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mattitheowl

New cycle question

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I've just set up a Fluval Evo 13.5 and plan on having a nano reef (figured this forum was a no brainer 😁).  I've gone with Aragalive Caribsea live sand and dry rock.  I've been dosing with Fluval Cycle bacteria.  All went in last friday and I've been keeping an eye on the levels since.  I've been looking out for the start of the Ammonia spike but haven't seen anything as yet (but I'm just using an in tank indicator - Seachem Alert Ammonia).  I've tested today and got 10ppm Nitrate (double checked with wet test and stick indicator).  Nitrite is showing 0.  I'm not seeing anything akin to life as far as I can tell beyond some very small green bits that look like they are just hydrated bits that were attached to the rock when I bought it.  Is it possible to have cycled the tank that quickly or am I missing something?  I've got standard set up in back chambers with Fluval skimmer, stock filtration and return pump and heater.  

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Have you actually added any source of ammonia to the tank? Pure ammonia or a piece of shrimp or fish food or anything? That's the first step. The bacteria you added need something to eat!

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No the guys in the LFS said there would be plenty of stuff in the rock that would supply it.  Where has the Nitrate come from?

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Dry rock usually means it's cleaned and completely bare of life, or anything that used to be alive, which means no ammonia. Live rock should have lots of life and probably decaying things too, and you miiight have just cycled really quickly. If it's live rock that just sat out and dried and they were calling it dry rock then it definitely would have dead, ammonia producing things but I'm guessing you should have seen an ammonia spike, even with your added bacteria. I feel like I've read people say this is the worst kind of rock you could use and probably means your LFS is crap, hah. BUT I don't have a great memory, might be making that up. I'm actually worried I bought something similar from my LFS when I started and it's still releasing an abundance of phosphates 9 months later. I've cycled several tanks but I'm no expert so maybe someone else will chime in as well!

 

Edit: What kind of nitrate test are you using? I have no experience with the exact products you are using (Fluval bacteria and your ammonia alert tester) but do know there is a wide variety of effectiveness in these products. Search these forums to see if anyone else has had bad results from them.

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The rock was live rock that was shelved and dry.  There's little green "branch" like things about 5-8mm in length on bits of the rock that I didn't notice when I put them in but are now stood upright on the rock.  I'm using API test strips and API reef master liquid test kit.  The Nitrate reading were identical on the test strip and the liquid test.  I've bought an Ammonia liquid test now just to double check but that won't be here until Thursday.  I'm not in a rush but I do want to know that I'm not just housing a box of water.  lol

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Yea I think you'll have to keep testing to be sure. You said you've never seen an ammonia spike but did you see a nitrite spike and it's now at 0 or has it always been 0?

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The presence of nitrates would indicate that was some ammonia at some point.  However, if it were me I would dose some pure ammonia just to be sure the cycle had taken.  I would honestly have serious doubts as to dry rock providing much of an ammonia source, as ammonia is released from decaying organics.  Anything inside dry rock probably would have decayed a long time ago, and if there are any nutrients left from the old live rock they would most likely be phosphates which will slowly leach into your tank.  

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Agree with the others. Add some ammonium chloride with your bacteria. Bring it up to no more than 2 ppm. Once you’re processing 2 ppm in 24 hours, you have established somewhat of a biofilter and can add a fish. I would make sure it’s processing ammonia from 2 to 0 before adding anything though. You want to make sure you see a spike 

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Thanks for the advice guys.  I'll get myself some Ammonium Chloride and take it from there.  No doubt I'll be back in a week with another stupid question.

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5 minutes ago, mattitheowl said:

Thanks for the advice guys.  I'll get myself some Ammonium Chloride and take it from there.  No doubt I'll be back in a week with another stupid question.

Not a stupid question at all!!!

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If you used liverock, it is common to have a short cycle to no cycle. It depends on the liverock you got.

 

Fully cured liverock should have no cycle, its established rock.

 

Regular liverock that is dirty will go through a cycle can last 7 days to 4 weeks(can be less or more)

 

Liverock needs no ammonia introduced, only dry rock needs an introduction of ammonia.

 

 

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This is the bit I'm not sure about.  Is my rock live or dry.  It's clearly been live at some point in the not too distant past but was literally dry when I picked it off the shelf.

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10 minutes ago, mattitheowl said:

This is the bit I'm not sure about.  Is my rock live or dry.  It's clearly been live at some point in the not too distant past but was literally dry when I picked it off the shelf.

If it was dry off the shelf, it's not liverock therefore an ammonia source needs to be added like Dr Tim's ammonia.

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59 minutes ago, mattitheowl said:

This is the bit I'm not sure about.  Is my rock live or dry.  It's clearly been live at some point in the not too distant past but was literally dry when I picked it off the shelf.

Most dry rock is terrestrial and has never seen water before.  Wouldn't make sense to ever take perfectly good live rock and dry it out. 

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So I'm still showing no Ammonia or Nitrite, but 10ppm Nitrate.  If I get some Ammonium Chloride and pop a bit of that in, what am I looking for on the test?  Would it be test immediately to see the ppm once dosed then test again in 24 hours to see if it's been digested, presumably seeing some Nitrite/Nitrate?  I'm guessing adding the Ammonium Chloride won't damage the bacteria in the live sand etc?

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1 hour ago, mattitheowl said:

So I'm still showing no Ammonia or Nitrite, but 10ppm Nitrate.  If I get some Ammonium Chloride and pop a bit of that in, what am I looking for on the test?  Would it be test immediately to see the ppm once dosed then test again in 24 hours to see if it's been digested, presumably seeing some Nitrite/Nitrate?  I'm guessing adding the Ammonium Chloride won't damage the bacteria in the live sand etc?

Yeah, the idea is to dose 1 or 2 ppm ammonia, and test to make sure you are at that level. Then, if your cycle has completed, the beneficial bacteria will process this ammonia within 24 hours, so 24 hours later you should be back at 0

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I've been trying to find Ammonium Chloride at all my LFS and nobody has it.  They all look puzzled when I ask for it.  I feel like I'm doing something wrong here. 🤔

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Yeah I've just bought some of that.

 

I'm a little confused as to how your tank would cycle without ammonia other than dumping some poor fish in and sacrificing them?

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9 hours ago, mattitheowl said:

Yeah I've just bought some of that.

 

I'm a little confused as to how your tank would cycle without ammonia other than dumping some poor fish in and sacrificing them?

By adding dr Tim's ammonia and bacteria it will cycle.

 

Myself and @ReefGoat provided the instructions.

 

Dry rocks cleanest method of cycling a tank without harming a fish is using Dr Tim's products.

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Basically the route you're going with cycling. You actually should've bought dry sand to go with your dry rock. It won't hurt anything but you possibly could've saved just a few bucks. Not many bucks, just a few. My dry sand was just about as expensive as the live stuff. In my opinion the live sand would help in a situation where you're using actual live rock. Live rock that was wet in the store, brought home wet (preferably submerged IMO) and then immediately put into your tank. The live sand could possibly just help with that small ammonia spike that the tank may or may not see with this live rock. That would be the only way i'd use live sand over dry sand. But I have no where to buy live rock that isn't 4-5 hours away so.......I used dry in both of my setups so far. 

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