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Old 09-06-2008, 12:49 PM   #1
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Can't Start a Cycle....Even With Raw Shrimp

I started my 28 gallon tank 4 days ago using approximately 35-40 lb of LR (both long cured and pre-cured pieces) and 10lbs. of Caribsea Aragalive substrate. Got my salinity, pH, temp, calcium, etc. where I wanted.

SG = 1.023, pH=8.3, temp 78-80 variance through day, ammonia and nitrIte pretty much 0, nitrAte reading around 4-8.

Anyways, end of day 2 I added a raw larger shrimp and now 48 hours later still ammonia = 0-.3 and nitrIte = 0.

I'm beginning to wonder if I have already cycled and just missed it with my testing. Shouldn't a whole large shrimp in a 28 gallon tank for 48 hours cause a significant ammonia spike??

After 4 days I have alot of aiptasia, a few bristleworms, some small mushrooms, some small polyps, a few featherdusters, and some itty-bitty snails running around. Absolutely amazing how quikly life develops in saltwater environments
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:43 PM   #2
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It shold take longer than 2 days for your cycle to start. I would think about a week. Also if you already have cured LR then I would think you would only have a mini cycle if one at all.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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It shold take longer than 2 days for your cycle to start. I would think about a week. Also if you already have cured LR then I would think you would only have a mini cycle if one at all.
My shrimp is considerably decomposed so I thought I might see ammonia going up a little at least. Should I add another???
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:09 PM   #4
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It sounds as if you are cycled. I would remove the shrimp and let the ammonia get converted into nitrAtes, then you should be all set, after a large 30% PWC to knock down those nitrAtes.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:43 PM   #5
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Jonboyb -- I had the same thing happen. I have a 34gallon and used live sand and rock.. then added the shrimp... shrimp decomp'd but I never really saw that huge "cycle spike" that i read about... So from the great advise of the moderators / mentors on this site (like Roka64 & Melosu58 !) I took the shrimp out... did a 50% water change... let it sit a week and did a 20% PWC..

Then I added a cleaning crew!

Good luck
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:17 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I'll go ahead and get 10 gallons of RO/DI filtered up and mixed with my Seachem Reef Salt. I didn't expect to do a water change at 5 days in or I would have already had it ready One other thing I've noticed is a drop in my SG from 1.023 to 1.021 and a drop in my pH from 8.4 to 8.2 today. I expected SG to go up if anything from evap (even though I haven't had any measurable loss of water yet). No clue why my pH has dropped. Should I mix my PWC a little high, say SG=1.026 and pH=8.5 to get my tank back up a little? Or maybe just add a little buffer to the tank (diluted in RO/DI of course) to bring my pH back?

THanks for all the advice.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:41 PM   #7
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The fact that you had so much LR kept you from going through the full cycle. You already had a large enough colony of bacteria to handle the increased bioload of a decomposing shrimp.
Congrats. Let the tank finish the mini-cycle and when the ammonia and nitrite are back to 0 you can do your large PWC.

Just mix it to 1.024 or 1.025 SG. Take your tank water parameters a day after the pwc and post them again. The pH will be unstable during the cycle and it's very important that you test it at the same time of day to get a consistent reading. pH will be lowest just before lights on and highest at lights out.

How are you measuring SG? If you are not using a calibrated refractometer then you should get one. Swing arm hydrometers are inconsistent IMO.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:21 PM   #8
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Did a full test regiment tonight. Ammonia and nitrItes still around 0 but my nitrAtes had risen to about 15+/-. Appears I have cycled and I'll do a PWC tommorrow to get the nitrAtes back down. My raw shrimp is pretty much a shell so he's been removed, and I never got a single whiff of stink. I don't know if it was the LR or the Caribsea Aragalive sand......but man that was much easier than I expected I'm really happy right now. Maybe I can get some critters in there sonner than I thought to munch on that aiptasia and not have to do any chemical warfare on it
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Old 09-07-2008, 12:55 AM   #9
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...Maybe I can get some critters in there sonner than I thought to munch on that aiptasia and not have to do any chemical warfare on it
Don't rely on the critters - take kalk paste, Joe's Juice, or whatever your chemical of choice is, and go to it. Ya gotta be ruthless with the little buggers before they get a foot hold. Kalk paste is totally harmless, as long as you're not using tons of it.
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:58 PM   #10
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Yea, Joe's Juice is the way to go.
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