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justinkdenny

Getting frustrated with this nitrogen cycle! Help

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justinkdenny

So I have been trying to get this cycle done for a while now.  Ammonia will go to 0 in 24 hrs after dosing but my nitrites are 1 ppm every time I test them.  I know the tank is processing the nitrites because nitrates are through the roof.  What would you do next?

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Amphrites

1ppm nitrite shouldn't be a concern, if your tank has nitrate and doesn't have ammonia you're cycled. A fair few folks don't even bother testing for nitrite because it tends to be inaccurate and not particularly useful (especially since the threshold for nitrite toxicity in saltwater is absurdly high compared to freshwater).
Just take things slow with livestock additions and keep your nitrate below 15-20 from this point forward and you should be fine.

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Tigahboy

I'm assuming you've been dosing 2 ppm ammonia (which is what gets to 0 in 24 hours)?  I had the same issue.  When I emailed Dr. Tim's staff, they suggested that I reduce the ammonia dosing to like 0.5 ppm and let things level out from there.  Once both ammonia and nitrites got to zero, I bumped it up to 1ppm, then 1.5, then 2 gradually.  That gradual ramp up worked for me at least.  

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dcNano
2 hours ago, justinkdenny said:

So I have been trying to get this cycle done for a while now.  Ammonia will go to 0 in 24 hrs after dosing but my nitrites are 1 ppm every time I test them.  I know the tank is processing the nitrites because nitrates are through the roof.  What would you do next?

Would like to know everyones thoughts as well. I am having the same issue trying to fishless cycle my quarantine tank.

 

Ammonia can process 1ppm to 0 in 24 hours. Nitrites are stuck at over 5ppm, and Nitrates are at 40ppm right now. I did disturb the cycle by setting the temp at 86F and then lowering it back to 80F because I saw Nitrates and thought it was done. Cycle is at about 26 day mark and I am trying to decide if I should change the water or just ride it out. I've also stopped dosing ammonia since I feel like i'm just overloading the nitrites.

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Clown79
32 minutes ago, dcNano said:

Would like to know everyones thoughts as well. I am having the same issue trying to fishless cycle my quarantine tank.

 

Ammonia can process 1ppm to 0 in 24 hours. Nitrites are stuck at over 5ppm, and Nitrates are at 40ppm right now. I did disturb the cycle by setting the temp at 86F and then lowering it back to 80F because I saw Nitrates and thought it was done. Cycle is at about 26 day mark and I am trying to decide if I should change the water or just ride it out. I've also stopped dosing ammonia since I feel like i'm just overloading the nitrites.

You can do a waterchange. Nitrites will eventually process but at a much slower rate at 5ppm or higher. Essentially ammonia or nitrite can stall at 5ppm or higher.

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xM3THODx
3 hours ago, justinkdenny said:

So I have been trying to get this cycle done for a while now.  Ammonia will go to 0 in 24 hrs after dosing but my nitrites are 1 ppm every time I test them.  I know the tank is processing the nitrites because nitrates are through the roof.  What would you do next?

seems like the cycle is on track. Nitrates levels will keep creeping up unless you have a way to incorporate a way to process it ie. denitrifying filtration, algae scrubber, refugium with macro algae. Water changes will just become part of the maintenance in keeping nitrates within healthy levels, whatever your system likes.

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dcNano
On 7/12/2019 at 3:17 PM, Clown79 said:

You can do a waterchange. Nitrites will eventually process but at a much slower rate at 5ppm or higher. Essentially ammonia or nitrite can stall at 5ppm or higher.

 

I did a 100% water change and then waited a day. I dosed 0.5 ppm of ammonia. Now my nitrites are stuck at 1ppm and still hasn’t moved any for this entire week. 

 

I have been using Seachem Stability as my source of bacteria. I am thinking of going to buy a bottle of dr tims. Is it ok to add beneficial bacteria mid-cycle? Will the nitrites kill the bacteria? 

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justinkdenny
32 minutes ago, dcNano said:

 

I did a 100% water change and then waited a day. I dosed 0.5 ppm of ammonia. Now my nitrites are stuck at 1ppm and still hasn’t moved any for this entire week. 

 

I have been using Seachem Stability as my source of bacteria. I am thinking of going to buy a bottle of dr tims. Is it ok to add beneficial bacteria mid-cycle? Will the nitrites kill the bacteria? 

I'm not sure.  I do know I added mid cycle.  It says chlorine and chloramines are lethal to the bacteria on the turbo start bottle I used but it doesn't say nitrites.  I think nitrites are what they consume.  Any one else want to chime in with a better response? 

15635744183653542049203998172546.jpg

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Clown79

You can add bacteria, it's what helps build the biological filteration to process ammonia 

 

A lot of ppl like bio spira

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ReeferND

I did the dr. Tim's fishless cycle on my first tank. I would not advise it. It's just too fast. Have you seen the BRS/WWC 4 month cycle vid? I followed that after my first tank crashed (fishless cycle) and have not had a single issue. I never measured ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates until like 2.5 months in, it was easy and worry free. Does take a while though and costs a bit more but super worth it.

 

Cycling a tank need to be more than just the ability to process ammonia. If ammonia processing is the aim of cycle, all it tells us is that we can have some fish, maybe some super hardy corals. A true "reef cycle" should involve providing a stable environment for the corals (the most expensive part) and that just takes more time to work.....Throw in a shrimp, add bacteria, do water changes on a weekly schedule, and wait 2 or 3 months before adding a fish or two, then wait another 2 weeks and add remainder of desired fish and more bacteria, then after about another 1 to 2 months add the first tester corals and more bacteria. In a month, if everything is good, buy your reef. I really hope this helps, I wish inwouldve followed this guidance my first time down this rabbit hole. Good luck!! I am pulling for you!!!

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xM3THODx
1 minute ago, ReeferND said:

I did the dr. Tim's fishless cycle on my first tank. I would not advise it. It's just too fast. Have you seen the BRS/WWC 4 month cycle vid? I followed that after my first tank crashed (fishless cycle) and have not had a single issue. I never measured ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates until like 2.5 months in, it was easy and worry free. Does take a while though and costs a bit more but super worth it.

too fast? thoughts on this please?

 

I only trust Dr.Tim's. why? He got his doctorate in bacteria, specifically isolating the actual bacteria that processes ammonia. Some companies actually license his bacteria for their own brand. 

 

6 hours ago, dcNano said:

 

I did a 100% water change and then waited a day. I dosed 0.5 ppm of ammonia. Now my nitrites are stuck at 1ppm and still hasn’t moved any for this entire week. 

 

I have been using Seachem Stability as my source of bacteria. I am thinking of going to buy a bottle of dr tims. Is it ok to add beneficial bacteria mid-cycle? Will the nitrites kill the bacteria? 

It won't hurt to add Dr. Tim's One and Only bacteria, but I don't think you need too. The process has already begun and just now need time for the bacteria to populate. 

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xM3THODx
5 hours ago, justinkdenny said:

I'm not sure.  I do know I added mid cycle.  It says chlorine and chloramines are lethal to the bacteria on the turbo start bottle I used but it doesn't say nitrites.  I think nitrites are what they consume.  Any one else want to chime in with a better response? 

15635744183653542049203998172546.jpg

The water needs to be treated with a conditioner to remove chlorines and chloramines, especially if you're using tap water, but doesn't hurt treating R.O.D.I either because you never know if a chloramine filter is being utilized.

 

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ReeferND

@xM3THODx don't get me wrong. Dr. Tim's is a wonderful product and their one and only is the only bacteria I have or will ever use. However, I do disagree with the idea that once a tank is capable of processing 2ppm of ammonia that it is "cycled". True, a cycle is the tanks ability to to process ammonia. However, myself included, have taken this idea of cycle to mean "I can now add corals and have a reef". Building an ecosystem is much more than just being able to process ammonia ( I too have a doctorate, in behavioral ecology 😀) and Dr Tim's fishless cycle makes the novice reefer think that after the ammonia is processed you are good to go. Which isn't the case. It just takes time and patience and the dr Tim's fishless cycle makes you think it is all over in 2 weeks. Marketing my friend.

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ReeferND
6 hours ago, justinkdenny said:

I'm not sure.  I do know I added mid cycle.  It says chlorine and chloramines are lethal to the bacteria on the turbo start bottle I used but it doesn't say nitrites.  I think nitrites are what they consume.  Any one else want to chime in with a better response? 

15635744183653542049203998172546.jpg

You definitely need to treat any form of tap water. In most cases a simple 4 stage rodi system will have you covered but I agree with @xM3THODxthat it cant hurt to treat even rodi systems water product.

 

@xM3THODxby the way, your tank is just awesome! @justinkdennyfollow this person advice!

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xM3THODx
28 minutes ago, ReeferND said:

@xM3THODx don't get me wrong. Dr. Tim's is a wonderful product and their one and only is the only bacteria I have or will ever use. However, I do disagree with the idea that once a tank is capable of processing 2ppm of ammonia that it is "cycled". True, a cycle is the tanks ability to to process ammonia. However, myself included, have taken this idea of cycle to mean "I can now add corals and have a reef". Building an ecosystem is much more than just being able to process ammonia ( I too have a doctorate, in behavioral ecology 😀) and Dr Tim's fishless cycle makes the novice reefer think that after the ammonia is processed you are good to go. Which isn't the case. It just takes time and patience and the dr Tim's fishless cycle makes you think it is all over in 2 weeks. Marketing my friend.

Curious to know where it states or where you feel that in Dr. Tim's marketing says that if ammonia is processed that you're good to go. He gives clear explanation of how the nitrogen cycle works. You can actually have a tank cycle in 5 days with a fishes cycle, I've done it myself. Of course, a cycled tank doesn't mean it's then ready for most corals but you sure can definitely add the less sensitive ones and a fish..  Now, I wouldn't advise a novice reefer to rush into the process but only stating that it can be done and not just marketing. 

 

Cheers! 🙂

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ReeferND
3 minutes ago, xM3THODx said:

Curious to know where it states or where you feel that in Dr. Tim's marketing says that if ammonia is processed that you're good to go. He gives clear explanation of how the nitrogen cycle works. You can actually have a tank cycle in 5 days with a fishes cycle, I've done it myself. Of course, a cycled tank doesn't mean it's then ready for most corals but you sure can definitely add the less sensitive ones and a fish..  Now, I wouldn't advise a novice reefer to rush into the process but only stating that it can be done and not just marketing. 

 

Cheers! 🙂

Agreed, 100%. Look up the "Fishless Cycle"  by Dr Tim's. No, they do not say "hey, you can add corals because you have a reef tank now" but they market the idea. I think all reefers can agree that a tank is not ready for corals in 2 weeks...unless you choose the right corals. Look, both of us are reefers, and we are excited for @justinkdennyto be a fellow reefer. My request for his success is just to be slow. Make sure you have an rodi system, and be cautious.  Quick = problems, slow = successful.  Plain and simple. 

@xM3THODx this is a beginners forum, therefore stating "I wouldnt advise a novice reefer" is beyond what we are trying to do. This guy is trying to be successful. I am not telling him it cant be done with a fishless cycle, what I am saying is it is not the easiest way to success. Which is the goal.

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Clown79

I've had tanks cycle in 7 days, 4 weeks, 6 weeks.

 

I've had corals in a tank added a week after cycling.

 

This particular coral had to be put in a cycling tank because my peppermint shrimp were destroying it

 

My 4 yr old dragon soul.

20190716_180401.jpg

20190716_180326.jpg

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ReeferND

@Clown79 again, I am not saying it cant be done quickly. What I am saying is that telling a novice reefer that you can have a reef tank after cycling for a week is not the best way forward in this hobby. Slow and stable always win. Your dragon soul is an awesome looking specimen but still pretty hardy species. I would like to see someone post a picture of an acro they put into a week old tank that lived 4 years.....again, not impossible but certainly rare.

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dcNano

Thanks for the input guys. I'm going to try to get my hands on some Dr. Tims or Bio Spira today. My quarantine tank which I am trying to cycle is coming up on 5 weeks.  It processes ammonia in a day but cannot move the needle at all on the nitrites.  At one point, I did have 40ppm nitrates so i had a cycle going but then I think my levels were too high and it stalled it out.

 

The weird thing about my cycle was, I saw it start processing ammonia within a week, then for the next 4 weeks, I monitored nitrites to see if it would hit 0. Nitrites built up slowly then just got stuck at 5+ ppm (above the reading on my color chart)

 

I did the 100% water change hoping to try to add a tiny bit of ammonia (1/2 drop per gallon) and see if it could process all the way through with lower amounts. Nope, 8 days since i tried that and Nitrites still stuck at 1ppm and no change. Hopefully adding some beneficial bacteria will help with the nitrite phase.

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xM3THODx

This will explain why your nitrites aren't moving....DR. Tim's Lecture at 15min mark.  I recommend listening to the whole thing because its got gold nuggets and will give you insight of the process more than any hobbyist can give you.

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j.falk
4 hours ago, ReeferND said:

@Clown79 again, I am not saying it cant be done quickly. What I am saying is that telling a novice reefer that you can have a reef tank after cycling for a week is not the best way forward in this hobby. Slow and stable always win. Your dragon soul is an awesome looking specimen but still pretty hardy species. I would like to see someone post a picture of an acro they put into a week old tank that lived 4 years.....again, not impossible but certainly rare.

The thing that irks me most about this site is that no matter what you say to try and help a newer person...someone (typically someone who spams this site daily with posts...and there are several of them) is going to come in here and say that you are wrong and it can be done because they are either doing it or have done it before.  It gets irritating...especially when your advice is already sound.  Slow and steady is the best way to set up and maintain a saltwater aquarium for the long haul...especially for new people who are trying to learn as they go.  

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ReeferND

@j.falkI couldn't agree more. @justinkdennyand @dcNano my only advice to you is take it slow. If you guys are getting caught up in the dynamics of the nitrogen cycle it's just gonna end badly (I say this because I have been there and documented that painful process on this forum, check out my build if you like). I am not saying that caring about the nitrogen cycle is not important but it will take care of itself as long as you supply food and then the right bacteria. Dr. Tim's is a great bacteria but really any starter bacteria will do (biospira, microbacter 7, prodibio, etc.) This ain't rocket science. Ean Malcolm: "life will find a way." Its almost impossible for the cycle not to start and complete given a couple things 1) food (I recommend a raw, not cooked shrimp) and bacteria supplement (dose three times once at beginning once after a month or so and another after you add your first fish or two), 2) correct salinity that does not fluctuate,  3) stable parameters (whatever you choose, just make sure they are stable). I also don't advise turning any lights on until the 3 month mark otherwise algae is probably gonna be an issue. Do a water change before turning lights on to reduce nitrates. Do weekly water changes religiously from here on. Once lights come on, you going to have things growing in there that you don't want.  Without corals in there, you can aggressively tackle this and make sure they are gone before adding corals. I guarantee you by this point you won't have ammonia or nitrites. Add some tester corals and see how they do. If they are growing, you are good to go. 

 

I really hope this helps guys. I really enjoy seeing people become part of this hobby. I am certainly not the most experienced person here but I have failed. This process will get you ready for any coral you want and yes it can be done way quicker if all you want is softy and lps. However,  anytime I hear someone say "can I do it quicker" those are the guys that are not in our local reefing group after a couple months. Welcome to this amazing community and hobby. Take it slow and you will be helping young reefers in no time!

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dcNano

@ReeferND  sure I get where you are coming from.  This is my first time doing a fishless cycle so I just wanted to make sure I was getting it right as from my research I see people mention that you can stall your cycle if any of the parameters are too high, and at the same the bacteria will die off if they are not being fed. The tank I am trying to cycle has no inhabitants and I am not in any rush for the cycle to be done, I just wanted to know if i was on the right track as I've been tracking nitrites for a long time and didn't see any movement. I am aware that if i drop a raw shrimp in there it should cycle, but I had already started with dosing ammonia and needed more info on when to dose or not if nitrites are already off the charts.

 

Anyways, thanks for the input. Sounds like I just have to give it more time.

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