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Since you have more gumption than my 14 yr old, let me take a chance to get you some direct info.

(Mod if there is a more applicable thread please move)


The very first thing you need to understand with a SW tank is the nitrofication process; and secondly the calcifcation process. If one can not explain how each works, what affects amonia, KH, calcium and MG have on EACHOTHER then one does not understand how to keep anything more than fish for very long. (typically about a year before the coral begin to die off)

After almost four years in the hobby I am still learning every day!

With regards to diatoms, there are SO many various bacteria that we can't really measure and there for do not know how long per tank a bloom will take to bloom, how long it will last, or even if it will occour at all. All of these things are sometimes said to be affected by PPM of ammonia, amount of flow, and amount of light; but I've never seen hard evidence giving a way to measure or predict what will occur in any given tank.

For example: I am about to go from 46 gallons to 90. Even if I "bake" the additional rock I will need for the 90 in cycled water for 60 months, I would still most likely see a small cycle from disturbing the sand bed when making a transfer. To combat this, I will run lights on my algea scrubber 24-7 for the first week rather than the 12-12 I run now. I do not usually run a skimmer, but I will for that week as well. All because I know I will have spikes in Nitrite, Nitrate, and most likely KH, and PO as well from the new dry rock.

I don't know that I will get a cycle, but I am combating it because I have SPS. All fish will go into holding tank for at least a month for the tank to stabilize.

All of these key measurables affect one another, and once this is FULLY understood you will begin to anticipate what COULD happen; don't let me fool you here, you'll never know exactly day to day what is going on in that glass box, but instead know when to get more critical about measuring "this" because you've oticed "that".

So, my answer to your direct question is this: you will see diatoms only if and when you see diatoms. Far more important is learning to use your testing equipment. Being young isn't a reason to not have this down; EVERYONE should have this down to a science because that's exactly what it is. Start a log and be RELIGIOUS about keeping it. I've found that the better I keep my logs, the better my tank looks and faster corals grow!

Lenver is right to ask what you have started the cycle with.

Have you had an amonia spike?

Have you had measurable Nitrite?

Have you gotten any measurable Nitrate?

What testing kit are you using?

Do you know your KH?

If you don't have measuring equipment you shouldn't purchase a single other thing for your tank until you can test the water.

I know the LFS does it, but what happens when you come home after they are closed and find a dead fish? How long has it been there? do you NEED to do a water change?

Get the picture?? Only gets worse as you start getting coral!

So, what I am telling you here is do some research, MORE research, and if you think you've done enough give up the hobby!!

Good luck!

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