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Cultivated Reef

Cycle Questions


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I started my tank probably three-four weeks ago, with dry rock and non-living sand. About three weeks ago, a week after starting the tank, i added 10 pounds of cured live rock from a local reefers tank, and 6 pounds of live sand.


The tank has been doing great so far with a few mollies that the local reef guy insisted upon me using. It also has a small variety of snails.


Anyway, I never really observed a spike in ammonia, but i have observed a simultaneous spike in nitrate and nitrite, and i a diatom bloom. The diatoms are no longer multiplying but some areas of the sand are brown.


My nitrites are at 0 now and nitrates are about 20ppm. Ammonia is still less than .02ppm.


The fish and snails in the tank seem to be doing great, so signs of distress or anything. The mollies are enjoying exploring the rockwork and the snails are usually on the sand or the rocks, sometimes the glass.


I am going to be gone for about 5 days this week so i will be unable to test water parameters daily, and such. I do have someone who can give the fish a few flakes a day and do water topoffs as neccissary.


What do you think about the cycle? Is it nearing an end, or did i make a mistake somewhere.



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Since you still have traces of ammonia, it has not become fully established yet. Most people here recommend not using livestock to establish the nitrogen cycle. However, you did use locally cured live rock, so I wouldn't have expected any ammonia or nitrite spikes. At this point, there is no need to do anything different. Wait until you can't detect any ammonia for at least a week straight before adding to or switching out any of your livestock.

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