72h cycle and avoiding the ugly stage

sixty_reefer

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Some of you may have noticed that of late I have been fairly interested in nutrients and nutrition and how all this affect our systems, in this thread I will be attempting to cycle a system in 72 hours or less and demonstrate how the understanding of nutrients can avoid the ugly stage all together with the lights to make things more interesting
Folks saying that the ugly stage is “normal” is just something that has been normalised for far too long, we shouldn’t have to deal with all this nuisances in the beginning of such a great hobby.
Many are left dealing with nuisance algae growing out of control, diatom blooms that last for months, dinoflagellates outbreaks that discourage folks in carry on with the hobby and Cyanobacteria that smoother all tank surfaces.
I firmly believe that together we can change the trend and aid folks enjoying their systems without having to spend months looking at something that could of been avoided from day one.

my goal with this will be to demonstrate that nutrient management and understanding can go a long way avoid this all together, we should have to rely only on CUC to minimise the so dreaded and normalised ugly stage.

this experiment is set to start just after Xmas due to space for a new tank, if anyone would be interested in starting a small system to demonstrate they’re way to avoid the ugly stage are also welcome to post they’re progress :)
 
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Ron Reefman

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Interesting to follow.

I've switched tanks many time over the past 20+ years. Probably more often than not, I have had no 'ugly' stage. But I usually am moving rock and some water forward to the new tank. I always do a thorough washing of the sand.
 

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Watching.

I'm starting a new tank over xmas and the plan was to cycle for 1 week with Dr Tim's bottled bac/ammonia, then put some live rock and sand in from my old tank and start raising nutrients by feeding and dosing Brightwell NeoNitro and NeoPhos. Once NO3 and PO4 matched the old tank (20 ppm, 0.1 ppm), I'd transfer everything else.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Interesting to follow.

I've switched tanks many time over the past 20+ years. Probably more often than not, I have had no 'ugly' stage. But I usually am moving rock and some water forward to the new tank. I always do a thorough washing of the sand.
On this experiment I will try and emphasise how ammonia mismanagement can be the route cause of all nuisances during the so called ugly stage, I’m planing on starting with all dry sand and rock to create a system that most can identify with.
My intentions are to miss the usual slow cycle process and add phosphates, nitrates and carbohydrates from day zero allowing for heterotrophic bacteria to colonise the system in the first 24 hours. The following mints I will be using nutrients to stimulate the nitrifying autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria to strip the system from available ammonia this should eliminate any nuisance to take place in the first 6 months including diatoms.
I’m a strong believer that folks that got the blue thumb are just better at managing ammonia from day zero like yourself, transferring good bacteria from tank to tank wile allowing nutrients to be at desired levels are just one beneficial part for ammonia management.
 
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Watching.

I'm starting a new tank over xmas and the plan was to cycle for 1 week with Dr Tim's bottled bac/ammonia, then put some live rock and sand in from my old tank and start raising nutrients by feeding and dosing Brightwell NeoNitro and NeoPhos. Once NO3 and PO4 matched the old tank (20 ppm, 0.1 ppm), I'd transfer everything else.
That is a good plan although I am going to attempt to show a different way, my aim is to not waste time with the usual nitrogen cycle that we do for autotrophic bacteria I particularly find it pointless as past the usual nitrogen cycle they have little impact on ammonia management, my goal is to stimulate nitrifying heterotrophic bacteria from day one instead that is a more efficient bacteria at dealing with ammonia the main issue with stimulating heterotrophic bacteria is that during the first few weeks of a system they will be limited in nutrients to populate the tank surfaces and water column. The idea will be to use nitrates phosphates and organic carbon (usually not available in a sterile tank) to create a cycle that is more identical to a mature reef.
Carbon will play a major role during this experiment as I find it to be key in ammonia management and improving the rock and biodiversity maturity time to at list half of the expected
 

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On this experiment I will try and emphasise how ammonia mismanagement can be the route cause of all nuisances during the so called ugly stage, I’m planing on starting with all dry sand and rock to create a system that most can identify with.
Sounds like fun! Will you be adding a fish to produce ammonia then? How will you determine that the tank is “cycled “ ?
 
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sixty_reefer

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Sounds like fun! Will you be adding a fish to produce ammonia then? How will you determine that the tank is “cycled “ ?
I feel that it would be safe to add fish on day 2 although being a test I will just use the 2ppm ammonia conversion I’m 24 hours that most agree on as a guideline to see if the tank is managing ammonia as i believe it will. If the test is favourable then ill be adding fish to mimic a normal set up in preparation of part two that is avoiding the ugly stage with nutrients.
 

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I feel that it would be safe to add fish on day 2 although being a test I will just use the 2ppm ammonia conversion I’m 24 hours that most agree on as a guideline to see if the tank is managing ammonia as i believe it will. If the test is favourable then ill be adding fish to mimic a normal set up in preparation of part two that is avoiding the ugly stage with nutrients.
I’ve never added ammonia on purpose to any of my tanks to cycle them. At least not in the liquid form that’s popular.

Just started another tank last month. I “cycled” it Pretty close to the way you’re describing above.
 
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I’ve never added ammonia on purpose to any of my tanks to cycle them. At least not in the liquid form that’s popular.
Same as you, although as a experiment it seems to be the guide line now days to illustrate that a system is
Just started another tank last month. I “cycled” it Pretty close to the way you’re describing above.

I’ve seen a few folks adding nutrients to create some equilibrium at the beginning off the cycle and they seem quite successful although most ignore the C N P triangle that is required to fully manage ammonia in the months that follow the initial cycle, once the light is turned on many photosynthetic organisms start to compete for ammonia giving a false idea that ammonia is being managed solely by bacteria. Regular addition of a slow release carbon source will hopefully illustrate that part.

did you had a diatoms bloom in your system?
 
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Some of you may have noticed that of late I have been fairly interested in nutrients and nutrition and how all this affect our systems, in this thread I will be attempting to cycle a system in 72 hours or less and demonstrate how the understanding of nutrients can avoid the ugly stage all together with the lights to make things more interesting
Folks saying that the ugly stage is “normal” is just something that has been normalised for far too long, we shouldn’t have to deal with all this nuisances in the beginning of such a great hobby.
Many are left dealing with nuisance algae growing out of control, diatom blooms that last for months, dinoflagellates outbreaks that discourage folks in carry on with the hobby and Cyanobacteria that smoother all tank surfaces.
I firmly believe that together we can change the trend and aid folks enjoying their systems without having to spend months looking at something that could of been avoided from day one.

my goal with this will be to demonstrate that nutrient management and understanding can go a long way avoid this all together, we should have to rely only on CUC to minimise the so dreaded and normalised ugly stage.

this experiment is set to start just after Xmas due to space for a new tank, if anyone would be interested in starting a small system to demonstrate they’re way to avoid the ugly stage are also welcome to post they’re progress :)
Thanks for doing this!!!!
 
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sixty_reefer

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Yes, very light dusting on the crushed coral substrate. Cleared up in a few days.
Diatoms is one of the nuisances that I will try and avoid, I believe that it can be skipped altogether
 

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Diatoms is one of the nuisances that I will try and avoid, I believe that it can be skipped altogether
Good luck and I hope it works.

I just set up a 40g aio cube yesterday. It's a diy tank with 3/8" glass and a Tenacor aio insert. It has a 4" filter sock and a 900gph return pump that is currently running at the lowest speed just to circulate water. The sand was old but washed. The water was 30g new and 5g from my other tank which got a 5g water change. I'm still working on a rockscape and waiting for lockline fittings for the return pump. The return pump is in, but just putting water into the tank with a 3/4"id hose.

The water is very clear right from the start. No cloudy tank. I think the washed, wet sand and pouring the water into the tank on a dinner plate to prevent stirring up the water is why.

I have lots of things on my agenda today, but I'll be back at it on Friday. I'll be moving corals, anemones and other critters from a 40g breeder aio tank. About 25% of the corals are new frags that arrived last evening from AquaSD.
 
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Good luck and I hope it works.

I just set up a 40g aio cube yesterday. It's a diy tank with 3/8" glass and a Tenacor aio insert. It has a 4" filter sock and a 900gph return pump that is currently running at the lowest speed just to circulate water. The sand was old but washed. The water was 30g new and 5g from my other tank which got a 5g water change. I'm still working on a rockscape and waiting for lockline fittings for the return pump. The return pump is in, but just putting water into the tank with a 3/4"id hose.

The water is very clear right from the start. No cloudy tank. I think the washed, wet sand and pouring the water into the tank on a dinner plate to prevent stirring up the water is why.

I have lots of things on my agenda today, but I'll be back at it on Friday. I'll be moving corals, anemones and other critters from a 40g breeder aio tank. About 25% of the corals are new frags that arrived last evening from AquaSD.
Thank you, all the best for your build :)
 
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Useful experiment and hope it reveals some helpful conclusions. I think there are several ways to avoid a punishing ugly phase and they vary depending on the equipment and resources available to an individual. I’ve always taken a more natural approach because I’m located on a clean sub tropical coastline.

What I like about your proposal is the emphasis on controlled additions. I suspect most encounter problems due to uncontrolled addition of nutrient and light.

Look forward to seeing how this progresses.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Useful experiment and hope it reveals some helpful conclusions. I think there are several ways to avoid a punishing ugly phase and they vary depending on the equipment and resources available to an individual. I’ve always taken a more natural approach because I’m located on a clean sub tropical coastline.

What I like about your proposal is the emphasis on controlled additions. I suspect most encounter problems due to uncontrolled addition of nutrient and light.

Look forward to seeing how this progresses.
Thank you, the ideology behind this test is my understanding of how all nutrients are interconnected, from the same I believe I may have identified a crucial missing point in cycling that could not just speed the cycle time but also avoid the ugly stage due to it being so limited during a tank cycling.
Although I gave myself 72 hours the final results may be much less than that. I will perform a small test before the cycling test just to look at that point in more detail. Just waiting on a few items to be delivered
 
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As for my first test I am intending to in a 2 gallon tank add the following:

Bare tank with flow and heater

2 gallons of new water 10% from my tank to add beneficial bacteria

5ppm of nitrates

0.05 ppm phosphates

0.1 to 0.5 grams carbohydrate from seaweed (natural DOC)

the idea I have is to add 2ppm ammonium chloride and evaluate the time that the bacteria needs to oxidise that concentration of ammonia. I’m expecting it to oxidise the ammonia in under 24 hours in those conditions.

what I’m looking in this test is to evaluate if the limitation in DOC is the culprit in slowing down the cycling process and if the presence of the same will speed it up.

once I have enough data from test 1 I will proceed with cycling a system using the same process as test one although I will include dry rock and dry sand and evaluate if by adding the correct nutrients from day one we can skip the cycle and avoid common nuisances to apear skipping the “ugly stage” by giving the beneficial bacteria all they need to thrive.
there will be more test later including adding nuisances like dinoflagellates, Cyanobacteria and nuisance algae purposely as long as i can get hold of them, the idea is to evaluate if a system that can effectively oxidise ammonia starve this nuisances.
This should illustrate that biodiversity means little to our systems in comparison to the importance of bacterioplankton nutrition.
 
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brandon429

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wanted to add: if a non digital test kit says it took 3 days to clear, that's not what a digital test would read. can u get a hanna meter/seneye for once? all our testing is based on the lag times of non digital kits, it'd be nice to see digital readouts and timing, for once

we all have been misinformed grossly on ammonia clearance times because testers believe absolutely anything an api or red sea kit says.


hanna/seneye= clears in a few hours vs days in active systems.
 

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where I got the notion that there's a delay between digital and non digital ammonia kits:

the thread about dosing ammonia into running systems, all on seneye, and they clear in 10 minutes. its twelve pages of the same pattern of clearance times over and over

There is no time in history API cleared an ammonia dose in ten minutes, ergo/lag. We aren't getting truth in cycling off api or red sea, only digital kits. we're getting estimates of truth from non digital kits.
 

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