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Old 10-23-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
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Do I have a cycled tank?

Hi Everyone,

First some background information. 4 Weeks ago i started a 46 Gallon bow salt water aquarium. Within the first week of the setup, I had 60lbs of live rock, and as a sand bed put in aragonite. I have a fluval 405 canister filter, 2 power heads, and a protein skimmer, along with a 250watt heater. All of the equipment has been running since I started up my tank. The first day i set up my tank I had Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0 and Nitrate - 0, Salinity 1.024, Ph 8.2. Unfortunately, I didn't test my parameters everyday, therefore whether I had an Ammonia spike or not, I am not sure. I did test the water every 3 or 4 days and never say a spike. I left my tank running and went on vacation for 10 days and just returned. I checked my levels, and they are, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate 20ppm. This was the last reading I had. So my question is, has my tank cycled, because I have a nitrate reading? or did it not? and what does that nitrate reading mean? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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Cycle your salt tank

This article will explain what you need to see happen.
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by adimatteo View Post
Hi Everyone,

First some background information. 4 Weeks ago i started a 46 Gallon bow salt water aquarium. Within the first week of the setup, I had 60lbs of live rock, and as a sand bed put in aragonite. I have a fluval 405 canister filter, 2 power heads, and a protein skimmer, along with a 250watt heater.


Two questions. What is Aragonite? And what is a protien skimmer and what does it do? <<< Is a skimmer the same thing as this? or different?

-thanks for any info. You guys are so great!
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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I think Aragonite is a type of crushed coral/sand type substrate. You can get it in different sizes from very fine to large and chunky! A protein skimmer is something that typically is in a sump or other container under the tank out of sight. It will form bubble that will trap or get rid of excess nutrients from the thank.

As to the cycling of the tank, what did you do to start the cycle? Did you put in shrimp or add ammonia from a bottle? Was that live rock shipped to you or did your get it from an LFS? Regardless, was it out of water for an extended time before going into your tank?

And yes, it sounds like you are, if nothing else, very close to having a completed cycle.
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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I think Aragonite is a type of crushed coral/sand type substrate. You can get it in different sizes from very fine to large and chunky! A protein skimmer is something that typically is in a sump or other container under the tank out of sight. It will form bubble that will trap or get rid of excess nutrients from the thank.

As to the cycling of the tank, what did you do to start the cycle? Did you put in shrimp or add ammonia from a bottle? Was that live rock shipped to you or did your get it from an LFS? Regardless, was it out of water for an extended time before going into your tank?

And yes, it sounds like you are, if nothing else, very close to having a completed cycle.

I just put in the LR, my LFS guy said it would take about 3 weeks and its been about a month and a half now... And my cycle is complete, just need to keep an eye on my salinity. Thanks for the info!
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:46 PM   #6
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I only used the live rock to start the cycle. The live rock was already cured and purchased from my LFS.
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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If you didn't put any water in that tank, and it went from 0 nitrates to 20 nitrates, it sure seems like it's cycled. If the rock was truly cured though, it shouldn't have had any die-off. And without any die off, and nothing else living in the tank, there wouldn't have been any ammonia to generate those nitrates. Regardless... can't think of any other reason the nitrates would appear like that.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:30 AM   #8
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Did you transport your live rock out of water or in water? How long was it out of water?

If transported out of water it is very possible things did die off the live rock, and that would have produced ammonia and hence the Nitrate spike. Still, if you didn't put anything else in there it is hard for me to say it is cycled. Put an uncooked shrimp in there and test the next couple days. That or try some pure ammonia and see if after a day or so that goes away. If no ammonia then you very well should have a cycled tank.

The good thing about starting a tank with live rock is you very way may have a cycled tank. It is hard for us to say so though if you never put in an ammonia source to make sure that it is being taken care of.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
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I transported my live rock out of water. The live rock was out of water for 30mins to an hour. I'll put in a raw shrimp and see if I get any ammonia spikes within the next few days, and if I don't get any ammonia spikes - I guess i'll be able to add some fish.

Thanks for all the responses.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
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That makes sense then. If you transported the live rock out of water for up to 1 hour you are definitely going to have die off and that is what would have fed ammonia into the tank for it to cycle. My guess is that you are good! That being said, I've never had a SW tank, anyone else want to chime in?
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