Nitrogen cycle taking forever on 500 gal setup

bobsingh1

Member
Hello Guys,

Have a new setup with plenty of live (well actually dead) rock and whole lot of sand. Started the cycle and it's been over a month but ammonia would not dip below 1.0. I know the setup is big but does big automatically equate to long cycle? If so, how long? I know typical times are from month to month and a half. Oh, I have also dumped 4 16 oz bottles of API Manrine quick start saltwater but no luck. Currently the water is just going to the sump and through couple of charcoal filters which I introduced after water started stinking. A skimmer is in there as well but nothing happening there (meaning no skimming). What am I doing wrong or do I just have to be patient, which I have no choice given current situation with covid-19.
 

lmforbis

Administrator
Staff member
Just be patient. It can take a while. Since you started with dead rock there is a lot of trapped dead material inside the rocks contributing to the ammonia.
 

bobsingh1

Member
So the tank cycled about a month back now. Saw the nitrites spike and then drop to zero. However my ammonia is not dropping to zero. It stays between .25 and .50. I started adding ammonia on purpose and saw the spikes and drops in ammonia and nitrites. Nitrites get to 0 but ammonia always stays between these values. Pretty frustrated here! I am not planning on adding anything unless this is fixed. Any suggestions? Maybe my test kit is bad? Using standard API test kit, that I mistakenly bought for freshwater but found out that I can use the same kit for saltwater as well. I didn't thoroughly wash the rocks, maybe more dead matter in there? The off the shelf ammonia I have been adding has ultimately resulted in nitrates climbing to 20 ppm which proves that the tank cycle is working but I am puzzled about this ammonia situation. Skimmer is producing foam and turning it up results in more or less yellowish water in the collection cup.
 

lmforbis

Administrator
Staff member
I’d get a different test. I like to use the seaChem ammonia alert badge. It doesn’t make sense that the levels never go past that point.
 

beaslbob

Well-Known Member
The api test kit is notorious for reading .25ppm. Never got a zero reading except in freshwater. yet the marine tank ran for years and years with no problems.

FWIW I use and recommend using macro algaes which consume ammonia directly preventing the dangerous spikes.

The seachem ammo dot also reads only the dangerous free ammonia whereas most kits are like the api kit which reads both the dangerous free ammonia and the safe(r) locked ammonia.

Also if you haven't added fish yet you might try a few male mollies. if you have to lose a fish much better a $2 molly than the more expensive marine only fish.


my .02
 

bobsingh1

Member
The api test kit is notorious for reading .25ppm. Never got a zero reading except in freshwater. yet the marine tank ran for years and years with no problems.

FWIW I use and recommend using macro algaes which consume ammonia directly preventing the dangerous spikes.

The seachem ammo dot also reads only the dangerous free ammonia whereas most kits are like the api kit which reads both the dangerous free ammonia and the safe(r) locked ammonia.

Also if you haven't added fish yet you might try a few male mollies. if you have to lose a fish much better a $2 molly than the more expensive marine only fish.


my .02
I have ordered a bunch of macro algae last week but it's isn't here yet. Don't even know what condition it will be in when I get it. I will start with couple of mollies. Still, feed bad for adding any canary to the coalmine. Thanks for the tips though!
 
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