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Old 12-17-2013, 12:28 PM   #1
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Newbie waiting for cycle

Hi all,

A bit of background. The wife and I purchased a 46 gallon tank off of kijiji. He was originally set up for a saltwater system with coral. The purchase included:

- 46 gallon bowes tank
- 2 bulb light (sorry, don't know the details besides that its 1 white and 1 blue)
- Rena Cal 50W heater
- 2 power heads
- Coralife 65G super skimmer
- Fluval 305 skimmer

The young man who sold us the aquarium was very knowledgeable and explained everything to us. We visited our lfs to discuss getting started and to ensure we had everything that we needed. They briefly explained that if we wanted to do saltwater (which we did) that we would have to cycle the tank. They explained that we should buy live rock. We purchased 47lbs of live rock, plus sand and instant ocean salt. We drove home set up the tank and have been waiting ever since.

We are currently on day 17 of the cycle and none of our levels seem to be changing. Our salt level has been approx 1.02, pH of about 8.3, temperature of 78. Our ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels have all stayed at 0. I have never ran the skimmer and put the light on for a few hours most days for now.

Is this normal that everything has stayed pretty well at 0? Should levels not be changing at this point? I've read that adding in a shrimp could help, should I be doing this?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am still very new at this so any advise would be great.

Thanks
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:42 PM   #2
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How high are you dosing the ammonia in the tank while cycling it? Too high of an ammonia level can stall a cycle. Also, what test kits are you using?
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:30 PM   #3
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I have not been putting any ammonium in the tank as I was told that that was the purpose of the live rock. I am using API (aquarium pharmaceuticals) salt water tests using water samples taken from midway down the tank and the provided drops.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:37 PM   #4
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That would be why you aren't seeing any nitrite or nitrate then. There needs to be ammonia in the water to convert to nitrite and then to nitrate to cycle a tank. Try putting a single uncooked shrimp in a nylon stocking into the tank and then seeing how the tank parameters react to that. If you start seeing nitrate without any ammonia or nitrite after a few days then your tank should be ready for its first fish.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:52 PM   #5
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Ok thanks for the advise. Ill give that a shot today and will let you know if that gets things started. Is the purpose of the live rock not supposed to add ammonia though? Or was this simply my LFS convincing us to buy rocks at 7$/lbs?

Now one thing I failed to mention is that my LFS is about an hour away. From the time the live rock left the aquarium at the fish store to the time it was placed in our aquarium after getting set up it was probably 3hrs, but the rocks were packaged moist in a styrofoam box. Could this be part of the problem?
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig.Marchand View Post
Ok thanks for the advise. Ill give that a shot today and will let you know if that gets things started. Is the purpose of the live rock not supposed to add ammonia though? Or was this simply my LFS convincing us to buy rocks at 7$/lbs?

Now one thing I failed to mention is that my LFS is about an hour away. From the time the live rock left the aquarium at the fish store to the time it was placed in our aquarium after getting set up it was probably 3hrs, but the rocks were packaged moist in a styrofoam box. Could this be part of the problem?
The live rock is there to grow bacteria that will break down ammonia into nitrite, nitrite into nitrate, and nitrate into nitrogen gas. The ammonia is introduced into the aquarium through livestock waste and food.

The cured live rock you bought is technically already cycled but you want to check how quickly it is processing ammonia before you try adding any fish into the tank. It also wasn't a bad price. I paid $5 - $9 / lb depending on the pieces I bought.

Take a look at this link:
Cycling a Saltwater Aquarium
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #7
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How are you checking salinity? 1.02 is a very odd reading. Do you make your own salt water or buy it?
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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I am using a hydrometer. It's been reading around 1.019 to 1.020.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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And I have been making my own saltwater using instant ocean salt and room temperature tap water. This was the way the LFS suggested or to use the more expensive jugs of saltwater.
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:46 AM   #10
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Newbie waiting for cycle

I have seen where if you have a lot of live rock witch it sounds like you have a good amount your tank might not even need a cycle or cycled within hours because of all the bacteria that already exist off the rock my friends bio cube did it also and I was shocked! The "live sand " should of had a good amount of ammonia In it to kick off a cycle so there is a good chance your In the clear.
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