After 1 Wk: High Ammonia.. No Nitrite/Nitrate

Discussion in 'Just starting out (SW Beginners)' started by LookingForNemo, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. LookingForNemo

    LookingForNemo New Member

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    HI everyone I need some help :help1:

    Started cycling my 29/30g tank last week with 20kg uncured live rock. Now here's the problem: I failed to preclean the rock!!! There has been a lot of die off, causing the tank to becomes cloudy since day 2. Ammonia has been off the roof 8+ppm (8 was the highest my test kit can detect), no nitrite or nitrate readings. The water stinks like hell because of the excessive die offs, so I have done a few water changes lately, it reduces the smell but not the ammonia. I also have been using "bacteria in a bottle" - Seachem Stability after every water change to help with the cycling process. I'm using a cannister filter with a wave-maker to circulate the water. I also left the actinic light on 6hrs a day to keep the hitchhiker hard corals alive.

    My question is why my ammonia so high? Is that normal? Can I take out the LR and give it a scrub or clean now? And how long do I have to wait till nitrite kicks in? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all. :clink: :clink:
     
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  2. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    All is fine - imo great - now just wait... I choose to cycle my tanks with uncured live rock, all the die-off is good imo, this is why the ammonia is so high, just let it run it's course now and in something like 6-8 week you will have a beautiful cycled tank.
     
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  3. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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  4. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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  5. jski711

    jski711 New Member

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    patience grasshopper. this is the most crucial time in setting up a successful reef tank imo. Be patient and it will pay off big time in a few months. trust me!
     
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  6. LookingForNemo

    LookingForNemo New Member

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    Thanks for the fast reply and advice guys. I will be patience and wait for another week.
     
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  7. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Administrator
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    As above it sounds like it's going in the right direction. Uncured Live Rock might take a while before it stabilized and the tank settles down. Just ride it out and keep testing. I don't think you need to keep adding chemicals right now because everything you need is "In There" already.
     
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  8. OHmariner

    OHmariner New Member

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    When I use to raise discus fish it was common to run bare bottom tanks and with the fresh water it wasn't as 'easy' to cycle a tank. I use to do 'fish-less' cycling with my freshwater, I would use raw ammonia to cycle the tank. That was a real test of patience but it was neat to test the water the 'see' the cycle progress through the stages of raw ammonia, then a little ammonia with nitrite and no nitrate then to see nitrite and nitrate with almost no ammonia to finally seeing only nitrate. Neat stuff! just like the other fellas said, patience is key and it is very rewarding :cool:
     
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  9. Reefmack

    Reefmack NaClH2O Addicted
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    The ammonia is generated by the die-off on the rock decomposing. As your bacteria increase and populate the rock and substrate they will begin to first convert the ammonia to nitrites. Then another type of bacteria will convert the nitrites to nitrates. You'll see a peak in the ammonia, and it will start to decrease as nitrites rise and peak. When the cycle is done you should see only nitrates, and those can be reduced with water changes. As to how long this will take is a guess - a couple weeks or longer. This is where that very difficult thing called "patience" is needed. :)

    If the rock is that covered with die-off you could speed things up a bit by pulling out the rock and using a brush to remove some of the die-off in a bucket of saltwater. It'll be stinky though.
     
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  10. LookingForNemo

    LookingForNemo New Member

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    OK my cloudy water has clear up significantly, probably around 80% and also the rotten smell has gone. I tested for ammonia and nitrite/nitrate and the readings didn't change at all :confused: :confused: Still high ammonia and no nitrite. Can I still do water changes, take the rock out and give it a good scrub or just leave it as it is? :help1:
     
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  11. JandR

    JandR New Member

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    Have you added any type of stablizer or some stuff to help lower ammonia and nitrite? Like Prime? I use it in all my tanks when I add anything new and it has worked great for me! Maybe it just needs a little push to go into Nitrates...
     
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  12. LookingForNemo

    LookingForNemo New Member

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    I use Safe - a concentrated version of Prime when mixing my water. Err are we on the same page here? I thought it suppose to be from ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate. I could try to lower my ammonia level down but I thought I need ammonia for the bacteria to turn it into nitrite.
     
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  13. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    My ammonia in my 6 day old new tank is getting very high, no nitrites, no nitrates yet and I could not be happier. The Key... is patience, let the Nitrogen Cycle run it course, this can take 2 to 8 weeks or so... my best advise... is wait and keep reading while your tank "cycles" all is well...

    sidebar - imo (in my opinion) don't add any (more) chemical additives.

    Beginner FAQ: The Nitrogen Cycle
     
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  14. LookingForNemo

    LookingForNemo New Member

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    Ok i'll be patience and wait. Thanks nanoreefing4fun. I'll take your advice and stop adding any chemicals.
     
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  15. Reefmack

    Reefmack NaClH2O Addicted
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    My opinion - I'd suggest not adding any Prime or ammonia killers during a cycle. They tie up the ammonia into an ammonia complex compound that isn't harmful, but will still show up in almost all ammonia tests. Almost all ammonia tests give you a total ammonia level, not a free (toxic) ammonia level. The use of Prime or similar can make the ammonia test result very misleading. The only test kit I'm aware of that will allow you to test for both free ammonia and complexed ammonia is a SeaChem test. I'm not sure, but I think the complexed ammonia is also harder to consume by bacteria, and may be the reason you haven't seen nitrites or nitrates yet.

    No need to use an ammonia killer during a cycle - you want that ammonia to be the free form, so that the bacteria can use it for food to multiply.
     
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  16. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    You are very welcome !
     
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  17. varden

    varden New Member

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    Is this something that fixes itself over time? Does it just take longer to cycle under these conditions?
     
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  18. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    all just normal progression...

    If the LR had a lot of die-off as compared to fully cured LR, say taken from lfs curing vat where it had been for months and kept in water on the way home, with little to no die-off, starting up a new tank, you still want to see the tank go through the Nitrogen Cycle. But yes it will take longer with uncured rock, but this is not necessary a bad thing at all.

    here a good :read:

    http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/fish-diseases-treatments/29836-mature-aquarium.html

    http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums...ners/20945-just-exactly-what-cycled-tank.html

    Nitrite and the Reef Aquarium by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
     
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  19. Reefmack

    Reefmack NaClH2O Addicted
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    Not sure what you mean by "these conditions"? If it's adding the ammonia removers like Prime, it's possible it could lengthen the cycle. If you meant using uncured rock with lots of die-off Glenn's comments above are correct.
     
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  20. OHmariner

    OHmariner New Member

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    Once you start seeing nitrite in your tests things will start to ramp up quicker, the bacteria colony you are building will be very strong and it will cover every square inch of your aquarium, it takes time because you are growing billions of bacteria cells to consume the ammonia. Youll see, just give it time :clink:

    It is not uncommon for a good cycle to take a month to complete.
     
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