I feel so bad......

Sewerat

New member
Please no flaming. I feel so bad, I am such an irresponsible reefer. So a little history first. I bought my tank about 4 yrs ago, came with a test kit, never used it much, was for fresh water, had salt water about 20yrs ago, still had old hydrometer from that. So here goes the bad part....... Been running my tank basically empty since about early Feb. Had frags in tank since early March, just got a few fish about 3 weeks ago. Was maintaining salinity at 1.025 for the whole time. Had used the test kit recently to show I was showing some ammonia in tank, did some research and found that my test kit was made in February 2000 so I wasn't convinced my results were actuate so I ordered a new set of test kits that arrived today, I got an ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, ph, and phosphate kit for now along with a new refractometer, figured I get more test kits for reef specifics next. I set up and begin my testing with my refactor only to find that my salt was at 1.031. I did the rest of the tests showing no ammonia, lowest level of nitrites but high nitrates, something like 80? I expected that as I only have access to well water currently, ro/Di system is in my future. I also have a very low level of phosphates in my system. So now that I have proper test kits I will work diligently to get things back to proper levels with water changes and filtration. I have already replaced with approx 15gals fresh water and got the salinity down to 1.029, I will remove another 10 tomorrow and again on Sunday until I get it back to .025.

Now I have a question, I plan on getting a copper test kit I am wondering what other kits I should get? I'm thinking KH, and Cal but not sure what else I would need for reef keeping. Again I feel so bad that I let this happen, but fortunately I haven't lost any critters as of yet, maybe some copepods or a snail or two but that's all I hope.
 

billdogg

Active member
Unless you are planning on using copper in a hospital tank, or have used it in the tank you now have, don't bother with it. The only things I test for are Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium, and Nitrate. If there is an algae problem, I may test for Phosphate, but it may very well read very low anyway because the algae is using it up. Generally I'll just start using some GFO, wait a few days, then check for it. I really like Salifert kits - easy to use, accurate, and very repeatable.
 

IanWR

New member
Wait... You feel bad that your salinity was a little high, and you have some elevated nitrates? Please cut yourself some slack.

First thing, did your refractometer come with calibration solution? If not get some. There is a possibility it is out of whack, not your water.

You have done nothing negligent or monstrous. Nothing to flame here, move along. :)
 

Donkeykong

New member
As Billdogg said unless you plan on using copper i dont see a reason to get that test. So the water you are putting in is straight well water? You might have high nitrates because of that, I would strongly suggest getting an RO/DI unit or at least buying filtered water for use in the tank. We all start as a newbie making mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep building your knowledge. Once you have years in you are a saltwater veteran...that still makes mistakes.
 

TigeBell

New member
You need to gradually reduce the salinity also. Going too fast will not go well. But, first you need to calibrate it like IanWR asked.
 

tallball158

New member
Yeah this is not the end of the world! As the others stated I would make sure your refractometer is calibrated properly. I would not stress out about this if you have not lost any livestock (which you stated that there is only corals in the tank now!). Cheer up, it only gets better from here! :)
 

Ajphillips

New member
As others mentioned above check the accuracy of the refractometer, if indeed it's accurate it's really not crazy high but just reduce it by 0.01-0.03 per day, nitrates arnt a killer and water changes will soon drop that down..... I was honestly expecting you to say you were ignoring your fish gasping for air laying on the floor cos you thought they were sleepy! Considering you hadn't really tested ect your situation really isn't anything to roast!
 

Sewerat

New member
I tested my tap water and it showed just above 0 maybe due to water softener salt? I do not have any of the test solution, I'll take it to my LFS this weekend and check it. I do have a few clowns and one tang in there, they have been in for about 2 weeks with no issues other then timid, to be expected. I have only lost 3 turbos in the full time it's been up and running, now if salt is truly high I understand why. RO/DI system will be getting installed in June. I need to re-plumb my well water system and will retrofit it in at that time. For now I will just replace 10gals fresh water daily into the sump until I get the level back down to 1.025. Here I thought I was being relatively patient and diligent about this. I have been pretty much just cycling an empty tank since the start of the year.
 

frogdog

Relentless Question-Asker
Cheer up, Sewerat. The fact that something may not be right with your tank, and you're trying to fix it makes you a good reefer. Period.
 

Sewerat

New member
So I took my tester into my lfs today, it might have been even worse, not sure he calibrated my refractor and it was low by 2 compared to his. So he got out the test sample and set it then checked again to his tank. So that means I had salt of 1.033 likely. Woowzers. He actually thought he was talking to me earlier in the week as he said I was the second person with same results, unless somebody here was talking to my lfs in London Ontario So needless to say I am slowly dumping clean water in to drop it. Currently sitting at 1.029
 
Top