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Old 07-30-2007, 03:48 AM   #1
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What do you think?

My new 75gallon tank is really confusing me. It is now a little over 3-weeks old. After 3-days I put 2-damsels, 25lbs of live rock and 13lbs of live sand because my LFS suggested I do this to cycle the tank. After two and a half weeks I never saw an increase in ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. So 4-days ago I threw a medium sized frozen raw cocktail shrimp in there and started feedling the damsels larger portions, to help get things going.
Tonight is 4-days after I put the cocktail shrimp in and I am still reading very low ammonia. In fact, I have a five gallon jug full of premixed water I bought at a LFS and the ammonia indicator from that jug is reading the exact same color as indicator from my tank. Which is somewhere between 0 and .25. The cocktail shrimp is already about half way decayed. I'm sure the one and only hermit crab that hitchiked on my live rock has a little to do with that. I still have never ever seen a nitrite reading and the nitrate reading is the about the same as the very begining which is slightly less than 20.
I have not put any additives in the tank but I do have a bottle of that nitifying bacteria. It is a small bottle only for 20-gallons, but Im thinking about dumping that in there and then just hoping that my tank has actually cycled so I can slowly start getting other fish. Has anybody heard of a tank cycling without ever seeing an ammonia spike or nitrite spike? I would think after 4-days of a dead cocktail shrimp, 2-damsels and fish food that I would be getting more of an ammonia reading. What do you think? I hate to say it but I am getting anxious heading towards 4-weeks and still have not seen an ammonia spike or any nitrites.
Thanks in advance for any help. I appreciate it.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:30 AM   #2
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:46 PM   #3
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When I cycled my first SW tank not too long ago, I didn't even use shrimp. I just threw a large dose of fish food into the tank, then I let it sit for I think close to a month. That worked out very well for me.

After cycling a freshwater tank with fish and having major die-off, I learned my lesson. Fishless cycling is the way to go.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:19 AM   #4
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I wish I would have read about fishless or I wish my LFS would have told me about fishless before I started. But now even with 2-fish and a raw shrimp, I still can't get any significant amount of ammonia.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:48 AM   #5
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If you used seeded live sand from an existing tank, and fully cured live rock, you might not see any ammonia. Are you seeing an increase in nitrates from when you started?

I know you mentioned you have 20ppm nitrates - is that from your original fill of water? Or did you start out with 0ppm nitrate water? (If it's from your original fill of water, you might want to think about another source of water or installing a RO/DI filter on your tap. Starting out with 20ppm nitrate water as your source water is pretty much going to make keeping your nitrates low impossible.)

If you see an increase in nitrates, but no ammonia or nitrites as time goes on, then you're good to go. Sometimes you get away with a minicycle (or no ammonia spike) when using fully cured rock and truly live sand.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input, that makes sense. When I first put water in the tank, I bought it premixed from my LFS the Nitrate reading was somewhere in between 0-20ppm. The nitrate reading is still about the same as day-1 on July 6th. I have been adding a fair amount of water due to evaporation because I have to keep part of my cover open to prevent greenhouse. Maybe that is keeping my nitrates down. My sand and rock was both very cured. Maybe I should try throwing a bigger raw shrimp in there? The first one I threw in 5-days ago is practically gone already. If the ammonia and nitrite finally starts to rise I will take the shrimp out and add some nitrifying bacteria in an effort to save my damsels. How much ammonia ppm does it take to typically start registering some nitrites? Thanks
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:10 AM   #7
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I looks almost like your sand and cured LR have helped to reduce the ammonia and convert it into nitrAtes. At this point, I would remove the shrimp and keep up on your PWCs so the damsels don't get too stressed.
If your ammonia hit 5ppm or more, I would do a rather large PWC, otherwise this could potentially kill off your beneficial bacteria and cause a larger cycle.
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryshark
When I first put water in the tank, I bought it premixed from my LFS the Nitrate reading was somewhere in between 0-20ppm.
How are you testing for nitrates? Dip strips, by chance?

Just curious, because with all the nitrate test kits I've seen, you should be able to get a better reading than a range of 0-20ppm. Maybe you should try a different nitrate test kit that will give you more resolution.

If you're getting water from your LFS that is anything but 0ppm nitrates, you need to find a new source of water because they're obviously not keeping up their RO/DI system very well.

It sounds like you're cycled. I wouldn't purposely overload your system just to get ammonia. Instead, I'd get a better handle on your nitrate situation and try to see if those are indeed increasing.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:33 PM   #9
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Yes I did have the strips. I stopped today and picked up a liquid tester. It can also pick up 5 and 10 not just 0-20 like the strips I had. The liquid is buch better, I wish the LFS would have recommended these to me in the first place instead of selling me $40 worth of strips. Yesterday I bought liquid Nitrite tester and a few days before I picked up the liquid Ammonia tester. No more strips for me!
It looks like my Nitrate is reading about 10 and the Ammonia and Nitrite 0.
Thanks for your advice.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ryshark
...I wish the LFS would have recommended these to me in the first place instead of selling me $40 worth of strips.
Wow. Do you happen to have another LFS nearby? Might be a good idea to start a new relationship!

Keep an eye on the nitrates and see if they go up. Better yet, if you have any of the "pure" saltwater you got from the LFS left over, check it.
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