4 weeks into hobby and seeking tips:)


New member
Greetings! My name is Leslie and My husband and I started our tank in mid December (~4 weeks ago). I'm not sure how to properly list the tank info so I'll give it a try: 75gallon, live rock, live sand, 2 damsels, 2 clown fish, a few hermit crabs and snails. Just got a tiger goby but he doesn't seem to be enjoying the tank so I might take him back to the store so he will be ok. Had one fatality of an emerald crab. So sad. I'm attached to my little ocean community and want to take the best care of it all, eventually adding coral and anenome. Salinity has been pretty steady between 1.023-1.025, currently at 1.024. Have a refractometer and chem test. pH 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite between 0-0.25ppm, nitrate is 10-20ppm. Heater 78F, filter, fan. Next step is to get the quad lights (suggestions as to what type model and kind of lights would be great).

Also, where can I learn all about the cycle?

Should I do my first big water change due to the nitrate levels or do I just need to be patient?

How do I know when the cycle is complete /steady?

What would be the next time to add fish and what are some good ones? (I have compatibility chart).

Any tips from the reef community would be greatly appreciated! Loving my hobby!


New member
I'm new too so don't have all the answers but when I did my first tank about 10 months ago I got the "Aquariums for Dummies" book. It didn't answer all my questions but was a good starting place and did a good job of dumming the cycle and other maintenance things down. and consider keeping the goby I have a watchman goby and it took a while for him to get comfy but once he did he is my favorite. Lots of personality.


4 weeks into hobby and seeking tips:)

Thank you ! My goby isn't eating. Should I be concerned?

Some sifter gobies will not readily accept food, as long as they are actively sifting the sand bed in an established tank they are fine. They may starve in a new tank due to lack of food. (For example, my rainford's goby couldn't care less about any food and has been with me for years - he grazes on algaes and sand).

What are you feeding?

Kidd Reef

New member
Quarantine, Quarantine, Quarantine. The one thing alot of new people look over that could save them alot of time effort and money is a proper quarantine setup
It's a damn shame when we put all our time and effort into maintaining the proper environment for our fish and lose them to disease outbreaks.

Potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of livestock could be lost for what cost's $50 to set up. All you need is a 10 gallon tank, a Cheap appropriately sized HOB filter, a heater, and some sponge or filter media to seed to help with bio filitration along with small pvc pipe pieces for hiding places and your all set.


New member
Hi Leslie,

Welcome to the hobby and the club!

A few questions for you.

Did you buy your live rock and sand locally? If so, did you transfer it very quickly from the store and right into your tank? If it wasn't fully cured it will take more time for the die-off to finish and the bacteria to multiply.

I see you listed that your getting readings for nitrite still. It could be the reason the goby didn't look to happy. Even though your reading for the nitrite is on the low end I would still wait a good month before you add anymore livestock (invertebrates or fish). The bacteria in the tank needs time to multiply for any new additions before they can get to a point in which they can consume ammonia into nitrite and then consume nitrite in nitrate. You want to be able to get to a point that you never read ammonia or nitrite even when you add new livestock.


New member
Hi and welcome to the hobby.

So please take this the right way but a little tough love is in order. The time to learn about cycling a tank was 4 weeks ago before you added livestock. If you can catch the goby and take him back do. The damsels and clowns will probably make it through the rest of your tank's cycle. Feed lightly. Until NH4 and NO2 are zero. The fish can take NO3 up to 60 or more so hold off on the water change.

Next, SLOW DOWN. Don't add anything for a while. It takes time for the ecosystem to build. Consider getting more snails and ditching the hermit crabs that will eventually kill at least some of the snails.

And set up a quarantine tank. Read the sticky. At a minimum QT all new fish properly. I'm not the only one here who said, "Well I know I should but it will be ok." No, it won't and there's no reason you should have to learn the hard way too. If you can stand it you could remove the current occupants and go fallow now to be sure you don't already have ick in the tank.

It's an awesome thing to have a marine environment in your home and worth the time effort and dough. Enjoy!


New member
Since the right answers to your questions( some a little harsh ) have been posted.I will just say WELCOME to the hobby. If you take the time to read the " sticky notes" in most of the forums a lot of the answers are right there..enjoy :bounce1: