View Full Version : Am I Cycled?

01/13/2016, 08:16 AM
I have been cycling now for about 8 weeks, having started with a 120G DT, 30G sump / refugium, 120 lbs live bagged sand, and 120 lbs. dry BRS Reefsaver rock. After a brief stint with a dead shrimp that didn't seem to do much, I started dosing with Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride after putting in a combination of Bio Spira and Dr. Tim's One and Only. So far this is where I'm at:

- Dose Ammonia to 3 ppm as per the instructions
- Within 24 hrs the Ammonia is 0.0 ppm
- Within 24 hrs the Nitrite is 0.5 ppm
- Within 48 hrs the Nitrite is 0.0 ppm
- When Nitrite is 0.0 ppm, repeat process as per Dr. Tim's fishless cycling instructions
- No lights
- Skimmer off
- Red Sea test kit

I am trying to maintain the "nothing good happens fast" mantra and don't want to rush anything. Dr. Tim's instructions state I should be able to process both Ammonia and Nitrite to 0.0 in 24 hrs and the Nitrite is taking a little longer than that (I say it's 48 hrs, but it could be shorter since I only test once a day). It's been "stuck" at this processing rate for about 4 weeks now.

Most of the posts I've read on the subject say that the cycling process can take longer with dry rock, but most folks seem to be there by 8 weeks. I did see a brown diatom bloom about two weeks ago and cleaned the glass, but no other algae in the tank that I can see since.

Am I there or do I need to continue on the same path and be able to cycle Nitrite to 0.0 ppm in 24 hrs? I'm also concerned about the Nitrates at this point - they are extremely high as I expected - I've tested (with Nitrites at 0.0) and they're about 80 ppm.

Can anyone give me some pointers on where to go from here? I figure I'm looking at some pretty large water changes to get the Nitrates under control, but should I also throw some Cheato in the refugium and start the skimmer to assist with Nitrate export?

I sure would like to get my first fish in the tank, but also want to start responsibly.

01/13/2016, 08:29 AM
skimmer should be on and cheato can be added. Nitrites, unless extremely high won't hurt saltwater fish but some delicate ones may not take well to nitrites or nitrates. I say you're ready for fish providing you have a QT setup and ready to go

01/13/2016, 09:03 AM
I agree with Dmorty, to add once you see algae blooms you can add your CUC.

01/13/2016, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the replies - I'll get the skimmer going tonight and start a water change. Cheato is coming soon!

01/13/2016, 11:20 AM
On a side note I would not recommend dosing ammonia again, all you are doing is increasing the nitrates in your tank by doing so. You do not need to feed the bacteria, they will live for up to a year without more ammonia. Your tank has cycled as demonstrated by reducing both the ammonia and nitrites over a 24 hour period. Once your fish have completed their quarantine period you can slowly start to add them to your tank.

01/13/2016, 01:02 PM
Thanks thegrun - that's what I thought and wasn't surprised to see the nitrates as high as they are at this point. I figured I was probably to the point of diminishing returns, but this being my first sw tank I always appreciate the insight of the experienced reefers on RC.