150 gallon saltwater cycling, need some help.

Cfitz63b

We bought a house and had this 150 gal dirty tank, had someone from the lfs come set it up about over a month ago, it now has had high nitrite levels for over two weeks now, little to no ammonia. I’ve been doing a fish less cycle start. My lfs said to just keep putting good bacteria in it and it’ll eventually go down, I’ve been putting a bottle of api quick start everyday in it, I’m starting to get some brown/green algae but the nitrite levels aren’t moving, any advice would help. I do have some brown/green algae forming
 

Attachments

  • 4139E5E6-B675-4B1F-A210-23A94635AB39.jpeg
    4139E5E6-B675-4B1F-A210-23A94635AB39.jpeg
    283.9 KB · Views: 12
  • 8C4B12AB-C91D-4353-808D-A36BF401788C.jpeg
    8C4B12AB-C91D-4353-808D-A36BF401788C.jpeg
    135.7 KB · Views: 12

mattgirl

Welcome to Fishlore :)

Congreatulations on inheriting such a nice big tank. First I would stop adding the bottled bacteria at this point. What are you using as your ammonia source? Quite often it can take what seems like forever for the nitrites to drop. Are you seeing any nitrates yet? If you are then we know you have some nitrite eating bacteria. You just don't have enough yet to remove all the nitrites.
 

jpm995

Wow a bottle of bacteria daily? That seems excessive although i don't know if it's harmful. The key here is patience. The bacteria that process nitrite will build up to the point where they'll eliminate the nitrite. It will be very sudden. If you have no fish you don't have to worry about the nitrite killing your fish so just let it go. Seems like the bigger the tank the longer it takes to cycle. My old 240 gallon took me months to cycle, drove me crazy.
 

mattgirl

Wow a bottle of bacteria daily? That seems excessive although i don't know if it's harmful. The key here is patience. The bacteria that process nitrite will build up to the point where they'll eliminate the nitrite. It will be very sudden. If you have no fish you don't have to worry about the nitrite killing your fish so just let it go. Seems like the bigger the tank the longer it takes to cycle. My old 240 gallon took me months to cycle, drove me crazy.
I agree. Not normally a problem but definitely excessive and in my humble opinion, unnecessary. Hopefully we will get an answer on the ammonia source soon. I would like to know if all these nitrites are coming from the cycling process or from the excess amount of bottled bacteria being added. If nitrates are going up I have to think the nitrites are coming from the cycling process and should start dropping before too much longer.
 

jpm995

I agree. Not normally a problem but definitely excessive and in my humble opinion, unnecessary. Hopefully we will get an answer on the ammonia source soon. I would like to know if all these nitrites are coming from the cycling process or from the excess amount of bottled bacteria being added. If nitrates are going up I have to think the nitrites are coming from the cycling process.
Good point. I assumed that 0 ammo and high nitrite meant the tank was in the middle of the cycle. I have no idea if an excessive amount of bacteria could affect the readings. I would just let it go for a week or two to see if it cycles. Usually 0 ammo/0 nitrite/ low nitrate would indicate the cycle is done. I would call api and see if 'overdosing' is messing with the cycle.
 

Cfitz63b

So I don’t have an ammonia source and not sure what I can use.
 

mattgirl

For a tank to cycle it needs ammonia. When we do a fish in cycle the fish provide it. In your case since doing a fishless cycle you can get liquid ammonia. Lots of folks get Dr Tim's ammonium chloride. Others buy ammonia from a hardware store such as Ace Hardware. You have to make sure it has no additives in it. If you shake it and it foams don't get it. If the bubbles go away almost instantly it should be alright. A piece of raw shrimp can also be used but can get to smelling pretty bad. Some folks use fish food but I don't recommend fish food alone since it would take a lot to produce enough ammonia and in the end your tank would be a mess.

Since you've not been adding ammonia I fear the cycle hasn't actually started. It leads me to think the nitrites you are seeing have come from all the bottled bacteria you have been adding. I am sorry you didn't get better advice from the folks that should know better.

You want to get the ammonia level up to at least 2ppm with the liquid ammonia. I am going to recommend you also add fish food. Flakes will be best. You won't be depending on the fish food alone for your ammonia source so it isn't going to take much. I recommend you get a fine mesh media bag. Put a tablespoon of fish food in the media bag. Hang the bag in the flow of water from your filter. Add another tablespoon of fish food every third day.

This thread will explain why I am recommending you do this along with the liquid ammonia. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

I would stop adding the bottled bacteria at this point. You have already added more than you would normally add. If you are unclear about the process please let me know and I will do my best to clear it up for you. :)
 

Cfitz63b


09B868C3-42B5-425C-B5DE-4E9164273BB5.jpeg
Oh ok wow thank you for the right advice I am getting the brown algae going, I will order some dr Tim’s and do the fish food thing!
These are my test results
 

Attachments

  • 69FFACC2-238F-49DE-8243-5460AF466B0B.jpeg
    69FFACC2-238F-49DE-8243-5460AF466B0B.jpeg
    135.7 KB · Views: 9

mattgirl

I notice you are showing a salt water test guide. Is this a salt water tank? If it is things may have to be done different than fresh water. We may need to get a saltwater expert in here. I saw the word salt in the title of this thread but since it is in the freshwater section it didn't register with me. I am calling some of the mods for help. :) It may be the same for both salt and freshwater but I will admit, I just don't know.

Coradee , Lucy , jdhef Who should we call. I don't want to be giving bad information.
 

Coradee

Hi & welcome to Fishlore Cfitz63b

The cycling process is basically the same for both fresh & saltwater except with salt you’re usually doing it with live rock rather than a filter.
It’s been a long time since I had a saltwater tank & pretty much have forgotten the little I knew back then
so I’ll move this to the Saltwater board where hopefully our salty members will chime in if necessary.
 

jpm995

So I don’t have an ammonia source and not sure what I can use.
they make 'special' ammonia for cycling but regular ammonia used for cleaning will work fine. Just be sure to test the ammo level [i think between 1-2 is the goal]. Or you could do it the old fashioned way by adding some hardy damsels and waiting for their waste to cycle the tank. This could take a long time and requires tons of patience but is a tried and true method. Edit to add your store didn't do a very good job in assisting with the tank set up.
 

mattgirl

It seems cycling salt and fresh water are basically the same so my original advice should help you get this tank cycled. Simply put, provide an ammonia source, stop adding so much bottled bacteria and give it time :)
 

Cfitz63b

Ok thank you so much for the sound advice, umm I have 150gal how many damsels you think I should get?
 

jpm995

Are you going the fish in or no fish method of cycling? If your going the fish in method you could go with a large number of damsels. Maybe 10 or so. Be careful as damsels [despite their name] are territorial especially the black ones. No added ammo with the fish in method and it will take MUCH longer.
 

Cfitz63b

So im going fish in, I did a water change and added 3 damsels and 2 clowns.
 

jpm995

So im going fish in, I did a water change and added 3 damsels and 2 clowns.
Good for you, the key will be for you to have tons of patience, big tanks can take forever to cycle. The ammo buildup will be painful to watch as it never seems to stop building and you worry if the fish will survive. The damsels are super hardy and i think the clowns are to. You can do partial water changes if ammo goes too high but it may slow down the process. Good luck it's a great hobby.
 

Cfitz63b

Did a water, added fish and everything balanced out so far thanks everyone for the advice
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
4
Views
393
Jesterrace
Replies
6
Views
582
ryanr
Replies
5
Views
380
Rookie030
Replies
3
Views
399
Jesterrace
Replies
5
Views
349
saltwater60

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom