What To Do ???


Premium Member
Hello, I currently own a 55 gallon aquarium, that has now been set up for 4 weeks today. Their is about 5 lbs of worm culture live rock, (1) pink tip anemone (3) peppermint shrimp, (5) blue legged hermit crabs, & (3) snails in their along with (3) damsels. My filtration is (2) Emperor 400's and I have (2) ZooMed rotating pumps in the tank, NO skimmer yet though. Their is a slight brown color to the top of my sand bed, I stir my sand bed once a week during cleanings, and after I stir the sand the brown goes away for a few hours, but returns with in that day. My test results tonight were

PH = 8.0
Ammonia = 0ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Nitrate = about 20ppm

I have added only a few sort of chemicals to my tank since its been set up for the first week I put Kent Marine PH Buffer to stablize the PH haven't had problems with the PH since.

Did a 5 Gallon water change yesterday also, and I recently just purchased aragaMILK and I am thinking about adding that tonight but want to know about the Nitrate level? what should I do about that? The brown color on the sand that seems to only be in the middle of the tank? And on my emporer's should I take off the bio-wheel's cause someone told me that they could be the problem of my Nitrate problem, and that I should run my filters without them... Thanks for evryone's Help and is greatly appreciated.
Sorry but the Brown color on the sand bed seemed to come after I added some DT's to the tank along with some spots on the glass, nothing the snails can't handle though
IMHO it is too soon to have an anemone, especailly without a skimmer. In addition I gotta tell you 5 lbs of live rock is not going to be enough biological filtration for your bio load.

Do you have bio wheels on the hang on filters?

It sounds like you are having diatom outbreaks which cculd just be the normal new tank thing or it could be a sign of something more sinister. Overloaded bio system. I would be extremely careful about feeding. I don't know how good it is to use DT's right now.

How deep is your sand bed?


I just purachased the anemone the other day he seems to being doing fine but will take that info in, may just go ahead and give him to a friend then tell the tank is more established.

I'm purchasing 30 lbs of live rock from Life oceanic wednesday when I get payed.

Yes I do have bio-wheels on the emperor's, someone told me that I should take them off because it could cause the nitrate levels to rise from the wheels on the filter but don't know if that is true ??? And the DT's I also just purchased the other day and have only added it one time to my tank.

About the Diatom outbreaks whats is that about, not to informed on that, and what do you mean when it could be the sign of something more sinister.

My sand bed right now is only about 2 inches I'm also going to go buy a bag of live sand from the LFS wednesday to make the sand bed around 4 inches... thanks for the help greatly appreciated
The nitrate might go away on its own over time. The tank is very new, and still not close to stable. I'd just do some regular water changes, maybe 10-20% a week, for a bit, since you have an anemone. The brown coating is very common in new tanks as well.

You will likely need to pick an alkalinity and calcium supplementation scheme. This article might be useful:


I would be careful about using buffers to control pH, since that approach can push alkalinity far too high.
Thanks for the link John lots of reading to do now, greatly appreciated it will keep me busy tonight...

About the live rock purchase I'm doing into 2 shipments so that I'll add 30 lbs friday and then I'll add another 30lbs. in 2 weeks or so. That way I'll end up with around 60 to 70 lbs of live rock.
Should I just go ahead and also take the damsels out, so that I don't kill them when I add the live rock friday, and because my bio-load might be to much for my tank cause I don't have a skimmer yet... I can deal without the (3) damsels their not all that great anyways ???
I would get rid of them, although catching them can be a problem. They tend to be mean, and you don't seem to like the looks much anyway. On the other hand, the anemone might solve that problem given some time. :)
Yes when I moved the tank to my house, Cause I bought the tank from a friend, we left some water in the tank so that I would'nt have to play catch the fishy for 1/2 an hour... they don't even go close to the anemone, close calls but not close enough...
Since the tank is just set up and your still adding sand and LR, I would suggest you remove all livestock until the tank is done cycling and stabilized.
even the cleaning crew I have the (3) peppermint shrimp, (5) blue legged hermit crabs, & the (3) snails.......
Yep, adding the LR most likely will start a new cycle which could easily wipe those guys out. Leave em in if you want but you'll be taking a chance that they may not be there when its over.
Can I just get like a 5 gallon bucket with a lid so that I won't lose them for sure and keep them in their tell the cyclying is done or should I also give those to someone cause the bucket idea is cruel ???
That's a definite risk. You can improve the odds a lot by curing the new live rock in a garbage can with a pump and a heater, but anemones are pretty touchy.
Thats what I was going to do was get a big trash can order the live rock fill with water, throw in a pump and heater and let it go over night like that then add to my tank the anemone im going to give to a friend and the critters im going to take out so they don't die
I'll need to find out more info though on the curing of the live rock first though just to make sure I have the process down right
It'll probably take more than a night to cure the LR, but that sounds like a great approach just keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite like you would do normally.
Typically live rock takes 2 to 6 weeks to cure. There are many factors at play here. Temp, amount of live rock, what type of container and what type of circulation/airation, frequency and amount of water changed etc.

Your test kits for ammonia and nitrite will tell the story.

sounds like a little bit of a sticky wicket. Good luck.