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How efficient is your bacteria?

Natedogg1978

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Specifications:

45 gallon cube/ 14 gallon sump
Bare bottom (No sand)
Roughly 40 lbs of Caribsea Life Rock
Kessil A360x (turned off during this cycling time)
Reef Octopus Essence 130 skimmer (also turned off during cycling time) sitting on top of 6x6in acrylic skimmer stand
1 AI Nero 5 powerhead
1 VINTAGE Waveline 6000 DC return pump
3 coarse sponges in sump return area

My question is what is the actual ideal conversion rate for bacteria to handle ammonia in an established or properly cycled tank?

I am on day 69 of cycling my 45-gallon cube. Wait, what? Well... let me explain. Originally, I dosed Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride along with Dr. Tim's One and only on day one to get me at the recommended 2ppm ammonia reading on day 2.

I did not see any change in ammonia or nitrite reading through day 9, so I decided to add a 32oz bottle of Fritz 9 bacteria (after adding Fritz 9 I visually saw a considerable cloud in the water that I did not see with Dr. Tim's One and Only.

Day 11 of cycling was the first decrease in ammonia reading at 1ppm.

Day 14 was the second decrease in ammonia reading at .50 ppm.

Day 23 was the first sign of nitrite reading at .25 ppm.

Day 27 I was the first sign of Nitrate reading at 10 ppm.

Day 30 ammonia level reading still at .50 ppm ( this is 18 days reading .50 ppm since the second decrease of ammonia).

Day 32 ammonia level decreased to .15 ppm.

Day 33 ammonia reading at 0 ppm Yay!!!!!!

Day 34 ammonia again reading at 0 ppm.

Under any normal circumstances, the next step would be to add a fish or two, but unfortunately, I knew I would be leaving town for an unexpected time in the next week or two, so I decided to see if I could calculate the amount of ammonium chloride I could add to keep the newly established bacteria happy while I was away.

I added another 110 drops of Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride on day 34 (this is half the original amount of ammonium chloride added on day 1) which brought me to a reading of 1 ppm ammonia on day 35.

After adding this second dose of ammonium chloride on day 34, it took two weeks to reduce the 1ppm reading of ammonia back to 0 ppm. So on day 48 I was again back to 0 ammonia reading.

What can I say? I was delayed with my expected trip away, so I continued my ammonia dosing.

Day 49 I dosed just 20 drops of Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride which took me to only .25 ammonia reading on day 50.

Day 52 through 54 I was again back to 0 ammonia reading.

I dosed again, just 11 drops of ammonium chloride on day 54 taking me to .25 ammonia reading.

Day 56 I was again at 0 ammonia reading.

Day 57 I added 5 drops off ammonium chloride which the following day, day 58 reduced that to 0 ammonia reading.

Day 58 added another 5 drops of ammonium chloride which again converted this to 0 ammonia reading on day 59.

I continued this regimen until day 64 I added another large dose of ammonium chloride (100 drops) again taking me to 1 ppm the following day. On day 69 I saw my ammonia reading again at 0 ppm

From this I am gathering that the established bacteria in my 45-gallon cube roughly can handle a 20% decrease of ammonia per day since this last ammonium chloride dosing took 5 days to reduce my 1ppm reading to 0.

I recently read on a forum that your bacteria should be able to convert a 2ppm reading of ammonia to 0 in 24 hours. Being new to reefing, I am only guessing that the ammonia that develops in a tank through fish respiration, fish waste, organics, etc. would typically be converted by the bacteria as it materializes. Again, not necessarily needing to convert a large 2ppm ammonia reading in 24 hours. To all the seasoned reefers out there, does this roughly 20% ammonia conversion per day seem ideal? If anyone has any thoughts on this, I am listening.

"Many thanks",

Nate
 

Spare time

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Using caribsea liverock, you create competition for the nitrifying bacteria. I have a feeling that your bacteria's speed at which nitrification occurs is being limited by phosphate (phosphate and oxygen being the main limiting factors at which your ammonia and nitrite will dissapear). The Dr. Tims bottle may have gone bad during shipping or something if it got too hot or cold. The carib sea rock bacteria probably slowed you down as well as having no live sand which often can have some organics that rapidly are broken down by heterotrophs when added to the tank. In my personal opinion, I would try putting some pellets in or dosing a tiny bit of phosphate into the tank (lights off obviously).
 
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Natedogg1978

Natedogg1978

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Using caribsea liverock, you create competition for the nitrifying bacteria. I have a feeling that your bacteria's speed at which nitrification occurs is being limited by phosphate (phosphate and oxygen being the main limiting factors at which your ammonia and nitrite will dissapear). The Dr. Tims bottle may have gone bad during shipping or something if it got too hot or cold. The carib sea rock bacteria probably slowed you down as well as having no live sand which often can have some organics that rapidly are broken down by heterotrophs when added to the tank. In my personal opinion, I would try putting some pellets in or dosing a tiny bit of phosphate into the tank (lights off obviously).

Thanks for your reply, I did suspect possibly the One and Only was dead on arrival since I did not see a quick drop in ammonia.

Thank you for the phosphate dose recommendation. Question though, why would the caribsea life rock slow the process? I figured it is advertised as having bacteria that is activated once you add to water. I thought it would just add to the population of bacteria in the system. I do understand no sand would definitely slow the process.

-and also pellets being biopellets say in a reactor? Sorry I’m new
 
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vetteguy53081

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Personally we don’t know that and assume when levels climb that its the bacteria ruling out, dead snail, inadequate filtration, over feeding and such
We can only do our best to make sure there is sufficient culture if bacteria and test to assure water quality is acceptable
 

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Thanks for your reply, I did suspect possibly the One and Only was dead on arrival since I did not see a quick drop in ammonia.

Thank you for the phosphate dose recommendation. Question though, why would the caribsea life rock slow the process? I figured it is advertised as having bacteria that is activated once you add to water. I thought it would just add to the population of bacteria in the system. I do understand no sand would definitely slow the process.

-and also pellets being biopellets say in a reactor? Sorry I’m new
Your cycling process needs to be continued by having a hardy fish. Feed the fish and then you have a new source of ammonia. That pellets = fish food. However don't put too many fish, just one hardy fish. Your tank is now undergo denitrification process to reduce nitrate. Try monitoring nitrate. If nitrate is too low then add another fish. Nitrate would go up then it needs to go down again as the sign of denitrification process is running. After that, monitor phosphate.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I am on day 69 of cycling my 45-gallon cube.



you are 1000% cycled. see this post for proof, and how to begin:


your cycle was done by day 8 or 10 of the start. The ammonia readings and nitrite readings arent correct, we dont use 2ppm on these kinds of testers because they take months to report true oxidation levels

only seneye gives accurate readings for ammonia and we dont have a seneye for testing nitrite. Updated cycle rules do not factor nitrite into a cycle in marine systems, one less test you have to run


you are sixty days past being ready, nice patience!

your cycle cannot starve, retrograde, undo, get weaker, it just sits there waiting to reef even if you wait another year.

no additions are needed, no testing, change the water out and add animals and begin.

Coming from someone who has done about five thousand online cycles logged, this is the most cycled sixty days ago multi-inoculation approach Ive ever seen. this rascal is fully done and not partially done. I'm going to be able to use this thread to help a lot of cyclers

The old rules of cycling are bad. They made you wait arbitrarily long past ready date, after selling you bottle bac from multi strains that take 3 days to be ready. Old rules don't tell you the details about ammonia and nitrite


People who set up reefs at macna conventions using these strains never miss the convention start date...new vs old cycling rules
 
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Spare time

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Thanks for your reply, I did suspect possibly the One and Only was dead on arrival since I did not see a quick drop in ammonia.

Thank you for the phosphate dose recommendation. Question though, why would the caribsea life rock slow the process? I figured it is advertised as having bacteria that is activated once you add to water. I thought it would just add to the population of bacteria in the system. I do understand no sand would definitely slow the process.

-and also pellets being biopellets say in a reactor? Sorry I’m new

The rock can slow the cycle as it contains bacteria (non nitrifying from my understanding) that will try to scavenge phosphate to grow just like the nitrifiers and if there is no phosphate in the system then this can slow down the growth.

However, the carib sea rock is better than plain rock in the long term as these extra microbes add diversity so I would still recommend them!

And for pellets I just meant fish food.


Honestly, I think that you are fine to get a fish. If you are worried, bacteria is cheap and you can throw in another. All I was suggesting was that the speed of your bacteria could have been slowed a little but definitely not enough to say the tank can't handle fish. Once you get a fish in there, things will kick off!


Have fun with getting your first fish! :)
 
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Natedogg1978

Natedogg1978

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The rock can slow the cycle as it contains bacteria (non nitrifying from my understanding) that will try to scavenge phosphate to grow just like the nitrifiers and if there is no phosphate in the system then this can slow down the growth.

However, the carib sea rock is better than plain rock in the long term as these extra microbes add diversity so I would still recommend them!

And for pellets I just meant fish food.


Honestly, I think that you are fine to get a fish. If you are worried, bacteria is cheap and you can throw in another. All I was suggesting was that the speed of your bacteria could have been slowed a little but definitely not enough to say the tank can't handle fish. Once you get a fish in there, things will kick off!


Have fun with getting your first fish! :)
The rock can slow the cycle as it contains bacteria (non nitrifying from my understanding) that will try to scavenge phosphate to grow just like the nitrifiers and if there is no phosphate in the system then this can slow down the growth.


Thanks again, I am excited to get my first
However, the carib sea rock is better than plain rock in the long term as these extra microbes add diversity so I would still recommend them!

And for pellets I just meant fish food.


Honestly, I think that you are fine to get a fish. If you are worried, bacteria is cheap and you can throw in another. All I was suggesting was that the speed of your bacteria could have been slowed a little but definitely not enough to say the tank can't handle fish. Once you get a fish in there, things will kick off!


Have fun with getting your first fish! :)

Thanks again . I am excited to add my first fish to my first reef tank and get things going.
 
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Natedogg1978

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I am on day 69 of cycling my 45-gallon cube.



you are 1000% cycled. see this post for proof, and how to begin:


your cycle was done by day 8 or 10 of the start. The ammonia readings and nitrite readings arent correct, we dont use 2ppm on these kinds of testers because they take months to report true oxidation levels

only seneye gives accurate readings for ammonia and we dont have a seneye for testing nitrite. Updated cycle rules do not factor nitrite into a cycle in marine systems, one less test you have to run


you are sixty days past being ready, nice patience!

your cycle cannot starve, retrograde, undo, get weaker, it just sits there waiting to reef even if you wait another year.

no additions are needed, no testing, change the water out and add animals and begin.

Coming from someone who has done about five thousand online cycles logged, this is the most cycled sixty days ago multi-inoculation approach Ive ever seen. this rascal is fully done and not partially done. I'm going to be able to use this thread to help a lot of cyclers

The old rules of cycling are bad. They made you wait arbitrarily long past ready date, after selling you bottle bac from multi strains that take 3 days to be ready. Old rules don't tell you the details about ammonia and nitrite


People who set up reefs at macna conventions using these strains never miss the convention start date...new vs old cycling rules

Thank you for this, wow! I’m learning. Did not realize my tank won’t diminish or starve the cycle. Good info, thanks for sharing.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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The hobby’s major concern is that we don’t burn fish with quick starts, you’ve met that demand in your unrushed setup, nicely done. If more people did this and had that self control less waste of trade life (fish/corals) would occur


but on the flip side, the cycle ready date is now defined as the earliest possible date that a full water change cannot undo the biofilter, it means bacteria move from dosed into water and permanently onto wet surfaces


the hallmark of a cycled tank is no water change ever undoes them, even 100% water changed twice a day for eight years wouldnt undo a basic aquarium cycle


how fast do we know bottle bac cycle/adhere to surfaces?

Dr. Reef’s bottle bac test thread, each strain evaluated with a 100% water change + new ammonia test. Fritz was the fastest :) ready in 48 hours.


in this case the old rules of 2ppm, wait to zero for a param that never measures zero in reef tanks, a tester set certain to misread, caused minor wait and no harm.


but if the tables were turned, and we needed an emergency catch tank due to some issue, we would need an -exact- start date, without fail, to handle our $$$ immediate needs and that’s why updated cycling science is exacting, we hate arbitrary waits. And so does macna where $$$$ and quality animals must trade

the longest any typical cycle takes is what a cycling chart shows online, for the ammonia graph portion (updated cycling science doesn’t even factor nitrate because we know ammonia down once proves nitrification... no need to risk misread hesitation for params other than ammonia)
And in Dr. Reefs thread, the tested strains were done well before day 8-10 which is what all online cycling charts show for unassisted cycles, much less boosted ones.

people get away with fish-in cycles because today’s bottle bac are so powerful they’ll activate and feed while in suspension, before adherence date.

macna cycles aren’t weaker than your two month one, they’re equal in ability to support ammonia bioloading because your surface area only holds so many bacteria given water shear and other controls, bac don’t just stack infinitely. A three day *fed* fritz speed cycle can pass a reasonable degree of water change + ammonia testing and so can a two month tank, they’re equal in bioload support and that’s regulated by how much sand and rock is in the tank, not it’s age past cycle completion date. Reef tank cycles never, ever stall it’s the new rule vs the old rule clash imminent.
 
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Natedogg1978

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The hobby’s major concern is that we don’t burn fish with quick starts, you’ve met that demand in your unrushed setup, nicely done. If more people did this and had that self control less waste of trade life (fish/corals) would occur




but on the flip side, the cycle ready date is now defined as the earliest possible date that a full water change cannot undo the biofilter, it means bacteria move from dosed into water and permanently onto wet surfaces


the hallmark of a cycled tank is no water change ever undoes them, even 100% water changed twice a day for eight years wouldnt undo a basic aquarium cycle


how fast do we know bottle bac cycle/adhere to surfaces?

Dr. Reef’s bottle bac test thread, each strain evaluated with a 100% water change + new ammonia test. Fritz was the fastest :) ready in 48 hours.


in this case the old rules of 2ppm, wait to zero for a param that never measures zero in reef tanks, a tester set certain to misread, caused minor wait and no harm.


but if the tables were turned, and we needed an emergency catch tank due to some issue, we would need an -exact- start date, without fail, to handle our $$$ immediate needs and that’s why updated cycling science is exacting, we hate arbitrary waits. And so does macna where $$$$ and quality animals must trade

the longest any typical cycle takes is what a cycling chart shows online, for the ammonia graph portion (updated cycling science doesn’t even factor nitrate because we know ammonia down once proves nitrification... no need to risk misread hesitation for params other than ammonia)
And in Dr. Reefs thread, the tested strains were done well before day 8-10 which is what all online cycling charts show for unassisted cycles, much less boosted ones.

macna cycles aren’t weaker than your two month one, they’re equal in ability to support ammonia bioloading because your surface area only holds so many bacteria given water shear and other controls, bac don’t just stack infinitely. A three day *fed* fritz speed cycle can pass any degree of water change + ammonia testing and so can a two month tank, they’re equal in bioload support and that’s regulated by how much sand and rock is in the tank, not it’s age past cycle completion date.
Thanks for the reply, I attended reefapalooza Orlando last year and was wondering how everyone could have tanks set up and ready to go so quickly.
One redeeming quality is my patience, so not a big deal for me for the longer wait. But I appreciate your response and educating me on future setups. I’ll be glad to have a quicker cycle next time. Understanding you always upgrade after a period especially since my setup is just 45 gallons
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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appreciate the input very much it really does help to compare notes on cycle timelines tank to tank. Patterns emerge quickly, and one of the neatest new referees in the hobby is a seneye meter

a digital measure of ammonia conversion...shown to be in the thousandths ppm in each tank logged for seneye (amazing consistency in a world previously reporting total inconsistency)

they had a booth there ha nice did you see them


new updated measures show cycles don’t stall, or get weaker or retrograde and they show when a fish dies in a typical system, the thousandths ppm turnover holds, which is an attribute of surface area (all reef tanks run excess surface area, therefore absorbs spikes) and in direct defiance of prior reefing rules. Filter bacteria don’t allow much nh3 variance they run a tight control, like our kidneys do

funny dichotomy between reef forums and conventions: where things are for sale, nobody misses a start date, for thirty years.

the buyers
we are trained by forum posts, thats not the same science the sellers are using. Some of those tanks are holding fifty thousand in frags and fish in a tank set up within a day or two of start date, and there are both live rock and dry rock transfer systems to inspect. It’s not that sellers are short cutting the cycle, nobody trusts a weak cycle to 50K
it’s that the sellers know the reliability of filter bac, not the inconsistency, decades before we were given measures to see it .00x

what isn’t sold at a reef convention, is skip cycle transferred back to the shop, over and over, full water changes don’t hurt reefs it’s stirring up sandbed muck that hurts them, so we don’t ever transfer cruddy beds.
 
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Natedogg1978

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appreciate the input very much it really does help to compare notes on cycle timelines tank to tank. Patterns emerge quickly, and one of the neatest new referees in the hobby is a seneye meter

a digital measure of ammonia conversion...shown to be in the thousandths ppm in each tank logged for seneye (amazing consistency in a world previously reporting total inconsistency)

they had a booth there ha nice did you see them


new updated measures show cycles don’t stall, or get weaker or retrograde and they show when a fish dies in a typical system, the thousandths ppm turnover holds, which is an attribute of surface area (all reef tanks run excess surface area, therefore absorbs spikes) and in direct defiance of prior reefing rules. Filter bacteria don’t allow much nh3 variance they run a tight control, like our kidneys do

funny dichotomy between reef forums and conventions: where things are for sale, nobody misses a start date, for thirty years.

the buyers
we are trained by forum posts, thats not the same science the sellers are using. Some of those tanks are holding fifty thousand in frags and fish in a tank set up within a day or two of start date, and there are both live rock and dry rock transfer systems to inspect. It’s not that sellers are short cutting the cycle, nobody trusts a weak cycle to 50K
it’s that the sellers know the reliability of filter bac, not the inconsistency, decades before we were given measures to see it .00x

what isn’t sold at a reef convention, is skip cycle transferred back to the shop, over and over, full water changes don’t hurt reefs it’s stirring up sandbed muck that hurts them, so we don’t ever transfer cruddy beds.

Did not catch seneye at reefapalooza, I have seen BRS videos showing its benefits. I also caught an Idea on a mod to the server using a USB Microsoft computer stick instead of the one that seneye sells (cheaper). Might be something I’ll consider in the future
 
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Natedogg1978

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How is this tank can we have an update

we are tracking unstuck cycle tanks for updates / health etc
Thanks for the inquiry Brandon. My tank has been up and running for just over three months.
Thankfully, I have not had any extensive algae outbreak. I think this is due to me not having the lights on during these first three months (except for pictures).
it has been rather clean and algae free.

Just added a couple of clowns a few days ago.

I am understanding I should not add corals until the 5or 6 month mark or at least until I can grow coralline.

I was thinking about introducing purple helix algae, otherwise I don’t know how to get it started without adding some zoas or some coral.

what might you suggest?
I good for lights now?

E7C559F2-3A1F-46FB-9CAD-AF5A3AA212CB.jpeg F4C8D238-2B7B-48F5-B3BA-75A80CA3E4D0.jpeg E305EEDB-DD5E-4026-AD40-4C0F641416F2.jpeg 755B04A9-461B-4E05-A260-191DC6581475.jpeg 69A58DB1-AD9F-4363-AA1C-704F54845F71.jpeg
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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that is indeed a powerful update you have followed every rule for current reefing success and it looks it too :)

Your intuition is spot on by now that's full on reefing, I am 100% certain it can grow corals right now the same as if you wait another month, Im being the bad peer pressure friend/pass rusher lol

but that rock is ready, its itching to be covered in favia for example which eat readily and grow nicely

or any other coral, ready. feed and change water like preventative cpr and you will force coral mass

when its locking into position by growth then can back off the cpr work and the tank will cruise, those feed / water change intervals are for spot algae removing too, since you'll be dealing with new fish waste and coral feed waste etc.

this will make both corals and algae grow, so be hand gardening like we do dandelions

the physical act of picking up a rock that has algae, making that algae go away as it sits on your counter with corals attached to it (wont harm) is where you handle that rock like a dentist and make it algae free, then set back in.

dont starve it out of the display or avoid the work, embrace it. guaranteed method to success at the expense of changing some water each week to a larger degree than you might when it ages.

its not about planting a bunch of corals in there and it sits there looking awesome day by day

we intercept recession issues/disease issues in corals by actively reefing and adding a mix of dry and frozen / thawed feed right over the corals occasionally, then change water after. maybe save the targeting event for weekly time + partial water change just after, before that feed degrades. it will help cumulatively and it will add coral mass exactly like a human exercise + protein cycling regimen.
 
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How fast does coral grow in your tank?

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