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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks, nice to join you here. I'm a newbie and have a question on my new tank, which does not seem to want to start it's cycle.
Installed evening of 9/5 by reputable local store owner.
Tank - 120g
82lbs of Marshall Island Live Rock. Somewhat cured in store's tanks for unknown amount of time.
2 bags of Argo something live sand
Filter - drip system w/prefilter and Bio balls and protein skimmer - all running constant since setup
2 additional Power heads moving water around
Custom Sea Life Power Compact Moonlite - on quite a bit the 1st 2 days, now on maybe 2-4 hours day.
Notice good bit of life in the rocks starting Sunday. Small red worms w/Spikes, 4-5 little bug looking things, about 7 very small black/white snails

The following are from memory, they are at home and I am at work. Used a SeaChem Marine Basic test kit. I'm already seeing Nitrates...I thought I would not see them at all until the end of the cycle;

Tested water Sunday (Day 2)
Amonia .02
Nitrites 0
Nitrates .5

Tested water again Tuesday (Day 4)
Amonia .02
Nitrites 0
Nitrates .5

The Salinity has gone up from 1.023 to 1.024
The Akalinity has dropped a bit too.

I thought I should be well into my Amonia spike by now?
Any ideas?
 

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TheMehal
I am also cycling a tank right now. I am not suprised that you haven't seen much ammonia. I put about 30 lbs of "semi-cured" rock into my tank and a week later added some really really RAW rock. The first week I didn't see any ammonia at all, and only a slightly elevated nitrites and nitrates (both about .1 ppm). Then two days after adding the really RAW rock I was up to 2ppm nitrites and about 25ppm nitrates. So now my cycle is in obvious full swing.

I suspect you are going to see a very weak cycle because your rock probably had substantially less "die off" than something you would have had transhipped in.

I agree with laddy00 that you aren't ready to add livestock, and that ammonia should read ZERO before you do. However, I wouldn't worry too much about the thank NOT cycling, its doing its thing, whether it does it exactly the same as everyone elses.

The problem with the tanks we keep is this....most of our tanks can't read.....so often times they dont' follow the "rules" we have written for them!

Dave
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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Hi Joe!

Probably won't see much spike because that rock was cured ~one month. So you are that much further ahead of the game.

I'd concur with what was said above - a bit of patience and you'll be good to go (s-l-o-w-l-y).

Me ;)
 

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I've been cycling a 20 gal for almost two weeks now. Amonia has been almost 0, with nitrites and nitrates at 0. I got 15 pound of semi-dead rock with lots of dead flappy things waving around and about 10 pounds of some very nice LR locally. The LR came with a bunch of critters that are doing very well. I also added a pound of live sand. I have two 65W PC lights running 12 hours a day. I'm going to give it another week or so before I add any livestock.
 

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.02 ammonia reading may just be test kit error or interpretation, its hard to read some of them, esp at the low end of the scale.
Given that you have 82 # of Liverock, thats prolly pretty cured you will basically have a soft cycle, ie very minor spikes in N compounds and quick catch up of the bacteria colonies
the fact that you are showing nitrates that are readable tends to confirm that.
I only wish you had found the board before you bought this setup, the money we could have saved you would have gotten you better lighting and a adequate protien skimmer rather than the wet/dry trickle filter. With LR they are redundant and really not needed :(
Can you be more specific regarding the lights you got, ie how many bulbs, whats the rated color temp and whats the wattage?
As far as cycling , the acid test would be to get some old panty hose or nylon stocking and put a large raw shrimp in it and hang it in the water, watch the amm/nitrite/nitrate readings for a couple weeks, if you dont see the obvious spikes then you can think about adding snails and such.
 

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Well I have to agree with Doug1 on I wish you found this site before you purchased all that equipment. As for the Bio-Balls.... I think they will be necessary because you are really light on LR. It is recommended 1-2 LBS for every gal of water. Contact me and I will get you in touch with a Marshall LR supplier that has a REALLY good deal on it. It isn't the best quality, but it is LR and has LOTS of character.

Blueman [email protected]
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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Thanks for undermining me guys. :( :rolleyes: Just lump me in with all the other greedy money-mongers you are all ripping all the time.

The setup was purchased with 60 lbs. of rock. The customer did not want a "wall of rock" like I have in my own 120. Joe decided to add more rock after the fact. Bio-media is often useful to get a tank up and running, some choose to remove it later, some don't - depends on the bio-load, feeding habits and maintenance habits. I see plenty of systems running with bio-media and if they are cared for properly, nitrate export is not an issue. FYI I run a Bio-Rocker on my 120 and nitrates have never moved above 5, even though I'm often dilinquent on water changes, and I'm heavy with the feed bag at times. Besides, not everybody wants a DIY rubbermaid or an empty fish tank as a sump. Not everybody wants to piece-meal a setup together. As for 1-2 lbs of rock per gallon - there is not the ROOM in a 120, to put 240 lbs of Marshall - it's very light porous rock, and takes up more volume per pound than heavier Fiji or Caribbean rock.

Adequate skimmer? It's a Nautilus TE. Do some seaches on that product on this or other boards, I think you'll find a really good customer satisfaction level with that product. I've used mine for 18 months and it kicks serious butt, and yes I've compared brands. It's a very good skimmer, user friendly and efficent and more than adequate for the tank it's on.

Lighting is a 4 x 65 W compact fluorescent fixture by CSL. 2 x 10K and 2 actinic w/4 moon lights. After discussing with Joe and Karen what types of animals they liked in my store, we decided this was an appropriate setup, for what they are interested in. I did not feel a need to oversell lighting to this customer. FWIW we also discussed a custom stand and tall canopy in case an upgrade was warranted down the road, but the customer did not wish to wait to have such a setup fabricated for them.

As for "saving him money"... I believe he shopped around (didn't you Joe?), I'm confident that they got value for their money, and can't say much more about that without treading into commercial territory.

I wouldn't put dead food/shrimp in the tank, that will only put you several steps back. The tank should be ready for a small clean up crew in short order.

Why do I feel defensive suddenly? :confused: Could be that ole anti-LFS sentiment that seems to crop up online......

I stand by my recommendations, and products, based on the customer's interests, and my own experiences.

Jenn
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for input all. Just wanted some opinions on what my cycle was up to, and what I've read here in regards to that makes sense.

For the record - I stand by JennM who is my LFS and adopted expert, where I bought my setup and who installed it. I'm extremely pleased with every aspect of her knowledge and recommendations.

I appreciate the recommendations on alternate setups, but I've already decided and purchased mine :)
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Joe :D (pssst - I'll never EVER be an expert tho... "enthusiast" or "experienced" yes... expert, NO!)

:funny:

Jenn
 

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Sorry Jenn the original post doesn't specify what skimmer.
As to the BioRocker thing, I have no experience with it, I know it works for you. Its not what I would have chosen, but if the customer is happy and you are going to guide them through they should be in good hands
As to the lights I dont like PC, esp on large tanks, not that i have never admitted that bias before ;)
I didnt mean to undermine you at all, its just that this thread started off like so many in the past, that have gone awry. Had I known from the begining I wouldn't have commented, because I believe that you are a competent aquarist.
 

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:lol: No prob, Doug.

Each setup is unique - as is each hobbyist.

I don't necessarily follow the crowd. Remember, people looked at me like I had two heads when I didn't jump on the DSB/Southdown bandwagon... always had shallow sand. They shook their heads and waggled their fingers at me - and who's laughing now as we watch people shovelling sand OUT of their tanks?? :funny:

Jenn
 

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I think if someone posts wanting our advice, it is our duty to give feedback that we feel is best. Everyone has a different opinion on how things work. There is sort of a conflict of interest when a customer of a board member posts and is replied to by the LFS owner. Maybe that discussion should be carried on the side so that the free exchange of ideas between non interested ($) members can be carried on. Jenn, I'm not saying that you did this customer a disservice in what you sold him. The point is that he was looking for an outlook from a thrid party. If the poster had said that he was a customer of Jenn's he may not have received any response or one that said, "Trust Jenn". I'm sure that you are a reputable dealer, and no one questions that. As with any setup there are people that will critique it and should allowed to do so freely. Just my .02.
 

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Everyone DOES have a differing opinion. That can be good, and bad, especially when one is starting out, and getting a ton of conflicting information. There are also many ways to do things in this hobby - very few absolute rights and wrongs in methodology.

I just felt a bit odd about seeing it implied that I had misguided or oversold/undersold the customer in the equipment we chose together, based on face to face discussion over several hours, after having looked at various options, setups, tank sizes, lighting and filtration systems and all the other stuff that goes along with it. Criticisms here were stemming from a short post asking a basic question. Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive. Perhaps the poster deserves a bit more credit too...he did and does continue to read the books he purchased first. I see lots of stuff here (and elsewhere) that I don't necessarily agree with, but I don't always choose to engage in it. This time, since it's right at home, I do choose to throw in my 2 cents. Nobody's preventing anybody from a free exchange, and so far everybody's playing nicely ;)

The original question (from which we've totally lost track), was about the lack of a significant ammonia spike. I personally answered that part of it, as I would have with any other poster, customer or not, based on the information that was provided - the rock was cured for a month prior to the tank being installed, therefore it was unlikely that there would be a large spike. When ammonia and nitrites read zero and nitrates (remain) under 20 ppm, the hobbyist is set to add a small clean up crew, and proceed slowly and thoughtfully from there.

JMHO

Jenn
 
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