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Fishless cycling day 2 (testing readings huh?)

Trever

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I have live sand (1/2 the recommended amount for a thin covering) and dry rock (pukani, came from another tank over 7 months ago and was myric acid bath'ed).

So according to Dr. Tim's I was going to have to add 152 drops of ammonia. Want to help? I thought not. So I used the teaspoon conversion but it seemed to me it was tough to tell what was a teaspoon and not- with a 50% leeway. Maybe I added 152 drops, maybe 85. I don't know- how would I know? So inaccurate using this kitchen teaspoon as a measuring device. Give me a syringe any day or some other idea...

Day 2: Just testing, no adding of ammonia

Salifert test kits: Is it just me or is it impossible to tell if the ammonia is zero and that water is just cloudy in the vial or if it's actually registering slight yellow (small amounts of ammonia)? I'm not sure this is a useful test kit though next time I add ammonia, I'll try testing the ammonia level right away after adding the ammonia (wish I did that day 1), and I'll be expecting to see a clearly yellow liquid in the vial, instead of a head scratching "coloration" or not.

Moving on, it seems fairly clear I have .01 Nitrites (again Salifert). This is a more useful test kit, it seems.

----

So...

How does this sound? Normal?

I'm just a bit worried that I didn't add enough ammonia because of that whole teaspoon difficulty mentioned above. But even if I didn't, does it really matter?

Cycling along....
 

GBRsouth

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It won’t matter if you can’t get an accurate reading. As long as the actual amount of ammonia remains 2ppm or below, things will keep working even if you can’t read your ammonia test result.

A nitrite reading is good. It means you’ve already got bacteria converting your ammonia. Once you start getting nitrate readings as well you will have the start of your cycle underway and can then look for zeroing if ammonia and nitrite to know you are ready.
 
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Trever

Trever

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@GBRsouth I do have a nitrate test kit but haven't test that. Day 2... should I?

I know this sounds ridiculous but I'm being miserly with the nitrate on the notion that is a test kit I will have use for ongoing, whereas the ammonia and nitrite are usually only for cycling (am I just wrong)?
 

K7BMG

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So many troubles with cycling people seem to have.

Your doing fine, and its (IMO) pointless to test and test and test.
Unless your looking to create a graph anyway.

Add ammonia the recommended amount or even more I say.
Ammonia is food for bacteria not poison.
Bring it up to 1.0ppm or even 2.0ppm.
Your test kit WILL show a color change at this level.

Then just wait 10 days, check ammonia and nitrate again.
Depending on the result you will be done or need to wait longer.

I no longer do Nitrite testing.
Nitrite happens this I know, but IMO no need to track.
The concern is Ammonia and Nitrate.

When Ammonia is 0 and Nitrate is high 20-30+ ppm the Nitrite will have risen and dropped off to 0. It cant be any other way.

Then do a 60+% water change and let it sit for three days and test Ammonia and Nitrate.
From this point your good to go.
 
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Trever

Trever

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@K7BMG well I think it's a somewhat complex process, cycling, and ammonia above 5 PPM is poisonous to some the bacteria in the cycle, according to vendor sources. Dr. Tim is at pains to tell people don't keep adding ammonia- you can slow things down or worse, etc..
 

GBRsouth

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@GBRsouth I do have a nitrate test kit but haven't test that. Day 2... should I?

I know this sounds ridiculous but I'm being miserly with the nitrate on the notion that is a test kit I will have use for ongoing, whereas the ammonia and nitrite are usually only for cycling (am I just wrong)?
I wouldn’t bother testing nitrate at this earlier stage. Wait at least a week, no rush.
 
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Trever

Trever

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I got a 1ml syringe from the LFS yesterday, so today will just use that. Feedback here is 1ml = 5 drops, Dr. Tim's web site says 1 ml = 20 drops.

It looks like I can actually drop into the syringe so I can get a count, but it's awfully narrow so I dunno. Can put 20 drops in a teaspoon and suck into the syringe, etc. I have 5 ml syringe for other test kits, maybe can try that instead. Or drop into a teaspoon and see how many there are or similar. I fault the product for not making this easier if the ammonium level matters at all, which supposedly it does.

This is totally ridiculous, the core problem here that I'm having is simply measuring ammonia to add. It shouldn't be this difficult. I wouldn't get spun up about it except that the various problems I'm having means that I'm likely to be off by a huge amount. Then a newbie wonders if that matters. The bottle and other sources clearly states: do not exceed 5 ppm ammonium.
 
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brandon429

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It didn't matter, see our big fish in cycling thread in the main forum

You're not fish in cycling, but our param discussion still applies

Approximating ammonia is fine you'll cycle on the date dr reefs test thread for your particular brands bottle bac says you'll cycle, you can't mess it up.

Check your brand bottle bac and reference dr reefs cycling thread on bottle bac, there's your completion date. Neat huh :) a can't fail option for cycling, by a date, not arbitrary time

The reason we pay for bottle bac vs the free way that ran the 1980 was to get a specific start date.
 

K7BMG

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@K7BMG well I think it's a somewhat complex process, cycling, and ammonia above 5 PPM is poisonous to some the bacteria in the cycle, according to vendor sources. Dr. Tim is at pains to tell people don't keep adding ammonia- you can slow things down or worse, etc..
As this thread is about a FISHLESS cycle.

Yes it is a complex process. But one of the easiest parts of the tank IMO.
I have cycled several tanks, all from clean, bleached bacteria free dry rock sand or a combination of both.
My method of initially dosing Ammonia up to 2ppm has worked very well for me.
My Ammonia testing (ATI) at this level is noticeably dark green.
No guessing.
I then I add my bacteria source, or sources.
Dr Tims, BioSpira, Prodibio, Etc.
Let the tank run for ten days only adding top off water as required.
I do not add more Ammonia or bacteria.

By the way, I run the tank as if it were full of livestock.
The lights on my intended schedule.
My filtration in operation with the one exception of the skimmer, it stays off untill the first fish are added.

After the ten days I test Ammonia at this time. If I still get a hit I wait another 5 days and test.
When I get a 0 reading on Ammonia I test for Nitrate.
If my Nitrate is high (everytime so far) I may test for Nitrite, just to make sure its at or close to 0, but for the most part I don't. Understanding the Nitrogen cycle on the whole I know that Nitrate can't be present without its predecessor Nitrite.

From this point is has been around three weeks and I do a minimum 60% water change probably closer to 75%.
Then I give it a few days to stabilize and test my Nitrate again.
At this time I have all but 1 time seen the signs of the ugly stage kicking in.
The real indicator the cycle is complete.
I add my first fish or two that have been in observation or QT, turn on the skimmer and I am off and running.

Yes I feel we need to comprehend the very complex Nitrogen cycle.
But I also know there is not much to do other that set the system up once for success and allow it to happen.

I compare this to people who grow plants.
They research the plant, soil, and water needs.
Buy the soil, put it in a pot, plant the seed, add water everyday, give it sun, and in time a plant will emerge.
Everything that happens after the initial setup is very complex but not much we can do, but wait till the plant emerges from the soil.
Sure we can test the soil, test the water, test the light, but it is what it is and it will take what it takes for the plant to bloom.

Now if this was on setting up a tank and immediately adding bacteria and fish all in the same day. Well then yes it is important be testing everything daily even mutiple times.
 

brandon429

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fish in cycle or fishless cycle, we are impacted by the 6 pages of parameter challenges posted in the reference thread mentioned.
 
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brandon429

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nothing is complex here, or will fail to complete, in your fishless cycle.

you add any form of feed, and the bottle bac, and wait, then you change water, retest ammonia if you will, and it passes per *Dr Reefs thread* and then you reef


if it varies, or wasnt reliable, then his thread wouldnt work, he used no fish. it was precision testing on fishless cycles.


Predictable cycling runs all of macna reefs, and can be applied here too


no variation required.

*hidden cheat to cycling like in a nintendo game: you'll be cycled on day ten of your submersion date lol with this particular brand, if you want to prove it to skeptics do the water change, retest ammonia, it goes back down, proof of the simplicity and reliability of this entire process.

can't wait to see day ten ammonia handling, prediction is now in place.

ammonia is the only param that matters here, my opinion is backed by the searchable threads on file. easily discounted if need be, but if you count it, you get to pick your start date.

if you want my custom tune for your -fishless- cycle, its to not bother the last retest. we already see you have nitrogen conversion species, the only step now is ten days to adherence/ done.
 
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K7BMG

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I got a 1ml syringe from the LFS yesterday, so today will just use that. Feedback here is 1ml = 5 drops, Dr. Tim's web site says 1 ml = 20 drops.

It looks like I can actually drop into the syringe so I can get a count, but it's awfully narrow so I dunno. Can put 20 drops in a teaspoon and suck into the syringe, etc. I have 5 ml syringe for other test kits, maybe can try that instead. Or drop into a teaspoon and see how many there are or similar. I fault the product for not making this easier if the ammonium level matters at all, which supposedly it does.

This is totally ridiculous, the core problem here that I'm having is simply measuring ammonia to add. It shouldn't be this difficult. I wouldn't get spun up about it except that the various problems I'm having means that I'm likely to be off by a huge amount. Then a newbie wonders if that matters. The bottle and other sources clearly states: do not exceed 5 ppm ammonium.
Trevor.

I say relax and enjoy.
There is no need for exacting amounts of ammonia here.
Yes you need to add it in and I dont recomend just dumping the bottle in.
But if you wind up with 20 or 30 drops it will be just fine.

Use your Ammonia test kit to check.
What is your current ammonia level right now?
if its low add a spoonful, wait 15 min and test again.
Do this untill you get to your target.
If you go over the target a bit its not to much of a concern.
 

brandon429

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secondary secret: wet pack live sand masks your noncycled portions in activity, and by day 20, would commute its bac to your surrounding noncycled items even w no bac from bottle.

you cant fail to cycle with dual inoculation sources, and ten days.
 
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tankstudy

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Add ammonia the recommended amount or even more I say.
Ammonia is food for bacteria not poison.
Bring it up to 1.0ppm or even 2.0ppm.
Your test kit WILL show a color change at this level.
Do not add more than the recommended. Overdosing is not optimal. There is inhibition of growth at higher levels of ammonia.

It's been tested by Dr. Tim and I've run the tests myself multiple times. Do not overdose the recommended ammonia. The number one problem with bottled bacteria cycling is that people do not understand bacteria growth and think the more ammonia, the better but this is not the case. At the same time, you can dose far more ammonia later but not at the initial.

To make it easier for some reefers to understand, it's sort of similar to where you think there can be no harm if you drink a ton of water but you can actually die from drinking too much water.
 
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Trever

Trever

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@tankstudy yes that is my understanding re ammonia. The core problem I am having here is that (a) it is not straight forward to add the recommended amount of ammonia given how it ships and the instructions and (b) the ammonia test kit gives a "result" that is not easy to read, at least not when I first used it 24 hours after the first dosing of bacteria and ammonia. Combine a&b and I'm feeling in the dark about whether I'm doing the ammonia correct "enough".

Today is day 3, so I will try to do a better job of measuring ammonia (per above) and will test for ammonia using the Salifert kit a few minutes after adding it (after it has had a chance to circulate/disperse).

I'm grouchy that it's so difficult to do something so simple- add the ammonia.

But maybe my mood stems from drinking all 38 gallons of my tank water.... :p
 

tankstudy

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@tankstudy yes that is my understanding re ammonia. The core problem I am having here is that (a) it is not straight forward to add the recommended amount of ammonia given how it ships and the instructions and (b) the ammonia test kit gives a "result" that is not easy to read, at least not when I first used it 24 hours after the first dosing of bacteria and ammonia. Combine a&b and I'm feeling in the dark about whether I'm doing the ammonia correct "enough".

Today is day 3, so I will try to do a better job of measuring ammonia (per above) and will test for ammonia using the Salifert kit a few minutes after adding it (after it has had a chance to circulate/disperse).

I'm grouchy that it's so difficult to do something so simple- add the ammonia.

But maybe my mood stems from drinking all 38 gallons of my tank water.... :p
From what I've been told by Dr. Tim and several personal trials, you won't be able to get an accurate result with the ammonia test kits. Trying to see if you dose the proper amount on the kit usually causes most reefers to overdose.

Therefore, that's why it's recommended you get a known concentration and just dose it based on it's recommendations. Personally, I dose half or even just a quarter of the recommendations to avoid spiking the nitrites to ~5 ppm which also inhibits development of the bacteria.

Once you get a quarter or half the recommended dose thru the nitrogen cycle, you can come back and double the initial ammonia concentration. From there you can double it again once that dosage goes thru the nitrogen cycle and this will build a very solid bacteria population.
 

JustAnotherNanoTank

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@tankstudy yes that is my understanding re ammonia. The core problem I am having here is that (a) it is not straight forward to add the recommended amount of ammonia given how it ships and the instructions and (b) the ammonia test kit gives a "result" that is not easy to read, at least not when I first used it 24 hours after the first dosing of bacteria and ammonia. Combine a&b and I'm feeling in the dark about whether I'm doing the ammonia correct "enough".

Today is day 3, so I will try to do a better job of measuring ammonia (per above) and will test for ammonia using the Salifert kit a few minutes after adding it (after it has had a chance to circulate/disperse).

I'm grouchy that it's so difficult to do something so simple- add the ammonia.

But maybe my mood stems from drinking all 38 gallons of my tank water.... :p
Next time, dr Tim’s one and only and a fish. Then patience. Lol
 
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