Seneye Experiments and Cycling

NeonRabbit221B

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I got a seneye a few months back and accidentally over ordered some slides thinking they were expired... Long story short I have a ton of live rock, a fairly useless piece of equipment and a bad case of a desire to put some numbers behind cycling and experiment with some variables to determine how tanks process ammonia. I don't think cycling is a big deal but seeing thread after thread of new reefers being told "you have to wait for nitrites to drop to zero or fish will die" is a driving force behind these tests.

For the first two months I let it sit in my tank, got some par readings and just observed. I did a test at one point dosing into my sump which I removed via a water change and was impressed with it enough to do some digging. @brandon429 (you may have seen him replying to a new reefer that his tank is cycled and posting links) asked me to perform my first experiment which was evaluating if it is possible to cycle a tank using dry rock and no bacteria in under a month. You can read about it on page 5 and 6 on this thread

Overall I found that on day 27 (before my vacation) that after seeing some drops in ammonia that even a dry rock setup that is ghost fed or dosed with lower dosages of ammonia can easily process 20% of ammonia added in 24 hours. Sure we can argue that this is not fully cycled but if dry rock is left to sit in a bucket with an ammonia source and moved to a tank on day 30, I wouldn't imagine a failed cycle would happen with a small or moderate bioload. The bacteria has enough time to establish. Yay

On this next slide I decided to take some more time for trim settings and collected the following data. I calibrated my ph, salinity, temperature probes and made a solution for ammonia dosing. In an insomnia filled night I got the following data.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 5.38.07 PM.png


Using a free ammonia calculator from https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/FreeAmmonia.php to derive an expected value we can see that a new slide doesn't do great with trace ammonia without a trim factor. Post 2 will detail some experiments I am thinking about.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Neon Rabbit what a great post

You really captured curing edge new cycling science and I'll link to this post in my other threads and for upcoming examples regarding cycling rule changes


It is *********so********* important to know that bottle bac sellers didn't provide this insight in your post, you found and observed these truths and discoveries in your own home, it's more powerful than people can imagine because your findings are opposite of any test poll someone could start to capture the current perspective in reefing


We have been trained by bottle bac makers and sellers to depend on them and on surrounding supports to attain and maintain filtration, yet you show hidden science at work

Your post is an important balance in the reefing universe
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Bottle bac sellers have darn near replaced accurate science with the science of creating doubt in natural processes, and then forum peers sell it to each other in trading practices for years

The truth eventually gets replaced by clicks, purchases and reinforcements we 'must provide' in order for a cycle to complete

When simple discoveries go against the common assumption and can be repeated by anyone owning a test kit able to indicate precise measures, the hobby is taking back command. I'll be able to use this post many times, please update any findings made over time



Post #2 w be an excellent read
 

jrill

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So you just spent time to show what we knew and did decades ago to cycle a tank. Huh.
Maybe I missed your point but isn't the reason to use bottled bacteria to speed up the process not because it's the only way to cycle a tank?
 

brandon429

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Jrill

show a link where these discoveries have been written about in reefing, where readers could be informed of natural cycling before these recent times


every cycling post I’ve ever seen is add cocktail shrimp or 2 ppm ammonia, add bottle bac, wait till nitrite and ammonia are zero, wait as long as it takes. Agreed inside limited inner circles this has been known, the ability to self cycle without retail help, but it’s new to be written about and publicly discussed with proofs nowadays.

I’m honestly curious for anyone to post prior articles or write ups on cycling that discuss natural unassisted cycles, they are certainly not common. Young reef keepers have no way of knowing true options, until it’s reviewed and proofed in convincing ways.

Bottle bac makers and sellers
the hold you had on cycling and allowed procedure in reefing that always leads back to a purchase impulse is reducing.

that reduction is going to become very advanced over the next two years, I can't think of a better thing to hyperfocus on other than aquarists taking back some of the confidence and only using your product when its specifically indicated vs sold like so many insurance products. the condition you claim to insure against doesn't exist and the risk condition of being not cycled doesnt exist in any linkable post. bubble/popped
 
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davidcalgary29

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I have two Seneye SUDs and SWSs and really like them...but they've also been providing some false readings over the past three months. Some of the readings have been consistently inaccurate, such as pH values, and the readings become even more wobbly as the slides near the end of their "lives". I've compared the accuracy of the devices with other test kits as controls (Hanna checkers and Red Sea kits), and discovered that:

-Seneye temperature is generally accurate within 1C; this accuracy doesn't change.
-NH3 readings can be wildly inaccurate, but are generally very accurate. One of my devices gave me a reading of 0.253 this morning; the next reading was back to 0.001.
-PAR readings are accurate
-pH readings aren't very reliable as the slides age.

If you keep this in mind, the devices can give some great feedback. Now back to the regularly scheduled programme...
 
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NeonRabbit221B

NeonRabbit221B

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First experiment is a 2 part. We are often told that 2 lbs per gallon is the advised amount of rock for a thriving reef tank but a recent shift in the hobby is to use NSA techniques for aquascaping (see BRS video if you are not familiar). Part A of the experiment will use 2 large rock chunks totaling 8.2 lbs for a 4 gallon cycling test and then ammonia processing rate benchmark. I will determine the time it takes to cycle the tank such that it can process 1 ppm ammonia in 24 hours and then increase the dosage until failure (ammonia continues to buildup). Started this last night.

Part B will use a majority of rubble (2-4" diameter chunks) at 1 lb per gallon and repeat the test. Essentially the idea is to provide an alternative to the 2 lbs per gallon rule for new reefers by using Negative space and increase surface area.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

NeonRabbit221B

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Nice! I put 11.3 pounds of live "Fiji" rock into my Evo 13.5; I thought anything else would have overwhelmed the space. It'll be great to see a test of nitrifying rates of different water/rock cominbations on a controlled basis.
I put somewhere around 20 lbs and did just that! Eventually I removed one of the large chunks and replaced it with an NSA structure which didn't cause a single issue. Sadly the remaining large chunk has two large toadstool on it so cant do much there.
 
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Dan_P

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I got a seneye a few months back and accidentally over ordered some slides thinking they were expired... Long story short I have a ton of live rock, a fairly useless piece of equipment and a bad case of a desire to put some numbers behind cycling and experiment with some variables to determine how tanks process ammonia. I don't think cycling is a big deal but seeing thread after thread of new reefers being told "you have to wait for nitrites to drop to zero or fish will die" is a driving force behind these tests.

For the first two months I let it sit in my tank, got some par readings and just observed. I did a test at one point dosing into my sump which I removed via a water change and was impressed with it enough to do some digging. @brandon429 (you may have seen him replying to a new reefer that his tank is cycled and posting links) asked me to perform my first experiment which was evaluating if it is possible to cycle a tank using dry rock and no bacteria in under a month. You can read about it on page 5 and 6 on this thread

Overall I found that on day 27 (before my vacation) that after seeing some drops in ammonia that even a dry rock setup that is ghost fed or dosed with lower dosages of ammonia can easily process 20% of ammonia added in 24 hours. Sure we can argue that this is not fully cycled but if dry rock is left to sit in a bucket with an ammonia source and moved to a tank on day 30, I wouldn't imagine a failed cycle would happen with a small or moderate bioload. The bacteria has enough time to establish. Yay

On this next slide I decided to take some more time for trim settings and collected the following data. I calibrated my ph, salinity, temperature probes and made a solution for ammonia dosing. In an insomnia filled night I got the following data.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 5.38.07 PM.png


Using a free ammonia calculator from https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/FreeAmmonia.php to derive an expected value we can see that a new slide doesn't do great with trace ammonia without a trim factor. Post 2 will detail some experiments I am thinking about.
Nice work. I found similar results while testing a loaner Seneye. I will finish the testing in a couple weeks and publish the results.

Did you ever use the Seneye to confirm that Prime removes ammonia?
 

brandon429

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Neon if you get a chance before taking the assessment system down, blast it with orders of cycling ammonia well above what we'd use, say about 10 ppm hit

let swirl a few days, I dont expect it to clear at all, and then change out water and retest for a tiny bit of oxidation ability on a practical level. just musing ways to work the system and test tolerance boundaries, exceeding the feared 5 ppm ammonia mark twice over is a neat way to test biofilm insulation and bac rebounds if u get bored on current setup

Dr Reef already has done extended 5+ ppm ammonia testing to no harm, I bet the system wouldnt be sterilized even at 20ppm I have no idea what the true kill dose level would be. but its forgiving, it takes a lot to kill water bacteria in water
 
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NeonRabbit221B

NeonRabbit221B

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se the Seneye to confirm that Prime removes ammo
I did not. From what the tech support told me was that it can damage the slide.

I don't mind dosing some to see what the readings do but preferably not with a newer slide lol
 

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seneye owners are not reporting their systems drifting wildly away from reporting in the thousandths, when trimmed, on a full running reef


where's the doubt coming from regarding reporting stability? i dont own one to know but dont the slides have a useable life then you change out/calibrate another? if some of those vary from time to time like a QA fail at the production line then that's one thing, but reports from the field regarding seneye pretty much just smash all currently known cycling rules in the hobby with their consistency, tank to tank

again its agreed there's no baseline proof they're bottom-line accurate tank to tank

what I do like about them tank to tank is the relatively consistent final nh3 reporting numbers, across reefs, combined with what we already know about surface area dynamics (these align) and I also like how changing up surface area schemes quickly registers as a drop in oxidation rate on the machine, very very low lag report time


I like how any tuned seneye machine's nh3 reading on a full blown reef always matches the picture details, such as happy fish clear water and open corals. The current state of free ammonia assessment is we believe the color tube kit, even when all animals in the tank look fine.

you can place seneye in new environments and closely capture various forms of ammonia conversion even as of this month I still say its the best tester we have access to.
our hobby ammonia assessment optionset is plagued by long lag times and inconsistent reads.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

NeonRabbit221B

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seneye owners are not reporting their systems drifting wildly away from reporting in the thousandths, when trimmed, on a full running reef


where's the doubt coming from regarding reporting stability? i dont own one to know but dont the slides have a useable life then you change out/calibrate another? if some of those vary from time to time like a QA fail at the production line then that's one thing, but reports from the field regarding seneye pretty much just smash all currently known cycling rules in the hobby with their consistency, tank to tank

again its agreed there's no baseline proof they're bottom-line accurate tank to tank

what I do like about them tank to tank is the relatively consistent final nh3 reporting numbers, across reefs, combined with what we already know about surface area dynamics (these align) and I also like how changing up surface area schemes quickly registers as a drop in oxidation rate on the machine, very very low lag report time

our hobby ammonia assessment optionset is plagued by long lag times and inconsistent reads.
Look at the data above. I am using calibrated equipment and known relationships of salinity/ph/temp with a known ammonia dosage. The fact that I can dose .25 ppm test, raise it to 1 ppm and then reduce it back down to .25 ppm indicates accuracy isn't on par. The 50% error is troubling in and of itself but when I can't get the same reading 24 hours from one reading with the same concentration of ammonia I start worrying.
 
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PICK the Most Tested & Least Tested Parameters of your Tank (Pick 2)

  • Calcium (most)

    Votes: 30 6.3%
  • Alkalinity (most)

    Votes: 337 71.1%
  • Magnesium (most)

    Votes: 3 0.6%
  • Phosphate (most)

    Votes: 32 6.8%
  • PH (most)

    Votes: 51 10.8%
  • Nitrate (most)

    Votes: 44 9.3%
  • Nitrite (most)

    Votes: 3 0.6%
  • Ammonia (most)

    Votes: 8 1.7%
  • (least) Calcium

    Votes: 6 1.3%
  • (least) Alkalinity

    Votes: 2 0.4%
  • (least) Magnesium

    Votes: 36 7.6%
  • (least) Phosphate

    Votes: 5 1.1%
  • (least) PH

    Votes: 22 4.6%
  • (least) Nitrate

    Votes: 6 1.3%
  • (least) Nitrite

    Votes: 151 31.9%
  • (least) Ammonia

    Votes: 187 39.5%
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