Week 2...Tank Still Not Cycling?

UnshackledAI

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Hey all,

I have a 20g loaded with LS and LR. I got it going two weeks ago.

I was testing it with strips for the first week, the kit didn't include ammonia, but nitrates and nitrites showed at 0. I tested every day during this time.

I got an API saltwater master liquid testing kit at the end of that week, tested, and nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia all tested 0.

Since it'd been almost a week since I tested last, I tested it today and I got the saltwater master kit, and nitrates,, nitrites, and ammonia STILL test at 0.

What gives? What should I do? Is it possible that the entire cycle happened between my tests?

My pH and everything else are all normal. The only thing I've noticed is today (and I only noticed today) there was what appeared to be algae growing on the side of the tank. White stringy looking stuff. Any significance to that?
 
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FL_Reefer

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It's not likely that it would cycle that fast. Throw a shrimp in there and that will kickstart it. I like to use the Red Sea starter kit. That's just me though.
 

ReeferJohn408

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You have to jumpstart your Nitrogen cycle by introducing a certain amount of Ammonia. I am always successful using either a rotting shrimp or dead snails. :) Within 24 hours my tank is a death vortex. 3-4 days later, I will introduce an instant Nitrifying Bacteria to speed things up a bit.
 

trahelyk

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I've been going through this, too. In my case, I think I didn't have enough die-off from the LR to spike the ammonia. I ended up adding an artificial source of ammonia over the weekend, which is an idea I picked up from this board. Seems like a common problem, and the nice thing about adding an artificial source of ammonia is that it gives me an immediate, measurable level of ammonia in the tank, so when it drops back to zero, I know I'm good to go.
 
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ReeferJohn408

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Thanks, I will try with the shrimp.
Take note, if you introduce a raw shrimp , you will not see an ammonia spike immediately. That shrimp has to decompose first.

That's why I always use dead snails because they rot faster in my experience. :) ( it will stink the whole fish room as well but hey, I like to speed things up. lol )
 

brandon429

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i want to pose a different option

you showed up to your house already cycled

post pics of your exact tank and we can discuss why this is fully the case if your description was spot on about using live rock

pics w show better than any test kit here's the prediction

if you bought white live rock w no growths it may not be ready and was questionably live

if it has any coralline, then you pre cycled, and you have no ammonia because pre established bacteria are oxidizing it.



the shrimp is accurate if you are working w dry rocks, but true LR and LS rarely needs to cycle, I never do or will.

pics w tell us more about your cycling than any test reading at least by inclusion or elimination of benthic growth on that rock. if your rock is devoid of life then shrimp cycling is not out of place.
 
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trahelyk

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For what it's worth, I threw a jumbo shrimp (about 2.5") in there, and it completely rotted away, still with 0 measurable ammonia. But the tank I'm cycling is 90 gallons; perhaps a single shrimp wasn't enough.
 

brandon429

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Or that it was not needed, and thats exactly how daily feed w react in the tank.


The rule on shrimp is really simple, if your live rock has any benthic growth that takes longer than 2 weeks to get there, underwater (which is a general seed time for nitrifiers) then you do not need shrimp you need to move the rock without killing the worms in it.


it all starts with a picture of the live rock and and some input on how it was xferred home. if you did it wet, underwater, in bags or buckets, well thats how ive set up every tank ive ever owned. I have skip cycled every marine and fw tank ive ever made, my animals go in fast, but under rules of highly consistent biology its not haphazard.
 
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UnshackledAI

UnshackledAI

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i want to pose a different option

you showed up to your house already cycled

post pics of your exact tank and we can discuss why this is fully the case if your description was spot on about using live rock

pics w show better than any test kit here's the prediction

if you bought white live rock w no growths it may not be ready and was questionably live

if it has any coralline, then you pre cycled.

MACNA just occurred and in that was 500 tanks of live delicate corals

Did they cycle all those reefs for the typical 2 week ramp up w dead shrimp after setting up at the MACNA facility, or were 100% of the tanks skip cycle tanks?
the shrimp is accurate if you are working w non dry rocks

pics w tell us more about your cycling than any test reading at least by inclusion or elimination of benthic growth on that rock
Here are the pictures, sorry they aren't the best, I tried. There does appear to be some copper color on the rocks, as well as some white spots. I can't recall if they were there when I bought it. It was in water the entire time, at the LFS, during transport, all the way up until it was put into the tank. Not sure if that means anything. I know nothing else about it besides that.
 

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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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we're close, it looks pre cycled, but i gotta have all white lighting to see the blue makes it unreadable

can you get me a daylight shot? if not just lift out a rock hold it in the light of the room and cell phone snap us a macro of it
 

whorsefield

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Every time i read threads like these i leave the same response, maybe i should just write a piece at some point lol anyway getting to business......

Yes a RAW shrimp from the grocery store will work but i find it messy and takes a little longer. So what do i preach...... Pure ammonia. I say pure because the stuff you buy from Walgreens, Walmart ect has additives in it which are a no go. Best place to buy it is from Ace Hardware, Janitorial strength ammonia its only a couple of bucks and will last a lifetime of cycling tanks.

I saw earlier that 2ppm had been mentioned. I also recommend this number, well 2-3ppm for ammonia because any higher theres a chance you can 'stall' out the cycle. Be carful when dosing pure ammonia, it really doesn't take much to get it where you want it to be so you have to be careful but i roughly suggest 1ml per 10g will get you 1ppm.

Know you could let the cycle take the natural way and let it do its own thing but this can take a really long time with just dry rock, you could add 1 piece of Live rock to help with a bacteria source or use, like you have, something like Bio Spira or Dr Tims. Ive used bio Spira with great results. Ive had a good hard cycle in 2 weeks.

Ok now lets move ahead, say your tank has cycled that initial 3ppm ammonia all the way through to nitrates. Woohoo! success the cycle is complete lets get some fish in. Well yes and no, yes the tank has cycled but is it ready for livestock. IMHO no. I like to hard cycle my tanks so what i do is i'll dose ammonia again to 3ppm and let that cycle through, and then i'll do it again, and again until the tank can cycle 3ppm ammonia to 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites in less than 12 hours. The only downside to this is that by the time its done your nitrates will be exploding off the chart so you have to do a 90-95% water change. But you can cut down of the amount of water you would have to use by cycling the rock in buckets or totes or something similar.

Anyways thats the method i use and highly recommend when cycling any type of rock really. Its not messy or smelly and its really easy.
 
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UnshackledAI

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we're close, it looks pre cycled, but i gotta have all white lighting to see the blue makes it unreadable

can you get me a daylight shot? if not just lift out a rock hold it in the light of the room and cell phone snap us a macro of it
Sorry about that, here's a better picture. Thanks for all your help by the way :)
 

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brandon429

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the copper growth is likely diatoms or cyano, typicals for new tanks and doesn't remark much on bacteria since it will come about from just having water, lights and a nutrient.

pods are more helpful since they tend to reside in the rocks, and the time it takes to get a bunch into the crevices takes longer than bacteria do to set up

nothing beats coralline algae as a bioindicator of nitrifying bacteria

if there's no hard calcification on the rocks like fanworm casings or coralline then its not as easy to be sure about pre cycling this is just a nice option where applicable

I agree with using cleaning ammonia if we are indeed cycling. Not that shrimp are bad, they work, but its more exacting for sure
 
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