How long to clear 2ppm ammonium when seeding Fritz/Dr. Tim's during cycling?

JoJosReef

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Hi everyone,

(Fluval EVO 13.5)

Toward the end of week 2 of cycling with live sand and Caribsea LifeRock/live rock rubble in sump + Bio-Spira, nitrite and nitrate were low by API dipstick. I decided to stress test the bacteria by adding ammonium chloride (Dr. Tim's) up to 2ppm. The following morning the ammonium tube was green at exactly 2ppm--looks like the bacteria weren't working through the ammonium very quickly. I added Dr. Tim's and Fritz seeding bacteria. Day 3 following addition of ammonium, and the API test is showing between 0.5 and 1.0 ppm.

My question is: does this seem normal? Followed by: how long does it usually take a cycled tank to convert 2ppm ammonium? Is this slow for having added Fritz/Dr. Tim's?

Note: I removed my filter floss, but kept the live rock rubble and chemi-blue in the sump.

Thanks!
 
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ariellemermaid

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The idea behind the “instant tank” with bottled bacteria is, I believe, a bit exaggerated. I’ve cycled 3 tanks in the past year using a combination of these methods.

This is what Dr. Tim’s says about the process. Using dormant bacteria (bio spira, live sand, seeded dry rock) definitely takes longer. Using live activated bacteria should be shorter, but even the website calls for 8 days plus and it sounds like you’re well on your way. Seems totally normal to me; nothing in this hobby comes fast and you’re already well ahead of the traditional multi-month cycling. Once fully cycled and mature 2ppm should be able to be processed fairly quickly. However that is a massive load of ammonia all at once.

One of the criticisms of this cycling method is that you’re boosting your bacteria way above the load they’ll carry when you add the first 1-2 fish. Then you’ll get a lot of die off and nitrate because the bacteria can’t survive “real world” ammonia production. I personally don’t think this argument matters much and I think it’s more important to make sure your first fish survive. Just saying though; don’t worry too much it’s taking a few days. You’re asking more of the tank now than you’ll ask of it with 2 small clowns. You’re well on your way to being cycled!
 

brandon429

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your cycle is done.


two ways of cycling exist today to choose from.

1. wait indefinitely for the water to clear all three common params, even if you aren't applying TAN factoring to the ammonia reading per directions, still wait. can be up to three months, even after paying for 48 hour bottle bac. this mode will nearly certainly cause you to hesitate, skip disease preps as you hyperfocus on nitrite or ammonia, and cause you to buy more bottle for the apparent stuck cycle.

2. consult any seneye owner who ever used bottle bac, they were able to carry bioload without harming bioload on day one. no fish were ever burned, not one attempt on seneye has failed in a setup. fish disease is the real concern, have preps there, the cycle was paid for/engineered in a bottle.


which way sounds better

all biospira tanks and fritz tanks can carry bioload legitimately, no burn, on day one. you're day fifteen approaching.

specific to your answer, the cycle is complete not when ammonia goes to zero on non digital kits, may never occur, but cycles are defined as finished when a full water change on the test system doesn't alter the ammonia control rate (see bottle bac study below, that's the proofing move for a closed cycle there)


that time to adherence is 24 hours for fritz, 24-48 hours for biospira, you're at day fifteen :)

the next thread shows how far off non digital test kits for cycling often are.
 
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brandon429

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look how amazing that thread is


own solely the non digital kit, not only are you not done cycling you're stalled, buy more bacteria to help the ones you clearly killed in the assembly.



own digital kit alone, you were ready on day one and the rates match a well-established reef, on day one. you're on day fifteen.

A large study on bottle bac, that sets the expectations you can assume

Dr. Tim is in the thread. the ability to carry a bioload now instantly comes out of a bottle, the key issue is fish disease


you do not get better fish disease prep by waiting weeks/months past your cycling date.



your focus needs to be solely on disease prevention in fish at this point/at any point after adding bottle bac. cycles don't fail or stall, disease preps are skipped nearly always and that's busy times in the fish disease forum.



fish disease posts are where the losses exist, there aren't any losses we can find for bottle bac cycles.

handy fact: the new tanks forum has the lowest incidence of fish loss on the whole board. scan twenty pages, see how many are dead fish.

now do that in the disease forum, see the massive difference


we'd think the place where cycling is happening would have the highest loss rates, but its the best on the board because these bottle bac are that good, they mask for us initially the true impacts of fish disease coming in a short 8 mos. on average.
 
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JoJosReef

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look how amazing that thread is


own solely the non digital kit, not only are you not done cycling you're stalled, buy more bacteria to help the ones you clearly killed in the assembly.



own digital kit alone, you were ready on day one and the rates match a well-established reef, on day one. you're on day fifteen.

A large study on bottle bac, that sets the expectations you can assume

Dr. Tim is in the thread. the ability to carry a bioload now instantly comes out of a bottle, the key issue is fish disease


you do not get better fish disease prep by waiting weeks/months past your cycling date.



your focus needs to be solely on disease prevention in fish at this point/at any point after adding bottle bac. cycles don't fail or stall, disease preps are skipped nearly always and that's busy times in the fish disease forum.



fish disease posts are where the losses exist, there aren't any losses we can find for bottle bac cycles.

handy fact: the new tanks forum has the lowest incidence of fish loss on the whole board. scan twenty pages, see how many are dead fish.

now do that in the disease forum, see the massive difference


we'd think the place where cycling is happening would have the highest loss rates, but its the best on the board because these bottle bac are that good, they mask for us initially the true impacts of fish disease coming in a short 8 mos. on average.
Thanks Brandon, and great links. I particularly appreciated the Seneye vs API thread, as it looks similar to what I am seeing.

Today, ammonium read at ~1.0ppm (a bit higher than yesterday, in fact, although I did stir up the substrate well with a turkey baster).

Also did nitrite (gone way into the purple) and nitrate (between 10-20 on API tube test, but ~40 on the API dipstick).

These numbers are alarming, and I can see what you mean about people finding themselves in a "stalled cycle", but I also question the confidence and significance of the API test results. I don't know what TAN conversions are, but this website puts my NH3 concentration at 0.0291 (https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/FreeAmmonia.php). Clearly the bacteria are active or the nitrite levels would not have shot up from blue to purple.

Perhaps time for action--I am almost ready for a big water change (new pump arriving tomorrow), but I was waiting to give the bacteria time to "settle" on the rocks/sand. Seems like they should be perfectly cozy by now.

Next steps in my plan were to add and feed CUC until I felt ready for a clown. Even after a big water change, seems like some people are getting elevated readings from API tests--does it make sense to go ahead with the CUC bioload and monitor for a week before adding a clown?

This has been a great help--would be terrible to go on for weeks and weeks with green tubes while my soon-to-be 4yr old waits for his Nemo.

Best,
Joe
 
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The idea behind the “instant tank” with bottled bacteria is, I believe, a bit exaggerated. I’ve cycled 3 tanks in the past year using a combination of these methods.

This is what Dr. Tim’s says about the process. Using dormant bacteria (bio spira, live sand, seeded dry rock) definitely takes longer. Using live activated bacteria should be shorter, but even the website calls for 8 days plus and it sounds like you’re well on your way. Seems totally normal to me; nothing in this hobby comes fast and you’re already well ahead of the traditional multi-month cycling. Once fully cycled and mature 2ppm should be able to be processed fairly quickly. However that is a massive load of ammonia all at once.

One of the criticisms of this cycling method is that you’re boosting your bacteria way above the load they’ll carry when you add the first 1-2 fish. Then you’ll get a lot of die off and nitrate because the bacteria can’t survive “real world” ammonia production. I personally don’t think this argument matters much and I think it’s more important to make sure your first fish survive. Just saying though; don’t worry too much it’s taking a few days. You’re asking more of the tank now than you’ll ask of it with 2 small clowns. You’re well on your way to being cycled!
Yes, true.
 

brandon429

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Hey look as soon as I stated the new tanks forum has the least losses



but key clues abound: that’s long after cycling, and before eight mos


That’s the new emerging pattern for thousands

quick fish carry from a bottle though it doesn’t burn with ammonia is letting us hypertrade fish at rates faster than disease protocols can control. Result = buckets of dead fish collectively for the hobby as a whole, daily.
 

Tamale

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Hey look as soon as I stated the new tanks forum has the least losses



but key clues abound: that’s long after cycling, and before eight mos


That’s the new emerging pattern for thousands

quick fish carry from a bottle though it doesn’t burn with ammonia is letting us hypertrade fish at rates faster than disease protocols can control. Result = buckets of dead fish collectively for the hobby as a whole, daily.
First off, love all you the data you put out! Really opened my eyes on the cycle process. Found a used seneye to try and replicate/run your process once my tank arrives.

With regards to your last comment, are you saying that people are buying fish so rapidly that the industry isn't able to properly quarantine/see diseases they have that may not be visible yet?
 

brandon429

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Agreed, I can’t pinpoint the changes exactly but nobody had these disease percentages in the late nineties and early 00’s it’s something more recent in trending


my friends back in the day would just go get fish from the lfs, add them and keep them years without issue it seemed

also handy trending: nano -reef.com has twenty years of nanos logged and their disease losses are darn low, hardly anybody preps


but its mostly two clowns and a goby, not much diversity in fish compared to large tanks. It’s fascinating how certain subsections of the hobby have high vs low loss pattens over time
 

Tamale

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Agreed, I can’t pinpoint the changes exactly but nobody had these disease percentages in the late nineties and early 00’s it’s something more recent in trending


my friends back in the day would just go get fish from the lfs, add them and keep them years without issue it seemed

also handy trending: nano -reef.com has twenty years of nanos logged and their disease losses are darn low, hardly anybody preps


but its mostly two clowns and a goby, not much diversity in fish compared to large tanks. It’s fascinating how certain subsections of the hobby have high vs low loss pattens over time
I actually joined nano-reef before reef2reef and have been stalking both for a while before joining and have noticed the same trend. The fish disease and sudden death of livestock is super low/rare. I've also noticed that most reefers on that forum all advise and follow the same cycle/stocking methods. So maybe that also attributes to success rates.

I do agree that it also, probably, has a lot to do with the low stocking and many tanks may even reach stocking limit after adding two or three fish. So introducing diseased fish may never occur after the initial cycle/fish introduction.
 
AS
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JoJosReef

JoJosReef

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Agreed, I can’t pinpoint the changes exactly but nobody had these disease percentages in the late nineties and early 00’s it’s something more recent in trending


my friends back in the day would just go get fish from the lfs, add them and keep them years without issue it seemed

also handy trending: nano -reef.com has twenty years of nanos logged and their disease losses are darn low, hardly anybody preps


but its mostly two clowns and a goby, not much diversity in fish compared to large tanks. It’s fascinating how certain subsections of the hobby have high vs low loss pattens over time
Short update: bought an ammonium alert badge, which I understand measures NH3 free ammonium to estimate toxicity. Looks in the safe zone, even though API kits still showing relatively high ammonium:
Safe_Tag.jpg

vs.
API_test.jpg


To its credit, the API kit result is lower than it was in the previous days (was closer to 1ppm 12 hr earlier), so it DOES show some tracking of reduction in ammonium (total ammonium, I understand). How is NH4 cleared? Are the bacteria clearing it? Is it volatile and evaporating like chlorine? Seems like the bacteria are doing a fine job of quickly ridding the tank of toxic NH3. Perhaps the process of clearing the rest of the ammonium is not correlated. I suspect that the API kits and potentially any other kit measuring total ammonium are grossly overestimating the time until you can add livestock, or if needed, add more fuel to the cycling process (stress testing till you're sure it's cycled).

My seeding timeline:
Day 1: add water, live sand, live rubble/LifeRock and Bio-Spira
Week 2: panic because parameters don't seem to be improving, buy more bacteria
Week 2-3: full bottle Dr. Tim's, full bottle of Fritz9, daily Microbacter7 2-4mL

Uncertainty from testing + impatience = 4 purchased bottles of bacteria---it is OK, because I want to get this up and running well as soon as I can around my son'd birthday, but perhaps some of those purchases were overkill and added to an already or nearly cycled tank.

Purchased CUC critters from Reef Cleaners last night and should get the first livestock in next week!

Thanks!
 

Steven27

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your cycle is done.


two ways of cycling exist today to choose from.

1. wait indefinitely for the water to clear all three common params, even if you aren't applying TAN factoring to the ammonia reading per directions, still wait. can be up to three months, even after paying for 48 hour bottle bac. this mode will nearly certainly cause you to hesitate, skip disease preps as you hyperfocus on nitrite or ammonia, and cause you to buy more bottle for the apparent stuck cycle.

2. consult any seneye owner who ever used bottle bac, they were able to carry bioload without harming bioload on day one. no fish were ever burned, not one attempt on seneye has failed in a setup. fish disease is the real concern, have preps there, the cycle was paid for/engineered in a bottle.


which way sounds better

all biospira tanks and fritz tanks can carry bioload legitimately, no burn, on day one. you're day fifteen approaching.

specific to your answer, the cycle is complete not when ammonia goes to zero on non digital kits, may never occur, but cycles are defined as finished when a full water change on the test system doesn't alter the ammonia control rate (see bottle bac study below, that's the proofing move for a closed cycle there)


that time to adherence is 24 hours for fritz, 24-48 hours for biospira, you're at day fifteen :)

the next thread shows how far off non digital test kits for cycling often are.
My tank has been running since Tuesday and I added bio spira on Friday. The bacteria in bio spira is capable of supporting the fish bio load so there’s no need to cycle??
 

Freenow54

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Hi everyone,

(Fluval EVO 13.5)

Toward the end of week 2 of cycling with live sand and Caribsea LifeRock/live rock rubble in sump + Bio-Spira, nitrite and nitrate were low by API dipstick. I decided to stress test the bacteria by adding ammonium chloride (Dr. Tim's) up to 2ppm. The following morning the ammonium tube was green at exactly 2ppm--looks like the bacteria weren't working through the ammonium very quickly. I added Dr. Tim's and Fritz seeding bacteria. Day 3 following addition of ammonium, and the API test is showing between 0.5 and 1.0 ppm.

My question is: does this seem normal? Followed by: how long does it usually take a cycled tank to convert 2ppm ammonium? Is this slow for having added Fritz/Dr. Tim's?

Note: I removed my filter floss, but kept the live rock rubble and chemi-blue in the sump.

Thanks!
Took me two months, and at Bulk Reef Supply suggestion left the lights off. May be a factor
 

brandon429

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you saw that last nite when posting on the thread/can see the instant carry ability afforded by biospira

if the bacteria are alive in the water then they’ll carry fish bioloading, the problem is adding fish quickly introduces disease into the tank, the risk isn’t a cycling risk it’s a disease risk from skipping preps. it’s good to verify the bottle bac are alive in dry start setups as mentioned there with the three part picture of ammonia


but wet start tanks are different, those dont use bottle bac. We need to know if your rocks were dry or wet when installed so we can try and relate your posted tank to these two random threads kicked up?
 
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