C's TL550

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Hello All,

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to for all the valuable and experienced info supplies on this forum.
After months of research and scrolling through the posts on here, I finally decided it is time to start with this hobby, and I know I will probably still learn a lot going through this "phase".... right?

I bought a standard Boyu TL550 from a member on the MASA FB page for the mere reason that it have most of the basic equipment required, and can easily be upgraded as time goes by. It was also sold at a reasonably fair price and in excellent condition. I had to keep in mind that space is limited where I planned to have the setup standing, and the Boyu fits perfectly into the spot I had in mind.

Currently everything running in the system is still stock standard, with the exemption of the UV lamp (not working) and that I have added an additional 100w heater to run together with the existing one.

I am fortunate enough to have a friend who helped me out getting started, together with all the help received so far reading through this forum and hours spent on Youtube and Google.
Substrate has been added (properly washed with RO water and been left to dry out in the sun) as well as a couple of pieces dead rock (cleaned etc) that came out of his old tanks. A total of 100L water was required after rock etc has been added to fill the tank.
10L from the water came out of my friend's established tank (he only keep fish, with no reef) and the rest was self mixed salt water (which he helped me with) at 1.024 salinity.

The cycling process started last week Tuesday, 07 June 2022. As per advise received from our LFS as well as a member on this forum, I started the cycling process with Seachem Stability as well as AquaVitro Seed bacteria. I followed the instructions pretty much to the point, to avoid any possible mistakes (I normally hate reading user manuals and labels). :)
I have not been cycling with lights on, nor with the skimmer running.

Yesterday (14/06/20222) marked 1 week of cycling, so I decided it would be a good idea to do some testing (first time).
I bought the Red Sea Multi Marine test kit from the LFS together with a refractometer advertised on the forum.

Test results as follow:
pH - 8.2
Amonia - 0.04
No2 - 0
No3 - 5
KH - 3.5
Salinity - 1.022

Now, I know this is not a process that can be rushed, so I decided I will post weekly updates of the test results here, mainly to hear opinions and to seek advise on what to do better, or what to be changed in order to get everything to the correct required levels.

I'm thinking of starting the system off with some softies as well as a hermit or two, snails or something simple, before eventually adding fish, but would obviously only do this once all parameters are within an acceptable level and is stable.

Based on above results, what do you guys think about this, achieving these figuires within the 1st week of cycle? Am I getting excited about nothing?.......as yet?

What concern me most is the salinity levels that went a bit down. I was thinking of topping the tank up with a little bit of pre-mixed salt water, but I'm also scared that if I do that, the other parameters will be thrown way out again? Maybe a small 10% water change.....or do I leave it as is whilst cycling?

Any other info or suggestions will be highly appreciated......
Pic taken yesterday, after week one of cycling (light only switched on for photo purposes).

Christo
20220610_201051.jpg
 
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Good luck with your new adventure, this has got to be the best and worst part of starting a new tank, seeing how everything slowly takes shape.
You will get an ugly phase it is inevitable just ride the wave and dont rush the cycle as you might regret it later on.

If you have some extra premix on hand add it instead of normal RO to get the salinity in line with where you want it, however at this stage 1.022 isn't and wont be an issue.

Take time and look at a few of the awesome TL550s on the group and decide what your end goal should look like and stick to the plan.

Always remember this is a hobby and you should enjoy it, as soon as you are no longer enjoying it you have certainly lost the plot and should evaluate what went wrong.
 
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You can just topup with premix salt water and monitor the salinity.
Why is KH so low? That doesnt look right.
 
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You can just topup with premix salt water and monitor the salinity.
Why is KH so low? That doesnt look right.
Thanks. Done...will test again in a bit once fully cycled through the system.

Yeah... I have no idea.....?
 
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Thanks. Done...will test again in a bit once fully cycled through the system.

Yeah... I have no idea.....?
I was thinking (correct me if I'm wrong) to add Seachem Reef Carbonate, or Reef Builder.
And no, I'm not the clever one, saw the advise on Waterzoo.co.uk

Alternative will be to do a waterchange? 10%? Or is that not so wise?
 
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It's almost impossible to be so low without anything using it. Before you add stuff. Maybe get a fellow reefer to test it. Or even a shop
 
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So after my previous post, I've had my water tested at a LFS in Edenvale as suggested just to make sure before dosing with anything that might not be needed.

Results below - 16/06

PH - 8.4
NH3 - 0.15
NO2 - 0.1
NO3 - 25
KH - 8.6
SALINITY - 1.022

I was advised to do a 20% water change, which I have done (20L) at a salinity of 1.028 to increase the current level in my tank.

I have also added a bag of coral sand on top of my substrate as the original substrate is so fine that the wave maker keep mixing it up.


Today, 21/06 I've tested again with the Red Sea Mukti test kit.

Results:
PH - 8.2
NH3 - 0.08
NO2 - 1
NO3 - 5
KH - 3
SALINITY - 1.024

What boggle my mind is that te LFS Results came back completely different than mine. In literally 2 days apart from testing.
I wanted to double check if I'm didn't screw anything up the previous time I have tested the water myself, hence why I decided to give it another shot today - with quite disappointing results.

Can it be that the Red Sea test kit I bought might be faulty? Especially on the KH test - I ran this test like 5 times today, to make double sure I didn't miss a drop.

Today mark week 2 of cycling, and I'm starting to wonder what I have done wrong? I would have expected Ted the water change to increase PH and KH levels and bring ammonia levels to almost a 0......?
 
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I still don't trust that kh of 3. I think your test kit is buggered.
I'm starting to think the same. But after spending R1400 on the kit, that would be a total waste of money.... don't the LFS will take it back though.
 
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I'm starting to think the same. But after spending R1400 on the kit, that would be a total waste of money.... don't the LFS will take it back though.
I contacted my local fish shop when I had a problem with my red sea kit. I know my tank and my dKH was completely incorrect. They changed it for me no issue. If you have an issue with the shop not wanting to replace it, then contact red sea directly. They were quite helpful.

My issue was that the titrant would not go blue enough to be able to judge color change, and I would say that I have really good eye sight. I suspect this might be an issue with the kits. It was interesting because the kit was newly bought but nearing its expiration date. I think these things sit in the store for a long time and light, age and heat might play a role.


Anyway, good luck! Nice tank, you're off to a good start...
 
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What Ive been told apparantly the red sea kits should be good still to use 6 months after expiry. Ive never investigated this so dont know if its true or not. Just sharing what ive been told
 
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looks good so far , well done , are you doing the tests correctly ?
Thanks. Yes, according to the instructions, and I pay quite a lot of attention to it when doing the tests....1 for accuracy, and 2 for the amount of money these test cost.
I have also had it tested at a LFS.
 
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