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new tank cycling and skimmer

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mattseattle

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i have a question regarding a tank that is currently in the process of cycling and when to turn on the protein skimmer. according to GARF.ORG i should wait 4 months after the cycle to turn on the skimmer. other articles i've read say wait about 10 - 15 days.

thoughts on when someone should turn on the skimmer?
 

Wolfesbane

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I think it depends on your bioload. If I remember correctly, GARF doesn't put any fish in their systems until several months down the road. They also don't start out with LR, they use their aragocete and grunge. In a tank that has nothing but aragocete, corals, and clean up crew, no skimming for four months wouldn't hurt. But if you have any sort of bioload above that, I think your organics would eventually build up before the four months.

~ Steve
 

mattseattle

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yeah you are correct on the no live rock and all.

i currently have the required live rock in for my tank as well as i seeded it with some live sand and a cocktail shrimp that i cut up. my ammonia levels are right now .25 and haven't really climbed in the past day or so. when do you think it would be the right time to start the protein skimmer?
 

Wolfesbane

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Well, if you just have LR in the tank, I think you could last longer without skimming. I've heard of people who turn on their skimmers only one day a week, so that might work too if you're worried about stuff building up. Try running the skimmer for a day and see how much skimmate you pull out. If there's not much, I say go ahead and leave it off for awhile.

~ Steve
 

Mushroom Boy

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Jun 27, 2003
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Hi Matt.

I usually start the skimmer right away when cycling a tank. I would say fire up the skimmer now. Are you using live rock, or aragocrete? Reason I ask is that I tried aragocrete once and it threw my pH way out of whack. GARF didn't mention the curing process involved with using it at the time and I'm not sure if they do now either. Good luck with the cycle, sounds like you're off to a good start!

Paul M.
 

mattseattle

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my ammonia level is only right now at .25 so i don't think there is alot in there yet.

also, when should the first water change happen? and should i go ahead and top off the already evaporated water? it looks to be down about a gallon or so from the sump levels.
 

Mushroom Boy

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I would definitely keep the tank topped off to provide as stable of a salinity as possible. Regarding the water change, how long has the tank been setup? Do you have any nitrite reading?
 

mattseattle

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the tank has been up about 2 weeks now. so far i don't have any readings other than ammonia which is minimal at .25

i just added the uncured rock though about 3 days ago before that it was just sand and the cured live rock. i also added some live sand the same time i put in the uncured rock. i think my ammonia spike is just starting to happen because 4 days ago my ammonia was still at 0 as well as the other readings.
 

mattseattle

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ok my first mistake......i didn't wait long enough on the tests to take an accurate reading! :)

my current readings are
pH - 8.2
Ammonia - 1.0
Nitrite - .25
Nitrate - 10
Temp - about 79
salinity - 1.024
 

mojoreef

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Crack that skimmer up my friend, thiers nothing that the skimmer pulls out that you want in thier anyway. The cycling process is basically just for the building up of a bacterial Bioload.


Mike
 
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