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Old 01-24-2005, 06:25 PM   #1
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Cycling question regarding not seeing any spikes

Ok so I have an 80 gal bowfront tank that has been running for a week. I have a little more than 50 lbs. of live rock from lfs and 20 lbs live sand mixed with 40 lbs aragonite sand. I am using the Seachem marine basic test and Oceanic Salt. This is my logbook of tests:

1/19/05
pH 8.2 nitrite 0ppm nitrate 1.0 ppm alk 2.75 free ammonia >0.1

1/20/05
pH 8.2 nitrite 0ppm nitrate 3.5 ppm alk 2.75 free amm 0.1 tot amm 0.4

1/21/05
pH 8.2 nitrite 0ppm nitrate 5.0 ppm alk 3.0 free amm 0.2 tot amm 0.5

1/22/05
pH 8.2 nitrite 0 ppm nitrate 3.5 ppm alk 2.75 free amm 0.1 tot amm 0.3

1/24/05
pH 8.2 nitrite 0ppm nitrate 3.5 ppm alk 2.75 free amm 0.1 tot amm 0.2


So my main question is if a spike will even occur in my setup considering my values have all been pretty steady. I was thinking about putting 2 blue damsels in my tank and see if I would get more of a cycle that way. That would also give me a chance to see how my Aquac remora pro performs since I haven't had any skimmate yet. I wanted to put 2 blue damsels in my tank anyway, so its not like I would just be using them for testing purposes. Just wondering what some of the more knowledgeable people around here think about me adding the damsels this soon.

When would be a good time to add a cleanup crew?
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Old 01-24-2005, 07:49 PM   #2
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Instead of getting the damsels, feed the tank as if they where there anyway. The resulting food breakdown will create an ammonia source similar to fish but without their ammonia excressions. If the tank is properly cycled, it will handle the nutrient increase and you should not see much if any change in the numbers. If you do see any changes in NH3 or NO2, there was never enough nutrient for the cycle to progress properly even with the LR.

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Old 01-24-2005, 07:50 PM   #3
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If the rock was cured you may not get a larger spike then what you saw. I still would wait before putting in damsels. Get a piece of shrimp from the grocery store and throw it in the tank (I put mine in a nylon bag for easy removal) shell and all. Then you should see ammonia rise then when it starts to drop the nitrites will rise. Once you see this and ammonia and nitrites are 0 then test nitrates. (testing for nitrates with detectable amounts of nitrites will give you a false reading).

It is possible that with the liverock and sand you got that there was enough bacteria to keep it from spiking but it is better to be patient and not rush anything.

When your amm and nitrites are 0 you can get a cleanup crew.
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Old 01-24-2005, 08:24 PM   #4
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It just so happens I am going to eat some shrimp for dinner tonight so I just dropped one jumbo shrimp in my tank and will monitor my levels over the next couple of days. The shrimp was cleaned, but the guy at the fish store removed the shells. Will having the shrimp in their without the shell produce the same results as the shelled shrimp would?
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Old 01-24-2005, 08:28 PM   #5
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Ya just make a mess in the tank with nothing to hold t together. How long did the LFS have the LR? It maybe cured so it has bacteria on it already so you may never get a cycle....
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Old 01-24-2005, 08:35 PM   #6
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I'm not sure what you just said. Are you saying I'm making a mess in the tank by adding a shrimp without its shell? The guy at the LFS told me that the rock was uncured rock. It is premium grade fiji rock if that makes any difference. It smelled kinda bad when I opened the box to put the rock in the tank, but my tank has not smelled bad at all lately so I'm assuming the rock was at least partially cured.
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Old 01-24-2005, 08:50 PM   #7
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Yeah it probably was cured a little bit. Just leave the shrimp in the way it is but try to remove it with a cup or something. If you have any nylon bags you can put it in there or even in a water bottle with some holes poked in it. The shrimp will just start to rot and break up when disturbed. BEWARE of the smell when you remove it. I left mine in for 10 days and it was NASTY when I took it out.

Just test your ammonia every couple of days. I would probably leave the shrimp in til the weekend or longer if it doesnt stink too bad.
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Old 01-24-2005, 09:00 PM   #8
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I believe that Seaham was saying was that there is nothing holding the shrimp together, so as it decays it will fall apart and float around inside the tank. No harm, except if you wanted to remove it, it will be difficult.

By using live sand you have some bacteria necessary for fish survival. There is no way to tell how much live rock will die off so you may never get a real spike. By adding the shrimp, you are simply assuring that the bacteria can sustain life.

In other words, you are doing everything right, be patient. You will be able to add your damsels in a week or two probably

Tmcpeek is a faster typer than me!
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:14 PM   #9
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Shortly after I added the shrimp to the tank last night my skimmer started foaming like crazy. I started getting some skimmate so I'm guessing that this shrimp is kickstarting my cycle. I'm going to run some tests later on and see if any of the levels rise.
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Old 01-26-2005, 03:39 AM   #10
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FWIW you don't have to take the shrimp out, it will totally decay and help with the bacteria build up in your tank, and if there was anything alive on that LR you got then you never know it could feed off the shrimp

Kudos for going the fishless cycle route! :P
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