Re-Seeding Nitrifying Bacteria from Main to Frag Tank.

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Coral Winslow

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Hello, so long story short, I crashed my fishless frag tanks (20g long) cycle by being too agressive with a refugium and not harvesting my macros. I added Dr. Tim’s about 3 days ago and have been doing near daily water changes to keep the ammonia at or under 1ppm. I’ve decided to seed from my display tank by using a Marine Pure 2” cube. I didn’t want to at first since my display has colonial hydroids and I didn’t want to transfer that to my frag tank, but I don’t want to keep doing daily water changes.

My question is how long would you wait for bacteria from the main to colonize the new Marine Pure before bringing it back to the frag tank?
 
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brandon429

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the prior cycle was not crashed at all.

post pics of this setup, there's details we get from pics that aren't stated.

currently, if you add water or sourcing from another reef, or active surfaces, we know they transfer out within 20 days to any inert surfaces in the tank-- that's on file tested. your cycle redo here though might have added details unstated, that speed that up. your original cycle was fine, and didnt stall.

*I fully believe the entry level ammonia test said it stalled, fully believe that. but it didnt, and that means your second go round is also 100% guaranteed to complete the cycle just the same. we should forego the cheap test kit this round though, so it'll actually complete.

if you used bottled bacteria, then in 48 hours all the surfaces would be covered in filter bac such that a full water change wouldnt remove them off surfaces (source for claim: Dr Reefs 90 page bottle bac study thread using full water changes at 48 hours)

that's why we need pics. we can tie in the 20 days ~ wait we'd expect from reef water moved into a new dry system vs the 2 day average plate time for common bottled bac once we see your ratios, and can discern from pics if any rocks or living material from a prior setup play a big role in the picture of the setup.

If you are dealing in a very low surface area setup, that w be evident in pics and youll need to modify how you proof a cycle ready around using much less than normal surface area. if you proof it as normal, it'll seem stalled because you lack surface area but not bacteria.
 
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Coral Winslow

Coral Winslow

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You’re correct, I didn’t supply all details. My frag tank has been up and running for about 10 months, I went through the whole cycling process and was good up until the last couple weeks when figuring out why all of my corals weren’t opening up. I typically only tested nitrates and they were zero. When I noticed a devils hand turning dark, I knew to check ammonia. This is where I found out I killed my cycle. I have 14 of those 2” marine pure cubes and I’ve never read any ammonia after the original cycle. My hypothesis is that I added chaeto, red ogo, and dragons tongue along with a grow light panel I had for pepper seed germination. I let the refugium get stuffed full. I believe that the macros were absorbing all nitrates and the ammonia before it had a chance to break down to nitrate. I zeroed out nitrates and phosphates and had a small Dino bloom. That was corrected and now my ammonia does not get broken down anymore. If you have any questions about my setup please let me know. Thanks.
 

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the presence of macros can only boost a cycle they can never, ever, ever harm or stall one.

this thread here will show you why you had no free ammonia:
 
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Coral Winslow

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Here’s my setup.
 

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very nice tank!!


that thread above shows that you never lost your cycle, you only had a tester indicate so.

that tank above is / remained 100% cycled are you changing that out?

for a new setup>?

if not, then as the pics stand, that tank is cycled and can't uncycle. it has plenty of surface area, and time underwater.
 

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ps


every single time I use that link as an example, someone new gets entered into it. that's how it gets so large lol/irony
 

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your reef does have its main surface area directly in the flow, its a rather perfect setup for a frag tank.

You arent running massive fish bioload in there such that the position and amount of that surface area can't keep up, the corals are fed and certainly growing and that means the system has handled all its nitrogen input just fine. You could add several fish to that setup and it still would never, ever lose the ability to handle common bioload waste.


*so what would it take to fail the ability of the filter? sequestered and reduced surface area: meaning 1/4th that many bricks used, put down low in a sump alone, where up top several fish and corals + feed swirl around with no live rock to immediately use up waste. by swirling all the waste around up top then having to wait until only the portion that goes down the drain contacts surface area, a true inability might develop. but not here, in that tank, as it sits with those details in place.

There is no time for the rest of the life of that tank I'd ever test for ammonia and nitrite ever again, even if you do add some fish it can take it a normal degree of them due to that much surface area, sitting in the main display. the system has dang good flow we can see it clear as day on the top shot. im jealous of that setup!

*even if you bought and added more bacteria, they've no where to attach. all wet and aged surfaces in that tank are full up on bac and will remain that way as long as they're wet.

if you did have an ammonia control problem, evidenced by unclean water, shriveled corals, bad smell, you'd add more blocks in flow for new attachment points vs more bacteria which will be skimmed out and go to waste as systemic floc.
 
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Coral Winslow

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very nice tank!!


that thread above shows that you never lost your cycle, you only had a tester indicate so.

that tank above is / remained 100% cycled are you changing that out?

for a new setup>?

if not, then as the pics stand, that tank is cycled and can't uncycle. it has plenty of surface area, and time underwater.
I cannot at the moment agree. Thing is I get a reading of 2ppm ammonia after a day and my corals reflect that. I do a 5 gallon water change which gets my reading under 1ppm, and my corals open up and look more normal, not 100% but better. I am attempting to keep a little ammonia to get the cycle restarted. I’m not sure how I got here, but I can tell you that I’m not getting anything broken down to nitrate at the moment. My API master test kit is a month old, and my expired one also shows the same readings. Even with the test kits ruled out my corals are showing me the same results. My question was still how long would you wait for a new marine pure cube to be colonized?
 
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Coral Winslow

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your reef does have its main surface area directly in the flow, its a rather perfect setup for a frag tank.

You arent running massive fish bioload in there such that the position and amount of that surface area can't keep up, the corals are fed and certainly growing and that means the system has handled all its nitrogen input just fine. You could add several fish to that setup and it still would never, ever lose the ability to handle common bioload waste.


*so what would it take to fail the ability of the filter? sequestered and reduced surface area: meaning 1/4th that many bricks used, put down low in a sump alone, where up top several fish and corals + feed swirl around with no live rock to immediately use up waste. by swirling all the waste around up top then having to wait until only the portion that goes down the drain contacts surface area, a true inability might develop. but not here, in that tank, as it sits with those details in place.

There is no time for the rest of the life of that tank I'd ever test for ammonia and nitrite ever again, even if you do add some fish it can take it a normal degree of them due to that much surface area, sitting in the main display. the system has dang good flow we can see it clear as day on the top shot. im jealous of that setup!

*even if you bought and added more bacteria, they've no where to attach. all wet and aged surfaces in that tank are full up on bac and will remain that way as long as they're wet.

if you did have an ammonia control problem, evidenced by unclean water, shriveled corals, bad smell, you'd add more blocks in flow for new attachment points vs more bacteria which will be skimmed out and go to waste as systemic floc.
Thank you for the kind words, there’s also about 6 marine pure blocks in the refuigum section.
 
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Hello, so long story short, I crashed my fishless frag tanks (20g long) cycle by being too agressive with a refugium and not harvesting my macros. I added Dr. Tim’s about 3 days ago and have been doing near daily water changes to keep the ammonia at or under 1ppm. I’ve decided to seed from my display tank by using a Marine Pure 2” cube. I didn’t want to at first since my display has colonial hydroids and I didn’t want to transfer that to my frag tank, but I don’t want to keep doing daily water changes.

My question is how long would you wait for bacteria from the main to colonize the new Marine Pure before bringing it back to the frag tank?
I am not understanding this story. Are you saying that the macro algae somehow killed your coral frags, the dead coral rotted and drove the ammonia sky high?
 
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Coral Winslow

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your reef does have its main surface area directly in the flow, its a rather perfect setup for a frag tank.

You arent running massive fish bioload in there such that the position and amount of that surface area can't keep up, the corals are fed and certainly growing and that means the system has handled all its nitrogen input just fine. You could add several fish to that setup and it still would never, ever lose the ability to handle common bioload waste.


*so what would it take to fail the ability of the filter? sequestered and reduced surface area: meaning 1/4th that many bricks used, put down low in a sump alone, where up top several fish and corals + feed swirl around with no live rock to immediately use up waste. by swirling all the waste around up top then having to wait until only the portion that goes down the drain contacts surface area, a true inability might develop. but not here, in that tank, as it sits with those details in place.

There is no time for the rest of the life of that tank I'd ever test for ammonia and nitrite ever again, even if you do add some fish it can take it a normal degree of them due to that much surface area, sitting in the main display. the system has dang good flow we can see it clear as day on the top shot. im jealous of that setup!

*even if you bought and added more bacteria, they've no where to attach. all wet and aged surfaces in that tank are full up on bac and will remain that way as long as they're wet.

if you did have an ammonia control problem, evidenced by unclean water, shriveled corals, bad smell, you'd add more blocks in flow for new attachment points vs more bacteria which will be skimmed out and go to waste as systemic floc.
No smelly water, just everything went from happy and open to everything being closed up and zoa stalks thinning out and their losing oral disc pigmentation. I assume only that they are starving for organics in the water. I don’t know.
 

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Without the natural supports from live rock systems it might be tricky to get feeding down etc but at least we can rule out ammonia issues they can’t drift out of spec. It takes a pronounced insult to get the hallmarks of a stalled or incomplete cycle


are you running any phosphate or adsorption media for nitrate
 
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Coral Winslow

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I am not understanding this story. Are you saying that the macro algae somehow killed your coral frags, the dead coral rotted and drove the ammonia sky high?
No nothing died. I monitor this pretty closely. What I was witnessing was my Zoas closing and staying closed, their stalks thinning, and losing pigmentation of their oral discs for the last couple weeks. Devils hand turning dark and not opening up. My Montipora and Stylos had to be moved to the main display, they started receding. This is why I ended up testing for ammonia which I haven’t done in months. Letting the refugium max out was the only new thing I changed since.
 
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Without the natural supports from live rock systems it might be tricky to get feeding down etc but at least we can rule out ammonia issues they can’t drift out of spec. It takes a pronounced insult to get the hallmarks of a stalled or incomplete cycle


are you running any phosphate or adsorption media for nitrate
I just run Purigen, have the skimmer and the new macros as export.
 
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Also: nobody agreed with me in the huge proof thread :)


but they relented after all predictions made lined up with their tank pics before we got any. Remove purigen.
 

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My question was still how long would you wait for a new marine pure cube to be colonized?
This is a bit of a difficult question, since I doubt there's anyone here who specifically would have tested this out. I would say though, probably a week is ample time to seed the MarinePure, though probably would take longer to establish a significant population.
 

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No nothing died. I monitor this pretty closely. What I was witnessing was my Zoas closing and staying closed, their stalks thinning, and losing pigmentation of their oral discs for the last couple weeks. Devils hand turning dark and not opening up. My Montipora and Stylos had to be moved to the main display, they started receding. This is why I ended up testing for ammonia which I haven’t done in months. Letting the refugium max out was the only new thing I changed since.
If by “maxed out” you mean the refugium became overgrown with algae, an increase in ammonia would not be an obvious consequnce. If the refugium algae depleted phosphate and micro nutrients, this could be bad for the coral, not to mention possible sugars being dump by the algae. But the ammonia does not make sense yet. Are you using API to test for ammonia?
 
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Coral Winslow

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If by “maxed out” you mean the refugium became overgrown with algae, an increase in ammonia would not be an obvious consequnce. If the refugium algae depleted phosphate and micro nutrients, this could be bad for the coral, not to mention possible sugars being dump by the algae. But the ammonia does not make sense yet. Are you using API to test for ammonia?
Ok I may very well be off in my hypothesis but I’m trying to figure it out. So thinking that maybe the macros grew to the point where 100% of ammonia and nitrates were absorbed by it, starving out the nitrifying bacteria, it all dies and ammonia production in my tank grows beyond what the macros can handle and now there’s no more bacteria to breakdown the excess and so it builds. I really don’t know and am confused by this whole scenario. Yes I use API kits. I just know that I have no nitrate and I do show ammonia and unhappy corals, which is why I’m thinking I killed my cycling bacteria somehow.
 
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