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The Soft Cycle thread


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#51
Mr. Fosi

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Your high point seems that I am speaking out of context with the original poster's description about soft cycling and that may indeed be the case. I didn't see a formal link there where your published authors coined it although if that's out there Im just last to hear and would appreciate the link. the description is up for grabs in the meantime? If I pushed that with poor tact will not debate that, usually guilty. the only part Im supporting is everything I typed not that it came off nice.


I concede that the most formal definition you will find is in this thread. The full meaning of the term may certainly be debated... However, it's best if we can get that out front right away.

When I first read it, it sounded like his subjective terming and I wanted to add the purist notion that if you ever registered ammonia you messed up compared to the balance of using less LR growth and no measurable ammonia. if you don't like my opinion on this that's no problem to me neither of us have nano reef formality to list because its not there...


It is somewhat arbitrary, if you want to call it that but I'm not sure I'd call it subjective. The definition of "soft cycle" was given in the OP, which makes it a little more firm. To my knowledge, it was coined by one or more members here on NR.com as a way to describe the idea of buying very fresh LR and employing a variety of methods to retain as much of the livestock as possible. Greenstar started this thread to put the definition down in a somewhat explicit fashion so we didn't have to type it out several times a week. You seem to grasp and concede this point in your initial post:

don't keep up with any new trends so I hadn't clicked on this thread even once to know what a soft cycle was, and its amazing to think of the countless type arguments I have been in advocating this idea not even knowing it had a coined moniker already...


most of our upcoming thread links will regard large tanks and that's bunk for us in many ways Id like to discuss if you want.


I certainly won't disagree that large tanks go not generally behave like small tanks.

the term soft cycle was too broad for my liking if it allowed for water parameters indicating ammonia or nitrite at any stage in the design or function.


I follow you here and I think you made your point fairly clear in your inital post. I don't have a problem with your methods and I believe that you have plenty of basis for it. It's totally cool to argue that any cycle that shows up detectable NH3 can't be very "soft", however when you start arguing that using fresh rock is certainly wild-collected and it's a short-cut for impatient people you are moving away from meaningful discussion of the methods at hand.

For the record, I totally agree that many of the organisms that ride in on fresh LR won't make it long in a tank because we just don't have the suspended particulates to support them. We don't have phytoplankton for crying out loud! And when we get it, we spend a lot of time trying to do away with the green water.

... just guessing>is your trade in a technical science like environmental testing, applied chemistry or engineering?


I'm trying valiantly to finish my PhD and currently work in an estuarine system on the coast of SC. I'm working on the relationship(s) between aerobic heterotrophic bacteria and the benthic microalgae. I've got a series of hypotheses that I've been collecting data on for the last couple years and I'm finally starting to write some of it up... Hopefully I'll get done in the next 18 months, but you never know.

The only divergence intended was that if these experiments ever yield ammonia, then turbo live rock isn't the best starting point, lesser is...


I think I like where you're going here and I think I agree with you. Let me restate it and you tell me if I'm saying the same thing you are: If buying high-quality fresh LR is yielding some detectable NH3, then it would be better to start the system with a bit of lower-quality rock. The lower quality rock establishes the system and gives you a larger catchers mit to handle what comes in with the high-quality rock.

If this is what you are saying, I have advocated the very same thing in other threads.
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#52
lakshwadeep

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When I first read it, it sounded like his subjective terming and I wanted to add the purist notion that if you ever registered ammonia you messed up compared to the balance of using less LR growth and no measurable ammonia.


Just because cured rock lacks ammonia doesn't mean live rock magically appears at your LFS with zero ammonia. Ammonia is present because of the stressful conditions of shipping rock (i.e. usually out of water and long transport times). It's not the "fault" of the reefer, period. Why don't you try getting uncured rock and measuring ammonia? Oh wait, your dogmatic method forbids it.

most of our upcoming thread links will regard large tanks and that's bunk for us in many ways Id like to discuss if you want.


It's unlikely mr. fosi is going to say that what applies to large tanks is automatically disqualified for nano tanks. The burden of proof is on you, brandon, to show that a nano tank and a large tank with identical amounts/types of rock and maintenance procedures (like your 50-100% water changes) are going to have significant differences in biological processes.

the term soft cycle was too broad for my liking if it allowed for water parameters indicating ammonia or nitrite at any stage in the design or function.


Just because a term is too broad for you doesn't make it wrong or not "saving money" (last time I checked cured rock cost much more than uncured at a LFS). You have a specific method of setting up a tank that relies on multiple points (cured rock vs. uncured, large water changes, and later on dosing) for you to always claim "success". Putting on such restrictions also means that you only have limited experience in explaining why other methods are "wrong". This is clearly shown in your dismissal of the presence of ammonia because you personally have never measured it with cured rock.

I like the fact his intention is to sustain the best quality live rock from the start thats revolutionary I actually just disagree with you and not the OP lol thats funny. The only divergence intended was that if these experiments ever yield ammonia, then turbo live rock isn't the best starting point, lesser is. The fact the original poster joined in 2001 and has been practicing his theory that long means a lot to me in finding a midpoint in the two modes of thought.


You can't worm your way out of saying greenstar is somewhat right and mr. fosi (who is arguing for the same method) is wrong. It will not help your case to try and compare yourself to greenstar based on joining dates; there are often many early members that post "newbie" threads (i.e. an experienced reefer would have been able to find their information on their own) years after they joined. This is more ironic to style yourself as a wise older reefer when you bash old large tank reefers for having outdated information. This kind of self-aggrandizement is useless except as a marketing ploy.

Live rock producing ammonia is not the death knell for soft cycling that you wish it to be. Sure, it would be a problem with your method of adding fish on day one and corals on day two, but most reefers are prudent enough to understand that they can always wait before stocking with no long-term problems.

All the live rock I have used in nano and pico reefs has been of high coralline, medium to low density growth of sabellids, sponges, calcareous plants, etc. and that always means no ammonia, it sets a predictability for it where testing is not required. by not importing the single strongest premium live rock you could attain into the smaller reef tank where some population shifting has to occur, you were saving money on the live rock you bought and in the eyes of a purist really just proving (by no measurable ammonia) you could handle all that diversity we are downscaling like mad people.


Previously, you were harping on avoiding "heavily encrusted" live rock, and now you have carefully tried to explain how your cured rock has everything that a reefer needs. Also, you left out the important point of going to a local LFS to get your cured live rock.

all my experience is with gallon reef tanks there is no published work in that range, none, ever, at all, and the published work I could take time citing for you is for larger tanks, and they show nitrites don't pop up in an established tank in the face of consistent zero ammonia and nitrate readings. They also denounce denitirification in the nano reef specifically when compared to the environmental differences supported by larger reefs, namely collective anoxic zones relative to bioloading. There are so many differences in nano reefs and environmental studies or larger reefs its not worth it to list them all right now, will save that up in case our thread starts to soften up.

See the problem with your experience is that your trying to extend that to proving things outside your experience. If you have never had an ammonia spike, it does not follow that such a spike is automatically a sign of bad reefkeeping. It's even more remarkable considering you were suggesting to a newbie in another thread about adding fish so quickly. I don't understand your nitrites point. It seems pretty clear that if ammonia is consistently zero, it's unlikely nitrites would "pop up". Like wise for denitrification, anoxic zones are not mandatory for it to occur and you have no proof that such zones (or anaerobic zones) are not present even in your pico tanks. Notice that I didn't use any examples of nano or large tanks. And yet, when I showed proof in the sand bed article I linked to, which discussed 3 gallon tanks, you were unwilling to accept that.

So, why don't you humor us with your prophetic knowledge of what makes nano tanks so different. A new thread would be useful...

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#53
wombat

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This makes no sense if the goal is setting up a microbiologically balanced system; you can't stoichiometrically pre-determine what the load will be and set-up a filter before hand which will be balanced with the final load. One will always either over- or under-shoot the final load, and the final setup will still need to balance out microbiologically, i.e. cycle.


Sigh. Who said the goal was to set up a "microbiologically balanced system"? The original post was very clear in stating that one of the goals during a "soft cycle" was to keep ammonia as close to zero as possible. What I stated does that quite effectively. Since it is outside your experience it probably sounds very scary and complicated, but it really isn't.

Yes, the bacterial populations will be in flux. The same thing happens every time you add a fish, do a water change, feed, etc. in an established tank.

Edited by wombat, 06 December 2010 - 09:24 AM.

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#54
wombat

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For the people who advocate this method (such as myself), this isn't a patience/impatience issue, it is the development of a new paradigm.


Please. Let's not try to rewrite history. People have been trying to get the freshest live rock possible and then keep it in low ammonia conditions for at least a couple decades now. The only thing new about this is the labeling of it as a "soft cycle".

Edited by wombat, 06 December 2010 - 09:24 AM.

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#55
Fish-Filet

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I got my rock from my LFS its been running for 8 days, I see plenty of life and it was sitting for a month or more since the shipment got to them. The lights werent even being run... just a holding tank with flow. Everything is reading O except that the salt level is oddly low and PH is super low, any suggestions? Im pretty sure you can cycle a tank just as complete without doing a "soft cycle ". LOL sounds like you have to be rich and have no job to do a soft cycle! Sand, Rock, Water... run for a week start doing water changes = will be cycled soon. Why complicate anything? Its just a fish tank... the idea is cool though but unrealistic for most working class guys and gals...

#56
syncro

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Research from Seabass on cycling:
Part 1: Water changes during the cycle
Part 2: Water changes during the cycle

#57
brandon429

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he did good with that work. I thought his work focused more on regular tank cycling though, not soft cycling? will re read

one very old pico

 


#58
metrokat

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Trying to get a soft cycle on a big tank is a PITA. Best to put the live rock in a smaller holding tank and letting that cycle as you will do smaller volume water changes.

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#59
manleyt86

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just wanted to say totally 100% agree about premium aquatics im very fortunate because i live about 40 mins away and litterally work right behind the place for a company as an apprentice lineman i know this is a little off topic from soft cycle but i buy about 95 percent of my stuff from them and when u go into there wearhouse its quite nice great staff very awesome selection and i talked to a guy that said they fly there rock n costs them more but said it was well worth it for them and there costumers so just to conferm ur statment about quality 100% dead on !!!

#60
metrokat

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Thanks for reviving this thread. Ive learnt so much more since I last posted here.

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#61
Subsea

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I like your OP. Very good qualifing criteria definitions.

In looking at numerous biothems and different husbandry required for these varied systems, I have absorbed many differnt techniques. I have adapted to a lagoon biotheme using bacteria in sediments. From the point of view of biofiltration, live rock is weak on the internal poor space required to support massive bacterteria cultures. Live rock is used to establish biodiversity. I use uncured live rock that is farmed in 30' of water offshore Tampa Bay, Floida.
Because arrogonite sediment is cheaper than live rock and supports massive populations of bacteria, I use a coase grade of arroggonite, 2mm-5mm. Keep bed to 1" depth or less. I cycle this bare tank with some mature sand to innocculate dry sand. I then cycle this tank with a high energy vertical look current carring some macro algae in a tumble culture. Add some hardy fish, I use molllies, they are good herbivores and have not learned that the ampnipods swimming among the swiling macro algae are a food souce for them.. Because I have access to pod and macro refugiums, it is easy to cycle just using the pods. From my point of view, I want a powerful janitore presence in this tank. I choose amphipods as the apex organism. I promote their presence with much food whch also energies the sand bed. With this coarse arroggonite substrate, it is imperativeto to have janitors to keep this bed from clogging up with detritus.

I get passive pH buffering from carbonate substrate. After the cycle to establish bacteria in sand bed, I remove all free floating macroalgae and bring in display quality macro. On the same day, I bring in uncured live rock and put the tank thru the cycle that you described. The difference being the intensive labor required to your soft cycle. It would be too much work for me. With this modified soft cycle, I assure you that the survival of biodiversity is increased dramatically. In two 6 month old 55G lagoons, I now have a population of minitre urchins. This rock was isolated for 60 days wth no new introductions. At some point during those 60 days, these urchins developed.

Keep up the informative posting.

#62
brandon429

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Hey would you clarify one point


I'm not aware of any organism that removes detritus, rather all are producers, I know of no way to remove it other than physical means can you elaborate

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#63
Subsea

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Hey would you clarify one point


I'm not aware of any organism that removes detritus, rather all are producers, I know of no way to remove it other than physical means can you elaborate

 

I incortrectly used the word detritus.  I should have used the word "fish poop".  You are correct, detritus is the shell left after processes have removed their food requirements.  Therby providing for the next levels food.   



#64
kismetsh

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Hey would you clarify one point


I'm not aware of any organism that removes detritus, rather all are producers, I know of no way to remove it other than physical means can you elaborate

 

Detritivores consume detritus. Yes, they also produce it but they can not produce more than they consume as some of it is locked up in their biomass and some is converted to energy. A creature doesn't poo more than they eat (though anyone who has had a baby may find that hard to believe :lol: ).



#65
Subsea

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With respect to detritus removal, with my high nutrient methods using Jaubertt Plenumn and 2mm-mm aroggonite,red cynobactedria is my bioindicator that I am feeding too much. Because I cosider both micro and macro as my friends, I allow cyno mat to get thick. When I vacumn this mat, I accomplish not only detritus removal, I also am removing a concentrated mass of all nutrients but very high concentrations of phosphate. Not being a chemist, but a marine engineer and reef addict for 40 years, I use scientific principals to make math models.

#66
kismetsh

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I incortrectly used the word detritus.  I should have used the word "fish poop".  You are correct, detritus is the shell left after processes have removed their food requirements.  Therby providing for the next levels food.   

 

Fish poop qualifies as detritus



#67
Subsea

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The first thought I had when poop came up in the conversation was the pigs stacked three tiers high. Only tier one receive food. Everybody else eats poop and stays in the dark. Is that not the definition of a mushroom.

#68
brandon429

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ha lol!


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#69
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While having had going thru methods and madness as a natural evolution of the process, 40 years later, I am old school to the bone. I use natural passive techniques to maintain all of my tanks. In most cases, 100% natural sunlight. Several glass tanks are set up with indirect sunlight all day supplemented by less than 2W per gallon of T5. These 55G lagoon biotheme have PAR values at 55 and 30. This tank was cycled with bacteria and pods, while providing a high energy tumble culture using a vertical loop current. After two weeks of lots of fish food, with high biodiverse populations growing quicikly, I add uncured live rock from the GOM. The multiple nutrient nutrient cycles established produce very complex food webs. Using these methods, this past year I entered the word of NPS and filter feeders. For the first time in 40 years of reefkeeping I planted a Sea Apple. One year later, I have ten apples in my orchid. Having enjoyed Flame Scallops for almost a year in captivity, using an undergravel filter, at the start of my reefkeeping journey, it took me 40 years to take the step to enjoy Sea Apples.
There are many wonderful things in this hobby. I embrace learning. Everyone has something of worth to be admired for. Each and every part of this hobby is a personnel journey. As a motivational speaker, I was alweays prompted by HR to celebrate your victories. I view sharing knowledge and watching people develope there methods, in that way. I personnel like to be the good steward of my tanks. With this core value, I enjoy understanding other techniques and methods. Only thru a corporate sharing does much good for the most people happen.

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#70
SantaMonica

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It's nice to see the mention of using algae in the cycling process. The favorite food of algae, of course, is ammonia, followed by nitrite; so using algae as a cycle-softener has always worked. Many people, who use enough algae and have enough flow and light, have gone through complete cycles of wild LR without any water changes, and without any ammonia.

what about only selecting pristine small pieces from an aged aquarium, where the rock has been in there for months and is all purple and has the *normal* benthic densities based on its recent lifespan in an *aquarium*? why does there have to be dieoff when transferring this to the new nano reef


Because of the change of light and flow patterns, in particular, where the periphyton are. Any reduction in flow will deliver less food particles to the microscopic animal in a crevice; any reduction of light will kill some periphyton. And there's really no way to move rock without each crevice seeing different flow and light patterns in the new location, and so you get die-off.

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#71
magicstix

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How do things like ammonia detoxifiers fit into soft cycling? Would it at all be helpful to use something like Seachem prime to help preserve life during the process?



#72
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Thanks for posting thia thread...
Tomorrow I will be attempting a "soft cycle" in a 1gal aquarium o_O.
Plan is this: 2lbs of quality uncured rock or LR thats been in a 180gal SPS tank for 2+yrs from a friend and reef store owner (Not a regular LFS)
Using RO/DI water (replaced all filters incl membrain are new as of a week ago) and using D&D salt. Water temp steady at 75°f with 8hrs light cycle. will change 20% of water every 2nd day for up to 3 weeks while testng 2x daily.
Since this is so small Id say that the 50gph water pump should be enough flow (softy tank)

Does this sound reasonable?

#73
metrokat

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How do things like ammonia detoxifiers fit into soft cycling? Would it at all be helpful to use something like Seachem prime to help preserve life during the process?

I added a lot of prime when I cycled the tank. You will still read the ammonia but it binds it for removal via water changes.


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#74
chicagoreef

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I added a lot of prime when I cycled the tank. You will still read the ammonia but it binds it for removal via water changes.

 

Metrokat - was that with the Gulf Live Rock?



#75
metrokat

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Metrokat - was that with the Gulf Live Rock?

it was yes.


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