NEWBIE IN NEED OF HELP CYCLING QUESTIONS????

Elev8minh

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Hello to everyone on here. Firstly, let me introduce myself my name is Minh and I am completely new to the salt water aquarium hobby and I am extremely excited as I am about to embark on this new journey. However I have hit a cross roads and I figured I ask on here for some guidance and wisdom from you all. I’ve recently purchased a water box cube 20 and started my tank cycle using Brightwell aquatics Dry rock starter kit which contains microbacter Start XLM, Quick cycle Ammonium Chloride and MicroBacterClean. I’m using Marco dry rock and dry sand as my substrate for the bacteria and had my temp sitting at 85 degrees and my salinity at 1.015 using a stage 7 Rodi system with brightwell neo marine salt and ran it overnight so everything could settle in. The following day I read the instructions very well as it stated to put 4 drops of ammonium chloride per gallon of water. I even went to the extent of measuring exactly how many gallons my water box could hold which was 16 gallons. So I dosed 4 drops per gallon which equals 64 total Drops and measured the total ammonia before putting the Start XLM which was sitting at 0.8 ppm. The directions stated that the ammonia should be between 1PPM and 2 PPM. I Figured it was extremely close to the 1 ppm mark so I went ahead and proceeded to add the MicrōBacter Start XLM live nitrifying Bacteria. On day two I took my first readings using the Red Sea marine care test kit and to my surprise the ammonia had dropped to 0.2 PPM. nitrite was reading 0.05 PPM. On day 3 I did another test and ammonia was at 0PPM. I measured Nitrite and this is where things got weird, nitrite was registering at zero so I figured it converted to nitrate so I decided to measure and to my surprise it was at zero as well. Where could have the ammonia gone? I called brightwell aquatics and spoke to customer service and they told me to dose half strength of ammonium chloride instead putting 4 drops per gallon, to put 2 drops totaling 32 drops. Today on day 4, I tested again. Ammonia is sitting at 0.2 PPM with still zero signs of nitrite and nitrate. My water is pretty cloudy so I think we bacteria is doing its thing. Below I have attached pictures of my test results, Any wisdom or guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!!!!

31A22911-9B3F-4BCE-990E-0E3C49A1A91D.png 7B1357EC-395C-47BB-A592-4592E7D0F322.png 9E5F0614-5D3E-4914-ACAB-FDE69766D6AE.png image.jpg
 
Zoanthids

lafarrow

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Step 1 breath.
Step 2 take a second breath
Step 3 recite the reefers mantra "nothing good happens fast"
step 4 tale a walk around the block, look at the sunset, think about your life choices

It's all good bro, take your time, let the bacteria do its thing.
Think in terms of weeks not days.

You have a young tank. Give it time. You add ammonia so you can give food to bacteria that eat that ammonia. They can only eat that much. They need time. Let their family grow, As they grow your ammonia will drop to zero, your nitrates will go to 100 and you will be asking how to lower nitrates. Snatch the pebble from my hand. Nitrates drop with plants. Give them time. As ammonia goes down nitrates increase as plantes increase nitrates decrease.
 

FishyFishFish

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He already has an ammonia spike and zero ammonia, so presumably should have at least some nitrite already. Waiting won’t answer the question.

Have you used the Microbacter Clean at all yet? I’m not sure if that would affect the results but I think that should be added later.
 

Azedenkae

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Sounds like something is off, with how you started out and without seeing much growth of well, anything (as far as I can tell) in the image, you should at least measure some nitrite and/or nitrate.

I don't use the Red Sea test kits so I don't know how good they are, or if there are any specific actions needed with them that may not have been done and have given false readings or whatever.

Personally what I would do is dose ammonia to 2ppm, and watch the changes to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate after that. 2ppm is much more ammonia and if there is any oxidation of ammonia and/or nitrite going on, it might be easier to catch it in action.
 

Azedenkae

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Its day 4 bro!
It can be day 0 or 100, doesn't mean he should do nothing when clearly something is off. Patience is important, but so is assessing the situation and realizing something may need to be done/answered if need be. Not everything culminates in 'just wait it out'.
 

Jekyl

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Either way having patience during the cycle is a good thing. Getting caught up in numbers on day 4 just isn't necessary. Feeding your bacteria is never a bad thing. Dose it until you get 2ppm and see where your levels are at tomorrow. There's no hurry right now. Adding livestock too quickly is the problem. Waiting a little longer is healthier.
 
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Elev8minh

Elev8minh

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He already has an ammonia spike and zero ammonia, so presumably should have at least some nitrite already. Waiting won’t answer the question.

Have you used the Microbacter Clean at all yet? I’m not sure if that would affect the results but I think that should be added later.
Actually on day 2 when I measured nitrite I got a reading of 0.05PPM which I was like cool ammonia is being eaten and converting to nitrite, but the subsequent days that followed there was zero presence of nitrite or nitrate which I found very odd. And the microbacter clean is to be used after the cycle is finished to prevent the “ugly stage” so I did not touch it. I’m extremely patient I’m just wondering where is the ammonia going if it’s dropping but there’s no nitrite or nitrate?
 
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Elev8minh

Elev8minh

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It can be day 0 or 100, doesn't mean he should do nothing when clearly something is off. Patience is important, but so is assessing the situation and realizing something may need to be done/answered if need be. Not everything culminates in 'just wait it out'.
Man I’m very patient lol I’m just trying to figure out where the hell the ammonia is going if it’s dropping and there is no nitrite or nitrate. I mean It did show 0.05PPM nitrite on day 2 but the following day 3 and day 4, Zero on nitrite so I figured ther might be a little nitrate. Nope none either. Like I’m scratching my head where did it go? Lol I mean it has to go somewhere right?
 
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Elev8minh

Elev8minh

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Step 1 breath.
Step 2 take a second breath
Step 3 recite the reefers mantra "nothing good happens fast"
step 4 tale a walk around the block, look at the sunset, think about your life choices

It's all good bro, take your time, let the bacteria do its thing.
Think in terms of weeks not days.

You have a young tank. Give it time. You add ammonia so you can give food to bacteria that eat that ammonia. They can only eat that much. They need time. Let their family grow, As they grow your ammonia will drop to zero, your nitrates will go to 100 and you will be asking how to lower nitrates. Snatch the pebble from my hand. Nitrates drop with plants. Give them time. As ammonia goes down nitrates increase as plantes increase nitrates decrease.
I’m extremely patient, I am in no rush sir and i can totally wait but for the life of me I can’t figure out where the ammonia going lol if it’s dropping but not being converted to nitrite nor nitrate where is it going? Head scratcher for sure.
 
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Elev8minh

Elev8minh

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Either way having patience during the cycle is a good thing. Getting caught up in numbers on day 4 just isn't necessary. Feeding your bacteria is never a bad thing. Dose it until you get 2ppm and see where your levels are at tomorrow. There's no hurry right now. Adding livestock too quickly is the problem. Waiting a little longer is healthier.
Thanks for everyone fast response, when I called brightwell aquatics he even said he’s never encountered where the ammonia level is dropping but there is no nitrite or nitrate and he recommended I dosed only 2 drops per gallon and not 4 drops and see in a couple days. Man this is a head scratcher for sure. I know my test kit is up to date and working because I also have a qt tank that I am cycling but i used Dr. Tim’s and the test kit is working just fine on that.
 

boboyo

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I find it weird that theres no ammonia with no nitrates. Nitrites should be ignored tbh as theyre not toxic to marine fish (only freshwater fish).

The cycling kit looks like its too much. I cycled my tank in 8 days using some bottle bac and as soon as ammonia dropped to 0 I put 2 clowns and never seen ammonia since that day (took a while for nitrites to go down but when they did they disappeared in a day).

The main issue with dosing ammonia is the high nitrates that come with it. I threw in some fish food as an ammonia source. Adding 2 ppm per day is overkill unless you plan on adding 10 fish at once. I've heard that most people these days throw in a full bottle of dr tims and throw in 2 clowns right away.

Youre doing a very good thing starting with a QT right away. I had to learn the hard way to start QTing. It'll make your journey a lot easier :)

Welcome to the hobby
 

Jekyl

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People will also cycle using live fish or cycle for 6 months before adding a single fish. The ladder has seen better results. No use trying to hurry when most of this hobby is waiting. An extra week or 2 to ensure a healthy environment is nothing in the grand scheme.
 

boboyo

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People will also cycle using live fish or cycle for 6 months before adding a single fish. The ladder has seen better results. No use trying to hurry when most of this hobby is waiting. An extra week or 2 to ensure a healthy environment is nothing in the grand scheme.
1000% agreed. Although 6 months is a long time
 
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shadow_k

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Hello and welcome
I started my tank 3 months ago and let me tell you I feel your PAIN you just wanna do everything all at once but like people told me patience is key in the hobby. Also a few things to help you out

your salinity is a little low at 1.015 usually between 1.024-1.026 is good starting point unless I’m wrong I’m still a newbie

I know some people run there tank a little warmer but usually between 77°-79° is good

I also set my tank up as if I had corals and fish in it like run my lights and practice my maintenance on the tank weekly so when I did put fish in it I was not scrambling around to get things done. Some people don’t run light because it promotes algae growth but my tank cycled in 1 month and I’m battling the algae bloom now
 

KrisSanders

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I also had an undramatic cycle dosing ammonia and bacteria when starting up my Biocube 32 this January. I read all through the forums beforehand (had a larger saltwater tank years ago when the norm was to use raw shrimp and it took forever). I used Dr. Tim’s products and dosed half the ammonia from what the directions said (due to what people were saying their experiences were). I never saw nitrites and jumped to nitrates and then nothing within a day. I thought it was strange. I waited it out a few days, dosing ammonia and testing twice a day to get a handle and what was going on. Ammonia in the morning was gone by evening. I assume the nitrite happened but I missed it when testing once a day initially. I had clownfish in the tank in 11 days and now have corals and have lost nothing...all is great. My conclusion is that this new bacteria dosing along with smaller volume tank equals a fast cycle.
 

KrisSanders

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I also had an undramatic cycle dosing ammonia and bacteria when starting up my Biocube 32 this January. I read all through the forums beforehand (had a larger saltwater tank years ago when the norm was to use raw shrimp and it took forever). I used Dr. Tim’s products and dosed half the ammonia from what the directions said (due to what people were saying their experiences were). I never saw nitrites and jumped to nitrates and then nothing within a day. I thought it was strange. I waited it out a few days, dosing ammonia and testing twice a day to get a handle and what was going on. Ammonia in the morning was gone by evening. I assume the nitrite happened but I missed it when testing once a day initially. I had clownfish in the tank in 11 days and now have corals and have lost nothing...all is great. My conclusion is that this new bacteria dosing along with smaller volume tank equals a fast cycle.
Hello and welcome
I started my tank 3 months ago and let me tell you I feel your PAIN you just wanna do everything all at once but like people told me patience is key in the hobby. Also a few things to help you out

your salinity is a little low at 1.015 usually between 1.024-1.026 is good starting point unless I’m wrong I’m still a newbie

I know some people run there tank a little warmer but usually between 77°-79° is good

I also set my tank up as if I had corals and fish in it like run my lights and practice my maintenance on the tank weekly so when I did put fish in it I was not scrambling around to get things done. Some people don’t run light because it promotes algae growth but my tank cycled in 1 month and I’m battling the algae bloom now
I agree on lights, salinity and temp. I did the same. Battled some algae but a tailspot blenny and astrea snails took care of that. I have a little algae now from dosing phytoplankton but it just gives them more food. :)
 

NeonRabbit221B

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The lack of nitrates is a little strange but your measurable ammonia and then zero ammonia is 95% of what we look for in a cycle. I would argue you are cycled and can add a first fish without issue but I live by the new rules. Generally we would see a 3.9 ppm increase in nitrate for every 1 ppm ammonia dosed (assuming no export methods yet).

API test kits are hugely unreliable though so if you didn't shake your nitrate test bottles you could have likely ruined the bottles and been under reporting. Verify the instructions on the nitrate test, redo that test if you desire. Again, I wouldn't personally hesitate to put a fish in there at day 4 of a cycle with zero ammonia reading... I would suggest a large WC of 40% before adding fish to flush out nitrite which can convert to nitrate.

edit: also weird nitrate never saw a readable value. Nitrite will show up on a nitrate test kit as roughly 4x the amount. I think a misread or bad testing procedure is a culprit. Something is odd here so maybe wait for additional testing or redose ammonia.
 

Rmckoy

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Actually on day 2 when I measured nitrite I got a reading of 0.05PPM which I was like cool ammonia is being eaten and converting to nitrite, but the subsequent days that followed there was zero presence of nitrite or nitrate which I found very odd. And the microbacter clean is to be used after the cycle is finished to prevent the “ugly stage” so I did not touch it. I’m extremely patient I’m just wondering where is the ammonia going if it’s dropping but there’s no nitrite or nitrate?
Once upon a time .
the old school way to cycle was dose ammonia in any of many different ways .
Fishless was my favourite as it didn’t harm livestock .
I preferred using raw shrimp from the seafood counter .
drop
Them in and wait .
ammomia didn’t start that fast , but when it was detectable , it was there .
took a few days to transform to nitrite , which took a few more days to start detecting nitrates.

When nitrates were detected higher , with 0 nitrite and ammonia , the cycle was done .
I never had patience for daily dosing or remembering to dose every day .

That being said .
if the constant dose isn’t maintained at or above 2ppm .
I don’t think it would be effective or it would take longer to transform
if a dose is forgot , I remember reading something about the bacteria dying off .
 
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