How to unstick any seemingly stuck cycle

brandon429

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cycles don't stall like we've been told

tests kits give you various readings on a given sample across kits, see this example



we will never factor, measure or need to know nitrite during any phase of reefing, especially the cycle. reason: reducing misreading test kits has benefits, and nitrite is neutral in reefing it matters in freshwater cycling not the kind we do. only ammonia control is required to know





its not very hard to unstick cycles knowing that new rule in reefing, that cycles do not stick or stall past expected buildup timeframes.

Pull up a common cycling chart online and see the # days it takes to control ammonia... Most tanks here dosed speed-cycle bottle bac as a boost, these cycles are not stalled, they’re ready faster than a cycling chart shows. Your test kits can’t show zero very well.


macna reef conventions sure have no problem with stalled cycles on full instant reefs, have you noticed that? It’s forum posters that have stalled cycles, not the salesmen.

we discuss why that is happening

We will discuss why we have been told cycles can stall, testing errors that make it seem possible, and how the simple act of doing a large water change will get 99% of posts on this thread ready to go.
_______________________________________________________________________________

This thread will use live time examples from cycling tanks to reveal truths in reef tank cycling, and inherent consistency vs implied stall

Reef tank cycles don't stall, we will reveal.

Why don't my tests line up with cycling rules? (A stall suspected)
Many reasons why, we'll get to that on a case by case basis. It’s always going to be your tests misreading, the aquarium will follow known timelines.

Post any cycle you think is stalled, and we'll unstall it using the current setup, without buying new things, mainly by typing that you are not stalled (after we scan details for short two details: # of days underwater and what brand of bacteria you used that has already been charted by Dr Reef for deposition timeframes)

Ok post up the challenges
 
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brandon429

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A major theme here will be changing out the cycling water causing myriad test read outcomes for new water, and beginning to reef.

What's going on with nearly all stuck cycle claims is a full established biofilter, clung to rocks and sand, underneath a bunch of random ammonia addition wastewater.

If you remove the wastewater for new, leaving the adhered bacteria, you now have a functioning biofilter underneath clean water (and I still bet api says you're stalled lol)

At that point, when you begin reefing things will live, because you're cycled.

To observe what happens in an uncycled tank within 48 hours, add totally dry rocks to a five gallon bucket of new water and add a mix of margarita and cerith snails and crabs/ clean up crew, and check back in 48 hours

Conversely, in a cycled system the cuc will thrive day to day

In the end, cycling is about the stark changes that occur between able to keep animals alive, and clearly unable to keep animals alive... it's not ever about earning zero ammonia on a test kit as any working seneye owner can tell us that free ammonia is never zero in a reef tank, ever

Expecting a zero measure when zero doesn't exist in nature comprises 99.99% of stuck cycle claims- it's the test as the problem not the actual cycle.
 
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Krixic

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A major theme here will be changing out the cycling water causing myriad test read outcomes for new water, and beginning to reef.

What's going on with nearly all stuck cycle claims is a full established biofilter, clung to rocks and sand, underneath a bunch of random ammonia addition wastewater.

If you remove the wastewater for new, leaving the adhered bacteria, you now have a functioning biofilter underneath clean water (and I still bet api says you're stalled lol)

At that point, when you begin reefing things will live, because you're cycled.

To observe what happens in an uncycled tank within 48 hours, add totally dry rocks to a five gallon bucket of new water and add a mix of snails and crabs/ clean up crew, and check back in 48 hours

Conversely, in a cycled system the cuc will thrive day to day

In the end, cycling is about the stark changes that occur between able to keep animals alive, and clearly unable to keep animals alive... it's not ever about earning zero ammonia on a test kit as any working seneye owner can tell us that free ammonia is never zero in a reef tank, ever

Expecting a zero measure when zero doesn't exist in nature comprises 99.99% of stuck cycle claims- it's the test as the problem not the actual cycle.
Thats some good info! Never really understood why my ammonia tests never wanted to read zero.
 
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brandon429

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also added to the mix: at no time will nitrite factor into our process, not at all.

every type of cycle has an associated time frame for the basal layer to complete. ranging amounts of ammonia and nitrite don’t stall base layer accumulation, within reason. no exacting amounts required...it’s all about submersion time to know when a cycle is complete.

bacteria are getting feed beyond what we provide; look up microbial distribution pathways in a home online and see the myriad input ships for bacteria, feed which degrades into ammonia etc. we don’t starve filters by withholding feed; nature has been feeding them in every rain puddle even if we’re not there to allow it with our all powerful dead shrimp/fish food/ ammonium chloride offerings :)

the -reason- we give boosts to cycle (feed, bottle bac) is to speed up required submersion time, you cannot stall a cycle by withholding feed to an open topped tank in a home, if we withhold feed then the timeframe required is the unassisted cycle time frame- see online cycling charts for reference. most people nowadays don’t want to wait 30-45 days for an old school cycle, and they want to download songs faster than 45 mins per song/1997

cycling options now includes total skip cycling (transferring live rock among existing aquariums) and quick cycling (a few days with any strain of bottle bac, see Dr. Reef’s bottle bac study) and unassisted cycling (add dry rocks to water and wait for natural contaminations to set up, takes a long time) and curing cycles where ocean rocks are mailed and we change water to stop dieoff, leaving once again a basal layer full complement)

99.999% of cycles here will be the first two options. And all those are ready within predictable submersion dates, even if api disagrees, even if you think for sure your bottle bac must have died. We will show the predictability not the variability of reef tank cycling in this thread, and the marker is either a tank with living animals day to day or it’s a totally dead system/ all new additions lost due to bad cycle, there is no mid ground. No cycle stalls, not any of them, they complete by the known submersion dates we will show.
 
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brandon429

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Part of updated cycling science is that nitrite simply does not factor in -marine- tank cycles, with no nuances, we don’t need to know nitrite in any reef coming up and I’ll drive this thread to twenty pages by 2022. Only ammonia is required to know

In freshwater cycling nitrite matters.


nitrite can’t stall a cycle (though MACNA videos say it can, aware, I’m debating that directly) and no testers today read nitrite reliably they’re all cross reading somehow or contaminated by a water prep. We can’t test for it correctly as a hobby, we tend to make extra unneeded purchases from testing alerts for nitrite.

in Randy’s chem forum they discuss how the chloride content of s water occupies all receptor sites for nitrite damage in fish, we‘re too salty to matter. I have numerous separate threads showing it cannot stop or stall ammonia control; only ammonia control matters here
Corals and pods and inverts worms and bacteria and fish aren’t harmed by nitrite presence in a cycling tank, if there’s harm it’s from only ammonia.

we have 100% cycle compliance coming up here because we only factor one param, ammonia, and we predict when that’s ready a tester isn’t required. Time frame underwater + boosters used alone will determine every cycle start date coming on this thread

the start date is the date we can add life and it lives, vs what happened in the test bucket with a full clean up crew in new water over dry rocks (totally dead and smelly gray water in 48 hours)


test kits are lying to everyone, we will use the life in the reef tank to show ammonia is under control in all claimed stuck cycles.


any seneye owner is welcomed to post ammonia data. I trust those three hundred dollar digital testers that test free ammonia out to thousandths ppm

no other kit can be trusted here.

we have a special way to use api ammonia to proof a cycle, it’s by using the test differently than the directions.

most people have api, and if we rearrange how the test is used they can proof a cycle quite well
 
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Krixic

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Part of updated cycling science is that nitrite simply does not factor in -marine- tank cycles, with no nuances, we don’t need to know nitrite in any reef coming up and I’ll drive this thread to twenty pages by 2022. Only ammonia is required to know

In freshwater cycling nitrite matters.


nitrite can’t stall a cycle (though MACNA videos say it can, aware, I’m debating that directly) and no testers today read nitrite reliably they’re all cross reading from some other param or interaction between ammonia or nitrate in some way. We can’t test for it correctly.

in Randy’s chem forum they discuss how the chloride content of s water occupies all receptor sites for nitrite damage in fish, we‘re too salty to matter. I have numerous separate threads showing it cannot stop or stall ammonia control; only ammonia control matters here


we have 100% cycle compliance coming up here because we only factor one param, ammonia, and we predict when that’s ready a tester isn’t required. Time frame underwater + boosters used alone will determine every cycle start date coming on this thread

the start date is the date we can add life and it lives, vs what happened in the test bucket with a full clean up crew in new water over dry rocks (totally dead and smelly gray water in 48 hours)


test kits are lying to everyone, we will use the life in the reef tank to show ammonia is under control in all claimed stuck cycles.


any seneye owner is welcomed to post ammonia data. I trust those three hundred dollar digital testers that test free ammonia out to thousandths ppm

no other kit can be trusted here.
Fascinating, ill be sure to follow along any more info you post here. Thanks!
 
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brandon429

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It would be hilarious and awesome to scan other forums online, active forums, for stalled cycle posts (daily, by the hour, all forums) and show them this thread saying not one cycle alive and running is stalled, post up for proof here and let me rearrange things to make it work.

it’s such a borderline offensive claim lol surely someone will take my dare. Post me a stuck cycle + willing aquarist to run a water change and we’ll make the ready date call. They change water, add animals, animals live, it’s cycled. For pages coming up :) it just takes a while to get the wheel going. Someone pls head right to reefcentral initially and via message, let em self search out this thread they won’t be able to link to it due to the fifth wall. Reef2reef is about to fix them cycles


for other forums like nano-reef.com or thereeftank ultimatereefs we are friends no covert ops needed heh
 
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brandon429

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Here's a fitting case study for our way of cycling. The mix of wastewater has conversions in place from nh3-nitrite-nitrate, all swirling in the mix. Dr. Reef's bottle bac thread specifically tested Dr Tim's and found it to be adhered to tank surfaces, immune to a full water change, within the timeframe of the directions stated on the bottle. To have active bac means it locks into place within these ten days

so, if he changes out water it leaves the functioning bioslick, and his tank is off and running with clean water, animals added will simply live feed and act normally.

summary


A. old way of cycling: input mix of additives and wait until zero ammonia, nitrite, and some nitrate (weeks past the directions date, you pay for speed cycling and still get to wait out like an old school 30 day cycle) and if any single param varies, wait longer the cycle is stuck. you wait, indefinately, until the $9 ammonia test and nitrite test allows you to reef. you cannot reliably start on any date using this approach; test kits decide. You could not take the new reef to a MACNA convention to skip cycle, like the others. You'd miss the start date and then some. wanna upgrade the reef or move homes? be prepared for an indef wait, before you can add fish back in the reassembly.


do reef conventions ever work that way? do their rows and rows of skip cycle tanks look weak, or lack fifty grand in delicate life swimming around for you to buy?

B. new way of cycling, based on new ways of measuring free ammonia (expensive digital ammonia testers, namely seneye, or lab quality gear for nh3 is a fine sub) that shows old ways are completely wrong: input mix of items, let stew for the stated timeframes on the bottle. Test for any degree of ammonia reduction + nitrogen species in any combination like the above tank, change out water, begin reefing/add life it was never stalled as no reef tank cycle stalls, that was all wrong testing information. You can meet any desired start date with this approach. You can make a deadline. Its equally as strong as the original cycle above, because strong = how many water changes it can endure which is unlimited. You can move the reef or transfer it and begin, with all fish + some, on any date you desire, before you begin, and your cycle will be complete

nitrite compliance does not factor in updated cycling science nor at any reef convention ever. if you want to consider presence of nitrite proof that you can see oxidation, that's valid, but we dont need the nitrite to go down or care what it does.
 
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brandon429

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Here’s one, ammonia is not at .5


his cycle was ready (unaffected by a full water change, bacteria locked in place on rocks) about forty days ago.

reasons for his misread: that’s probably TAN reading and the nh3 portion is .05, people remind us of those conversions routinely, my friend Dan P is a strong chemist and keeps that reminder going so I’ll relay it here
 
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brandon429

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# of times we use bottle bac re-added to unstick a cycle, zero.

# of times we will actually encounter a stuck cycle here, pull examples from any forum we want and post them, zero.

stuck cycles are a false claim, it was about to cause more bottle bac sales above and this is always the case.

stuck cycles are caused by false test ammonia readings, or the occasional tomfoolery where someone sets up an all dry system, doesn’t add bottle bac, doses ammonia to 1ppm and it holds for a month and then posts that to mess with me endlessly.


if we’re talking about any form of bacteria inoculation into saltwater, and a week or so, you’re cycled. The way to unstick a stuck cycle is to verify inoculation source + time underwater related to the 8 days ammonia control on a common cycling chart, and then type out that they’re not stuck, they’re just not using seneye. Fixed. No cycles stall in reefing, the sum total of being told that is we buy bottle bac in droves, making cash leave us and outflow
 

Cbones1979

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Going on 2 weeks using bactra start and dead shrimp. Should I take out the shrimp? Add more bac? Start the skimmer? I have dry sand and 1/2 dry rock. Other half was live rock I kept in saltwater for many weeks....hope it remained alive

image.jpg
 
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Cbones thank you very much for our first challenge. Your cycle is complete in the way mentioned, due to three clues you 100% have a functioning biofilter layer where a water change + remove shrimp + add animals works. They’d die in an uncycled tank, but here they will live for an easy 3 clues:

1. time- submersion time rules all in cycling -not- parameter testing. You are at fourteen days. Locate any cycling chart to see what ammonia is doing at day fourteen...and those charts don’t count bottle bac speed boosting. Your ammonia is controlled due to what the time axis on a universal cycling chart shows, that the ammonia test above appears stalled is expected. It cannot report the real levels.

2. we can see nitrite in the pic, and nitrate. If they were hard zero no action + hard yellow ammonia after fourteen days that would be strange, but we see nitrification in action right there. It’s not stuck, only those testers make the cycle seem stuck no biology or seneye testing will read what those read. Nitrification in steps is occurring per your pics. Our thread here uses updated cycling science to prove it can’t stall just above completion, there is no half cycled. There’s able to carry fish, cycled, or will kill new fish in 48 hours, uncycled. Reef tank surface area doesn’t allow for a middle ground at day 14 all cycle charts and seneye meters show.

3. Live rock inclusion. Any bioload you add will be carried by the live rock alone, that the dry systems have been given feed and inoculation time matching chart times is extra, this tank is cycled and if you wait for api to show it, could be sixty more days. Fish or a clean up crew are going to act the same then, or now. This cycle is not stuck, the ability for api to read correctly is stuck. Living animals or seneye readings are the only ways to prove readiness.

wet live rock stays self-fed per this thread (three years no feed in garage, passes ammonia oxidation movement down)



please update pics when you begin. I’m certain no animals will show ammonia poisoning behavior at all, and seneye ammonia would never spike above .05 ppm nh3 bad ammonia at any time in this cycle due to live rock inclusion. Change the water, begin. We want to use repeatable science to name safe start dates and then this thread is held accountable for the call. Your safe start time is now.
 
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Hi Brandon,
Thanks for this thread - makes perfect seneye (see what I did there...)

I transferred all my LR, ceramic media and livestock from my Reefer 170 to new 625XXL + new dry rock + all new sand + 64 Oz ATM Colony (just to be safe). Lo and behold I was still measuring 0.2-0.4 ammonia after 2 weeks.

Clearly I know it’s b/s because;
1) My filtration and bioload did not change - the transfer was immediate so wouldn’t have seen any bacterial die of
2) I ADDED good bacteria, which would have supported any die off and sped up the seeding of new dry rock
3) All of my livestock is absolutely fine & behaving normally

Just some questions for you;
1) What is my Red Sea ammonia test reading and why?
2) How big a water change is required to remove whatever is creating the NH3 reading?

Thanks
Matt
 
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brandon429

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Agreed 100% with your assessment it is not stuck, in retrograde, or cycle harmed in any way. i do not know what kind of artifacts or cross-reads make these non seneye testers read high levels. We can also add to confusion when many people can get a Red Sea or api ammonia to read zero. The majority can’t.

We are reminded of nh3 conversion charts for red sea where we divide our total ammonia nitrogen readings to get hundredths ppm for most readings, but seneye doesn’t agree that normal reefs run at hundredths ppm, their collective logs shows that reefs convert free ammonia at the rate of thousandths ppm-much faster than titration kits has us believing. even after conversion, no titration kit patterns to match what seneye shows. That is a clue we’ve been believing falsely what ammonia does for potentially thirty years lol in the hobby.

as I study ammonia control over the years here using other people's readings and post patterns, one thing has become apparent: no reef I’ve seen ever hits tenths ppm nh3 and no reef sustains it. Not once. The worlds most oft-reported measure (try google and find us an ammonia measure not in the tenths, it’s everyone’s read) has never occurred on anyone’s seneye (machine that digitally reads to thousandths ppm)

I keep a fun tiny cash bounty going for twenty bucks: $20 PayPal to the first poster who sources out a seneye log online and posts it here showing tenths ppm sustained more than two hours. Even when baited by cash its hard to find a single seneye agreeing that any cycle sticks, stalls or hangs or retrogrades.
Even when reefers input the calc’d amount of ammonia to hit 2 ppm in a seneye setup during cycle, the bottle bac they add is quick enough to begin work- in two hours they will not even be in the tenths itll move down into hundredths ppm and that aligns with ten thousand fish-in cycles where newbies who aren’t even measuring ammonia keep getting away with it-totally happy fish during a period everyone says they’re being ‘burned’

and the test kits indicating a ‘burn’ are never seneye. Patterns :)
 
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brandon429

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* I believe there is a way to make Red Sea and api ammonia work for us, it’s the calibrated zero approach. What you read above on your Red Sea is it’s calibrated zero, the lowest it will report in this particular arrangement at this time.

the safe zone you can see functioning well in your reef happens to be .2 or .4 on that tester. So if you had no fish corals or cuc in there and you wanted to verify, we’d add ammonium chloride into the tank until that ammonia reading goes one increment up as positive free ammonia, a discernible color change up but not 2 ppm, one degree darker than it is now. a re test in 24 hours will move it back down to this level above, the movement down is proof of cycling work and not required to hit zero, the majority will never get a zero so we change the calibration levels for the kits and they work.

a funny secret for this thread is I expect 0% of posts to be stuck, cycles cannot stick or freeze or stall as we have been told. Anyone who posts here is already cycled because they’re all older than 5 days and Dr. Reef’s bottle bac test thread shows nearly all brands of bacteria adhered to surfaces, immune to full water changes, in that time. Every ammonia reading here will be artifacting and we don’t care what the nitrite or nitrate shows, though they can still be handy indicators of action like in Cbones’ tank

these cycling charts we can find on google are fifty years old from textbooks, that science runs waste treatment facilities that produce our clean drinkable tap water, nitrification is well understood in those industries it’s only our hobby who soundly believes an aquatic system of high surface area doesn’t follow universal nitrification timelines. Ammonia is controlled by day ten on all cycling charts for a reason, and our tanks are complying the animals routinely show.

why we dont care about nitrite in this thread: Randy Holmes-Farley's article on nitrite in the reef tank, its neutral impact to us. If we were freshwater, it would matter. It might matter in brackish cycling I havent asked.


why we dont care about nitrate: we can find zero nitrate posts in all types of reefs new and old, to be zero on nitrate could indicate denitrification, plant binding, bad test reading, we'll never know. Nitrate is for algae tuning and color tuning in corals and prevention of certain invaders; its absence in a cycle means nothing. If ammonia is being oxidized nitrate is produced, by rule, and we may or may not detect it with nine dollar testers.


only ammonia control matters in reefing because a tiny fractional amount not under control will kill animals and make them behave in distressed ways and they will never act normal when ammonia is not under full control.
 
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xiholdtruex

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I had a issue in 2017 where I was cycling my tank and kept getting wierd number high ammonia and nitrate. I emailed dr tims and they pretty much told me the same thing. do a large water change the bacteria is on the rocks and sand and add fish your good to go! I am a firm believer that large water changes do not effect aquaria as long as the alk ca and mag match I have never had any issues and have see it with a few members in the local club as well. @brandon429 Good info as always!
 

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I'm guessing i should pull the shrimp? it's been 2 weeks and my skimmer is pulling nutrients although ammonia and nitrites were higher yesterday. I added more microbactar start as recommended.
 

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