5 month cycle.
My tank has been cycling about 5 months now (long time I know) not because of the time of the cycle itself because I had a child 5 months ago and am just now getting back on a budget where I can put money back into the tank.
With that being said I'll let you know my tank parameters and what I've done and ask about my next steps.
55 gallon FOWLR
30 lbs base rock (hirocks.com)
40 lbs live rock (keys rock, liverocks.com)
2 Maxijet 1200s, 1 cheap-o jet pointed at surface
AquaC Remora w/ maxijet 1200
4x65w Coralife PCs (2x10k, 2xAct)
Ok, my latest round of test show 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and about 60 ppm Nitrates and this is after 2 large water changes.
Now before the water changes the nitrates were off the scale so they are getting better but I think I know the reason they were so high and I just wanted to make sure:
With the tank going for so long with the lighting on for an hour or two a day (for the LR) I have algea on the glass/sand (which I do clean/sift top layer of sand) but this would still cause nitrates if unchecked for months right?
I am also starting to see a bit of bleaching on my LR but I also have noticed some algae on the rocks too so I am hoping a cleanup crew will help as I have coraline growing on my PHs and a small amount on the base rock.
So my question is it safe to add a cleanup crew to help with the algae which will help with the nitrates or will the nitrate levels right now kill any snails\crabs that I put in there? I use RO\DI water and have tested and there are no phosphates there causing nitrates and there isn't much in my tank that could be dying off so is my nitrate just coming from having my lights on every day for 5 months with nothing to keep the algae away?
If the tank has been "neglected" (sorry) for this long, the cycle of algaes growing and dieing off is what would be fueling the high levels of nutrient. Best suggestion is to remove as much algae as possible manually, don't just cover it up. Run some carbon to polish the water, and be sure the skimmer is running at peak efficiency. After a few more water changes, let the tank stabalize a bit more with some TLC and then after a week or so if it's looking better you should be able to add a limited clean up crew.
Just remember that if any NH3 or NO2 is detectable, the tank is not ready for added life. Try to keep the nitrates below 20 ppm as well.
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