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Old 11-14-2010, 01:38 PM   #1
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Cycling went too fast?

I hate to bring up another cycling thread but I'm struggling with this!

In October, I set up a 60 gallon reef tank. On 10/23, I tried to cycle it with 40 lbs live rock that I added to 40 lbs of existing baserock. Nothing happened for weeks - 0 ppm for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I assumed that I didn't have enough LR to cycle it. So, one week ago, I added 3 shrimp in the nylon stocking according to advice I've read on this forum. I expected a high ammonia spike but it peaked at .50. Today, I show 0 ppm for ammonia. I tested nitrites this morning and have 0 ppm. Nitrates are 20 ppm. Is this it? I never saw a nitrite reading. I wasn't testing for it because I thought ammonia would be higher. When I saw the ammonia drop, I then tested for nitrite. As I said, there is a nitrate reading. The shrimp is happily rotting away - I think I followed the instructions closely.

Has it cycled? Can it happen this quickly with low ammonia values?

I do have some LR hitch hikers. I have 2 asterina star fish, 3 feather dusters and several un-ID'd worms, several super tiny white or clear looking shrimp, at least 1 sponge - they all appear to be healthy and I do have some minimal coraline algae growth and forams.

Can I add some macro algae and a clean up crew or should I add more dead shrimp and get a higher ammonia and nitrite spike? I did have a brief dusting of diatoms shortly after introducing the 3 shrimp but that is disappearing. I am using a reefmaster test kit.

Maybe it has been quietly cycling all along since the addition of the LR and was a gradual process? It just seems really premature to consider the first, most important cycle complete after 1 week since adding the shrimp. I want to make sure that I am not misunderstanding a critical point.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:20 PM   #2
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Ok if your rock was truely "live" you shouldnt see a "high" spike in ammonia. Being called "live rock" means that it has the beneficial bateria for the nitrogen cycle. Sounds like your ready to go.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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I agree that the LR if it was truly live then you would not have seen a ammonia or nitrite spike. Not much of one anyway.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:06 PM   #4
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Okay, here's a follow up to this......I had a nice long 19 day long cycle with my brand new 55 gallon setup. My ammonia went to 4.0 for 5 days, Nitrites went to 5 for 1 day, 4 the next then .50 the next day (so the nitrites went down quickly), but my Nitrates have only gone to 20 for 5 days, and has only fell to about 15 today. Does it sound like I'm ready??? Should I still do a pwc??? I though the final pwc at the end of a cycle was to lower the Nitrates? Isn't 20 low, or should they be 0?
My ph has also been steady for 6 days at 7.8.
Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, Nitrates=15-20
I'M GETTING VERY ANTSY TO ADD SOME RESIDENTS!!!!!
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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@Sadial - You didn't mention that it was live rock that was shipped to you. It sounds like it was already cured and went from the store to your tank. I think you are ready to go. Just add live stock slowly and keep an eye on things.

@jl327fife - I would perform a partial 10% water change and then monitor for another couple days to see if the nitrate went down. Then your good to go. Do you intend to make this into a reef aquarium? If so then you want to address the nitrate issue as it would be considered too high. If this is fish only then you should be okay with the hardier fishes.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:11 PM   #6
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For a fish only setup 20 ppms of nitrate is okay. If you are going reef that's another story and you should get it as close to 0 as possible with 5ppm exceptable.
If you have no fish in your setup now is the time to do a large PWC/ with 50% being Okay. after you add live stock a 15%-20% being the normal.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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Thanks fo rthe info guys. I AM planning on a reef tank so I'll work on the Nitrates.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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This made my day! I had resigned myself to waiting until January before adding livestock. I expected a very lengthy cycle time.

ChizerBunoi - no, the LR wasn't shipped. I picked it up at my not-so-local fish store. It's a bit of a drive but always worth it. Most of it was cured but I picked out an almost 4 lb rock that wasn't cured just to see what that was like.

I'm looking at macroalgae. The place that I want to buy it from has caulerpa, dead man's finger - coduim, and red gracilaria algae. I keep reading about chaeto algae on this forum. Do I want that instead of the above or is it a wash and they all perform similarly? The description for the red gracilaria says that it is the favorite food of tangs. I think my setup is too small for an adult tang so I just want something to pull the nitrates out of the water. I have a place in my fuge that I'd like to put the macroalgae.

Thanks
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:07 PM   #9
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the caulerpa seems to be the best at pulling out nutrients BUT they need 24 hour light or they COULD go asexual and cloud your tank with their spores. Cheato seems to be the class favorite. Its easy doesnt need 24 hour light and grows like crazy. Not sure about the others you listed. Oh and yea your right 60 gallon is to small for any tangs.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:05 PM   #10
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Sounds good - thanks.
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