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Ajh715

PLEASE HELP is my tank cyccled

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Ajh715

Hello, 

I set up a saltwater tank about 10 days ago, a fluval evo 13.5 gallon. I used established live rock from an existing tank, and 2/3 live and and 1/3 normal sand. I used  RO water as well. My lfs told me to put in 2 damsels, and gave me a bag of very dirty water from the fish store to pour in my taank to kick off the cycle. I now know these damsels should not be in a tank this young, and after researching, i decided i would take them out at the first sight of an ammonia spike. however, after testing the water every day i have had this tank, i have had no ammonia spike. my ammonia is about 0, nitrites 0, nitrates are at about 5ppm, and ph is a little low (i bought buffer). So, i have been waiting for ammonia to increase, to take out the damsles as i now know using them to cycle is cruel, but the readings of my water seem as though it is cycled. Could this be? I would think after having 2 fish, feeding them every day, using live rock, live sand, and a big bag of dirty water i should see some ammonia, yet i see none. And it cant be my test kit, as i have had 2 different lfs test the water, as well as myself, and gotten the same reading. Does this mean due to my tank size and using very established rock, my tank cycled extremley quickly? If anyone has comments or suggestions i would love to hear them! Thanks!

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1891Bro

If the rock was that live it had enough bacteria to handle the fish.  

What is "about zero"?

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Ajh715

well the ammonia is being tested on an api test kit and i have heard that alot of people have difficulty getting their color to match the zero reading on an api kit. so the ammonia isnt the exact color of zero on the chart, but it isnt .25 reading either, and is much closer to the color of zero than .25

well the ammonia is being tested on an api test kit and i have heard that alot of people have difficulty getting their color to match the zero reading on an api kit. so the ammonia isnt the exact color of zero on the chart, but it isnt .25 reading either, and is much closer to the color of zero than .25..

 

THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY!

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1891Bro
8 minutes ago, Ajh715 said:

well the ammonia is being tested on an api test kit and i have heard that alot of people have difficulty getting their color to match the zero reading on an api kit. so the ammonia isnt the exact color of zero on the chart, but it isnt .25 reading either, and is much closer to the color of zero than .25

well the ammonia is being tested on an api test kit and i have heard that alot of people have difficulty getting their color to match the zero reading on an api kit. so the ammonia isnt the exact color of zero on the chart, but it isnt .25 reading either, and is much closer to the color of zero than .25..

 

THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY!

Yeah I don't trust API either. 

No problem on the reply. 

Truly live rock is just that, it's already covered in bacteria that cycling is meant to cultivate. 

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Ajh715
Just now, 1891Bro said:

Yeah I don't trust API either. 

No problem on the reply. 

Truly live rock is just that, it's already covered in bacteria that cycling is meant to cultivate. 

So do you think it is time to take out the damsles and slowly add in the fish that I actually want? i can take the damsles back to the lfs, so i wont do anything cruel like flushing them..

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1891Bro

Just based on the info you have given, yes. But don't drop in 10 fish. Take the damsels out and stock like normal l, responsible people would. One fish every few weeks. And not many either. 

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Ajh715
4 minutes ago, 1891Bro said:

Just based on the info you have given, yes. But don't drop in 10 fish. Take the damsels out and stock like normal l, responsible people would. One fish every few weeks. And not many either. 

yes, i was planning on adding 2 clownfish at once to keep them peaceful, then either a purple dottyback OR a royal gramma. 3 total fish, absolutley no more 

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seabass

You should be careful when taking advice from that LFS.  While some local stores provide good and current information, yours seems to be behind the times.  As you have already realized, there is no need to cycle a tank with fish.  Also, used water doesn't contain much nitrifying bacteria (as this bacteria resides mainly on hard surfaces like rock and sand, and even walls and equipment).  The dirty water is just that, fit to be discarded.

 

The API ammonia test kit is just sensitive to small amounts of ammonia.  The test kit will read zero on a healthy, mature reef tank.  While the slight amount of ammonia being detected by the test kit might not be reason to worry, you should still proceed carefully stocking such a young tank.

 

Live rock from an existing tank will already contain a biofilter (nitrifying bacteria).  This is why you didn't see much of an, if any, ammonia spike.  The amount of bacteria on the rock is proportional to the bioload in the tank that it was taken from (so it will contain more bacteria if it were taken from a normally stocked tank, than from a tank that was very lightly stocked).  People often misuse the term nitrogen cycle with an ammonia spike, but a spike occurs when the existing biofilter becomes overwhelmed with ammonia (cannot process all of the ammonia being produced).

 

So it sounds like yours tank has a working biofilter.  I would return the damsels, perform a large water change, then add a cleanup crew.  If your tank doesn't contain any algae yet, I would stick with omnivores and carnivores (until your tank shows a little algae growth).  Then I'd wait about a week before adding your juvenile clownfish pair.  Try to pick two that are dissimilar in size, as this will make it clear which one should be dominant (preventing unnecessary aggression).

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Clown79

I agree with Seabass. Don't trust your lfs, they have already provided you with very old outdated methods.

 

I'd remove the damsels, doa waterchange and start with a very small clean up crew.

 

You can add clowns at seperate times. One must be smaller than the other.

 

I would not put a dottyback in a small tank. After the clowns, I'd recommend a goby or a blenny

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seabass
16 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I would not put a dottyback in a small tank.

I agree, due to aggressiveness, a royal gramma is probably the better choice of the two other fish that you mentioned.

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HarryPotter

Add small amounts of food daily. Test your water. If no nitrites and has under 10ppm nitrates I'd say you're cycled. 

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seabass

Harry, remember that the OP has been feeding the damsels.  So ghost feeding seems kind of redundant to me (and would add more organics and nutrients into the system).

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Ajh715
6 hours ago, seabass said:

You should be careful when taking advice from that LFS.  While some local stores provide good and current information, yours seems to be behind the times.  As you have already realized, there is no need to cycle a tank with fish.  Also, used water doesn't contain much nitrifying bacteria (as this bacteria resides mainly on hard surfaces like rock and sand, and even walls and equipment).  The dirty water is just that, fit to be discarded.

 

The API ammonia test kit is just sensitive to small amounts of ammonia.  The test kit will read zero on a healthy, mature reef tank.  While the slight amount of ammonia being detected by the test kit might not be reason to worry, you should still proceed carefully stocking such a young tank.

 

Live rock from an existing tank will already contain a biofilter (nitrifying bacteria).  This is why you didn't see much of an, if any, ammonia spike.  The amount of bacteria on the rock is proportional to the bioload in the tank that it was taken from (so it will contain more bacteria if it were taken from a normally stocked tank, than from a tank that was very lightly stocked).  People often misuse the term nitrogen cycle with an ammonia spike, but a spike occurs when the existing biofilter becomes overwhelmed with ammonia (cannot process all of the ammonia being produced).

 

So it sounds like yours tank has a working biofilter.  I would return the damsels, perform a large water change, then add a cleanup crew.  If your tank doesn't contain any algae yet, I would stick with omnivores and carnivores (until your tank shows a little algae growth).  Then I'd wait about a week before adding your juvenile clownfish pair.  Try to pick two that are dissimilar in size, as this will make it clear which one should be dominant (preventing unnecessary aggression).

I see a little green fuzz on the live rock, but nothing that's too long and crazy. The live rock also has a nice amount of corraline algae.. I did however notice a bit of a diatom bloom on the sand.. only on a tad of the sand in 2 places.. it's like brown sand (which I assume is diatoms?) so I have been doing lights out.. so to help with this small bloom should I add my CUC? And if so what would be a good crew for this small tank? I will be doing corals too so I need reef safe

Thanks to all for replying! This has all been very helpful! I will be cautious of both my lfs.. one seems to try to sell me fish, while the other has seemed to me like they will tell people tanks are not cycled when they are.. then sell them various chemicals to help the process (buffers, bacteria ect) 

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Clown79

You can add a small cuc if the tank is cycled.

 

Sounds like your lfs are typical lfs, out to make money.

 

Always do your own research, you'll be better off.

Ask lots of questions here, there are so many great ppl willing to help

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seabass
11 hours ago, Ajh715 said:

should I add my CUC? And if so what would be a good crew for this small tank? I will be doing corals too so I need reef safe

Yeah, I think so.  I'd start small, a couple of cerith snails (omnivores), a couple of nassarius snails (carnivores), and a scarlet reef hermit crab (called a herbivore, but more of an omnivore) if you want.  I like to keep a hermit crab for entertainment, but some people don't like to keep crabs.  If you keep a hermit crab, keep them fed and have extra shells for them to move into.

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