Cycling Day 13
I added the first batch of bottled bacteria 8 days ago and a second one 4 days ago and we still had no signs of nitrite. There could be many reasons for that but it is possible that the bottle of bacteria I bought was a dud: the bacteria could have died by being exposed to high temperatures during shipping.
Since it was taking longer than expected, I picked up a bottle of API Quick Start from my local pet store. This is a product similar to Dr. Tim's One and Only in that it contains live nitrifying bacteria and I had used it to cycle my very first saltwater tank.
The instructions call for 20 ml per 10 gallons of water, so I rounded up to 30 gallons and added 60 ml. This was yesterday, day 12.
I waited about 24 hours and measured nitrite again:
I put the picture of this test result next to the one from our baseline tests so that we could more easily see that there was indeed a change. Although today's test doesn't quite look as purple as 0.25 ppm on the color chart, I believe we have some detectable level of nitrite above zero.
This means that we have bacteria and they're doing their job: consuming ammonia and generating nitrite. Now, we can start testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. We should soon see some signs of nitrate which will indicate that our second type of bacteria are present and working. Finally, ammonia and nitrite should start decreasing after reaching a peak. When they reach zero, we can add our first fish!
Let's keep going.