When to test water?

merluscipo

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Today, I started my first reef tank. I have added live rock, live sand and water from a local fish store. As expected, once I added the water it got super cloudy. How long after adding the water should I wait to test the water parameters, i.e. salinity, pH, ammonia etc? Should I wait until the tank has completely cleared?

Thanks,

Mel
 
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GThompson

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Whenever your ready to test is a good time to start. Just keep a log and record your results. And test on a regular basis so you know when your cycle is complete. I tested every other day until mine settled. Good luck with your new build and post pictures for everyone to see. And welcome to R2R
 
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W1ngz

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The only test you need to worry about now is ammonia, assuming you've added some ammonia or something that will break down and release some into the water. You want to know how much ammonia you have at the start of the cycle so in a few days you can guage if the live rock had enough bacteria alive in it to break it down.

You can test right away, the cloud is just the sand getting kicked up, and won't have an effect on things at this stage.

What are you using as a source of ammonia?
 
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merluscipo

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The guy at the fish store suggested turbo starter from frtiz-zyme to kickstart the cycle.
The only test you need to worry about now is ammonia, assuming you've added some ammonia or something that will break down and release some into the water. You want to know how much ammonia you have at the start of the cycle so in a few days you can guage if the live rock had enough bacteria alive in it to break it down.

You can test right away, the cloud is just the sand getting kicked up, and won't have an effect on things at this stage.

What are you using as a source of ammonia?
 

GThompson

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You should be good with that. Just test your water on a regular basis. At about the same time frame. And I wouldn’t test right after feeding, before would be better. GL
 

AiKkz

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I’d get into a good habit of testing twice a week, for me it’s usually Wednesday and Sunday!
 

W1ngz

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Good stuff. I've never used the Fritz stuff myself, but pretty sure with any bacteria in a bottle you need to give them some sort of food (ammonia) whether that be live fish, a few drops of household plain ammonia or just adding some food to the tank to break down.
 
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merluscipo

merluscipo

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What kind of thing do you suggest adding into the tank to get the process started?

Good stuff. I've never used the Fritz stuff myself, but pretty sure with any bacteria in a bottle you need to give them some sort of food (ammonia) whether that be live fish, a few drops of household plain ammonia or just adding some food to the tank to break down.
 

W1ngz

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My personal preference is to use regular household ammonia (unscented, no soaps or anything, just ammonia) and this calculator to work out the amount to bring the tank up to 2ppm, then you can test ammonia every few days to know when it drops to 0.

Alternatively, you could just add a pinch of food every few days while testing for ammonia. You should see the ammonia levels rise, then fall as the bacteria get established.
 
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merluscipo

merluscipo

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That sounds like a great idea, I think I'll try it out! Once it's cycled, when do you suggest adding a cleaning crew or fish?

My personal preference is to use regular household ammonia (unscented, no soaps or anything, just ammonia) and this calculator to work out the amount to bring the tank up to 2ppm, then you can test ammonia every few days to know when it drops to 0.

Alternatively, you could just add a pinch of food every few days while testing for ammonia. You should see the ammonia levels rise, then fall as the bacteria get established.
 

PatW

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That sounds like a great idea, I think I'll try it out! Once it's cycled, when do you suggest adding a cleaning crew or fish?
Well, first you want to be sure that ammonia is zero, nitrites are zero and nitrates are not really high. Bacteria will convert.to ic ammonia to nitrites and then to almost non toxic nitrates. After a cycle some people add a little ammonia and check the next day to see if ammonia is zero. That is a way of checking to be sure that the bacteria are at robust enough levels to remove the ammonia produced by food breakdown.

You do not need a cleanup crew until you get something in your tank to clean up. Also some clean up crew members are specialized... eating only leftover food or grazing on algae. If you don’t have strong lights, you might not get enough algae to support much. If you have strong enough lights to support photosynthetic corals (well their zooxanthellae arephotosynthetic not the coral) then you will have enough light for algal growth.

A problem you might get is getting your tank over run with Cyanobacteria that snails don’t seem to eat. If you don’t have the right algae the snails will starve. But once you get nice algae growing, snails can keep your rock pretty clean. I have had good luck with small turbo snails. The small guys can get into tighter places than the big ones.

Also, clean up crews sold often suggest huge populations of snails. I think if one added the suggested amount most would starve to death. I suggest just adding a very few snails at a time, wait a week or two and see how they do.

I prefer snails. Snails tend to be well behaved and eat only algae. Hermit crabs can and will eat almost anything like snails and possibly corals and other crabs if they get hungry enough. And they get to decide just what that is.
 
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merluscipo

merluscipo

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This has been super helpful! Thank you

Well, first you want to be sure that ammonia is zero, nitrites are zero and nitrates are not really high. Bacteria will convert.to ic ammonia to nitrites and then to almost non toxic nitrates. After a cycle some people add a little ammonia and check the next day to see if ammonia is zero. That is a way of checking to be sure that the bacteria are at robust enough levels to remove the ammonia produced by food breakdown.

You do not need a cleanup crew until you get something in your tank to clean up. Also some clean up crew members are specialized... eating only leftover food or grazing on algae. If you don’t have strong lights, you might not get enough algae to support much. If you have strong enough lights to support photosynthetic corals (well their zooxanthellae arephotosynthetic not the coral) then you will have enough light for algal growth.

A problem you might get is getting your tank over run with Cyanobacteria that snails don’t seem to eat. If you don’t have the right algae the snails will starve. But once you get nice algae growing, snails can keep your rock pretty clean. I have had good luck with small turbo snails. The small guys can get into tighter places than the big ones.

Also, clean up crews sold often suggest huge populations of snails. I think if one added the suggested amount most would starve to death. I suggest just adding a very few snails at a time, wait a week or two and see how they do.

I prefer snails. Snails tend to be well behaved and eat only algae. Hermit crabs can and will eat almost anything like snails and possibly corals and other crabs if they get hungry enough. And they get to decide just what that is.
 
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