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Old 02-13-2005, 10:40 PM   #1
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Has anyone seen a fast tank cycle like this?

I was into saltwater (heavy) about 10 years ago (two tanks, both 55 gallon regular) and I never recall a cycle taking less than 3-4 weeks. I have had my tank up now for a little over a week now and my ammonia is dropping, nitrites and nitrates are rising. I had anticipated ammonia to continue to rise for about another week before dropping. Here are my tests and results. I am currently running a 32 gallon hex with a fluval 104 canister and a penguin 170 with about 14 pounds of live rock.

Date NH3 NO2 NO3 pH SG
2/6/05 1.5 0.5 10 8.2 1.023
2/9/05 2 1.5 10
2/12/05 0.75 3.5 20
2/13/05 0.4 5.0
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:38 PM   #2
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hoe are you cycling? If using cured lr and sand I have heard of very short cycles
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Old 02-14-2005, 01:15 PM   #3
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I used lr ,water, and filter media from my main tank to start my 20g, and my cycle took about 16 days.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:38 PM   #4
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When I started my tank water sand and live rock it cycled in less than 3 weeks. NH3 only reached .5 before dropping to zero. I guess it really depends on the quality of your LR
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:47 PM   #5
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Mine too but CAREFUL! I recently posted my experience. Here's a copy:

My tank is 5 weeks old. I started with 50# LR and 25# LS in a 55 gal along with 50# CC sand and another 15# ruble rock. After 10-12 days, ammonia and NO2's were 0. NO3's ~50ppm. I run a PS in sump with two pre-filters. At week 3, I turned on the UV

Ok, now the saga;
--14 days I added a partial cleaning crew and they've been just peachy
--16 days I added a clown and LM blenny. Clown dies in 2 days. Blenny dies in 7-10 days. Water still reads good although, NO3's still stand about 50ppm.
--18 days I replaced the clown from above with a powder brn tang who lived lively until day 30 and died today, day 35.
--23 days replaced LM Blenny from above and he's still looking great today on day 35.
--28 days added flame angel who died on day 31-32. Water reads the same although, NO3's have dropped to ~30ppm

RESULT: on day 35 (5 weeks today), I have a LM blenny and cleaning crew that appear very healthy (Shrimp, snails, crabs). Lost 2 clowns, 1 powder brn tang, 1 LM blenny, 1 flame angel
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Old 02-17-2005, 04:11 PM   #6
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MJ, congrats on the fast cycle. Hopefully everything just moved fast for you and your tank is ready. If you aren't sure you could throw a raw shrimp in to jump start the cycle to make sure it has been completed. In any case once you start adding fish do it slowly to allow the bio time to catch up!

Runaway it sounds as though something other than your tank parameters may be amiss. I read your posts and would agree that you should try a different acclimation procedure (I always test my water before moving my livestock to make sure that the PH and SG match, if not I keep the process going). Unless you used tap water and there is some horrific chemical in your water that isn't being tested for there's probably something other than your cycle to look to. Once your tank is cycled, moving slowly and adding one fish at a time should allow your system enough time to catch up without harming your animals.
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Old 02-17-2005, 08:54 PM   #7
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Phyl, if acclimation is my problem, why do the fish live 1-2 weeks and die? Doesn't seem like that would happen with an acclimation problem.

Also, I've never had more than 3 fish at a time. Somtimes just 1! That is, aside from the cleaners.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:06 PM   #8
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My tank only took one week.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:37 PM   #9
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I had a similar experience, my levels were dropping to zero inside 11 days. I went back to the LFS where I purchased the LR and was told by the owner that the rock was at least partially cured. I have continued to monitor the levels and they seem to have stabilized. Don't really have enough experience to know for sure, so I'm not going to rush and montior for another week or so after a 25% water change.
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:36 PM   #10
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Runaway...My best guess as to why you are having problems is because you added too many fish too quickly. Nitrate is relativly non-toxic to animals but at 50ppm it may be a problem. Sounds like you started everything the right way. Nice use of LR, LS and rubble. ust give it more time for the denitrifing bacteria to build up and add livestock slowly. Also, test kits are not 100%. Verify your results using a different kit or have the LFS test for you.
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