82! I know that isn't going to be good for future fish and corals. Rocking an EHEIM 100W right now, but I don't even have it plugged in anymore since the tank sits at 80 comfortably.
What is the temp in your house? If you cannot keep the temp realistically below 80 then you might be one of those people who needs a chiller! You might want to make sure the heater is set to 78. Also you cannot get a thermostat to run your heater. The heater shouldn't be coming on if it is over 78. If it is running when over 78 then that is not good.
 
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What is the temp in your house? If you cannot keep the temp realistically below 80 then you might be one of those people who needs a chiller! You might want to make sure the heater is set to 78. Also you cannot get a thermostat to run your heater. The heater shouldn't be coming on if it is over 78. If it is running when over 78 then that is not good.
House is right around the mid 70's. Really odd though, I used this heater when I was mixing the salt water originally and had it set to 78 and that is exactly what it heated the water to when I was mixing it in the garage. Bring the tank upstairs and set it up and the water reads 80. I lowered the temp on the heater to 73 just to see if it would do anything and it didn't even move the temp 1 degree less haha. Interestingly enough though....I removed the heater all together and for the past 5 hours the temp has been a beautiful 78 degrees! So we shall see if that temperature remains stable throughout the summer. I looked up chillers and wow do they get expensive!
 

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House is right around the mid 70's. Really odd though, I used this heater when I was mixing the salt water originally and had it set to 78 and that is exactly what it heated the water to when I was mixing it in the garage. Bring the tank upstairs and set it up and the water reads 80. I lowered the temp on the heater to 73 just to see if it would do anything and it didn't even move the temp 1 degree less haha. Interestingly enough though....I removed the heater all together and for the past 5 hours the temp has been a beautiful 78 degrees! So we shall see if that temperature remains stable throughout the summer. I looked up chillers and wow do they get expensive!
You don't want to buy a chiller...... nope nope nope. Hopefully you can get that heater dialed in right. You could also move to a smaller one if you need to. But yes chillers are expensive.
 

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