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Old 11-20-2008, 06:29 PM   #1
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cycling with shrimp, have a question!

So as some may know, I am currently cycling my 29g reef using the shrimp method described in this article:

FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "Cycling Your Tank"

The shrimp are fuzzy, and my first reading was on Tuesday, it read as follows:

Ammonia: 0.8+ ppm (no high range test on my test kit)
Nitrites: 0.2ppm
Nitrates: 0ppm

Today I have tested again and got these parameters:

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrites: 2ppm
Nitrates: < 10 ppm

As I understand it, it would seem that the nitrogen cycle is well underway, and has already transformed my Ammonia into Nitrites, and I am waiting for Nitrites to hit 0, nitrates to spike, and then for nitrates to reach < 10ppm.

My question is, does this seem accurate? Also, my shrimp are still quite in there, should I let them sit until they disappear on their own or remove them?

Any suggestions/opinions are welcome! Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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Yup, you're on track. The only thing is that most likely, with your tank being so new, the nitrates won't come down below 10 on their own. You'll need to do water changes to get them down once your cycle completes.

There's 2 schools of thought on what to do with the shrimp. Once your cycle completes, you can remove them if you wish. Others prefer to leave them in and let your CUC enjoy them.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:06 PM   #3
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The ammonia test kit ain't right. Should be in whole numbers like 4.0 or 8.0, not 0.8.

If it was 8.0 and down to zero in two days, that doesn't sound right either.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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well I'm using the Instant Ocean marine basics test kit, and the measure is in mg/l, goes from 0.0 to 0.8. It's the same my LFS uses with great success...I suppose it waS over 0.8 but the kit doesn't test high-range ammonia.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:58 PM   #5
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So you are saying that .8 is the high end of your ammonia test?
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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If you used cured live rock, then those numbers could be possible. Agree that it seems a little quick, but if the rock was cured then anything is possible.

Assuming the numbers are correct, everything seems like it's cranking along fine. Only correction would be that your nitrates won't come down on their own. You're only waiting for the ammonia and nitrItes to go to zero. Once they're both at zero, then you can do PWCs to get your nitrAtes down as far as you want before adding livestock.
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:51 AM   #7
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Indeed, 0.8 mg/L is the high-end of my Ammonia test. I'm using the marine basics tests by Instant Ocean (Marine Aquarium Water Testing & Water Quality: Instant Ocean Saltwater OceanMaster Test Kit), figured it would be reliable since my LFS uses it and unfortunately they had nothing by Seachem or Salifert, which I would have gone with. The only other tests were by API, not sure how reliable those are.

The LR was indeed cured, so I guess maybe these numbers are alright? I tested all parameters twice today to leave no room for error, and both times they remained at the same values.

Thanks for clearing up the parts about nitrates, was definitely planning on doing a large PWC once the cycle is over.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:51 AM   #8
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The API kits are great and many of us on here use them. I would remove the shrimp and put it in a clean shotglass and stick it in the fridge. Let the tank sit a couple hours or overnight and test again. If your numbers drop significantly you will have a better idea of where you are in the cycle. Then just put the shrimp back into the tank if you're not ready yet.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #9
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I agree with Kurt that if you was already using cured LR then that would be about right. Just make sure your ammonia and nitrites are 0 and then do a PWC to lower the nitrates.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:13 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the great advice! I'm going to test again today then store the shrimp in the fridge overnight and test again tomorrow for the sake of accuracy. Also good to know that API makes good reliable test kits, there are plenty of those at my LFS and they seem to be within a reasonable price range!

Appreciate all the help, will keep everyone updated once I get new readings
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