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Old 07-25-2013, 06:06 PM   #1
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Question Cycling my tank... Or am I?........

About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I started to set up a 60 gallon saltwater tank with live sand, 20lbs of live rock, and 35lbs of dried out live rock. I'm using an aquatop CF400 canister filer (with carbon) and just purchased a reef octopus BH2000 protein skimmer yesterday.

I was told that after putting the live rock in my tank, some bacteria would die off and cause the ammonia level to rise, thus, starting the cycling of my tank. I also bought three turbo grazers for the fun of it and discovered that I have a keyhole limpet living on one of my pieces of rock.

I did a baseline water test to see what my levels were and they were as follows:
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

I thought this was a good thing and with the expected increase in ammonia, was greatly anticipating my next water test.
Fast forward the 3 or 4 weeks to today and my water levels are as follows:
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20

I'm really confused as to what's going on. I'm aware of the nitrogen cycle and how it goes, but don't quite understand if my tank is actually cycling, or if I should add something or anything really for that matter...
What should a cycling tank's levels look like?
Is there some other element that I've missed entirely?

I'm very new to this and apologize for my inability to find an answer through research or another thread.
I just hope that someone has some words of wisdom for me

for your time!
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Has your nitrates been stable at what they are now? Bc after your tank has cycled you will need to do about a 35 percent water change to bring those nitrates down. My only concern is that your ammonia is .25. Have you seen a spike in nitrites at all? You should have. First your ammonia spikes then your nitrites then your nitrates. After your nitrates stabilizes at that level you do a water change to bring them down. Then add fish.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:23 AM   #3
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I haven't done another water test since the last one a few days back. There never was a spike in the ammonia and the nitrites have always been at 0 from what I've seen. The highest my ammonia has ever been is .25. I'm worried that I just have a bunch of nitrates building up, but no actual cycle...
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:21 AM   #4
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Using live rock the dead bacteria will only feed soo much. It is entirely possible that your living colony of bacteria was perfectly able to handle converting the ammonia straight to nitrates without needing a nitrite spike.

Things with your cycle seem to be running smoothly. I would try dosing to a 4ppm level of ammonia with liquid ammonia and see how long it takes the BB to convert it all to nitrates.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:21 AM   #5
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I was actually planning on getting some ammonia to see what the effect would be. I originally wanted to get something like API stress zyme+ or quick start because it says that it has the nitrifying bacteria for cycling, but read a lot about how that's for if you're cycling your tank WITH fish. I really don't know about all those bacteria in a bottle products, but that's a whole new thread...

I'm going to test my water again come dawn to get my baseline data and then add ammonia and test again in 24 hours, give or take to see the progression. Hopefully I don't overdo it hahaha
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #6
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Hope i'm not too late but I reread your thread and just saw that you added some of your CUC already. I would skip the ammonia if you have them in the tank. Sorry I didn't see that earlier.
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