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Having issues with your tank or inhabitants? Need to know what equipment to use or have other questions? Post here!
 #5006  by morbiuz
 30 Apr 2018 18:42
Hi I'm new, apologies in advance for asking what's probably been asked a million times.

About 3 months ago I bought an enclosed ecosphere with 7 opaes and ended up killing all but 2 from overfeeding :cry: Since then the 2 survivors have held out and brown algae has grown in the sphere.

3 weeks ago I bought a larger tank and loaded it with coral sand, coral bits, lava rock and filled with around 20 litres of mineral water (no ro water then) mixed with marine reef salt to around 1.010 specific gravity. Started the tank with jbl denitrol and added chaeto from the sphere I had along with a marimo ball. Few days later I got a test kit and been taking daily measurements, results as below.

Day PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate Remarks
1 n/a n/a n/a n/a mineral water+20ml jbl denitrol
2 n/a n/a n/a n/a 20ml denitrol
3 n/a n/a n/a n/a
4 n/a n/a n/a n/a
5 8.20 0.50 0.25 20.00 full bottle denitrol
6 8.20 2.00 0.25 20.00 dosed shrimp food
7 8.20 2.00 0.25 20.00 dosed shrimp food
8 8.00 0.25 1.00 20.00
9 7.80 0.00 0.50 20.00
10 7.80 0.00 0.50 5.00
11 7.80 0.00 0.50 20.00
12 7.80 0.00 0.50 10.00
13 7.80 0.00 0.50 20.00 dosed spirulina powder
14 7.80 0.00 0.25 160.00 dosed spirulina powder
15 7.80 0.00 0.50 20.00
16 7.80 0.25 0.50 40.00
17 7.80 0.25 0.25 20.00
18 7.80 0.25 0.25 40.00
19 8.20 0.50 0.25 20.00 30% ro water mix change+capful seachem stability+ spirulina powder
20 8.00 0.25 0.25 40.00 capful seachem stability, added 2 nerites
21 8.00 0.25 0.25 20.00 1/4 capful seachem stability
22 8.00 0.25 0.25 20.00 capful seachem stability

Some thoughts:
- I think nitrate readings are a little inaccurate, I wasn't waiting the full 5 minutes initially and I still find it difficult to read even when put up against light.
- marimo seems to be surviving but no bubbles or any signs of growth/activity.
- chaeto has grown a fair bit.
- part way through cycling I added a led light which was on 12 hour on/off cycle, I've put it on 24 hours now since adding nerites.
- I'm very torn, wishing the cycle would be done already. I'd really like to break my poor shrimps out from that sphere immediately.
- nerites are still alive after 3 days.
- I do see a film of something on the water surface when I look from underneath, still no algae growth to-date.

My questions:
1) I'm worried about the high nitrate readings, should I do another water change and risk bacteria die off (will that happen?)
2) should I add wood? Read somewhere bacteria likes organic surfaces?
3) should I add spirulina powder now? Worried the nerites will starve...
4) can I add the shrimps now you think?

Sorry for the noob questions, the only other aquarium experience I have is keeping a betta roughly 30 years ago which I also ended killing from overhandling/not cycling tank properly so I'm feeling rather lost.
 #5007  by odin
 30 Apr 2018 19:31
Welcome to the forum @morbiuz !

You did the right thing getting a larger tank for your shrimp, first things first.. stop feeding and adding food to the tanks as this is just going to foul your water, you have detectable Nitrites in your tank so your tank is mid cycle, Ammonia gets turned into Nitrites and in turn gets turned into Nitrates.

Do a huge water change (75%) with fresh brackish water and leave the tank for a day then test its parameters again and post them here for us to see. What type of test kit are you using, dip sticks or liquid test kit? Your bacteria lives on all surfaces and in your substrate so changing water out wont lose you much of it. :smile:

You need 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and very low Nitrates, i wouldn't want anything over 5ppm before adding any shrimp and don't worry it will get there after some water changes and a bit more time, you just need to wait it out. If you added your shrimp now you would more then likely kill them or make them very ill.

1) I'm worried about the high nitrate readings, should I do another water change and risk bacteria die off (will that happen?) - Yup as above do a huge water change to bring down the readings, be prepared to do a few more.

2) should I add wood? Read somewhere bacteria likes organic surfaces? - No wood, this lowers tanks PH levels.

3) should I add spirulina powder now? Worried the nerites will starve... - The snails will eat biofilm and algae so dont worry about that, worry more about getting the Ammonia levels down in the tank.

4) can I add the shrimps now you think? - I wouldnt until the water parameters are right, do a water change in the biosphere too if the water is showing Ammonia, Nitrites etc..

Dont worry about asking questions! We are here to help. :happy:
 #5013  by morbiuz
 01 May 2018 16:53
Thanks odin!

Ok, I've not fed anything for 4th day running now.

Just did 75% water change as you advised. I did add a capful of seachem stability though, because the instructions on the bottle said to dose for 7 days in a row. Took a reading afterwards and got PH 8.4, Ammonia 2.0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrate 20. I'll take another reading tomorrow morning.

I'm using API saltwater test kit and tests of the ro water by itself without any salt and additives shows 0 for all ammonia, nitrite and nitrate so I guess it's not a dud kit.

The biosphere is rather small and the opening is too small for me to put my syringe through. I suppose I could use a straw to slowly fill up 5ml on each of the test tubes. To be honest though if I'm to do that I feel like I'd be better off pouring the whole ecosphere out into another, big open container? Would that be worthwhile doing you reckon? I could then scrap off some of the brown algae and introduce to the new tank? Or just sit on my hands lest my meddling screws things up again :sidesmile:
 #5014  by thecollector
 02 May 2018 00:24
This may or may not be of use...

I will first say that I've not had any luck with cycling a tank before introducing Opae into them.

Most of what I do is covered in my thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=330


I just got a hand full of new Opae's, they were in a sealed container. Lets just say they came in conditions that are even worse than in an ecosphere. And needed to be moved stat...

I used a 1L clear food deli tub with lid, filled with about 700ml of 50% old tank water and 50% new mixed water - it was to be used for my 5 babies that came out of my main tank. But the new Opae’s needed it more urgently.

I dumped out the Opae into a small fish net that I normally use to catch and move them. Then quickly placed the new Opae into the temporary container.

I put in a couple of drops of API Stress coat+ and API Quick start.

Added a couple of tiny rocks and a bit of algae (from my main tank) to seed the temporary home. I've also added some bio rings, the holes give them places to hide and objects to explore.

The Opae are basically being quarantined, before going into one of my established tanks.


If I was to do it again without using any media or water from an existing tank. In say a situation where I didn’t have any or no access to one.

I would mix up a new batch of brackish water.

Net out the Opae and place them in the temporary tank (1L deli tub - about 3/4 full - say 700ml).

Put in a couple of drops of something like API Stress coat+ and API Quick start. Add some stones or bio rings - doesn't have to be much.

I would only feed once a week maximum, but only a small amount. I mainly use TetraColor tropical granules, so would only give them 1 crushed granule a week.

From personal experience, the Opae would be fine for a few weeks in the temporary tub.
Add in a small water change (with a drop of something like API Quick start), every two weeks or so and they could be in there for a while without problems.

Hope the above helps...
 #5015  by morbiuz
 02 May 2018 03:41
Thanks @thecollector , I'll have a look around later in the evening and see if I have a temp home available.

Hi @odin, today's readings are PH 8.4, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 20. I haven't dosed seachem stability yet, gonna do that this evening.
 #5018  by odin
 02 May 2018 17:56
We need to get that ammonia down, keep us all updated on your progress.
 #5024  by morbiuz
 03 May 2018 01:49
Today's readings are PH 8.4, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 20, seachem stability treatment of 7 days ends today. Should I continue with the seachem daily until all parameters are acceptable?
 #5025  by morbiuz
 04 May 2018 02:42
I'm now seeing a few brown spots of algae growing on the tank for the first time :happy: Readings are still not there yet, Ammonia looks a shade between 0.5-1.0, Nitrite 0.25 and Nitrate 20 I think?
 #5026  by odin
 04 May 2018 10:11
That’s a great sign if you are getting the brown algae, when your ammonia and Nitrites are zero, do a large water change to get the Nitrates down and I’d say your tank should be good to go.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 #5052  by morbiuz
 06 May 2018 09:00
Gotten good readings, did a 50% change and In my little ones went along with a few new friends :tongue:
Whizzed around checking out their new home and have settled down a bit now.

I’m so happy they’re not cooped up anymore :heart_eyes: