PROBLEMS CYCLING THE TANK!

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by mystic_january, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. mystic_january

    mystic_january Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    alright it has been about 2 months now and my tank isnt ready yet.
    i have a 29 gallon tank and about 3.5 lbs of live rock plus crushed coral for gravel. the ammonia started to rise, then i added some new live rock and right away the nitrite started rising.. it was rising for about a week or 2, then my water level was going down and the salinity was going up so i added some fresh water to bring it back up and the nitrite went straight to 0... its been about a week and a half now, the ammonia is still high and the nitrite is steady at 0 :S how am i supposed to fix this??
     
  2. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    What type of filtration are you using?

    Dan
     
  3. mystic_january

    mystic_january Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    its an undergravel filter
     
  4. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Well, you have an interrupted cycle, and you are going to have to wait a while longer. Just out of curiousity, how come you went with an undergravel? Octos are notorious for disturbing the sand bed, rendering the plate somewhat useless...??????
     
  5. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    What type octi are you planning? (sorry if you've already told us............my memory is shocking!!) 29G is small for most species.

    J
     
  6. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    I get the feeling that under gravel filters are really out of style in SW setups because there are so many critters that live in in the sand. If I was setting up a 29 for a pygmy, I'd get a canister filter or an easy-to-octoproof powerfilter like one of the newer Tetras.

    Dan
     
  7. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Its for a pigmy octo I think. Adding the new live rock probably shuffled the bacterial populations a bit when it was added. Based on your water samples you will have to wait until the new rock is totally cycled, (which will probably be faster than the initial partial cycle.)

    I had a UG on my fresh water turtle tank and it was useless. Never going back to those again :grin: .
     
  8. DocFrye

    DocFrye O. vulgaris Registered

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    I hate to say it, but isn't that a very small amount of live rock for a 29 gallon tank???
     
  9. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Yeah I missed that - I didnt wanna try and convert kg per litre into pounds per gallon in my head.
    Mystic_January you should have at least 15 pounds of live rock in there I think. Didnt someone say 0.5 pounds per gallon for an octo is ok? For the Beriln method your tank requires about 30-45 pound.

    The tank as it is will not have enough bacteria to process waste.
     
  10. mystic_january

    mystic_january Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    well, actually i went with an undergravel filter because that is what came with my tank when i bought it lol, i do have another filter if i need it, from my old small 5 gallon tank. but the reason why i dont have that much live rock is because i need the room for hitching posts, im planning on getting some seahorses. i was going to get an octo, but my tank is small and i dont have that much money to put into rock etc. and pygmy octos are hard to find, and from what ive heard they are a pain in the arse. ... and 30 lbs of live rock :S thats 300$ right there.. 10$/lb.. seems a bit much especially since seahorses dont really have a need for it and need the room instead for something to hitch on. if my tank isnt going to cycle with only 3lbs of rock, is there anything else i could do??
     
  11. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    No, I don't think there's anything you can do to prevent this disaster.
     
  12. 3000gtman

    3000gtman O. bimaculoides Registered

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    one way is time and water changes like 15 percent. 1-2 times a week. should help with ammonia. also i would reccoment more filtration like a over sized canister filter for a 29 gallon tank and let cycle with the tank (pry about 80 dollars and load it with ammonia and active carbon chips in like pantyhose or something) run with tank for amonth or so it should help with ammonia levels. thats how i deal with any ammonia levels in my 150 gallon octo tank with a carribean reef octo i have haad for 7 months. but that is only 25 percent of the filtration for my tank. if u have nay more questions please ask.
    greg:goodbye:
     
  13. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Well I'm on a pretty extreme budget too :grin:, the solution I came up with was to make my own base rock - then make it "live" in the sea. Making it was pretty fun, and I plan to make more. The annoying thing is it takes time - you have to let it cure. I dont know whats gonna happen to mine as I'm curing it in the sea.
    http://www.fnzas.org.nz/fishroom/1-vt9368.html?start=0


    As for other budget alternatives - my suggestion would be a deep sand bed ie preferably more than 4 inches deep. This is actually a very good method of nitrate control, and I'm thinking it would be better than using the UG.

    What does everyone else think? Given the situation I would say that a deep sand bed is a good option.
    I would use the grating from the undergravel filter in the top area of the sand bed to act as a barrier from digging.
    And I suggest 6 inches, but at least 4 inches deep.


    I'm not really aware of any tanks that rely (almost) totally on DSB filtration, so perhaps Dan or Colin have some words of wisdom?
     
  14. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Can you say Anaerobic Decay ? With a sand bed that deep, you would at least smell it !
    I would say, start over from scratch, and just cycle the tank with mollies or damsels the old fashioned way...or part with the cash necessary for the live rock. 10 bucks a pound is awfully steep though, it must be some really nice stuff ! (about 5 bucks here in AZ )
     
  15. mystic_january

    mystic_january Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    well the canadian dollar would put what to an american is only 5$ up to 10$ canadian. :( i definately dont want to start over again. i already had to start over again once, and im getting impatient. i thought it was 1lb of live rock per 10 gallons, i also red it was 1 lb per 5 gallons, so maybe if i get 3 more pounds it will work??
     
  16. mystic_january

    mystic_january Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    but i deinately dont have 300$ stored away for some crappy rock.
     
  17. DocFrye

    DocFrye O. vulgaris Registered

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    I find a lot of crappy rock is actually beneficial and beautiful. I assume this is your first salt water tank. It is a learning experience and usually ends up being a very expensive (and addictive) hobby.

    Also, I hope you were not planning on having seahorses and an octopus in the same tank. This will not work out well.

    I would HIGHLY suggest buying more live rock and a canister filter. It sounds like you don't even have a protein skimmer - if not, get one.
     
  18. Castor

    Castor Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    I'm afraid I would also have to agree, however, it may not be as bad or slow as a completely new setup. Mollies would be my first choice, damsels are :evil: creatures, and hard to catch.

    Good luck!
     
  19. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Feelers--

    I'm a believer in DSB for reefs, but I don't think its the way to go for ceph tanks. For one, even with an under-gravel plate halfway down, an octo would find his way under it, and the last thing he or she needs is a big gulp of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide or any other reduction products :) I also wouldn't rely on a DSB for primary filtration. I think you should call a spade a spade and use a DSB for nitrate reduction.

    The other thing is a reef tank is a slow, long-term nitrate generator--its a closer allegory to the natural environment. A ceph tank is very episodic: Lets say you get a small octopus, little filtration needed. It slowly grows and as it does your bacterial colony grows with it as they have more and more food available. In 6 months the octopus dies and all those bacteria starve to death. Essentially you're going to have irregular nitrate boom and bust cycles. I don't think this is well suited for the deep sand bed (and also keep in mind the dsb needs to cycle as well, remember those are bacteria that do the reducing, too).

    I remember Colin once said that he thinks you should re-cycle between cephs, and I believe this is why.

    If you are interested in experimenting with DSB, there is an easy way. If you go to ReefCentral and check out Anthony Calfo's forum, there's a thread about the "Deep Sand Bed in a Bucket." The idea is you plumb two small bulkheads through the top of a bucket, fill it with sand, and run water through with a powerhead. Flow has to be fast enough that detritus doesn't setttle. Easy to add, easy to remove.

    Dan
     
  20. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Hmmm. I've always used at least a pound per gallon.

    Ceph tanks can be simple, until you start to throw wrenches into the mix...remember, they like to move stuff around, totally unlike a reef tank(where the inhabitants are much calmer)...so a can filter and a thin bed of sand is typically the best.
    greg
     

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