How much ammonia should nitrifiers be able to handle daily for you to consider a tank cycled?

How much ammonia should nitrifiers be able to handle daily for you to consider a tank cycled?

  • A specific amount (2ppm)

    Votes: 6 42.9%
  • A specific amount (not 2ppm, please specify)

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • A specific amount that varies depending on one or multiple factors (please specify)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Any amount of ammonia oxidation (i.e. any decrease in ammonia from nitrification)

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • I consider an aquarium 'cycled' differently (please specify)

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    14

Azedenkae

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A cycling question for y'alls.

Dr. Tim's fishless cycling method (https://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/fishless-cycling/) states that nitrifiers should be able to handle 2ppm (or rather, 2-3ppm) ammonia a day for an aquarium to be considered cycled.

But of course, we all have different views on cycling. Would love to hear more of your view.

Disclaimer: as usual, I am not asking advice for myself, this is a question that stems from curiosity.
 

brandon429

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Reason I voted any degree of movement down:


find me a seneye owner that disagrees ammonia control occurs as a minutes-long slope from dose to safe .00x ppm nh3, it’s fast.

it never stalls, it never ever ever stalls.

(completely unassisted cycles have a different time frame and after its met, they don't stall, each type of cycle has its known timeframe and most are on the label of the actual bottle bac)

api stalls, Red Sea stalls, salifert stalls, Nyos stalls


hanna checkers and seneyes don’t stall when calibrated and benchmarked in convincing ways our threads show.


ergo, any degree of movement down means total control if there’s enough surface area we’d commonly use in a reef tank.


any samplers not seeing that movement are using one of the color tube compare kits above. And you’re standing in mid blue kitchen light and didn’t shake the reagent correctly plus you reported the reading too fast. Also missed the fill line by a hair, hey ones one ml anyway. Any stated number from a non digital reading will be taken as fact, and the bacteria assigned a weakness thats the full bet. And then we buy something to fix it, thats the training.

ps

I have a lil PayPal bounty for anyone who can show me ammonia stalling in a common reef tank, even during a cycle. Show where ammonia started high and stopped at 1 ppm or .5

taking bets on the test kit type
 
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Uncle99

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I could never get a good read on any test kit for ammonia.
I just seed the rock or marine pure for 24hours with Microbacter 7 (or Fritz or whatever) in a bucket, then into the DT/Sump.
I just wait a week and in go the first fish.
Never had any issues.
Gone are the days of just adding rock, ammonia, and waiting months.
 

brandon429

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what if the requisite for joining macna among the other 400 reefs at the skip cycle convention was that your reef had to prove it could handle 2 ppm and get zero nitrites at the door

no cycle, no pass u got 24 hours bub.


and they're using a color tube kit for the call

anyone that lands on .25 or .5 is excluded, get out. your bacteria are dead not allowed in
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Any downward reduction in ammonia for me. By the time you realize it, do a water change and get the fish in then you won’t have an ammonia problem. I also generally go by the rule to stock slowly. The surface area determines how much ammonia you can process.
 
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Azedenkae

Azedenkae

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Thanks y'alls. Actually, I'd love to hear a lot more from everyone, because from the responses there seems to be a correlation between 'any amount of ammonia decreasing' and 'stocking slowly'.

Would love to hear if anyone don't wait to hit 2ppm ammonia/day consumption before stocking more heavily.

Or if anyone still has trouble with ammonia rising/spiking even if they are stocking very slowly and thought their tank could already process 2ppm ammonia/day.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Thanks y'alls. Actually, I'd love to hear a lot more from everyone, because from the responses there seems to be a correlation between 'any amount of ammonia decreasing' and 'stocking slowly'.

Would love to hear if anyone don't wait to hit 2ppm ammonia/day consumption before stocking more heavily.

Or if anyone still has trouble with ammonia rising/spiking even if they are stocking very slowly and thought their tank could already process 2ppm ammonia/day.
I will bite. I think the 2ppm ammonia/day rule has some validity. For example, I keep african cichlids and when stocking the tank its advised to add batches (10 or so fish to a 75g) and then again a few weeks later add the rest so no fish can be picked on. If you plan on adding more than half of your final bioload at once then I would make sure I could handle 2 ppm. But at the same time I moved this 75 g tank with 26 full sized fish and rinsed a sandbed without a spike in ammonia...

I tend to think cycling is overthought and fish-in cycling mixed with some fishless cycling prep work is fine in 90% of reefs. My general approach is to throw rock in a bucket with ammonia and bacteria for about a week. I measure my nitrite levels to ensure I am processing something then add in some livestock.
 

blasterman

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Nitrosomonas and nitrobacter grow at exponential rates based in hours and based on existing ammonia and nitrite availability. The rate of ammonia conversion is based on how much ammonia is present, and if there's surplus ammonia bacteria will rapidly grow to consume it. Sidebar, but biowheels, biomedia in cannister filters do not increase the amount of bacteria. Just concentrate it, which is a bad thing.

So, asking for a specific rate of reduction is like asking to solve and equation with two variables.

The bacteria suppliment industry has been doing a good job gaslighting proven science to push their products. Not saying it's snakeoil because we have enough reefers using the products to prove they work.

If the bacteria that come out of the bottle are indeed healthy and doing their job they will quickly grow to consume existing ammonia levels. If the rate of consumption is 'x' in 24 hours, and there's still ammonia available then bacteria will keep growing to consume the surplus, and grow quite fast. Also, the higher the level of ammonia the faster the growth, which is why we often see oddball traces of ammonia in young tanks (API inaccuracy aside). Bacteria aren't going to waste energy reproducing as fast if ammonia levels are sparse.
 
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Azedenkae

Azedenkae

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I will bite. I think the 2ppm ammonia/day rule has some validity. For example, I keep african cichlids and when stocking the tank its advised to add batches (10 or so fish to a 75g) and then again a few weeks later add the rest so no fish can be picked on. If you plan on adding more than half of your final bioload at once then I would make sure I could handle 2 ppm. But at the same time I moved this 75 g tank with 26 full sized fish and rinsed a sandbed without a spike in ammonia...

I tend to think cycling is overthought and fish-in cycling mixed with some fishless cycling prep work is fine in 90% of reefs. My general approach is to throw rock in a bucket with ammonia and bacteria for about a week. I measure my nitrite levels to ensure I am processing something then add in some livestock.
Thanks for providing the additional info. I do agree with the validity of the 2ppm thing with cichlids absolutely, especially given that cichlid tanks may also be considered 'overstocked' compared to other tanks, and with more digging recently, I think the whole 2ppm thing actually originated from the cichlid-keeping side of the hobby.

One of the reasons why I created this poll is also to see what opinions people may have on the 2ppm/day thing when it comes to reef aquariums, including your experiences.

I will say though, I would not be surprised if your 75 gallon tank move resulted in no ammonia spike even if you did not bring the sandbed at all - I mean we expect that most of the nitrifiers should be in our rocks, right?
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Thanks for providing the additional info. I do agree with the validity of the 2ppm thing with cichlids absolutely, especially given that cichlid tanks may also be considered 'overstocked' compared to other tanks, and with more digging recently, I think the whole 2ppm thing actually originated from the cichlid-keeping side of the hobby.

One of the reasons why I created this poll is also to see what opinions people may have on the 2ppm/day thing when it comes to reef aquariums, including your experiences.

I will say though, I would not be surprised if your 75 gallon tank move resulted in no ammonia spike even if you did not bring the sandbed at all - I mean we expect that most of the nitrifiers should be in our rocks, right?
The rocks lacked porosity as they are mostly slate and were not kept very wet during the move. In a reef aquarium I think this would be absolutely true but very hard to judge with slate. I think the nitrifiers that I left undisturbed in my canister filter were enough for the entire tank.

I would love to see a shift in the hobby back to live rock entirely to eliminate this question. I also don't think fish-in cycling is as barbaric as I once thought if you have 48 hours of fishless cycling with a 100% water change before introducing.
 
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Azedenkae

Azedenkae

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The rocks lacked porosity as they are mostly slate and were not kept very wet during the move. In a reef aquarium I think this would be absolutely true but very hard to judge with slate. I think the nitrifiers that I left undisturbed in my canister filter were enough for the entire tank.
Huh, that's interesting. Absolutely great to know! Did you use any specific biomedia in your canister that is supposedly very porous or anything, or just the standard bioballs?
I would love to see a shift in the hobby back to live rock entirely to eliminate this question.
That would be nice. I guess it just gotta be cheap enough for LFS to take it up. In Australia we never have issues because live rock is so cheap and accessible that LFSes do not mind getting a lot in. Here though, the amount of times I see people (mostly newbies) saying they bought live rock and posting up a pic where it was clearly not the 'live rock' we expect is disheartening. A bit more asking and basically all these clearly white, barely 'live' rock were likely just dry rock chucked into a tank by LFSes and then sold on as 'live rock' to unsuspecting aquarists. Sigh.
I also don't think fish-in cycling is as barbaric as I once thought if you have 48 hours of fishless cycling with a 100% water change before introducing.
Yeah. I have moved on a lot from considering whether something is 'ethical' or otherwise, especially because things keep on evolving. But yeah, with how fast cycling can be now, and especially with marine fish where nitrite is not even a big deal, I don't mind fish-in cycling. I would not do fish-in cycling unless I have to, but I realize it is less so due to it being ethical or not, and just more so it'd be a pain. I'd much rather fishless cycle, less things to have to worry about.
 

KrisReef

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Once the tank is "cycled by the numbers" it seems that a person could add a "Heavy" bio-load of under fed fishes from a QT and as long as they don't get fed much there isn't going to be anything to overwhelm the bacteria unless one of the fishes dies in the process.

The rate of nutrient (ammonia) additions to the water column from all sources is all that the bacteria bed has to handle. Underfeeding fishes in new set ups seems to be under appreciated from my brief observations across many threads.
 

brandon429

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we need to include a time a reefer would NEVER add ammonia, and that's to live rock skip cycles

why:

because per updated cycling science, the kind that runs all reef convention start dates, any wet materials xferred from one tank to another retain their critical bac and functionality, they dont need boosting, they dont have room to take on new bac so dosing any would be unhelpful

the whole point of buying live rock with residents is to xfer over happy residents, why in the heck would we burn them with ammonia when we're already dreading basic air contact during the move

those residents took longer to set up shop than your cycling bac did, and those dont leave as long as surfaces stay wet.


they do NOT starve in a home, lab techs all over this world chuckle at us thinking withholding fish food sterilizes a box of water. don't be part of that snicker line, wet surfaces will stay cycled in a home setting. or in a pet store one

the way we handle cycling changes 100% between dry rock cycles and live rock skip cycles, do not add ammonia to live rock skip cycles thats caveman cycling, thats barbarism, that's total mistrust of nature.

dose ammonia for dry rock cycles.
 
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brandon429

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the way you verify if live rock from a pet store is ready is by looking at it with your eyes.

mailed rock is different, shift from your eyes to your nose lol the ammonia kit will still lie to you. you will never be truly free of its lies. when rocks have an ammonia problem, they smell bad.

lots of folks have opened a box of kp aquatics that got crushed in shipping, leaked out, and know just what we're talking about. that waft.

the reason every example from that thread had no bad smell and no cycling issues is because they all came from cured live rock vats at a pet store. that's the one true kind of skip cycle rock, in every case. in no cases does it fail to skip cycle.
 
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taricha

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I would like to know what people's actual food inputs are. It's not hard to know - foods say right on the label what % is protein.
If I feed a cube of mysis, a cube of brine, and a pinch of flake...
mysis: 3.3g x 7.6% protein x 16% N in protein = 40mg N
brine: 3.3g x 3.7% protein x 16% N in protein = 20mg N
pinch of flake: 0.5g x 53% protein x 16% N in protein = 42mg N
Total = input of 40+20+42 = 102mg N in 260L system = 0.39 mg/L of N
if 100% of that protein N went into NH4 that'd give 0.39 x (18 mass NH4 / 14 mass N) = 0.50 ppm NH4

So I feed around 0.5 ppm ammonia equivalent per day. 2ppm/day represents an excess capacity of 4x as much which is fine with me. I've had fish and snails die in the system so having 4x capacity doesn't seem crazy to me.

But honestly, if you have a lighted reef with algae and coral, then you have excess capacity well higher than what nitrifiers can do.
 
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Azedenkae

Azedenkae

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I would like to know what people's actual food inputs are. It's not hard to know - foods say right on the label what % is protein.
If I feed a cube of mysis, a cube of brine, and a pinch of flake...
mysis: 3.3g x 7.6% protein x 16% N in protein = 40mg N
brine: 3.3g x 3.7% protein x 16% N in protein = 20mg N
pinch of flake: 0.5g x 53% protein x 16% N in protein = 42mg N
Total = input of 40+20+42 = 102mg N in 260L system = 0.39 mg/L of N
if 100% of that protein N went into NH4 that'd give 0.39 x (18 mass NH4 / 14 mass N) = 0.50 ppm NH4
That calculation makes sense to me, good way to estimate nitrogen content.

Let's see, I have a 150 gram NLS tub, and have fed my fish about 1/10th of the tub over 3 months. So around 166 mg/day, though I have been upping feeding, so let's say 200 mg/day at the moment.

200mg x 39% crude protein x 16% N in protein = 12.48mg N/day

The water volume of my 20 gallon tank is around 57 litres (discounting rocks and equipment and all that), so: 12.48/57 = 0.22 ppm ammonia/day.

A lot less than I thought. XD
So I feed around 0.5 ppm ammonia equivalent per day. 2ppm/day represents an excess capacity of 4x as much which is fine with me. I've had fish and snails die in the system so having 4x capacity doesn't seem crazy to me.
Yeah part of the reason why I put up this poll, is to validate the whole 2ppm/day thing. I do think an excess capacity would be great because yeah if something died or if things get messed up, well there's a higher likelihood of the capacity to handle it. But that could also be built up post-cycling, though granted, doing so during the cycle is easiest. Hm...
But honestly, if you have a lighted reef with algae and coral, then you have excess capacity well higher than what nitrifiers can do.
True. I was cycling a second tank in April and after a while thought, what the heck am I doing. It's gonna be coral-only anyways. XD
 

taricha

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So I feed around 0.5 ppm ammonia equivalent per day.

The water volume of my 20 gallon tank is around 57 litres (discounting rocks and equipment and all that), so: 12.48/57 = 0.22 ppm ammonia/day.

A lot less than I thought. XD

To be totally accurate, my food example was when I had larger fish than now. Currently it's more like an average of 0.2ppm ammonia-equivalent per day going in.

I really wonder does anyone feed near 2ppm ammonia equivalent per day?
this would be 10mg/L of protein input daily. That sounds like a LOT to me.
Which is why I think of the 2ppm/day number as excess capacity, not a daily demand.
(but I don't know what other people feed)
 

brandon429

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Right now reef a palooza Florida is building up and getting ready


why is someone not interviewing each skip cycle entrant, with a hundred grand in frags and fish to sell, to see how they’re setting up and whether or not they dose the transfer systems up to 2 ppm ammonia or not to see if moving over to the convention undid their cycle

Aze will never cede ground-he will advise 100% of cyclers they must have zero nitrite and zero ammonia on api in order to reef and live rock cycles are handled the same as dry rock cycles. There is no distinction for Aze, a cycle is a cycle context is omitted.

will RAP follow the rules or break them? —- what’s the reality between sellers cycling rules and buyers cycling rules


Someone needs to conduct a podcast interview there and put the system on trial. The techniques about to be used at RAP by the sellers could then be relayed as options for new tankers, that’s 100% opposite from current relay action.
see if the option majority here has application irl or just ifl in forum life


if we find out entrants at RAP did not consult api and use ammonium chloride to begin, how does that validate or invalidate moving two ppm to call a cycle done? It will establish a form of cycling we wouldn’t even use any testing to handle.


psst: the sellers show up with wet rocks, trust them, then sell us cycling products. Since 1997. All stuck cycle madness is forum peer trading.
 
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