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It's been exactly a week now. I have 6 pounds of live rock and a deep sand bed thats 3 inches high. Regular filter that came with the nano cube also the bio balls that came with it. temp of water is exactly 84 all the time. I know its suppose to be 78 but is that okay to be at 84 or should I bring it down. There is no heater is my tank mind you, its just that its hot here in NJ, ill be getting central air installed in my house soon so Im sure it will bring it down. I just tested my water and my levels for pH, phosphate, calcium, nitrate, and carbonate hardness. Everything looks good but then again what should my levels be at? The nitrate was at 20ppm. What should nitrate levels really be at? Low as possible? is 20 good? According to the instructions everything passed but I thought most of it should fail seeing that I just started and it's only been a week. Am I wrong? Also I got different opinions on doing water changes when you first start out. 2 of my LFS gave me 2 different kind of feedback. One store said not to do any water changes until at least 2-3 weeks later? The other said that I should have started already one a week at least a gallon maybe less. What should I do? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. (also note i starfish came atatched to my live rock and its been pretty good hangin in there not hangin for dear life I hope)
 

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ehh, that's the problem with LFS's, they think they know everything. Don't start water changes until the water cycle is complete(takes between 2 or 3 weeks) your Nitrate and Nitrite levels should really be at zero, 20 ppm is tolerable, but pushing it and will cause minor stress.

and 84 degrees isn't to bad, you might want to bring it down to 82 or 81 if possible, my 90 gal. is around that 83-84ish temp. but it's just so hard to bring it down with the lighting. anyways hope this helps!
 

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You should try removing the bio balls and adding live rock rubble instead. Bio balls are nitrate factories for reef tanks.
 

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84 degrees is a little high, but not bad. 78-82 is ideal. Do not do any water changes till about a month in. You should get a bloom is brown algae that feeds off of silica, but should die off after about a week. Take out those bio balls, let the brown algae run its life cycle and you should be fine for coral in about a week or two.
 

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84 is really warm; borderline too warm for most corals, especially hard corals. I generally try to keep reefs no warmer than 82. How is your cycling going? I would highly recommend waiting AT LEAST two weeks after your tank is fully cycled to add any corals; they'll do much better in a slightly more mature system. As for ideal levels pH 8.0-8.4, phosphate as close to 0 as possible, calcium 380-450 ppm, nitrate 0-20 ppm, and carbonate hardness (dKH) 8-10. What fish and/or corals are you planning on keeping in this tank?
 
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