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Coral Vue Hydros

Basic cycle questions...


WPaoli

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Hello, all.

 

I just got my Biocube 29 up and running.

 

I was able to pick up some nice cured live rock and added it to live sand. I was told by the LFS guy that because the rock was cured, and because I'm using live sand, that the cycle would probably be minimal. Anyway, everything is running great- water is crystal clear, and there are a lot of nice purples, reds, and even some greens on the rocks.

 

I have two questions:

 

1. What am I looking for to know that a "cycle" is started? I know I'm supposed to look for brown algae, but where- on the sand and rock, and how long does this take if the sand is live and the rock is already cured?

 

2. What's the best way to run the lights? Do I leave them on, leave them off, or gradually increase over time?

 

 

Thanks in advance.

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lakshwadeep

The nitrogen cycle is always occurring, but with many new tanks, it is not balanced, which is what most hobbyists refer to as "the cycle". This imbalance usually is an ammonia spike caused by many organisms dying (from environmental stress) and an insufficient population of bacteria to quickly convert the ammonia into nitrite (then nitrite to nitrate, then eventually nitrate to nitrogen gas). 0 ppm ammonia (and nitrite) are signs that "the cycle" is "finished"; it actually means any ammonia/nitrite being produced are being converted fast enough to eliminate detection.

 

Check the library section at the top left of this page for useful articles, including one on the cycle.

 

Curing is basically pre-cycling rock before you add it to the tank, so the LFS person is correct.

 

There is no set cycling time, so you need to test your water to know for sure what's happening. Liquid tests from API, Salifert, Lamotte, and Elos are good choices, with API being the best value since you won't need to test ammonia/nitrite frequently. Algae growth is not a real sign of the cycle itself; however, tanks often go through successive blooms. You could gradually increase the lighting time (photoperiod), but it's unlikely even full lighting would make a big difference in algae growth. Eventually, you need to have a regular photoperiod; most of the colors on your rocks are from coralline algae.

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When live rock is shuffled around some parts get exposed to more current and some parts to less. The result is some degree of biologic re-balancing and some die-off on parts of the rock. This die-off will sometimes produce an ammonia spike, although frequently it's too small to detect.

 

Even if the LR is claimed to be cured, it should be monitored for the first couple weeks because marine microbiology is so complex that moving it from one tank to another is always a variable prone event. Without existing live rock in your tank already established any 'adjustment' vie this new rock becomes the dominant biology.

 

Also, as I've said so many times, live rock that comes from a tank with no fish in it will have little beneficial bacteria because they'd having nothing to grow from. So, there will be a ramp up in your tank in terms of cycling when fish are added, but it's typically quick and painless.

 

General rule of thumb I follow is wait two weeks when starting with live rock, test for ammonia, and if it's zero then move forward with adding fish or invert.

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I have a quick questions as well. Planning a 30 Breeder SPS tank. I want a few blue green chromis and thats it for fish. Should I add fish after tank cycles and corals second? or corals first when water is cleanest then fish later?

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I have a quick questions as well. Planning a 30 Breeder SPS tank. I want a few blue green chromis and thats it for fish. Should I add fish after tank cycles and corals second? or corals first when water is cleanest then fish later?

 

 

i wouldnt worry about any corals for quite a while them and anemone id wait at least 6 months before even considering.

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