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cycle began but a few questions


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my cycle began a about two weeks ago....the amonia spike lasted about 3 days and now is zero, but the nitrite spike has been going on for over a week at about 0.5 - 0.8. Is this normal for the nitrite spike to be longer than the amonia? Also I have about half cured live rock from the lfs 10 minutes away and the other half dead coral rock in my tank. I have added nothing to the tank...but a day ago I got my new aqualight and hooked it up and have noticed since then more critters coming out of the rock (I have it on 12 hours a day) and now lots of brown spots which I am guessing are diatoms. before that I had a cheapo 15 watt light on a timer. I am in no hurry but I just want to make sure my cylce sounds normal so far. Can the critters in the rock handle the nitrite spike? (my critters include some little worm like things that pop out of the rock and open up like an umbrella and then suck back in, then [foraminiferan,fleshy limpets]got the description from the identify forum , and some other wierd things that move around.) thanks much and hope to get a clean up crew in a few weeks....

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Wait for two months. Your cycle is going good from what I read. Your "critters" are only going to die if you bake the tank or put it in freshwater.

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Originally posted by Acoustic

Wait for two months.  




Thats a very general statement thats not exactly correct.


Keep the lights off for now.


Wait for your amonia to go to zero.


Then wait for your Nitrites to go to zero.


After that your cycle is basically over. Weather your Nitrates will lower on there own or not is entirly system dependent. Maybe give it another week or so. Do a good size water change.


While all this is happening make sure you get your calcium and alkalinity levels up to where you want them.


Turn on lights and slowly start adding livestock. Constantly monitor your params to make sure everything is staying good. And most importantly add your livestock slowly so your system can catch up w/ every new addition.


Also you will go through algae/diatom blooms/stages and there is not much you can really do about it except maybe a little rock cleaning and water changes. These blooms are just a normal part of a tank matureing.


One last thought --- every tank/system/batch-of-LR takes a different amount of time to cycle so it's not really usefull to put a reference to time on something like this. It's really a biological process that needs to happen and how far along in that process you are can be determined w/ your test kits.

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well the nitrite leval just dropped to zero just like the amonia did...I guess I will ..keep checking it and make sure it is ok...the nitrate levals are very trace...wow this is so interesting as to how this cycle goes....once again thanks all for the information...

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Sounds like the cycle went along nicely and should be basically over at this point. Test for a few more days to make sure everything stays where it should be then you can start adding your livestock.


Once again get your calcium and alkalinity levels up and test regularly for them.

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Congrats on your "weird things" mry, your'e on your way. Just move forward very slowly. Keep in mind that when you add animals, particularly organisms like fish, you are increasing the amount of work that your beneficial bacterial micro-critters have to uptake. Your cycle sounds absolutely normal - nothing even vaguely unusual. Continue to move forward slowly, and you won't have so much as a hiccup in establishing your nano.

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not sure if I should have started a new post but how do you tell cyano from diatoms? I am trying to figure it out...I got some hermit crabs (6 blue leg ones) and they are eating the brown stuff on the sand but it is all over the rocks (see photo) and I am guessing some snails would fix that......does this stuff look like diatoms or cyano?



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Looks more like diatoms to me.


Diatoms are usually a dusting on the rocks, sand ect...


Cyano is more of a slime coating on the rocks, sand ect...


It's all just a normal part of starting up a tank. You'll probably get a green diatom bloom after the brown bloom subsides.

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oh WOW. This was a good post for me to read because that is exactly how my tank looks right now.

Thanks for posting those pictures ri. now I feel like all is well.


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