Tank cycled?

bearcatbomber

New member
I started a 20g tank with about 15lbs of dry rock. I put in a handful of live rock rubble from a tank thats about a year old to seed it. I also put in 2 bioballs from my existing tank and have been feeding it with flake food every two days. There is live sand

Its been up and running for about a week and a half and its not showing any signs of ammonia yet.

Is it possible the tank cycled within the first 5 days to the point where the ammonia cycle is done? I didn't start testing for it until about day 6 and since then have been getting readings of 0. Haven't checked for nitrates yet.
 

thegrun

Team RC
Hard to tell if you've added enough organic material to start a cycle yet. Most likely no. Either way a handful of rubble rock is not going to handle much of a bio-load so you will need to wait. Keep up with the food introduction (I still prefer to use a dead raw shrimp) for a couple more weeks.
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
A handful of LR rubble isn't going to do much really. It'll take quite a long time for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize the dry rock. Keep adding a nice pinch of dry flake for another week or so and test again.
 

b0bab0ey

Moved On
Nitrates are at a 6.0ppm level. Whats this mean?

If ammonia and nitrites are both 0, and you've got a nitrate reading of 6, then I'd say your tank is cycled. But be careful, add livestock very slowly. I'd start with a Chromis Damsel or something, and then check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels periodically for the next couple of weeks. You've only got enough bacteria to handle a minimal bioload right now. As you slowly add more livestock, your bacteria levels will slowly increase as well.
 

Lynnmw1208

New member
imo I would wait until the nitrates go down a little more. Mine went all the way down to 2.5 before I added macro algae and now they've been consistently 0.
 

bearcatbomber

New member
I added a yellowtail damsel earlier this evening. I have things ready to go for a massive water change in case I get a huge ammonia spike over night from having the fish in there. If I determine that the lvels in the tank are too high and would end up being bad for the fish, I'll be moving him to my current tank setup until this new tank has cycled. I'm not a proponent of using fish to cycle an aquarium, but if trates are showing up at a 6 (and the source water has been tested and read 0) I'm inclined to believe that my tank cycled a lot faster than I expected it to be.

Any comments on what I should be looking for to ensure that my fish is going to be ok if I'm wrong? I'd rather look for signs all the time and if I see anything "fishy" I'll be moving him to a stable tank.
 

duncantse

Fish Advisor
Keep checking ammonia daily. If it's a constant 0, then your tank has been cycled and your new fish will likely survive.
 

Angel*Fish

cats and large squashes
I added a yellowtail damsel earlier this evening. I have things ready to go for a massive water change in case I get a huge ammonia spike over night from having the fish in there. If I determine that the lvels in the tank are too high and would end up being bad for the fish, I'll be moving him to my current tank setup until this new tank has cycled. I'm not a proponent of using fish to cycle an aquarium, but if trates are showing up at a 6 (and the source water has been tested and read 0) I'm inclined to believe that my tank cycled a lot faster than I expected it to be.

Any comments on what I should be looking for to ensure that my fish is going to be ok if I'm wrong? I'd rather look for signs all the time and if I see anything "fishy" I'll be moving him to a stable tank.
You're looking for ammonia levels - if 0.25 or more, get him out - test daily.

You are rushing into things. In the big scheme of things waiting a week to 6 weeks to make sure your tank is cycled before you add fish isn't going to matter much to you. But to the fish it can mean life or death. Or gill damage from ammonia.
 

b0bab0ey

Moved On
Any comments on what I should be looking for to ensure that my fish is going to be ok if I'm wrong? I'd rather look for signs all the time and if I see anything "fishy" I'll be moving him to a stable tank.

Go get yourself one of those "Seachem Ammonia Alert" things (see link below). This way you don't have to keep testing for ammonia. Most LFSs sell them for around $5 or $6. Make sure you get the one that's labeled for s/w use.

About the yellow-tail, don't be surprised if that thing doesn't get aggressive w/other fish down the road. Esp in a 20g. That's why I suggested a Chromis, they usually only squabble amongst themselves. But he should be hardy enough to survive if you do get an ammonia spike. Of course, it wouldn't be very PC of you to let that happen to him... :rolleyes:

http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/AmmoniaAlert.html
 

briankmarsh1980

I'm a member of **!!!!!!
Those ammonia patches don't work IME

You shouldn't have added a fish!

Marine tanks take patients you should on average wait 6to8 weeks for your tank to balance out then start with a CUC wait a week or so then get a fish.
And having a tank that small your ammonia could go lethal in 24 hrs being that new, I'm guessing you haven't even started your cycle yet or it is just starting
 

b0bab0ey

Moved On
Those ammonia patches don't work IME

Works just fine for me. When I was cycling my tank, I would watch my ammonia go up and down with one of those things. A few times I double checked with my test kit for confirmation & the ammonia patch was accurate every time.

You shouldn't have added a fish!

Marine tanks take patients you should on average wait 6to8 weeks for your tank to balance out then start with a CUC wait a week or so then get a fish.
And having a tank that small your ammonia could go lethal in 24 hrs being that new, I'm guessing you haven't even started your cycle yet or it is just starting

Exactly how is he supposed to know when his tank is cycled then? I've seen cycles take as little as two weeks to up to two months. There's no set rule. You can put a raw shrimp in and watch the ammonia shoot up, but it goes back to 0 a few days after you take it out. You won't know whether or not you'll get ammonia again until you put something in the tank to test it.

He says he added live sand. That, coupled w/the LR rubble and bioballs from an established tank, should provide enough ample bacteria to colonize some of his rock and support a bioload of 1 Damsel. And being he's detected Nitrates already seems to confirm this.

Now I agree he should wait a while now (1-2 months) before adding anything else. But, going solely off the info he provided, I'd say his tank is safe for 1 Damsel. Not trying to flame you btw, just offering a differing viewpoint.
 
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