Diary - 75 gal Freshwater to saltwater conversion - WARNING BIG PICS

Great! Now let it sit there a while!!!Patience now will pay ya back later!I think I need to get new lights after looking at yours!Thinking about last time I replaced mine..its been over 3 years.....:grumble:
That new light really set your tank off.Looks great.
Now that ammonia has dropped off,run a check on nitrites and nitrates and see where there at.
Ive been running full tests every night (build good habits from the start and they are easier to maintain...plus its fun to play chemist!!! :mrgreen:)

These are the results from last night:
NH3/4: .25ish (its a little bit less then .25)
NO2: 0
NO3: 10-20 (again hard to tell. Its probably somewhere in the middle)
pH: 8.0
temp: 78.5-78.9 (over the course of 2 hours)
Alk: 1.8ish (had to tell with the kit I got but it is on the low end of good)
Cal: 450

Now I have a couple questions. First, how does one change pH in a SW tank? I controlled it in my FW tank with the addition and removal of driftwood (for tannin and such). Is this taken care of by water changes or just better filtration or what? Second, I have to go out of town from Saturday morning to Tuesday evening. Should I turn off the skimmer during this time? I can get my brother to check on the tank but I doubt he will want to empty the collection cup :mrgreen:. What is the chance that It might fill up in 3 nights?
Welcome,great start and good luck!

They sell buffers for saltwater.I use the Seachem reef buffer,it raises pH to 8.3 no matter how much you use but it will continue to raise akalinity.A good product to set the pH and raise akalinity.During the cycle pH tends to drop,wait til after the cycle before dosing buffer.Check pH right before the lights goes out or right after they go out,pH tend to drop when the lights have been off for several hours.
That mystery coral you posted that you think is an LPS, I'm pretty sure that's a mushroom. It looks light colored because it's been in the dark, but it should get its color back pretty quickly. To attach it, put some small pieces of rock in the bottom of a plastic cup, then use some rubber bands to secure a piece of mesh (that you can get at a fabric or craft store) on top of the cup. Then put the cup in the bottom of your tank. The mushroom will still get light and flow, but won't be able to float away. Give it a week or so to fully attach to the rocks in the bottom, then you can just epoxy its rock wherever you want it.
Argh!!! :frustrat::frustrat::frustrat:

OK good news and bad. Good first.
I found 3 Brittle stars and a baby mushroom coral!!!! :bounce::bounce::bounce:

The bad news...I think I have aiptasias!!! :cry::cry::cry:

They look like this (not my tank):

Specifically this one:

I found 2 small ones and 1 big one so far.
I cant get pictures cause of where they are in the tank. Where can I get a syringe so I can make up and apply that solution that I saw someone else posted?
Any pharmacy will sell hypodermics. One of those meat injecter dealies can be found in the cooking section at one of the big stores.
Yep, aiptasia.

You can take a syringe (with the needle off) and mix up a paste of kalkwasser and water (you can find kalkwasser at your LFS, but my local Petco and Petsmart also carry it). Then smother the aiptasia. Also, you can mix up salt paste (using your fish tank salt) and smother them. Alternatively, you can try zapping them with lemon juice or boiling water. You can also buy products specifically made to kill them at your LFS like Joe's Juice.

If you can, try to kill them outside of the main tank (in a separate container) so that you don't get kalk paste or extra salt all over your other animals. If you can remove the rocks they're on while you work on them, great. If not, be extra careful where you get the stuff.
OK, today was a much better day!

First off, I woke up this morning and went to the store and got a syringe. I went with the salt method for getting rid of the glass anenomies. I worked GREAT!!! I attacked them when the lights were still out with a flashlight with a red lens. It was VERY satisfying to watch them shrivel up when the salt mix hit them!

On a MUCH better note, the tank finished cycling today! :^: I didn't believe my readings so I went to the LFS and had them double check. NH3 is 0, NO2 is 0 and NO3 is 10, pH is 8.1 sg/sal is 33/1.025, alk is 2 and cal is 400. Im doing a 10 water change tonight and then a 30ish on tuesday when I get back from vacation.

Do you think it would be safe to add a couple of shrimp on wednesday to munch on any aiptasias that I missed, providing everything stays fine over the weekend?

The down side though, is that I started my first algea stage today as well. :frustrat: I have some brown and some hair growing. Ive dialed down the lights to 8 hrs for the actinan lights and 6 for the 10k lights. Should I go lower or is that fine? I also filled the media cartridge of my mag 360 with a phosphate and silica sponge, that should take care of those two elements before I get back on tuesday. Honestly Id much rather deal with algea then with the aiptasias :mrgreen:
Shrimp are much more sensitive to water parameters than fish, and usually don't do well in a tank that has just cycled. If I were you, I'd add your first fish, then wait about 3 weeks before adding peppermint shrimp.

The algae stage is pretty much unavoidable. You're doing the best you can -- nothing is going to make it disappear overnight, but the phosphate/silica sponge and reduced photoperiod will help greatly.
OK, I guess Ill add the first fish to the tank sometime next weekend then and hold off on the shrimps! :sfish:

Now I know I should wait 2 weeks before adding a second set of fish to the tank, but should I just add one fish the first time? My goal for the first 3 fish is a coral beauty angel and 2 false percula clowns. Should I add all three at once, or the angel first then the clown pair, or the clown pair then the angel? (Hope that makes sense how I worded it.) Also, beyond the shrimp what should I be looking at as far as cleaning crew wise? Im more interested in snails the crabs at this point just cause of some of the stories that ive read. What type and about how many of each should I aim for? When should they go in, before fish, after fish, same time?
aim for about 1 per gallon and since anything in your clean up crew doesn't add to your bioload you can add as many as you want at a time whenever you feel like it
I would add my clean up crew seeing the tank is cycled. This would consist of snails,astreas,turbo,nassarius, or others. Also hermits and crabs but seeing you don't want any, snails should do. Later you can add shrimps and brittle star.
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Because of hardiness,I would add the clown pair first and wait several weeks for the angel.

When the cycle is complete,a cleanup crew(minus the shrimps) can be added at anytime.I tend to let the amount of algae be my guide,but one per gallon is a pretty good rule like Dustin said.
it was great to catch up on the build thread. Glad you are having success now. As for the fish, I agree with clowns first and then coral beauty. what is the "master plan" for fish, if you don't mind my asking?

start off small with the clean up crew as there needs to be enough food to keep them fat and happy. End up with 1 per gallon at a maximum but start off with maybe 10-15 critters (snails and an emerald crab) and see how things go for a few weeks. Good Luck!