First Time Reefer Cycle Question

CleanRiversDirtRoads

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
53
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Rancho Mission Viejo
Hi everyone.
I am brand new to the salt water hobby and recently learned about cycling my reef aquarium before adding fish or corals. I was pointed in the direction of the Dr. Tim’s Fishless cycle, and I have followed every step to what is now day 4 dosing ammonia every other day. On day 2, my levels were pH: 7.9, ammonia: 2.0 and nitrite 0.5. Today, (day 4) my levels were pH: 7.8, ammonia: 8.0 and nitrite 2.0.
It seems like that is too big of a spike in two days, but is that normal?
Thank you so much for your helpI really appreciate your time!
 
Tidal Gardens 4th Sale 3

Dbichler

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
1,375
Reaction score
2,151
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Menomonee Falls
Yes 8 ammonia is 4x the goal. That will likely take quite a while to go down being so high. You can do a large water change now to bring it down hopefully to 2 or just wait it out and do a 100% water change when ammonia hits 0.
 
REEFTIDE

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
186
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
As others have said, 8ppm is too much for ammonia. Do a big water change to get it down. Ammonia that high will delay your cycle.

Don't follow directions on the bottle blindly. Your goal is to dose ammonia TO 2ppm, not add 2ppm every day. If your tank does not have any bacteria already in it, its going to take weeks to develop a healthy colony of bacteria on your own.

So each day you should check your ammonia, if its at 2ppm you do nothing. If its lower then 2ppm you add some ammonia until it reaches 2ppm. That's whats supposed to happen. But at this point you need to lower it to get it back in that state, easiest way to do that is with a big water change.
 
OP
C

CleanRiversDirtRoads

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
53
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Rancho Mission Viejo
Thank you all so much for your responses. I learned that stirring the substrate can causes the levels to be off. I had just leveled the substrate before I took the reading yesterday. Today pH was 7.8, Ammonia was 2.0 and nitrite was about 1.5. I took the Nitrate measurement but accidentally did an extra drop on the tube which gave me a reading that was probably wrong. It’s currently reading 80, but I will retest it when I get home tonight.
 

feelnlikemike

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
90802
Newbie to reefing I have my tank setup and started the cycling process with live sand and live rock its been running for about 4 days now ammonia level is 0.25ppm my Nitrite level is 0ppm and my Nitrate level is 10ppm. Can I go ahead and start adding coral & fish or should I wait and let the cycling continue?
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Dbichler

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
1,375
Reaction score
2,151
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Menomonee Falls
Thank you all so much for your responses. I learned that stirring the substrate can causes the levels to be off. I had just leveled the substrate before I took the reading yesterday. Today pH was 7.8, Ammonia was 2.0 and nitrite was about 1.5. I took the Nitrate measurement but accidentally did an extra drop on the tube which gave me a reading that was probably wrong. It’s currently reading 80, but I will retest it when I get home tonight.
I don’t think stirring a new sand bed would have any effect at all. That’s typical to old deep sand beds or really dirty sand beds. Yes testing errors happen not sure if it would be off that far also but just watch for the downward trend and when 0 full 100% water change and good to go
 

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
186
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Newbie to reefing I have my tank setup and started the cycling process with live sand and live rock its been running for about 4 days now ammonia level is 0.25ppm my Nitrite level is 0ppm and my Nitrate level is 10ppm. Can I go ahead and start adding coral & fish or should I wait and let the cycling continue?

Did you add any ammonia to your tank? If not, then you need to go through that process first otherwise you won't have cycled your tank.
 

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
7,658
Reaction score
5,618
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
Thank you all so much for your responses. I learned that stirring the substrate can causes the levels to be off. I had just leveled the substrate before I took the reading yesterday. Today pH was 7.8, Ammonia was 2.0 and nitrite was about 1.5. I took the Nitrate measurement but accidentally did an extra drop on the tube which gave me a reading that was probably wrong. It’s currently reading 80, but I will retest it when I get home tonight.


Ignore nitrate until nitrite is gone as some test kits read very high nitrate if any nitrite is present. Also stirring the sand doesn't do anything unless it's been sitting collecting waste undisturbed.
 
Never Wash Another Nasty Filter Sock Again!

MaxTremors

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
3,319
Reaction score
5,651
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Boise
Newbie to reefing I have my tank setup and started the cycling process with live sand and live rock its been running for about 4 days now ammonia level is 0.25ppm my Nitrite level is 0ppm and my Nitrate level is 10ppm. Can I go ahead and start adding coral & fish or should I wait and let the cycling continue?
Did you use real live rock, as in from the ocean or from a long established tank, or dry rock? And as mentioned, did you dose or add any ammonia source? Regardless, I’d give it at least a few more days (if you’re new to the hobby I would even wait until a minimum of two weeks). I would then add one or two fish and a soft coral or two and then wait another couple weeks, add another fish or two and a couple more corals and then wait a couple more weeks, etc. I assume you’re not planning on doing any sort of quarantining, so I would read up on the problems that can cause. Again, if you’re new to the hobby, I would recommend only doing soft corals for the first six months, if that is successful, then try some LPS, if that is successful for 4-5 months, then try some SPS and/or anemones. IME, it’s best to start with soft corals, during which time you’ll work on maintaining stable parameters, when you get LPS you’ll get the hang of keeping alk/cal/mag stable and potentially dosing those elements, and then once you’ve mastered all of that and have kept softies and LPS thriving, you’ll be ready for more advanced corals/anemones.
 

feelnlikemike

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
90802
Did you use real live rock, as in from the ocean or from a long established tank, or dry rock? And as mentioned, did you dose or add any ammonia source? Regardless, I’d give it at least a few more days (if you’re new to the hobby I would even wait until a minimum of two weeks). I would then add one or two fish and a soft coral or two and then wait another couple weeks, add another fish or two and a couple more corals and then wait a couple more weeks, etc. I assume you’re not planning on doing any sort of quarantining, so I would read up on the problems that can cause. Again, if you’re new to the hobby, I would recommend only doing soft corals for the first six months, if that is successful, then try some LPS, if that is successful for 4-5 months, then try some SPS and/or anemones. IME, it’s best to start with soft corals, during which time you’ll work on maintaining stable parameters, when you get LPS you’ll get the hang of keeping alk/cal/mag stable and potentially dosing those elements, and then once you’ve mastered all of that and have kept softies and LPS thriving, you’ll be ready for more advanced corals/anemones.
I used live rock that has been already in a tank. I haven't used or added any ammonia source at this time. Thanks for the info really appreciate it. what numbers should I be looking for to let me know my tank is ready for some fish and soft corals
 
Tidal Gardens 4th Sale 2

MaxTremors

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
3,319
Reaction score
5,651
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Boise
I used live rock that has been already in a tank. I haven't used or added any ammonia source at this time. Thanks for the info really appreciate it. what numbers should I be looking for to let me know my tank is ready for some fish and soft corals
Ideally, you’d dose 2ppm of ammonia and see it go to zero within a day (and end up as nitrates). The problem is that most ammonia test kits are junk and give false positives or test for total ammonia instead of free ammonia (which is what is toxic). If you have an ammonia test kit, I would dose a little bit of ammonia or a few flakes/pellets and then look for the ammonia level to go down (it may not be zero, often times people will continually get 0.25ppm when in actuality it is zero) so long as it’s definitely going from a higher number to a lower number, the tank is processing ammonia and you should be okay for your first fish. Plus, if you used real/established live rock, your tank very likely didn’t even need to cycle or had a very quick cycle (assuming you kept the rock wet/didn’t let it dry out when transporting it). As far as the general parameters you want to shoot for, this is what I recommend:

Alkalinity: 8-10dk
Calcium: 400-450ppm
Magnesium: 1300-1500ppm
Phosphates: 0.03-0.08ppm
Nitrates: 3-15ppm
PH: 8.2-8.4
Salinity: 1.025-1.026 or 34-35ppt
Temp: 76-78°f

I never really test for these once cycled, but:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0

These are the ranges I shoot for, or what I think is ideal, the generally accepted ranges are a bit wider.
 

feelnlikemike

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
90802
Ideally, you’d dose 2ppm of ammonia and see it go to zero within a day (and end up as nitrates). The problem is that most ammonia test kits are junk and give false positives or test for total ammonia instead of free ammonia (which is what is toxic). If you have an ammonia test kit, I would dose a little bit of ammonia or a few flakes/pellets and then look for the ammonia level to go down (it may not be zero, often times people will continually get 0.25ppm when in actuality it is zero) so long as it’s definitely going from a higher number to a lower number, the tank is processing ammonia and you should be okay for your first fish. Plus, if you used real/established live rock, your tank very likely didn’t even need to cycle or had a very quick cycle (assuming you kept the rock wet/didn’t let it dry out when transporting it). As far as the general parameters you want to shoot for, this is what I recommend:

Alkalinity: 8-10dk
Calcium: 400-450ppm
Magnesium: 1300-1500ppm
Phosphates: 0.03-0.08ppm
Nitrates: 3-15ppm
PH: 8.2-8.4
Salinity: 1.025-1.026 or 34-35ppt
Temp: 76-78°f

I never really test for these once cycled, but:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0

These are the ranges I shoot for, or what I think is ideal, the generally accepted ranges are a bit wider.
This was so helpful thanks so much
 
Coral Mania

How close to perfect, for you, is your reef aquarium?

  • IT'S PERFECT NOW

    Votes: 13 4.4%
  • It's getting close

    Votes: 43 14.4%
  • It's about half way there

    Votes: 53 17.8%
  • It's slow but progressing

    Votes: 94 31.5%
  • It's not even close

    Votes: 87 29.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 8 2.7%
Legendary
Top