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Old 07-21-2014, 09:01 PM   #1
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Is my cycle going right?

Ok, so I recently got back into the hobby and am basically a beginner again. I got my 46 gallon bowfront set up a couple weeks ago and am currently in the cycling process. I started off with 40 lbs of dry base rock and 40 ish pounds of sand/crushed coral. I added about 12 lbs of live rock from my lfs on the 15th. I also dropped in a decent pinch of flakes on the 15th as well. I have added asmall pinch two more times including today. Below I will post my test results with dates. I just want to know if this seems normal.

17 July:
Ammonia: between 1.0 and 2.0 (hard to tell)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

19 July:
Ammonia: 1.0
Nitrite: .5
Nitrate: .25

20 July:
Ammonia: .5
Nitrite: 1.0
Nitrate: .5

21 July(am):
Ammonia: .5
Nitrite: 1.0
Nitrate: .5

21 July (pm):
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 1.0
Nitrate: .5

Are the low values due to the live rock having established bacteria? Do these results make sense with what I've mentioned. Also, I am currently using tap water, but have an RO/DI unit coming in a day or two. Yesterday I also had some brown algae form which has spread quite a bit today. Any help would be great!
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Old 07-22-2014, 01:31 PM   #2
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I think the values may be low because flakes don't add that much. And, it adds phosphates as well. A single cocktail shrimp (eat the rest), or a bottle of pure ammonia are the 2 preferred methods. I have always used ammonia because it is cheap (even tho it might be the most expensive of the methods), contains no additional additives (like the phosphates), is probably the easiest to add (and then remove later, yucky shrimp), and can be used for other things around the house (cleaning).
But it certainly looks like you may be well on your way to cycling. However, nitrates should continue to rise if you continue to add a ammonia source. It seems like both nitrates and nitrites have stalled.

Kill the lights during the cycle. Brown algae may be diatoms, especially if its a light brown. Its kinda early for them, but they almost always appear when new coral based sand is used. They will eventually go away if it is.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I did forget to mention that after assembly I did add about 2 ish mL of ammonia to get the cycle going about two weeks before I even added the live rock. I will definitely reduce the light time and kill it after a couple days if the diatom growth doesn't stall. Also today my Nitrates increased quite a bit. My readings from today are:

Ammonia: < .25 (almost 0 kind of a close call)
Nitrite: 1.0
Nitrate: between 5.0 and 10.0 (closer to 10.0)

To me this looks like the end of my cycle is near.

Also, I discovered some hitchhikers for the first time. A small brittle star ( maybe 1" wide), 3-10 ish bristleworms, a mystery snail (roundish shell maybe 1/4" wide), and 3 tiny blueish/grayish starfish (Asterina?). I've heard a lot of negative things about the asterina stars, should I remove them?
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:58 PM   #4
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You don't need to run the lights at all during the cycle. The only thing that needs it is adverse algae and cyano/diatoms. None of that you want, and with the elevated nitrates that you want to see during the cycle, its just a recipe for disaster.
The cycle is complete when you can dose Ammonia to 4ppm and within 24 hrs both ammonia and nitrite levels hit 0. By then your nitrate will be quite high. A large water change or 2 and your ready to go
I have found Asternia stars to eat coralline algae, which I did not like at the beginning when I had little of it. Now, you don't notice it at all.
Collinista Snails are probably what you have as well. No problem there, they are a nighttime feeder and harmless.
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