risk1994

cycle questions

31 posts in this topic

Doing a lot of reading on cycling a new tank and have a few things I dont understand.

 

I dont think I want to change water every day for weeks so I assume I'll be hard cycling (no WC at all during cycle right?)

If the hard cycle will kill everything on the LR, then whats the point of the LR? Cant I put any old porous rock in there

with a peice of shrimp till its done?

 

This brings me to 'cured' LR. So this is LR with all the die off you get during transportation already complete...meaning everything on it should theoretically be healthy. If this is the case, then what happens when I hard cycle with it? Wont I just get another die off?

 

 

Also I dont get the usefullness of LS. Is it just that much more Bio filtration? I assume Id have to cycle with the LS in the tank since I dont see how Id add if after, so would the hard cycle kill everything there too?

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I have cycled 2 tanks now and didn't do WC's during either one except when my ammonia went off the charts on my BC14. Everything survived on my LR in both cases (cured LR in the BC and uncured in my pico). I have micro brittle stars, corals, macros, etc that all survived the cycle. Don't worry about live sand. Your sand will become live through cycling.

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Doing a lot of reading on cycling a new tank and have a few things I dont understand.

 

I dont think I want to change water every day for weeks so I assume I'll be hard cycling (no WC at all during cycle right?) Correct

If the hard cycle will kill everything on the LR, then whats the point of the LR? Cant I put any old porous rock in there

with a peice of shrimp till its done? "Hard" cycling doesn't kill everything. You'd be surprised how hardy hitchhikers are. You don't have to use live rock, but don't use just any rock you have sitting around the house. Only use rock meant for reef aquaria. And don't add shrimp. You risk adding heterotrophic bacteria that you don't want when you start stocking the tank. If you start with completely dry rock, seed it with a small piece of live rock and add some pure ammonia or Dr. Tim's one and only.

 

This brings me to 'cured' LR. So this is LR with all the die off you get during transportation already complete...meaning everything on it should theoretically be healthy. If this is the case, then what happens when I hard cycle with it? Wont I just get another die off? If you get fully cured live rock and transport it correctly, you will not have a cycle at all

 

 

Also I dont get the usefullness of LS. Is it just that much more Bio filtration? I assume Id have to cycle with the LS in the tank since I dont see how Id add if after, so would the hard cycle kill everything there too? Live sand is a great bio filter and a home for dozens of species of microfauna that benefit your tank. Live sand that you buy in a bag doesn't have any organisms other than bacteria and as long as your ammonia doesn't get above 6 ppm, it will survive.

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^This lady know what she is talking about. :D

Edited by Elemenope

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^This guy know what hes talking about. :D

I'm female dammit!!!! :P

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I'm female dammit!!!! :P

 

 

Ninja edit......

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What's the correct way to transport fully cured rock?

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What's the correct way to transport fully cured rock?

submerged in saltwater

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Transporting live rock in air for up to 30 minute has resulted in little if any die off for me.

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Wow thanks for all the replies everyone, this really is a great forum.

 

From what I've read about cured LR it should be transported from vendor to tank SAME DAY. I've shopped around and cant find cured LR in the quantities I need anyway. I have a fluval edge and its only 6gallons. I cant seem to find anything less than 15 lbs for sale and overnight delivery on small amounts is huge.

 

Can I get cured LR from the LFS? www.exoticfishandcorals.com in Milford CT. is right near me and I think I can get it from them. Anyone have any experiences from this particular LFS or getting cured LR from one?

Edited by risk1994

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My cured LR came from the LFS. I liked it because I hand picked the pieces I wanted to fit the footprint of my tank. I ordered my uncured online and although nice it is not the shapes/sizes I wanted. Or maybe I just don't have it scaped right yet. Either way I think purchasing in person is helpful for getting exactly what you are looking for.

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Wow thanks for all the replies everyone, this really is a great forum.

 

From what I've read about cured LR it should be transported from vendor to tank SAME DAY. I've shopped around and cant find cured LR in the quantities I need anyway. I have a fluval edge and its only 6gallons. I cant seem to find anything less than 15 lbs for sale and overnight delivery on small amounts is huge.

 

Can I get cured LR from the LFS? www.exoticfishandcorals.com in Milford CT. is right near me and I think I can get it from them. Anyone have any experiences from this particular LFS or getting cured LR from one?

Just ask them if they have cured live rock. If it's cured it will usually be in the same system as their livestock so you know it's fully cured. Some LFS will sell "cured" liverock out of a bin and you will get a cycle from that

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Ok, since its the initial setup I imagine I'll get some LFS cured LR and just let it the tank for a few weeks (before adding anything else) to see how it goes.

 

Something else I've wondered, if I use the cured LR to bypass the cycle (or even if I dont I suppose) wont adding livestock cause a mini cycle? If the Bio filter is tuned the just have the LR and hitchhikers and I add a xenia, wont that cause a mini cycle as the tank adgusts to the new load? Just curious because I've never kept corals and know how delicate they are.

Edited by risk1994

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It won't cause a mini cycle if you stock the tank slowly. Bacteria reproduce extremely fast (some can double in population in just a few minutes) so a small increase in bioload is easily handled.

 

Corals actually aren't that delicate. People usually have more problems with fish than corals.

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Corals are low bioload so you can pretty much fill up as soon as your cycle is over. CUC is the pretty much the same. You can dump 50 snails in and not have a problem as long as most of them live through acclimation. Fish are a little harder and need to be added slowly. One a week or so is good if your params stay in check.

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Thanks, cured LR from LFS sounds like the way to go. I'll let it sit for a couple of weeks before adding livestock just to be sure.

 

So what are you testing for? Im familiar with ammonia, nitrite & nitrate ph & salinity, anything Im missing? Do you test for things like alkalinity, calcium, mag, phos, etc...? I gather from reading that that stuff should take care of itself since its in the salt mix and Ill be doing probably 10% a week. I never had a reef before so never tested them but I hear people talk about it often.

Edited by risk1994

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I test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity, calcium, mag, and alk. If you plan to keep LPS or SPS you'll want to test calcium, mag and alk as they are all interelated.

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Holy smokes, so even in these little tanks you check the following every week??

 

ammonia

nitrite

nitrate

PH

salinity

phosphate

calcium

magnesium

alk

 

I see why the weekly water changes are necessary...its to replace the 10% of water you lose running all these tests!

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Ammonia and nitrite are only present during cycling or if something goes horribly wrong. I don't even own those test kits. pH is affected by so many different factors that testing and chasing a number with buffers only leads to issues so I don't even bother testing. I only check phosphate every few weeks to know when to change my GFO and I only test nitrates on my macro algae tank because I dose for it. That leaves alk, calcium and mag, which I only test for every few weeks to make sure my dosing is on par. Oh, and I test salinity once a week for water changes. In short, once your tank matures and you get a sense of what your readings are, you really only need to test once or twice a month.

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Ill be getting cured LR from LFS and letting it sit for a few weeks before adding any coral or CUC to be sure. What should I do about lighting in this period? Are these nitrifying bacteria photosynthetic?

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FWIW, I just started a 50g and here is what I did:

 

filled tank with distilled water, and about 4 gallons of well used old tank water

added caribsea aragonite dead sand (didnt rinse, probably should have at least a little) and a 1/2 bag of (rinsed) crushed coral

-cloudy as hell-

ran for two days with my main filter and a temporary HOB filter. - both filters were seeded with used filter pads and I also had a bag of ceramic rings that ran in my old tank's filter area for about a week. I also ran chemipure elite from the start.

-cloudy as hell-

added reef crystals salt to water - 1.025

-cleared cloudiness in two hours!-

added about a cup of live sand from my old well seasoned tank (grabbed it from top layer to bottom layer and fanned it out evenly across my new tank's bed)

added two small 3" rocks from my old tank that were dead but I let sit in my tank for a couple weeks in the sand bed. I figure some good bacteria attached to it.

added two decent sized pieces of LR a couple days later from the LFS

waited a week

added 5 more pieces of LR and just placed on sand bed. pulled most of the deadish looking stuff (halmedia) off of the LR before inserting and gave a little dunking bath.

added light, 4 hours a day to keep decent macro on LR from dying

killed crab hitchhiker, let sit on sand bed

added mushroom and zoa frag to see what happens. Was expecting algae bloom but it never came.

tested water, 0 levels, 2ppm nitrate (I figure my test kit is bad, who knows, the corals look great so I dont care)

added a single dose of Dr Tims one and only and two bags of PODS (pods still alive and seem to be doing well)

waited two weeks, all seems good. skimmer (tunze 9002) was being emptied at least once a day, tank is smelling a bit better, almost no smell.

Added a few more corals and detritus (crabs) clean up crew last night. I see the tiniest amount of brown algae on the front wall of the tank. Backed off lights just a bit till the rest of the clean up crew (snails) gets here friday.

 

Thats it! I dont think I ever had a real massive cycle, but I think I got some really good LR - lots of stuff still living so I think there was minimal die off.

 

Key takeaways - seed tank slowly with known good bacteria from a algae free tank. Add in stages, let the tank catch up, enjoy!

 

I may eat my words in a couple weeks or something but I dont think so. the tank looks very healthy, corals opening, crabs milling about, etc.

 

First two rocks and smaller pieces

7231391902_ac2b2cb3c7_z.jpg

 

More LR

7265252526_13abd8017e_z.jpg

 

LFS rock:

7265257706_67f4874e77_z.jpg

 

Neat coral, never died.. in fact filled in most of the white areas already.

7265254202_aee343be44_z.jpg

Edited by Sub

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You have to check phosphates! The only thing that likes phosphates is algae, so you want as close to none as you can get. Get a low level test kit, not the cheap API ones that way too many fish stores sell.

Not nessecarily true... Lots of soft corals soak up phosphates.

 

I also don't believe in testing for calc mag or alk unless you have massive,massive amounts Lps, or sps. Any semi-respectable salt mix will be able to keep levels at optimum numbers for Lps. ( other than calcium, I have never checked a single one of those, and I have a 7 inch derasa clam and mostly Lps) but shhh, that's my secret :scarry: :scarry: I just keep up on large water changes

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Never cycle with fish!

fishcycle.gif

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So I FINALLY got my tank set up.

 

Its just got LR and water at this point. Im planning on letting it sit this way for a few weeks with about 4-6 hrs lighting (and a power head) I'll wait for some algae then add CUC.

 

Question is, what should I put in my AC20 HOB filter? It currently just has floss I used to help clear up the tank after adding water. I plan to put in chemi-pure and purigen ultimately but that seems like a waste at this point no?

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Question is, what should I put in my AC20 HOB filter? It currently just has floss I used to help clear up the tank after adding water. I plan to put in chemi-pure and purigen ultimately but that seems like a waste at this point no?

I believe its a waste. I also believe it weakens your biological filter. What I mean is, the reason you cycle a tank is to build up a biological filtration. If you add your mechanical filtration during this time, its going to remove a lot of the nitrate, which your tank could have broken down on its own. This in turn may give you a false sense as to when your cycle is over, or the amount of bio-load your tank can actually handle.

I suggest just keep running the floss. Blow off the rocks, and stir up the sand bed every couple days, and change the floss a few hours after this.

Dont worry too much about the light cycle. At this point, its pretty much just for your enjoyment. It will also promote algae growth. But if you want, 4-6 hours is fine, till you get some coral in there.

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