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Old 06-04-2012, 11:32 PM   #1
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Question Cycling question

Is it possible for a cycle to stall?

I ask because when I dose ammonia to 2.0ppm it disappears or almost disappears by the next day. The Nitrites go to 2.0 and stays there for several days if I dont dose ammonia. After 3-5 days the Nitrites disappear. If I add even 1 ml ammonia the Nitrites go to 2.0 and it stays there for several days. It has been this way for over 3 weeks. Today is day 54 since I started the cycle. It seems to me that it should have progressed farther by now.

I went to a supposed "expert" store near Atlanta for advice and the guy told me to put in a bottle of microalgae and dump a couple fish in the tank. Since I am opposed to this and am determined to complete this cycle fishless, plus I dont want to put the fish through the stress, I dont expect to return to this "expert".

The DT is a 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump. With the rock and everything else in the tank and sump the total water column is 75 gallons. Coraline algae is starting to spread.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:38 AM   #2
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Yes, it's quite possible for a cycle to stall for various reasons. Have you tried taking your sample to an LFS to get tested? Just curious if you could be using a faulty test kit and such.

Did you use live rock or base rock?
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:03 AM   #3
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I am using an API Master Reef kit for testing dated November 2011. I have tested, retested and had someone else test for me and the numbers are the same but they used my test kit. I did a Nitrite test using a borrowed test kit and it read the same as my kit so I assume it's accurate.

I started with 100 lbs of base eco dry rock from BRS and 4 pieces of live rock from a local LFS. From the live rock I got some stomatella snails, some small feather dusters, 2 small bristle worms (good ones according to my research), and some small white filter feeders that look like what is called sea squirts. There was one aiptasia, now deceased. I have some chaeto in the refugium. There hasnt been a lot of die-off from the live rock that I can tell but some hair algae is starting to grow on the pieces. I am also seeing some small clumps of algae starting to grow on the back and side walls and overflow.

Other than ammonia, the only thing I am dosing is Purple Up twice a week to feed the coraline algae. The pH and KH had dropped a bit as well as calcium level but they were still within normal range. I did a 40% PWC this past weekend to raise those levels back up and to get rid of some of the Nitrates.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Water changes will stall your cycle. There is not really a need to dose your purple up (unless it's your preference) until after the cycle is done. Once the cycle is complete you will have to do a few large water changes and then you can dose the purple up or start using reef crystals which do the same exact thing and are less work
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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pH swings can cause stalls as well. I would stop dosing purple up asap. No need for it if you're using a good reef salt.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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During my cycles I test for ammonia and nitrItes and nothing else. Other things will swing during your cycle and are nothing to worry about. Dose to 4ppm ammonia anytime it is less than 4 and watch your nitrItes. When you can dose to 4ppm ammonia and it and nitrItes go to 0ppm in 24 hours, you will have very high nitrAtes and then you can do a big water change to get that down and you are done. I have done this successfully on salt and fresh and it has never failed me. Anything else you add to your tank can mess up your cycle. Wait until the cycle is over, then worry about the other parameters.
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