Cycling Tank with BioSpira - high nitrites a problem?

george9

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Hello everyone!
I am just now getting back into the hobby after a few years and set up a 32 gallon biocube this week. I plan on turning this into a reef eventually, but for now it will be FOWLR while I dust my aquarium skills off haha. I started the cycle by dosing ammonia 2 days ago between 2-3 PPM and adding BioSpira to maybe help the cycle go a bit quicker. Yesterday (24 hours into the cycle) I tested the water and I was already showing about 1ppm of ammonia with 2-5PPM nitrites and somewhere between 40-80 nitrates…after 24 hours. I am assuming that the nitrate test (API) is picking up some of the high nitrite concentration so it’s not an accurate result…as 40 PPM in a brand new tank with dry rock in 24 hours seems impossible lol. Today when I tested, I was down to somewhere between 0-.25 ammonia, and similar high nitrites and nitrates. So it appears that the ammonia is being processed really quick.

My question is: should I do a water change to bring the nitrites down or should I just let it run for a while longer? I am thinking it’s best to not touch anything since the tank is literally 2 days old but I am worried about a stalled cycle with nitrites already this high at this short time. Has anyone had any experience cycling with Bio Spira, and do you think the high nitrites this early will cause problems with the cycle? thanks in advance!!!

summary of my results:
Day 0 (ammonia and biospira added):
Ammonia: 2-3PPM
nitrite: 0
nitrate:0
Day 1:
Ammonia: 1PPM
Nitrite: 2-5PPM
nitrate: 40-80 PPM (probably inaccurate)
Day 2 (today):
Ammonia: 0-.25
Nitrite: 2-5ppm
nitrate- 40-80PPM
 
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Spare time

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Just do a near 100% water change at the end for the nitrate. Your nitrites are not high by any standard. They need to be substantially higher to actually start killing the bacteria that produce nitrite (I am not sure the number, but it is much higher than you would ever get from properly cycling a tank). You probably have little to no ammonia left, and once the nitrite is gone, go ahead and do that water change, followed by adding fish!


So in other words, don't worry. It is that simple.

PS Dump the whole bottle of bacteria in if you haven't already.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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This thread is unique, it’s the entire life arc of a 32 biocube start to well into its first year, it’s what you can expect to encounter


neat nitrites trick in there: dont own the kit or run the test, problem solved.

watch the invasion part, certain for most new tank setups. You’ll see the cycle can’t really be stopped no matter how much you customize it, the real focus is twofold: fish disease prep choices and what are you going to do when dinos comes, or blanketing gha


have a plan, something you already know you’ll do. If that means sitting by as long as the tank wants to take over, know that ahead of time. If you’re the reefer who won’t permit an invasion among the corals you planted, and you’re willing to work to keep the tank uninvaded so that all viewers enjoy it, have that plan ahead of time don’t just make a guess attempt when the challenge comes.
 

Azedenkae

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Hello everyone!
I am just now getting back into the hobby after a few years and set up a 32 gallon biocube this week. I plan on turning this into a reef eventually, but for now it will be FOWLR while I dust my aquarium skills off haha. I started the cycle by dosing ammonia 2 days ago between 2-3 PPM and adding BioSpira to maybe help the cycle go a bit quicker. Yesterday (24 hours into the cycle) I tested the water and I was already showing about 1ppm of ammonia with 2-5PPM nitrites and somewhere between 40-80 nitrates…after 24 hours. I am assuming that the nitrate test (API) is picking up some of the high nitrite concentration so it’s not an accurate result…as 40 PPM in a brand new tank with dry rock in 24 hours seems impossible lol. Today when I tested, I was down to somewhere between 0-.25 ammonia, and similar high nitrites and nitrates. So it appears that the ammonia is being processed really quick.

My question is: should I do a water change to bring the nitrites down or should I just let it run for a while longer? I am thinking it’s best to not touch anything since the tank is literally 2 days old but I am worried about a stalled cycle with nitrites already this high at this short time. Has anyone had any experience cycling with Bio Spira, and do you think the high nitrites this early will cause problems with the cycle? thanks in advance!!!

summary of my results:
Day 0 (ammonia and biospira added):
Ammonia: 2-3PPM
nitrite: 0
nitrate:0
Day 1:
Ammonia: 1PPM
Nitrite: 2-5PPM
nitrate: 40-80 PPM (probably inaccurate)
Day 2 (today):
Ammonia: 0-.25
Nitrite: 2-5ppm
nitrate- 40-80PPM
Hi there! I think this is very normal right now, looks really good to be honest!

You are probably right, nitrite is interfering with your nitrate test right now so don't worry too much about it.

Just let nitrite drop to zero and then re-dose ammonia then. ^_^

Nitrite as to be far far far higher to stall the cycle.
 
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george9

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Thanks for the tips everyone! So no more ammonia until my nitrite drops? Today was the first day I hit 0 ammonia - only 3 days into the cycle, pretty good!
Would I be putting the ammonia-eating bacteria at risk by not feeding them while I wait for nitrites to drop?

Also don’t want to be willy-nilly and dose ammonia every 3 days and end up with 250ppm of nitrates at the end of the cycle lol m
Today’s results:
0PPM ammonia
2-5PPM nitrite
80PPM nitrate
 
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george9

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none of that is in the example thread above, you must be working off a custom plan here.
No custom plan here - the thread you posted was super helpful and im still working my way through it!
My main question now that my ammonia is 0 after 3 days - is it advisable to leave it at 0 while I wait for nitrites to drop, or should I re-dose to 2 ppm since this is only day 3 of the cycle? Just don’t want to end up with too much nitrogen in the water and cause a stall or starve off the ammonia-consuming bacteria in the process of waiting for the nitrite-consuming bacteria to do their thing.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Truly its not bad to hyperfocus on nitrite, about 90% of cyclers will do that, just don't let it exclude your fish disease prep focus, this is a brand new system its very likely vs unlikely that adding unprepped fish will result in wasting/unneeded loss.


for sure its ok to wait until nitrite complies that's no harm as long as its not taking the place of reading the fish disease forum for best practices before adding fish, when your nitrite allows. as you read the fish disease forum to see what it takes to successfully add fish to a newly cycled reef, you'll see the litany of help posts in that forum coming from folks meeting two criteria: 1. they did cycle to zero nitrite, the classic wait, and 2. the tanks are usually younger than 8 mos or so as the majority of posters on any one page of the disease forum. all that means is awaiting proper nitrite compliance doesn't do anything for preventing disease. your #1 risk of loss of fish life is disease related, not cycle start date related.
 

Azedenkae

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Thanks for the tips everyone! So no more ammonia until my nitrite drops? Today was the first day I hit 0 ammonia - only 3 days into the cycle, pretty good!
Would I be putting the ammonia-eating bacteria at risk by not feeding them while I wait for nitrites to drop?

Also don’t want to be willy-nilly and dose ammonia every 3 days and end up with 250ppm of nitrates at the end of the cycle lol m
Today’s results:
0PPM ammonia
2-5PPM nitrite
80PPM nitrate
No, you run zero risk of the ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms starving. They easily survive very prolonged periods of time ammonia-starved. A few days or even a week is nothing.

But yeah nah, that's why it's just a matter of waiting for nitrite to drop to zero before re-dosing.

As for nitrate, don't forget 3ppm ammonia only converts to 11ppm or so nitrate. So you have to do this like, 10 times before it even breaks 100ppm.

If you can reduce the dosage to 2ppm ammonia, that'd be fine too. Would also increase nitrate more slowly.
 
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george9

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Truly its not bad to hyperfocus on nitrite, about 90% of cyclers will do that, just don't let it exclude your fish disease prep focus, this is a brand new system its very likely vs unlikely that adding unprepped fish will result in wasting/unneeded loss.


for sure its ok to wait until nitrite complies that's no harm as long as its not taking the place of reading the fish disease forum for best practices before adding fish, when your nitrite allows. as you read the fish disease forum to see what it takes to successfully add fish to a newly cycled reef, you'll see the litany of help posts in that forum coming from folks meeting two criteria: 1. they did cycle to zero nitrite, the classic wait, and 2. the tanks are usually younger than 8 mos or so as the majority of posters on any one page of the disease forum. all that means is awaiting proper nitrite compliance doesn't do anything for preventing disease. your #1 risk of loss of fish life is disease related, not cycle start date related.
Well ammonia has consistently been dropping to 0 after 24 hours, so based on the 'new' cycling rules, I am cycled! Nitrite doesn't drop to 0 in 24 hours, but I guess I am just now realizing that is an outdated rule. It's been 1-2 ppm 24 hours after dosing ammonia, and takes about 2 days to go to 0. Back in 2013-2014 when I last cycled another saltwater tank, ammonia and nitrites were to drop to 0 in 24 hours to be considered cycled, or am I crazy? I was confused why everyone seemed to be downplaying nitrites, but I understand this is a recent way of thinking?

I agree about quarantine and will NOT be skipping that for this tank. I think since I am cycled, I will start by adding a small CUC while I prep my quarantine tank this week and assess where to buy the healthiest fish possible. When I was a complete noob in the hobby years ago, I skipped the quarantine process and it was the biggest regret! Not going to make that mistake anymore.

If I go a different route leave the tank to run a bit longer without livestock, is adding a few drops of ammonia every so often is a decent way to keep the bacteria kicking? I am apprehensive about adding livestock after only a week since this tank has not seen any of the new tank scaries yet.
 
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george9

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Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a little update. I bought some cheap softies a few weeks to monitor how things are going and they have been doing well. I have no other livestock yet and am waiting til after the holidays to buy some aquacultured clowns to start QTing.

I am dealing with what I assume to be diatoms. I do have some algae/diatom growth on the glass and back wall that’s a bit “stringy” and at times it does start growing on the some of the corals and irritate them a bit. I just simply blow them off a little bit and they are happy again. I’ve noticed the past couple days my filter floss turns brown very quickly, almost overnight which seems a little bit concerning along with a slight fishy/biological smell to the water despite no bioload. I’ve added a bit of Chaeto to the back chamber and my nitrates have been between 0-5PPM which is good but I do not want them to bottom out so I’ve limited the time my fuge light has been running. I have also been running CPE/purigen which *may* be overkill

Does this look like diatoms to you? @brandon429 Bacterial/algae growth on the glass in a new tank is a good sign I know, but It appears very stringy and does appear to enter the water column since my floss is turning brown really quick. My water remains pretty clear though despite any diatoms in the water column, but I am considering grabbing a cheap UV sterilizer from Amazon. There is no air bubbles associated with them and they don’t really disappear at night. The top layer of sand does look “clumpy”

D9094A5A-D1F5-48CD-A6EE-844D7E5BA4C7.jpeg 22791189-EBE4-47EF-99F2-0842463B955F.jpeg 8E4B5716-8255-4B8B-8283-79EA0AF8E66D.jpeg 6C3B9BCE-B8FC-4E94-B928-EEC63133C674.jpeg
 
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george9

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Also here is a full shot. Water appears clear and the diatoms (or whatever they are) do not show up well in the photo but they are definitely there and they love to accumulate on the frag plugs/near the corals!! haha
 

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