I'm not quite sure where to start I guess at the beginning.
I have a 320g tank with a 100g sump. If you want to read about it "CLICK HERE"
This was a dead cycle as there was no live rock or live sand to start it off. I didn't get anything from a currently running system. This system had been dry for months it then got rinsed with fresh water a couple of times (no ammonia nitrites or nitrates in the fresh water) I then filled the tank with salt water and turned the heat on.
Okay here are the test results of my cycle. (Please remember that colors on these charts are hard to read and my numbers may be off by a bit)
The following will be abbreviated as such, Ammonia = Am, Nitrite = Ni, Nitrate = Na
I started my cycle on February 6th 8:37 before my tank had finished heating up Temp was 75F/24C I added 60ml/1/4 cup of 14% aqua ammonia.
8:45pm Am 6+ / Ni 0 / Na
9:30pm Am 6+ / Ni 0 / Na
not tested. After the test I added a 375ml/12.7 fl oz. of Nutrafin Cycle
by Hagen. Temp was unchanged.
4:30am Am 5-6? / Ni less then 0.1 / Na
less then 5 temp 79F/25.5C The two that say less then were just a trace but there was a slight color change in the tube so there was something.
10:10am Am 5-6? / Ni less then 0.1 / Na
less then 5 temp 79F/25.5C
3:00pm Am 5-6? / Ni 0.1-0.2 / Na
5 temp 80F/26C the temperature remained unchanged the rest of the cycle.
8:00pm Am 4-6? / Ni 0.4 / Na
6:00am Am 4-6? / Ni 0.5 / Na
9:30am Am 4-6? / Ni 0.5-1 / Na
11:45am Am 4-6? / Ni 1-1.5 / Na
25 at 12:00pm I added some sodium bicarbonate
10:30pm Am 4-5? / Ni 3 / Na
Feb 9th At 12:00pm I added a 500ml/16.9 fl oz. of Stability
by Seachem. At 5:00pm I added some Reef Builder
by Seachem in order to get my KH
up (bacteria consumes sodium/calcium carbonates in order to process waste)
7:30pm Ab 3-4 / Ni 5+ / Na
40 I didn't record the other tests done this day because nothing changed... it had stalled and I believe the low KH
was the reason.
11:30pm Am 2.5-3.5 / Ni 5+ / Na
40-50 After the tests I added some alcohol to provide a carbon source for the denitrifying bacteria.
8:30am Am 0.75 / Ni 5+ / Na
20 After the tests I added some more sodium bicarbonate and alcohol
10:30am Am 0.6 / Ni 5+ / Na
12:30pm Am 0.5 / Ni 5+ / Na
20 After the tests I added more Reef Builder and alcohol
10:30pm Am 0.25 / Ni 16? / NA
20 The Ni of 16 was taken by diluting 1/20th and getting 0.8 and then redoing it at 1/10th and getting 1.6
5:30am Am 0 / Ni 5+ / Na
2:30pm Am 0 / Ni 10? / Na
2:30am Am 0 / Ni 4 / Na
less then 5
2:30pm Am 0 / Ni 0 / Na
0 Tests done.
I have several things that I believe contributed to my quick cycle.
I have lots of home made live rock to see the demo I made on how to make it "CLICK HERE"
I also have a bunch of ceramic pellets
I have a deep sand bed of 3-4 inches in my tank and in two sections of my sump.
I dosed with two different types of bacteria each from different company's and stores. The bacteria supplement is a shelf stable product and can have problems in storage and shipping. That is my reason for getting the product from different stores. Another thing that you need to look at is the expiry date. You want one with the longest time left on them, mine had dates of Dec 2012 and June 2013. They were both from smaller stores not big box stores that have their own warehousing.
I kept my KH
up EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! For every 1 part ammonia that bacteria turn into nitrate the following are required.
4.18 parts oxygen
7.14 parts alkalinity as calcium carbonate (as CaCO3)
12 parts alkalinity as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
For bacteria to turn Nitrate into Nitrogen you need a carbon source I chose alcohol as ethanol as I have heard of many people who use vodka.
For every part of Nitrate that is turned into nitrogen you have 3.0 to 3.6 pounds of alkalinity as calcium carbonate (as CaCO3) produced.
At the end of my cycle, because I had dosed so much sodium/calcium carbonates I had precipitate in my tank from the denitrification.
I think I covered most things here... your questions are welcome and I will do my best to answer them!