Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

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Maddamay32
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Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Maddamay32 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:54 pm

Ok, I feel like a dummy, but cycled water tanks are the next step I want to tackle in my trek of giving my crabs the happiest home. I just can't seem to GET it!

I have gathered that I need to introduce ammonia to my tank and wait it out until it turns to nitrites, and then nitrates (of course I'm utilizing a filter to harbor good bacteria, and still using a bubbler) Once I'm dealing with nitrates, then I'm combating that with regular water changes to keep levels stable right? Also are we throwing things like dechlorinators out the window? If not how often do I need to be adding them to the tank when it is cycled?

It just seems there is no real definitive way to achieve success, like if I have a 2.5g tank I add x ammount of ammonia then wait x ammount of days, and do an x % water change. The lack of this specified info makes me really weary of trying because everything feels like a shot in the dark.

I hope I'm coherent lol, and that I'm asking the right questions. Thank for the help, you guys are awesome.


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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Scarletfire » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:41 pm

You must add dechlorinator. If you don't, the chlorine will kill any bacteria you are trying to building up. You will know when it moves from ammonia to nitrates by using a freshwater test kit. Use only liquid as they are a lot more reliable, and that's what the fish community uses. It usually takes at least a month to fully cycle.

If you know someone with a cycled tank, you could squeeze their filter media into your tank to instant start your tank. You just need something in there to produce waste to keep the tank cycled.

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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Maddamay32 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:46 pm

I do have water test kits for both saltwater and fresh that I've been using on their boring "water bowls". I'm guessing when I tackle the cycled water tanks I should be consistently checking levels and adding dechlorinator when needed then?

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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Motörcrab » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:59 pm

Here is the thread from when I upgraded my pools a few months ago. AussieJJDude helped me out a lot with the "technical" water stuff.

Pretty much summed up quickly. You want to always use dechlorinated tap water for your pools. Once you add the pools and become dirty they will naturally cycle. Water test kits are your best bet for keeping levels under control. Even with cycled pools you will still need to do water changes. More water changes when it's new and cycling, fewer after it's cycled. The good bacteria builds up in stones and in the filter. I have found that I need to do a partial 50% change about every two weeks and full change monthly. My saltwater pool was added in August and fresh pool less than a month ago. My cleaning schedule may change as the pools age.

Here is the link to my pool thread.
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 9&t=120667

Here is a video presentation Courtney Iris Karr AKA: The Cholla Queen, made for Crab Con about creating a bioactive crabitat. This is the video that made me want to upgrade my water set up. She goes into great detail about water. I must have watched the water portion a dozen times, pausing and taking notes.
https://youtu.be/4ZvBcrxy8Ic
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Maddamay32 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:05 pm

I have been following your post and have watched Courtney's video a few times. I thought it may have been inappropriate to ask my questions on yours so I created this thread.

I just wanted to make sure I had some basic understanding and wasn't misunderstanding anything. Especially in the case that I'm offering anything toxic to my crabs.


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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Motörcrab » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:50 pm

I think it's fine asking questions in another person's posts. You may have a question the original poster didn't think of yet. It also helps have all the information in one spot for others later on.

Just be sure you use aquariums safe silicone. I have been using test strips. They aren't as accurate as the liquid like Scarletfire said. I don't think you need to know the exact levels, when it high change it. You will need to check levels at least every other day at first. Once your tank cycles you can do it less.

I picked up this ammonia reader that suction cups inside the tank. It changes color when it levels get high. I have been reading in another forum that Prime only bonds to ammonia, nitrate/nitrites for 48 hours. Then the water must be retreated to remove them.
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by wodesorel » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:59 pm

The reason why it's not as simple as x+y=z when it comes to filtration is that there are so many factors. You're growing a bacteria colony and so much effects it. Water composition, minerals, pH, temperature, other bacteria, bacteria source and strains, food source, light, filter media, etc. There's just too much there to figure out the how and why when some tanks cycle in five days and some don't after 5 months.

If you want a quick and dirty, use Dr. Tim's ammonia and follow their directions. I did two tanks from scratch last summer and had one cycled in five days and the other in three weeks, with little work. (The three weeker would have gone faster with a water change, I just know it.) It's mostly keeping the ammonia level where it says too, and waiting for the others to finally show up on the tests.

Dechlor is only needed on new water being added in. Once you have that pile of treated water sitting there, it stays treated. The chlorine evaporates out and the heavy metals stay bound. If you are using Prime, that can be used in a pinch to bind small amounts of ammonia and nitrite making them harmless until the filter can eat them, and can (in some situations) turn nitrate into gas which removes it from the water.
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

There's also two fother ways to jumpstart your bacterial colony.
1. If you know someone with a cycled tank, squeeze their biological filter into your tank. Some bacteria will be transferred so you'll be starting with something. Ensure you have something that produces waste whether it's ammonia, snails or shrimps.

2. Use a bacteria starter, i.e. Seachem stability. Note that you need to keep adding some over a period of time to ensure the colony doesn't collapse. As with 1, ensure you have ammonia or something that produces waste to keep the colony going.

Both these options helps speed up the cycling process but not mandatory. It does make the tank instantly cycles though as opposed to 1 month waiting

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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Renroc » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:01 pm

I don't really understand cycled pools but have a 3L salt pool in my tat. It has a filter and an airstone. I've just done a water test and got the following readings with an API test kit.
PH 8.4
Ammonia 0.5ppm
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

Does this mean I have a cycled pool?
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Motörcrab » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:18 pm

How long has the water been in your pool? Generally your ammonia with rise. When the ammonia is high nitrates will slowly raise and lower the ammonia level. Then the same thing happens between the nitrates and nitrites too.

When any of the levels get to the unsafe range do a partial water change 50-75% to bring the levels down. Even with a cycled pool you will still need to monitor all the levels and do partial water changes every few weeks.

My saltwater pool has been only requiring a full water change monthly. I could probably do it less than that but do it just to be safe.
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Renroc » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:07 pm

Motörcrab wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:18 pm
How long has the water been in your pool? Generally your ammonia with rise. When the ammonia is high nitrates will slowly raise and lower the ammonia level. Then the same thing happens between the nitrates and nitrites too.

When any of the levels get to the unsafe range do a partial water change 50-75% to bring the levels down. Even with a cycled pool you will still need to monitor all the levels and do partial water changes every few weeks.

My saltwater pool has been only requiring a full water change monthly. I could probably do it less than that but do it just to be safe.
The water has been in the pool about a week. I did a full clean and wash of the gunge off the sides and refilled. Before that it had been over a month since I'd cleaned the pool and the water was fine but the clear sides were starting to get a rusty red hue to them which looked yucky so I cleaned them. ALSO it has prime in it and that can sometimes throw the ammonia levels off I've heard
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by wodesorel » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:22 pm

Renroc wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:01 pm
I don't really understand cycled pools but have a 3L salt pool in my tat. It has a filter and an airstone. I've just done a water test and got the following readings with an API test kit.
PH 8.4
Ammonia 0.5ppm
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

Does this mean I have a cycled pool?

No, once it's been cycled it will read
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrate 5ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

You have a high pH to your water, and since we keep our tanks warm (82ish), it makes any ammonia in the water that much more dangerous to gills.
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Renroc » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:23 am

My fresh water PH is 7 and that has prime in as well . Maybe the ph is higher because it is a fresh water test kit that I used for the salt water. SO how do I get the ammonia down and Nitrate up? Or will that happen after a little while? Need to test the specific gravity of the salt too. Must find my SG device. Haven't bothered since I was testing the water with the zoea 3 years ago.
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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:55 am

You need to just run the tank and let bacteria grow. The bacteria turns ammonia to nitrites to nitrate, at which you have macro algae (sw) or plants (fw) to absorb the nitrates, or you do a water change to remove it.

It takes about a month to fully cycle. You could speed up this process by adding seachem stability (mixed reviews on effectiveness) or having someone who has an established tank to drop you a rock that's already cultured with Bacteria.

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Re: Asking for help, how to properly cycle water tanks

Post by wodesorel » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:08 pm

Salt mix usually buffers to around 8.2, to better match sea water. If you have any shells or coral in the pool, that will up the pH as well.
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