Failed with shrimp...now what?

aic

New member
I started to cycle a new tank and ran into some issues. I put half a dozen market shrimp into a 40 gallon tank about 3 days ago, and unfortunately it started to smell awful and smell up the whole house. I had to pull them out



Here are the details. Set up tank and let it run for 3-4 days. After that I added about 15 pounds of live rock and 6 market shrimp. Today I woke up and the whole house smelled awful. I had to pull the shrimp out of the tank and get it out of the house.

Here were the parameters this morning
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 1.0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm

I have not seen an ammonia spike high enough from what I understand. So, not sure what to do. Should I try adding straight ammonia to get the spike now?
 

Timfish

Timfish
Premium Member
half a small shrimp would have been more than enough. I would do a water change to remove any gunky slimey stuff that might be floating around and run some carbon. You don't have to have an ammonia spike to cycle a tank, it is rare I see any ammonia when I set up a system using water from a healthy system, live sand and some quality and quarantined live rock.
 

kevin21

New member
Not necessary. You could of used 1 shrimp to kick start things. Might of helped the smell a little.

Looking forward, where did you get your live rock from? For a 40g, you will need around 40-50lbs of Live Rock for nice filtration. This will also take care of your cycle. Most of the time while transporting live rock to our tanks, whether it be shipped or from your LFS, there will be die off on the rock. That die off will kick start the cycle and get your tank going. Sometimes, the rock we add may be from another established tank and may suffer minimal die off while being transferred to our tank. This can sometimes cause mini cycles that typically only last a couple of weeks. The fact you have some ammonia present is good. I would add whatever rock you plan on adding, let your tank go through the process, and as soon as your ammonia and nitrite read zero, do a water change. Then you can look to slowly add a clean up crew and see how they fair. Hope this helps. You are on the right track.
 

JohnnyHildo

New member
I started to cycle a new tank and ran into some issues. I put half a dozen market shrimp into a 40 gallon tank about 3 days ago, and unfortunately it started to smell awful and smell up the whole house. I had to pull them out



Here are the details. Set up tank and let it run for 3-4 days. After that I added about 15 pounds of live rock and 6 market shrimp. Today I woke up and the whole house smelled awful. I had to pull the shrimp out of the tank and get it out of the house.

Here were the parameters this morning
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 1.0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm

I have not seen an ammonia spike high enough from what I understand. So, not sure what to do. Should I try adding straight ammonia to get the spike now?
advice for the rest of your fishkeeping life.... SLOW DOWN!
3 days isn't nearly long enough to allow a reaction to take place and as they say, nothing good in this hobby every happens fast.
 

Tooboot

New member
I used shrimp to cycle my tank recently. I used 2-3 frozen cocktail shrimp (all we had in the house). all you really want is for whatever you put in your tank to breakdown and release ammonia. After 1 week I pulled out the cheesecloth with the shrimp in it and monitored my parameters while ghost feeding. to confirm that my tank had cycled I used liquid ammonia and added some to create a spike then checked 24h later to see if it had cycled to nitrate. I had also been using some Seachem stability to help seed the tank, but given you have live rock and sand this may not be needed. I do agree with Kevin, you may need more rock to help maintain filtration long term.
 

aic

New member
half a small shrimp would have been more than enough. I would do a water change to remove any gunky slimey stuff that might be floating around and run some carbon. You don't have to have an ammonia spike to cycle a tank, it is rare I see any ammonia when I set up a system using water from a healthy system, live sand and some quality and quarantined live rock.

This was not water from an established tank
 

aic

New member
Not necessary. You could of used 1 shrimp to kick start things. Might of helped the smell a little.

Looking forward, where did you get your live rock from? For a 40g, you will need around 40-50lbs of Live Rock for nice filtration. This will also take care of your cycle. Most of the time while transporting live rock to our tanks, whether it be shipped or from your LFS, there will be die off on the rock. That die off will kick start the cycle and get your tank going. Sometimes, the rock we add may be from another established tank and may suffer minimal die off while being transferred to our tank. This can sometimes cause mini cycles that typically only last a couple of weeks. The fact you have some ammonia present is good. I would add whatever rock you plan on adding, let your tank go through the process, and as soon as your ammonia and nitrite read zero, do a water change. Then you can look to slowly add a clean up crew and see how they fair. Hope this helps. You are on the right track.

I got this LR from a friend. I know I need to add more, but didn't want to plunge in too much DR right now. I don't have any more LR.

Should I know just hold tight closely watching water parameters?
 

aic

New member
advice for the rest of your fishkeeping life.... SLOW DOWN!
3 days isn't nearly long enough to allow a reaction to take place and as they say, nothing good in this hobby every happens fast.

The 3 days of just letting the water flow or the 3 days of keeping the shrimp in there?
 

kevin21

New member
I would watch the parameters over the next few days. However, I would add zero inhabitants until you have added all of the rock that you plan on adding. Things getting really messy and complicated when trying to add live rock to a tank that already has fish/coral etc.
 

mcgyvr

New member
Just leave it be now for 4 weeks.. pumps should be running, lights should be off..
Keep monitoring nitrates and perform weekly water changes to keep them from getting too high and then having to do a lot to get them back down..
Thats it.. nothing more is needed..

In 4 weeks you can turn the lights on and start adding stuff SLOWLY..

"IF" you intend to add more rock you need to cycle (cure) it in its own container with saltwater/pump to avoid spiking your tank again..
 

aic

New member
I would watch the parameters over the next few days. However, I would add zero inhabitants until you have added all of the rock that you plan on adding. Things getting really messy and complicated when trying to add live rock to a tank that already has fish/coral etc.

Ok, I did not know that. I thought I could add a piece or two of LR here or there. I was planning on getting some DR and starting to cure it. I know that is a lengthy process but thought I'd be able to add a piece here or there.
 

aic

New member
Just leave it be now for 4 weeks.. pumps should be running, lights should be off..
Keep monitoring nitrates and perform weekly water changes to keep them from getting too high and then having to do a lot to get them back down..
Thats it.. nothing more is needed..

In 4 weeks you can turn the lights on and start adding stuff SLOWLY..

"IF" you intend to add more rock you need to cycle (cure) it in its own container with saltwater/pump to avoid spiking your tank again..

Yes, I had planned on getting a rubber tub with a pump to start curing some DR.

How will I know when the tank is fully done? I know you said 4 weeks, but is it when the nitrates are at 0? That could theoretically be 3 weeks or 5+ weeks.

Also should I adjust the temperature or flow at all?
 

kevin21

New member
As soon as you see zero ammonia and nitrite and nitrates spiked, you can do a water change. Probably about 20% would be fine. Then you can start adding things slowly. Dry rock is fine, just cure it like stated above just like you would live rock. Dry rock will not spike ammonia, as it has nothing living on it, but it can leach out phosphates in your tank, which will help aid nuisance algae growth.
 

mcgyvr

New member
Yes, I had planned on getting a rubber tub with a pump to start curing some DR.

How will I know when the tank is fully done? I know you said 4 weeks, but is it when the nitrates are at 0? That could theoretically be 3 weeks or 5+ weeks.

Also should I adjust the temperature or flow at all?

Nitrates will NEVER be zero on a freshly cycled tank if water changes aren't done during the process.. IMO there is too much going on for a tank to fully take all 3 to zero during the process. ammonia/nitrite yes but nitrate no..

Ammonia and nitrites will/must be zero to put anything living in a tank (besides initial live rock/sand)..

In general 4 weeks is sufficient to cycle any tank assuming you introduced ammonia (and you sure did that :p)
In general you can "test" to see if its cycled by adding ammonia up to a readable level (2ppm is good) and assuming that ammonia and nitrites are zero approximately 24 hours after that the tank is ready to go..

NOTHING good happens quickly in this hobby.. If someone can't wait 4 weeks then get out of the hobby NOW..

I only checked for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates on the first tank I ever had..
I've NEVER checked for ammonia/nitrites on any other tank I've cycled since that first time.. Its just a useless waste of money IMO..
I simply follow the 4 week rule and have never had a problem and don't need to spend money on the tests one only really needs once..

My comments/beliefs,etc.. are based on keeping it "simple".. Nothing wrong with following the "cycling/testing" rules.. But its just not needed IMO..
 

aic

New member
Nitrates will NEVER be zero on a freshly cycled tank if water changes aren't done during the process.. IMO there is too much going on for a tank to fully take all 3 to zero during the process. ammonia/nitrite yes but nitrate no..

Ammonia and nitrites will/must be zero to put anything living in a tank (besides initial live rock/sand)..

In general 4 weeks is sufficient to cycle any tank assuming you introduced ammonia (and you sure did that :p)
In general you can "test" to see if its cycled by adding ammonia up to a readable level (2ppm is good) and assuming that ammonia and nitrites are zero approximately 24 hours after that the tank is ready to go..

NOTHING good happens quickly in this hobby.. If someone can't wait 4 weeks then get out of the hobby NOW..

I only checked for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates on the first tank I ever had..
I've NEVER checked for ammonia/nitrites on any other tank I've cycled since that first time.. Its just a useless waste of money IMO..
I simply follow the 4 week rule and have never had a problem and don't need to spend money on the tests one only really needs once..

My comments/beliefs,etc.. are based on keeping it "simple".. Nothing wrong with following the "cycling/testing" rules.. But its just not needed IMO..

Ok, makes sense. I can wait 4 weeks- just want to make sure I am doing it correctly.
 

Tooboot

New member
As I follow this thread a question comes to mind.

how long can a tank go after being cycled with no more ammonia sources added before the beneficial bacteria starts dying off. my tank finished its cycle about a month ago, I think I ghost fed maybe twice since then to, what I thought, was keeping the bacteria going, but was this even needed.

at what point will the bacteria start dying off to the point of having to restart a whole cylce?
 

canadianeh

New member
I started to cycle a new tank and ran into some issues. I put half a dozen market shrimp into a 40 gallon tank about 3 days ago, and unfortunately it started to smell awful and smell up the whole house.

Here are the details. Set up tank and let it run for 3-4 days. After that I added about 15 pounds of live rock and 6 market shrimp. Today I woke up and the whole house smelled awful. I had to pull the shrimp out of the tank and get it out of the house.

QUOTE]

One suggestion = Dr Tims! No smell, no cloudy water ;)
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
The idea was to add a micro-pinch of fishfood daily until you do provoke ammonia...which takes about 4 weeks. Not to toss in a bag of dead shrimp. My advice is to do a 100 % water change so it won't turn into toxic chowder and let the remnant of the gunk in the sand and rock do the job from there. Add the fishfood daily, and cross your fingers it doesn't start smelling again. It's bacteria that are causing the smell, but the tank needs time to sort it out.
 

Mad_Reefer

New member
Nitrates will NEVER be zero on a freshly cycled tank if water changes aren't done during the process.. IMO there is too much going on for a tank to fully take all 3 to zero during the process. ammonia/nitrite yes but nitrate no..

Unless you use macro algae to help the cycle.
 
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