How to unstick any seemingly stuck cycle

Bobby1993

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Here's my theory of what's happening in my tank. I believe it is "cycling" and it can be debated whether or not it's "ready". I believe you and I may agree that it is more ready than not. I also believe I am "stuck" at .25/.5ppm NH3 (API) and 0 NO2 and negligible NO3 because there is just not enough bioload to get those #'s higher. My tank is processing that small amount of yummy reef flakes too fast for it to detect a higher NO3. (This is all assuming what we already know, which is that API NH3 tests gives false readings so we have to take it in relativity and putting it in context.)

Now, of course I can further experiment by adding pure ammonia (or whatever they call it at BRS/LFS/etc) and getting that number to the magical 2ppm but I won't. That'll defeat my purpose of starting with a sterile tank that is 100% controlled by me.
Howaboutme & Brandon, out of curiosity here, only, I decided to test my water with salifert amonia, nitrate and nitrite.

My current readings are:

ammonia: not detected.0
Nitrite: 1
Nitrate: 50

I started running the tank on the 19th Jan and I started ghost feeding daily on the 21st or 22nd until tonight’s readings.

What’s your guys thoughts on this?
 
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howaboutme

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Howaboutme & Brandon, out of curiosity here, only, I decided to test my water with salifert amonia, nitrate and nitrite.

My current readings are:

ammonia: not detected.0
Nitrite: 1
Nitrate: 50

I started running the tank on the 19th Jan and I started ghost feeding daily on the 21st or 22nd until tonight’s readings.

What’s your guys thoughts on this?

Hard to say w/o more info. Did you start w/ all dry rock? You must be ghost feeding a ton to get 50 NO3 in just a weeks time. You already know this but in order to get NO3, you have to have cycled so I tend to think you're cycled. If you're unsure, you can do a large wc (or multiple) to drop your NO3 to a more respectable level and then do your ghost feeding for another week and see if NO3 rises. If it does, you're likely good. The wc is key because you do not want to be chasing NO3 later. Patience will allow you to control it now. I'd get it to 10 or lower and then do it again.

Once you think you're done, drop some snails in. Then a week later, drop fish (not all at once), corals, whatever.
 

Bobby1993

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Hard to say w/o more info. Did you start w/ all dry rock? You must be ghost feeding a ton to get 50 NO3 in just a weeks time. You already know this but in order to get NO3, you have to have cycled so I tend to think you're cycled. If you're unsure, you can do a large wc (or multiple) to drop your NO3 to a more respectable level and then do your ghost feeding for another week and see if NO3 rises. If it does, you're likely good. The wc is key because you do not want to be chasing NO3 later. Patience will allow you to control it now. I'd get it to 10 or lower and then do it again.

Once you think you're done, drop some snails in. Then a week later, drop fish (not all at once), corals, whatever.
Sweet :) nice reply thank you.
I started with live sand and Carib sea life rock.
I’ll do a WC and see what like in a week. I’m in no rush as I want to get off to the perfect start.
Shall I pop the lights on now to grow some Algi so the snails have something to eat when they go in?
I have a fluval evo 13.5.
 
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howaboutme

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Sweet :) nice reply thank you.
I started with live sand and Carib sea life rock.
I’ll do a WC and see what like in a week. I’m in no rush as I want to get off to the perfect start.
Shall I pop the lights on now to grow some Algi so the snails have something to eat when they go in?
I have a fluval evo 13.5.
Cool. With the live sand/rock, that likely explains your fast cycle and high NO3. I never turned on my lights until I had some livestock. You certainly can but I'd get your NO3 down prior. Remember, our definition of success is a combination of 5, 10, 20, 30 or more different factors and most have to align to work. When thinking about light on or off and intensity, think about the other parameters that may promote (nuisance) algae growth. Think about what is needed or not needed.
 

tpirovol

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Hi Everyone,

I am on day 5 of my cycle but I think it already stalled.

Cycled: One and Only (Entire bottle)
Ammonia: Dr. Tims
Test Kit: API

Day 1: added 4x drops per gallon -30%
Day 2: PH8.2, NH3:1, NO2:1
Day 3: Added Ammonia
Day 4: PH8, NH3:4, No2: .25
Day 5: PH8, NH3:4, No2: .25 -> I am here

Should I do a water change?

Tank: 10g
Filter: Floss only
10pds dry rock and 10pds live sand

Thanks T
 
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srawnc

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Firstly I would like thank y'all for posting such valuable information about cycling but as a newbie to saltwater aquariums I was about to pull my hair out when it comes to cycling a tank.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this post.

I started my cycle on 7 March when I introduced Dr. Tims One and Only and his AC. First few days I did get trace amounts of amm, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Skip head today 10.

Don't have any pictures of the test (currently at work) but I would like to share the results from yesterday's testing.

The test used is the standard API Saltwater kit

AC: per test was "zero" but after reading this post not sure it may be zero but going by these tests it reads zero.

Nitrite: is 5.0ppm which it's been sitting at this reading for the last 3 or 4 days, hasn't moved

Nitrate: is very similar but it fluctuates between 10 to 20ppm nothing more nothing less.

PH: has been consistently between 7.8 and 8.0

Currently running my salinity at 1.23 because this will only be a FOWLR tank.

I know nitrites aren't a concern within the saltwater aquariums. Water is crystal clear with no fowl smell etc etc. Just curious as to what y'all think in regards to adding livestock. Did dose amm last night and will test this afternoon to see if it will convert within a 24 hour period. Well share results of that.

Forgot to mention it's a standard 30 gallon tank with around 20 to 25lbs of dry rock, sand.
 

srawnc

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Firstly I would like thank y'all for posting such valuable information about cycling but as a newbie to saltwater aquariums I was about to pull my hair out when it comes to cycling a tank.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this post.

I started my cycle on 7 March when I introduced Dr. Tims One and Only and his AC. First few days I did get trace amounts of amm, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Skip head today 10.

Don't have any pictures of the test (currently at work) but I would like to share the results from yesterday's testing.

The test used is the standard API Saltwater kit

AC: per test was "zero" but after reading this post not sure it may be zero but going by these tests it reads zero.

Nitrite: is 5.0ppm which it's been sitting at this reading for the last 3 or 4 days, hasn't moved

Nitrate: is very similar but it fluctuates between 10 to 20ppm nothing more nothing less.

PH: has been consistently between 7.8 and 8.0

Currently running my salinity at 1.23 because this will only be a FOWLR tank.

I know nitrites aren't a concern within the saltwater aquariums. Water is crystal clear with no fowl smell etc etc. Just curious as to what y'all think in regards to adding livestock. Did dose amm last night and will test this afternoon to see if it will convert within a 24 hour period. Well share results of that.

Forgot to mention it's a standard 30 gallon tank with around 20 to 25lbs of dry rock, sand.
Oringally posted back on 17 March out of curiosity if my tank had indeed cycled per this method. @brandon429 reached out to me via messages and explain what is exactly needed and didn't need to post per the oringal post. Based off the information provided he deemed that the tank cycled. After we chatted I stocked the tank with 1 black molly. Week one I checked all parameters. This past Saturday I officially added 2 clownfish and nerite snails. I'm happy to report all livestock are healthy and happy.

And NO DEATHS!

28 March (today) Was the first time I checked my Parameters and per this method all are good. During the last two weeks I did perform two 10 gallon water changes to bring Nitrate levels down but never spiked above 20ppm. Like to mention as well once ammonia hit zero and adding livestock it never once spiked.

20220328_184208.jpg 20220328_184208.jpg
 

swilliams2207

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This entire thread was extremely helpful. I followed @brandon429 advice and ultimately had fish in a fully cycled tank in 8 days. I built my 10g tank using fully cured Liferock from my LFS. No idea how long it had been in their system. Also used live sand and pacific natural seawater. I used Dr. Tim's one and only and ammonia drops for a fishless cycle. Both nitrites and nitrates spiked like crazy after a few days. Nitrates were up to 80-100ppm (according to Salifert). In general, I was seeing successful Ammonia movement downward 24-48 hours after each addition.

I'm not sure what timeline nitrites or nitrates would have fully dropped on their own. I ended up doing a 100% water change on day 7 and added two clowns on day 8. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were zero after the change and have been zero for the past two weeks.

I'm assuming the cured Liferock sped up the process? Or maybe I never really needed a cycle to begin with.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Trends to watch out for in 2022, how the hobby is backsliding on updated cycling science:


- common cycling posts have fully drifted back into 100% of tanks posted are told “not ready, wait longer” and it’s due to a positive nh4 reading from a cheap non digital test kit causing the advice. We covered this in the first sentence of the thread.

please locate and read any new common cycling tank post, any forum. Are the readers calling the tank ready, or not ready? The hobby still isn’t applying exact start date science to their reef tanks. Cycles still range all over the place on web forum posts regarding allowed start dates.

we are page *31* here, have you seen me tell someone the tank wasn’t ready? Who was told to wait longer? So then why daily are new tank bottle bac cyclers being told their tank isn’t ready- new cycling science acceptance will be delayed until the bulk of ammonia measurements are conducted as digital nh3 and only two meters I know are available to hobbyists in 2022 can do that task.

- omission of fish disease talk as the #1 concern in cycling, ammonia control is a set predetermined date- says any cycling chart. Our cycle assessment posts on forums nowadays still don’t mention disease prep as part of the tank prep, umpires will not ever mention fish disease warnings as they collectively look to find reasons a particular tank can’t have an exact start date. New tanks losing fish within eight months to preventable disease is the new trend to watch out for, that we’ve been discussing for thirty months


-the hobby has yet to accept the simple fact that bottle bac makers do a good job, and their product allows day one fish addition without ammonia burn. 100% of today’s cycle umps in posts will agree that without waiting days on end, no fish can be carried without a burn. The folks writing this material don’t own hach nh3 or seneye meters.


-why aren’t the scientists with access to full reefs and digital nh3 meters not writing about updated ammonia dynamics and timing? so much new data about cycle completion dates could be had if the owners of all these new seneyes would band together and report back on what cycles do. The hobby is still by and large non digital nh4 testing, so expect false cycle stall threads to remain for years to come. If the owners of digital meters would type up their findings more often, we could gain buy in faster from the greater public that their seemingly stalled cycles are all actually completing on a very timely basis.
 
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seerad

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Hello!

first tank and would love some feedback here on next steps. 13 days ago started 29g Biocube tank with live sand, and LifeRock (dry). Per LFS used QuikCycl recommended drops of 4 per gallon one gallon paired with daily dose of mcrobacter7.

ammonia showed zero by day 3 and nitrites spiked up. Added Seachem Matrix filtration and after consistent 10 (max) for nitrites and 60-80 for nitrates on API stick, took water into LFS. They said nitrites really high do a 5 gallon water change and dose again. Re-dosed with One and Only after water change and another full dose of QuikCycl on day 8. Ammonia processed out by 24 hours and nitrites have continued to creep back up to where they are now at 10+ and 180 for nitrates.

what are best next steps. See so many posts saying it’s stalled and needs a water change so bacteria can grow and others saying don’t do a water change or it will stall. I can be patient if need be, just not sure what I should do next (if anything)
 

Dburr1014

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Hello!

first tank and would love some feedback here on next steps. 13 days ago started 29g Biocube tank with live sand, and LifeRock (dry). Per LFS used QuikCycl recommended drops of 4 per gallon one gallon paired with daily dose of mcrobacter7.

ammonia showed zero by day 3 and nitrites spiked up. Added Seachem Matrix filtration and after consistent 10 (max) for nitrites and 60-80 for nitrates on API stick, took water into LFS. They said nitrites really high do a 5 gallon water change and dose again. Re-dosed with One and Only after water change and another full dose of QuikCycl on day 8. Ammonia processed out by 24 hours and nitrites have continued to creep back up to where they are now at 10+ and 180 for nitrates.

what are best next steps. See so many posts saying it’s stalled and needs a water change so bacteria can grow and others saying don’t do a water change or it will stall. I can be patient if need be, just not sure what I should do next (if anything)
Water change to get the nitrates down.
You are cycling ammonia. You are cycled.
If a tank is not cycled, ammonia would stay high, clearly this is not the case.
10 nitrites is nothing to worry about. Add your first fish. Wait a couple weeks in between additions.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Let the record reflect i just typed 98% of that in a chat to the poster having never prepped with DBurr.

Therefore I concur :)

In 2022 we'll all agree here that bottle bac are able, capable, decades refined... we'll err on the side of completion everytime past day ten of heated stewing among rocks. Nice call D
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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@seerad please if you would once you are set up and running post pics of your tank with life in it

That's the #1 token we use in the entire thread, an after pic of some life being carried by a filter setup that always completes a cycle by a known wait time given the right inoculation and feed.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Look at this new digital ammonia tester


It doesn't read in thousandths ppm nh3 which is what seneye shows us

So from that meter we expect 99% of posts with it being ran on a stocked reef tank to be 0.00- 0.05,
that's its degree of accuracy...+ or - .05

That device is also calibrated for 77 degrees Fahrenheit...I know of nobody with a reef that cool. Some degree of error will likely be present for reef tanks running 80 degrees average.

Reef tanks run at thousandths ppm we see in seneye threads, so having any stocked reefs above .05 there will be a really suspect reading.

The last part, tank cycling information we can rely on? Let's see some post trending from them first

** the meter is only $59
and reads as nh3, that's the first affordable device to do this

Future years will be able to apply more than one digital nh3 meter to fact check claims made in this thread regarding cycle chart timing. I can't wait.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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The tank was ready well before today.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Hey really good, thank you for posting

Can you add the full tank picture, that's perfect tracking for how we discern start dates here. While the api ammonia might alarm some, it's no alarm to us considering the number of fully cycled displays running that same greenish tint

We find those posters in any thread labeled "ammonia emergency" within a display tank. Quarantine setups may indeed have emergencies but not displays, too much surface area. I predict your tank will be fine if you used one of the common cycling bottle mixes or did a live rock transfer setup.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Ps your nitrite readings would strike fear deeply into the hearts of old cycling science advocates. This is a savory post you made, we like this type of nonconforming cycle. I wouldn't mind if your nitrite was so high the glass vial was glowing like radioactive uranium.


The prediction is your cycle is fine, animals will show it, your tank processes their feed plus their waste daily and water stays clean if you did one of the common cycle approaches. Some algae challenges can be expected soon.
 
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