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LoveReefer
10/24/2019, 05:29 PM
Hey guys. I setup a 90 and started a cycle at the end of July. The cycle took some time and finished off around June 30th give or take a few days. At this point my nitrates were sky high ~50ppm at the end of cycle. I never did a water change. Some green algae covered the back glass but went away on its own in about 4 weeks time since the cycle.

Basically what had happened was my wife and I were expecting a newborn at the time and with many other things going on I just stopped altogether with tank maintenance or doing anything at all with it. Iím ready to get into it now that things are settled with the baby and life is back to normal.

So...Here we are about 3 months since anything has happened with the tank. First thing I tested was nitrates and they were zero. None. This surprised me so I started to do a little reading and it looks like I have to cycle again because there was no ammonia source feeding the beneficial bacteria and they died off. I started to ghost feed some mysis one week ago and the ammo jumped to about 1.25 then settled back down to 0. My nitrites never spiked and my nitrates are sitting at 0 also. Thereís no algae growing anywhere in the tank, it is surprisingly clean.

I thought hey, I will add a small fish and see what happens here. A small damsel has been in the tank for 4 days now and still no ammonia spike.

What do you guys think I should do ? What happened to the high level of nitrates? Should I do a water change now? Is my tank going to slowly cycle a second time? This has put me in a weird spot where Iím really not sure whatís going on inside the tank and donít know what to do or look for next. Thanks in advance for any help.


Mike


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mcgyvr
10/24/2019, 07:59 PM
Nah...bacteria can live a year or more without introducing any food source...
Just start slowly stocking the tank and enjoy...
No need in trying to cycle the tank again...

And congrats on the baby...

LoveReefer
10/24/2019, 09:12 PM
Nah...bacteria can live a year or more without introducing any food source...
Just start slowly stocking the tank and enjoy...
No need in trying to cycle the tank again...

And congrats on the baby...

Thank you for the kind words and thanks for the reply.

After some digging I did read where the bacteria is there indefinitely almost dormant as long as there is a filter running or water is circulating. There is a small mini cycle when you start to feed them apparently when they wake back up some, which lines up with what I was seeing.

As for my Nitrates dropping off the map after being sky high. What could have caused that? Could it have been giving me a false reading possibly due to a small amount of nitrites still hanging around? I know this can happen. My test kit read 0 Nitrites at the time I was getting the very high Nitrate readings but I was testing Nitrite daily. Once it said zero I tested Nitrate. Maybe there was a small amount that was undetectable by the test kit. Nitrate was really high though. seems odd for Nitrites to throw it off so drastically. Just spitballing. Is there another plausible reason?

Would you recommend a water change soon or wait until the Nitrates start to creep up again? I do have 1 zoanthid frag I would like to keep happy. Thanks again.


Mike

mcgyvr
10/25/2019, 05:35 AM
Nitrates can/will drop on their own without water changes..
Denitrifying bacteria will turn nitrates into nitrogen which will leave the tank as gas..
Quite normal there and even more so when there was basically nothing going on (no food input,etc..) with the tank.

Water changes are for more than just nitrate reduction.. They are one way to help replenish whats been consumed/used (alk/cal/mag/trace elements,etc..) and help reduce whats in excess (nitrates/organics/metals,etc...)..

I would recommend you perform a water change just to help balance the tank back out and just to get back into the swing of proper maintenance/husbandry ..
And if you plan on corals then you certainly want to start measuring more than just nitrate.. Got alk/cal/mag test kits? How about phosphate? Salinity measurements?

LoveReefer
10/25/2019, 08:20 AM
That all makes sense. I have an order in for the supplies I need to finish my water change station in my basement. I think it should be okay for another few days while I finish that up lol.

I do plan on keeping corals and I test for everything you mentioned except for alk/mag. Cal is a bit on the low side but a water change should help that. I'm using RODI and haven't been able to detect any phos on my test. Granted it's an API test and hard to read. Salinity is one thing that hasn't fluctuated at all. ATO is about the only thing I've actually kept up with.

What do you think will be the ideal volume for the first WC? Thanks.


Mike.