When to add fish / 46 Gal Update


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Hey Reefers!
So, I’m in a somewhat unique position with my tank. I’m new to the hobby but my Dad has been in the hobby for 20 years and when he decided to redo his 220 Gal tank I decided to start my own aquarium and I’ve had lots of success so far. I posted a while back asking for advice and I’ve followed most of it but something that’s really confusing me is when exactly to add fish.

My tank seems to be completely cycled and all of my chemical levels were perfect for an entire week so I decided to add two small clownfish and see what happened. Ammonia went up for half a day and then back to nothing. Some people said to wait a week and test the levels of the water and I did and it went back to being nearly perfect with 0 ammonia and nitrites and less than 5 nitrates. After checking the levels and seeing no change for 2 days, I decided to get a fire goby and he’s been doing well and most surprisingly, no ammonia spike.

Here’s the big question, do I need to wait a certain time after adding fish to add more or do I just need to make sure the chemical levels check out for a few days instead of waiting a while. Here’s some inside info: the rock in my tank came from my dad’s 20 year old well established tank and only left water for a few seconds as I transferred the rock in a bucket of tank water. Rocks complete with hundreds of copepods and even bristle worms. I also used a scoop of his tank gravel to seed my tank with bacteria in the gravel. I also slowly added an entire botte of Microbacter start in the beginning to ensure a good and easy cycle. Any and all advise is helpful.

TL;DR: I have cycled material in my tank and my chemicals seem near perfect. Should I wait to add fish or put more in since the chemicals are good?



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Manhattan Reefs
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Queens, NY
Since you seeded your system with your fathers "ecosystem" and also have microbacter, you should be good to go! you have a fully functional system of nitrifying bacteria. There really isn't a time table on how to add fish. If anything the nitrates (end product of the nitrifying cycle) will go up and will be detectable with your test kits. a simple water change will control that. In the long run, you can either control nitrates with water changes, or you can export the nutrient's using any of the methods available, protein skimmer, algae scrubber, refugium, etc.