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Old 12-14-2004, 10:11 AM   #1
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Hey everyone, I have a question. New setup 55 FOWLR. No fish yet still curing rock and cycling the tank. After a few days the ammonia and nitrites were up as to be expected. I have lots of hitchhikers and want them to survive the cycle. I was advised to do some water changes to keep levels low. So I did, and five days later the ammonia test somewhere between 1-2 ppm and zero nitrites !! Does that seem normal ?? Seems like nitrites should be higher than zero ???

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:47 AM   #2
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You have to be careful with those water changes on a new tank set up because too much of a water change could break the cycle and it will start all over again. Ammonia is converted in the nitrites during the cycle so it is normal to have a high Ammonia and zero nitrites because in the next stage of the Nitrogen Cycle you will see a spike in nitrites and a zero Ammonia. Type in Nitrogen Cycle on your web search of choice and you can read a little more about it so you know what to expect. Some sites even have nice diagrams that are pretty helpful.

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Old 12-14-2004, 02:49 PM   #3
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You should have no problem with the water changes. It will definately prolong the cycling, but you will preserve as much life as possible. But as robocop said, just be careful not to change out too much of the water at once. Small, frequent changes are better.

I'm going through the same cycling process. I changed my water once so far, and it lowered my levels without affecting the cycle. There are some lifeforms on the rock that I would like to keep ( and some that I do not, like Aiptasia) so I would rather be patient and have the cycle take longer than losing the critters.
"You can determine the real worth of a man in eyes of his wife."
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Old 12-14-2004, 07:03 PM   #4
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I am going to try something a little different to try to preserve my live rock hitchhikers:

2. I am going to cycle my tank with only sand, dry base rock (no life...but lots of area for bacteria), and the obligatory cocktail shrimp.

3. When that cycle is done...I will order my live rock (from liverocks.com), in hopes that I will have a very mild cycle with the addition the live rock. Hopefully the tank will be seeded with enough bacteria to keep ammonia and nitrites to a minimum. Hopefully a majority of the hitchhikers will have survived.

4. When the live rock as completed the cycle, I will send in the cleaning crews and also looking into buying a LiveSand Activator product (www.ipsf.com) for some Sand Bed Diversity.

5. When everything is looking good, and I am busting at the seams....I will finally introduce a fish...then some corals...then enjoy.

This prolongs my enjoyment of the set up process...and also spaces out the cost over 2-3 months (which is more appealing to the wife).

90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
7 Brilliant Rasbora, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 1 Red Tailed Shark, 2 American Flag Fish, 4 Skunk Botia Loaches

40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:33 PM   #5
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I agree with your plan. I did something very similar. Ran the very mature existing live rock with a high ammonia load (lots of over fish feeding...) to supercharge the bacteria. When the LR .com rock arrived, the base rock moved to the sump and the LR went straight into the display tank.

I experienced little measurable cycle and probably saved more than the usual hitch-hikers. Dealing with the unwanted members of that club is another story!
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