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Old 03-14-2012, 03:59 AM   #1
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Nitrogen cycle

Hello everyone. I am new to the saltwater world and I am having a little trouble understanding the nitrogen cycle. I started my tank on 3/5/2012 with live rock and live sand. I have been testing my water everyday and have found that I am always getting a reading of 0 for ammonia and nitrites. Over the last 3 days, my nitrates level has been rising and I am currently reading about 15ppm. I don't understand how my nitrates level can be rising when I have not seen any ammonia or nitrites. Is this even possible? It seems as though my tank would not cycle without ammonia and nitrites going up first. Am I missing something here? I do see life I the tank. I see amphipods, a couple of very tiny feather dusters that came in on my LR and, unfortunately, very small aiptasia, and what I think is small spaghetti worms. I have placed a peppermint shrimp in on 3/12/2012 to hopefully get rid of the aiptasia. Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
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What did you use as an ammonia source to cycle the tank?
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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We have a good article about it in our SW articles section.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reeffanman
What did you use as an ammonia source to cycle the tank?
I used 30# LS and 22# of LR. I was told I would not need to add anything more than that, just to be patient.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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You need to add a source of ammonia (pure ammonia, raw shrimp) to get your cycle going and to create enough BB to handle your bioload down the road. Like Mike mentioned, check out our SW articles.

This article on going with a fishless cycle is helpful too:
The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thank you for the link to the article on the nitrogen cycle. It does explain a lot. However, it does not explain why I would have nitrates when I have not added, nor seen, ammonia or nitrites. My source water did not have nitrates either. Also, I now have a peppermint shrimp in the tank to rid my tank of small aiptasia. If I add ammonia to the tank, won't the kill the shrimp?
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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Your shrimp could be your ammonia source? Also the live rock could have had die off.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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You most likely has some form of dieoff from your liverock that slowly turned into nitrates.

Also, if you're not cycled i would return that peppermint shrimp to your LFS. It's only going to suffer during the cycling process.

If you have aiptasia now and are cycling, I would take out the rock and burn the aiptasia with a lighter. It's very effective. If your tank was already established and removing your rock was an issue, then you can squirt kalk paste or lemon juice into the aiptasia to kill it.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:50 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the responses. I have a feeling you Amy be right. A new LFS opened up in my town a couple of weeks ago and a few things I have read are very contradictory to what the store owner says. I was wondering about the die off in the live rock too. The owner stated that he kills all of his live rock, then brings it back to life. I will return the peppermint shrimp to the LFS. Should I ask to return the live rock? I know there is some life in the tank because I have seen amphipods and spaghetti worms. When I purchased the LR, some were out of the sumps of his big tanks, out of a bucket curing, and a little from his display tanks. Thanks again for all of the advice. Glad I found this forum,
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:06 PM   #10
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In my opinion, if you had true live rock you are seeing nitrates because you already have the bacteria required to convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. What die off you have had and what waste the shrimp creates is what is giving you a nitrate reading. If the shrimp has been in there for more than a few days without dieing I would say you are cycled. If the shrimp were not in the tank I would recommend dosing a little pure ammonia just to check that you have cycled but with livestock in the tank that is a no go.
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