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boxster1990

Cycle Completed - Next Steps?

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boxster1990

Hi everyone! My cycle completed last weekend - ammonia and nitrites routinely getting processed fully in 24 hours after dosing to 2-3ppm.

 

I started to get some cyanobacteria, and added a couple of hermit crabs to help.  I also plan to do a 50% water change this weekend to help get the nitrates down.

 

Had some questions about the filter media - I've read that a significant amount of the bio filter forms in the filter floss (in addition to the rock and sand in the tank - I also have some bio media, the highly porous stuff that most people put in their sumps - I added some of the balls to the middle chamber of my Fluval EVO XII)...so not sure when to start messing with the media rack. 

 

A) Is it okay to change the filter floss? Or should I wait for the bacteria to become more established within the liverock/biomedia?

 

B ) Is it okay to add purigen to the media rack?

 

C) As far as additional livestock go, I was planning to pick up a small fish this weekend to get things started and keep the bacteria fed (I'm concerned that without an ammonia source, the bio filter will shrink back to the tank's current capacity which is 3 small hermits, so not a lot of bioload) - maybe a yellow goby - and then add a pair of clownfish after a few weeks. Is this a good plan?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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sublunary

Filter floss is there to catch detritus. It has minimal if any bio filter. Change it frequently to get the gunk out of your system. 

 

It sounds like you're ok to get the goby. Think about whether you are going to quarantine your fish. The lifecycle of most fish disease is longer than a couple weeks, so you want to watch them longer than that to make sure they are healthy.  Some people take the risk of just adding, but be sure you know what risks are involved. Also remember clowns are messy eaters and high bioload, so make sure you've got good maintenance and water change habits by the time you get them. 

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boxster1990

Thanks sublunary. I don't have a QT - no space in my studio apt...the tank alone was an achievement!  What are some of the risks of adding fish that haven't been quarantined? Obviously if the fish is ill out of the gate and doesn't make it, that would be a disappointment - but are there risks of introducing parasites to my tank that would live on after any fish were to perish?

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Clown79

If a fish isn't qt'd and it has a parasite it can infect other fish when they are added.

 

Some parasites need the tank to go fallow for 8 weeks. To completely kill the parasite.

 

Some take the risk by not doing a quarantine while others always qt. 

Qt is the proactive and best method.

 

Filter floss should be change 2 times a week or more if needed.

 

Bioballs can cause high nutrients, they make it difficult to clean the chambers which should be done at least every few weeks.

 

 

 

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ajmckay

Hi there, welcome.   It sounds like you're on the right track!  What size tank do you have?

 

I agree that you can change your filter floss any time.  In fact I think it's better to change it more frequently.  What you DON'T want is for the floss to become biologically active.  If that were to become the case then you could influence your bio filter should you suddenly replace the floss.  Bacteria grow quicker and more dense where there is plentiful flow, like in filter floss.

 

As for the fish additions and the issue of QT - I'm a big believer in QT.  You'll read plenty about people who just buy a fish and dump it into their tanks with no issues, for years even.  Maybe they go as far as suggesting that QT is pointless and you shouldn't bother.  All I can say is that it's not a problem until it is.  Once you've had all your fish wiped out by a parasite/disease from a seemingly healthy new introduction you will likely decide that a QT procedure is essential and figure out a way to make it work.  The way I see it you have 2 options:

 

1) Set up a simple QT.   This would be a cheap 10g with a simple HOB filter.  Put a few pieces of LR rubble in the HOB filter and expect to keep the fish in QT for a few weeks in a low light and low activity room.  Reducing stress, acclimating to your food source, and treating any possible infections are the main goals.  I always treat new introductions prophylactically with praziquantel and  suggest others do the same.  It's almost no risk but high reward.  Anywhere from 2-4 weeks would be a good time frame, depending on your risk appetite.  Longer obviously if you observe issues.

 

2) Opt to not QT using a typical hospital tank but using your display tank as a means to reduce the risk of introducing parasites.  This means that before you get too far into stocking your tank (no corals, no inverts) you add all your fish at once.  This is not ideal - but it's better than nothing.  The basic premise is that you add the fish and immediately administer praziquantel.  Keep the tank lights off or very low and feed small amounts 2x/day for about a week or two.  Observe everything very carefully, and multiple times per day.  If after 2 weeks or so no issues are discovered and your fish are all eating well then turn the lights up, and start adding corals and inverts.  You can be reasonably confident that the fish are acclimated to your tank and from that point onward you probably won't have any surprises.  The caveat is that at some point during the first few weeks you notice issues with one or more fish.  You can at that time either set up a hospital tank/bucket or just treat in the display tank, removing the rocks and sand if necessary and depending on the treatment.  The basic idea here with #2 is to be prepared for anything should it happen, but if nothing happens then you've saved yourself some trouble.  Again this is the less recommended path but if you absolutely cannot go through a thorough quarantine then it's better than nothing.  

 

The worst thing you could do IMO is add fish infrequently or over time... Each time you add a new inhabitant you risk infection.  So if you add everything at once then your chances of wiping out your entire established tank are reduced some.  Hopefully that makes sense.   Put another way, once you make it through the initial stocking of the tank you should be in the clear. 

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