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LesPaulGtr

Done Cycling Tank?

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Hi All,

 

I've been cycling my new tank since 12/16 and I think it's finally finished, but wanted to ask the experts:

  • Yesterday I dosed 2ppm of Ammonia Drops and 24 hours later I have the following results.  I used 2 different test sets to be sure:
  • API:
    • Ammonia: Between 0-.25ppm
    • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Red Sea:
    • Ammonia: 0ppm (looks more yellow than the picture)
    • Nitrite: Between .05-.1ppm

 

So does it look like I'm good?  Thanks in advance!

 

IMG_9728.thumb.JPEG.49f1dc56ee6a9a64fcd7398c3a1e993f.JPEGIMG_9730.thumb.jpg.ec9bfc09c6893eeeb5ced026ec35c20d.jpgIMG_9731.thumb.jpg.92c2e55316b584ce31a9773520db5fa5.jpg

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To me both api and red sea look to still be green. 0.25 and 0.2

 

Api when there is 0 ammonia, looks yellow. 

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The API ammonia test for saltwater never shows zero even when ammonia is actually zero. It's always just a bit green. Based on that, to my eye, your ammonia is zero.

 

I'd be less sure about the nitrites. Some people have had a much longer cycle time for nitrites than others. But it's interesting that API shows zero but Red Sea shows slightly elevated. I've wait another couple days and remeasure just to be sure.

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Thanks @Clown79 @Slim64684 @teenyreef  So should I be adding more ammonia drops and retest within 24 hours?  Or am I just waiting for both readings to come down to zero without adding?  

 

Also so when I’m finally done, how long do I have to start adding fish before the bacteria dies?

 

Thanks!

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Bacteria won't die unless you remove the rocks, allow rocks to dry out, do something.

 

 

Bacteria may go dormant but won't die.

 

My personal experience with api- my tanks show yellow like the chart when there is no ammonia present.

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I would wait until the nitrites show zero, then dose ammonia again and retest 24 hours later.

 

As far as fish go, I always add a small clean up crew first and give it a few more weeks after cycling to make sure things go OK. It's much cheaper (and less heart-wrenching) to replace dead snails than dead fish.

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1 minute ago, Clown79 said:

Bacteria won't die unless you remove the rocks, allow rocks to dry out, do something.

 

 

Bacteria may go dormant but won't die.

I agree (I missed that part of your question).

 

As long as you have live rock in the tank, you will have bacteria. The population will increase or decrease based on how much you feed the tank and how much poop and decomposition of organic material happens. That's why you always go slow when adding or removing things, to give the bacteria a chance to adjust.

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You want to be certain ammonia and Nitrite are 0 after 24 hours of dosing ammonia. 

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Ammonia is only there from your dosing, so there's no reason to worry about that level -- it'll drop when you stop putting it in.

 

NitrItes are essentially not toxic in saltwater....this is a worry "imported" from the freshwater side of the hobby (to use the phrasology from here).

 

As long as your system is producing nitrAtes, then your cycle is complete -- you have all three portions of the cycle "up and running".

 

Stock your system slowly just the same since you really have no idea how your ammonia dose will compare with the actual load from stocking and feeding the tank.

 

Start small (eg clean up crew members) and add corals and fish slowly and alternately with lots of time between each addition.  

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2 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Ammonia is only there from your dosing, so there's no reason to worry about that level -- it'll drop when you stop putting it in.

 

NitrItes are essentially not toxic in saltwater....this is a worry "imported" from the freshwater side of the hobby (to use the phrasology from here).

 

As long as your system is producing nitrAtes, then your cycle is complete -- you have all three portions of the cycle "up and running".

 

Stock your system slowly just the same since you really have no idea how your ammonia dose will compare with the actual load from stocking and feeding the tank.

 

Start small (eg clean up crew members) and add corals and fish slowly and alternately with lots of time between each addition.  

That's not necessarily true.

 

There are many instances where people have had nitrates at the same time they have had ammonia present.

 

And yes, the ammonia source being added is present due to them adding it, it doesn't make it safe and therefore no livestock should be added

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Clown79 said:

That's not necessarily true.

 

There are many instances where people have had nitrates at the same time they have had ammonia present.

 

And yes, the ammonia source being added is present due to them adding it, it doesn't make it safe and therefore no livestock should be added

 

That only happens when something is breaking down in the tank and generating more ammonia than the cycle will handle.

 

That's why I said no worries in this case....the source of the ammonia is no mystery.  :)

 

It's true that the OP should wait until it's been processed before adding more livestock though.  I didn't explicitly state that.

 

(I alluded that it would drop to zero on its own though....didn't explicitly suggest adding anything before that happens either.  :wink:)

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I'm glad I stumbled across this forum. I was trying to figure out what I should be looking for as well. My Ammonia drops to 0 within just over 24hours but my Nitrites are still over 1ppm according to my Red Sea test kit.

 

My main display won't see fish for another month or two due to quarentine time so I know it will be cycled by then but was curious how much longer I should be dosing Ammonia and also looking for when QT will be ready for fish. 

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12 hours ago, Silver City Reef said:

I'm glad I stumbled across this forum. I was trying to figure out what I should be looking for as well. My Ammonia drops to 0 within just over 24hours but my Nitrites are still over 1ppm according to my Red Sea test kit.

 

My main display won't see fish for another month or two due to quarentine time so I know it will be cycled by then but was curious how much longer I should be dosing Ammonia and also looking for when QT will be ready for fish. 

If you dose 2ppm of ammonia and it processes in 24hrs, you don't need to continue dosing.

 

Nitrite isn't toxic to marine fish but marine inverts.

 

It will process and be gone by the time qt is done. I would start testing nitrates because the level will determine how large of a waterchange will need to be done after cycle completion.

 

 

http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/fishless-cycling

 

Good explanation^

 

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That's a great link - I never actually read the Dr. Tim's process as I've never used it. Personally, I think cycling a tank is good practice for how you should keep a reef tank - go slow and be patient. If you enjoy making things complicated (and sometimes I do as a tecno nerd...) then go crazy with daily checking and ammonia dosing. Or you can just wait a month and see how it's doing then. There's a lot that happens to help a tank mature and get balanced beyond just being able to process the nitrate cycle and it all takes time. 

 

As @Clown79 said, nitrites can be harmful to inverts. Also, a tank that is fully cycled will not have detectable levels of nitrites, so if you're seeing some, by definition the tank is not cycled.

 

Or you can start with fresh uncured live rock and almost completely avoid the cycle. I've done that too and it worked well (but it's expensive). Bottom line is, don't rush, and enjoy the process. :biggrin:

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@Clown79 Thanks for answering Ammonia dosing question. I will stop and let system balance out and convert Nitrites.

 

@teenyreef I actually really enjoy testing my tank and knowing how the cycle is going during the entire process. I feel like it helps me know what it needs and how it's doing before it comes time to add livestock so I can ensure all my parameters and equipment are stable and operating properly.

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34 minutes ago, Silver City Reef said:

@Clown79 Thanks for answering Ammonia dosing question. I will stop and let system balance out and convert Nitrites.

 

@teenyreef I actually really enjoy testing my tank and knowing how the cycle is going during the entire process. I feel like it helps me know what it needs and how it's doing before it comes time to add livestock so I can ensure all my parameters and equipment are stable and operating properly.

 

It’s my understanding that you shouldn’t completely stop adding ammonia. If you stop feeding the bacterial population, it will die back. Normally people add fish once the cycle is complete and that becomes the ammonia source, if you aren’t adding anything for 1-2 months your bacteria will self-limit and you may experience a mini-cycle again as bacteria repopulates.

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14 minutes ago, shaner014 said:

 

It’s my understanding that you shouldn’t completely stop adding ammonia. If you stop feeding the bacterial population, it will die back. Normally people add fish once the cycle is complete and that becomes the ammonia source, if you aren’t adding anything for 1-2 months your bacteria will self-limit and you may experience a mini-cycle again as bacteria repopulates.

Bacteria doesn't die. It will go dormant eventually but it takes a lot more for it to die. Like drying out your rocks, pouring chemicals into a tank.

 

Not everyone adds fish. Some have fishless tanks.

 

What about when ppl go fallow?

 

I had a fallow tank that I kept that way for far longer than necessary...no mini cycle

 

 

This is some old school rumor that keeps getting spread. Like many others.

 

 the instructions for fishless cycling

 

http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/fishless-cycling

 

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49 minutes ago, Silver City Reef said:

@Clown79 Thanks for answering Ammonia dosing question. I will stop and let system balance out and convert Nitrites.

 

@teenyreef I actually really enjoy testing my tank and knowing how the cycle is going during the entire process. I feel like it helps me know what it needs and how it's doing before it comes time to add livestock so I can ensure all my parameters and equipment are stable and operating properly.

That's a great approach.

 

I always found skipping testing during cycling, can often confuse ppl because in 1 day you can miss something and then start worrying something isn't right😁

 

Testing everyday let's you see the ups and downs.

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2 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Bacteria doesn't die. It will go dormant eventually but it takes a lot more for it to die. Like drying out your rocks, pouring chemicals into a tank.

 

Not everyone adds fish. Some have fishless tanks.

 

What about when ppl go fallow?

 

This is some old school rumor that keeps getting spread. 

 

Read the instructions

 

http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/fishless-cycling

 

 

Going fishless means you need less bacteria all around .. going fallow will certainly cause the population to die back some. Dr. Tims specific bottled bacteria is not the only beneficial bacteria that exists in our tanks, and bacteria levels certainly do change as stocking increases or decreases. If a tank can convert 2ppm ammonia overnight, then is left to sit for 2 months untouched, I’d be willing to bet it would NOT convert that ammonia as fast if you dosed it again at the 2 month mark. 

 

While Dr. Tims is a great product (though I’m currently having mixed results with it) it is still a product he is trying to sell. So as with all things in this hobby, take it with a grain of salt! 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, shaner014 said:

 

Going fishless means you need less bacteria all around .. going fallow will certainly cause the population to die back some. Dr. Tims specific bottled bacteria is not the only beneficial bacteria that exists in our tanks, and bacteria levels certainly do change as stocking increases or decreases. If a tank can convert 2ppm ammonia overnight, then is left to sit for 2 months untouched, I’d be willing to bet it would NOT convert that ammonia as fast if you dosed it again at the 2 month mark. 

 

While Dr. Tims is a great product (though I’m currently having mixed results with it) it is still a product he is trying to sell. So as with all things in this hobby, take it with a grain of salt! 

 

 

I don't dose ammonia in my tanks. I really don't care what product it is. This is an example of the fishless cycle instructions.

 

Once 2ppm of ammonia is processed within 24hrs, there is no need for further dosing.

 

The op is almost done his cycle, he doesn't need to continue dosing ammonia to keep anything going.

 

Once the nitrogen cycle is established it keeps functioning. 

 

Once his nitrite is 0(in no time now) the op can do a waterchange and start the tank up.

 

Why would the OP wait months before adding any life to the tank?

 

You realize fish are not the only source to keep the tank going?

 

I've waited 2 mnths before adding fish o a tank without a hiccup. 

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5 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I don't dose ammonia in my tanks. I really don't care what product it is. This is an example of the fishless cycle instructions.

 

Once 2ppm of ammonia is processed within 24hrs, there is no need for further dosing.

 

The op is almost done his cycle, he doesn't need to continue dosing ammonia to keep anything going.

 

Once the nitrogen cycle is established it keeps functioning. 

 

Once his nitrite is 0(in no time now) the op can do a waterchange and start the tank up.

 

Why would the OP wait months before adding any life to the tank?

 

You realize fish are not the only source to keep the tank going?

 

I've waited 2 mnths before adding fish o a tank without a hiccup. 

 

You’re taking the instructions a bit too literal. The indication that no further dosing is needed means you can start adding a living source of ammonia. If we didn’t need some ammonia source why would we have to dose at all to begin with? And yes, I understand that something as simple as a Raw shrimp, or taking a leak in your tank can provide ammonia. Still, ammonia is needed to be cycled. Ammonia is always present in our tanks, but it is “cycled” fast enough to not be detected. 

 

Not the OP, but the other guy, specifically stated he was waiting 2 months for fish quarantine to finish.  I would not leave a new tank completely void of any ammonia source for 2 months and expect it to maintain its same level of bio-filter. 

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52 minutes ago, shaner014 said:

If we didn’t need some ammonia source why would we have to dose at all to begin with?

 

Maybe you weren't being literal, but there's literally no good reason to dose, pee or otherwise put exogenous ammonia into a new tank...

 

...unless you are rushing the process.

 

10 hours ago, teenyreef said:

Bottom line is, don't rush, and enjoy the process. :biggrin:

or...

 

"Nothing Good Happens Fast In A Reef Tank" as the hobby's motto goes.  :wink:

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Thanks Everyone for the great feedback.  Just tested again tonight and I think I'm very close.  Last night dosed 2ppm ammonia and now it's 0 on the red sea kit.  But I have .2 nitrites and >50 nitrates.  I guess one more round of dosing to make sure the nitrites get down to 0?  Also, does the level of nitrates matter?

 

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Thanks again!

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