Cycling questions

tracyclifton

New member
Hello. New to salt water, not to the aquarium hobby. This will be a little long. About a month ago we decided to buy a saltwater tank. So, for a few weeks I studied everything I could so we could make a good decision. Two weeks ago this Saturday, we bought a used 180g (signature). The tank was up and running with fish in it. It had been in use for 4 years. We wanted to try and save the fish so the first thing we did was go to Petco and buy a 14g tank and set it up at home. We then went back and got the fish, a 3-striped damsel, cinnamon clown, yellow tail damsel, some type of large anemone, and a big snail. We carried the fish, some live rock, and 15 gallons of the good water home and got them all set up. They are doing well in the 14g. Stay with me. I put 3 pieces of live rock in water also to try and save it. We emptied the 180g, and got it home. The next day, I cleaned the 180g with fresh water with the sand in it. We got enough help to get the tank set up in the house. We put all the rock that I didn't try to save back in and filled it with salt water. The next day I put the three pieces of live rock in that I kept in water overnight. At that point the water tested 1.022 and everything else was great, temp 79. After a week to get the water adjusted, we put in 5 green chromis to start the cycle. Levels have been good everyday, ph 8.0, no ammonia, salt 1.022, nitrite and nitrate near 0. I keep it on a spreadsheet. This morning the ammonia was .5 and the nitrate was 10. The water is crystal clear. This afternoon I noticed the brown algae is forming on the sand and rock. The ammonia is back at near 0 and I never saw any nitrite. All this and my question is, is it possible the tank has already cycled? Could the rock and sand have had enough bacteria survive to cycle the tank that quick. Any suggestion? I am not planning to add any fish for about 6 weeks, but I didn't expect the brown algae until later in the cycle. Thanks in advance.
 

Attachments

  • Aquarium.xlsx
    9.6 KB · Views: 0

tracyclifton

New member
I added some pics. I forgot to mention that all the rock and some of the aquarium had coralline algae on it. Looks like some of that is returning also. None of the stuff on the sand was there this morning and none of the brown and green stuff was on any of the rocks this morning. By the way, I have been running the daylight bulbs about 4-5 hours. One of the actinic bulbs is not working, I have the ballast ordered, so I have been running the one that does work about 10 hours. It only works on one side so I guess that is 25% of my total actinic potential.
 

Attachments

  • 100_0391.jpg
    100_0391.jpg
    61.5 KB · Views: 0
  • 100_0393.jpg
    100_0393.jpg
    66.8 KB · Views: 0
  • 100_0394.jpg
    100_0394.jpg
    58.3 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:

Dr. Reef

Dr. Reef at ur service
RC Sponsor
welcome to RC.
if i understood this correctly you moved a used established tank to ur place and u kept all the live rock pretty much in water or setup in ur tank and put water in it.
if that statement is correct them all u saw was a little die off from transferring rock and leaving them out of water for a short time. this is called a mini cycle and its very common in moving.
secondly i would watch the small tank for ammonia. if it was just purchased and put water in with only 3 live rock it may also show a mini cycle but the danger in that is ur fish are in it and can or may not survive.
watch ammonia and nitrite levels in ur main tank for next 24-48 hrs and feed the main tank with fish food. after feeding in 24 hrs u dont see any ammonia or nitrites then ur tank is cycled and ready for fish.
 

tracyclifton

New member
Thanks for the quick reply. I am testing the small tank and all the levels look good also. It has 2 pieces of the original live rock covered in coralline and some green mushrooms. I am going to do a 10% water change in it tomorrow. It does have a small amount of algae beginning to show up on the glass. As far as the rock in the big tank, most of it sat in the garage in buckets dry overnight. I washed it thoroughly with fresh water the next day before putting it back in the tank. The sand remained in the tank overnight and was rinsed inside the tank before we took the tank in the house. Only three pieces of the live rock were kept in salt water from the tank overnight in the garage in buckets. The temp probably didn't break 75 overnight. But, shouldn't I have seen some type of nitrite spike before the brown algae appeared? I guess that was my main question. Only because I have read and read that brown algae appears after the nitrite spike. Thanks
 

Dr. Reef

Dr. Reef at ur service
RC Sponsor
fresh water = dead rock. u need to cycle the tank. throw in a frozen shrimp in there and let it rot for few days that will jump start ur cycle and then it will take its time to finish.
ur looking for a spike in ammonia then back to 0 then nitrite spike and back to 0 then some nitrates. then ur done do water change and add clean up crew and start adding fish.
ur small tank may or may not see cycle depending on how much bacteria made it over in the rocks u put in. keep eye on ammonia in it too on daily basis and keep water ready just in case if ammonia spikes. u can also use amquel or prime to rid ammonia if it spikes.

Note: i missed the part u have several fish in the main tank, thats a disaster. they probably will not survive the cycle. take them out and put them in ur smaller tank if thats not showing any ammonia signs. i am hopeful with some live rock in it it probably will either will not have a cycle or a mini one.
 
Last edited:

hollister

New member
Wow your question is over welming. And useing fish to cycle is not needed and adding them first means adding any other fish will be un pleasant.
You could loose alot of money fast and get overwhelmed quickly.

You need to go slow. Start with "have a new tank , whats next."

I leave this only to help you. I would stop and invest in a good reef startup book. This will not answer all questions but will help with the basics.

Water source, water flow and filtration are your 3 main basics.
 

tracyclifton

New member
This is what is frustrating. My LFS, who has been in business for 14 years, and only deals in marine animals, advises using chromis when cycling the tank. I read their advice on tank start-up on their website. I went there and talked with the owner at length about what I had and what my plans are. She completely advised me to put the green chromis in that day. So here I am, I have the chromis and I can't change that. I think it is like everything else, one person advises one thing and the next the opposite. I appreciate all the advice but sometimes it is overwhelming. For now, I have to just do the testing and see what happens. Apparently the cycle has begun because I am getting some higher ammonia levels. I am sure I will have many more questions.
 

Deinonych

New member
I am a newbie to the hobby as well and understand that information can be contradictory at times. However, the use of fish to cycle a tank is not a recommended method for a modern saltwater tank. I think you will find this sentiment nearly universal on these boards. If your LFS is telling you otherwise, I would find another LFS. :)
 

worm5406

Not afriad to admit wrong
Team RC
MY LFS told me the same thing... I did it from the start, too.. Then I started reading up that the shrimp way was a bit better and more humane.

You can remove the shrimp anytime you want, hard to put a chromis anyplace.

BTW... If you are so sure about this LFS... what about ich? That fish should be in a QT to protect all the work you have done already. Nothing like getting chromis and cycling the tank then remove them and put your new fish in it to find out the chromis were contaminated.

Just a thought. (Nothing like going to a LFS and seeing a $300 fish, getting it, and putting it in; to find out it died a month+ later from ICH or worse.)
 

tracyclifton

New member
I guess it is beating a dead horse at this point. I won't use fish to cycle if I ever cycle a tank again. As far as another fish store, I have 2 choices, that LFS or Petco. As for the quarantine question. If the chromis are the only fish in the tank, and they stay healthy for the 6-8 weeks it takes the tank to cycle, then aren't they technically in quarantine? If they have ich shouldn't I see signs in that 6-8 week period? I plan to set up a quarantine tank before I buy my first fish.
 

worm5406

Not afriad to admit wrong
Team RC
Technically yes... but if they do turn out having problems....

Tearing down an empty (10 gallon) no substrate tank is easier than a LR LS (75 gallon) tank. Then waiting weeks to let it cycle again.

Plus what if they show no signs and spread it in the tank? I did the same thing... and luckily I WAS lucky. But once hearing and seeing the problems, and having a fresh for many years previously, that had ICH.... I should had known before I went to salt.
 

tracyclifton

New member
I understand your point. If they went into the QT first, if in 4 weeks I did see some sign, it would be easier to clean the QT. But my point is, they have been in the 180g for a week tomorrow, so its too late. I will jsut have to watch them for the next three weeks and see how they look. Then in another 3 weeks, if I am ready for my first fish, then I assume its safe.
 

worm5406

Not afriad to admit wrong
Team RC
Yeah... in a QT you have a smaller areas for the parasite to float away to. In a larger DT you could have it sitting in the corner and not affect anything for a while...

Keep a sharp eye on it.. (if it were me and I have a 120g to look after) (I want a 250+ one though... just don't tell the kids... they may not be able to go to college afterward)
 

tracyclifton

New member
Its day 9 since the chromis were added. No ammonia spike yet. Attached is a spreadsheet of my tests. I was gone for the weekend so I didn't test. The brown algae is increasing and the coralline algae is increasing also. The fish are healthy so far and still eating. I'll be testing ammonia each day this week looking for a spike. However, shouldn't the nitrate still be at 0 if the ammonia spike and nitrite spike have not occurred? Nitrate looks to be about 20. Thanks
 

Attachments

  • Aquarium.xlsx
    9.7 KB · Views: 0
Top