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Old 03-01-2009, 05:11 PM   #1
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Is my tank cycled or not started? NEED HELP!

Hello,

I am a beginner when it comes to saltwater tanks. I am trying to establish a fish only with live rock tank. I added my uncured live rock about two weeks ago with live sand and started testing ammonia about 3-4 days after and had gotten no readings. The salinity is at 1.024 and the temperature is at 75 degrees. After about a week I tested both ammonia and nitrite and still got no readings. Finally after being fed up thinking the cycle didn't start I tested ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and PH today (approx 2 weeks after adding the live rock and sand) and I got 0 levels of ammonia, 0 levels of nitrite, and I'm pretty sure i got small levels of about 5-10ppm of nitrate reading with a PH of 7.2. I tested again today and got a 20ppm reading of nitrate and still 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. I am very confused at this point as to what i should be doing or where my tank is at in terms of the cycle. Could someone please help me as to what further steps I should be taking and where my tank is at after 2 weeks of adding the uncured live rock?
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:25 PM   #2
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Couple of things.

Raise your temp up a bit. 75 is low I would head towards 78-80. Your pH is low as well. You may need a little more surface ripple to help with the O2 exchange. You ph will go up as the tank is more established.

To test your tanks cycling drop an uncooked raw shrimp in the tank and let it rot. After a day or two do all your tests again and see if you get an ammonia spike and nitrite spike. You need an ammonia source of some kind but with 0 readings of ammonia and nitrite and nitrate present you could be cycled.
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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thank you for the reply. It's only be two weeks thats why I am confused. So if I put the shrimp in and if after two days I still have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite does that mean its cycled?

I don't know if this makes a difference but the uncured live rock was left in the box for 2-3 days, however, I did water it with saltwater to keep it wet during that period.
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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I would say yes. That would mean that you have a good bacteria population and it is able to handle the ammonia from decay. You should see a small amount of ammonia a couple days after adding the shrimp but it should drop qucikly followed by a rise in nitrites and then an increase in your nitrates.

If that happens then do a large PWC and test your water again and you should be ready for a clean up crew and you will be on your way to adding fish. I would give this process a week just to be safe.
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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okay thank you I will do that. Should i just leave everything else alone or should I be doing something to get the PH higher?
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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Are you running lights on the tank right now? If you are not that could have a lot to do with your pH being low. I wouldn't worry about the pH right now. Lets see if your tank is cycled. I would bump the temp up a bit. Marine fish tend to like things a little warmer. 78-79 will work. I keep my system at 80 but I have a reef.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:07 PM   #7
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No i was told not to run the lights, they have been off during the 2 weeks. I turn them on every once and a while to just see the rock. I made the temperature higher and am going to be adding the shrimp shortly. So I will just wait two days to see if there's any ammonia or nitrites then I will let you know. Thanks again for your help the other forums I tried were no help to me at all.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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Your pH will come up when you have lights running on the tank. I would not worry about it at all right now. You can run the lights if you want to during the cycle. I did on my tank. The main reason you don't is to avoid any algae blooms. You will end up with them sooner or later. Diatoms are the first to show up, dusty brown looking stuff on the sand, rock and sometimes glass. Nothing to worry about it is part of the process.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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okay thank you, i will try that first and keep you updated
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:46 PM   #10
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okay so after having the raw shrimp in my tank for 2 days I testing everything once again. My results were as follows:

Ammonia still stayed at 0ppm
Nitrite increased to 0.25ppm from 0ppm
Nitrates stayed the same at 20ppm
PH stayed the same at 7.2

So the only increase I noticed was a very small increase in nitrites. What does this mean and where do I go from here? Is my tank cycled?
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