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Two Cycles--Starting up for a Fluval Evo 13.5 Nano reef with a QT tank

cmoore806

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I've setup a small display tank(fluval evo 13.5 gallons about 11 gallons of water volume (DT) and a 10 gallon quarantine tank--bare tank with a few PVC elbows, heater, HOB filters powerhead (QT). I started the cycle for each with Dr Tims one-and-only and using ammonium chloride. Im having some problems, I think, and I want to share my data to find a fix.

QT tank I haven't had any nitrite spike and I think this is because I added Prime to the water the day before starting a cycle. I did this because I had just cleaned all the equipment with bleach and wanted to make sure any residual didn't make it in the tank. In hindsight I can see that this effected the cycle. Filter is a HOB with matrix and a foam pad. no carbon. Based on knowing I added Prime I wonder if I should just do a big water change and keep pressing on.

QT Tank cycle.png



DT tank, Didn't add Prime to the water because I didn't clean everything with bleach the day prior. The DT has dry rock and sand, Matrixm some carbon, and filter floss. I've been adding the ammonia and seeing nitrates so I wonder if its just taking a little longer. The Dr Tim's instructions pretty much give up on you at day 9--add fish. I think I need to not add more ammonia until I get a zero ammonia reading. please let me know what you think I should do.

DT Parameters.png
 
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cmoore806

cmoore806

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Follow instructions
The instructions where? The dr Tim’s instructions Don’t talk about what to do if the water is treated with prime. As for my display tank the Dr Tim’s instructions don’t say what to do if you have ammonia on day 9. The instructions say add fish.
 

lapin

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The instructions where? The dr Tim’s instructions Don’t talk about what to do if the water is treated with prime. As for my display tank the Dr Tim’s instructions don’t say what to do if you have ammonia on day 9. The instructions say add fish.
Prime will bind ammonia for 48 hours. Then release the bond so it becomes avail again. (per their web site)
The object of cycling is to establish enough bacteria to process the ammonia created by fish feeding and pooping.
Time lines are guess work.
If your tank cannot process 1 or 2 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours it is not deemed ready for fish. Keep measuring ammonia. When you add 1ppm and its gone the next day you are ready for a small fish.
Waiting is a hard thing to do.
I suggest in the main tank that once you think its ready, do a large water change to get rid of the high nitrates before adding livestock. You dont want to grow a bunch of algae. They are the first ones to use that nitrate
 
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cmoore806

cmoore806

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Prime will bind ammonia for 48 hours. Then release the bond so it becomes avail again. (per their web site)
The object of cycling is to establish enough bacteria to process the ammonia created by fish feeding and pooping.
Time lines are guess work.
If your tank cannot process 1 or 2 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours it is not deemed ready for fish. Keep measuring ammonia. When you add 1ppm and its gone the next day you are ready for a small fish.
Waiting is a hard thing to do.
I suggest in the main tank that once you think its ready, do a large water change to get rid of the high nitrates before adding livestock. You dont want to grow a bunch of algae. They are the first ones to use that nitrate
I won't be adding livestock to the main tank for a while on account of wanting to quarantine new arrivals for over a month. But I wanted to have my main tank ready to go far in advance mostly to get an understanding of how it needs maintenance and to feel confident keeping water levels good (salinity, temp).

Its funny you mention algae as I just noticed a very small amount of green algae on my rock. Do you think a water change would hurt things?
 
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AC1211

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Ok I found a friend who still has ammonia with dr. Tims he just waited an extra week.
 

BeejReef

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I have a hunch you'll do very well reefing.
Spreadsheets and a meticulous nature will take you a long way. Also, great to have the type of mind that seeks out possible variables (prime or no).

I cycled similarly with Dr. T's. Most fishless cycles with that product tend to take between 3 and 5 weeks.
Just a little patience. You're ahead of the curve. Not everyone even truly pre-cycles their QT tank.
 
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cmoore806

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I've ended up trying a water change, about 40% on my quarantine tank and about 30% on my main tank. My thinking is that the QT tank could only benefit by removing some of the prime still present which is the only variable I can think of that is going to effect my cycle. The water change on my main tank should help bring down my nitrates and maybe that will help overall. I'll probably wait until ammonia is at zero in both tanks before dosing with anymore ammonia, I suspect either time or another dose of bacteria or a bit of both will help things.
 
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cmoore806

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little update, My QT tank now holds a purple firefish, snowflake clown, and a little tiny yellow watchman goby. I've measured ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and if even low ammonia pops up I do a 10-20% water change. I've found the ammonia spikes when I've fed too much (which is easy with such small fish and using frozen foods)

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Now I have my DT completely cycled and I decided to not ghost feed in vain. I added a small CUC (two bumblebee snails, two nessarius snails, two hermit crabs)

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cmoore806

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Little issue with my display tank. 25 days old. I've had high nitrate levels (show 100 with the salient test). Probably could do a water change to bring them down but didn't notice a Nitrate drop the last time I did a change.

Probably a few days ago (tank was 21 days old) I started noticing a thin brown tinge/tint to the rocks most exposed to the lights (which are on a timer for 12 hours/day).

Here is the picture and a scraping under the microscope that I took: Also saw a random snowflake looking thing under the microscope

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cmoore806

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Today is day 32 of my Fluval EVO 13.5 Nano tank project. Fish in quarantine on day 5 of 30 prophylactic copper treatment. Display tank just got a light upgrade and lid delete.

last week I posted the same photos from above in the algae forum and was informed it looks like diatoms and a little green algae. My CUC has been at work but it is a small crew (two hermits, four snails). I feed the tank every 2-3 days with what food is left from my QT tank feeding. My filter floss has been getting dirty more quickly, I suspect from having dosed Vibrant 3 days ago and seeing a slight decrease in diatoms in sand/rock.

Last night I got a new light and mount in the mail. Heres a boring picture of my mostly empty tank with the Radion Gen5 XR15 mounted. At this point I regret not getting a bigger tank but will be riding this out before saving money to get something in the 150+ gallon range. The light seems like too much but I am sure it will last into the future, maybe I will get good use from it on an upgrade later.

Already started building a mixing station that should meet the needs of a 150-220 gallon tank in the future.

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cmoore806

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two days ago I noticed my tank temperature was a little under 77. I was using a Finnex heater controller which was recommended by my LFS. The finnex was maxed out at 79degrees but typically was maintaining temp in mid 77s. I replaced the finnex with an inkbird controller that I bought for backup. The nice thing about the inkbird is that it can be calibrated whereas the finnex could not be. For me, I like to manually check my temp with a thermometer and if I can get it to match the controller's thermometer, all the better.

On day 2 with then new controller I measured my temp as I do every morning and it was 75.9 (set for 79degrees but usually between 77-78degrees). My first equipment problem! I took a backup heater (cobalt 50w) and plugged it in to the controller and put it in the return chamber. a couple hours later the temp was returning to the set point.

I've contacted cobalt aquatics about the heater, since it is just a month old, hopefully they will honor warranty.
 
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cmoore806

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Caught this little copepod in a lower flow area of the display tank below the return (at 40x under the microscope). Display tank is 40 days old. No fish in it. Just a CUC: two hermits, 2 Nassarius snails, two bumblebee snails (MIA for about a week).

This pod looks like it has eggs on its tail end. I'm assuming it was a hitchhiker with the CUC I added. There are many of them crawling around in the tank if you look closely. Very cool looking.



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Fish are still doing well in the QT tank.
 

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cmoore806

cmoore806

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Fish corner aka fish room up and running with mixing station. Granted I only have a 13.5 nano tank and the 10g QT tank but I setup the area with a big enough mixing station to accommodate a future 200g tank.

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cmoore806

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Today is day 159--
Torch and Hammer are now mounted to the rock work. I'm on a long tail end of an ugly phase. Boosting the CUC last month helped. I lost a snail this past week which spiked my phosphate levels. I did a large water change to combat that. I started dosing alkalinity two weeks ago to help try to elevate pH. Also added an air stone in the sump chamber 2. helped bring up the pH (which maybe happened too soon and caused the death of the snail). I just added a Rose Bubble Tip Anemone. Tank is 5.3 months old, maybe a little soon for an anemone, we shall see! while acclimating the BTA the bag bumped the hammer and made him retract for the photo. this morning the BTA is in a different spot of the tank. The next couple weeks will tell us more!

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