Cycle question..,

stupidted

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I usually put a couple shrimp in a media bag and throw it in and let it decay till it's pretty much gone. Can take a couple weeks but have used that method a few times and recently on my 225 that started with dry rock and sand with success. Takes more time than dosing but it works for me. I've definitely learned patience from this hobby so it's no big deal for me. Go with your gut tells you, the most important thing is testing anyway. As long as you go through the cycle the results will end up the same.
 
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stupidted

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I do a base test of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and ph the day after filling so I know what my baselines I'm working with are. Usually 0 for nitrates,nitrites, and ammonia but if using nsw " natural sea water" like scripps results will differ. After a week of the shrimp I test for ammonia to make sure that the process has started. After 2 weeks I test for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites to ensure the complete cycle is working. At this point the Shrimp may have dissolved completely if in a smaller tank ,if in a bigger like 180 or above there still may be some of the shrimp left. I have added another shrimp at this point before but it's not necessary. At week 3 I start testing every 2-3 days to see if things are coming down. Once you notice that ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are declining I test every day till ammonia is 0 for a week or two or even longer just depending on how anxious I am to start adding creatures. Once your at 0 ammonia for at least 5 days I would pull the shrimp out which is why it's nice to put it in a media bag so it doesn't make a mess. At this point your pretty much cycled. I still like to ghost feed with a little flake for a couple weeks then I start with a couple hermit crabs and see how they are doing. I go a little overkill but it's worth it and it gives you time to figure out which fish you want to add, and in what order they should be added. Hope that helped.
 
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Morangus

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Definitely helps! Not too confident in my API test kit at the moment. Shrimp still in the tank and getting readings yesterday like this...

ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1443860574.397404.jpg


A few days prior I was getting this...

ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1443860614.384326.jpg


Shrimp isn't completely dissolved. I did however chop it up into tiny bits before putting it into the bag.

I have a Red Sea pro marine test kit ordered as well as a Red Sea calcium and Hanna checker Alkalinity test kit on the way for after my cycle.

I'm just worried my cycle stalled for some reason.... The Dr Tims isn't being read by my API test kit either. Was thinking I may need to add another shrimp or two..
 

stupidted

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Haven't used Dr Tims myself so not sure how useful it is. Your readings are making progress. Since it's so early into the cycle don't worry about swings in ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates just yet. As long as you have readings it's a good sign. After the second week you can start testing more often and you will see them stabilize and decrease gradually. Your on track just sit back and let nature run its course for now.
 

Harold Green

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I do a base test of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and ph the day after filling so I know what my baselines I'm working with are. Usually 0 for nitrates,nitrites, and ammonia but if using nsw " natural sea water" like scripps results will differ. After a week of the shrimp I test for ammonia to make sure that the process has started. After 2 weeks I test for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites to ensure the complete cycle is working. At this point the Shrimp may have dissolved completely if in a smaller tank ,if in a bigger like 180 or above there still may be some of the shrimp left. I have added another shrimp at this point before but it's not necessary. At week 3 I start testing every 2-3 days to see if things are coming down. Once you notice that ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are declining I test every day till ammonia is 0 for a week or two or even longer just depending on how anxious I am to start adding creatures. Once your at 0 ammonia for at least 5 days I would pull the shrimp out which is why it's nice to put it in a media bag so it doesn't make a mess. At this point your pretty much cycled. I still like to ghost feed with a little flake for a couple weeks then I start with a couple hermit crabs and see how they are doing. I go a little overkill but it's worth it and it gives you time to figure out which fish you want to add, and in what order they should be added. Hope that helped.
Unless you have something to remove nitrates they should be rising rather than dropping. It can take many months for nitrates to drop naturally. Most people remove it with water changes, chemicals, macros.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Also consider, a cycle never stalls on any marine tank unless you dose it with meds. A cycle will not even stall if you put fifteen red bricks in an empty aquarium, fill with water, leave open topped, and add nothing for five months, there will still be nitrifiers in five mos on the bricks because trace ammonia gets in along with nitrifers if you add nothing.

All we do is affect time, thats all.
A cycle starts where water and no antibiotic meds are present. After a rain, a street puddle begins a nitrifier cycle....nobody adding ammonia or even dr Tim's, but things can slow, just not stop, so we like to boost those things so we can reef faster.

The issue here is not using cleaning ammonia. The output from shrimp varies too much and although a helpful ammonia source it isn't good as a digestion test which we covered in our new tank cycling thread.

To end all cycling guesswork here, simply use cleaning ammonia and a non API test kit, one that shows decent search returns on accuracy unlike API, to attain 3 ppm ammonia in the tank. If the ammonia is zero in 24 hrs the cycle progress w be clear.

Its not that something has stalled, its that you are on the verge of being cycled and a non API digestion test is the only way you'll ever know for sure.
 
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Morangus

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I've decided to go the shrimp route as my only means of cycling. The testing I had been doing seemed to not produce the numbers I was looking for or expecting. I really feel like the single shrimp I added previously just wasn't big enough. I added 3 more yesterday morning and rose my temp up to around 82 degrees. Noticed this afternoon the smell really kicked up a notch and the pantyhose they were placed in really encrusted over with a white film. Both good signs. Started to get a little clouding in the water but added a water scrubbing pad to the media basket and its clearing it up nicely.

Tested water this evening and seeing better results today.

Ph - 7.8
Ammonia - 1.0 to 2.0
Nitrite - 1.0 to 2.0
Nitrate - 80ppm

Will test again Friday...
 

stupidted

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I have a feeling this thread will turn into a sticky eventually. Glad to see things are on track. Keep up with the updates, it will be useful to others in the future.
 
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Morangus

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Ok, shrimp is pretty much decayed at this point. Remember this was week two of my cycle. I dosed ammonium chloride and a shrimp on week one and added more shrimp week two.

Tested again today and I believe my cycle is complete.

ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1444433039.215024.jpg


I'm pulling the pantyhose out, and will ghost feed for the next few days and test for ammonia daily.

Tank water is crystal clear and no additive was used to clean it up, just left the scrubbing pad in this past week.

ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1444433147.748376.jpg


Time to do a few water changes after this week of daily testing and no ammonia readings?
 
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Morangus

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None. Lights have been out the entire time. I'm expecting some when I turn my lights on a short schedule after I introduce coralline.
 

Harold Green

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I'm not sure brown diatoms need light to grow. However I find them to be a good indicator of where the tank is in the nitrogen cycle. I wouldn't be in a rush to load the tank but start with something inexpensive while you get an idea of whether the tank is ready to support livestock. If you can wait six to eight weeks from start up to adding fish you'll be much more likely to be successful even though most don't wait that long. Advanced hobbyists can bypass some of the rules but unfortunately many new reefers start too fast and end up not being successful. Good luck.
 
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Morangus

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Thank you Harold. I'm not in any real rush per se and certainly do not want to rush anything in this area. I have cleaning Ammonia from Ace Hardware that I'm going to add to measure ammonia to check daily to see if it can handle the ammonia in a 12/24 hr period. My next step is adding coralline and waiting until I see growth in a few weeks before I add any fish / cuc to the tank. I fully am not expecting to have any critters in the tank until after the new year.
 
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Morangus

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Brandon, quick question... I read on another thread here that the Ace Hardware ammonia, if you add 1ml per gallon that should bring you up to 2 to 3ppm. Is this correct? How soon after adding the ammonia should I see it show up in my testing? My biggest mistake, I feel, so far was not knowing how many gallons of water I added to my tank and not weighing how many lbs of rock I added. I did my scape and in the excitement just filled up the tank with water and added salt until I got to 1.026sg. So I'm guesstimating around 15 to 20 gallons of water in my BC29.
 

Harold Green

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Once you're sure the tank can process the ammonia in a short period of time I'd discontinue adding more than a small amount to maintain the nitrogen cycle or just begin to add food or clean up crew that will contribute ammonia.
 
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Morangus

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Tested just now and looks like 2ml was right on the money for 2ppm ammonia...

ImageUploadedByREEF2REEF1444537587.428943.jpg


Will test again tomorrow after 12 and 24 hours.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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even my nemesis api ammonia test indicates a digestion. :)

but not to zero, just some ability things are progressing well. Your tank is following known cycle guidelines for speed cycling, 2-3 weeks for light bioloading ability it's right on course. sept 24th till now was your exposure range right in time.

You may continue to build up populations on current course until it indeed digests full 2-3 ppm in 24 hrs (approximates heavy fish bioloading which you probably won't do but means its really ready)

or you have the accurate biological option of going full zero ammonia, because per our cycling thread we don't introduce living benthic animals to free ammonia, and simply inputting a couple zoanthid frags and t off half the time guessing reefing world.

The ability of your tank to process any discernible amount of free ammonia probably indicates it can run an entire coral only tank but nobody's recommending quick stocking, just tying in your test results to the larger scheme-how we can apply your cycle timing to do something useful in the tank.

corals count as almost zero bioload even in high mass per gallon ratios, but fish count as heavy bioloads as their osmotic adaptations have them emitting highly concentrated urine as a principle means of retaining precious freshwater in the cells against the pull gradient of the surrounding salty water

both the feed fish command and their urine are cumulatively the greatest source of bioload a new tank faces. The point of that ramble is that we can see through known timing and procedures your tank can legally process a light non fish bioload and that you can trust that biological timing.

legally refers to that which one can stock in a new reef without flaming from the public due to specific proofs that can be shown :)

Up until your thread Morangus which I've been following I had not seen a more timely and clear documentation for home cycling of class A rocks I'd like to link your thread as the prime example for my cycling thread
 
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