Tank will not Cycle

SeaPirate

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While I am preparing for my bigger reef tank, I have been setting up a 20 gallon tank with a hang off the back filter. This darn thing will not cycle after 11 weeks. Here's the run down:
  • Week 1:
    • Day 1: Started with 20 gallons of RODI Saltwater: Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 8.4 Salinity 1.03, Temp 78, kh 12, Chlorine 0
    • Day 2: Added Fritz Zyme Fishless Fuel Ammonia and API Quick Start. (And continued to add according to instructions).
    • Day 3: Numbers: Ammonia 8, all other numbers same as above.
  • Week 2: No Change
  • Week 3: No Change
  • Week 4: No Change
  • Week 5: No change, so took water sample to local fish store. Their numbers were the same, so I knew I didn't have a testing problem. At the recommendation of the store, they suggested a water change to bring the Ammonia down. I did that all other parameters the same and ammonia cut to 2.0. Added more API Quick Start. and some fish flakes.
  • Week 6: Nitrite to .5 and Nitrate to 5, but no change in ammonia/
  • Week 7: Ammonia went to 1, 0 Nitrite, 5 Nitrate.
  • Week 8: Ammonia back to 2, Nitrite and Nitrate both 0 (Very confusing because I did not change the water, only topped off with RODI).
  • Week 9: No change
  • Week 10: No Change, back to fish store. Their measurements the same. They gave me some bio media out of their tank and a bottle of their recommended bacteria (Seed). Put that in the tank and have been adding bacteria according to the instructions. They really expected me to see the tank cycle in a few days. (or at least start seeing ammonia going down and Nitrite/Nitrate going up)
  • We are mid- week 11 and all of the numbers are the same. (Note, as I think the salinity is a little low, I topped off with some saltwater today instead of RODI). I don't think that's going to change any of the other parameters. I'm just wanting to bring the salinity up a little closer to what my local fish store keeps theirs at.
I've never done a fishless cycle before. I've watched many videos and I just do not understand why this tank will not cycle or show any signs of reduced ammonia. Water is flowing through the hang on the back filter, and I've checked numbers in both the tank and the filter reservoir. Numbers are the same. I'm not new to the hobby, just new to fishless cycling.

This just does not seem normal to me. Any thoughts?
 
BRS

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Cell I always try to type short to get in first lol then I go back and edit in a huge schpeel or however you spell it

now Im actually reading posted details beyond number of weeks is that mode moderately funny lol

brb
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Seapirate you don't have to read all 26 pages below, its just an insert so that this upcoming prediction doesn't seem untested or ludicrous



do the largest water change you can. Not because I think your ammonia is correct stated above, but because its simply an equalizer where known clean water is replaced over for-sure set in filter bacteria slicks on all surfaces. you dosed feed and bottle bac and waited three times the required wait time, so its done.

**if you add fish after the water change they live fine every day, you can see it above for 26 pages, your exact cycle issues fixed by simply stopping the use of non seneye test kits and replace with known timing waits that you've greatly exceeded.


but if you choose to begin with unprepped fish, no disease preps, you can see the rate of disease emergence today is pronounced, not subtle, so even though your tank is ready for fish I recommend you prep them first or secure prepped ones from pre quarantined web sites.

what is very likely to kill the fish by summertime has nothing to do with the cycle.
I know its a let down to be told them cheap non digital kits are useless for cycling

but if that wasn't true we wouldnt have a running collection of false stalls above, where the 5 or so seneye measures showed perfect compliance among a slew of non digital misreads and nh4 relays vs nh3. its all listed on page one post 1

your cycle is completely done, including the nitrite control given this long, but since that's not hanna digital nitrite we won't know (and per post #1 we don't measure nitrite in updated cycling science anyway, its a neutral nonfactor)
 
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CrimsonTide

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I've heard huge ammonia in the beginning of a fishless cycle can stall the cycle but this seems ridiculous after 11 weeks and its a small tank. Do you have any rock or sand in this tank? What kind of filter do you have. I made a quarantine tank and it took a long time to cycle my quarantine with just water and a filter in it. There wasn't much for the bacteria to really grab on to.
 
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SeaPirate

SeaPirate

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this cycle is done

the issue is non digital testing.
the pet store too isn't using non digital tests and as such they're overselling bottle bac to thousands or hundreds of folks in this doubt.
I used API test kit, fish store used Hanna (which I am going to use going forward)
 
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SeaPirate

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I've heard huge ammonia in the beginning of a fishless cycle can stall the cycle but this seems ridiculous after 11 weeks and its a small tank. Do you have any rock or sand in this tank? What kind of filter do you have. I made a quarantine tank and it took a long time to cycle my quarantine with just water and a filter in it. There wasn't much for the bacteria to really grab on to.
 
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Seapirate you don't have to read all 26 pages below, its just an insert so that this upcoming prediction doesn't seem untested or ludicrous



do the largest water change you can. Not because I think your ammonia is correct stated above, but because its simply an equalizer where known clean water is replaced over for-sure set in filter bacteria slicks on all surfaces. you dosed feed and bottle bac and waited three times the required wait time, so its done.

**if you add fish after the water change they live fine every day, you can see it above for 26 pages, your exact cycle issues fixed by simply stopping the use of non seneye test kits and replace with known timing waits that you've greatly exceeded.


but if you choose to begin with unprepped fish, no disease preps, you can see the rate of disease emergence today is pronounced, not subtle, so even though your tank is ready for fish I recommend you prep them first or secure prepped ones from pre quarantined web sites.

what is very likely to kill the fish by summertime has nothing to do with the cycle.
I know its a let down to be told them cheap non digital kits are useless for cycling

but if that wasn't true we wouldnt have a running collection of false stalls above, where the 5 or so seneye measures showed perfect compliance among a slew of non digital misreads and nh4 relays vs nh3. its all listed on page one post 1

your cycle is completely done, including the nitrite control given this long, but since that's not hanna digital nitrite we won't know (and per post #1 we don't measure nitrite in updated cycling science anyway, its a neutral nonfactor)
That makes sense, I’ll also read the attachment.
 
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CrimsonTide

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Pretty sure that was the problem the first 4 weeks. Hence water change.
That was my thoughts as well. I at least use a Tidal filter on mine so there's space for biomedia and things for the bacteria to hold on to. It still took over a month but with minimal ammonia not 8ppm. Brandon is the guru so whatever he says he'll get you going in a jiffy! How big is you other tank going to be?
 
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SeaPirate

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That was my thoughts as well. I at least use a Tidal filter on mine so there's space for biomedia and things for the bacteria to hold on to. It still took over a month but with minimal ammonia not 8ppm. Brandon is the guru so whatever he says he'll get you going in a jiffy! How big is you other tank going to be?
I am considering both the Red Sea Max S-650 or the new Reefer S-800. I keep flip flopping. Reefer is about 30 gallons larger, but after I add skimmer, wave maker, lights etc, it’s also about $2500 more expensive than the Max S with everything included.
 
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this cycle is done

the issue is non digital testing.
the pet store too isn't using non digital tests and as such they're overselling bottle bac to thousands or hundreds of folks in this doubt.
My fish store is super good, I’ve been doing business with them for almost 20 years and consider them friends. They didn’t charge me for testing, bio media from their tanks, or the bottle of bacteria. Presumably because they know I’m about to spend a ton of money on a bigger tank. They also pre quarantine their fish. When I had my 150 gallon tank, I never had a problem with disease, I trust these guys a lot. Only problem was my own when my snow flake eel tried to take a trip through my sump and got stuck. I miss that guy, he was cool.
 

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I am considering both the Red Sea Max S-650 or the new Reefer S-800. I keep flip flopping. Reefer is about 30 gallons larger, but after I add skimmer, wave maker, lights etc, it’s also about $2500 more expensive than the Max S with everything included.
You got a pic of the tank in question?
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Good call Garf

I forget occasionally the cycler from 2018 who was cycling water only, rocks stacked to the side of the tank, to be added only after the water complied

A .001% occurrence rate in reefing but not zero heh
 
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SeaPirate

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Seapirate you don't have to read all 26 pages below, its just an insert so that this upcoming prediction doesn't seem untested or ludicrous



do the largest water change you can. Not because I think your ammonia is correct stated above, but because its simply an equalizer where known clean water is replaced over for-sure set in filter bacteria slicks on all surfaces. you dosed feed and bottle bac and waited three times the required wait time, so its done.

**if you add fish after the water change they live fine every day, you can see it above for 26 pages, your exact cycle issues fixed by simply stopping the use of non seneye test kits and replace with known timing waits that you've greatly exceeded.


but if you choose to begin with unprepped fish, no disease preps, you can see the rate of disease emergence today is pronounced, not subtle, so even though your tank is ready for fish I recommend you prep them first or secure prepped ones from pre quarantined web sites.

what is very likely to kill the fish by summertime has nothing to do with the cycle.
I know its a let down to be told them cheap non digital kits are useless for cycling

but if that wasn't true we wouldnt have a running collection of false stalls above, where the 5 or so seneye measures showed perfect compliance among a slew of non digital misreads and nh4 relays vs nh3. its all listed on page one post 1

your cycle is completely done, including the nitrite control given this long, but since that's not hanna digital nitrite we won't know (and per post #1 we don't measure nitrite in updated cycling science anyway, its a
You got a pic of the tank in question?
You got a pic of the tank in question?
 

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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Garf I gotta give that one to you nice call.
Pics should always be requested in all cycle trouble shoots along with disease preps included/learnings for me again in '21

SP, that type of setup will still handle a nominal fish load but without using live rocks it simply means don't stack the bioload to the sky like you see in normal packed saltwater reef tanks. Those surfaces still count as actionable filter areas, and if you have media packed in a filter that certainly assists so it doesnt change the assessment nor start date but that's not a tank for several fish packed with corals etc. That's an ideal fish only setup for a couple fish, maybe three / four small ones max. incidence rate now bumped fittingly to .02%
 
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SeaPirate

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Garf I gotta give that one to you nice call.
Pics should always be requested in all cycle trouble shoots along with disease preps included/learnings for me again in '21

SP, that type of setup will still handle a nominal fish load but without using live rocks it simply means don't stack the bioload to the sky like you see in normal packed saltwater reef tanks. Those surfaces still count as actionable filter areas, and if you have media packed in a filter that certainly assists so it doesnt change the assessment nor start date but that's not a tank for several fish packed with corals etc. That's an ideal fish only setup for a couple fish, maybe three / four max.
Once I get the bigger tank, this one will serve as a quarantine for observation before going to reef tank. So this will be fish only. Of course if there is an issue, I’ll do proper remediation before putting another fish in this tank. I don’t think I’ll ever have more than 2 fish in his tank. Planning on starting with two clowns, get them established in new tank, then a couple of tangs here until ready for reef, and so on.
 

brandon429

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that is sound and will work. this is for sure a tank I would not expect to clear the classic 2 ppm of ammonia overnite even if on digital kits, its meant to carry slightly lower loads and that plan above will work above for sure.

hey on your next tank there's a far easier cycling method that may help when rocks + sand are ready for bringup:

use biospira, Dr Tims or fritz cycling bac the others are too slow although at this long they all cycle

input the bac amount per directions along with three pinches of finely ground up fish food powder any make any brand is fine

wait two weeks then its all cycled and can't not be cycled, no testing required, no big bumps of ammonia to clear. the breakdown of fish food provides all nutrients needed given the wait time allotted. that'll make next round so much easier and timely
 
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