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ZmyDust

Cycling first tank without Liverock

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ZmyDust

Hi All,

 

I haven’t kept tanks for 10 years, but this isn’t my first saltwater experience so I’m not brand new, and happy to be part of the community!  Need some beginner advice.  My Biocube 32 LED tank has been set up for 13 days now and I think I misunderstood the cycle process.

 

The tank came in a reef package and also included Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacter7 which I’ve dosed daily and in trying to save some cash on liverock (like I’ve done in the past) I bought 40 lbs of CaribeSea Life Rock instead (and dead sand)

 

I think between those two products I had a misunderstanding and I didn’t realize I’d also need to seed nutrients (ghost feed) the tank.  I was confused that after about 10 days there was no sign of any ammonia or nitrites / nitrates.  Now I’ve been ghost feeding for three days, and I’m seeing ammonia up from mostly zero to up to 1-2 ppm.

 

  1. With the LifeRock not going anywhere, should I continue to dose the MicroBacter7 daily?  As well as keep ghost feeding each day as it now seems to be moving in the right direction?  
  2. What effect did the painted on bacteria in the rock and the MicroBacter7 being dosed daily recently do for me for the first 10 days when i wasn’t ghost feeding?
  3. What should i expect to see to indicate a healthy cycle over the next 1-2 weeks?
  4. Obviously there is a lot to learn, but any comments notes on my cycle attempt so far?

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

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WhatsReef

I've never done it without some live rock and some dry rock... don't you want to seed it with a bit of live rock to introduce fun hitchhikers? Personally I like having fan worms and mini brittle stars and bristle worms all the other stuff that comes with good live rock... adds biodiversity. I guess you'll get some of that over time from frags.

 

I never used that MicroBacter7 but you are correct that it sounds like that's just to seed the bacteria you need, but then you need to supply nutrients to them so they multiply. So just keep feeding the tank generously and you're good to go. You don't really need any MicroBacter7 once your tank is established if I understand it's role correctly so you might as well just dump the rest of that shit into the tank I figure. I mean if you want to start a new tank you'd just seed rock/sand/bio media from this tank, so the MicroBacter will have no use for you any more so you might as well just dump it in there to speed things up, right?

 

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WhatsReef

You'll probably see a good sized algae bloom that will then start to level out. Sometimes people don't get a bloom with enough live sand/rock, but since you don't have any established bacteria colonies you'll probably see one.

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WhatsReef

You don't really need to dose that MicroBacter daily. Isn't it just a one-time use type of product to seed the tank initially? Couldn't hurt to keep adding more though.

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ZmyDust

Thanks!  Yeah the directions were for new tank setup to dose 5ml (1 small cap full) per day per 25 gallons.  Then even smaller doses daily after the tank is established but that may not be needed. 

 

Good point on the no bristle worms etc. but that’s okay. Being in the hobby 10 years ago I rememebered then that the rule was “as much rock as you can fit in the tank” so I have 40 lbs in the 32 gallon space.  Looks like that’s changed a bit looking at most tanks shown off today.  Like you said I could use some of it to seed another tank down the road. 

 

Waiting patiently to see some nitrites and that algae bloom you mentioned. 

 

Thanks for the replies!

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Clown79

Unfortunately with dry rock you need to provide an ammonia source with the bacteria to jump start the cycle.

 

Ghost feeding is unreliable, you can't control the level of ammonia plus it's a dirty method causing high nutrient levels from the get go.

 

 

The best method with dry rock is dosing Dr Tim's Ammonia with bacteria.

This allows you to control ammonia levels and it's a clean method.

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WhatsReef
1 hour ago, ZmyDust said:

Thanks!  Yeah the directions were for new tank setup to dose 5ml (1 small cap full) per day per 25 gallons.  Then even smaller doses daily after the tank is established but that may not be needed. 

 

Good point on the no bristle worms etc. but that’s okay. Being in the hobby 10 years ago I rememebered then that the rule was “as much rock as you can fit in the tank” so I have 40 lbs in the 32 gallon space.  Looks like that’s changed a bit looking at most tanks shown off today.  Like you said I could use some of it to seed another tank down the road. 

 

Waiting patiently to see some nitrites and that algae bloom you mentioned.  

 

Thanks for the replies!

 

Honestly you don't really have to do the tons and tons of rock thing unless that's the look you want for the tank. I think that view is somewhat outdated. If the rock is preventing flow in some areas that could make so much rock more of a problem than a solution, but if you got good flow then tons of rock won't hurt. You could just use some good bio media in place of rock, Personally I have seachem matrix and fluval ceramic media. On the Matrix packaging the say use 250ml per 50 gallons or water or something like that so it's pretty strong stuff.

 

 

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ZmyDust

Hey thanks everybody. Great information.

 

I’m not against getting some Dr. Tim’s ammonia to dose - but I’ve alreadt gotten to the point of 1-2ppm ammonia. How long should I expect it take to start seeing nitrites if I kept ammonia in that ball park with ghost feeding like I have been and /or dosing aiming for 2ppm?

 

I personally like the look of what I have now (a huge pile of 40 pounds of rock with plenty of caves and crevices). I don’t really desire a fancy aquascape but I also might need more sand bed area.  I might remove some rock later as it may be too much accounting for future coral and coral growth  and even swimming room for fish. But not going to take any out now or make any big changes like that during the cycle. 

 

Definitley learned years ago to get plenty of flow. It was needed to keep up with the ridiculous amount of rock (Ha!). I have one Korilla Evolution 600 and not opposed to more or differnet options later. 

 

Maybe I’ll consider the In Tank Media basket later as well. Seems like most view as a necessary add on. 

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Tamberav

I ghost fed my dry rock without issue. I didn't add bacteria so cycle took about 6 weeks. I only really fed to get it started and maybe once mid way.

 

I did a large water change after the cycle and added cuc when a little algae showed and was good to go.

 

Bottled stuff should speed it up a bit but biospira seems to work better than microbacter. No need to spend money on it though as you should still get to the finish line regardless.

 

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ZmyDust

Patience. Waiting patiently on Nitrites. 

 

What can I say.. I like the rock!

 

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Natereef

Tanks looking good. Hope it cycles quickly so u can start the fun. Just follow the directions on the microbacter7. Just a quick tip though. If u want to cycle that ammonia instantly to nitrites, get a small bottle of biospira from petco or ur local fish store. Works like magic. 

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ZmyDust
On 4/11/2019 at 12:32 AM, Natereef said:

Tanks looking good. Hope it cycles quickly so u can start the fun. Just follow the directions on the microbacter7. Just a quick tip though. If u want to cycle that ammonia instantly to nitrites, get a small bottle of biospira from petco or ur local fish store. Works like magic. 

Thanks.  I may give this a try.  3 weeks now and not a sign of nitrite.  Ive stopped ghost feeding as the ammonia level seems stable around 2ppm due to the past feedings.

0E73A557-DFA5-4511-9FDD-D74AF35F3A73.jpeg

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ZmyDust

Finally some nitrites. Nice to see progress.  About three days ago I started double dosing the MicroBacter7 so that could’ve helped.  I’ll keep dosing it as instructed. 

 

Have a Jaebo RW4 wavemaker on the way - want plenty of movement in the tank.  InTank Media Basket on the way as well. 

 

So now should I try and keep ammonia at 1-2ppm for a time with a few more ghost feedings over the next couple weeks and otherwise let it it do it’s thing from here on out?  I’ve been ghost feeding and never dosed any ammonia product so I’m thinking I just let it ride until only nitrates. 

 

No water changes and lights occasionally.    Here’s hoping the diatom outbreak doesn’t hit too hard. 

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ZmyDust

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Clown79

You want ammonia to be able to process 2ppm in 24hrs.

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ZmyDust
1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

You want ammonia to be able to process 2ppm in 24hrs.

Thanks. I guess for something like that- ghost feeding is quite difficult to be precise.  Would you recommend I pick up some of the Dr. Tims ammonia solution, wait for ammonia to drop to zero, dose up to 2ppm ammonia and look for that to disappear in 24 hours?

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Natereef
22 hours ago, ZmyDust said:

Thanks. I guess for something like that- ghost feeding is quite difficult to be precise.  Would you recommend I pick up some of the Dr. Tims ammonia solution, wait for ammonia to drop to zero, dose up to 2ppm ammonia and look for that to disappear in 24 hours?

What are your parameters now?

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ZmyDust
3 hours ago, Natereef said:

What are your parameters now?

2ppm ammonia

1-2ppm Nitrites

0 Nitrates

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Tamberav

I never did the Dr Tim method..never has issues tbh...

 

I just let it sit at 1-2ppm....didnt keep ghost feeding... enough should be rotting in there....then wait for the nitrates to show. Once ammonia hit 0 and I had nitrates rocking and algae showing...did a 50 percent water change and ....cuc went in.

 

The food causes extra nutrients like po4 ect but I couldn't care about it...too low of po4 just causes corals to struggle and dino. Your water change at the end takes a bunch out anyways.

 

I actually have Dr Tim's now but only because it came with a bunch of other stuff I bought as a group 😛

 

You can do it either way. Tim's might be easier since you actually have instructions to follow and I mostly just use visual cues and don't test much.

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ZmyDust

Just letting it do it’s thing. Finally showing nitrates!  I’ll be out of town for a few days next week but hoping the ammonia and nitrites are gone and it’s ready for some livestock in a week. We’ll see!

 

Also got Jebao RW-4 wavemaker. It’s great so far. Definitely does it’s job. 

 

Who thinks I’ll struggle with high nitrates with this much rock?  Obviously need excellent flow. Not opposed to a second Wavemaker to replace the Koralia 600. It doesn’t seem to move much vs. the RW-4. 

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