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Old 11/16/2018, 02:12 PM   #1
Stickgal
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Sorry for another cycling question

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I have a 45g (24" tall) that will house 3 female seahorses, which I am planning to purchase from seahorsesource. I
have about an inch to inch and a half of live sand and about 15 pounds of live rock. My tank gas been up and running about a month and I used flake food and one
thawed frozen shrimp to start the cycle. I tested the following today.
Ammonia=0
ph=8.2
nitrites=0
nitrates=between 20-40
I did a 10g water change yesterday. I do have pics and ghost flatworms in the tank, so I know something is happening.
I plan to add macroalgae and a few plants for hitching, as well as a few nonstinging softies. My clean up crew will be pulled from
you guys' selection list, all
at zero danger
to the horses. I may add a yellow watchman goby, one peppermint
shrimp (one piece of my live rock came with some small aptasias), and am thinking of a couple of pajama cardinals.
Ok, so I'm getting to the question��. I'm not a complete novice, as I have had fresh and saltwater tanks in the last few years.
I tested my water every couple of days for the past couple of weeks and never had the ammonia spike everyone says should come. My plan was to do a large water change in
a few days and retest the nitrates to make sure the tank has really cycled. Is that a good plan? My seahorses aren't going to be added until the first of the year, but I'm tired of looking
at just rocks. Thought after the big water change, I might start adding the macroalgae and then, slowly, the cleanup crew.
Thoughts?


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Old 11/17/2018, 10:27 AM   #2
MarkW64
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If your sand and rock were both truly alive then you probably had plenty of bacteria to handle the food and shrimp you put in the tank. The ammonia "spike" only happens if you start with an insufficient bacteria population which has to multiply to deal with the amount of ammonia present. Keep going slow like you are and you should be golden. Water change to lower nitrate level is a good idea.


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Old 11/17/2018, 11:24 AM   #3
Stickgal
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Thanks for responding! I was feeling abandoned. .lol


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Old 11/17/2018, 09:46 PM   #4
kizanne
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Also you can just add ammonia (liquid buy at the store) But if you have to do a huge water change to get your nitrates down then it isn't cycled.

You should leave the water alone because you won't grow nitrate bacteria without nitrates. If you have sufficent nitrate bacteria you would have 20-40.

The plants will help with nitrate removal and you can add plants to a tank with Nitrates. You can also buy some nitrate bacteria at the fish store or online to boost that population. Nitrates are the last part of the cycle. You first build ammonia bacteria then Nitrites then Nitrates. You should be fine by January.

I'd add the plants and add some ammonia each day to keep your tank cycling.

Often times a cycling tank will also get a touch of diatoms or algae before it balances.


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Old 11/18/2018, 10:11 AM   #5
rayjay
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For me, I always "challenge" the system once I believe the cycle to be ready for stocking.
I add ammonia (ammonium chloride powder or liquid ammonia that doesn't have ANYTHING added to it) sufficient to bring the ammonia level to 2ppm and then check to be sure it clears to zero overnight. If it does clear overnight, you should be good to go, unless you are planning on stocking heavily in which case I want it to clear at least 4-6ppm overnight.
As for nitrate levels, I never check it because I am a high level water changer so that in itself would limit levels.


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Old 11/18/2018, 10:37 AM   #6
sde1500
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It is likely with the smaller quantity of live rock and sand that you’ll not have enough area for the anaerobic bacteria needed for nitrate reduction to live. Wouldn’t hurt to add some ammonia to confirm the cycle is completed, but yes if it was actual live rock then the cycle is probably done. Macro algae and water changes will get that nitrate number down.


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Old 11/19/2018, 08:29 PM   #7
Stickgal
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thanks all! I will double check it with ammonia. I have ordered some red and green macroalgaes, so I think it will be ready in a few weeks.


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