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W1ll

fishless cycling with ammonium chloride

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W1ll

Hey,

I am new to keeping saltwater aquariums and I am in the process of cycling my first tank. I have dosed 2ppm ammonium chloride and added a decent amount of Dr Tims One and only. Testing my parameters 48hrs later and I haven't really seen any drop in ammonia or any rise in nitrite. Doing some research, most people using Dr tims have seen at least some drop in ammonia by this time. Is it normal to take a a couple days to see the cycle begin or have I done something wrong?

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dwdenny

I have read that it is hit or miss with Dr. Tim’s. I used Bio-Spira and the raw spring method to cycle my tanks. I put the raw shrimp in for 24-48 hours to get ammonia up high then add the Bio-Spira with in 10-12 days I was at 0 ammonia and 100 ppm nitrates. 
 

to answer your question yes it takes time. Some tanks go faster than others. Be patient is the key. 

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seabass

:welcome: to Nano-Reef.com.

 

Don't worry about how long it takes.  And to be honest, nitrite levels don't matter a lot (just as long as it stays under 5ppm).

 

Wait for ammonia to drop to 0.25ppm; if that takes more takes more than 24 hours, then dose ammonium chloride back up to 2ppm and wait for ammonia to drop to 0.25ppm again.  Keep repeating until it takes less than 24 hours for your tank to process 2ppm ammonia down to 0.25ppm within one day.

 

It's alright to add another bottled bacteria product (like BIO-Spira) if you feel like it.  Either way, it should work out fine.

 

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Snookin101

This may be the wrong hobby for you. If you are impatient after 2 days the road will be long and hard. I foresee a lot of frustration and death in your reefing future before a quick exit. 

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W1ll
41 minutes ago, Snookin101 said:

This may be the wrong hobby for you. If you are impatient after 2 days the road will be long and hard. I foresee a lot of frustration and death in your reefing future before a quick exit. 

Tbh I am not really that impatient, just interested as most people using this method saw their ammonia drop significantly with a 24hr period.

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seabass
1 hour ago, W1ll said:

...most people using this method saw their ammonia drop significantly with a 24hr period.

Maybe after the nitrifying bacteria have been established (or added).  Some people start with live sand, which can help too.  Using One and Only should have jump started the process, so it's understandable to me why you might be questioning your results.

 

One and Only is a live product, with hardly any way to verify if something has reduced the bacteria populations.  However, I'm sure that there is enough bacteria to seed a biofilter.  Give it some time, I'm sure it'll work out.

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W1ll
7 minutes ago, seabass said:

Maybe after the nitrifying bacteria have been established (or added).  Some people start with live sand, which can help too.  Using One and Only should have jump started the process, so it's understandable to me why you might be questioning your results.

 

One and Only is a live product, with hardly any way to verify if something has reduced the bacteria populations.  However, I'm sure that there is enough bacteria to seed a biofilter.  Give it some time, I'm sure it'll work out.

Alright cheers for the help. I guess time will tell and I'll see what happens. 

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MSunkin23

I agree with sea bass, just wait. Can’t hurt to spend $10 on biopira also. Have done several fishless cycles with that ammonia and it’s the best way to do it.

 

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banasophia

Did you add enough Dr Tim’s One and Only? I personally do like to add more than one beneficial bacteria source since many are sensitive to temperature extremes and may have been damaged during shipping/storage. I do usually use BioSpira as one of my sources, and agree with others that you could add some to speed things up, but you can also just wait it out a bit longer... pretty much all roads lead to the same destination of a cycled tank, some just take a little longer than others. 
 

You’ve probably seen these instructions, but just in case you haven’t:

https://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/library/quick-guide-to-fishless-cycling-with-one-and-only/

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banasophia
5 hours ago, Snookin101 said:

This may be the wrong hobby for you. If you are impatient after 2 days the road will be long and hard. I foresee a lot of frustration and death in your reefing future before a quick exit. 

Are you serious dude... you have a reefer tarot deck there to tell reefer’s futures, maybe a reefing crystal ball? don’t be a schmuck... I foresee I’m not gonna like you 

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seabass
1 hour ago, banasophia said:

Are you serious dude... you have a reefer tarot deck there to tell reefer’s futures

I agree that (from a 10 year member) it was a pretty harsh post directed towards a brand new member.  I'd like to think that Snookin101 was trying to convey that patience is a critical component of reef keeping, and that lack of patience (like stocking livestock too quickly) could potentially lead to some losses (and/or other problems) which might result in eventual frustration.

 

However, I was impressed with W1ll's response, assuring Snookin101 and everyone else, that it was more of an inquiry than a desire for immediate results (just making sure that everything is alright).  It would have been easy to react differently.

 

OK, I'm finished speaking for everybody else.  I just get the feeling that the post was simply poorly communicated.

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mpugh

I didn’t use one and only, just the ammonia chloride and some evolution aqua pure reef balance balls. It took 2 weeks to cycle, I also put a piece of live rock from my other tank in there, that helped too. Even though it was done in 2 weeks, I left it another week so I can do water changes to get nitrates down and I should be transferring my stock over today/tomorrow. 

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W1ll
2 hours ago, banasophia said:

Did you add enough Dr Tim’s One and Only? I personally do like to add more than one beneficial bacteria source since many are sensitive to temperature extremes and may have been damaged during shipping/storage. I do usually use BioSpira as one of my sources, and agree with others that you could add some to speed things up, but you can also just wait it out a bit longer... pretty much all roads lead to the same destination of a cycled tank, some just take a little longer than others. 
 

You’ve probably seen these instructions, but just in case you haven’t:

https://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/library/quick-guide-to-fishless-cycling-with-one-and-only/

I added about 50ml, a fair bit more than was recommended however I've heard its pretty much impossible to overdose, so I reckon I am right on that front. I will just keeping testing params and hope for the best 🙂

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Seadragon

I also love using Instant Ocean BIO-Spira on all of my tanks.  Along with Pink Fusion Strain & Purple Helix Strain Coralline Algae in a Bottle to get that pretty pink & purple coralline algae growing on all of your rocks and plastic over the long run.

 

I remember using Dr Tim’s products a very, very long time ago on my freshwater tanks.  Took like a month to get cycled compared to practically a week or less with BIO-Spira.  Yeah, patience with Dr Tim is the key if you’re taking that route.  Personally, BIO-Spira and a hardy fish is the only way I’d go.  But, I just like something to stare at. 🙂

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seabass
2 hours ago, W1ll said:

I added about 50ml, a fair bit more than was recommended however I've heard its pretty much impossible to overdose, so I reckon I am right on that front. I will just keeping testing params and hope for the best 🙂

They must have changed the instructions on One & Only.  I think they used to recommend using it all at once.  I remember pouring a nano bottle into my tanks.  Without livestock, I'd probably just shake it up and pour a bunch in.  It is the saltwater version, right?

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Sancho
16 hours ago, banasophia said:

Are you serious dude... you have a reefer tarot deck there to tell reefer’s futures, maybe a reefing crystal ball? don’t be a schmuck... I foresee I’m not gonna like you 

Get him Karen😂

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banasophia
2 hours ago, Sancho said:

Get him Karen😂

You know I have issues with fortune tellers, and with people bullying the newbies 😁🤗

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W1ll
On 5/30/2021 at 11:04 PM, seabass said:

They must have changed the instructions on One & Only.  I think they used to recommend using it all at once.  I remember pouring a nano bottle into my tanks.  Without livestock, I'd probably just shake it up and pour a bunch in.  It is the saltwater version, right?

That's exactly what I did, dumped the whole bottle in, it was the smallest bottle size they make so I figured it would be fine. And yes, it was the saltwater version. Tested my water earlier today and ammonia is still sitting around 2ppm, nitrite has risen to 0.25ppm and nitrate is somewhere in between 5 and 10ppm. So I guess that is promising, something is definitely happening. Also noticing little splotches of brown algae on the sand bed and rockwork, but nothing too extreme so I'll just leave it alone.

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seabass
2 hours ago, W1ll said:

nitrite has risen to 0.25ppm and nitrate is somewhere in between 5 and 10ppm. So I guess that is promising, something is definitely happening.

Yep, two definite indications of nitrifying bacteria.  Time to wait for ammonia to drop to 0.25ppm.  Then do it all over, again.

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MSunkin23

Every time I start a tank I rush some step and it’s never worth it. At the same time, the progressive step needs to happen to get the biofiltration balance going. It’s a scale up journey, but slow is the name of the game. FYI I was dozing ammoinia for quite a bit before I added fish. Debatable if that added any value. 

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W1ll

Alright so after 11 days I have finally reached just under 0.25ppm Ammonia. My other parameters are as following:

 

Nitrite: 4ppm

Nitrate: A whopping 150ppm

PH: 8.1

Temp: 25.7 C

 

Is it a good idea to do a water change before re-dosing ammonia to lower that nitrate or should I just go and re-dose ammonia immediately? I am planning on adding a juvenile clown in the next week and a half or so should the parameters permit. 

 

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seabass

If it took 11 days to drop to 0.25ppm, your tank might not be reading for a fish in 10 days.

 

Yeah, I'd probably do a large water change (for nitrate sure, but more to lower nitrite). Then:

  • Raise ammonia back up to 2ppm
  • Wait for it to drop to 0.25ppm
  • Repeat until your tank can process 2ppm of ammonia down to 0.25ppm within 24 hours

At that point you can target your tank's nitrate level with water changes

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mpugh
3 hours ago, W1ll said:

Alright so after 11 days I have finally reached just under 0.25ppm Ammonia. My other parameters are as following:

 

Nitrite: 4ppm

Nitrate: A whopping 150ppm

PH: 8.1

Temp: 25.7 C

 

Is it a good idea to do a water change before re-dosing ammonia to lower that nitrate or should I just go and re-dose ammonia immediately? I am planning on adding a juvenile clown in the next week and a half or so should the parameters permit. 

 

What size tank have you got?

personally I would do substantial water change now, just to make it slightly easier in the next few days when you have to do another one. 
with those nitrate numbers, you will have to do a 100% water change by the sounds of it, I’m no expert though, coz if you only do a 50% you would still be left with nitrates if 75ppm. 
 

also, what seabass said 

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seabass
1 minute ago, mpugh said:

with those nitrate numbers, you will have to do a 100% water change by the sounds of it

Yep, I expect that a 100% water change will be necessary when finished cycling (just to get nitrate down to around 10ppm).

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MSunkin23

I agree with SeaBass completely. I’m starting a new tank and cycling right at the same time as you. Happy to help guide you as I have done it several times. I have a chart below of what I’m doing. I am using dry rock, but I’m fortunate enough to have used a handful of sand from my established reef tank, and some live rock I snatched from it. I’m using BioSpira and ammonium chloride.

 

Took me about 4 days to get ammonia down, but still stuck at nitrite levels. Those bacteria can take a bit longer to generate. I still opted to add 1ppm of ammonia today just to keep Things moving. No water change yet. Again, I have a bit of live rock in there so have some advantage on the cycle.

 

strangely with this cycle I’m not seeing accumulation of nitrate. Maybe it’s because I have some de-nitrifying bacteria in the rock, or the gas exchange in my open top. There is a process to remove nitrate to N2 gas, but that’s not the typical process as you would really need to do a water change (what your seeing in your tank).

 

Your doing a great job taking it slow, and it will pay dividends later. I plan to do several more ammonia doses and incorporate some flake food for phosphates and other organics within the next week or two. 

 

 

998C0140-EF81-4AED-99F7-3112A9CBFC98.jpeg

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