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Cycling with live rock??


Dani_13563

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Dani_13563

Hello everyone! I had a question on cycling with partial live rock and sand. If I were to potentially set up my 20g would it be worth it to buy some live rock/live sand? I was thinking of the Tampa Bay “pico package” or the “sand and rox box”. I can’t afford to do a full 20lbs of live rock and sand, so I was hoping a smaller amount would be enough to seed the tank. 

Now for the main question: Would it be better to let the tank cycle with just dry rock and CaribSea live sand using bottled bacteria (I was thinking Fritz) then adding the Tampa Bay stuff once it’s cycled, or would it be better to add the sand and rocks (live and dry) all together at once? If I were to do the former would it double cycle and possibly cause more die off? Could I cycle with just live rocks and sand, then add the dry rock later?

Side question #1: what is your favorite way to add ammonia to a cycle? Piece of shrimp? Fish food? Bottled ammonia?

Side question #2: what is your favorite test kit?

Thank you for reading!

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Airedale.Reef

Short answer: Yes, you can cycle  the live TB rock, as well as the dry rock together. Essentially, the bacteria from the live rock will spread to the dry rock. You could also supplement additional bottled bacteria if you prefer too  (I have used Dr Tims, as well as Bio-Spira).

It would not be double cycle per say, my goal here would be to see if the tank can process the ammonia in a timely manner. Rule of thumb is that if the tank can successfully process 2ppm ammonia in a 24 hour cycle. 

 

Side Question 1: I prefer bottled ammonia. This is quicker, as I do not have to wait for a shrimp to decompose etc., and I know exactly how much ammonia I am dosing.

Side Question 2: If we are talking ammonia testing, I think the general API test kit is fine for this. I prefer hanna testers for nitrate, phosphate, and alkalinity, and Salifert test kits for Magnesium and Calcium.

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Dani_13563
47 minutes ago, Airedale.Reef said:

Short answer: Yes, you can cycle  the live TB rock, as well as the dry rock together. Essentially, the bacteria from the live rock will spread to the dry rock. You could also supplement additional bottled bacteria if you prefer too  (I have used Dr Tims, as well as Bio-Spira).

It would not be double cycle per say, my goal here would be to see if the tank can process the ammonia in a timely manner. Rule of thumb is that if the tank can successfully process 2ppm ammonia in a 24 hour cycle. 

 

Side Question 1: I prefer bottled ammonia. This is quicker, as I do not have to wait for a shrimp to decompose etc., and I know exactly how much ammonia I am dosing.

Side Question 2: If we are talking ammonia testing, I think the general API test kit is fine for this. I prefer hanna testers for nitrate, phosphate, and alkalinity, and Salifert test kits for Magnesium and Calcium.

Thank you for the reply! And thank you for the product recommendations and advice ☺️

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Crawford_T

With the shipped LR you may have enough die off that you wouldn’t need to dose anything. Just set temp and salinity correctly, add light to keep the life on the rock alive and let it sit. 

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Dani_13563
3 hours ago, Crawford_T said:

With the shipped LR you may have enough die off that you wouldn’t need to dose anything. Just set temp and salinity correctly, add light to keep the life on the rock alive and let it sit. 

Thank you for the reply! About how much lighting would macro algae, sponges, and coralline algae need? Full brightness for a few hours or partial light 24/7? Again, thank you for the advice! 😁

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mcarroll
On 6/15/2024 at 1:58 AM, Dani_13563 said:

Hello everyone! I had a question on cycling with partial live rock and sand. If I were to potentially set up my 20g would it be worth it to buy some live rock/live sand? I was thinking of the Tampa Bay “pico package” or the “sand and rox box”. I can’t afford to do a full 20lbs of live rock and sand, so I was hoping a smaller amount would be enough to seed the tank. 

 

I think that sounds fine.  

 

Consider that having the tank "1/3 full" of live rock is sufficient, so using less than one pound per gallon may be perfectly fine.  

 

Also, consider saving your money a little longer and going for the full 20 pounds if that's what you really wanted.  It's worth doing right, IMO, even if that means some waiting.

 

On 6/15/2024 at 1:58 AM, Dani_13563 said:

Now for the main question: Would it be better to let the tank cycle with just dry rock and CaribSea live sand using bottled bacteria (I was thinking Fritz) then adding the Tampa Bay stuff once it’s cycled, or would it be better to add the sand and rocks (live and dry) all together at once? If I were to do the former would it double cycle and possibly cause more die off? Could I cycle with just live rocks and sand, then add the dry rock later?

 

IMO start with the 8 pounds of live rock (if that's all you can pull off with your budget) and see how you like it.

 

You may find that the tank is already about 1/3 full and you'll be satisfied.

 

There's nothing wrong with re-stacking the rock later (but before you add livestock) on with some more dead/base rock if you don't like it though.

 

Follow tbsaltwater's advice on handling your new live rock and sand.....but you will not have to cycle the dead rock this way.  YAY!

 

You should still go slowly when stocking the tank...don't add too much all at once, especially fish.  And wait a week or more between additions, especially fish.  It can be helpful to save fish for last since their feeding causes the biggest "pulse" in ammonia.  Depending on your comfort level, you should begin adding corals as soon as possible.  Don't forget to update the herbivores in your CUC as things progress...they are what prevents algae blooms from happening on that dead rock.  👍

 

 

On 6/15/2024 at 1:58 AM, Dani_13563 said:

Side question #1: what is your favorite way to add ammonia to a cycle? Piece of shrimp? Fish food? Bottled ammonia?

None. You're using live rock.

 

But if you were using dead rock or starting an under gravel filter in the 1980's, you'd care about this. 😉   In that case, unless you have a good reason not to, cycle with the natural method.  It works more or less automatically since nitrifying bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment; they just need 30-40 days on average to multiply up to tank scale.  As long as you are mindful in your stocking (as described above), you can prevent ammonia spikes altogether – this is very ideal.

 

On 6/15/2024 at 1:58 AM, Dani_13563 said:

Side question #2: what is your favorite test kit?

The one you're good at using.  👍

 

I use Salifert mostly, but have used several Hanna and Hach kits ($$$), but I'm not opposed to any brands...Seachem, API, Red Sea, etc.

 

If you're color blind, something digital like the Hana Checkers or the API Spin tester will be preferable for at least some of the tests.

 

On 6/15/2024 at 1:58 AM, Dani_13563 said:


Thank you for reading!

Did you say reading?? 😉 👍 

  • Like 2
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Dani_13563
8 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I think that sounds fine.  

 

Consider that having the tank "1/3 full" of live rock is sufficient, so using less than one pound per gallon may be perfectly fine.  

 

Also, consider saving your money a little longer and going for the full 20 pounds if that's what you really wanted.  It's worth doing right, IMO, even if that means some waiting.

 

IMO start with the 8 pounds of live rock (if that's all you can pull off with your budget) and see how you like it.

 

You may find that the tank is already about 1/3 full and you'll be satisfied.

 

There's nothing wrong with re-stacking the rock later (but before you add livestock) on with some more dead/base rock if you don't like it though.

 

Follow tbsaltwater's advice on handling your new live rock and sand.....but you will not have to cycle the dead rock this way.  YAY!

 

You should still go slowly when stocking the tank...don't add too much all at once, especially fish.  And wait a week or more between additions, especially fish.  It can be helpful to save fish for last since their feeding causes the biggest "pulse" in ammonia.  Depending on your comfort level, you should begin adding corals as soon as possible.  Don't forget to update the herbivores in your CUC as things progress...they are what prevents algae blooms from happening on that dead rock.  👍

 

 

None. You're using live rock.

 

But if you were using dead rock or starting an under gravel filter in the 1980's, you'd care about this. 😉   In that case, unless you have a good reason not to, cycle with the natural method.  It works more or less automatically since nitrifying bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment; they just need 30-40 days on average to multiply up to tank scale.  As long as you are mindful in your stocking (as described above), you can prevent ammonia spikes altogether – this is very ideal.

 

The one you're good at using.  👍

 

I use Salifert mostly, but have used several Hanna and Hach kits ($$$), but I'm not opposed to any brands...Seachem, API, Red Sea, etc.

 

If you're color blind, something digital like the Hana Checkers or the API Spin tester will be preferable for at least some of the tests.

 

Did you say reading?? 😉 👍 

Wow so much information!!! Thank you so much!! And thank you for the reading material! I am an avid reader and would love to check some of this stuff out.

Do you have any CUC recommendations?

 

Thank you for replying! 🫶

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