Brown "dust" in the bottom of my tank (still cycling)

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by jupiler, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. jupiler

    jupiler

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    Hey everyone :D

    I am new to this forum and new to Saltwater Aquariums in general. I just recently built my aquarium into the wall with my Dad and decided it would be a good time to make the leap to Saltwater.

    There has been water in the tank since Christmas Day. Since then I've added 25 pounds of Live Rock (last weekend) I woke up this morning and noticed that there is a layer of brown "dust" covering some of the bottom, it appears to be coming off a portion of one of the rocks. Is this normal during the cycling period? Is there something I can do to prevent this from spreading further?

    I've had a filter running the entire time, I have yet to purchase a protein skimmer though, could that be the issue?

    I've attached a picture of my aquarium setup...Do you think I need to add more live rock? This is a 40 gallon aquarium. The date on these pictures is incorrect, the camera was a christmas present and we haven't changed the date yet :D

    [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance for any help!!!

    (P.S...What have I gotten myself into?? This new hobby is testing my patience and hurting my wallet :frustrat:)
     
    jupiler, Jan 23, 2008
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  2. jupiler

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    That brown dust is likely diatoms -- which is normal for a cycling tank. You really can't do anything to get rid of them, just wait them out.

    I would recommend a lot more live rock. I prefer 2 lbs of live rock per gallon, but 1 to 2 lbs is ideal. So for your tank, I'd shoot for 40 to 80 lbs. The live rock is going to be your main source of biological filtrations, so it's very important. Couple enough live rock with a good protein skimmer, and that's all you'll need as far as filtration goes.

    Research protein skimmers carefully. There are a lot of crappy ones out there -- namely the Sea Clone and Red Sea Prizm. Stay away from those. I recommend Coralife Super Skimmers, Octopus skimmers and Aqua C Remora Pros.

    Oh and welcome to Living Reefs!
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 24, 2008
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  3. jupiler

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Welcome to the reef.
    Like Biff said,you'll need quiet a bit more live rock.But there is a cheaper way to go about getting it.
    Get yourself about 30lbs of dry base rock.It'll usually cost any where from .75 to a couple a dollars a pound.The seed that with 10 to 15 pounds of good quality live rock.
    And we all know exactly what you've gotten into.:mrgreen:Its an addiction that has no cure.
     
    yote, Jan 24, 2008
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  4. jupiler

    jupiler

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    Thanks so much for the quick reply...I was actually very close to purchasing the Prizm Skimmer, I'm really glad I found this site first :D
     
    jupiler, Jan 24, 2008
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  5. jupiler

    poolshark181

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    hermits will clear up those diatoms in a hurry, i got 12 after my cycle was over, and cleaned the entire, then brown, substrate overnight. of course, i took my hermits out later because they were annoying my zoanthids, but they're really good cleaners.
     
    poolshark181, Jan 24, 2008
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  6. jupiler

    fishbait I found Nemo

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    that is a very nice in wall job you and you're dad did there. nice rocks too. I have a feeling this is going to be a really nice system when you're done. what am I saying, you are never done in this hobby!

    are you planning on a reef? or fish only?
     
    fishbait, Jan 24, 2008
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  7. jupiler

    Marke86 Coral Junkie

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    I know what your going through the brown dust is normal and as far as expenses go its not so bad if you take it one month at a time a lot of people will tell you not to get a protein skimmer until your tank is done cycling. Its more maintance than money I would say but I enjoy It.
     
    Marke86, Jan 24, 2008
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  8. jupiler

    reeffreak

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    Welcome to the site.Nothing more really to add except it looks like you have a nice start.
     
    reeffreak, Jan 24, 2008
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  9. jupiler

    jupiler

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    I'm sorry I have SO many questions...I really hope I don't become a pain. I checked out several books at the library when I first decided to get this tank and it was overwhelming trying to read that much, the books were also very old and I wasn't sure if much has changed in the past 5-10 years? Can anyone recommend a good book for starters?

    I contacted my LFS and they said they don't carry "Base Rock" and acted like I was crazy for even asking for it. Are they just saying this because they want me to spend the extra money on live rock? Does anyone have any good tips on where I can purchase this? Does this rock go through a curing process as well?

    Will the hermits survive the curing process if they were to go in the tank now? or is it best to wait? This rock was already cured when I purchased it last week, could the curing be done?

    What is the best way to test the levels in the tank? I've been reading so many posts on this site and everyone seems to have precise numbers. The guy at my LFS talked me into the dipping strips which just change colors and I'm suppose to compare them to the little cheat-sheet on the bottle, are these any good? should i be using something else?

    I plan on making this is a Reef Tank :eek:) I just graduated from college last month (Woohoo!!!) Now I have all the time in the world to learn about and enjoy this new hobby. One of my favorite things to do is Scuba Diving. I live in Minnesota (-15 below today!!!) I'm sure I will find myself gazing into the tank wishing I were somewhere warm diving.
     
    jupiler, Jan 24, 2008
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  10. jupiler

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Maybe I didnt confuse you to much.
     
    yote, Jan 24, 2008
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  11. jupiler

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    The hermits may or may not survive the cycle. Not only that, but there probably won't be much for them to eat during the cycle and they may starve. I'd wait before adding them.

    Don't rely only on test strips. They aren't very accurate. Be sure to pick up some test kits that use test tubes and drops of liquid.
     
    Bifferwine, Jan 24, 2008
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