How to run your new tank without fallow and quarantine, post here for guidance live time, we track your tank out to eight months

Paul B

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in my opinion the most important sample is from tanks not posting here that feel they will let down Paul if they admit to losses.
Nobody is letting me down by doing anything. Contrary to popular opinion I really don't pay much attention to other people's tanks unless they PM me. I have a lot of other things to think about at this time.

I never go on the disease forum because I have no reason to. If someone is on there they can get advice from people who medicate and do it all the time because thats what they are good at. I am not. It's not my thing.

As I said, I get losses, just not from communicable diseases. Yesterday my oldest, largest coral bleached and croaked. I don't know why and I am not concerned as it happens in tanks and in the sea.

The rest of my corals seem fine as do all my fish.
I just checked my tank and my fish that are spawning are 6 line wrasses, rainsford gobies, watchman gobies and fireclowns. My bangais should spawn soon as they are young. Those are all the paired fish I have but my main interest in this hobby is "healthy, immune fish" and the ability to spawn, to me is the most important gauge of a fishes health.

I can and do give advice if asked how to get and keep fish healthy but disease forums are not my thing. There are plenty of people for that.
 
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2Sunny

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Been posting on reef forums since 2001 on RC and others. Can't remember a time when this issue came up so often with so many vigorous defenses of what is a simple matter of personal choice. Me personally I'm of the opinion that unscrupulous LFS operators account for way more losses than lack of quarantine on the part of hobbyists. My first purchase was a 7 gallon AIO with a power compact bulb, and the LFS owner sold me a Magnificent Anemone and 2 clowns all of which died in a week. Fortunately, I found Chris Jessen, in Stamford and he put me on track to success the second time around. I consider Chris to be one of the hobbies unspoken heros as he was truly amazing at getting new wild corals to survive and thrive in his store resulting in some amazing selection. Anyways, to the point of this thread - show me some scientific research . . .

I spent an hour or so looking for information. What I found was one study from the '90s that examined mortality during transport which concluded that water quality far outweighed disease in mortality. In other words better water quality was more important than disease prevention as changes in pH and levels of ammonia were far worse than disease in causing death. Next I found a paper that surveyed U.S. public aquariums. The researchers sent 72 surveys out and got 38 responses. The study specifically did not compare mortality as the researchers felt to do so would require more sophisticated differentiation, but what they did find out was that about 20% of public aquaria did not quarantine new fish at all. Lastly this was not in fish, but birds, none the less, the study specifically looked at animals that went straight to a display versus animals that underwent quarantine first: they found no difference in mortality.

I have never quarantined and believe that focusing on proper water quality prior to introducing fish is more important than quarantine and if more beginners took time to establish a good biological environment prior to introducing fish then mortality would go down as compared to quarantine alone.

Anyways, just one guys opinion in a hobby that is full of them :D

A Retrospective Analysis
Fish Quarantine in Zoos
Google: Monitoring the chain of custody to reduce delayed mortality of net-caught fish in the aquarium trade

Final note: I started a 22 gallon nano last April. I put in 7 fish so far: 3 Clowns, 1 Pajama Cardinal, 2 Neon Gobies, and 1 Trimma Gobie - I took 2 Clowns out because they didn't get along with the prospective mate and now have 5 fish in the 22 - no deaths - never quarantined - didn't even acclimate - just dropped them in . . . the power of good biology . . . notice the healthy corals as well.

nano.jpg





2001

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2002


2002.Start.jpg





2004.Zenith.JPG



2011

2011.Zenith.jpg




2017


2017.Zenith.JPG
 

Aqua Man

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several large fish from different sources
Really admire your passion for this hobby. We should not bash people for the choice they make on how to run there tank. Most of the great advice that’s given here on R2R is ignored anyway!

I’m sure that there are reputable on line vendors for fish. I will never order a fish online though. Why? If I can not see a fish eat, I will not buy it.

When I visit a store and see a fish I’m interested in, the first question is, how long has this fish been here? Then like others have mentioned, watch the fish. Behavior normal? Eating normal? Probably still won’t buy it! I’ll come back in a week or 2 and if that fish is still there and healthy, then maybe!

Everyone is in a hurry these days. We preach slow for a reason. Impulse buys and lack of knowledge are a big part of why fish/coral die. IMO
 

brandon429

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I was on a tear last nite yep. when I read other forums and the degree of fish loss then re read here I get internal conflicts. Good thing Paul's flexible on critique. after 8 hours sleep it also seems fair to put some/most onus on the actual buyer of a grand in fish, if they sum total of the prep homework said that investment was best insured by skipping tank preps then that's the takeaway they gained, and the minority of reading literature advocated the go it and see approach, 75% or better used key terms fallow/qt and they read it, then steered the other direction. Hard to know what ratio of offense is at work lol.

its so odd we accept this degree of loss in a portion of our hobby on a repeated basis, we're much better at keeping corals alive even as novices than we are at keeping fish. fish are being wasted at a very very high rate in this hobby, within 8 mos after setup says any page in the fish disease forum to the tune of 60-70% of all posts for disease help/loss are from tanks this new. Im interested in whatever methods are being developed that keep up with this trending, and meet it with speed and equal precision.

because we are so efficient at cycling, and legit start dates for reef much faster than previous rules allowed, a new form of fish/tank prep must follow. We are not going to get enough folks using truly matured rock for the offers in this thread to stick/help/reduce loss. Folks are going to show up w dry rocks nearly always.
 
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Paul B

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Folks are going to show up w dry rocks nearly always.
And that is a shame because most of those tanks are kind of doomed to fail or at least have a heck of a lot of problems. It is just what it is.
 
Zoanthids

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fish are being wasted at a very very high rate in this hobby, within 8 mos after setup says any page in the fish disease forum to the tune of 60-70% of all posts for disease help/loss are from tanks this new.
I hear you. Makes me sad too.
So many variables, here are questions I would ask. Help see patterns and gather data.
Impulse buy?
Did they see fish eat?
what research was done to see if fish is compatible with setup?
How long was fish observed in store?
Was fish purchased on line?
Acclimation technique?
Do they know the salinity of store/vendor?
I know some people do fish in cycle, was that the case ?
Age of tank?
Is the reefer experienced ?

Have made all the mistakes myself at one point or another! That’s all I could think of at the moment!
 

MnFish1

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Been posting on reef forums since 2001 on RC and others. Can't remember a time when this issue came up so often with so many vigorous defenses of what is a simple matter of personal choice. Me personally I'm of the opinion that unscrupulous LFS operators account for way more losses than lack of quarantine on the part of hobbyists. My first purchase was a 7 gallon AIO with a power compact bulb, and the LFS owner sold me a Magnificent Anemone and 2 clowns all of which died in a week. Fortunately, I found Chris Jessen, in Stamford and he put me on track to success the second time around. I consider Chris to be one of the hobbies unspoken heros as he was truly amazing at getting new wild corals to survive and thrive in his store resulting in some amazing selection. Anyways, to the point of this thread - show me some scientific research . . .

I spent an hour or so looking for information. What I found was one study from the '90s that examined mortality during transport which concluded that water quality far outweighed disease in mortality. In other words better water quality was more important than disease prevention as changes in pH and levels of ammonia were far worse than disease in causing death. Next I found a paper that surveyed U.S. public aquariums. The researchers sent 72 surveys out and got 38 responses. The study specifically did not compare mortality as the researchers felt to do so would require more sophisticated differentiation, but what they did find out was that about 20% of public aquaria did not quarantine new fish at all. Lastly this was not in fish, but birds, none the less, the study specifically looked at animals that went straight to a display versus animals that underwent quarantine first: they found no difference in mortality.

I have never quarantined and believe that focusing on proper water quality prior to introducing fish is more important than quarantine and if more beginners took time to establish a good biological environment prior to introducing fish then mortality would go down as compared to quarantine alone.

Anyways, just one guys opinion in a hobby that is full of them :D

A Retrospective Analysis
Fish Quarantine in Zoos
Google: Monitoring the chain of custody to reduce delayed mortality of net-caught fish in the aquarium trade

Final note: I started a 22 gallon nano last April. I put in 7 fish so far: 3 Clowns, 1 Pajama Cardinal, 2 Neon Gobies, and 1 Trimma Gobie - I took 2 Clowns out because they didn't get along with the prospective mate and now have 5 fish in the 22 - no deaths - never quarantined - didn't even acclimate - just dropped them in . . . the power of good biology . . . notice the healthy corals as well.

nano.jpg





2001

2001.Start.jpg



2002


2002.Start.jpg





2004.Zenith.JPG



2011

2011.Zenith.jpg




2017


2017.Zenith.JPG
Awesome tanks. Could you find that study comparing the reason for fish mortality?
 

MnFish1

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And that is a shame because most of those tanks are kind of doomed to fail or at least have a heck of a lot of problems. It is just what it is.
1. You just said you don't pay attention to other peoples tanks. 2. There are so many things that go into 'new' tanks (mostly new fish keepers), that your blanket statement seems odd.
 

salty joe

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On the 24th of May, I added a batch and today one of the two small flameback angels died. No sign of disease in the tank. I cut the flameback open to have a look inside and it seemed he had hardly any guts at all. I wonder if it starved. They mostly swam around and through the rock, never venturing out. I figured they were eating bugs and bits of clam and oyster the others tear up.
I don't expect things to go south but if they do, I'll post.
 

tc3driver

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Don't get the most expensive fish like Achilles tangs or manta rays. Maybe something like a clownfish as you can't kill them even if you run a school bus over them,,,,twice.
Man I wish I had this problem... I am the clown fish killer

Tangs... perfectly fine... Clowns... never last more than 2 days in my tank... I think it is brooklynella... only took me 8 clowns to figure it out... just happens so fast.

So I've given up on clowns XD (and no I don't have or have the ability to set up a hospital tank)... so I'll live without them
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Look how tidy they keep things in the disease forum.



now -that- is saving tanks. I liked 2Sunnys initial post but when pics of only his excellent tank was the final proof I was lost, that’s not a representation of today’s cycling which has markedly changed in the last decade.

I think disease control advocates should spend time cycling today’s new tanks asking for help and follow up with the owners within half a year after you help them close a cycle, the tune on disease preps will change for sure.

the disease forum remarks upon and streamlines disease control for the masses, based on new emerging trends.


meanwhile here, what works for someone at their home is offered as the cure for dry rock cyclers. The divide enlarges. nobody who starts with a dry rock setup is going to wait long enough to add fish until rocks looks like Pauls or 2Sunnys, they’re going to add fish when the bottle says they can. We need to amend disease preps to follow cycling trends today that are nothing like yesteryear.
 

MnFish1

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Look how tidy they keep things in the disease forum.



now -that- is saving tanks. I liked 2Sunnys initial post but when pics of only his excellent tank was the final proof I was lost, that’s not a representation of today’s cycling which has markedly changed in the last decade.

I think disease control advocates should spend time cycling today’s new tanks asking for help and follow up with the owners within half a year after you help them close a cycle, the tune on disease preps will change for sure.

the disease forum remarks upon and streamlines disease control for the masses, based on new emerging trends.


meanwhile here, what works for someone at their home is offered as the cure for dry rock cyclers. The divide enlarges. nobody who starts with a dry rock setup is going to wait long enough to add fish until rocks looks like Pauls or 2Sunnys, they’re going to add fish when the bottle says they can. We need to amend disease preps to follow cycling trends today that are nothing like yesteryear.
One part of your thesis is that live rock prevents or helps fish disease (at least thats my interpretation of what you're saying?). I do not share that sentiment/opinion.

Lots of people keep fish only - and their rocks don't look like a coral tank either. To me - if you're going to have a thesis, you should have a rationale as to how you came to that thesis - otherwise its just 'opinion' (which is also fine). It seems like you are sure that somehow having 'live rock' vs 'dead rock' - is some kind of miracle cure for disease. What is your rationale for that sentiment? Here are my opinions as to why that MIGHT be the case:

1. People that use dry rock are spending less money. They may be skimping on fish (i.e. not buying quality fish in the first place). They may be skimping on equipment.
2. People that have lots of coral/live rock tend to have lower stocking density than those with lots of other living things in their tank.
3. People that use dry rock may tend to be more 'beginners' - and thus make mistakes. For example, Live rock will tend to handle ammonia better than dry rock, so minor ammonia spikes might be less likely to happen - as compared to a tank using only dry rock. Minor ammonia changes may make a fish more susceptible to a disease.

(PS - this is assuming that your thesis is correct, i.e. that people using dry rock have 'more disease' I'd like to hear your rationale as to how adding live rock protects against disease, as compared to dry rock - you had wanted a tank thread - 90 percent of my tank started out with dry rock). I never had any disease until I bought some (Cheap) fish from an internet supplier.
 

Paul B

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This is live rock from Tahiti. It actually is Tahiti.

i.

Every centimetre of it is covered in life. Bacteria, pods, worms, viruses, sponges etc.


To me this is maybe not 100% needed but it will make the tank so much healthier. It will make the water healthy for obvious reasons. The "cycling" bacteria are already there and established. It makes the fish healthier and thus less prone to disease because whatever bacteria is on those rocks is also in the fish. The fish gets it from eating whatever was grazing on the rocks and as you may know I feel a fish is "never" healthy unless it is getting living bacteria of the correct type with almost every meal. (MnFish, this is "my" opinion and I will not argue about it with you)

Starting a tank with dry rock (as I also did because there was no live rock then) can and usually is a disaster for the same reasons I stated.
For some reason many of us keep failing to recognize the value of live bacteria and instead depend on medications.

This is a huge mistake and IMO one of the reasons for a disease forum.

Dry rock offers nothing to the fish, not even good hiding places because fish are afraid of it. They are afraid of anything clean and white. There is also no sense hunting for something to eat on dry rock and in a short time they figure out that it is fruitless and they stop hunting.

Another huge mistake many of us are guilty of is not understanding the feelings of the fish. No, they don't feel remorse, sympathy, apathy, rueful, apologetic, spiteful, resentful or any of those things that a psychologist will take our money to try to cure, but fish feel afraid. Afraid is stress and stress is the biggest killer of fish as it actually causes fish to become infected by lowering their immunity.

No one can keep a Great White Shark in a tank no matter how large the tank is because stress will even kill one of those in days.

Just look at the expression of a fish in a bare quarantine or hospital tank decorated with white PVC elbows from Home Depot. Fish just want to die there. But if you put that fish in a tank full of real live rock with real hiding places, not just little holes where the fish can see you those fish have a much better chance of fending off almost anything.

That is also one of the "secrets" of all old, healthy, disease free, medication free tanks.

My best advice is if you want to start a reef from scratch, and all you can afford is dry rock, get another hobby as it will almost guaranteed be a nightmare. (Mn, I also won't argue with you about that)

Save up or rob a bank, but get live rock. :cool:
 

Lukeluke

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FWIW, I was able to get a few pounds of Fiji rock from my LFS. I'm told it's the good stuff, but was banned recently. Another customer had traded some in.

20210613_140000.jpg


Planning on fish this weekend.

Oh, and been dropping in a pinch of cheapo fish flakes as recommended.
 

fishmonkey

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This is live rock from Tahiti. It actually is Tahiti.

i.

Every centimetre of it is covered in life. Bacteria, pods, worms, viruses, sponges etc.


To me this is maybe not 100% needed but it will make the tank so much healthier. It will make the water healthy for obvious reasons. The "cycling" bacteria are already there and established. It makes the fish healthier and thus less prone to disease because whatever bacteria is on those rocks is also in the fish. The fish gets it from eating whatever was grazing on the rocks and as you may know I feel a fish is "never" healthy unless it is getting living bacteria of the correct type with almost every meal. (MnFish, this is "my" opinion and I will not argue about it with you)

Starting a tank with dry rock (as I also did because there was no live rock then) can and usually is a disaster for the same reasons I stated.
For some reason many of us keep failing to recognize the value of live bacteria and instead depend on medications.

This is a huge mistake and IMO one of the reasons for a disease forum.

Dry rock offers nothing to the fish, not even good hiding places because fish are afraid of it. They are afraid of anything clean and white. There is also no sense hunting for something to eat on dry rock and in a short time they figure out that it is fruitless and they stop hunting.

Another huge mistake many of us are guilty of is not understanding the feelings of the fish. No, they don't feel remorse, sympathy, apathy, rueful, apologetic, spiteful, resentful or any of those things that a psychologist will take our money to try to cure, but fish feel afraid. Afraid is stress and stress is the biggest killer of fish as it actually causes fish to become infected by lowering their immunity.

No one can keep a Great White Shark in a tank no matter how large the tank is because stress will even kill one of those in days.

Just look at the expression of a fish in a bare quarantine or hospital tank decorated with white PVC elbows from Home Depot. Fish just want to die there. But if you put that fish in a tank full of real live rock with real hiding places, not just little holes where the fish can see you those fish have a much better chance of fending off almost anything.

That is also one of the "secrets" of all old, healthy, disease free, medication free tanks.

My best advice is if you want to start a reef from scratch, and all you can afford is dry rock, get another hobby as it will almost guaranteed be a nightmare. (Mn, I also won't argue with you about that)

Save up or rob a bank, but get live rock. :cool:
wow.. so my tank with all dry rock will never be successful even when i feed white worms and clams i froze from the market? btw when should i throw away those "fresh" frozen clams? (its been over a month)

also my fire fish stopped eating the white worms for some reason he just doesn't seem to like them anymore... :(surprisingly he's my only survivor in the past 2 months. the clownfish died but to be fair they had white stringy poop right after adding them and the whole time.

where can i get live rock from and how much do i need? i see some websites that sell "live rock" but im skeptical. can i just put a small piece in my sump? i live in los angeles but it seems like a lot of work to find live rock myself out here in the ocean and im not even sure it will work. maybe i can go chest deep in the water and find some kind of small porous rock or a sand dollar or something? maybe a collection of small pieces.

i want to believe that in time my tank will eventually be mature enough to keep fish alive but after reading that post i felt an overwhelming feeling of pessimism. i will keep trying though and worse comes to worse it will be a coral only tank.

also should i just stop adding fish for now? i have a fire fish and a springer damsel in my 40 gallon that seem to be doing fine. (healthy poop at least) if i can add fish what should i add other than clowns?

P.S. sorry for all the questions. just trying to follow your methods as close as i am able to. much appreciated.
 
AS

Paul B

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wow.. so my tank with all dry rock will never be successful even when i feed white worms and clams i froze from the market? btw when should i throw away those "fresh" frozen clams? (its been over a month)
No, as I said, I started my tank with dead rock. I collected it live but had to bleach it in my hotel room in the Caribbean, Hawaii or wherever I was at the time. I couldn't take it on the plane because it stunk like a 1955 Oldsmobile left in the sun for a week with a bushel of live clams in the trunk.
(true story)

My tank with dead rock also had many disease problems forcing me to keep copper pennies in the tank to allow me to keep fish long enough to eliminate ich. After a few weeks I had to pour a cup of Clorox in the tank because I couldn't keep anything alive after I removed the fish. (That Clorox treated water is still in my tank) :p

I eventually found out that if I took almost anything from the sea and threw it in my tank without cleaning I could get the fish to live long enough to get them immune.

But it was a constant battle and we didn't have disease forums or even computers or cell phones then and no one was in the hobby so I was on my own. But at least I also couldn't get any bad advice.

If I were you in Los Angeles I would go to the sea and find any rocks, shells, bottles gravel, sand, bricks or anything inert in the sea that I could put in my tank. I would put it in as it is, mud and all.

That would provide some living bacteria. I would not worry about pollution because I was not filling my tank with that water which may not be the best and that little bit of pollution won't hurt anything.

I use New York water which is probably similar.
I realize you and most people won't take things from the sea and throw them in your tank, but where do you think your fish and corals came from?

I have been to many places where fish are collected and some of them are much more polluted that New York or Los Angeles.

I started my tank with water from near here. The East River in Manhattan one of the most polluted water ways in the states and I won't even eat fish from here. Bit it's all I had. I could find all sorts of things I could put in my tank if even temporarily for the bacteria and biodiversity.

I know many people are cringing, but that tank is still running. I don't use water from there any more but I will take rocks, bottles etc. if I see something interesting. I doubt corals would live in that water but I was interested in bacteria then.

Of course you can't do this if you are going for a sterile, quarantined tank or medicated tank.





 

MnFish1

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i want to believe that in time my tank will eventually be mature enough to keep fish alive but after reading that post i felt an overwhelming feeling of pessimism. i will keep trying though and worse comes to worse it will be a coral only tank.
In many places just collecting 'live rock' from the ocean is not permitted - from what I understand. People have also started recommending (for various reasons) that seashell collecting should be banned. I would not be pessimistic. If you can keep coral you can keep fish. I would guess that most people on this site would suggest that adding corals should be only done after a tank is more mature than for fish. It is my strong opinion that live rock is not a requirement for a healthy tank. I would concentrate more on the quality of fish you're buying - than whether you are using dead or live rock. But others will have different opinions. Keep the faith.
 

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So couple of things:

1. I'm a little worried I killed my live rock. My town uses chloramine, so I tested the RO product water and it looked like a little was making it through. I didn't really think about it when I added the rock. I also added some food/Ammonia. Ammonia levels haven't gone down at all, no nitrite, but it looks like nitrate is increasing. I kindof expected the ammonia to drop pretty quickly since I added the live rock. I've since added some Prime and bottle bac, admittedly out of panic. I know test kits don't report low level ammonia accurately, but it's still a dark green, 2.0. Tank is clear and I don't think the sponges on the rock have died. Haven't changed colors or texture anyway.
20210618_112754.jpg


2. I was able to find some clams. What's the prep on those? Blend, bag, and freeze?
 

MnFish1

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So couple of things:

1. I'm a little worried I killed my live rock. My town uses chloramine, so I tested the RO product water and it looked like a little was making it through. I didn't really think about it when I added the rock. I also added some food/Ammonia. Ammonia levels haven't gone down at all, no nitrite, but it looks like nitrate is increasing. I kindof expected the ammonia to drop pretty quickly since I added the live rock. I've since added some Prime and bottle bac, admittedly out of panic. I know test kits don't report low level ammonia accurately, but it's still a dark green, 2.0. Tank is clear and I don't think the sponges on the rock have died. Haven't changed colors or texture anyway.
20210618_112754.jpg


2. I was able to find some clams. What's the prep on those? Blend, bag, and freeze?
Its impossible to know whats going on. Sometimes just adding Live rock (with sponges, etc on it) will cause an ammonia spike. I would not have added more.

If you added Prime, your ammonia level will likely stay elevated.

Do you just have an RO unit, or an RODI unit? An RODI unit should remove chloramine.

What else is in the tank (fish, etc) wise?

if I were you - assuming there are no fish, etc in the tank - just let it be for a week, do a water change - and re-test your parameters. I seriously - have never owned an ammonia test. Maybe its just experience - but it seems like so many people are chasing ammonia - and no offense to you - I can't quite figure it out. One comment I think I mentioned before - is try to find a mentor - nearby where you live - that can help with methods etc setting up a tank. Though there is a lot of great info on R2R one problem is that you can really end up doing multiple things based on the comments of multiple people - that may be doing more harm than good. A local person you could run some of the multiple ideas may help you going forward.
 

Lukeluke

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Its impossible to know whats going on. Sometimes just adding Live rock (with sponges, etc on it) will cause an ammonia spike. I would not have added more.

If you added Prime, your ammonia level will likely stay elevated.

Do you just have an RO unit, or an RODI unit? An RODI unit should remove chloramine.

What else is in the tank (fish, etc) wise?

if I were you - assuming there are no fish, etc in the tank - just let it be for a week, do a water change - and re-test your parameters. I seriously - have never owned an ammonia test. Maybe its just experience - but it seems like so many people are chasing ammonia - and no offense to you - I can't quite figure it out. One comment I think I mentioned before - is try to find a mentor - nearby where you live - that can help with methods etc setting up a tank. Though there is a lot of great info on R2R one problem is that you can really end up doing multiple things based on the comments of multiple people - that may be doing more harm than good. A local person you could run some of the multiple ideas may help you going forward.
Word. No animals other than what came in with the rock. It is an ro/di, BRS 4-stage. I was under the impression it should take care of all the chlorine, but some total chlorine was reading on the test so I panicked a little.

I've mostly resolved to not touch it again until after the 4th. Although a water change sounds like a good idea. Then no touch till I get back from out of town. Adding the ammonia was an impatience/curiosity/excitement thing. I'm not proud of it. ;Dead

Appreciate the advice.
 
Fritz

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