Cycling an Aquarium

One of the earliest topics a new aquarium hobbyist needs to learn is how to properly cycle their aquarium. There is a ton of information on this...
  1. mdd1986

    mdd1986 Member

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    I'm not in a rush to be honest. I'm QTing a few fish right now so it will be a month before I put any real live stock in the tank. Should I continue to just seed the tank with ammonia? I would hope over time the nitrites will drop.
     

  2. mdd1986

    mdd1986 Member

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    Still waiting for my nitrites to go to zero. Basically been 4 weeks since I started the cycle. I read a few threads that said it took some people 8 weeks to complete this last part. Anyone have any similar experiences?
     
  3. Brew12

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    Its not uncommon. It's hard to say if it is false positives on the test or just an unbalance in bacteria populations. If your ammonia rapidly goes to 0ppm and you have increasing nitrates I wouldn't worry about the nitrites.
     
  4. mdd1986

    mdd1986 Member

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    yea I been told to not does anymore ammonia. My nitrates were above 50. Just going to wait it out at this point. I don't think its false positives at this points since I used a few test kits.
     
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  5. cajunreef985

    cajunreef985 Member

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    Clutch Information!! You are appreciated!! ;Writing:cool:
     
  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Glad you found it useful!
     
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  7. mdd1986

    mdd1986 Member

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    Well to give everyone an update (for those who are in similar situations). My nitrite finally has started to bottom out as of yesterday. I got a reading of around .25PPM with the salifert nitrite kit. I started the cycle on December 1st so it take almost 6 weeks to get to this point. My chaeto seems to have grown as well and has reduced my nitrates from 50 down to around 15-20ppm. Just wanted to share for anyone who may experience something similar. Just have to be patient.
     
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  8. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Is it safe to add a clean up crew during the cycle? Started my cycle a week ago today. Ammonia is down to zero now but im going to dose more in the next couple days to bring it back up to 2ppm. Nitrites are still sky high and I havnt even started testing nitrates yet.
    Just wondering if ammonia/nitrite levels or high nitrates during the cycle will harm snails/crabs/cleaner shrimp
     
  9. Brew12

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    Most will be ok but I'm not sure that I would take the chance. Especially with the cleaner shrimp.
     
  10. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Is this true for coral and inverts also? (Nitrites being safe for them)
    I think im in the same boat here. I dosed some bio spira couple days ago and now I'm processing ammonia in a day but nitrites are still off the charts. This is day 11 of my 'cycle'
    Would I be safe to add a small clean up crew, couple cleaner shrimp and a few corals? I wanted to get a round of coral and inverts in the tank and then im gonna let it sit fishless for 76 days while they go through a quarantine period.
    If so should i do a water change first?
     
  11. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    My concern is less the nitrites and more with the nitrates. Some inverts don't tolerate rapid swings in nitrates very well.

    You aren't still adding ammonia, are you? And what are you nitrates doing?
     
  12. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    I added ammonia yesterday and this morning it was back to 0. I was planning to do another dose to make sure it continues to process it in a day but I won't once anything has been added to the tank.
    I hadn't been testing nitrates much but I just tested it now and it was sky high, somewhere between the 80 and 160 mark on the api test kit.. guessing i should start doing water changes weekly to bring that down? And not add anything until its at a reasonable level?
     
  13. Brew12

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    Definitely stop adding ammonia!

    Your nitrate reading wont be accurate. The nitrate test works by breaking nitrates down into nitrites and then measuring them. So, it won't be accurate without zero nitrites. However, the fact it is that high tells me you have added a bunch of ammonia.

    You will want to do a large water change to get an immediate drop. Remember, one 20g water change is much more effective than doing 4 water changes of 5 gallons. Then wait until your nitrites get close to zero. Once you get there we can figure out where you are at.
     
  14. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    I don't feel like I've added that much ammonia. I've only dosed a total of 3 times to bring it up to about 2ppm. First time was the start of the cycle and it took a week to process to 0. Then added bio spira, dosed 2 days in a row and was zero in 24 hours both times.

    Its a 150 gallon tank and I'm only able to do about a 30 gallon change at a time. How often to u suggest i do them?

    So your saying not to add any livestock until nitrates are down and nitrites are closer to 0?
     
  15. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Ok, it is harder with a large system. Just because it is such a challenge, I'd hold off for another day or 2 prior to doing a water change. For a small system water changes are a quick, easy, and cheap reset. Not so much for a larger system.

    I'd like to see your nitrites at least on the chart and your nitrates under 60ppm prior to adding snails/hermit crabs. I wouldn't add anything else until nitrites were 0ppm and nitrates under 30ppm. Even many corals won't respond well to high nitrates unless the changes are done gradually.
     
  16. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Sounds good. I'll do a water change in a couple days and then once a week till things are more in order?
     
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  17. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I doubt it will even take that long, but it sounds like a good plan.
     
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