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Old 04-01-2006, 01:10 PM   #1
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Three weeks, still ammonia 20+

We're heading into our 4th week since setting up a 75g tank, we started with damsels, who've been relocated to a small tank that I can easily maintain.

I've still got ammonia off the charts. I've been mixing 4 parts tap water (tested to have 0.5 parts ammonia per 5 ml), with 1 part tank water, which gives me a 4.0 reading (calculates out to about 20.0 for the tank).

Nitrites are going up though, and just yesterday hit the 5.0 limit on my test kit.

Nitrites are still low - around 10 mg/l.

So, it looks like some ammonia is getting converted to nitrites, but nitrite to nitrate process is still behind.

Last night i noticed the 2 charcoal baskets in my emperor 400 power filter were empty - I'm heading out now to get a refill. I had to scrape off the two sponge-based "cartridges", they were completely covered with "gunk" and were barely passing any water through them

Also, there are bubbles in the top of the tank - lots - covering about 50% of the surface.

During the first week and a half, I did use ammo-loc, and bio-zyme, in an effort to make the damsels comfortable and speed things along, but honestly neither of those products seemed to have done anything.

After 3 full weeks, should I hang in there and keep waiting? Do nitrites appear if the cycle isn't working at some level?
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Old 04-01-2006, 04:54 PM   #2
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The time that takes a tank to cycle is depends on the quantity and quality of ur LR and LS. How much LR and LS do u have? Sometimes if the quality of ur LR is poor (more die-off) the process will take longer.
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Old 04-01-2006, 04:58 PM   #3
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About an inch of live sand coverning the bottom. Not a DSB at all, but better than gravel or rock, right?

4 small LR pieces.

I noticed earlier that my charcoal was empty in my filter. Not sure how long it had been that way, but my water quality really has gone to heck, and I think that might be part of it. The guy at the LFS said not to worry about the filter at all until the cycle was done, but not having that filtration can't be helping.

There's a definate reddish/brownish tint to the water lately, too. Some brown spots on the sand, and covering some decorations, and it looks like hair algea growing on the live rock - little hairs everywhere in clumps, almost a fuzz in places.

Maybe the better filtration (now that I have charcoal) will help?
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Old 04-01-2006, 05:48 PM   #4
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Yes LS is way better than gravel and rock. You need more LR than just 4 small pieces. Get about 140 pounds of LR. Not only it'll help u cycle quicker, you won't even need to use ur filter anymore b/c LR acts as a major part of ur bio-filter. Turn off ur filter while ur cyclcing ur tank. The filter will reduce the amount of ammonia/nitrite required to cycle. Turning it off will speed up the process. Also remove any AC that ur using can help too. The tint is normal for a cycling tank. After ur tank is cycled, just do a big WC. The algae is probly diatoms, which is normal for a cycling tank too and will die off once the tank is cycled.

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Old 04-01-2006, 06:05 PM   #5
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Am I reading your post correctly? You have a 0.5 ammonia reading on your plain tap water?
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:23 PM   #6
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Yes. 0.5 at the tap. Just tested it again, after running the tap for a few minutes with water around tank temps (digitally measured temp).

Won't be getting that much LR anytime soon - too much $$$ for one thing I dont' necessarily trust the one local place that has LR, each piece I've purchased has been teeming with bristle worms or aiptasia anenome's (which weren't visible at the store). A few other critters too - I know they found a mantis shrimp (or two) in there with the LR, they moved him to an isolated tank.

I did notice today that nitrates (with an "A") are up to 20, first jump since the first week. Nitrites are up a bit more too.
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:02 PM   #7
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I wouldn't use that tap water anymore then. You are adding ammonia to the water and that is the last thing that you would want to do. I used to use tap water, but now I purchase RO water by the gallon. A little more money to be spent, but in the long run, well worth it. Same goes for the LR. This hobby does cost a good chunk of change.
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55 gal cycling. Will be FOWLR.
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