Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Week 13: Ammonia, not as simple as you think: the ideal tank cycle | 52 Weeks of Reefing

Week 13: Ammonia, not as simple as you think: the ideal tank cycle | 52 Weeks of Reefing


Today on the BRS 160 we are going to cycle
this tank! Hey guys my name is Ryan, welcome to another
week of the BRS 160 where every week we do our best to help you guys, members of the
reefing community enjoy your tanks and find new ways to explore the hobby. We do that
by following the set up and progression of this one hundred and sixty gallon reef tank. This week we are going to talk about biological
filtration and the nitrogen cycle. This starts with a real understanding of what ammonia
is, where it comes from and why it’s toxic. We will explore the methods of using bacteria
to convert this highly toxic ammonia into safer nitrite and nitrate as well as the final
stage of nitrogen gas where it can leave the tank for good. We will also share all of the most common
ways to get bacteria to populate a new tank and start the nitrogen cycle to make it safe
for your fish as well as some different testing methods and share how we are going to cycle
this tank. Ammonia is the result of fish and other organisms
in the tank consuming large volumes of nitrogen that they really don’t need for biological
function so they get rid of it in the form of ammonia. Most organisms in the tank are
going to excrete ammonia into the water but the largest source is what’s released by
the fish’s gills. The gills act like a membrane which allows
the high levels of free ammonia within the gills to pass through into the tank water
which has very little ammonia. This is also precisely the reason why ammonia in the tank
is so toxic to the fish. For the fish to free themselves of the ammonia
the surrounding water has to contain very low levels of ammonia to begin with. If the
tank has high levels it makes it difficult for fish to pass the ammonia through their
gills. In fact at high enough levels the opposite might even start to happen were ammonia transfers
from the tank water into the fish through their gills. At this point bad things are
about to happen in the tank. Outside of biological processes and fish food,
Ammonia can also enter the tank though tap water treated with chloramines which is chlorine
mixed with ammonia. Many salt mixes and additives have small amounts from ammonia left over
from their refinement process. This is particularly true if you if you are attempting to use low
grade DIY additives. Ammonia comes in two forms: NH 3 which is
free ammonia and the most toxic as well as NH4 which is ammonium. Ammonium has less of
a negative impact but both are a concern with marine fish. The NH3 and NH 4 are in a constant
state of changing between each other millions or even billions of times every second. How
much of the ammonia in the tank that exists as NH3 free ammonia is dependent on the PH
pf the tank. Luckily at PH’s common in aquariums most of the ammonia in the tank exists as
NH4 ammonium which is less dangerous. Thing about ammonia is we all know is likely
the most common toxic substance in the tank and there is a constant source of this toxic
substance added every day. Even knowing that very few reefers monitor or consider this
as a possible cause when they are having trouble with the tank, even when corals and fish are
dying. More or less most of us just close our eyes and assume the bacteria are always
doing their job and can handle whatever happens in the tank. This probably isn’t the best
assumption we could make. In reality the chain effect ammonia can have
on the tank is likely one the leading causes of a tank crashes. Any organism dyeing in
the tank or a large accidental addition of food can easily cause an ammonia spike which
can stress and kill other tank inhabitants. This can unravel fast with some pretty devastating
consciences because each death adds more ammonia and compounds the problem. Even smaller unnoticeable
spikes can easily stress the fish and make them more susceptible to illness. When something goes wrong most of us are more
likely to consider the how reef safe some random piece of plastic we put in the tank
is, are we using the right salt, did I use the right silicone for the tank, or mysterious
things like old tank syndrome as the cause but very rarely does anyone consider the health
of their biological filtration which they rely solely upon to consistently remove a
very toxic substance. That doesn’t mean that an ammonia spike is the cause of all the tank
crashes out there or illness outbreaks but it absolutely belongs in the conversation
when you have an issue like this. One thing to keep in mind is your tanks biological
filtration is completely dependent on the size of bacterial pollution and the size of
that population is completely dependent on the amount of food being ammonia that is consistently
added to the tank. So if you start adding a significantly more ammonia it might take
a bit for the bacterial population to expand the population to compensate. So any rapid increase off the addition of
ammonia will likely overwhelm the current bacteria population and cause an ammonia spike
in the tank. Common causes could be a significant increase of fish or foods to the tank. Many
macro algae consume ammonia directly so removing a huge swath of algae from your fuge could
possibly increase ammonia. Obviously something large dyeing in the tank could cause this.
A contaminate or environmental issue could impact the bacteria population as well. For those of you who use some type of ammonia
removal filtration media, if you don’t change it out before it is exhausted you could see
a big spike and why we don’t recommend reefers use that type of media in most situations. So all that said I have to admit I am one
of the people who historically never really considered ammonia much and certainly very
rarely tested for it. I think I can give few pretty solid reasons for that. Starting with
test kits are a pain to do, most ammonia kits are often hard to read, not accurate down
to a useful level and you need to have a non-expired one around at the time you are concerned about
the tank which is fairly rare. All this leads to very few people really producing accurate
ammonia readings correlated to any tank events and likely why it isn’t part of a larger conversation. There is a somewhat recent exception to that
rule with the Seneye monitor which does a variety of things but one of them is fairly
unique with monitoring free ammonia spiting it out on your computer or coupled with the
server sending you alerts to your phone as well as sending you email alerts. I have a lot of alerts set up on my apex aquarium
controller to tell me if something is going wrong with the tank like PH, temperature,
water level, ORP, leaks all kinds of stuff which I find super valuable but all that that
is very different than telling me my ammonia is rising which is basically telling me fish
are dyeing or at series risk and something should be done quick to save the tank. I think
as the Seneye becomes more widely used and reefers have useable trackable data we might
see the conversation about ammonia and the reef tank change a bit. Ok so now that we got a good handle on the
dangers of ammonia I’m going to say in most cases it is super easy to set up a biological
filtration system which is capable of rapidly expanding and contracting its population and
quickly converting ammonia into much safer elements. Really all we need to do is provide
proper habitat for the beneficial bacteria to thrive which is a warm well oxygenated
area with a lot of surface area. This is most commonly achieved with sand and live rock
in the tank. Sometimes supplemented with rock or other filtration media like this marine
pure in the sump. The bacteria that live on these surfaces produce
energy for their biological function by oxidizing the ammonia in the much safer form of nitrogen
for the reef tank being nitrite. Bacteria then also convert the nitrite into nitrate
which is even safer and at low to average levels not really considered toxic at all.
However over time the nitrate will accumulate in the tank and will either serve as a nutrient
that feeds algae growth or at higher levels will irritate fish and corals. Removing nitrate
and other undesirable nutrients is the primary reason why most reefers do water changes. So where does this bacteria come from and
how do we get this cycle started in the tank? The bacteria come from basically anywhere
and there really isn’t much you could do to stop it from populating the tank. That’s
why so many reefers are comfortable using dry dead rock to start with and just letting
the bacteria populate on its own over the course of a few to several weeks depending
on the style of rock. If you would like it to happen faster there
is a plethora of ways to do that. First one is by starting with wet live rock which is
presumably covered in this bacteria and the starting population is able to multiply itself
much faster. There are also a ton of bacteria additives
out there. Biospira is one the team here at BRS uses frequently with new tanks and dry
rock. Red sea has a cool kit with bacteria, food, and some other additives to get a tank
off to a good start. Two little fishes, Bright well and KZ also have some bacteria options
for cycling a tank. To start growing the population of bacteria
in the tank you need a nitrogen food source. Reefers at one point used to just throw in
hardy fish like a damsel, feed him and let the process start on its own primarily with
the ammonia released from the damsel’s gills. Most people now consider that process to be
pretty cruel and don’t do that any longer You can also cycle a tank with what many people
refer to as phantom feeding which is just adding a small amount of food to a fish less
tank every day and let it decay to create ammonia. This is obviously much more humane
but will take substantially longer. With the bacterial additives there are two
primary approaches to this. With a product like Biospira the main approach is to dose
the tank with a large volume of bacteria and add a fish and its gills as the nitrogen source
to feed those bacteria. I have seen a lot of success with this method and I personally
have never seen negative effects from the fish or ammonia spikes I can see with a typical
test kit but both are not really ideal ways of monitoring this. There has been a new wave of products which
combine the approach of bacterial additives and a more sophisticated form of phantom feeding
and doesn’t require a live fish. The Redsea reef mature pro contains a bottle of bacteria
as well as a bottle which essentially serves as bacteria food and you add the food over
a period of time to feed the bacteria to make the tank safe for the fish. Bright well also has a version of this with
the faster-M and micro bacter seven overall this is bacterial additive combined with refined
phantom feeding probably one of the better ways to cycle a tank and make it safe for
your first fish. Big question everyone has is how long does
it take to build up the bacterial population and make it safe for that first fish as well
as the ones following? There is no clear answer to that other than when there is no ammonia
or nitrite in the tank which indicates the bacterial populations have risen and properly
processing the ammonia in the tank. This means you need to test for these elements. Outside
of that you are just guessing. It should take a few to several weeks depending on the tank,
rock and style of cycling selected. After that I would say a good rule of thumb
is to never more than double the fish or food load in a single month and if you are good
reefer monitor ammonia after your livestock additions or changes in feedings. Knowing how much everyone hates testing and
how hard some of the popular ammonia kits are to read I think the chances of most reefers
testing like this over the long hall are fairly slim. Alternatively you could consider the
Seneye monitor we mentioned earlier which displays your ammonia in real time. While
it is more costly than a test kit there is some peace of mind just knowing for sure when
it is safe to add new live stock during the cycle process without ever having to perform
kits and adding new fish is a more . The last piece of all this is somewhat theoretical
in the essence that most of us believe we can use bacteria to convert all the nitrate
that accumulates from the cycle intro nitrogen gas which some degree means the food you added
to the tank eventually could fully processed back into nitrogen gas where bubbles up out
of the and released into the atmosphere where is available to other organisms but most importantly
is no longer in the tank. This last step is theorized to happen in very
low oxygen areas in the tank. Like the bottom layer of a six inch deep sand bed , deep within
the internal layers of your live rock or within larger prices of filtration media like marine
pure places in low flow areas of the tank. There is a tremendous amount of anecdotal
evidence supporting this theory and in the right implementation I personally believe
it can be a component of nitrate removal from the tank. There are a lot elements not fully
understood related to this but if this last step of the cycle was a critical component
of my tank set up I would personally either select a low density rock like pukani which
is more likely to allow significant water penetration or attempt to use these large
marine pure bricks in a low flow area of the sump. We installed several of these marine pure
blocks in the fuge area of the sump on the BRS160 and I don’t think the artificial reef
rock two point one is going to have much of an internal pore network so we should have
an opportunity to see if they ultimately have a significant impact on nitrates over time. I personally had success with a remote deep
six inch sand bed and nitrate removal once however they are pretty ugly in the tank,
require several hundred dollars and sand and the general thought is deep sand beds up as
a giant nutrient sink just waiting to explode at some point. A Thought process I tend to
believe as well. Time to discuss how we are going to cycle
the BRS 160 and get it ready for fish. We decided to do the safest option for our fish
which we felt was the red sea reef mature pro kit. I will be honest this is not the
cheapest or easiest way to do this and because of that probably not the most popular but
it is likely one of the best ways particularly for newer reefers to get a tank up and running
because it also address some other common issues with new tank cycling. There are four products included in the kit
the first one bring nitro bac which is a concentrated blend of nitrifying and denitrifying spores
designed to seed the bacteria population on your rock, sand and bio media in the tank. Bacto-start which is a blend of nitrogen and
phosphorus compounds that simulate the natural waste compounds from an active aquarium, basically
that phantom feeding we covered earlier. There is bottle of no3 po4 -x which is designed
provide a special food source for that type of bacteria which is going to complete that
last stage from nitrate to nitrogen gas. They add this because new tanks are particularly
prone to algae outbreaks. Using a product like this keeps the nutrient levels down and
combats algae outbreaks before they have a chance to take hold. The last bottle is called KH coralline grow.
This is a bit misleading because it doesn’t contain coralline algae or anything that specific
to coralline algae. It is more or less just an alkalinity additive. However maintaining
alkalinity is probably the single most important element for a reefer who is actively trying
to get additional coralline coverage in the tank. I since we are using this purple reef
rock two point one this really isn’t a concern to us and we will be maintaining calcium and
alkalinity with different methods later. There is a series of steps you use which last
about three weeks, at which point you should be really confident the tank is ready for
fish. I do wish they offered larger kits because I am going to need at least three of them
for the BRS160. In conjunction with that I would advise most
people pick up a test kit like the marine care package from red sea which measure ammonia,
nitrite and nitrate so you know for sure the tank is ready for fish. In our case we are going to do something different
and install the Seneye monitor. I have seen this thing at trade shows all over the world
for years and to be honest I didn’t fully understood the value until they sent me a
sample last week and the team started to play with it and really discuss the roll of ammonia
in the reef tank. Installed on the BRS160 I expect to be able
to use it closely monitor the ammonia levels during cycle progress as well as after each
major addition of livestock. Beyond that on a long term basis it going to be able to tell
me if there are ever any issues with my biological filtration set up. It does require that you change these small
tabs out once a month at the cost of just over ten bucks a month. It’s easy to shy
away from that concept but it is not all much different than other consumable testing elements
like reagent refills or PH probes. End of the day if you asked me if I found a real
time display and warning system based around free ammonia or PH I think I’d have trouble
selecting one over the other. The Seneye does offer some other benefits
like temperature level monitor and PH monitoring. It also has some really cool lighting features
which we will explore in detail in a few weeks when we get into lighting. Just to give you a quick concept of how we
will use it during the lighting episodes there are two main reasons why we light out aquariums.
First is the tank is the single most expensive thing in many of our homes and we want it
to look nice. Today’s LED lighting allows us to adjust all kinds of colors to try and
make it look just right to our eyes. However we are also trying to provide proper
light to the colors which means the right intensity by not starving them with half the
light they need or burning them with twice as much as they need. This also means providing
the right spectrum. The Seneye probe has a few cool lighting features
with a color compensated PAR meter designed around today’s blue aquariums, but more important
than PAR it also displays PUR which is a percentage of that light which is in the usable spectrum
for our corals as well as a spectrum analyzer with a graph. With a tool like this it should be easy to
tune our ultimately lighting selection not only for what looks sharp but also make sure
we are providing the right amount of light to our corals. It’s a bit too early for
me to give this my personal seal of approval but I really think this could turn out to
be a pretty valuable tool to anyone who owns LED lighting and having trouble maintaining
coral health or better yet being successful to begin with. Next week we are going to dive into UV sterilizers.
This one should be fun because there are some pretty hotly debated theories on UV sterilizers
and what they do and we are going to dive right into the middle of it. So hit that subscribe
button. If you are interested in learning more about any of the stuff we talked about
today check out this look. Also if you have thoughts or experience with Seneye monitor
the team here and BRS community in general would absolutely like to hear what you think
in the comments area down below. See you next week with week fourteen of the BRS160 UV sterilizers.

100 comments on “Week 13: Ammonia, not as simple as you think: the ideal tank cycle | 52 Weeks of Reefing

  1. Started a 10 gallon tank has 3 fish royal gramma basslet and a pair of Ocellaris clownfish and a peppermint shrimp and 2 red legged hermit crab.Waiting for some lith I order for coral so no corals in my tank yet. Very informative videos you guys really inspired me.

  2. Ryan, when Marine Pure Ceramic Biomedia plates are substrated in the sump without water flowing through them, wouldn't they just become anaerobic filters over time?Why not save $500 and just have a DSB for filtration?

  3. so glad BRS TV is out there. I was loosing my reef and completely forgot about ammonia. I have a deep fine crushed coral bed and i was not cleaning the sub straight because i did not know to pinch the tube, so i was using too much water for cleaning. Now the cleaning only take one to two gallons max for a good clean, my ammonia is completely gone, the corals are back in color, open and loving life. TG for Ryan and BRS TV, thank you all.

  4. My Seneye warned me that the temp on my tank was too high. I checked and found a heater had stuck on. It happened while I was away so if I had not had that I would probably have come back to a dead tank. I think it is more than worth the money I spend on slides each month. And lets be honest, as you said, who checks ammonia levels once the thank has cycled? Besides, Apex is really really hard to get in the UK and costs a fortune!

  5. Just a heads up, although fluidized sand bed filters are commonly used anymore except commurcial application, they respond the fastest to ammonia spikes and provide the most surface area for space available.

  6. So a question for you – just started my first "cycle" using pure ammonia instead of a fish (welcome to the modern age I suppose). SO with that in mind, I added a couple caps of ammonia, after a bottle of biospira. I'm now reading high ammonia AND high nitrite (will test nitrate tonight). Tank was dry rock and sand when this started: at this point should I just wait it out, or do I need to take action?

  7. I started my 140 with 160 lbs of CaribSea Ocean Direct Oolite, 125 lbs of dry rock and 25 lbs of live rock. I used Ace Hardware pure ammonia and a bacterial additive to cycle the tank.

  8. you should do an episode on all the amazing reef products from Seachem. – also, people keep pronouncing it wrong. they say (see-chem) when its pronounced (see-kem) because its sea chemicals.

  9. Each time I've cycled a tank I use Bio Spira and Dr. Tim's bottle of ammonia. Dr. Tim provides really good information and how-to videos about the ammonia and how exactly much to add in order for your tank to cycle quickly.

  10. I plan to start a nano reef tank in the next month or two. Im a little confused as far as the bio spira. Was the water cycled first before you added that and a fish? or did you mean right from the beginning add both of those to help cycle it? I've only ever had freshwater aquariums but have been looking to get into saltwater as well. I've been doing a lot of research and continue too before I get started so I know what im doing and successful at it. I have a 20 gallon tank ill be using. I plan to start out with live sand and live rock and add two clownfish once cycled. I only plan to have those two besides a shrimp or two for cleaning. Besides the additives shown in the video is there anything else that would be beneficial in the start-up/maintenance of a reef aquarium? So far I've seen an endless amount of things to add but I don't want to frivolously buy things that really aren't needed.

  11. Hi, firstly I love you videos – they are so helpful for me as a new reefer.
    I am just about to use the Red Sea Reef Mature Pro Kit and was wondering if you recommend cycling the tank with this kit with the lights on for 10 hours as per Red Sea instructions.

  12. I've been using the Seneye and webserver since they were released and glad I have as they recently saved me when a power surge took out my Profilux controller for the better part of Christmas day. I was able to monitor temp remotely from 45 minutes away while visiting family… not having a controller meant that I was leaving my tank to the mercy of the halides and no trigger to switch on fans should the tank get too hot. Without the Seneye, I would have been likely driving home to check on the tank when I'd rather be spending the holiday with family.

  13. i know this is a weird question and you might just say no strait up but think about it. can you use bacteria from a fresh water tank to start a saltwater tank? i've looked on a couple of these bacteria starters and they say for salt and freshwater use so thats why i think it's possible what do you think

  14. so i screwed up and was cheap i seamy 60g with sump with tap water(i was cheap and stupid i know) i have live rock and live sand and plan on only using ro in my ato i have no fish or coral as of this time plan on letting the tank run for 3 or so weeks do i need to drain and restart or….. HELP

  15. I'm confused on the part which discusses the nitrate removal that can happen when bubbles rise up from the sand and the internal rock layers….to the top…if this happens in a tank that is 4 or 5 months old….does that mean that there was some sort of spike of something…and the bacteria in the deep sand bed (4 or 5 inches) …took care of it slowly? I've seen bubbles rise from sand and rock and collect at water surface…

  16. Seneye seems very useful. If there was ever an alarm on it to indicate an ammonia spike…what actually would be the plan of action? Water changes or an additive? Thank you.

  17. would you recommend adding a dose of biospira to a weekly pico water change (replacing 40-50%) to better stabilize water conditions and limit spiking?

  18. hi my fish keeps going to the top of the serface and keeps going up to the water pump and keeps jumping out of the water does it have ammonia

  19. Have been involved in the reef aquarium hobby for around twenty years mate and after watching several of your videos find myself still learning. You explain everything in a very simple but informative way. 10 out of 10 for your efforts

  20. To use even tap water, it should be left for a day or two w/ ammonia neutralizer/tank starter solutions mixed in it…

  21. How often and which food should you use to feed the bacteria during the cycling period? Also, I have a bottle of the ATM bacteria and was wondering when to add it? They say you need a fish to keep the bacteria alive by providing an ammonia source. Can I just add food to the tank regularly instead of fish? Thanks.

  22. Should I do water changes during the cycle if food is being added to the tank with no fish? I thought over time of adding food to an fishless tank, may make it smell and look unappealing?

  23. Hello I'm planning on setting up a 400L FOWLR tank (won't be adding coral till I'm more experienced).

    Once I've put dry rock in the tank and added salt water, can I cure the Rock and cycle the tank at the same time with the ammonia coming off the rocks?

    Or should you cure the rocks. Drain the water out of the tank. Add new water. And then cycle the tank with this cured rock? Thank you

  24. Hello. I have a question. I have a 14gallon tank which i set up a week ago, and i have live sand with cured rock and two small pieces of live rock in it. I have been cycling for a week now and tested my water 2 times. My ammonia seems to be around 0.25ppm but my nitrites are at 5.0ppm which i fully understand but the confusing part is that my NITRATES are also alway at 160ppm…. Why?? is that normal… i know I'm still only a week into my cycle and lot more to go but I'm just confused about that. Please answer my quesiton if you can! thank you!

  25. Hi Ryan, I think I have managed to crash my tank and kill the bacteria's. two weeks ago I took out a filter sponge and left it outside, I then put it back in to the tank after a few days without thinking to was it first. I noticed my water started going cloudy and a starfish died. I checked my levels and the ammonia on my reef tank was 2. nitrite and nitrates were very low to zero. I have been making water changes every day for the last week of about 20% but this has not made any change. I have started using seachem safe for the last week and even dosed with bacteria products but the ammonia does not drop bellow 2 ppm. I have a thieling roller mat and a big skimmer as the only filtration system, could this be the cause, the fact that im not using biological filtration? please advise. I am dosing to the maximum recommended dosage with seachem safe 2 to 3 times a day. is this ok?
    thank you

  26. In this video you talk about how Ammonia can come from the tap water being put in the tank, and in previous video you talked about RODI systems which are expensive… I live about 45 minutes from the ocean in southern California and my local reef shop carries Ocean water. They have a truck get it out of the ocean and they have a huge tank of it in the shop that you can buy by the gallon. Is this water safe or recommended?

  27. Iam just starting a new marine tank I have had tropical 🌴 fish 🐟 in the past , so this is a new venture for me 👍

  28. Hi, I currently have a 120 gallon reef tank with mix LPS and SPS. I bought a 30 gallon nano tank for my anemone and 2 small clown fish that I have in my nuvol nano 10gallon. If I use the water from my 120 gallon with a mix of live and dry rock in the 30 gallon. Do I still need to cycle the tank? please let me know.

  29. How you guys ever tried ATM colony or Dr Tims? It's good stuff and I think within the next couple of years everyone will be using it.

  30. Hello Ryan & Team, I currently have a 80 Gal, salt/fish only tank that has been up for almost 16 years currently but this is it's second time being setup and is actually over 22 years old.  I am currently upgrading and bought 120 gal tank and would like to include corals this time, with that my current sump has been running awesomely since I added it 16 years ago. I would like to reuse that sump, my question is; should I clean out the bio balls or replace them, or should I add an algae plant?

  31. I know I am late to the party but I bought some Bio Spira and it states to turn off the skimmer for 48 hours. Also can you cycle it with Bio Spira and NOT add a fish? I do have some partially cured fiji dry rock from BRS. It has been about 8 days in the rock curing and this was after I did a 24 hour Muradic Acid bath and rinse. So I know there is probably some dying off of the dry rock, but would this be enough to keep the Bio Spira active and alive?

  32. My tank has been up and running for a year. I continue to add beneficial bacteria about once a month when I do a water change

  33. Question is do I need to cycle tank if…?
    1. Established tank re-homed about 11 months ago – overgrown with aptesia and algae so rocks were mechanically scrubbed of most biological matter.
    2. 3-4 moths later after aptesia repopulated itself, half of the rocked removed, and was acid bathed after which bleached and let soak in fresh water for a week then placed back and rest of the rock treated the same way.
    3. Now no aptesia but rapid algae growth – should clean it daily.

    It's a 90 g with 40 g sump/refugium.

  34. I am setting up a 75 Gallon reef with a 20 Gallon sump, I will be using wet liverock and dead sand with a cup or so of livesand from a buddies tank, so would adding a bacteria supplement still help? Thanks

  35. my tank had cycled about three week and now the water start become cloudy , what is happening?is that amonia spike or bacterial bloom?

  36. Hey guys I'm new to the reef community. I got started with a fluval 13.5 gal tank. Currently running stock light with live rock and live sand. Did do Bio-spira to help get the tank cycle so I could add fish. It's been about a month and add a nano-clownfish. Ammonia shot up to .50ppm killed the clownfish 🙁 Did I do something wrong or should've add more Bio-spira?

  37. My flame angel killed my clown and my damsel in one night and I woke up with brown algae everywhere I did a water change and bought a couple of snails should I continue with water changes ok a daily for now ?

  38. Is freshwater beneficial bacteria same as saltwater bacteria? I have couple well established freshwater tanks and about to start saltwater. I was wondering if i can put my filter and bio media from my freshwater tank in the saltwater tank to aid the cycle. Thanks

  39. So at first you cycle the tank once it's set up , when would be the next time it would need to be cycled ?

  40. is it possible to cycle a tank with live sand and just dry rock? also while cycling should the lights be off the whole time? im in the cycle process atm with old live rock from an older tank and I used live sand. day 19 my ammonia is zero now with nitrite about 2ppm and nitrate at 10ppm

  41. I started a 40 gallon tank last weekend with reef saver dry rock and live sand. I added bio-spira, but I didn't add anything to feed the bacteria… can I add one small hearty fish a week after adding bio-spira, or do I have to re-dose the tank with more bio-spira before adding the fish?

  42. Ryan how much water is one large marine our block designed to filter . I.e. how many would I need for a 900 ltr reef tank that's tank and sump combination

  43. I've been trying to cycle my freshwater (I know this is a reef video) tank since April.. no bacteria are growing. I ended up self dosing ammonia because the food wouldn't decay (water sat at 65 so I thought that was why). It's now been about 2 months and no nitrates. My pH is sitting at 8.4, temp is now 75ish, ammonia 3.0, and nitrites 0. Not sure what else to do.

  44. I'm curious about people's thoughts on the Dr Tim method and products… I picked up the reef bottle and ammonia and am planning on starting my cycle with these soon.
    Any thoughts? Should I reconsider my choice and go with something else??

  45. Having used the seneye for awhile. Would you recommend it for a budget reefer. I run a red sea 170. Does its ph probe need replacement too?

  46. Ryan – ? – If I am using the water from my garden hose to fill the tank – would it not be wise to let it sit for a day or two in 50 gallon containers so harmful additives can evaporate? OR, are there "Instant" additives to make the water safe after it is hosed into the tank? What would this process of filling the tank do to the Beneficial Bacteria living in the sand?

  47. Hay Ryan i have a 29 gallons saltwater tank for almost a year Now I’m starting a 75 gallons can I use the water & the live sand and the live rocks from my 29 gallon for my 75 gallon tank and do I have to cycle the tank again to put my fish & my corals in or do I have to wait for a couple of weeks before I can add the fish and the soft corals…. please let me know thanks

  48. For the past week every time I test the ammonia, it stays white and after leaving the test tube sitting there for 15 mins it turns light blue… what does that mean???
    Also, my nitrite, after a couple days, spiked and it was at 5.0, after 3-5mins it turned a weird orange brown color… why have my tests been strange?? (Note: I used bottled water for my tank)

  49. I put my goldfish in saltwater for a while and didnt notice for 2 WEEKS!! Why didn't he die?

  50. I'm new into the hobby. My tank finished cycling already. PH is 6.5
    Now what have I to do for adjusting PH before buying fish??

  51. I have 120 gal, and a 40gal sump   have 100lb of dead rock and sand . I put a dead shrimp in and using microbacter-7.. day 10 now and my caulerpa is growing like crazy..  my question is, should I remove the shrimp out now ?  it nasty and bloated lol  thanks .. jim E

  52. I'm starting a tank with dry rock, i will be at my house for 4 weeks and then take a big 6 week trip, can the bacteria live this long without enough ammonia source? I want to get a fish after i come back so i can monitor everything. should i get a someone to feed the take for a source of ammonia?

  53. So I am cycling my tank that is B.B. tank with dry rock my cycle is 8 weeks in with 1 ppm nitrite. 8 weeks is a lot longer then most do you think everything is okay with my tank because it’s taking so long. Also I haven’t had ammonia for some weeks now should I be adding ammonia so my bacteria don’t die off?

  54. Can you give me some advice . I just set up my 185 gallon tank 2 weeks ago everything has turned Brown I believe these are diatoms but ammonia test are zero . Now the diatoms are releasing bubbles . I have no fish I also didn't had bacteria I practice patience and let the cycle happen naturally. My question is ? does this sound like it's going in the right direction.thank you for any advice or comments

  55. Hi Sir.
    If i start new tank, with bactery housing from old tank (13months tank).
    But i use dead rock & not live sand.

    Should i wait as usuall cycling (around 8 weeks) or i can speed up the cycling?

  56. Great vids! What if I cure my rock in BRUTE while waiting for my tank delivery. Rock, heated salt water (HWMarine), power head for flow, lid and a bottle of (Biospira, Dr. TIms's etc.) do i need to also add food for the bacteria at this stage. When i get the tank and move the rock i will then use the RED Sea Reef Pro you mention in the vid and all of its components but the question is for the BRUTE time. I plan on doing the 3 month cycle you mention in a later vid. thanks
    PS it has been cool to see your family grow in a binge mode since i started watching these vids in prep for my WB 230.6 Platinum Pro.

  57. I want to use the KISS method, love this hobby but it can be like going to the casino, i e lose all the contents of your wallet. some of the automated items i look up you mention are great but overpriced. I rather work harder monitor myself and keep cost down. Oh KISS method is keep it simple stupid.

  58. Hi, I want to go from 29g to 45g. I'm going to transfer everything: sand, water, rock. Can I change directly, in a day, adding bacteria like dr. Tim one & only or prodibio start-up? It would be like doing a 60% water change?

  59. I'm wondering why you don't mention using a refugium? I also favor setting up using the Jaubert system, which I know is an old method, but I've had HUGE success with in the past. Now that I've discovered the reef ready bricks, I'm interested in using those in conjunction w/ the Jaubert system – probably as the base layer w/ a finer sand above it. Contrary to common practice, I find a protein skimmer is NOT needed with the Jaubert system when set up as I've done in the past. I use a minimum of 2 lbs. Live rock per gallon of tank size + I build a homemade filtration system out of a large Rubbermaid trash bin ! Using a **WASHED floor scrubber disk as a bio-mass creates amazing bio – surface! I add alternate layers of Poly-fill ( pillow stuffing ) in approx. 4" thicknesses. I alternate this with **WASHED ( Use baking soda in the bath tub until clear & clean! ) 3 – 4" thicknesses of sponge rubber! Alternate these layers to the top of the trash bin, with your pump pulling water through to the bottom! I've run this on a 65 gallon tank / 50gal trash bin filter * ( So a total of 110gallons capacity { Actual amount of water will be less & depends upon how much Live Rock & Sand you use } ) & after 6 mos with NO water changes what so ever, my water tested PERFECTLY by a commercial service! I find recommended methods of set up overly expensive & work intensive! My next tank will add a refugium, which uses an addition small tank planted with marine plants – which FEED on refuse from the main tank & expel beneficial nutrients that feed fish & Inverts in the main tank! I like the "K.I.S.S. " system! . . . .Keep It Simple, Sucker! Copy nature & you'll be successful!

  60. can i use a biological media ( ceramic rings) from successful 2 year old freshwater aquarium with new saltwater tank as a source of nitrifing bacteria?

  61. Hi new to the hobby..
    Is it necessary to have algea on my live rock to conclude that my cycling is doing great ? Or it is possible to get through cycling with any algae?
    Thank you

  62. The best way to cycle an aquarium and to add beneficial bacteria is the use of live rock. As some of the life and organisms "die off" the live rock it creates ammonia. The "natural' bacteria on and within the rock pores comsume and convert the ammonia, thus starting nitrogen cycle. As opposed to the "unknown" and possibly unnatural bacteria /chemicals from the bottles shown in the video. Secondly there are beneficial bacteria on live rock that a lab can never produce. Lastly, another main source of beneficial bacteria in a system without live rock comes directly from the fishes waste itself. Another reason the bottles are just "money making scams" which you are advertising here in the video. The reefing hobby is full of scamers and thieves.

  63. My biggest tank that is 185 gallons has recently reached 8.0 Ammonia and I think the dotty back died all the fish are still alive

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