Cycling not progressing

ectoaesthetics

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+1 on the rock curing. I think the rock is simply running through its own curing process, elevating you ammonia. One month in might feel like a long time, but with the rock curing feels totally appropriate. I don’t have exact numbers for how long I’ve cured rock for in the past, but o feel like it took longer than a month. It was great to start a tank loaded with coralline, sponges, and real diversity of bacteria set in full stratified ecosystems. I think you will find it a pain while it cures them more stable for the first 6 months than any other option.
 

brandon429

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pics

curious to assess cure levels, coralline, extra plant growths and tunicates and animals crowded on the rock vs basic coralline etc (hallmark of uncured rock)
uncured may also mean bare white rock, not sure

cant wait to see pics, they beat test kits for rock assessment.
 

William DeCoursey

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Cycling is really painful and ghost feeding can be difficult to judge. It's great for cycling rock in a trash can in the basement, but for your first tank where you're dying to see results, not as much.
Technically, getting your ammonia to 2 isn't necessary. It's just a yardstick a lot of people use to call it cycled (if it can go from 2ppm to 0 in 24 hours).

Your tank could be fully cycled already or it could be nowhere close :( As others have said, you really want a good ammonia test kit so you have some certainty and can reliably track your progress.
If you skip ghost feeding for one day and it drops from .5 to zero by that evening, you're probably pretty darn close. It can be hard to get to the magic 2ppm ghost feeding. After a month, your tank is at least partially cycled and consuming ammonia, so you feed heavier to get to 2, but your tank processes more ammonia, so you don't get there, so you feed heavier....

You can ride that train forever and never get to 2ppm and never see zero either and end up ghost feeding your tank more than six fish could eat when you only plan on starting with two.
 
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Brunetj

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So I have a few free hitchhikers the store didn’t care about. They’ve been doing pretty good so far.
 
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Brunetj

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I stand corrected. My LFS said the live rock was cured. Lesson learned from speaking to a new guy I guess
 
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William DeCoursey

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Holy Moly. Beautiful Rock you've gotten your hands on.

No idea why you'd be having issues w your cycle after those pics (aside from faulty tests). Those rocks look like they should be plug and play, near insta-cycle!

Probably feels like a PITA now, but I'd wager that having that much established rock is going to save your bacon a few times down the road.
 

brandon429

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https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-microbiology-of-reef-tank-cycling.214618/


The thread is purely meant around managing that type of rock. You have the clearest example of skip cycle rock we collect. no bac needed
no dosing or testing needed, animals and accretions tell you everything

your cycle progressed possibly like a hundred years ago/not sure lol its certainly not interim.

in other words, your rock has been cycled longer than any aquarium on the internet.

Even if your lfs said it was uncured, we'd have corrected them going off lack of plants, lack of tunicates, and sabellid worms who had time to attach, plus 150% coralline coverage

see how quickly we can cycle a tank without testing> easy. youre cycled.

your thread is now on page one. even if that's liferock/fake coralline/ still has attached animals

Using prime water conditioner causes false readings in both ammonia and nitrite.
 
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Brunetj

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https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-microbiology-of-reef-tank-cycling.214618/


The thread is purely meant around managing that type of rock. You have the clearest example of skip cycle rock we collect. no bac needed
no dosing or testing needed, animals and accretions tell you everything

your cycle progressed possibly like a hundred years ago/not sure lol its certainly not interim.

in other words, your rock has been cycled longer than any aquarium on the internet.

Even if your lfs said it was uncured, we'd have corrected them going off lack of plants, lack of tunicates, and sabellid worms who had time to attach, plus 150% coralline coverage

see how quickly we can cycle a tank without testing> easy. youre cycled.

your thread is now on page one.
With that being said, should I get stuff to remove the ammonia?
 

brandon429

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be sure and read at least page one, it'll solve all that. you have no free ammonia, nor should you input any

we discuss multiple times that a holding pattern of .25 or .5, the universal reported api numbers, means nothing.

A rising level each day does. You had the former :)

we also talk about how true half ppm sustained ammonia levels in the presence of live rock that can oxidize probably 4 ppm in 24 hours means you'd have to have an ammonia source of a massive amnt to be making a true .5

whole house would smell it. your fanworms that are open on the live rock, wouldn't be.

water would cloud.

cycle science only seems tricky, its not. its so simple that we'll never need test kits for any param to cycle both dry and live rock systems in that thread.
 
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W1ngz

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This comes particularly after seeing what looks to be fully mature rock, at least visually: Toss the API tests.

In my experience, an API saltwater ammonia test is never yellow after 5 minutes, it will always come back with a hint of green, which when compared accidentally to their freshwater color card, looks somewhere between 0.25 and 0.50. Even when compared to the saltwater card, depending what light source you use, the color can be ridiculously misleading.

The nitrate test reagents have a habit of crystallizing in the bottles, making them unreliable unless you shake the **** out of them for a solid minute or two. If you've done a few tests with the reagents crystallized, then you've changed the concentration of the solution and it's never going to be accurate.

My bet is you have nitrates, but can't see them, and don't have ammonia, but are seeing it.
 
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brandon429

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Hey I did not know about rebound times/colors changing over time

Full credit to you nice one :) will begin adding that to list of adulterants/misread issues.


Also I learned over time not to harp on API too badly mainly from my friends Sea bass at nano-reef. com
and from Dr Reef here

They're able to use the test kits well and show this in work threads.

The thread above is meant to help the other 98% of us who cannot lol
 

brandon429

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running tally of reasons testing in general misbehaves, not just API at all. (in our sand rinse thread, salifert is multi misreporting lol irony)
1. Prime water conditioner at any step pre testing.
2. fw vs sw charting
3. reagent shaking ahead of time has been shown (lack of)
4. fill level consistency in the test tube
5. kitchen lighting kelvin rating and source. greener for some, yellower for others.
6. time factored sample shifting stated above by W1ingz
7. expiry
8. color detection differences among people
9. distance of vial to test card
10.

the last page on the cycle thread is how to get every formerly misreading test to instantly work right.

You accept the new baseline zero, and only test oxidation after a known zero ammonia condition (which water changes accomplish) and look for increases. if anything holds steady, there is no ammonia. if it rises above the new accepted setpoint in 24 hours, then we're lacking bacteria somewhere.

The mass confusion stems from what we accept as zero.

*testing it in fresh made sw or tap/distilled might NOT show consistency. The new test might show hard yellow zero, and the tank a light green....Prime use, or other unstated variables in the tank are still creating a misread if its not increasing daily, hunt them down they're there. we also show that there is requisite reaction you can see in the tank to validate any free ammonia test kit, and they don't uncouple. We are able to cycle reefs without testing there simply due to biological cues in reaction to burning, harmful ammonia at high levels and because in dry systems hydrated with water, the bacteria always plate by the same date (on or before)

day 30 since most people are using bottle bac and some form of direct ammonia. takes longer for the bacteria to seed from natural sources and gain their own feed over time

aquarists cannot stop or STALL a cycle once you input water.

the cycle will either complete by day 30 in the system using boosters and normal amnts of rock and sand, or in the unaided cycle it make take upwards of 90 days or better for the same filter to establish.


*both systems handle the same fish load upon time completion, there is no advantage to the ammonia added system contrary to popular belief or none of my aquariums from 1986 would have lived as we didn't know about bottle bac (or the need) then

we filled tanks with plastic stuff, api start right, and tap water, and waited a month and it was cycled. no tank failed to, ever.

measured ammonia cycling reduces your time variable it does not make a better, denser, fatter, hungrier, or more able or more numerous cells biofilter on the actual surface area. cycled is cycled, and they'll pass an oxidation test to prove it when the time is right.


time is what varies between assisted and unassisted cycling, not the ability to pass a cycling test

that purple live rock above was full of bac, and nothing they did during handling was antimicrobial enough to remove it.
 
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W1ngz

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I wasn't really referring to a color shift over time. 5 minutes is the prescribed wait time to develop the sample color with API tests. My expectation would be when no ammonia is present, the sample should be the same yellow color after the prescribed 5 minutes as it was at the start.
 

brandon429

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I see

even still, what about the adulterants listed/ the need for daily rising vs holding? how are we pressing down accuracy of the reported sample even if a check against ro/di shows hard yellow zero



in the linked thread we would be basing our cycle completion not on submersion times or associated life forms adhered to surfaces but on test kits, and that would make each aquarium not ready by day 30, and we'd have reported losses.

but each one is ready by day 30 or when the stuck-on animals behave correctly over time...

The biology of tank cycling has been known a long time already, that's why all google cycling charts/millions use the same time frame where ammonia complies requisitely with nitrite. ergo, know ammonia and know time, know nitrite (that's one reason we don't test for nitrite in the thread at all, though some still insist anyway)

we began accepting every stated ammonia reading as accurate without verifying accuracy or context of the test (wastewater testing vs full water change, post 30 days oxidation testing)

no chart ever shows ammonia rising back up after day 30, or holding, it was downward and then zero by a date in every case. testing varies so greatly we cannot rely on it to cycle tanks unless its a calibrated accurate seneye system, Id believe a digital ammonia reading to the hundred-thousandths yep.

If we need final proof this live rock system is cycled, then change out all the tank water where we know its zero free ammonia.

take reading, this is new baseline zero.
spike w liquid ammonia to 1 ppm on the calibrated test

wait 24 hours, its back to the original setpoint.

That's the only way to referee a cycle as completed and there is no other way using titration kits or ten different people on the same sample w post ten different results

( I smell an article idea, mail out lab verified ammonia samples here have 10 people test on their system :) )
 
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FishyDP

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I have found that the most efficient way to cycle (for me) is dosing ammonia (dr tims) in conjunction with ghost feeding (sparingly) a mix of raw seafood and flakes or pellets. This way you are adding a diversity of nutrients, and in turn feeding a diversity of beneficial bacteria.

I may get crucified for this, but I also dose vodka when cycling. My thought process is that you are feeding the bacteria and they are multiplying much faster with a carbon source. My last cycle took about 3 weeks with this method. I did occasionally run my skimmer during the cycle, when my water looked really nasty.

Please dont cycle with fish!
 

W1ngz

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This is why my preferred method is household ammonia. I can calculate the dose, test for it, and wait 21 days. At day 21, I start daily testing to observe the ammonia-nitrite-nitrate shift, and expect it to occur between days 21-30. When seeing ammonia levels drop, if they drop from 4 ppm to near 0, (usually misread at .25) I assume the .25 is a misread. Bacteria won't just raise their flagella and say "Nope, it's ok, we're good now!" and leave 0.25ppm of their food source in the water column... lol
 
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Brunetj

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Pics provided by my wife.

At least it’s the sand bed and rocks altogether...ask for full tank. Get bottom half...a for effort
 

brandon429

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so cool. its not a ton of live rock, still in the buildup works but yes that's a powerful scrub of ammonia. your live sand counts


hey why not a test, so easy here. You will not harm your live rock by dosing some liquid ammonia, those worms w live through an oxi test

get dr tims liquid ammonia don't use fish feed.

you aren't dosing to the 2 ppm levels*we're modifying directions to make all test kits work correctly.
2ppm is fine if someone is using seneye, but for titration tests this trick is better.


you are dosing to the first increment your test kit can register above its current showing. a partial amnt of liquid ammonia, only enough to move the color slightly greener.

then retest in 24/post results.
this test is the scientifically accepted closing test to mark a cycle complete.
2 ppm is an arbitrary selection, if we based every reef here using dry rock on 1 ppm final test, they'd all still run the same number of instant fish should that method be selected

The motion within 24 hours is what proves or disproves cycle complete, not what the enduring base color the test reads thereafter. getting to 2 ppm is not required

we're dosing to the first increment that test kit w register above it then stopping.

This method makes every ammonia tester used on the market work correctly, it even accounts for testing errors from some of the above mentioned stuff. its how to calibrate a titration kit for indicating ammonia helpfully in our tanks. the trick is measuring change, not what a holding pattern seems to indicate.

cycles never ever stall, they only revert to unassisted cycling timelines if we didn't add any bottle bac or ammonia at the start. this is how most tanks were cycled in the 70s onward if they were using the common plastic décor...fill and wait works. by the millions of tanks

you got to skip your cycle by buying rocks that never lost bacteria when you moved them home.

if the sand was wet when you got it, that had bac too. wet=contaminated with filtration bac.
 
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