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. Brew12

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

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    Yup, but our local Ace Hardware went under. The stuff Lowes and Home Depot carry has soap in it. :confused:
     

  2. vector824

    vector824 Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I started with my 75g display and 30 gal sump, I just added 10% ammonia I got from ACE to go the pure ammonia route and I have two questions:

    1. When should I do my first water change?

    2. When is a good time to add chaetomorpha to my fuge in my sump?
     
  3. Brew12

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

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    I would do a water change just before adding your first fish if your nitrates are over 30ppm. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about a water change.

    A good time to add chaeto is now. In my opinion there is never a bad time to add hearty bio diversity to your system. Not to mention that algae will process ammonia directly also, giving your fish an extra margin of safety.
     
  4. vector824

    vector824 Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Good to know! Thanks for your help.
     
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  5. Bella Reefs

    Bella Reefs New Member

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    So my 10 gallon broke and I bought a new 15 gallon cube if I put old water and the old filter and rock and sand in the new tank and 5 gallons of new to complete 15 would that be ok
     
  6. Brew12

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

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    You don't need to worry about the water or sand. If you bring the rock and filter you should be just fine.
     
  7. Bella Reefs

    Bella Reefs New Member

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    So I have to worry about my clown fish dying because of the ammonia I also put bacteria in a bottle aswell
     
  8. Brew12

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    As long as you have the old live rock and filtration system, the clown should be fine. You shouldn't see any ammonia. Adding bacteria in a bottle is a nice insurance policy.
    Moving the old sand is a little risky as it can cause a nutrient spike but if it is clean enough, the risk is low.
     
  9. ViciousDlishus

    ViciousDlishus Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I started my system about 30 days ago threw in a shrimp for about 2 weeks. Ammonia only creeped up to about .4 and has since been at 0 for about 10 days. I had Nitrite at last check but haven't tested for 3 days. I haven't done any ghost feeding since the shrimp was removed.

    1. Was my ammonia high enough to begin with (only reaching .4)
    2. Do I need to ghost feed while Nitrite falls.
    3. I'm going to be qting for at least 30 days with copper in a seperate tank. Will ghost feeding the tank keep it going or am I'm fighting an uphill battle and going to deal with a mini cycle.
    4. I want to seed a sponge for qt tank and didn't think to add it previously because I was originally going to go ttm. How long do I need to seed it for and should I feed heavier to stimulate growth of bacteria.
     
  10. TherealplexiG

    TherealplexiG Well-Known Member

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    Bottled bacteria should be avoided, I guess. Coz only god knows what strains of bacteria are actually in.
    Has any one cycled with a dry rock without ever introducing bacteria in the tank by the means of established rock or sand?
    Coz I think unlike freshwater, saltwater bacterias aren't airborne. Correct me if I'm wrong..
     
  11. Brew12

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

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    The best number to look at is your nitrates. If you have a larger system and 20ppm+ nitrates you should be fine to add a few smaller fish to get things going. If your nitrates are under 5ppm it is hard to say if you added enough ammonia to produce enough bacteria to be safe.

    I would leave the sponge in a high flow area for at least 3 or 4 days.
     
  12. Brew12

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

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    I personally like Biospira and use it almost exclusively when I set up a QT system.

    Actually, the same bacteria will work in the ground, fresh water, and salt water. Very adaptable little critters. And yes, it is actually fairly common for people to start up a tank with dry rock and sand and not use a bacteria product. Typically it will take 1 to 2 months to have enough bacteria to safely handle fish.
     
  13. mbagheri

    mbagheri New Member

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    Thank you very much Brew12 for your greate article.
    I just setup a new saltwater tank and it's on day 31, but my ammonia is tolerat and not fixed yet. it's tolerate between 0.5 to 1.5 mg/L I think. I tested by tetra test kit.
    I used dry pukani and I have ceramic as media and I don't used any sand bed. One week before I added some Chaeto in my sump and recently added two damsel fish.
    My nitrate is lowering very well and it was 50 I think in my last test.
    I just want to know that normally how long it's takes for cycling? is there any maximum that if it's passed you have to check what is it wrong seriously?
     
  14. TherealplexiG

    TherealplexiG Well-Known Member

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    @Randy Holmes-Farley
    Do you agree on this?
     
  15. reefguy565

    reefguy565 Well-Known Member

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    Need help!!! i started a QT tank 26 days ago with Seachem stability and at day 17 i started seeing ammonia and nitrites changes. I am not at day 26 and I have very high purple nitrites. I have about 10 nitrates as well. I added dr. tim's ammonia as the source. I have done 2 days ago a 35 % water change and Nitrites still high. yesterday I did another 75% water change and this morning no change in nitrites. Why are Nitrites so high and not going down?
     
  16. Brew12

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

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    That is pretty unusual.

    Can you tell me what the highest ammonia was that you tested and what it is now? Have you been continuously adding ammonia or just a one time dose? Have the Nitrates been climbing steadily?
     
  17. reefguy565

    reefguy565 Well-Known Member

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    i added ammonia 2.0ppm and left it for 15 days, no change. at day 17 it went to less than 0.5 and nitrites went to very dark purple. I added 1ppm ammonia and it was at 0 the next day. Saturday i did like 35-40% water change and nitrites or nitrates did not move, still the same. yesterday i did another 75% or so water change. this morning nitrites were still dark purple, no change at all. I added 2.0ppm of ammonia this morning to see tomorrow what the test shows.
     
  18. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor

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    I'd just wait and watch, assuming you believe the nitrite kit is accurate.. :)
     
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  19. reefguy565

    reefguy565 Well-Known Member

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    i used 2 different kits, both read the same. its been 26 days, how long does it take for nitrites to go down? at this point do I add any more ammonia ? i read about stalled cycles, not sure if this is a case of stalled cycle or just cycle in progress.. on a side know i have a friend that started a cycle using ATM colony and he is having same issue, very high nitrites.

    what is strange is i tested before water change and after and nitrites were exactly the same!! I was expecting to see nitrites a little lighter in color but nope.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  20. Brew12

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

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    Personally, I would stop adding ammonia. If you added 1ppm and it went to 0ppm within 24 hours you are fine on that issue. Generating more nitrite could be counter productive.

    I agree that with a 75% water change you should have seen a reduction in nitrites. Did you see the expected drop in nitrates?

    Keep in mind that we (well, most of us) are using hobbyist level test kits. They have their limitations and the nitrite test in particular is susceptible to bad readings. Are you guys using RODI for your salt mix? If not, it is possible that you have something in your city water that is causing the nitrites to test high. I would try and sample a fresh batch of saltwater for nitrites and see what it reads.
     
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