New 20 gallon, cycle question.

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
hello R2R world!

New to the forum, and also my first salt water tank set up!

So on Thursday I set up a 20 gallon tank with an aquaclear 50. Set temperature to 78°f. My salinity is at 1.020. I used 10 lbs of dry rock and 20 lbs bag of Fiji pink live sand. I also added 1 raw never frozen shrimp in a mesh bag. On Friday I went window shopping to 3 different LFS for some clown fish (compare price / availability). LFS (A) told me to wait to fully cycle tank to buy fish. Fair enough I understand the concept. LFS (b) told me the bacteria in my tank probably needed more of a boost and to add DR tims one and only bottle. Unfortunately he had none on hand to sell me but highly recommended before buying any fish, and to bring him back a water sample. LFS (c) told me I could throw in 1 fish to cycle the tank, like a firefish I wanted in the first place. I didnt feel comfortable spending any money on fish unsure of my water quality etc... so they told me to just get a hermit crab. Cheap way to know if water is sustainable and a $4 investment if dead. Sounded fair and so purchased and added to tank. I also added sachem stability bacteria... 2 capfuls as per instructions. Today, saturday around noon my tank looked great, crab was walking around. Added another cap of the sachem bottle and took a water sample to bring to LFS for testing. LFS said all my levels were fine and should add 2 clown to the system to fully cycle. Also recommended some other bacteria in a bottle brand they had in stock. I had errands to run so didn't purchase anything. Got home around 7pm to a cloudy/ milky white tank. Assumed its a bacteria bloom or new tank syndrome. My hermit crab seemed dead so I assumed my ammonia spiked to dangerous levels. I did a small water change to try and lower the dangerous levels I assume I had (4 gallons) and removed the shrimp from the water (tank smelled bad)... now my questions:

How long is the shrimp supposed to stay in the tank?
Should I use sachem prime to help with the dangerous levels of ammonia? I already own a bottle and says its compatible with their stability bottle. For the record, date of stability was july so assumed bacteria was alive.

Thanks in advance to any replies. (Admin please move if in wrong section)
 

Funston07

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
955
Reaction score
3,868
Location
Dubois
If you add bottle bacteria your tank cycles basically overnight. The shrimp will stink, should stay in until it starts to decompose. Personally I wouldnt use the raw shrimp method. You can use fish flake or any fish food to ghost feed tank instead of using a raw shrimp and get the same results. Have you tested your levels? What are they?
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
If you add bottle bacteria your tank cycles basically overnight. The shrimp will stink, should stay in until it starts to decompose. Personally I wouldnt use the raw shrimp method. You can use fish flake or any fish food to ghost feed tank instead of using a raw shrimp and get the same results. Have you tested your levels? What are they?

Thank you for the reply.
I did take out the shrimp... didn't look decomposed, rather looked cooked.

I did add 2 shrimp pellets.

I took water samples today to petco. They said my water was fine but it was low ph, to add some buffer.
I then took another sample to another LFS... they used test strips. Said ammonia was low, 0 nitrite, low nitrate. My PH read 7.8 vs. Petcos reading of 7.5... but overall my water was too hard and recommended a 25% water change.

I did purchase an Api master test kit and took a test when I got home. Results are 8.0 ph (after adding instant ocean sea buffer, 2 teaspoons)...
Ammonia between .25 and .50 ppm.
Nitrite 0ppm. And Nitrate could be 0ppm or 5ppm... attached a picture for reference.

20200920_150047.jpg 20200920_150201.jpg
 

Funston07

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
955
Reaction score
3,868
Location
Dubois
No need for a water change yet. Let your ammonia come down a little more to .25 then do a water change. Using API test it will probably never read 0, they are not extremely accurate.
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
No need for a water change yet. Let your ammonia come down a little more to .25 then do a water change. Using API test it will probably never read 0, they are not extremely accurate.

Thank you.

Do I add a few flakes daily or are the shrimp pellets I added enough for a few days?
 
Lazys Coral House

FishRfriendsNOTfood75

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
lakeland
hello R2R world!

New to the forum, and also my first salt water tank set up!

So on Thursday I set up a 20 gallon tank with an aquaclear 50. Set temperature to 78°f. My salinity is at 1.020. I used 10 lbs of dry rock and 20 lbs bag of Fiji pink live sand. I also added 1 raw never frozen shrimp in a mesh bag. On Friday I went window shopping to 3 different LFS for some clown fish (compare price / availability). LFS (A) told me to wait to fully cycle tank to buy fish. Fair enough I understand the concept. LFS (b) told me the bacteria in my tank probably needed more of a boost and to add DR tims one and only bottle. Unfortunately he had none on hand to sell me but highly recommended before buying any fish, and to bring him back a water sample. LFS (c) told me I could throw in 1 fish to cycle the tank, like a firefish I wanted in the first place. I didnt feel comfortable spending any money on fish unsure of my water quality etc... so they told me to just get a hermit crab. Cheap way to know if water is sustainable and a $4 investment if dead. Sounded fair and so purchased and added to tank. I also added sachem stability bacteria... 2 capfuls as per instructions. Today, saturday around noon my tank looked great, crab was walking around. Added another cap of the sachem bottle and took a water sample to bring to LFS for testing. LFS said all my levels were fine and should add 2 clown to the system to fully cycle. Also recommended some other bacteria in a bottle brand they had in stock. I had errands to run so didn't purchase anything. Got home around 7pm to a cloudy/ milky white tank. Assumed its a bacteria bloom or new tank syndrome. My hermit crab seemed dead so I assumed my ammonia spiked to dangerous levels. I did a small water change to try and lower the dangerous levels I assume I had (4 gallons) and removed the shrimp from the water (tank smelled bad)... now my questions:

How long is the shrimp supposed to stay in the tank?
Should I use sachem prime to help with the dangerous levels of ammonia? I already own a bottle and says its compatible with their stability bottle. For the record, date of stability was july so assumed bacteria was alive.

Thanks in advance to any replies. (Admin please move if in wrong section)
I was told to do the "ghost feed" the tank until I heard a better explanation of why it USED to be a good way to add bacteria and why it no longer is. Shrimp used to be wild caught and unprocessed in the past, which means it would have had the bacteria you want. Now, not only is it farmed (removing the ocean bacteria element), but it's also "scrubbed" to remove harmful bacteria for our consumption. I did the shrimp thing and left it in there a week as instructed. A month later, my dry rock was as whit as when I started. I found a new shop with a guy who is fanatical about coral, and he advised me to add a bottle of bacteria to move my cycling along. In ONE day, I had a diatom bloom, 4 days later the diatoms were gone, and immediately after...beautiful purple corraline algea began to grow. My tank is only 2.5 months old, I used NO live rock, and it's in great shape! Buy your bacteria... you'll be glad you did!

20200911_173724.jpg
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
I was told to do the "ghost feed" the tank until I heard a better explanation of why it USED to be a good way to add bacteria and why it no longer is. Shrimp used to be wild caught and unprocessed in the past, which means it would have had the bacteria you want. Now, not only is it farmed (removing the ocean bacteria element), but it's also "scrubbed" to remove harmful bacteria for our consumption. I did the shrimp thing and left it in there a week as instructed. A month later, my dry rock was as whit as when I started. I found a new shop with a guy who is fanatical about coral, and he advised me to add a bottle of bacteria to move my cycling along. In ONE day, I had a diatom bloom, 4 days later the diatoms were gone, and immediately after...beautiful purple corraline algea began to grow. My tank is only 2.5 months old, I used NO live rock, and it's in great shape! Buy your bacteria... you'll be glad you did!

20200911_173724.jpg

Wow that looks great! What bacteria did you use?

I did remove the shrimp and added sachem stability. I got a milky / cloudy bacteria bloom yesterday... today it was much clearer!...
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
Wow that looks great! What bacteria did you use?

I did remove the shrimp and added sachem stability. I got a milky / cloudy bacteria bloom yesterday... today it was much clearer!...

Ps...

I bought Dr Tims one and only bacteria... by now I imagine after several days the tank is cycled.... im starting to see what looks like algea growing on my rocks and sand. Literally nothing yesterday and today all the rocks and sand look "dirty". Is this ok, or does it mean it's too much light on my tank?
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
Ps...

I bought Dr Tims one and only bacteria... by now I imagine after several days the tank is cycled.... im starting to see what looks like algea growing on my rocks and sand. Literally nothing yesterday and today all the rocks and sand look "dirty". Is this ok, or does it mean it's too much light on my tank?

Can't get a good imagine but maybe this helps.

20200926_190836.jpg
 

ichthyogeek

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
1,878
Reaction score
1,734
So uhh....just to pop in, but I wouldn't trust LFS C. LFS A and B gave some very good advice, but the whole "toss a fish in to cycle the tank" (without bottled bacteria) is a relatively outdated concept. Especially a firefish of all fish...

Also, is $4 for a hermit crab a typical price for your area? It seems kinda on the expensive side. For context, when I was in the bay area (huge cost of living), the hermit crabs were $2.50 each.

You'll also need to worry about disease now. Just keep the tank free of fish for 11 weeks after your last addition of non-fish (corals, crabs, etc.), and you won't have to worry too much about having an outbreak in your tank.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
So uhh....just to pop in, but I wouldn't trust LFS C. LFS A and B gave some very good advice, but the whole "toss a fish in to cycle the tank" (without bottled bacteria) is a relatively outdated concept. Especially a firefish of all fish...

Also, is $4 for a hermit crab a typical price for your area? It seems kinda on the expensive side. For context, when I was in the bay area (huge cost of living), the hermit crabs were $2.50 each.

You'll also need to worry about disease now. Just keep the tank free of fish for 11 weeks after your last addition of non-fish (corals, crabs, etc.), and you won't have to worry too much about having an outbreak in your tank.

$4 is expensive... typical price of that city. If I drive 30m out the same crab might be 2.50. Their normal clown fish were $50 ea, firefish $59.

So is that algea growth from 1 day to the next ok?
 

ichthyogeek

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
1,878
Reaction score
1,734
$4 is expensive... typical price of that city. If I drive 30m out the same crab might be 2.50. Their normal clown fish were $50 ea, firefish $59.

So is that algea growth from 1 day to the next ok?
It might be? Personally I'd just keep the lights off to let the beneficial bacteria take over more of the tank's surface area. Test the ammonia/nitrites/nitrites again, and if it's 0/0/something, then it should be cycled.
 

K7BMG

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
1,882
Do yourself a favor and use the search tool upper right hand corner of the page.
Type in Nitrogen Cycle and in the member section type in Brew12.

He has written an exceptional thread on the cycling of a new tank.
Cycling takes time.

I cant tell what that is in your tank as the picture is not clear enough for me.
Algae in my expieriance will apear but again also takes time.
Small patches at first.

What is the total time frame that your tank has been under cycle?

Your salinity is a bit low at 1.020.
The average 1.026.

I also recomend before you add any livestock.
Research the animals first.
Find out the actual care needs for them.

This hobby requires a lot of research, more than most want to do but thats part of it.

There needs to be an understanding of care and compatibility of the livestock. How to keep the chemistry levels of the water column at stable levels.
20g nano tanks are awesome but you need to understand how a drop of something can be disastrous in such a small volume of water.
 

Eric209

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
95
Reaction score
336
Location
Stockton
$4 is expensive... typical price of that city. If I drive 30m out the same crab might be 2.50. Their normal clown fish were $50 ea, firefish $59.

So is that algea growth from 1 day to the next ok?

Ouch 50 for basic clowns and 59 for firefish?? Where do you live? You can get some designer Clowns for 40-65 and firefish for 20. I live in Stockton Ca but you might want to take a drive to other LFS in your area . Ive never had go experiences with Petco because they dont take care of their Saltwater fish
 
The Best reef aquarium LED lighting
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
Do yourself a favor and use the search tool upper right hand corner of the page.
Type in Nitrogen Cycle and in the member section type in Brew12.

He has written an exceptional thread on the cycling of a new tank.
Cycling takes time.

I cant tell what that is in your tank as the picture is not clear enough for me.
Algae in my expieriance will apear but again also takes time.
Small patches at first.

What is the total time frame that your tank has been under cycle?

Your salinity is a bit low at 1.020.
The average 1.026.

I also recomend before you add any livestock.
Research the animals first.
Find out the actual care needs for them.

This hobby requires a lot of research, more than most want to do but thats part of it.

There needs to be an understanding of care and compatibility of the livestock. How to keep the chemistry levels of the water column at stable levels.
20g nano tanks are awesome but you need to understand how a drop of something can be disastrous in such a small volume of water.

I have increased the salinity to 1.025. Researched hermit crabs like that number better?

Stock list in mind: 2 clown, yellow watchmen, firefish, purple dottyback. Maybe 5ish hermit crabs, 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 brittle starfish.

I set up the tank on sep 17... thats when my cycle started. I believe I got a milky white cloud bacteria bloom 3 days later.
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
Ouch 50 for basic clowns and 59 for firefish?? Where do you live? You can get some designer Clowns for 40-65 and firefish for 20. I live in Stockton Ca but you might want to take a drive to other LFS in your area . Ive never had go experiences with Petco because they dont take care of their Saltwater fish

Those are awesome prices. I dare not even look at designer clowns. Looking at 89 to 300 each. Im in CT.
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
Use Turbo start 900 it works great and it will cycle your tank fast.

I have used a bottle of sachem stability. Then I used a bottle of bio-spira... and lastly I used a bottle of Dr. Tims one and only based on previous advice on here. I hope I have enough bacteria in the tank by now lol.

Previous research on here said to keep lights on running like a regular tank even if empty. I guess I'll keep lights off then.
 

Fakegolfnews

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
734
Reaction score
688
I highly reccomend microbacter7 from Brightwell to seed a tank of beneficial bacteria. It works well for starting a tank but also can be added to lower nitrates if they ever get high. Unlike the rest if these bottle bacteria products that are usually expired before tou buy them, microbacter7 has a year kong shelf life.
 
OP
D

Digitalfirex

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Usa
I highly reccomend microbacter7 from Brightwell to seed a tank of beneficial bacteria. It works well for starting a tank but also can be added to lower nitrates if they ever get high. Unlike the rest if these bottle bacteria products that are usually expired before tou buy them, microbacter7 has a year kong shelf life.

That makes sense. I did check the date of the stability bottle and it was manufactured in July...

I found Brew12s posts btw... very helpful information. Mostly a post about algea growing being a good sign of the cycle :)
 
Lazys Coral House

Have you heard about our Toys For Kids Drive?

  • YES

    Votes: 46 67.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 22 32.4%

Online statistics

Members online
2,401
Guests online
6,794
Total visitors
9,195
Top