Kessil

IOWL's 50g frag tank

svreef

BOD
Staff member
My point was, I can see how someone would use it to cycle their tank because of how it is marketed/promoted. Is dr Tim's "live nitrifying bacteria, out of curiosity?
Yes, and Brightwell has other products specifically targeted at cycling like MB Start XLM and QuikCycl

MB7 is used to bolster and diversify bacteria population
 
My point was, I can see how someone would use it to cycle their tank because of how it is marketed/promoted. Is dr Tim's "live nitrifying bacteria, out of curiosity?
It is. Looking at Brightwell's site, I found this:

" Brightwell Aquatics MicrōBacter7 is a selective complex of extremely effective microbes and enzymes that rapidly reduces the concentrations of organic nitrogen, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, and organic carbon in all marine and freshwater ecosystems, leading to greatly improved water quality; better water quality typically leads to healthier aquarium inhabitants. "

So, while it doesn't specifically say "live nitrifying bacteria", it seems to imply it (and the directions indicate how it should be used for new/cycling tanks). So, not sure if this is poor SEO optimization on their part, or deliberate obfuscation that it's not meant to be used for actually starting a cycle.

Regardless, I'll go pick up some IO Bio-Spira later today and hope that'll kickstart it.

Edit: Also, let this be a lesson to not simply "assume" when you're putting something in your tank, and give it at least a bit of thought rather than, "I have a bottle of X, I'll just use that."
 
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RandyC

Supporting Member
Update, 10/14/20

Still waiting on the cycle; I've been testing and dosing Microbacter 7 every morning, and have seen a bit of a drop in ammonia, but still no detectable nitrites.

A question, though: when turning off my return pump, and then turning it back on (even if it's almost immediate), I've noticed I'll have to re-tune my herbie overflow. This is true even if I wait 5-10 minutes for it to normalize again. This seems really odd to me, and wondering if there's a way to avoid this.
It could be that you have your ball valve mounted horizontally. I have found that sometimes when this is done and depending on the exact angle it sits at, it can take a while for the air to purge from the system to achieve a full siphon. If there is air in there, it could be affecting your flow down the drain.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
It could be that you have your ball valve mounted horizontally. I have found that sometimes when this is done and depending on the exact angle it sits at, it can take a while for the air to purge from the system to achieve a full siphon. If there is air in there, it could be affecting your flow down the drain.
+1 for air bubble. I was also going to ask how deep the pipe exits underwater in your sump. If it is too deep it can make it really hard to start the siphon
 
Update 10/15/20

@svreef @Patio After our conversation yesterday, I went and purchased a bottle of Instant Ocean's BioSpira and added it to the tank. It's not conclusive, but I'm inclined to believe Microbacter 7's marketing is deceptive re: it starting a cycle.

I started my cycle on 10/9, and I've been checking ammonia and nitrite levels once daily. Ammonia has gone down slightly (2 > 1.0-ish) between 10/9 and 10/14, but no detectable nitrites. I checked nitrites yesterday evening at ~5 PM, still not detectable. I added the bottle of BioSpira immediately afterwards.

At about 11 PM, I decided to check nitrites again before bed, and saw some movement: not at the 0.25 ppm mark, but a definite slight purplish tinge to the test (I use the API Saltwater Master kit for cycling). This morning I checked again, and...well, I think I have nitrites now.

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Ammonia also dropped from ~1 to ~0.5 ppm overnight.

I will not say BioSpira is definitely the cause, because correlation =/= causation and ammonia was starting to get close to the range I saw the nitrite spike in my first tank. However, this strongly echoes the cycle of my first 20 gallon tank where there was four days of minimal movement from ammonia/no nitrite with MB7, then I added BioSpira on day 4 and saw a rapid nitrite spike.

Lesson learned; I'll be going with non-MB7 cycling products from now on.
 
I’d call that 0.50 ppm. It’s darker than 0.25 ppm
My comment about "not quite 0.25 ppm" was the reading I took last night where I saw a slight purplish tinge to it after the biospira had been in the tank ~5 hours. Now I'd definitely say between 0.5 and 1, because colorimetric tests are a PITA and really difficult to capture well in photos.
 

svreef

BOD
Staff member
My comment about "not quite 0.25 ppm" was the reading I took last night where I saw a slight purplish tinge to it after the biospira had been in the tank ~5 hours. Now I'd definitely say between 0.5 and 1, because colorimetric tests are a PITA and really difficult to capture well in photos.
It would help if I actually read stuff...;)
 
Update 10/21/20:

Well, this is frustrating. Nitrites spiked last Friday (the day after I dosed BioSpira), and have refused to drop.

Friday:
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Today:

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(Color in the bottom one was skewed by the fact it was slightly above the paper when I took the picture, versus the Friday one being flat against the paper.)

Did an API AquaSpin test at Neptune a couple days ago and got back a reading of 1.7 ppm, but looks like the nitrites haven't budged. Out of curiosity, I kept a couple older water samples at various time points of my cycle and tested them simultaneously. I recognize these tests are not precise, but frustrating that they all give the exact same shade of purple.
 
Update 10/22/20

Forgot to mention in my last update that I also dosed a bottle of Dr. Tim's One and Only on 10/20 in the hopes of 1) accelerating the cycle and 2) seeding a more diverse bacterial population in the tank.

Still no definitive movement on the nitrite front. Given I only use the nitrite test when a tank is cycling, I don't like uncertainty, and I wanted to get a better read on my nitrites than, "Maybe purple?", I did a dilution curve test: pure tank water, 1:1 tank water to RODI water, and 1:3 tank water to RODI water. Based on these tests, it looks like the tank is right at ~1 ppm nitrite so it seems to be going down slowly, but surely.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I spent some time reading to try and figure out why my cycle might be progressing so slowly. The answers that I got were high salinity (my tank has been at 1.024), extremely high nitrites (not the case), low temperature (I've had the tank at 81°F to encourage faster bacterial division), low pH (holding steady at 7.8) and phosphate block. That last one interested me because 1) phosphate is an essential component of the backbone of DNA, 2) DNA replication is necessary for bacterial replication, and 3) I had no phosphate source at the start of my cycle. So to satisfy my own curiosity I ghost fed the tank with some reef roids given its phosphate content, and its small particulate size lending to a more rapid breakdown than ghost feeding with shrimp/pellets.

Fingers crossed the cycle will finish soon!
 

svreef

BOD
Staff member
Why not test for nitrates? If they’re present you’ll know you have both sets of bacteria working on it. At the same time, testing for ammonia will let you know whether to expect an increase in nitrites.
 
Why not test for nitrates? If they’re present you’ll know you have both sets of bacteria working on it. At the same time, testing for ammonia will let you know whether to expect an increase in nitrites.
The reaction mechanism actually converts nitrate to nitrite, then measures it; so for my test kits nitrate readings would be inaccurate in the presence of nitrite.
 
That’s true for Salifert nitrate test kits but not API.
Entirely possible I'm wrong, but do you have a source/know where you read that? When I did my first cycle my api test kit showed a nitrate spike that tracked at the same time as my nitrites and didn't increase when nitrites decreased.
 

svreef

BOD
Staff member
Entirely possible I'm wrong, but do you have a source/know where you read that? When I did my first cycle my api test kit showed a nitrate spike that tracked at the same time as my nitrites and didn't increase when nitrites decreased.
I don’t remember the source but I experienced it when I was measuring with Salifert and saw high nitrates due to nitrite and I was told about that quirk and switched to API.
 
Update, 10/30/20

Busy week. Brain has fallen out. Everything seems to have stabilized, so I finally have time to recap everything that's happened.

Nitrites took quite a bit longer than I expected to be processed. The nitrites vanished almost overnight on 10/24. Nitrates were detected, so I went ahead and did a ~30% water change to bring them down. I also went ahead and plumbed in a gate valve, rather than a ball valve, which I should have done first.

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After the water change, I added in my first fish: a sixline wrasse, named The Dark Lord Zargowrasse because I'm a big Gloryhammer fan.

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Parameters were stable for the next four or five days, so I added the second fish: Zargowrasse's arch enemy, Tangus McFife (a ~3.5" kole tang).

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I also went ahead and put my first frag in the tank today as a test/barometer. I'll be starting out with zoas and mushrooms while the tank establishes itself, then moving up to LPS in the coming weeks. Excited to see it coming together!

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