Refusing to cycle?

digidana

New member
i'm new, sorta. i had a 240g about 10 years ago for about 10 years or so, but just recently got back in. but its been about 20 years since i had to go through the initial set up stuff. i picked up this 120g (tank, stand/canopy, refugium, pumps, UV sterilizer, loads of rock, RODI + misc chemicals, etc.). it was a unique situation. some dudes were hired to get rid of everything in a closed chiropractor office, and he listed the entire set up on FB marketplace for $75. so for $75 plus $ for new lights, new heater, powerheads, sand and salt, we got it up and running. can't beat the deal, but i have no history on it. there was no water in it, but the sand was still wet, etc. i figured that there would be enough dead on the rock to get the cycle going, but here i am, a month later, nitrates/nitrites are still way high, but i've got no action, no algae, it doesn't seem to be doing anything. any suggestions on kick starting it? i haven't yet picked up an ammonia test yet. just got some cheapy test strips. thanks!
 

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kharmaguru

Premium Member
Rockwork looks legit. Nice score. Reusing sand is generally considered a no-go and is likely releasing ammonia into your water and explains the persistant nitrites. SInce you have them and nitrates you actually have a functioning biological systrem, you'll just have to wait out the ammonia source. That's my theory anyway.

Re-reading your post, maybe you didn't reuse the sand which kills my idea.
 

digidana

New member
yeah, i sprung for new sand. i did remember to not reuse the old sand. i didn't do anything to the rock, no rinse, etc. should i maybe do the dead shrimp thing? i tried to find ammonia and actually couldn't find any at the grocery stores or Lowes which i thought was weird. its weird the stuff you remember and the stuff you forget. i'm having to relearn a lot. i mostly remember stuff about livestock.
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
Can't have nitrite without ammonia, so you have or had ammonia. Unless your nitrite test kit is dodgy and you actually only have nitrate which would mean you are cycled. What brand test kits are you using and are they new as in not expired?

That rock looks really clean. Maybe this was a brand new setup as it was?
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
So, if you kept the sand, there's likely an enormous amount of detritus in it. I'd suggest syphoning the sand (gravel vac) to remove as much detritus as you can. It'll be nasty, smell terrible too.
 

digidana

New member
Can't have nitrite without ammonia, so you have or had ammonia. Unless your nitrite test kit is dodgy and you actually only have nitrate which would mean you are cycled. What brand test kits are you using and are they new as in not expired?

That rock looks really clean. Maybe this was a brand new setup as it was?

i think the tank had been set up for a good while, he had multiple pumps and some old equipment, old t5 lights, and i found a dead fish skeleton behind the refugium. i wondered about the rock too, it does look really clean. i just bought a dip strip test. its brand new, but probably not super accurate? it a jnw testing strips. i don't know, i expected to go through the usual ugly diatom/algae stages...
 

Timfish

Timfish
Premium Member
Sounds to me like you never cycled because of all the bacteria on the rock. I'd add some new mariclutured live rock and start adding fish and corals.
 

whysleep?

New member
Ace hardware carries ammonia. It’s in the cleaning section. I don’t have a link handy but search ammonia dosing calculator and follow the instructions. Dose to 2ppm and test each day until there’s no more ammonia. Then dose again until you can process that ammonia in 24 hrs and you’ll be all cycled. But get an ammonia test kit. Even a cheapy.
 

Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
One month is rarely enough time to cycle. 6-8 weeks is more realistic. So, I'm betting by now your tank has cycled.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
i'm new, sorta. i had a 240g about 10 years ago for about 10 years or so, but just recently got back in. but its been about 20 years since i had to go through the initial set up stuff. i picked up this 120g (tank, stand/canopy, refugium, pumps, UV sterilizer, loads of rock, RODI + misc chemicals, etc.). it was a unique situation. some dudes were hired to get rid of everything in a closed chiropractor office, and he listed the entire set up on FB marketplace for $75. so for $75 plus $ for new lights, new heater, powerheads, sand and salt, we got it up and running. can't beat the deal, but i have no history on it. there was no water in it, but the sand was still wet, etc. i figured that there would be enough dead on the rock to get the cycle going, but here i am, a month later, nitrates/nitrites are still way high, but i've got no action, no algae, it doesn't seem to be doing anything. any suggestions on kick starting it? i haven't yet picked up an ammonia test yet. just got some cheapy test strips. thanks!
My advice is get some inverts and start feeding them a smidge of fishfood. If ammonia develops at this stage, you're not cycled enough. If the food disappears and ammonia doesn't appear, you're cycled and can head for one fish, etc. Repeat.
 
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