Tank Journal : Converting Fresh water to a Saltwater Tank

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by fishy408, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Fish Boss

    Fish Boss Guest

    That sounds like a great plan. I can give you some bullet proof corals while you stock your fish. Have pulsing Xenia, eagle Zoas, radioactive dragon eye Zoas. And some other stuff
    fishy408 likes this.
  2. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member


    Looks like I'm ready to go to the next step. Seem like the glue would dry up in 24-48 hrs. I am not sure how to cycle a saltwater tank, as there seems to be so many different methods compared to freshwater.

    Things to get:
    • Instant Ocean Salt Mix
    • Refractometer
    • Salt Water Test Kit (not sure which one)
    • Live Sand?
    I'll update the list once things are much clearer on what I need to do.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  3. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Always fun to wait for stuff to come in the mail :-(

    Cycling the tank
    • With 2 Brute containers, this would take some time to fill the tank up with saltwater. I can prep one salt mix, and have 1 rodi water ready.
    • Live Sand - I'll be using the Carib Sea Arag Alive, special grade. I heard these were a little bigger, trying to avoid scratching the glass. Heard it was an ok size for gobies?
    • AP Master Test Kit, Salt Water. These are pretty cheap on sale.
    • Refractometer to measure salinity.
    • Instant Ocean Reef Crystals (200g)
    • Dr. Tim's bacteria, and ammonia.
    • I also want to add a live rock in the tank to start seeding coraline algae?
    • Once Nitrates starts showing up, I would add a Protein Skimmer.
    That's the plan :)
  4. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster

    Is that mp10 in the corner?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  5. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    It's an MP40, had it for about a year now. It seems to be super silent compared to what I've heard online. The only way to hear a hum, is to place my ear right next to it. I do want to get another one when budget frees up.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  6. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Tank is setup and saltwater has been added. Cycling the tank began on 3-3-2018.

    I kept old records of cycling my previous freshwater tank, and it cycle in 17 days using a pair of freshwater fish :-(.

    This time around I'm trying the fishless cycle using Dr. Tim's one and only and Ammonia to see if it really works. Would be nice to cycle a tank quicker.

    • 8OZ ONE & ONLY LIVE NITRIFYING BACTERIA - DR.TIM'S (suggested size for 120 gallon tank)

    • 4OZ AMMONIUM CHLORIDE FOR FISHLESS CYCLES - DR.TIM'S ( 6 caps for 120 gallon initial load)

    Salinity 1.021
    Temp 77 F

    Added the full 8 oz bottle of nitrifying bacateria.
    Added 6 caps of Ammonia, at 1 cap per 20 gallons.


    Some Notes:
    • When adding Ammonia according to instructions, readings should be around 2 ppm but it's off the charts on the test, marking at max 8 ppm.
    • Nitrites made an appearance on day 2, and slowly increasing :)
    • Nitrates made an appearance on day 4 :)
    • Ammonia still steady at max 8 ppm :-(
    Been reading online where people are seeing the high ammonia readings as well using Dr. Tim's Ammonia and dosage instructions. They did a water change to bring it down below 5 ppm which is the max limit. Since it's only been a few days, think I'm going to wait it out and see what happens.

    Goal is to cycle by this Thursday, since I'll be close to Clear Water Aquarium for work :).
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  7. Fish Boss

    Fish Boss Guest

    So just some tips:

    When cycling my 40 gallon breeder, I only needed 3-4 drops of ammonia to raise it to 2 ppm if I remember correctly. I used ammonia from ace hardware.

    Also, I noticed the cycle stalled for me when ammonia or nitrite went above 5ppm. Personally I would not rush the cycle. I think when you can clear 1-2 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours you are ready to go, but personally I like to cycle longer and build up more bacteria, seems like the algae that grows after a cycle is more forgiving with a stronger bacterial colony.

    TL:DR- I think you need at least another week, but that's just my opinion. Hopefully you get a very minimal amount of uglies!
    Edit: I finaly know how to make a smiley!
    fishy408 likes this.
  8. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    I got the dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride and only used drops (not cap fulls) and I have a 120 gallon as well. A little goes a long ways. I also echo @Fish Boss’s sentiment of being patient and not rushing the cycle.
  9. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Oh man, user error.

    After reading your post Flagg37, I read the instructions on Dr. Tim's Ammonia again and realized I read it wrong the first time.
    • should be 1 ml per 20 gallons. 1 cap = 6ml
    Instead of doing 1 cap, i did 6 caps.

    Should I do a water change? or wait it out?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  10. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Change water.
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  11. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Thanks Randy.

    Did a 40% water change, and ammonia dropped to 4 ppm. Guess it's now the waiting game. Oh, I can start thinking about what fish to get :).

  12. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Some interesting facts about nitrifying bacteria:

    - Optimal temp is 28C (82.4F)
    - Lower temps is more detrimental than higher temps - 50% less growth rate at 64F
    - UV and near-UV is detrimental to nitrifying bacteria in the water column. Once on a surface they are fine.

    So, in theory, running your tank warmer (82-83F) and not turning on your lights may help speed up your cycle.

    scuba71 likes this.
  13. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Interesting.. thanks Randy.

    I have a question about Live Sand, this is the one I'm using. "Carib Sea Arag Alive, Special Grade". I am really liking the look of the sand and the size of it, but I have never used Live Sand before. When I used sand before, I was always rinse it so it's super clean before putting it into the tank. For Live Sand, I didn't clean it because it has the bacteria in it. The problem is it's dirty. If I poke a stick to it, a small dust cloud comes up.

    • Do I just leave it as is?
    • Or should I poke around with it everyday until there is no no more dust clouds.
    • Or wait until everything is cycled, and start siphoning before I add fish.
    thanks in advance,

  14. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    I have the same sand in two tanks. I hate live sand and swore off ever using it again for this very reason after using it twice. It will settle after a few days, but it leaves a light dusting everywhere.

    You can wait until cycle is done to siphon and clean it. Or if you want to get it over with, clean it now. If you fear slowing your cycle down, clean it and dump another bottle of Dr Tims bacteria or biospira.
    fishy408 likes this.
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Strange as it sounds as bacteria colonize the sand it'll tend do be heavier, at least a little. I would just have your overflow go to a thick filter sock and after a while the lighter stuff will get filtered out.
    fishy408 likes this.
  16. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

    Been poking at the sand bed, and every time there was a small dusk cloud. I figured it would be a mess with fish in there, so action had to be taken.
    • Siphoned the sand bed. The siphoned water and gunk would go through a 2x fold 225 micron filter socks in the sump. This way I wouldn't be wasting salt water as the water is returned back into the sump.
    • Used a power head to blast the sand for any left over clouds of dust.
    • After letting the sand settle overnight, poked the sand this morning and there was very minimal dust clouds. :)
    Was a little worried what it would do to the cycle, but figured probably best to take care of it now.

    Cycle Day 8:

    Nitrate popped up, never had nitrate that high in my freshwater aquarium. Probably because of my ammonia overdose at the beginning :).
    Pretty sure ammonia dropped by the color of the test, but still within the range of 2ppm.

  17. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Put more bacteria in it'll cycle fast. Use biospira and it was cycles in a week.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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  18. Fish Boss

    Fish Boss Guest

    Personally I would do another water change. Nitrite looks to be at 5. IME, cycle stalls when ammonia or nitrite are +5ppm
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  19. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    I've heard that too (and even repeated it myself), but I have yet to find any source based on science that confirms that it's actually true. Anyone have one? Or is this just one of those "it's been repeated enough that everyone just believes it to be true" kind of facts?
    fishy408 likes this.
  20. Fish Boss

    Fish Boss Guest

    When cycling my original 10G, I ghost fed too heavy and often, the bacteria that break down waste to ammonia and ammonia to nitrite grew very quickly, while the nitrite to nitrate bacteria grew slower. Depending on how accurate my API test kit was, when I hit 5ppm, everything stopped cycling, or so it seemed. Seemed stuck for about 2 days. Then I did a water change and the cycle continued. Maybe it was just a coincidence, and who knows what my exact levels we’re for everything. EDIT: hehe read your question wrong. Let me do some searching

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