Cycling issue

ssavader

New member
I'm cycling a new 232 gallon tank with a 46 gallon sump. I added 16 oz of Dr Tim's live bacteria, waited 72 hrs, and then the proper dose of Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride to begin the cycling process. After 24 hrs, I tested the ammonia level with a Salifert test kit and got an ammonia reading of 0. I redosed the tank with ammonium chloride, waited another 24 hrs, retested the ammonia level and got an ammonia level of 0! Marine Depot sent me a new Salifert test kit and a new bottle of ammonium chloride, I repeated the process, and my ammonia level still reads 0! I redid the test using 1/2 volume of tank water and 1/2 volume of ammonium chloride.... you guessed it, my ammonia level in the test vial is 0. What in the world is going on? Randy, are you out there? Any other "chemists" with a theory or explanation? Thank you.
 

bertoni

Premium Member
Does the tank have any live rock in it? If so, I suspect that it is processing the ammonia. You could try dosing the tank, and measuring the level right away, as a sort of sanity test. Dosing a gallon of fresh saltwater is another way to be sure that the ammonia product and the kit are working.
 

ssavader

New member
Thanks Jonathon, I did use 240 lbs of Carib-Sea live sand, 16 oz. of Dr Tim's Live bacteria, and have some of my "old" tank's live rock present, but I certainly didn't expect to be running NH3, NO2, and NO3 levels of 0 from the get go. It did seem unlikely that 2 ammonia test kits and 2 bottles of ammonium chloride were defective. However, why would a 50/50 mixture of ammonium chloride and tank water have an ammonia reading of 0. This is my source of confusion.
 

bertoni

Premium Member
I suspect that the kit is bad, but I don't know how the kit should react to such a large volume of ammonia. Does the ammonia product smell like ammonia? What concentration is it supposed to be.
 

ssavader

New member
Jonathan, I made up a gallon of RO water plus ammonium chloride at 3x the recommended dose (4 dps) per gallon and tested that. I got a reading of 1.5 mg/l ammonia (this should have been 6 mg/l ammonia based on the Dr. Tim's direction) but at least I know the test kit is working. I'm going to assume then that 240 lbs of live sand and some old aquarium rock were enough to complete my cycling.
 

bertoni

Premium Member
Hmm, well, I guess the kit is not completely shot. I agree that it's most likely that the tank has cycled.
 
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