Nitrogen Cycle Contest! Win a *New* 120 Cone Simmer OR Sulphur Denitrator

Discussion in 'SWC Skimmers.com' started by coloradoReef, Feb 27, 2010.

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  1. elweshomayor

    elweshomayor Giant Squid

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    Ok well I'm thinking on doing one... Might be able to do it on Monday. Although there are many experts in here lol it's going to be hard to win.

    Is there a way we can send it to you like a word document?
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. xmetalfan99

    xmetalfan99 Giant Squid

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    I'll work on a right up as well.
     
  4. slocal

    slocal Torch Coral

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    Alright, here goes my entry. I can provide the original PSD with layers to prove this is my own image.

    What’s with the Empty Tank?

    By Rick Helton for Elite Reef of Denver, CO​

    Okay, you’ve got your new tank, skimmer, sump, stand, lights, heater, rock and sand. Ready for that big Hippo Tang now? Nope, not if you want it to be happy and healthy. There’s a whole step you’re missing besides just physically setting up the equipment. This involves you, but what it requires is often the most difficult of all, patience. What is this step and why is it the most difficult? It’s called the nitrogen cycle or more commonly known as ‘the cycle.’

    If fish didn’t eat or poop, the hobby of aquarium keeping would be a lot easier. The reality is that EVERYTHING that goes in the tank must be dealt with and the fact is that filters alone just won’t cut it. You need help on a bacterial level. Here’s the lowdown. In the ocean, everything is there for a specific reason and your equipment tries to replicate what the ocean does. Your lights are the sun. Your heater is the ocean currents and equivalent to latitudinal location. Your protein skimmer is the waves that make the scummy foam on the beach that smells funky. You get the point. The nitrogen cycle is actually something that is not artificially created at all. It’s the exact same process the ocean uses and best of all, it’s free!

    OK, Show Me the Cycle!


    Leftover food, dead critters and poop all release ammonia in to the water as they start to decay. Ammonia is deadly to most fish except for the hardiest and that is still at very low levels. You don’t want to be stuck with one or two types of fish, do you?

    Here comes the nitrosomonas. They are a type of bacteria that just loves to feed on ammonia. Unfortunately, they turn the ammonia in to nitrites. Nitrites are just as useful to the fish as the ammonia. They aren't.

    Ah, what would a cycle we recommend be without something good right? Let me introduce you to nitrobacter bacteria. As you’ve probably guessed, it feeds on the nitrites left behind by the nitrosomonas. The byproduct of this type of bacteria is the acceptable nitrate. Nitrate in low to moderate levels is tolerated by many marine fish.

    As you test your tank in the beginning stages, you should first see a spike in ammonia. That ammonia level will start to go down with the appearance of nitrites. Once you see nitrates start to rise and nitrites start to fall, you know you’re almost done with the nitrogen cycle process.

    Once ammonia and nitrites are at zero and nitrates are at least below twenty parts per million, you're ready to start stocking your tank. Each new addition will create a mini cycle so be sure to add fish slowly and one at a time so the tank can stabilize.

    Great, the cycle, but what if nitrates get too high? That’s where regular water changes and macro algae come in to play. Not only will a portion of your water keep nitrates at tolerable levels, but it also replenishes elements like magnesium and calcium that are absorbed by corals and coralline algae.

    How Do I Start this Cycle?


    Well, there are two main fields of thought on this. I will try to explain this as simply as possible.

    The first is to set up your tank and just toss a couple of raw shrimp in there and let them rot. Yes, really. As the shrimp rot, they release ammonia. The ammonia is turned in to nitrites and then the nitrites are turned in to nitrates. This method is definitely one way to make sure you get something rotting in the tank but many just don’t like the thought of an empty tank for weeks to possibly months.

    The second main method is to cycle with a live damsel or other hearty fish. Many don’t like this method as the water during the cycle is not even close to ideal conditions for a fish as well as the damsel isn’t quite known for getting along with other tank mates. On the other hand, you do have a neat little fishy to look at instead of an empty tank.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  5. bluewhite4

    bluewhite4 Astrea Snail

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    Rick, I like your picture and description. One suggestion though. In the picture, under the clown, maybe separate "Fish eat. Fish poop" onto two lines. When I read it fast, I read it as one sentence, "Fish eat Fish poop". Just a suggestion, otherwise, great work!
     
  6. slocal

    slocal Torch Coral

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    Thanks for the advise and kind words. I'll be adding this new version in to my entry as well as the other one. I suppose coloradoreef can choose which one he likes best.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. yeager003

    yeager003 Bristle Worm

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    This is a great idea and personally I am looking forward to having a new store here in town. Elitereef will only be 10-15 minutes away from my job, I cant wait for your grand opening.
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. xmetalfan99

    xmetalfan99 Giant Squid

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    WOW, you did a great job. I think I shouldn't have even tried for this one lol.:eek:
     
  10. xmetalfan99

    xmetalfan99 Giant Squid

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    Attached is my entry in .pdf form. I think it may be a little to long...
     

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    1 person likes this.
  11. slocal

    slocal Torch Coral

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    This.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

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    Awesome idea C.J.

    I just want to be sure the entrants know not to count the reactor out of their decision if they win. I just set one up this weekend and it is one slick, well built piece of equipment.

    Good luck to everyone!