Newbie dumb question here...
OK... so this is kind of "Part 2" from my phosphates from my decaying shrimp post.
I'm setting up a 46g bowfront, and am cycling my 10g quarantine since it's going to be in action for a while as I slowly stock my 46g. From my previous post, it's obvious I had waaaaay too much dead shrimp in there - I put one whole one in for a 10 gallon. Before I realized I had too much, I thought I had too little, and threw in another 1/2 a shrimp for good measure.
During all that, the only biological filtration I had was a Penguin BioWheel 100. Ammonia after a couple weeks was at least 6.0ppm, maybe higher. So... after 3 weeks, I'd managed to spike my ammonia up to 6+ppm
with only a biowheel, and with no detectable nitrites or nitrates.
Upon realizing from comments here that too much ammonia would not allow the beneficial bacteria to grow and that a lone biowheel was a little on the small side, I removed all dead shrimp and bought a 3-4 lb chunk of "live" base rock. (It was as dead as a doornail, though. At least it will give a "home" for the bacteria.) I then did a 50% water change, and then another 20% the next day.
So now I'm nearing my 4th week since I threw my shrimp in to rot, and I'm back down to an ammonia level of 1.5-2.0ppm (from the water changes) with a biowheel and a chunk of live rock, and STILL no perceptable levels of nitrite or nitrates.
Question: Since my ammonia levels were so high, am I basically starting my cycle time over from the time I finally lowered my ammonia levels? It seems strange that I haven't detected any increase in nitrites yet.
EDIT:Nevermind... answered my own question! (Why is it - you struggle with question yourself for a while, but the minute you ask it out loud the answer is obvious?!!)
I tested the QT water tonight and that darn light blue tint from the Nitrite kit finally turned purple! Woohoo!! Nitrites are now perceptable at 0.25ppm and the Nitrates are heading up, somewhere around 10ppm.
Looks like it's finally started. Cool.