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Rel

Help me understand cycling please

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Rel

8 days ago I put live sand, live rock, and a premixed saltwater into my 24 gallon tank. It has a built in sump in the back with various media and a skimmer. I have been regularly testing salinity, ph, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and alkalinity.

 

PH always reading between 7.8 and 8.0

ammonia hasn’t budged from .25ppm

nitrate and nitrite are both 0

alkalinity at 180

 

I noticed my salinity was low which surprised me since the water came from my local fish store. I played around, taking about half a gallon out and adding more concentrated mix of Red Sea salt and regular RO water. It’s at 1.0235 

 

Per the advice of someone at the fish store I added chemi pure elite to my filtration media tonight. 

 

What am I missing here? Should I put a piece of raw shrimp in there? Am I just being impatient? I didn’t expect my tank to be cycled already, just some noticeable changes in ammonia at least. Any suggestions? 

 

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j.falk

The easiest route to setting up a new tank:  

 

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Amphrites

If you have ammonia and you don't have nitrate you aren't cycled. All the phrase implies is that your tank has enough bacteria to process exceedingly toxic ammonia into nitrite, which is far less harmful in salt than freshwater, and then to nitrate (near exclusively to saltwater the nitrate can then be denitrified into nitrogen gas).

 

You are likely to have dieoff in the sand and rock which can cause cloudiness and ammonia spikes, it can take upward of a month or two for things to cycle. You could try a bottle of microbacter or Dr timms, and dry feeding small amounts of food or dosing ammonia are pretty much required in order to actually build the population of bacteria up. I'm sure there's a few threads around if you use the search function which will help lay things out in more detail.

 

If you have ammonia in your water I DO NOT recommend getting ANY livestock.

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hinnenkm

Just to quick add on to what Amphrites said, the cycle part is the conversion of ammonia to nitrites to nitrates done by the bacteria mentioned in the previous post. 

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Clown79

The cycle will depend on the rock you used.

 

 

You say liverock was used but what kind of liverock?

 

Was it from an established tank? If so, there will most likely be no cycle because its fully established rock.

 

Was it rock in a tank that has no light, no fish, just a bunch of dirty LR- if so it will cycle on it's own.

 

Dry rock - if you purchased dry rock, you need to provide an ammonia source to start the cycle.

 

 

Can you provide a pic of the rock and some more info about it?

 

 

The general process of a cycle is ammonia converts to nitrite, which then converts to nitrate. 

 

I wouldn't use chemical media until the cycle is complete.

 

 

The only thing a little off is salinity. It should be 1.025 or 1.026

 

1.023 is for fish only sw.

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Rel

Thank you guys for the helpful info! My readings have started going up! My tank is cycling. Yesterday I had .1 ammonia. Maybe it was 0 but I find the test somewhat difficult to read. Nitrites 0 and nitrates 10 ppm. @Clown79 it was dry rock. Thanks to your info I added ammonia to the tank to start the cycling process after a wasted week lol. I am also adding bacteria daily and purchased these bacteria colony bars to encourage growth. Running light cycle

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Garf

What filtration media do you have in the back in addition to the chemipure elite? I am afraid the lfs up sold you on it, it is not necessary during your cycle. All you really need is filter pad or floss right now, and some carbon. You shouldn't be running skimmer during the cycle. Good luck, use the cycle time to learn as much as you can and plan the tank. Be patient, it is tough, but the rewards are well worth it. 

 

Most LFSs will tend to run lower salinity, it is part cost and part tricks of the trade. Lower salinity can help keep parasites in check, reduces fish stress, increase oxygen. It can also mask problems in livestock. Sounds like you are mixing your own water now, so hopefully that won't be an issue anymore. 

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Clown79
11 hours ago, Rel said:

Thank you guys for the helpful info! My readings have started going up! My tank is cycling. Yesterday I had .1 ammonia. Maybe it was 0 but I find the test somewhat difficult to read. Nitrites 0 and nitrates 10 ppm. @Clown79 it was dry rock. Thanks to your info I added ammonia to the tank to start the cycling process after a wasted week lol. I am also adding bacteria daily and purchased these bacteria colony bars to encourage growth. Running light cycle

During cycling it's not advised to run chemical media. I have run carbon but i never dosed anything because I use liverock.

 

Right now all you need is floss. 

 

I wouldn't run your lights either, it encourages algae growth

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Rel

@Garf 

On 7/21/2019 at 12:43 AM, Garf said:

What filtration media do you have in the back in addition to the chemipure elite? I am afraid the lfs up sold you on it, it is not necessary during your cycle. All you really need is filter pad or floss right now, and some carbon. You shouldn't be running skimmer during the cycle. Good luck, use the cycle time to learn as much as you can and plan the tank. Be patient, it is tough, but the rewards are well worth it. 

 

Most LFSs will tend to run lower salinity, it is part cost and part tricks of the trade. Lower salinity can help keep parasites in check, reduces fish stress, increase oxygen. It can also mask problems in livestock. Sounds like you are mixing your own water now, so hopefully that won't be an issue anymore. 

I have 3 media chambers that came stock with the tank. There is some black sponge squares in one, white sponge squares in another, and ceramic circular pieces in the last. Should I replace one of these with floss? I have it on hand but wasn’t sure where to put it. Should I remove the chemipure? Why do you say not to run the skimmer during cycle?

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Rel
On 7/21/2019 at 9:40 AM, Clown79 said:

During cycling it's not advised to run chemical media. I have run carbon but i never dosed anything because I use liverock.

 

Right now all you need is floss. 

 

I wouldn't run your lights either, it encourages algae growth

Lol yea I just got my fist brown algae today. Fun stuff. Turned light off. The room stays lit during the day so hopefully it doesn’t get crazy

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Garf
19 minutes ago, Rel said:

@Garf 

I have 3 media chambers that came stock with the tank. There is some black sponge squares in one, white sponge squares in another, and ceramic circular pieces in the last. Should I replace one of these with floss? I have it on hand but wasn’t sure where to put it. Should I remove the chemipure? Why do you say not to run the skimmer during cycle?

As Clown said, all you need is floss. Skimmer removes nutrients, the whole point of the cycle is to get your liverock to a point where it can manage the tank nutrients. Running it now would only add another task to your tank maintenance, while possibly slowing down the cycle.  

 

The sponges trap nutrients, and are an added cost to replace. You can rinse them, but they really never become clean. Most people toss the ones that came with a new tank. 

 

Run chemical media when it is warranted. Part of the fun of this hobby is figuring out when that is, lol. A lot of people will run it as a preventative to guard against future problems, but I feel you gotta know what it does before you use it. 

 

Depending on what you stock the tank with, you may want to run the skimmer then. A lot of people don't run skimmers in nano tanks, at least the smaller sizes. 

 

Brown algae good, probably diatoms. Is it dusting the sand and glass? 

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FISHnChix
23 minutes ago, Garf said:

Run chemical media when it is warranted

Funny when I got back into the hobby a few years ago first thing I did was add carbon and purigen.. I was thinking like every newbie that I needed that stuff.. after wasting my money and over cleaning my tank I realized you dont need all that chemical filtration,  and even worse it can hurt your tank..😊 best advise I got after messing up my little tank was only add chemical media if you NEED it to fix a problem.. I only run a super small amount of rox carbon now and floss.. water changes for the win!!!!

 

 

To the OP hope your cycle goes well and HAPPY REEFING !😎🤙🍻

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Rel
2 hours ago, Garf said:

As Clown said, all you need is floss. Skimmer removes nutrients, the whole point of the cycle is to get your liverock to a point where it can manage the tank nutrients. Running it now would only add another task to your tank maintenance, while possibly slowing down the cycle.  

 

The sponges trap nutrients, and are an added cost to replace. You can rinse them, but they really never become clean. Most people toss the ones that came with a new tank. 

 

Run chemical media when it is warranted. Part of the fun of this hobby is figuring out when that is, lol. A lot of people will run it as a preventative to guard against future problems, but I feel you gotta know what it does before you use it. 

 

Depending on what you stock the tank with, you may want to run the skimmer then. A lot of people don't run skimmers in nano tanks, at least the smaller sizes. 

 

Brown algae good, probably diatoms. Is it dusting the sand and glass? 

Thanks I’m going to replace the stock media in one chamber to floss and see how it goes.

 

If I remove the chemical media now will it still be good to use at a later time?

 

I plan on having very few fish. I’m more interested in the corals. I would love to have a mandarin one day and maybe a couple tiny clowns. Skimmer came stock with the tank so I wanted to break it in. It started off just filling up with good water that I would dump back in the tank. Eventually it started working more efficiently. But It never really pulled anything, just some slime coating that I cleaned off. 

 

Yea it’s definitely diatoms on the sand only for now.

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j.falk

Mandarins live off of live copepods...a small tank like yours will probably not provide enough copepods for one to survive long term and it'll slowly starve to death.

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blasterman

Why are you using chemipure in a new tank? To absorb unobtanium atoms or something? Seriously...send me the money instead and I'll give you better advice than the fish store. 

 

With a new tank you don't need a skimmer for at least a couple of months. Even with a fish only tank I advise having a skimmer because it drastically reduces the need for water changes and keeps nitrate in check . Easiest way to tell when a tank needs a skimmer is with the lights off in a bright room the tank water starts taking on a slight green/yellow tinge as waterborn algae takes hold.

 

Mandarins require specific bio loads (copepods) that many tanks can't support. 

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Rel
18 hours ago, j.falk said:

Mandarins live off of live copepods...a small tank like yours will probably not provide enough copepods for one to survive long term and it'll slowly starve to death.

My plan is to create a refugium where my media chamber is currently, since it’s just cheap sponge.  I wonder if it can support the copepods enough to feed the mandarin. 

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Rel
11 hours ago, blasterman said:

Why are you using chemipure in a new tank? To absorb unobtanium atoms or something? Seriously...send me the money instead and I'll give you better advice than the fish store. 

 

With a new tank you don't need a skimmer for at least a couple of months. Even with a fish only tank I advise having a skimmer because it drastically reduces the need for water changes and keeps nitrate in check . Easiest way to tell when a tank needs a skimmer is with the lights off in a bright room the tank water starts taking on a slight green/yellow tinge as waterborn algae takes hold.

 

Mandarins require specific bio loads (copepods) that many tanks can't support. 

F that $40 chemipure lol. I admit I was upsold. It has been removed! Skimmer came included with tank. Just figured I should at least break it in, and was curious how it worked. How can running the skimmer damage a tank with nothing in it, especially if it’s not pulling anything?

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j.falk
7 hours ago, Rel said:

My plan is to create a refugium where my media chamber is currently, since it’s just cheap sponge.  I wonder if it can support the copepods enough to feed the mandarin. 

It won't be big enough to provide enough copepods.  You'd need to supplement the tank with more live copepods which will cost a small fortune in the long run.

 

Take a few minutes to read through this thread:  https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/adding-copepods-for-mandarin-goby.272304/

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