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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm surprised and excited because it took only 8 days for my new tank to cycle. The cycle was completed last Friday, but I'm still watching the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels to make sure everything is fine.

I don't really know the reason of this extremely fast cycle being that I only used pure ammonia, no seeding.

I use CaribSea African Cichlid sand as the substrate which says it contains beneficial bacteria, but being that I had the sand for so long in the tank and I took me about a month or more to start the cycle the bacteria that the sand had (if any) probably died before I started the cycle, because there was no ammonia source, therefore, the bacteria had no food. Another reason could be that my tap water has some ammonia, from chloramines, I actually tested my tap water and it reads 0.25 PPM ammonia, and being that I had everything running for a while before starting the cycle with ammonia, and I poured dechlorinator about 2 weeks after filling up the tank, maybe the cycle started by itself without me knowing it, with ammonia from my tap water.

To cycle, I used the ammonia from ACE Hardware (10% Janitorial Strength). Some things that maybe helped speed up the cycle are that I cranked my heater to 87 F and placed a small airstone in the sump.

I have a 120 Gal with 2 internal overflows (corner) and a wet/dry sump.
 

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I see you are in a rather warm area. which always bring some doubt to mind about how much bacteria is still alive in a bag of gravel or sand. That bag most likely spent quite a lot of time in some really hot storage places. How long can bacteria survive in a bag that dries out and is stored at maybe 120 degrees and then loaded on a truck where the temperature often reaches 150? I have no proof but have always thought that bacteria would not last long when they are treated that way.
Regardless, if you got through the cycle so quickly, CONGRATS! Most take much longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I thought, I don't think there was any bacteria "alive" in the sand. Maybe ammonia from tap water's chloramines helped a little bit. I was expecting the cycle to take at least 20 days, but since it was much faster then anybody could imagine I thought it would be interesting to share that with the forum.
 

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Hi fddlss,

Thank you for sharing. How long did the tank have water in it before you started dosing with ammonia? Was/is there anything else in the tank beside sand?

Pretty cool, waiting for a tank to cycle can really test ones patience, but 8 days, I think I could handle that.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Wow 8 days is quick. I have done it in 12 with every trick in the book. Good deal
 

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I'm glad it worked out for you, but something seeded it, as 8 days without seeding is just not possible. The bacteria only multiply at a certain rate. It's a predictable process and nothing accelerates the process that quickly. 87 degrees certainly won't do it alone. You're assuming that no bacteria survived from the substrate and you really don't have any conclusive reason to believe that. Bacteria don't 'die' off without being 'fed' like other organisms. They can hang on and around for quite some time. I've let tanks without fish sit for weeks without losing cycle.
 

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PfunMo said:
I see you are in a rather warm area. which always bring some doubt to mind about how much bacteria is still alive in a bag of gravel or sand. That bag most likely spent quite a lot of time in some really hot storage places. How long can bacteria survive in a bag that dries out and is stored at maybe 120 degrees and then loaded on a truck where the temperature often reaches 150? I have no proof but have always thought that bacteria would not last long when they are treated that way.
Regardless, if you got through the cycle so quickly, CONGRATS! Most take much longer.
I recently used carib sea eco complete "live sand" and I have no way of knowing live bacteria content, but the sand wasn't dried out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The tank was filled and the pump running about 2 months before I started the cycle. It only had sand, which was added about a month before starting the cycle and then rocks that were there about 2 weeks before the cycle. I'm sure something had seed the tank...

It takes about 22 hours to drop 4 PPM of ammonia to 0 PPM and about 36 hours to drop more than 5 PPM of Nitrites to 0. I;m now adding between 1-2 PPM of ammonia every 24 hours to fed the bacteria while I don't add fish. Today, ammonia dropped from 2 PPM to 0 in about 8 hours and nitrites dropped to 0.50 in about 12 hours after adding 2 PPM of ammonia this morning. I will check in about an hour, it should be 0 PPM by then, so 13 or 14 hours to drop to 0.

Something that I found interesting is that a couple weeks before adding ammonia to start the cycle and about a week after I put the rocks in place I saw a small white, semi-transparent thing that was attached to the surface of some rocks and a fake little plant. It looked like a thick spider web and it was hard to see if you weren't looking for it. When floating it looked like fish food flakes but in white color. Any idea? Fungus? Algae? I have some pictures that I will post on this topic and/or a new topic very soon. The day the cycle finished, there was one of those things floating in a corner that was really big it almost looked like 2 pieces of cotton. Any clue?
 
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