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Thread: Tank Cycling

  1. #1
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Question Tank Cycling

    I just started cycling my tank last Friday (the 5th) and my tank readings right now are as follows:
    SG 1.024, Alkalinity 9.0, PH 8.20, Ammonia 1.6, Nitrite .4, Nitrate .4, Calcium 450, Temperature 79 F. I speeded up the cycling by dropping 6 frozen cocktail shrimps in the tank on Wednesday the 10th. I am beginning to see the start of something reddish in color on the Live Rock.
    My questions are 1.)How high an Ammonia Reading should I be getting? 2.) Should I be pulling the cocktail shrimp out of the tank right about now or just leave them? 3.) What kind of Readings am I after? 4.) Does this mean that my tank is well on its way to cycling? 5.) Should I leave the lights on 24 hours?:b13:

  2. #2
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    pull the shrimp and leave the lights off to reduce algae growth. the reddish brown is probably diatoms and is perfectly normal.

    you are looking for 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. once you get there, you'll due a water change to reduce nitrates and you should be on your way.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


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  3. #3
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Smile Tank Cycling

    a4twenty

    Thanks. Exactly the kind of information I was looking for. How long in your experience before I can get zero readings for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates?

  4. #4
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    Another week or two. You definately need readings of zero ammonia and nitrites before putting anything in there. Do you have a skimmer running?
    120g AGA~145 lbs Haitian LR~DA Reef Keeper 2 Controller~Dual 14k 250 DE MH's~Dual Overflows~Dual 250w Jager Heaters~Dual 96W Actinics~30g Sump/Refugium~Mag 12 Return~140 lbs Reefgrade Caribsea Aragonite~BubbleKing 180 Skimmer~Phosban Reactor~GEO Kalk Reactor~Powerheads:MP40w/Seio 820/modified Powersweep 270 with Hydor rotating deflector~Digital lighting timer for moon/fuge lighting~7 stage RODI filtration~Quarantine: modified 12.5g Marineland Eclipse

  5. #5
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    exactly, the time will vary but probably another week or two. your ammonia will build and fall, during that time your nitrites will begin rising. nitrites will build to a point then as the bacteria multiplies they too will begin to drop and nitrates will become present.

    so the tank will take care of your ammonia and nitrites but nitrates need to be dealt with separately. there are several ways to remove nitrates such as having a lot of LR in the tank, incorporating a DSB or RDSB, growing macro algae in your refugium, water changes, etc.... some are a lot more effective and economical than others but you need to do something.


    HTH
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


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  6. #6
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Question Tank Cycling

    Thanks for the quick reply guys. Looks like I am on track to at least having inverts in the tank before Christmas.

    a4twenty
    I have 225 lbs. of mixed Live Rock in the tank (Fiji, Tonga & Caribbean) and I have a 2" to 3" bed of Reef Special grade Sand (120 lbs - bags). Are you suggesting that I do a partial water change before I put in the Inverts?

    porcupinepuffer
    Yes, I do have the Skimmer running.

    What do you suggest for the initial inverts? I was thinking of putting in 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Sand Sifting Starfish, some snails and 2 each of the Red & Blue Hermit Crab varities. Do you think this would produce too much of a bioload if introduced at the same time? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manster View Post
    I have 225 lbs. of mixed Live Rock in the tank (Fiji, Tonga & Caribbean) and I have a 2" to 3" bed of Reef Special grade Sand (120 lbs - bags). Are you suggesting that I do a partial water change before I put in the Inverts?
    what i should have said was to do a water change if necessary, this will depend on your nitrates and that will depend on how much die off there is from the LR. you've got lots of rock so denitrification may not be a problem but only time will tell. your sandbed is kind of in the middle, to deep for a SSB but not deep enough to be a DSB so you'll just have to try and keep it clean.

    Quote Originally Posted by manster View Post
    What do you suggest for the initial inverts? I was thinking of putting in 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Sand Sifting Starfish, some snails and 2 each of the Red & Blue Hermit Crab varities. Do you think this would produce too much of a bioload if introduced at the same time?

    the initial inverts will greatly depend on what is going on in your tank at that time. you have to be diverse and adjust the CUC to match the tank needs.

    i love the skunk cleaner shrimp, very active day and night and interact with the fish and you.

    anything with sand sifting in it's name is actually bad for the sand bed as they will eat all the good stuff, also your sand bed is probably to new to support them. IMO the best stars for the CUC are brittle or serpent ( not the green ones ), they are great at scavenging the top of the sand bed.

    for snails i would add some nassarius for the sand bed and for the glass and rock some trochus / cerith / astraea.

    i like crabs because they will eat a lot of garbage the others wont, you just have to be prepared for them to eat your snails. i always supply them with extra shell ( for homes ) to try and prevent any killings but they can still happen.

    i wouldn't worry about the bioload adding some inverts, they will have very little effect especially considering the volume of water and amount of LR. just make sure the cycle is finished and your nitrates are low and you should be just fine.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


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  8. #8
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Question Tank Cycling

    a4twenty

    Your advice is greatly appreciated. I will look for the inverts you suggested. How many crabs and snails should I put in at once? 10 each or more? What do I feed them? I will definitely not get a Sandsifting starfish for now. Maybe just the 2 mentioned above and 4 shrimp.

    What is a phosban reactor and do I need it? I will be getting a Calc Reactor by the end of January. Any suggestions?

  9. #9
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    the numbers and choice will vary on what is going on in the tank when your ready. you can usually get a deal when you buy 10 of the same species of invert so that would be an economical number to start with.

    something like:

    2 shrimp to start, just be aware that while they are considered part of the CUC, the only thing they will try to clean is you :b7:

    1 brittle star

    10 nassarius, awesome at keeping the sand bed turned over and detritus clean up

    10 of any of the other 3 snails i listed, or 10 each of 2 of the listed snails.

    if you have decided to add some crabs and can accept they may kill a snail or two.

    10 blue legs

    this would be a great start and you can build from there. if you look at some of the online stores, they will recommend adding 100 of these and 100 of those, i don't recommend doing this. this can be a big waste of money and most of them will likely die once everything is cleaned up. the key here is diversity and balance, each member of the CUC has an area they excel in. so you start here and watch, if one aspect is not being taken care of, add some more to target that specific area.

    a phosban reactor can be an important tool in reef keeping. it allows you to run media ( carbon / phosphate remover ) in a very effective manor. placing this media in a sock in the sump is a passive and ineffective method. placing it in a reactor forces water though the media, maximizing the media and saving you $$$$. if you are seeing the start of some algae, running some PO4 remover now can save you a bigger mess later on.

    hopefully some one with a Ca reactor can give you some advice, i don't run one. you could probably get away without one right away, until your Ca and ALK demands start to rise.

    good luck, your getting close to the fun part. keep us updated, please :b2:

    also remember your LFS is there to sell you stuff, if your not sure about something, don't buy it, come check here with us first. this can save you lots of $$$ as well as prevent a senseless waste of life.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  10. #10
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Question Tank Cycling

    a4twenty

    Thanks for the help. My Ammonia and Nitrites are both down to zero now. I am just waiting for the Nitrate which is at 15 to go down and then I will start putting in the Inverts. I also bougth additional LR (60 lbs.) 2 days ago because I wasn't too comfortable with the Sump Water Level after I shut off the pump (1 1/2" from the top). I now have 275 lbs of LR in the system and I don't plan on getting more. What I did notice after I put the LR in the tank was I had picked up some Hitchhikers. A couple of Feather Dusters and about 4 Crabs. They are all doing well right now.

    Did you mean put in a Phosban Reactor now or just put some kind of Phospate Remover? If the latter, which one?

    What do you know about Emerald Crabs? I seem to be getting a lot of different opinions on whether it is reef safe or not.

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