New Tank, Cycled?

etkelly22

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hey guys, been in the freshwater hobby for a while but just recently started up a 29 cube saltwater tank. It’s been setup about 3 weeks but I have live aragonite sand, dry rock (1 live rock), and dosed bacteria for a week. I also have a diy hob refugium on it that I built from an aquaclear 110. Just got these readings and didn’t know if it was cycled and ready for fish or not. I know ammonia and nitrite are a little high but a water change should fix that. I bought 3 trochus snails about a week ago and 1 died but the other two are doing well.
 

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etkelly22

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Also pH is high where I live (Indiana) so it’s normal for that reading.
 

stella1979

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Ammonia looks fine, but you've definitely got some nitrites. The tank is not cycled until you are sure that ammonia and nitrites are completely processed down to zero and become nitrates in 24 hours or less. You mentioned dosing bacteria, but you didn't mention what you've used as an ammonia source. Snails of course will make waste, but this is a very small bioload and I don't believe it will aid in building enough of a BB colony for a fish.

Can you get ahold of some pure ammonia, use a dosing calculator like linked below, dose to 1 or 2ppm and see how long it takes to process? I know some outside of the US have trouble finding pure ammonia, but in the States you can definitely find it at Ace Hardware. I found mine at a dollar store and used the shake test to be sure it was pure. If you shake the bottle, some bubbles may form, but they should be clear and begin popping almost immediately. If there is any kind of detergent in the ammonia, white soapy bubbles will form and they will not pop as easily.

Ammonia Cycling Calculator
 

Jesterrace

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As mentioned it's not done cycling. Also FYI, I would recommend switching from API to likes of Red Sea or Salifert. API can sometimes give false positives for ammonia and is terribly inaccurate for nitrates. Here is a vid discussing the merits of the Red Sea test kit as compared to API:

 
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etkelly22

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stella1979 said:
Ammonia looks fine, but you've definitely got some nitrites. The tank is not cycled until you are sure that ammonia and nitrites are completely processed down to zero and become nitrates in 24 hours or less. You mentioned dosing bacteria, but you didn't mention what you've used as an ammonia source. Snails of course will make waste, but this is a very small bioload and I don't believe it will aid in building enough of a BB colony for a fish.

Can you get ahold of some pure ammonia, use a dosing calculator like linked below, dose to 1 or 2ppm and see how long it takes to process? I know some outside of the US have trouble finding pure ammonia, but in the States you can definitely find it at Ace Hardware. I found mine at a dollar store and used the shake test to be sure it was pure. If you shake the bottle, some bubbles may form, but they should be clear and begin popping almost immediately. If there is any kind of detergent in the ammonia, white soapy bubbles will form and they will not pop as easily.

Ammonia Cycling Calculator
i’ve been putting in flakes every other day or so, is this fine or should I go for ammonia?
 

stella1979

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Hmmm, that's actually a big ask. I don't like using food because we are unable to measure the amount of ammonia that is added, plus we basically have to wait for it to rot to begin processing. It's just not precise, and I like precise, but plenty of folks cycle successfully using food. Hopefully, someone other than myself can help you with this. So, I really couldn't be sure, but if you're adding food regularly, and finding that you get zeroes for ammonia and nitrites, you might be ok to begin slowly stocking. In this case, your first fish should have a low bioload.
 
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etkelly22

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stella1979 said:
Hmmm, that's actually a big ask. I don't like using food because we are unable to measure the amount of ammonia that is added, plus we basically have to wait for it to rot to begin processing. It's just not precise, and I like precise, but plenty of folks cycle successfully using food. Hopefully, someone other than myself can help you with this. So, I really couldn't be sure, but if you're adding food regularly, and finding that you get zeroes for ammonia and nitrates, you might be ok to begin slowly stocking. In this case, your first fish should have a low bioload.
Okay thanks, I was thinking a species a shrimp, then a couple hermits just to gradually make my way to fish.
 

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etkelly22 said:
Okay thanks, I was thinking a species a shrimp, then a couple hermits just to gradually make my way to fish.
Leave the shrimp for now as they tend to be a little more fragile and a lot more expensive. a few snails and hermits are the way to go to test things out. If they make it then you should be good to slowly start adding fish and shrimp.
 
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