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Tank Cycle concern


Aug 3, 2007
Sometimes I have an impatience issue but I am not sure what to make of this. I have had my 60 gal tank set up preparing for an Octo since 8/3 (two and a half weeks) I had damsels in there at first to help start the cycling. I took out the damsels when starting to add the live rock-15lbs as of 8/15 with another 45lbs later this week. I am using a fluval 304 canister and the water is crystal clear. I have a skimmer but am not using it as of right now. Now for my problem/concerns and I dont know if I am being too premature on reacting to them or not. When I added the live rock I did a 30% water change because I had a high ammonia level about .5 Now, 4 days later I noticed these small semi-clear globs is the best way for me to describe them on the bottom of the tank. (see attached) but the rest of the tank is still clear. The readings-- ph- 7.6, alk- 3.5-4, Amm- 4.0, nitrite and nitrate 0-, and 74deg, some pretty bad numbers :banghead: . Soo my question is this- am I reacting to fast and worrying too much or should I just let the rest of the live rock come in and do its job? I know usually to do a water change but I just did that as well.. I am pullin my hair out that I must be doin this wrong some how. Oh, and is there a difference between toxic ammonia and non? Thank you everyone for your prior help and any that I can get now!!!


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while some may disagree, I personaly, when cyceling my 3 tanks, used live rock as the major biolgoical filtration.
I then let the tank sit for a week, the levels went up and down.
Then I added a number of snails and crabs as my catalyst for the nitrate cycle.
The amonia went up much slower, came down faster, and I didn't do a water change for 3 weeks.
But I did daily testing for the first 2 weeks, then every other day for the next 3.
Oh, I kept the lights on a normal day time cycle as well to help promote normal agae growth.
It may be time for you to lear the art of patience.
It's your best friend in this step. :D
Thank you gravesly!! I guess I have the knowledge that I have patience but not having done this before I really am learning on the fly here as to how this should go. Any idea on what those "globs" are?
Thank you for the info.. I had been told that left over fish food would help with the cycling and it seems like much of these globs are in these areas. I have not had anything else live in this tank so not sure bout the sponge thing. How long would it take for them to turn green if thats what they are? I will update if I see them change..
Don't throw fish food in there. Just get the rock in a let it sit for a while. Don't do any more water changes, it just prolongs the cycle. Only add the top off water from evaporation. pH shouldn't be that low. 7.9 is pretty much the lowest you want it to get and that it should get if you are using good salt. That also is a good pH to have at night because when the lights are off the pH drops; during the day you want to shoot for 8.3. If it doesn't come up in a while you will want to get a buffer for it. Alkalinity measured in dKH or meq/L? If dKh that is really low and could be the source of the pH issue.
If you haven't added all your live rock, do it now. Adding it in stages will likely result in more cycling.

Once all the rock is in, I wouldn't even bother checking any levels at all for a few weeks. :grin:
Bigpapa;100153 said:
Thank you for the info.. I had been told that left over fish food would help with the cycling and it seems like much of these globs are in these areas. I have not had anything else live in this tank so not sure bout the sponge thing. How long would it take for them to turn green if thats what they are? I will update if I see them change..

What I meant when I suggested dead sponge was sponge that would have been on the rock when you bought it, dies during cycling. Again though, looks very similar to a transparent tunicate. You might Google that and see what I'm talking about.

For example: Reefkeeping.com - Image
ok, shipposhack that is meq and the fish food is what was left over from the damsels I had in there, no more was added. Thales, I should get the rock in a few days=I ordered it from Dan on here, he is sending it on Monday. Animal Mother, I will check that out in the morning== thank you all for the feedback!
This forum "lecture" was recommended by Shipposhack earlier in the week and all of us who read it were inspired by the writer's ability to explain the nitrogen cycle in terms of what your tank is doing and why.

Maturity Issues - Reef Central Online Community

Scroll down to the rather lengthy post by EricHugo and I think you will relax a little with your tank concerns. What you are seeing is natural, is expected and is intimidating :wink2:

You may be somewhat disappointed in what happens to your artificial arrangement in the tank though. Over the cycle period (and forward) it will start collecting algae. I have experiemented with many of the artificial corals in a freshwater set-up and after a year, removed even the nicest pieces (I turned the tank into a real SW tank shortly there after :grin:). In a saltwater environment it is likely to loose its apeal even sooner.

The rock you are getting from Dan will do somewhat the opposite. Initially, it will look really interesting and colorful. As the tank matures, you will battle with algae and find a clean-up crew that will keep it in check (this happens over time as you learn and the algae shifts from brown to green and is so far similar to what will happen with your artificial). Once everything finally settles in, you will start to see some really interesting things growing out of your rock. I don't know much about the farm Dan works with but I know a lot about one further south and my rock continues to show me new things even after 1.5 years. One of the first things you are likely to see are small white tubes with a pink or orange crown. These are small feather dusters and quite common on the FL rock (you will also see some tinier ones grow on your walls but they will be too small to appreciate and you will likely remove them :oops: (< thank you Dan). Only recently did I find a nice orange trunicate in my larger reef so just keep watching for new and interesting stuff while you are learning patience :grin:
Thank you so much dwhatley! You have just helped me with the patience thing so much. Most of my impatience is just concern that I am doing something wrong and dont want to fall too much behind the 8ball. My girlfriend and I only have some freshwater experience so everything with this is new and I know I will be making mistakes-just trying to make as few as possible and make sure none will have an impact on my future octo resident. Everyone here has been so polite, helpfull, and forthcoming with information that it is a real treat for me to see how people respond to my neverending questions. I will get the remainder of the "fake coral" decorations out - 3pcs but I will leave the 2 pieces of rock that is at the right because I have been told that it too will eventually turn "live" over time as well as in contact with the rest. Again, you have eased my mind so much.... THANKS!!
Ok Animal mother, I checked out those sponges and looking at the different areas in the tank I dont think that is it. No color change yet but I am still waiting.

dwhatley, great thread from Eric! thank you-- I think it might be time for me to get some of those turbos and blue hermits now.?. I can order them so they get here shortly after the rest of the rock but it seems I have some good debri on the bottom for them to dig in to.
You will want to "vacuum" your substate as it starts accumulating debris. Your critters will help but substrate is the bane of nitrate problems (those grocery store bamboo skewers have a miriad of good purposes around a tank). If your sand bed is 2" or less, you can stir it when you do water changes and get the yuck up into and then out of the water column. If you have substrate large enough to be vacuumed with a small siphon, this helps a lot but for sand, stirring is the best way to clean it. Generally speaking, plan to do your tank cleaning on water change day. This gets the dirt and algae where it can most easily be removed.

And yes, if you have something for them to eat, snails are appropriate (the new live rock will have plenty for them to eat). Once you start seeing brown algae, more snails and expand your cleanup crew at that time if you are planning for a variety. It is a slow process but if you will observe the little changes, it can be fun. Just don't get in a hurry to see it "finished" and miss the interesting things that are taking place.

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