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Old 01-21-2010, 12:39 AM   #21
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Tank looks great. I agree with rookie, that if you are going to keep cichlids you need to have more rocks and arrange them into caves and tunnels. The fish will stake out territories and leave each other alone. If you dont have lots of hiding places you will have trouble with aggresion. Hiding places will also promote breeding I think. Not totally sure on that one.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:49 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
ummm... i wish i knew Might pm jsoong (he must be some kind of bio chemical engineer or something with some of the stuff he says)...
No, I am not an engineer .... My real job is anesthesiology, so I am more into Physiology.

Surfactant is anything that decreases the surface tension of water. Our lungs are full of it. <Prevents collapse of alveoli.> So, no, surfactants are not necessarily toxic. However, most of the surfactants in cleaning products are soaps, so that would be bad.

Personally, I think that if you do a big water change & rinse out everything, you should be fine with such a small amount added. Soaps are more toxic to bacteria than to fish, so if you can establish a cycle, there isn't enough soap to kill the bacteria & the fish should be reasonable safe. <And the fact that someone else did that successfully is reassuring.>

I don't know of anything (easy) that will remove soaps. Soaps will bind to fat. <That is how soap works, binding to fat so it is water soluble.> But adding oil to your tank will make a huge mess!
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:37 AM   #23
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No, I am not an engineer .... My real job is anesthesiology, so I am more into Physiology.
my next guess would have been doctor, so close enough Needless to say, i now have a better understanding of surfactants, and i think Floyd will feel a bit more reassured that everything should be ok after a big water change
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:03 PM   #24
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Thanks jsoong for the reply. Still need to call the manufacturer. ot sure how much info I'll get, I bet that'll be one for the water cooler. "some guy called wanting to know what kind of surface we can't use. I was like, surface of the moon?"

Tested again today, Ammonia 2-3 ppm so did nothing. pH up to about 7.9. Leaving lights off. Gonna add a minuscule amount of finely ground flake food tomorrow.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:08 PM   #25
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I checked the ammonia again this evening, and it's about the same that it was 2 days ago - 2 to 4 ppm. Given that I am using an API test kit, it could be higher, so I could have misjudged the dosage of the Ace Hardware brand. I will be doing a 50% PWC and scrubbing all the rocks after all. Hopefully the cycle is just stalled, and the bacteria colony didn't get wiped out.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:53 PM   #26
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I am posting this just so I can get emails when you post LOL. I want to read up on this as it goes.

Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:02 PM   #27
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** SIGH **

I checked the Ammonia again today and it is the same. API kits are hard to differentiate when it's above 2 ppm, so i may have ODd the ammonia. Probably going to have to do a 50% PWC, or dilute the sample to get an accurate reading. I did crank the heat up, it was around 82, I turned it up so it should go up to 84-86. I will also take my sponge in and squeeze it in the tank to try and re-seed it, when I seeded the bio-balls originally, I took the new ones, pulled 3 or 4 gallons out of my 10 gallon (and siphoned the gravel) and put them in that, then squeezed the sponge in that bucket, then put the rings and balls in there, and let it sit for a few hours and occasionally stirred it up. I put the balls and rings in the tank and dumped the water down the drain, and then didn't get in there until later in the day to put the firt couple tsp of Homelife ammonia in there, so it's entirely possible that the bacteria died off, or that the high ammonia has stalled the cycle. I guess I didn't think about it, but I haven't tested for Nitrite or Nitrate lately. Maybe I should do that, duh.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:30 PM   #28
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unless the ammonia got up around 8ppm or more, the cycle shouldnt have stalled. ive been waiting two weeks now for my cycle to finish, and im just now getting the nitrite spike, and thats using a sponge from another filter.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:38 PM   #29
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So I guess the question is, how long, assuming my first 'seed' did not take, can I expect it to be before the ammonia starts dropping? I dosed with 7 tsp Ace Hardware brand on 1/20, it's 1/25 and it hasn't dropped yet.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:54 PM   #30
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ive never done a cycle before until this tank. my first tank i stupidly cycled with fish, and i have swapped filters ever since, not requiring a cycle. From what ive seen with my tank, you can expect around 2 weeks. If the seed died off, it will probably take a little longer. What you could do is if you have a spare filter on one of your own tanks, you could run it on the tank and let the filter(s) and decor in the tank build the colony, then put it back on your tank in a couple months. Or even just some more media. I just pulled a sponge out of one of my fluvals and stuck in one of my HOB's on the tank im talking about, it forces the water through the sponge, then through the cartridges on the filter, so its seeding those cartridges im assuming
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:43 AM   #31
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Hi Floyd,

Sorry to hear about the trouble you're having. The first thing I would do is drain the tank completely and refill with similar temperature tap water (just use Prime and there should be no issue about copper/etc from the hot water used if that is a fear you have). While not as good as a complete teardown and cleaning it's an easy potential fix and will make the likelyhood of further damage from surfactants in the water column minimal.

Since this sounds like a client's tank (whom I'm assuming is paying you a good bit of money and probably wants it setup ASAP) I'd seriously consider using BioSpira (or another reputable liquid filter agent if there is one; I've been out of the loop for quite a while in terms of cycling products that actually work). IMO it is very likely you do not have a sufficient amount of remaining bacteria and in such a large tank 2-4ppm is a HUGE amount of ammonia for a seed culture to consume. A bottle or 3 of properly shipped BioSpira is probably your best bet for success.

More importantly, if you know the Biospira was shipped/stored properly and you still don't see activity after a couple days unfortunately I think you've got to tear down the tank and start from scratch. Surfactants are nasty in that they coat surfaces and are not easy to get rid of. Worst case scenario obviously (it makes me sick just writing this as I know you've put a lot of work and time into setting it up), and that's why I would give the tank as much chance as possible before resorting to this with the BioSpira.

As an aside, and for the future since you seem to do this as a job (or is this just a single client?) forget the liquid ammonia from a questionable source and buy a 500 gram bottle of powdered ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, or ammonium chloride. Any of these would work fine and you would be sure there was nothing added that you didn't want. It's also much easier to calculate exactly a final ppm when dosing a tank.

Your only problem would be sourcing this material as I don't know exactly where you would purchase (probably from a scientific chemicals website). If you choose to go that route also pickup a nitrIte (potassium nitrIte for example). That way you can be feeding both the ammonia-->nitrIte bacteria and the nitrIte-->nitrAte bacteria at the same time and avoid the normal lag time in the cycle.

HTH and goodluck
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:39 PM   #32
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Ok, finally some results, and good news!!!!!!

The pH tested same, 7.9-8.0
Temp is 82.7 on a digital thermometer
Ammoina is at 2 ppm, I cut the sample in half with RO/DI water and got 1 ppm so that's confirmed, it's dropping
Nitrite is at 0.25 ppm
Nitrate is at 10 ppm

Now the Nitrates originally tested at 5 ppm, but I took the tube home and by that time it was 10 ppm, so I don't think the Nitrite->Nitrate bacteria are fully formed, and whatever was there in the seed could have died off, or whatever. The good news is that Nitrites are starting to rise, which means the surfactants were not the bacteria-killing kind.

Going to wait until tomorrow or Friday to dose with Ammonia again, just to be safe, I want to make sure it drops to or below 1 ppm before adding any more.

Also, even though the lights are off, I noticed some brown discoloration on the sand bed, I'm guessing from just ambient light, some brown diatom algae is starting to form. I might consider blacking out the tank to keep this at bay.

I've got a buyer for a bunch of my live plants in my 10 and 55 at home, and whatever else doesn't sell (I have way too many Vals and Asian Marshweed) will go in the tank, and I might toss in a couple root tabs underneath them to help. Hopefully those will help keep the algae at bay also, since they're both fast growers. Just need to replace the 10,000K bulbs with plant-friendly ones. Also, once the cycle is finished, I'm going to loan out a few of my hundreds of swordtail fry to keep the tank going until he's ready to stock it.

Anyone have a reputable online Cichlid site they can refer me/him to?
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:18 AM   #33
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Glad to hear all is not lost.

The nitrAte reading is only accurate at the 5min timepoint. After that the color change is not valid so stick with ~5ppm. More importantly is your nitrIte reading. That lets you know the bacteria aren't dead and your tank should be safe for fish.

Depending on how slow it goes you might still want to source a bottle of Biospira, but I don't know the timeframe of the person you're setting this up for.

Are cichlids compatible with Oto's/Bristlenose pleco's/Saimese Algae eaters?

I'm not sure any of them deal well with the aggression of the cichlids or the salt in the water...

Diatoms can be a real eye-sore in a "show tank", and since they don't go away quickly can really be difficult to justify. If you are going to stock with swordtails in the interim I'd definitely get a crew of the above algae eaters to hopefully try to get the silicate levels depleted quickly while still having the tank look nice.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:34 PM   #34
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On Thursday 1/28, Ammonia tested about 1.5ppm, I added 1 Tbsp Ammonia, Friday 1/29 tested 5ppm (I cut 1 part tank water to 4 parts RO water), Monday 2/1 it was down to about 2ppm and NitrIte jumped to 1 ppm, and today 2/2 it was down to 0.5 ppm and NitrIte still 1 ppm. I added about 1-1/2 Tbsp ammonia, which should jump the ammonia up to about 4 or 5, and I'll test again tomorrow. Progess!!
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:53 PM   #35
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #36
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:38 PM   #37
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Mag Drive Question

The pump he has on there now is a Mag Drive 12 / 1200 GPH, it drives 2 jets and there is a T splitter, 4' head and probably 4' horizontal, all vinyl hose under the tank so no 90s. The box for a new MD 12 lists the 4' head GPH as 1100, which equates to between 4 and 5 turnovers of the tank per hour. Is that enough? Is the head more because of the T? I'm guessing yes, but I wouldn't know how much to guess by. I recently replaced a pump on another tank and it was a 125 Reef and they had the same pump, 1200, so that leads me to think that 1200 is not enough for this tank, probably 1800 or even 2400. Still, there's good flow on the sump intake, and 4x/hr is good, but I read somewhere that it's good to over-filter a cichlid tank. Also since there's dual overflows, I figure it could handle the 1800, don't know if the 2400 is a little too much. Any opinions?
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:35 PM   #38
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Ok, so nobody have any opinions on the pump. That's ok!!

Over the last few days, the Ammonia drops to 0 the next day after a dose of 2 Tbsp (6 tsp or enough to bring it to 5ppm) and the Nitrite is way off the scale. So now I'm just waiting for that magical day when the Nitrites hit 0 and stay there the next day after an Ammonia dose, then it's big PWC and time to stock the tank!

Does anyone know if an extremely high NitrIte level can stall out a cycle during fishless cycling?
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:55 PM   #39
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Glad to hear the cycle is slowly coming to an end... sorry, but i cant help on the pump, i try to keep everything simple and havent done enough research on pumps yet. I would think the nitrite could potentially stall out a cycle, but im sure it would have to be an unheard of number... 5.0 is the highest that the api kit reads, so that must mean something? I know ammonia over 8ppm will stall a cycle. Have you figured out a stocking list yet?
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #40
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Looks like you are off to a great start...can't wait to see updates. Just wanted to add that the 10000K bulb would be fine for the plants, but I seem to remember you mentioning that there was also an actinic in the fixture, which won't do much for them.
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