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Old 08-31-2009, 04:17 PM   #11
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So let me get this straight... you cycled your tank, and saw an increase then decrease in ammonia, and an increase then decrease in nitrites... but you have never seen any nitrates show up?

If so, then the only thing I can think of is that your ammonia/nitrite levels never really got too high and the nitrates you have in your tank are not detectable using the test kit you have. API test kits first color change for nitrates happens at 10ppm. So if you're using that, and say have 5.0ppm nitrates, you probably won't see much - if any - of a color change. But it doesn't mean it isn't there. Other test kits have different sensitivities. For example, Salifert kits can read down to 0.1 ppm nitrates.

As long as you saw an increase/decrease in ammonia and nitrites, I wouldn't be too concerned about no measurable nitrates. You'll have plenty of time to get them!
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:24 PM   #12
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I cycled a 150G tank with just a few fish, so the levels wouldn't get too high. The highest ammonia level I saw was 0.5 ppm, and the highest nitrite level I saw was 0.1 ppm, but they are both back to zero now. I never once saw any nitrates during the whole time. My nitrate test kit says it will measure down to 2.5 ppm. I add fish slowly now to prevent a mini-cycle, but for a couple of weeks now the measurements have all been zero.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:28 PM   #13
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Well... a deep sand bed (dsb) will help reduce nitrates, but it takes a while for it to get up and running. Even if you have a dsb, in a new tank I wouldn't expect for it to really be doing much yet. With what you're saying, you do have nitrates... that's for sure! They just must be at a point where you can't measure them yet.
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:43 AM   #14
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You still only have 50 lbs of rock in there? I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy about the respective increases of ammonia and nitrites you saw. The levels you reported seem very low to cycle a 150g tank with 50 lbs of rock and a few fish as you describe.

Decide if you're gonna keep all those damsels now. You need a lot more rock IMO, and doing so will make 'dem damsels hard to catch. OK, if you decide to leave them in there, and you got a lot more stocking of new fish to do still the damsels can wreak havoc to newcomers.

I haven't read anyting more than your "My Tanks" profile, but if it were me, I'd remove all the damsels, add about 80 to 100 lbs of rock and re-cycle the tank with uncured rock or the raw shrimp method.

But that's just me. I tend to do things with an eye towards trying to get some finality. Somehow, I feel you didn't create enuf ammonia and nitrite to be finished with the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate process.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:08 AM   #15
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The 50 pounds of LR I started the tank with was cured. I added 50 more pounds this weekend after curing it in my garage, and the only thing I want to do for the next couple of months is add more LR until I have 200-250 pounds total.

I intentionally started the tank with small amounts of rock and fish so that those levels wouldn't get so high, and I understand that I risk having mini-cycles after adding more livestock. I don't plan to add many more fish, I want to focus on corals and just a few types of fish. I actually started a thread about that too:

Stocking 150G reef

Everybody says I should get rid of the damsels. I know they can be mean to new fish but I like damsels and the way they interact and I'd like to keep them. I've been able to get some fish acclimated to the tank even with the damsels and it's only a couple that have ever been a problem. I'm not afraid to take those ones back if they continue to be like that.

I started this thread because I was curious why I hadn't seen any nitrates yet, and it looks like I'll end up seeing them soon, even though I haven't seen them already...
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