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Moorahs

Cycling with Aquaforest Bio S?

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Moorahs

Just wondering if anyone has experience using this - in particular whether it made any difference to the order of events compared to traditional cycling?

 

I started the tank a fortnight ago with NSW, cured live rock, and dry sand. It's been awhile since I've had a saltwater tank so I let the LFS dude sell me on the Bio S ("times change..."). 

 

Ammonia levels are holding at about .25ppm, nitrites and nitrates both still zero. BUT diatom bloom started about 3 days ago and today it looks like green hit algae is starting to show.

 

I always thought the algae blooms came at the end of the cycle? Is it possible that playing god with bacteria in a bottle has screwed up the order of events? Is it possible that I *should* have a nitrate reading but that the algae is masking it?

 

My plan was to wait for the nitrate spike then water change and add CUC, but do the algae blooms mean I'm sitting here waiting for an event that may not come?

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1891Bro

Just hang in there. The stuff can be starved out at this point. Just dose the bac per the instructions and don't add any food or livestock. 

@brandon429

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Clown79

Your algae can be using up the nutrients causing false results on the test. Have you tested phosphates( not api kit), those contribute to algae as well.

 

Be patient, each cycle is different.

Normally with cured rock, you don't need to add anything.

 

What test kit are you using?

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Moorahs

Thank you both for replying :)

 

Clown79 - no, haven't tested phosphates yet, I though I should  / could just stick to ammonia, nitrite, nitrate till it had cycled (of course plus salinity, temp, ph). Had assumed the bloom is more likely from the silica in the sand than phosphate. I'm making myself not fiddle with things for another week, so will run the full tests next weekend. 

 

How inaccurate are the API tests? I'm worried now - that's all I've got, all that any of the LFSs had, and I was hoping (assuming!) to be able to trust the results of $150+ worth of kit!!!

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Clown79

You should be testing ammonia every day during cycling.

 

You need to see the ammonia rise and drop to 0.

 

Diatoms are from silica. 

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Moorahs

Cool, thanks.

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brandon429

Tanks using true cured live rock are skip cycle setups, why is this cycling

 

its helpful to know some new tanks don't need to cycle for ammonia control 

 

some people buy bare white rock the lfs told them is cured, we can test that claim. Some people buy purple coralline live rock with fanworms and animals crawling on it, nobody needs to test that kind, it's true cured 

 

 

If we are unable to transport rocks between a store and a home without a cycle, then my tank should recycle each time i leave it drained for half an hour, and this includes corals.

 

Nobody should be able to setup giant instant reef tanks at MACNA shows without dr Tim's assistance, or without showing up thirty days early.

 

The standard above is simply rocks to home, typically in a high humidity bag. Rarely are they moved in air exposed

 

 

Cured live rock has all the bacteria it will ever need. But if it's uncured, cycle away. :) 

 

 

 

 

In our big cycling threads we like to utilize some types of rock that remain cycled no matter where you cured them, they have real coralline on them. I hope yours does

 

maybe it has fanworms stuck to it, pods, or benthic algae growth or hydroids like typical live rock 

 

 

Post pics of this rock if poss 

 

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brandon429

We can get any tank ammonia ready within 40 days, testing nothing. Handy baseline to consider when multiple testings aren't panning out.

 

40 day sure cycle no test

 

fill tank / substrate 

 

dump in half a bottle of someone's cycling bac 

 

add a few drops ammonia based on gallons, can estimate, plenty of fish less cycling threads show drop or drops per gallon 

 

circulate the tank for two weeks

 

add rest of bottle bac and few more ammonia drops

 

circulate three weeks

 

change out all water refill with clean. Tank ready, no test. 

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Moorahs
6 hours ago, brandon429 said:

Post pics of this rock if poss 

Heaps of fanworms, little pink sponges, few aiptasia (death by lemon juice!)... a lot of the coralline went white in the first days and now most of what's left is (hopefully still there) under the fugly algae.

 

Now I am really confused about what I should be doing. LFS said dose w the Bio S for a fortnight, do WC and then start stocking - that should've been yesterday. Tested last night, ammonia still 0.25ppm, 0 nitrites, nitrates somewhere above 0 (def not pure yellow but not as orange as the 5ppm on  the API kit).

 

Should I challenge it with an ammonia source and see what happens?

IMG_5741.JPG

IMG_5742.JPG

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brandon429

Yes that's cycled rock

 

Agreed let's challenge

 

I'm usually railing against adding ammonia to live rock but if you won't go much past 1ppm, we have a chance to document something neat

 

It's APi reading as best it can imo, the .25

 

What we're looking for isn't getting to zero, it's any movement at all within 24 hours back to this .25 reading

 

Due to the very highly cured nature of that rock, the algae component will suck dry the ammonia along with bacteria

 

This rock is ammonia hungry, let's prove it. Spiking ammonia to one ppm in the tank won't wipe things out since that rock is loaded with ammonia consumers

 

It's the most non fake totally cured tank rock I've ever seen in fact

 

That level of growth is normal for unguided rock, it retains a bit of detritus and possibly raw ammonia portions depending on state of decay of any organics entangled in the growth. We should clean that off outside the tank and guide this into purple and away from plant color hues. Sure it might mature that way eventually but we find with dedicated had guiding, all tanks comply.

 

Your sandbed needs to be rinsed so clean that it cannot cloud if you grab some and drop it... Is it that clean? A clean restart is ideal here if not. That won't decycle your tank, they don't uncycle.

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brandon429

It needs to be hand guided though as a separate matter in my opinion

 

After documenting ammonia hunger of it, the bacteria and the algae, we need to clean out that system and leave the substrates open to more coralline. I find by guiding plants out early, no algae wars come about later

 

That's the periphyton layer Santa Monica is always referencing in his ATS posts, that stuff is not part of cycling, cycling is about bacteria and you're complete already. We're testing ammonia only for fun, usually the approach for this kind of rock is opposite of what you've been advised to do with it. It wants a zero ammonia condition.

 

We could take any portion of that rock, clean it, and install it into an instant pico reef along with ten high end mixed frags, it's skip cycle rock.

 

 

The number one thing that rock doesn't need is more bacteria. It has so much, we'll be removing unneeded excess in the cleaning. You've been sold a cycling kit intended for strictly dry materials. Redundant cycling is also harmless, nbd.

 

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brandon429

I believe that type of substrate shows up dry, in that regard the cycling kit is helpful-it's catching up the substrate faster than just associating them with the rocks will do.

 

Still another detail persists, after a month it will all reach equilibrium anyway. That much loaded live rock can do much, already.

 

we have a neat way to document API issues, if applicable here. 

 

If you spike ammonia and get more than .25 oxidation in 24 hours but the system magically stops at the last .25, test issues. Biosystems across the board on google do not all land/stop at .25 after digesting four times the amount just before

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Moorahs

Thanks so (so, so) much Brandon, I'll report back :) 

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Moorahs

3pm baseline .25

3pm Dosed 2ml of ammonia @ 20g/L

9pm 1ppm

6am .5ppm

 

I'll check again at 3pm; I'm assuming I am refining my own personal API colour chart here, which has its "tare" at .25?

 

Meanwhile I've been reading enough to see I'm far from the first one to have this occur. Just out of curiosity - is the API testing only inaccurate at lower concentrations? Ie can you safely do an undercount at all levels or is it a sliding scale of wrong? 

 

If it's accurate except for its ability to measure true 0, you'd have to wonder if that's more about increasing the market for products to "fix" the (non)issue... :ninja:

 

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brandon429

There are many documented cases of them working fine, the lighting we read them in varies so much, the actual test may be ok

 

Im hard on API but they have a place where they're handy.

 

if .25 shows up with api, in cycled rock tanks, that's where we like to ask/set up confirming tests.

 

there's subtle nuances too...shaking reagents. exact filling without variance, expirations.

 

There are many who can wield them correctly no doubt, and they indicate large changes such as a rotting lost fish very well. thank you for that documentation on the working nitrogen cycle, w update good cycling threads w it

 

 its very possible the API detected a legit low level initial ammonia not due to animal loss, but due to nutrient upwelling in some manner, it was only the sustained .25 that got me to questioning, it always does.

 

rocks that carry over detritus can release that rot upon repositioning, and API is sensitive enough to detect it there are use threads that show with controlled settings they're ok.

 

we had to develop that big thread below for your very problem- how to deal with seeming low level persistence in the face of rock that w digest full ppm's, and how to look at a tank for the most part and tell its cycle status (when there are good benthics like you've shown)

 

we simply want to have your tank with no detritus, no dead animals for rot (since this type wants the zero ammonia condition) and though API might have found initial spikes, they wont be present after a good cleaning and this rock can be trusted solely off pics and accurate known history for the rock.

 

Our little picture/prediction process got thrown for a loop with the advent of real reef rocks/painted coralline lol in the last year or two. so I ask in much better detail now ramping up to the big prediction

 

 

 

the ideal next immediate step is to clean the growths off, hand guide the tank, repeat when needed, and  add some zoanthid frags and some snails

 

 

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-microbiology-of-reef-tank-cycling.214618/

 

added you to first post there

 

 

 

 

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Moorahs

Tonight's full panel for those interested:

temp 26

sg 1.025

ph 8.4

ammonia 0.25

nitrite 0

nitrate 5

ca 380

dkh 9

phosphate 0.5

 

Anything leaping out? Ph and phosphate bothering me but granted it hasn't had a single water change yet and it's 2 1/2 weeks old. That and a decent clean can wait till tomorrow since just doing the testing ate all of tonight ?

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