[HELP] First Timer Cycling Tank

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CallMeLloyd

CallMeLloyd

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I'm not a pro, but he does say "it is not possible to overdose the bacteria"..

Think you should be fine with the filter, he only notes to turn off lights, filtration for the first 48 hours. I run my 55 (newly setup) with a protein skimmer and no sump (have done the same prior with success).

Maybe log your steps/measurements in the thread here for reference if you have time?
Currently at work but will post my Day 1 - Today once I get home.
 
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CallMeLloyd

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Got my wife to send them to me :cool:

*Temp 78.4-78.6 on all days
**No water changes just top offs so far

DAY 1: Added whole bottle of Dr. Tims "One & Only" Bacteria & 2 Teaspoons (200 Drops) of Ammonia
DAY 2: pH 7.8, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 0-0.25, Nitrate 0
DAY 3: pH 7.8, Ammonia 2.0, Nitrite 0-0.25, Nitrate 0 (Added another 2 teaspoons Ammonia)
DAY 4: pH 7.8, Ammonia 2.0, Nitrite 1.0, Nitrate 20
DAY 5: pH 7.8, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 2.0, Nitrate 20
DAY 6: pH 7.8, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 2.0, Nitrate 20 (Added another 2 teaspoons Ammonia)
DAY 7: pH 7.8, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 5.0, Nitrate 80
DAY 8: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 5.0, Nitrate 80
DAY 9: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 2.0, Nitrate 40
DAY 10: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.5-1.0, Nitrate 40
DAY 11: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.25-0.5, Nitrate 40
DAY 12: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0-0.25, Nitrate 20 (Added another 2 teaspoons Ammonia) <----- Was thinking I might be done with the cycle if water read 0 Ammonia & Nitrites in 24 hours
DAY 13: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 1.0-2.0, Nitrate 40 (Installed Canister Filter & Added about 3 gal of water)
DAY 14: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite 1.0, Nitrate 40 (Noticed brown spots on sand & a few rocks)

So today will be day 15.
 
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907_Reefer

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Good deal! I'll let the pros chime in, as I'm just re-familiarizing myself with the hobby, but what are you using for test kits and are you using RODI water?

It is odd to me that Nitrates would cut themselves in half from 80 on day 8 to 40 on day 9 though, without a water change.
 
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Good deal! I'll let the pros chime in, as I'm just re-familiarizing myself with the hobby, but what are you using for test kits and are you using RODI water?

It is odd to me that Nitrates would cut themselves in half from 80 on day 8 to 40 on day 9 though, without a water change.
I am using a RODI system and API test kits. I thought it was weird as well. Hopefully I can get some clarification on where I am at in the cycle process >.<
 

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Yea my thought was that if the test kit is showing fluctuations downward in nitrates like that which we would not expect, maybe it is not as accurate on the other readings, which would make it tough to make decisions. You could be closer or further from your cycle than the testing indicates. API are one of the lower quality, I invested the $70 in the Red Sea kit which works pretty good (as far as I can tell), and I will sometimes double check with a backup API kit. A lot of people here use the Hanna Checkers as well, I may start investing in those one at a time here. Can't beat good data!


Lots of good info here on testing as well.

 
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Just read the API testing instructions & noticed it said hold bottle dropper completely upside down so drops are correct size when they fall. I have been holding the dropper kind of sideways. Think maybe the drops have been too big which is why the colors may be a little off? So maybe on the days I thought Nitrates were 80 they were really 40...
*Honestly with API tests I've noticed it could really be between 2 colors.....*
 
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Well those numbers look fine! Planning to add another dose of ammonia and verify nitrification time?

Those tests can be annoying to read as far as not being able to tell color differences sometimes. I do like the Red Sea kit better for reading also and would still recommend upgrading to that unit as you can here.
 
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907_Reefer

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Assume you mean nitrites? Maybe stirring up the sand released some more ammonia, which is being converted? Ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate.

The Tim's cycle states initially to not add ammonia until you get a reading of 2 ppm, but does not follow up with whether you should wait until 0 if you continue dosing, but does mention that you should skip dosing if you are over 5 ppm.

"*Precautions - Do not add keep adding ammonia until you get a reading of 2 ppm NH3 -N - max 4 drops per gallon. You do not have to add add ammonia every day the bacteria will not starve. If the pH drops below 7 perform a 25-30% water change taking the water from near the top of the water column. Do not disturb the substrate or remove the filter pad. Do not manipulate pH during the cycling period - the higher the pH the better (up to 8.5). Also note old recipes called for 1 drop per gallon - follow the directions on the ammonium chloride bottle. ** If the ammonia or nitrite values are over 5 ppm NH3-N skip the next addition of ammonia drops."

 

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DAY 16: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40 (Added 2 teaspoons Ammonia, Changed rocks around, Stirred sand) *Helped with bubble issue*
Day 17: pH 7.8, Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite 0.5-1.0, Nitrate 40

Why is my Nitrates not going up?
Stop adding ammonia. Stop testing for nitrites and nitrates for a while. Once the ammonia has dropped from 2ppm to 0 you are cycled enough to slowly add fish. Ammonia will not spike unless you add fish too quickly or overfeed them. Your API ammonia kit may read .25 forever when the level is really 0. That's just the way they are. Nitrite will fall pretty quickly and is not toxic at the low levels you are reporting. However, elevated nitrite will make your nitrate test read very high. It is a simple process. Don't overthink it.
 

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Also just thought of this, Do I need to be dosing Ammonia when the Ammonia reads 0 or the Ammonia & Nitrites are 0? Or is either way fine? Cause I've only been adding Ammonia when both reads 0.
You would dose when both Ammonia/NH3 and Nitrite/NO2 is below 1ppm.

This is the steps that I just recently used using the same methodology: Dr Tims cycling guide

Maybe stirring up the sand released some more ammonia
According to his guide and other youtube videos has has posted... you should never touch the substrate.

Just read the API testing instructions & noticed it said hold bottle dropper completely upside down so drops are correct size when they fall. I have been holding the dropper kind of sideways. Think maybe the drops have been too big which is why the colors may be a little off? So maybe on the days I thought Nitrates were 80 they were really 40...
I think not shaking the bottles would be the more likely culprit. Depending on how long it takes for the solution to settle. Looking at your numbers, I find it out (not sure if its 100% for everyone) if the API test kits ammonia has a common misreading and will show .25/.5 when another test kit will show 0 for NH3. During my cycle, I would never see NH3 as 0. Also, the Nitrate/NO3 lowering is also weird. I think you explained your ideology but that part was confusing me too. It sounds like your situation matches what the other reef2reef person is experiencing. LINK
 
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