Did I miss my cycle?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by Arvind, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    Aloha BAR friends,

    Happy Friday.

    I have been cycling my new IM 50 for close to 3 weeks now. I added new live sand, 40 lbs of dry rock, saltwater from Neptune, bottled live bacteria, old media sock from my cycled IM20, and some small live rock from that tank as well. Ive been ghost feeding pellets to the tank almost daily for the last week or so.

    The first week, I saw a small bump in Nitrite. Outside of that my readings are low across the board. Even this morning.

    Is this cycled? I dont have the lights working right now as Ive heard cycling without lights is better. No Algae growth visible.

    Today: Amm .25, Nitirite 0, Nitrate slightly above 0 is my best guess

    Do I need to turn on the lights now?
    Shall I put the shrimp in there and see if the readings are still 0? I hear that if Amm and Nitirte are 0 and Nitrate go up, then it means the cycle has started and its ok to add to the tank.

    Temp is about 78.

    Any advice?
    I hate waiting naturally, but am wondering if i am not even having much of a cycle to begin with, or have missed it.

    Ill throw a shrimp in there today and check the next day what my readings are
  2. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member


    This is the tank with the rock and light set up. I wish I had another 360 so two lights instead of three but maybe for another time

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  3. The cycle happens because the environment is building a bacteria population. You used live rock, live sand and added an even larger population. So yes -- no cycle since the bacteria are already there as long as you did everything right. If you add a lot of livestock quickly you will still see a mini-cycle in a few weeks, but other than that you should be fine.
  4. So yes -- you missed your cycle and are now expecting... Congrats!
  5. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    Thanks Bruce
    Can I program the lights now and will that affect the cycle or cause an algae bloom?
  6. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Uhm, you're still testing positive for ammonia with no nitrites or nitrates. I wouldn't call that a cycle tank. You should be testing at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and a hint of some nitrates in a cycled tank. Test it with the shrimp and recheck.
  7. opps.. sorry. I didn't see the .25 ammonia. He's right.
  8. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    No, your cycle is not over because your ammonia is at 0.25. Usually reefers want a robust bacterial filter, and I don't think you have it yet. You added some live sand, a filter sock and some "small live rock" about 3 weeks ago, but only provided a significant ammonia source 1 week ago. The pellets take some time to break down, so things may just be getting going. Also, you have barely detectable nitrates. That will be end product of the nitrogen cycle. I would get some ammonia and bring your ammonia level up to 2. If you add shrimp it'll take time for that to break down to ammonia, but either would work.

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  9. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    Where can you get some of that good ammonia stuff? I prefer that to the shrimp if possible.
    Also what about the lights? turn them on or no?
    I did see a bump in nitrite then it dropped to zero. not sure what is going on now.
  10. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride


    Or you can buy a bottle of ammonium hydroxide from your local Ace Hardware


    Stuff is powerful, you don't need much to get to 2ppm of ammonia. Here's an online calculator: https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/AmmoniaCycling.php

    Also, no lights. Bacteria do not need lights. Light will only bring algae and diatoms. No need to deal with that now. Also, an increase in temperature to 82F can help bacteria multiplication.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
    Gablami likes this.
  11. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Yep, I did a jumbo shrimp cycle and never again. Ammonia cycle is much easier, and it's not stinky and cloudy compared to shrimp.

    You may have had a mini cycle, but now that your pellets are breaking down, the bacterial filter is not robust enough to handle the ammonia produced.

    Lights not needed (better off).

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  12. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    how about this? Besides getting ammonia. how about more live rock? ultimate Aq sells live rock. Throw some of that in there?
    I guess they still need a source to consume. Live rock plus ammonia now?
  13. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    also I just got the caddys for the filter media and I put them in. Im only using the floss in them. No phosguard, carbon , other media etc
    I want ammonia right now correct!?!
  14. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    Thanks Randy!
  15. You're purpose in adding live rock would be to add more bacteria. If that's what you're trying to do at this stage you're better off just dumping more Dr. Tim's bacteria in.
  16. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    I added 3 bottles of dr. tim's into my tank a couple weeks ago, didn't really work very fast so far. Added BIO SPIRA and damn, that ammonia went down fast. Maybe all a coincidence.

    Also, you can get a vial of Ammonium Chloride from Dr. Tim's. That'll be better and more controlled than adding shrimp into the tank.
  17. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    That is my experience with Dr Tim's vs Bio Spira as well.

    I think I still have 99% of the bottle of ammonia I bought from Ace!

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  18. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    would doing a 10 gallon wc help anything?
    i used bio spira already too
  19. Arvind

    Arvind Supporting Member

    Ill check my readings again after work and report out .... the bio spira worked wonders when I kept goldfish
  20. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    No need to water change until your cycle is done.

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