Cycling new tank - Nitrite won't go down (week 6.5)

fishermanaurl

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Hello everyone!

I recently bought a 4 feet (100g) tank but we're having problems with our cycle. You can see my pics below!

To give context, here is our detailed timeline for your understanding. In blue are the key events that I did.

1. Day 1 - our DT came but there was a scratch on the glass. Our LFS set up the sump, filled it with saltwater and we dosed Special Blend 30mL and NiteOut 30mL every day as per his instruction.
2. Day 7 - our new DT arrived and our LFS brought his "cycling" water and added it into our DT and we started our FULL cycling process using dry rock + dry sand + continuum bac brick + lots of bio media + phosphate reactor (with rowa-phos) + BM G9 protein skimmer (it was turned off for the first 2 weeks).

We continued dosing Special Blend 30mL and NiteOut 30mL everyday as per our LFS advice (forgot once or twice, but within 1 week we dosed a minimum of 5 days).

3. Day 8-15: Ammonia spiked, nitrite fluctuated around 2.0. Diatom bloom seen.
4. Day 17 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.2, Nitrate 40ppm. So we did our first 20% WC. We got excited after Nitrite remained constant at 0.2 for 4 days and added 2 clownfish because we thought it'd be safe.
5. Day 18 - 25: Dinos, diatom, small patches of GREEN seen. We added CUC to help with our algae problem (3 hermits, 2 snails)
6. Day 26 - After addition of 2 clownfish, our Nitrite kept steadily going up. Our reading was Ammonia 0, Nitrite 2.0 by Day 26. Here we added AquaForest Bio Fil & increased our dosage of Special Blend/NiteOut to 50mL everyday (recommended by LFS) & did a 15% WC.
7. Day 27-39 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite remained at 2.0 (some days it went down to 1.0)
8. Day 40 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 4.5
9. Day 44 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 5.0
10. Day 45/Week 6.5 (Today) - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 5.0, Nitrate is off the charts at 80 - it is our 2nd time measuring NO3. We did 15% WC again for our Nemo's dear life.

Other details:
Salinity: 1.025
dKH: 8.0
Temperature: 25-26 Celcius
Dechlorinator: Continuum Fraction
Salt: AF Reef Salt

My question now is:
1. Why is our cycling taking more than 6 weeks now? Our nitrites are still 5.0 and not going down... Are we doing something wrong?
2. Is the water safe for my 2 nemos? 1 is generally happy and swimming around but 1 of it has weird behaviour (swims vertically at top of tank, feels like he's hosting the side of tank?? I had a little scare this morning when he kept floating near the sand surface and went on his side, but I think he was just sleeping? After we turned on the lights, he swam right up to the top and swam vertically again lol does anyone know if i should be worried?)
3. Can I add more fish as I read that Nitrite doesn’t matter in reefkeeping and we can bring Nitrate down with continuous water changes every other day.
4. Do I continue dosing Special Blend/NiteOut @50mL everyday? I'm finishing my 3rd bottle for both and I'm B R O K E.


Thank you everyone for helping me out, I'm very excited to start this reefkeeping journey and just want to do it right. I hope none of my fish die because i was too eager and got 'em early. *Fingers crossed

Thank u!!!

WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.50.48 PM.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.51.04 PM.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.51.58 PM.jpeg
 
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gobber

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1) wouldn’t worry about nitrites in reef tanks
2) are they eating normally? Otherwise, try using entice by seachem. It worked for me
3) would recommend slowly adding only when your nitrate level is at an acceptable level (after several WCs)
4) not necessary as I would say your tank is already cycled

Very nice aquascape and designer clown btw
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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we have a fourteen page thread devoted to tanks just like this, very nice starting reef. nitrite does not matter one iota, toss the kit and dont buy another. your tank is progressing nicely regardless of the actual status of nitrite, cease testing for it in marine aquarium displays. new rules have been made to reduce the reliance on bottle bacteria after the cycle, that's the main rule updated.
 
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fishermanaurl

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we have a fourteen page thread devoted to tanks just like this, very nice starting reef. nitrite does not matter one iota, toss the kit and dont buy another. your tank is progressing nicely regardless of the actual status of nitrite, cease testing for it in marine aquarium displays. new rules have been made to reduce the reliance on bottle bacteria after the cycle, that's the main rule updated.
Ah ok. So if I don’t test for nitrites, how will I know when my tank has finished cycled? Is it safe for me to add more fish now? And how do I determine when I can start adding corals?
 
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fishermanaurl

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1) wouldn’t worry about nitrites in reef tanks
2) are they eating normally? Otherwise, try using entice by seachem. It worked for me
3) would recommend slowly adding only when your nitrate level is at an acceptable level (after several WCs)
4) not necessary as I would say your tank is already cycled

Very nice aquascape and designer clown btw

1 clown is eating aggressively but my other 2 designers are not
 
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fishermanaurl

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we have a fourteen page thread devoted to tanks just like this, very nice starting reef. nitrite does not matter one iota, toss the kit and dont buy another. your tank is progressing nicely regardless of the actual status of nitrite, cease testing for it in marine aquarium displays. new rules have been made to reduce the reliance on bottle bacteria after the cycle, that's the main rule updated.
Also @brandon429 can you please share the URL of the 14 page thread you’re talking about? Thank u!! :)
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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hey and that one comes after the 25 pager on the same subject. we do new ones annually just about, and collect all the proof pattern logs, safe started tanks.

anytime some random guy online bucks the system, ask to see his work thread links agreed~
 

Azedenkae

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My question now is:
1. Why is our cycling taking more than 6 weeks now? Our nitrites are still 5.0 and not going down... Are we doing something wrong?
2. Is the water safe for my 2 nemos? 1 is generally happy and swimming around but 1 of it has weird behaviour (swims vertically at top of tank, feels like he's hosting the side of tank?? I had a little scare this morning when he kept floating near the sand surface and went on his side, but I think he was just sleeping? After we turned on the lights, he swam right up to the top and swam vertically again lol does anyone know if i should be worried?)
3. Can I add more fish as I read that Nitrite doesn’t matter in reefkeeping and we can bring Nitrate down with continuous water changes every other day.
4. Do I continue dosing Special Blend/NiteOut @50mL everyday? I'm finishing my 3rd bottle for both and I'm B R O K E.
1. Nitrite-oxidizing microbes grow more slowly than ammonia-oxidizing microbes, allegedly. So even if you have plenty of ammonia-oxidizers, you might yet have enough nitrite-oxidizers to handle the nitrite and it'll keep on climbing until nitrite-oxidizers grow enough to see the concentration of nitrite plateau, and eventually drop.
2. Yes, it is safe at the moment. You'd want to keep ammonia as low as possible, and it is at 0 so that's good. Nitrite is non-toxic to marine fish until it reaches very high concentrations. A study says 25ppm or less is where you'd want it to be for ocellaris clownfish (your nemos), so right now is still okay. Nitrate is affected by nitrite readings, as the test converts some nitrate to nitrite first before making a reading, so if nitrite is already present it reads erroneously high. So at this point I won't really worry about it. So long as your clownfish are swimming fine and seem to be alert (they are a bit lazy so not always active), that's fine.
3. My main concern is nitrite can actually climb to levels where it is then unsafe for your fish. It takes a lot to kill fish, but far less to start harming them. Here's the article I was referring to above re: 25ppm nitrite harming clownfish: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10499-015-9965-9. Of course it does not necessarily apply to other species of fish, but is a consideration. Given the steady increase in your nitrite, I am actually concerned for once that it could reach 25ppm and start harming fish. So against what I'd normally recommend, in this case I would not recommend adding more fish.
4. I would stop dosing both. These products are best used to introduce certain types of microbes into the aquarium, at some point I don't see additional microbes added is of any material consequence as either a. you should already have plenty of those microbes already after all the dosing and their reproduction, or b. there is not enough, which means those microbes probably are not 'helpful' in your aquarium anyways so dosing them is pointless.

I'd suggest not worrying too much and keep it as is while your nitrite-oxidizers reproduce. You can switch to serial dilutions to test your nitrite to estimate how much higher than 5 ppm it is, just to make sure to prevent it from reaching 25ppm. Otherwise yeah, this is one of those cases that you can let nature take its course.

I mean if you really want to be sure, you could try dosing some other blend of nitrifiers too, like BioSpira or FritzZyme Turbo Start 900. Especially the latter, the nitrite-oxidizers in that blend seems to be very potent from my personal experience.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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a very handy trick from new cycling science can be seen in his first pic:

with that golden brown coat of new diatoms and expected algae, we can tell his tank is fully cycled off the pic alone and no params measured whatsoever.


there is no time in marine cycling that the order of depositional ops is circumvented; when a set of rocks has sat in water long enough to grow all that, the basal filter layer came on scene long before and primed the surfaces to house those slicks and initial primary depositors.

takeaway: there is no time that any reef tank showing growths like that will fail to reduce ammonia as expected on seneye machines/digital readouts.

what the ammonia says on api or red sea constitutes literally every problematic ammonia post on the internet. who knows what api or red sea or salifert might say, we dont factor it much anyway per above.

we factor those visuals and the number of days underwater compared to a common cycling chart.

when I saw we, am meaning those who know that reef tank cycles dont stall...they're part of the work thread links. they're the minority, about 80% of folks love stalled cycles because buying things to fix it at the store feels better than something just plainly working, as predicted, like a cycling chart. concerning the ammonia line performance on a cycling chart, seneye agrees pretty much they didnt just guess out those charts. (owners of a seneye report ammonia control by day ten for example in their cycles, and ten days is the avg time from any cycling chart for inherent ammonia control, this timing lines up extremely well)


now whether nitrite and nitrate line up as predicted...who cares.
 
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I haven't tested for nitrites in I would guess 15 years. Honestly I wouldn't even expect to see any so this is interesting. I vaguely recall trying years ago when I first set up an old tank and I saw ammonia ramp up then down and after a couple weeks started to detect nitrate - but never detected any nitrite.
 

Azedenkae

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I haven't tested for nitrites in I would guess 15 years. Honestly I wouldn't even expect to see any so this is interesting. I vaguely recall trying years ago when I first set up an old tank and I saw ammonia ramp up then down and after a couple weeks started to detect nitrate - but never detected any nitrite.
I had nitrite 'spike' once, seem like an issue with seeding with minimal nitrifiers and nitrite-oxidizers just growing super slowly. Thus ammonia was constantly oxidized to nitrite, but there was not enough nitrite-oxidizers to handle the ever increasing amount of nitrite. But it only peaked at around 4ppm-ish, and then dropped (permanently).

I am kinda curious why though, especially when some nitrifier blends seem to work really well. I wonder if its just a matter of some of the products that contain dormant microbes have nitrite-oxidizing species that just takes a long time to go out of dormancy and/or is simply at so low concentrations that it takes forever for them to reproduce enough.
 

fryman

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I had nitrite 'spike' once, seem like an issue with seeding with minimal nitrifiers and nitrite-oxidizers just growing super slowly. Thus ammonia was constantly oxidized to nitrite, but there was not enough nitrite-oxidizers to handle the ever increasing amount of nitrite. But it only peaked at around 4ppm-ish, and then dropped (permanently).

I am kinda curious why though, especially when some nitrifier blends seem to work really well. I wonder if its just a matter of some of the products that contain dormant microbes have nitrite-oxidizing species that just takes a long time to go out of dormancy and/or is simply at so low concentrations that it takes forever for them to reproduce enough.
That is also interesting. I don't think 4ppm is worth worrying about.

I didn't think people test nitrite for saltwater anymore, not even during initial cycle. It used to be included in those big saltwater test kits that had like 20 different tests (from API, I think) and we were told check for ammonia and nitrite to see if tank was "cycled" which was after both ammonia and nitrite were undetectable. Then we never tested either of these again, lol.
 

Azedenkae

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That is also interesting. I don't think 4ppm is worth worrying about.

I didn't think people test nitrite for saltwater anymore, not even during initial cycle. It used to be included in those big saltwater test kits that had like 20 different tests (from API, I think) and we were told check for ammonia and nitrite to see if tank was "cycled" which was after both ammonia and nitrite were undetectable. Then we never tested either of these again, lol.
Yeah I was not too fazed, especially when I noticed it was not going any higher. About two weeks after my cycle though, I did lose some live stock that resulted in nitrite reaching 5ppm for a few days too as an anemone died and got everywhere. I decided that since ammonia was still reading 0.25 back then, and that nitrite was not getting too high, I left it be and yeah, eventually all the dead matter was decomposed (though nitrite went to 0 even before then). So even after the cycle is done, there may still be a bit of time before nitrification gets to a truly robust point that it can start handling deaths in the tank. But anyways yeah, this kinda highlights why testing nitrite is not that important after the cycle is done. Even with a big death like that, nitrite did not even come close to reaching dangerous levels for me.

To be honest the only way I could see nitrite reaching dangerous levels is if ammonia oxidation far outstrips nitrite oxidation, and one have so much live stock that nitrite keeps on increasing, while nitrite-oxidizers also are unable to reproduce fast enough to catch up. But that seems very unlikely. At this point it seemed like op's nitrite increased by 3ppm over 5 days, or 0.6ppm a day. Given a linear rate of nitrite production, that'd still take over a month to reach 25ppm nitrite. Which imo should be plenty of time for nitrite-oxidizers to reproduce enough to handle the nitrite.
 
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fishermanaurl

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I wonder if your dechlorintor is messing with your tests, or crappy source water perhaps.
Does dechlorinator fade away after 24 hours? I usually make my water 24 hours prior to my WCs. Also, tested my tap water after putting fraction + reef salt

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
DKH 9
 

Azedenkae

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Does dechlorinator fade away after 24 hours? I usually make my water 24 hours prior to my WCs. Also, tested my tap water after putting fraction + reef salt

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
DKH 9
Dechlorinators like Prime only temporarily detoxify ammonia and stuff for 48 hours or so, however does not actually cause ammonia and stuff to be unreadable by tests. So there should not be any interference.
 

PeterZammetti

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Hello everyone!

I recently bought a 4 feet (100g) tank but we're having problems with our cycle. You can see my pics below!

To give context, here is our detailed timeline for your understanding. In blue are the key events that I did.

1. Day 1 - our DT came but there was a scratch on the glass. Our LFS set up the sump, filled it with saltwater and we dosed Special Blend 30mL and NiteOut 30mL every day as per his instruction.
2. Day 7 - our new DT arrived and our LFS brought his "cycling" water and added it into our DT and we started our FULL cycling process using dry rock + dry sand + continuum bac brick + lots of bio media + phosphate reactor (with rowa-phos) + BM G9 protein skimmer (it was turned off for the first 2 weeks).

We continued dosing Special Blend 30mL and NiteOut 30mL everyday as per our LFS advice (forgot once or twice, but within 1 week we dosed a minimum of 5 days).

3. Day 8-15: Ammonia spiked, nitrite fluctuated around 2.0. Diatom bloom seen.
4. Day 17 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.2, Nitrate 40ppm. So we did our first 20% WC. We got excited after Nitrite remained constant at 0.2 for 4 days and added 2 clownfish because we thought it'd be safe.
5. Day 18 - 25: Dinos, diatom, small patches of GREEN seen. We added CUC to help with our algae problem (3 hermits, 2 snails)
6. Day 26 - After addition of 2 clownfish, our Nitrite kept steadily going up. Our reading was Ammonia 0, Nitrite 2.0 by Day 26. Here we added AquaForest Bio Fil & increased our dosage of Special Blend/NiteOut to 50mL everyday (recommended by LFS) & did a 15% WC.
7. Day 27-39 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite remained at 2.0 (some days it went down to 1.0)
8. Day 40 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 4.5
9. Day 44 - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 5.0
10. Day 45/Week 6.5 (Today) - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 5.0, Nitrate is off the charts at 80 - it is our 2nd time measuring NO3. We did 15% WC again for our Nemo's dear life.

Other details:
Salinity: 1.025
dKH: 8.0
Temperature: 25-26 Celcius
Dechlorinator: Continuum Fraction
Salt: AF Reef Salt

My question now is:
1. Why is our cycling taking more than 6 weeks now? Our nitrites are still 5.0 and not going down... Are we doing something wrong?
2. Is the water safe for my 2 nemos? 1 is generally happy and swimming around but 1 of it has weird behaviour (swims vertically at top of tank, feels like he's hosting the side of tank?? I had a little scare this morning when he kept floating near the sand surface and went on his side, but I think he was just sleeping? After we turned on the lights, he swam right up to the top and swam vertically again lol does anyone know if i should be worried?)
3. Can I add more fish as I read that Nitrite doesn’t matter in reefkeeping and we can bring Nitrate down with continuous water changes every other day.
4. Do I continue dosing Special Blend/NiteOut @50mL everyday? I'm finishing my 3rd bottle for both and I'm B R O K E.


Thank you everyone for helping me out, I'm very excited to start this reefkeeping journey and just want to do it right. I hope none of my fish die because i was too eager and got 'em early. *Fingers crossed

Thank u!!!

WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.50.48 PM.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.51.04 PM.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-05-17 at 6.51.58 PM.jpeg
Nitrite above 4 can stall a cycle. since our test kits really cant determine 3-5 if it looks close to 5 do two water changes back to back. then monitor to see if it resumes. When doing my testing, I watched a stalled cycle last 3.5 weeks then after WCx2 it finished cycle in 72 hours lol. fun fun
 

brandon429

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Read link in post 7 to see if nitrite has ever stalled any cycle
It hasn't

All bottle bac sellers who once wrote that rule in order to trick us into buying more bottle bac must now change tune, they were found out and we reported the findings above.

All peers who relay unfounded rules about nitrite stalling must now change tune, or produce a single example of a nitrite stall in a reef tank then I'll change tune and add that single example to our collection


We do not need to own a nitrite test in all of reefing
 
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