Cycling an Aquarium

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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nicely said.

regarding the living fish, my claims for that come from seneye studies where we tracked total safety, nh3 instantly controlled in the thousandths (which is the outcome of all wait cycles) and even fish-in cycles showed the same rates.

free ammonia was just as easily controlled instantly from bottles tested as it was after 3 months of wait and lead up.



the fear of harm to fish by fish+bottle bac and no wait cycling is 100% overstated. we have a huge thread studying them, with multiple seneye owners stating their results.

it is patently amazing we can't find one single example of quick losses in a cycling setup with fish, anyway we slice it, even after asking an entire forum for only one proof from any era logged online. one would think there'd at least be ten searchable examples, theres been over half a million cycles logged for sure. To think that many fish are burned by a practice means some needed to finish the spiral into total loss, I can't find any instances of that other than delayed disease issues

and the fish eat, swim normally, in clean water for days that doesnt smell. How we can project fish harm from those patterns escapes me.

we can't find any seneyes that are tuned and calibrated showing harm to fish by zero wait cycling from a bottle, and we can't find a single example of nitrite stalling ammonia control as well.

tuned/calibrated seneye means on a matured reef the seneye runs .002-.009 which matches oceanic study data for nh3 rates in clean reefs. no number sticks and holds; the change is constant within this range and that matches metabolic expectations in a fed + respiring reef.

then the owner moves that same unit/slide into a qt setup, low surface area, nh3 rises and stays in the hundredths.

then when he (Jon M in our thread) moves that same seneye and slide into a brand new all white rock and sand tank + bottle bac, that setup instantly shows the initial ammonia spike and then back down all the way to .001

there is no test kit for nh3 in reefing that can show that accuracy, among 100 testers, its why I believe tuned seneyes over titration kits.



we need a hach nh3 meter vs seneye octagon showdown, I'd ppv that for fifty bucks
 
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Susan Edwards

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From a fish perspective, unless you have a very large number of fish, what you are planning should be fine. For coral, this move may not go so well.
There are many other factors that come into play for the stability of a reef tank. Doing a true tank transfer with all of your old rock would probably go very well. The large amount of new rock is what can cause issues. There is no way of knowing in advance just how that rock will impact stability of your system. This is why many people recommend not putting coral in a new tank for the first 4 months. Your softies may do just fine and have a better chance at success than SPS would, but it isn't guaranteed. And adding more rock from your old system won't change this, it is all about the instability from the new rock.
I only have palys, zoas, rhodactis, hairy green mushrooms and gsp corals all on old rock. The new rock is caribsea and real reef so not old dead rock like marco and pukani that usually need to cycle. The leathers are NOT going in my new system!
 
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I only have palys, zoas, rhodactis, hairy green mushrooms and gsp corals all on old rock. The new rock is caribsea and real reef so not old dead rock like marco and pukani that usually need to cycle. The leathers are NOT going in my new system!
The new rock isn't about cycling or curing to get old dead biological matter off of it, it is about chemical and flow stability. Systems with a large amount of new rock are highly susceptible to Alk, Calc, PO4 and NO3 swings.

I'm not trying to discourage you from transferring everything over at once. Only a warning that, even if you do everything correct, that coral loss may still happen as the new rock matures and reaches an equilibrium.
 

Susan Edwards

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I'm not trying to discourage you from transferring everything over at once. Only a warning that, even if you do everything correct, that coral loss may still happen as the new rock matures and reaches an equilibrium.
got it and thanks!
 
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nicely said.

regarding the living fish, my claims for that come from seneye studies where we tracked total safety, nh3 instantly controlled in the thousandths (which is the outcome of all wait cycles) and even fish-in cycles showed the same rates.

free ammonia was just as easily controlled instantly from bottles tested as it was after 3 months of wait and lead up.



the fear of harm to fish by fish+bottle bac and no wait cycling is 100% overstated. we have a huge thread studying them, with multiple seneye owners stating their results.

it is patently amazing we can't find one single example of quick losses in a cycling setup with fish, anyway we slice it, even after asking an entire forum for only one proof from any era logged online. one would think there'd at least be ten searchable examples, theres been over half a million cycles logged for sure. To think that many fish are burned by a practice means some needed to finish the spiral into total loss, I can't find any instances of that other than delayed disease issues

and the fish eat, swim normally, in clean water for days that doesnt smell. How we can project fish harm from those patterns escapes me.

we can't find any seneyes that are tuned and calibrated showing harm to fish by zero wait cycling from a bottle, and we can't find a single example of nitrite stalling ammonia control as well.

tuned/calibrated seneye means on a matured reef the seneye runs .002-.009 which matches oceanic study data for nh3 rates in clean reefs. no number sticks and holds; the change is constant within this range and that matches metabolic expectations in a fed + respiring reef.

then the owner moves that same unit/slide into a qt setup, low surface area, nh3 rises and stays in the hundredths.

then when he (Jon M in our thread) moves that same seneye and slide into a brand new all white rock and sand tank + bottle bac, that setup instantly shows the initial ammonia spike and then back down all the way to .001

there is no test kit for nh3 in reefing that can show that accuracy, among 100 testers, its why I believe tuned seneyes over titration kits.



we need a hach nh3 meter vs seneye octagon showdown, I'd ppv that for fifty bucks
I agree that the seneye is an excellent tool for measuring ammonia. I caution people not to assume that every high ammonia or nitrite reading is a false reading. I would rather see someone delay adding fish to a system while they perform low cost and simple verifications than to assume that a cycle never has issues.

The lack of quality test kits is a serious problem in the hobby, but the costs for lab grade test kits isn't something practical or needed. Every test we have can be verified in other manners. If you add bottled bacteria and pure ammonia to 2ppm and a week later it still reads 2ppm it may or may not be a valid test. If you have high nitrites than either your nitrite or your ammonia test is confirmed bad. However, if you have low nitrites but high nitrates, that is a very good indication that your ammonia test is bad.

Knowing the ratio that 1ppm of ammonia makes 2.7ppm nitrite makes 3.6ppm of nitrate can also give us a good idea if our tests are accurate. To me, this is part of what makes cycling with pure ammonia the best. No long term decay of biologics to add an ammonia source like a shrimp method or ghost feeding. And if you add a known amount you can accurately project your expected final nitrate reading based on your ammonia. If you dose ammonia up to 2ppm, have 0ppm nitrite and have 7ppm nitrate then you know your ammonia is near 0ppm regardless of what any ammonia test kit reads.
 
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trapphd

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Hoping to get any second opinions on this nitrate reading — presumably post-cycle! The left vial is diluted (1/5) and the right is normal. My best guess is ~20-25 ppm? Would love to introduce my first corals to the tank, likely Duncans. I have performed a water change to remove excess nitrates (I dosed ammonia too many times and it built up quite a bit). Any insight would be much appreciated!
0E8E46F6-B103-4955-9B46-58752C1AAEDB.jpeg
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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its ready for sure. but lets see tank pics/the ultimate decider (we look at surface area and position in the tank relative to readings above, factoring common cycling arrangements we dont have to ask about/everyone does like adding instant cycle bottle bac)

the main reason I would assess you as ready is this: try and find one single example of a failed fish in cycle, where they didnt even bother waiting to start with animals, and the animals died. post the link if possible to find one, among all posted cycles. there must be a million posts on cycles to sift through, I have been, and can't find a single stall among them. outlier-free patterns

incomplete cycle issues are 100% mis testing and never an actually incomplete cycle. where api says free ammonia is burning, fish aren't being burned at all. they're normal, feeding, swimming, non rapid breathing, water is clear, there isn't an ammonia issue even though the cheap test kit directly says there is one.


I dont think yours will be the first incomplete cycle with that reading above.

even if you have not dosed bottle bac (rare) and driven to that degree of mixed nitrite/nitrate above merely off feeding and wait time, its still cycled due to the wait. it would take a number of days to generate that off feeding alone, and in all likelihood you dosed instant cycle bottle bac anyway.
 
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Hoping to get any second opinions on this nitrate reading — presumably post-cycle! The left vial is diluted (1/5) and the right is normal. My best guess is ~20-25 ppm? Would love to introduce my first corals to the tank, likely Duncans. I have performed a water change to remove excess nitrates (I dosed ammonia too many times and it built up quite a bit). Any insight would be much appreciated!
0E8E46F6-B103-4955-9B46-58752C1AAEDB.jpeg
what is your nitrite at?
 

trapphd

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what is your nitrite at?
0ppm for the past several days. I made the mistake of dosing ammonia to 2ppm every day for the first week or so (and then again a few days later to observe the response), so I exceeded the nitrite threshold and saw a stalled cycle for a little while. Once nitrites fell to 0ppm, I knew there would be a lot of nitrates leftover so it took a water change and a couple days of patience to see it fall to an acceptable amount.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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excellent input, confirmed you are fully done cycling. you're into reefing, and managing nitrate in the usual ways from here on out. got tank pics>?
 
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0ppm for the past several days. I made the mistake of dosing ammonia to 2ppm every day for the first week or so (and then again a few days later to observe the response), so I exceeded the nitrite threshold and saw a stalled cycle for a little while. Once nitrites fell to 0ppm, I knew there would be a lot of nitrates leftover so it took a water change and a couple days of patience to see it fall to an acceptable amount.
I'd say things look good. Dosing ammonia to 2ppm isn't a mistake (It's actually what Dr Tim the bacteria guru recommends) even if it isn't my preferred method. I would do a water change or two to get nitrate a little lower prior to adding anything other than fish or CuC members.
 

Ceri720

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Salt Source Ammonia Problem - we are using store brand purified water with minerals added in our new 13.5 gal reef tank. This has been running for 2 months and I couldn't figure out the ammonia - readings always at least 0.25ppm to 1.0ppm. I kept waiting to see the tank cycle and drop to zero. Nitrites are 0 and Nitrates 5ppm today.

I tested the water source today directly out of the gallon container - 0ppm ammonia, maybe a slight tinge to green. I tested salt water mix I prepped 2 days ago sitting in original water container - reading 0.25 - 0.5ppm ammonia. Can the ammonia be coming from the Reef Crystals? Bag has been open for 2 months now - almost gone. I know salt is hygroscopic - the crystals will absorb from the atmosphere. This is sitting in our cleaners cabinet in the laundry room.

How do you store your aquarium salt?

Recommendations?
 

brandon429

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blanking on non reef water does not apply, there's no nitrification to overreport.


using the TAN conversion from the instructions, your ammonia is .025 and that's safe zone, no issue here, no stuck cycle.

your ammonia on seneye would actually read in the thousandths nh3, but a color tube kit can't read that low. in no way can you have .25 ppm nh3 at this stage from inside the display after adding the suspect water, not possible. yours is the classic API reading doubt scenario, but with a tank picture it'll show normal surface area, clean water, maybe even some happy life forms depending on if you added life already.


if not, you can now. 100% of cycles are done by month two, even an unfed, no bottle bac cycle. merely waiting in saltwater two mos brings up a full naturally cycled tank, free. your cycle was done on the dates the bottle bac used said it would be done, but the test may not agree due to its limitations. there is no scenario where a two month submerged reef isn't ready, all params.

any slight ammonia from salt is expected, common, and no more impactful than the end degradation point for feed added to the system, its part of the bioload chain and shouldnt even be counted.

cease testing for nitrite and ammonia for the rest of this tank's life. nitrite is fully neutral, and owning a test kit will not prevent the sole thing from happening that can overcome your filter: death of a group of fish due to disease.

ammonia never, ever creeps and harms fish. harmed fish raise ammonia. ammonia will never do a thing unpredictable, so quit testing for it. its only for cycle establishment and in cases where testing isn't possible, we use the timeline from a cycling chart. you've doubled that.

as long as the salt isn't clumping its stored ok. mine is fine in an airtight storage plastic bin plus rolled down bag.
 
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Garf

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Salt Source Ammonia Problem - we are using store brand purified water with minerals added in our new 13.5 gal reef tank. This has been running for 2 months and I couldn't figure out the ammonia - readings always at least 0.25ppm to 1.0ppm. I kept waiting to see the tank cycle and drop to zero. Nitrites are 0 and Nitrates 5ppm today.

I tested the water source today directly out of the gallon container - 0ppm ammonia, maybe a slight tinge to green. I tested salt water mix I prepped 2 days ago sitting in original water container - reading 0.25 - 0.5ppm ammonia. Can the ammonia be coming from the Reef Crystals? Bag has been open for 2 months now - almost gone. I know salt is hygroscopic - the crystals will absorb from the atmosphere. This is sitting in our cleaners cabinet in the laundry room.

How do you store your aquarium salt?

Recommendations?
Don’t worry, it’s fine
 
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Salt Source Ammonia Problem - we are using store brand purified water with minerals added in our new 13.5 gal reef tank. This has been running for 2 months and I couldn't figure out the ammonia - readings always at least 0.25ppm to 1.0ppm. I kept waiting to see the tank cycle and drop to zero. Nitrites are 0 and Nitrates 5ppm today.

I tested the water source today directly out of the gallon container - 0ppm ammonia, maybe a slight tinge to green. I tested salt water mix I prepped 2 days ago sitting in original water container - reading 0.25 - 0.5ppm ammonia. Can the ammonia be coming from the Reef Crystals? Bag has been open for 2 months now - almost gone. I know salt is hygroscopic - the crystals will absorb from the atmosphere. This is sitting in our cleaners cabinet in the laundry room.

How do you store your aquarium salt?

Recommendations?
It's possible that it isn't ammonia at all, just some other reaction with the salt that is causing the slight green tinge. Definitely not something I would worry about.
 
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RedG

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Thanks for the write up, I would love your input on a few questions if possible.

I’m cycling my first salt water tank 125G using live sand, dry rock, and Dr.Tim’s. (Skimmer and UV were turned on on day 4) Test kit Redsea

Currently I’m on day 20 and this is where I am:

Ammonia .2 (previous 2 days was 0)
Nitrites way above 1 (it looks dark red)
Nitrate 50

Other things I noticed: Alkalinity also dropped two points to 6, skimmer is definitely collecting some skimmate, and the Marco rocks are a bit more yellow.

A few questions:
1. With those Nitrite and Nitrate levels should I do a WC?

2. When Ammonia reaches 0 again should I dose some more Ammonia to see if it brings it down to 0 again in 24 hours to confirm the cycle is completed? If so how much should I dose? (Last time I did the 4 drops per gallon the bottle said but I think it was way too much)

3. Should I worry about Alkalinity drop now?

4. Anything different I should do to hopefully speed it up?

Thanks
#reefsquad
 

brandon429

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Here is exactly where this cycle stands above


you are fully cycled now and can begin if you haven’t already, I missed this post a few weeks back. Your current test levels wouldnt matter in the least, the tank has met all cycling proofs in updated cycling science threads

the standout proof was the new green tint of algae we’d expect

that only happens on top of a basal filtration layer


to complete your cycle proofing, post a pic here with fish in the system acting normally, feeding etc.

how your ammonia reads won’t matter, it’s not tuned seneye data and any stated levels will need TAN reduction factored in


the nitrite is neutral we don’t have to factor it whatsoever


the nitrate we would expect, live nitrifiers were dosed here and whatever degree of reading is nitrite interference still doesn’t matter, only ammonia control matters in reefing and 100% of reefs using your arrangement are cycled and will control ammonia just fine after this long. In order to see that proof on a test, buy and tune a seneye machine, don’t use the current test as a reference. You don’t need to buy a seneye to proof anything if you’d believe our collected proofs already, you’re well past day ten on the ammonia line of any cycling chart and that’s the ammonia drop date, even if Red Sea can’t show it.

all stuck cycle posts are Red Sea or api, none are seneye, that means something bigtime about accurate reporting ability.

There comes a time where number of days underwater after adding bottle bac and feed becomes a certain completed cycle, you're past that date here. I cannot recall any cycling bacteria that wasn't ready in fifteen days, when tested on seneye of course. Your tank will follow those tank's establishment times, even if you test no further. its ready for bioload, choose a fish disease plan before adding fish.
here is an exact case study like yours to track out for proofing.

in both setups, number of days underwater became the deciding factor well above any reported params from non digital test kits. watch him add fish to that reef and update
 
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Brew12

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Thanks for the write up, I would love your input on a few questions if possible.

I’m cycling my first salt water tank 125G using live sand, dry rock, and Dr.Tim’s. (Skimmer and UV were turned on on day 4) Test kit Redsea

Currently I’m on day 20 and this is where I am:

Ammonia .2 (previous 2 days was 0)
Nitrites way above 1 (it looks dark red)
Nitrate 50

Other things I noticed: Alkalinity also dropped two points to 6, skimmer is definitely collecting some skimmate, and the Marco rocks are a bit more yellow.

A few questions:
1. With those Nitrite and Nitrate levels should I do a WC?

2. When Ammonia reaches 0 again should I dose some more Ammonia to see if it brings it down to 0 again in 24 hours to confirm the cycle is completed? If so how much should I dose? (Last time I did the 4 drops per gallon the bottle said but I think it was way too much)

3. Should I worry about Alkalinity drop now?

4. Anything different I should do to hopefully speed it up?

Thanks
#reefsquad
Sorry I am late to this. With high nitrites, I doubt you have much if any nitrates. I wouldn't do a water change.
I don't think it ever hurts to do an additional ammonia consumption test if that will help bring you peace of mind. I wouldn't consider it required.
The alkalinity drop could be concerning. There are some bacterial types that consume alkalinity. I wouldn't worry about it too much, this tends to resolve itself over a few months. Just something to keep an eye on.
No reason to speed it up imo. If you want to add a small fish or two and feed lightly, I think you will be just fine.
 

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