A thread tracking pure skip cycle instant reefs, no bottle bac

ConchLife

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Hi @brandon429, I have a 4 month old Fluval Evo 13.5 with fish, corals and CUC in it.

I'm currently in the process of setting up a new Red Sea Reefer 250 and I'll be using new sand and probably Caribsea Life Rock.

My question is, for the transfer, can I add all of the rock from the Evo into the sump of the 250 and then instantly transfer all fish, corals and CUC?

Thanks
 
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brandon429

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yes because adding dilution doesn't press the remaining biofilter more, it presses it less and within two weeks of being in the mix the inert surfaces will take on enough filter bac to pull all loading.

one of the main reasons skip cycle tanks work so well is because the live rock is beyond the surface area needs for a tank and it's placed right in the display, where waste is emitted/this is fast contact low traverse time in solution in the water column

when the active surface area is sequestered down in a sump the swirling water in the display doesn't contact it as often, so it's not ideally placed. your bioload didn't increase, and your dilution did more than threefold, so it's not likely to give an issue. it will for sure skip cycle if you put them up front in the display spread out for normal contact and then remove them later, or even better: add in some coralline-cured live rock to the display just a few more pounds would be solid start and transfer all the items to the new surfaces in short order.
 

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Just wanted to stop by and say that this thread has been a huge revelation for me. I'm just about to set-up a new Waterbox AIO Peninsula 15 Gallon. I will be following the methods described in this thread and will provide updates.

I plan to do the following in order:

1) Start the tank with live rock from LFS - will only be buying rock that visually has been live for years (ie. covered with coraline and/or other life). I will be aiming for around 10 lbs.

2) Will add AF Bio Sand

3) Will add Corals (Softies & LPS only), mostly plugs/frags

4) Monitor and test parameters. Hoping to be able to add fish (3 max) and a couple of shrimp in 4-6 weeks

Will definitely be back to update! Thanks again and let me know your thoughts on this plan :)

Just wanted to provide an update:

November 21
Went to LFS and bought 19 lbs. of live rock. About 15 lbs. of that rock was covered in coraline and very visibly had sponges, tube worms, starfish, leather coral, etc. on it.

Went home and put live rock in a bucket of saltwater from LFS + a pump + heater.

Ended up just getting 20 lbs. of Caribsea live sand. Washed it thoroughly for about 3 hours until the water was running clear.

November 22
Tank (15g Waterbox Peninsula AIO) arrived

Set up the tank and once it reached temperature, dropped in all the live rock. I only put about 15 lbs. of sand in the tank.

Drip acclimated a banded serpent starfish (about the size of my hand) that was a hitchhiker.

November 23
Shipment of corals arrives in the afternoon - a total of 15 frags and 1 trachy. Pictures below. These corals include: Montipora, Chalice, Cyphastrea, Monticap, Favia, Zoas, Hammers, Ricordia, and rainbow Trachy.

I floated the bags for 30 mins, then drip-acclimated them for 1 hour.

November 24 & 25
No activity, just moved the trachy and some frags around. Minor adjustment to directional flow in the tank.

What's Next?
Second shipment of corals are arriving in a week along with my test kits. Will test water parameters then and also do a water change.

Tank was set-up and corals put in 24 hours later. Everything looks amazing, all corals are open and fluffy and I am very happy with the progress so far.

Will provide an update again in about a week.

Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 5.01.45 PM.png Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 5.01.33 PM.png IMG_7079.jpeg Screenshot 2023-11-25 at 4.57.38 PM.png
 

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brandon429

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@Macbalacano

had you seen other skip cycle manuals before you made your tank purchases? Curious if the pet store mentioned the option to you
 

Macbalacano

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@Macbalacano

had you seen other skip cycle manuals before you made your tank purchases? Curious if the pet store mentioned the option to you

No not really. This is technically my third time setting up a reef tank. First time was 15 years ago when live rock was basically your only option. 3 years ago I started a tank with almost all new rock and went through all the ugly stages - algae, cyano, dinos etc... and did everything to combat it - different nutrient export methods like Chaeto, GFO, tried using vibrant and chemiclean, bought more and more clean up crew, tried different bottle bacterias, seeding with Pods, looked at UV, doing long blackout periods, tested water very thoroughly with fancy test kits, dosed different additives, gosh the list goes on and on.

This go around, I really wanted to reflect on all the experience and knowledge I've gained on reefing over the years. Then I stumbled across your article and a Reef Builder's YouTube video on a 1-day nano tank. Combining my personal experience + this thread + that video = solidified in my head that setting up with mature live rock in a couple of days was possible and the preferred way to go.

I went to 3 different LFS. I didn't really explain what I was doing to any of them as I didn't really want to get into a debate. However they all agreed (since I was looking for live rock) that cycling would be much shorter - but it was clear they still thought I should wait several weeks until putting in fish and coral.

To me this go around is a bit of a science experiment, but loving the process and looking forward to sharing the experience with everyone.

We need must break the cycle (pun somewhat intended) that most new reefers continuously fall into and one that the whole industry is all too happy to put us on to sell us more 'stuff' to solve our problems which are conveniently caused by them. We can save people so much frustration, heartache, pain, and $.
 
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brandon429

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That’s a perfect summary of the state of cycling. The notorious partial ammonia reading we’ve all seen for non digital test kits (ran both on cycled and aged tanks) means different things to different people

how we see just that one detail controls all we think on cycling

and mini cycling

or when no cycling occurs, if that’s able to be attained consistently or if it’s a fluke occurrence


what divides us and holds back the evolution of cycling knowledge is the lack of reliable digital ammonia testers available to the masses, how cycling works in our minds is directly tied to the ammonia readings we see in person and posted online contrasted against the status of the actual tank members (which is why we did not use testing here: we don't need testing to verify skip cycling when cured rocks are involved)


Just this morning in an active thread, one of our practiced chemists on the site was warning people in stark caution about the dangers of skip cycling, stating that it's a false premise.

it's not possible to be at page 12 all safe cycles based on false science.

threads like this will continue to evolve and test claims from the old days. All entrants to every MACNA display setup/reef a palooza etc are practiced skip cycle masters for getting their tanks in and out of the convention on time, carrying a hundred thousand dollars of delicate stock. Old cycling science adherents will always state those tanks were on the verge of death=uncycling and we will always know here they're set as long as they want to run. there was no timeframe for their convention cycle just like every cycle here is ready to go long term.

The only possible risk we face in skip cycling has nothing to do with the actual cycle: it's skipping fallow phase disease preps that is the risk.
 
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Mikeltee

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I think a fun experiment to this thread would be how much dry rock can one get away with. I just read the first thread and it was 50/50. I recently redid my main display and used dry rock only. It sprung a leak so I bought a 40g breeder to hold the fish. It's now in my office and I have a spare Hydra 52. I could do an experiment with it. I considered adding some rock from my lfs to my freshy cycled dry rock but it was just covered in manjano so I passed. I'd grab a chunk and 20# dry rock to throw in my soon to be empty 40 just for the sake of science. I wouldn't risk killing a fish but I'd throw some cheap coral in there. What's a good ratio of dry rock/ lfs cycled rock to test?
 
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I have never seen anyone have too little live rock in a display to carry the intended bioload / of course a ping pong ball size is too low probably but people don’t use that degree they always at least put a few in the display and that’s enough, for fish.

corals only aren’t a test because they’re not bioload to a system they’re neutral load. The actual surface area of the corals are filters and count as skip cycle surface area. They don’t emit measurable ammonia loading as well

Do a fish, it’s not a risk. We don’t want any degree of non digital ammonia testing here/this is a testless thread/ so use a fish it’s not going to hurt anything

have the live rock portion in the display mixed in with the dry, not in a sump
 

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I have never seen anyone have too little live rock in a display to carry the intended bioload / of course a ping pong ball size is too low probably but people don’t use that degree they always at least put a few in the display and that’s enough, for fish.

corals only aren’t a test because they’re not bioload to a system they’re neutral load. The actual surface area of the corals are filters and count as skip cycle surface area. They don’t emit measurable ammonia loading as well

Do a fish, it’s not a risk. We don’t want any degree of non digital ammonia testing here/this is a testless thread/ so use a fish it’s not going to hurt anything

have the live rock portion in the display mixed in with the dry, not in a sump
Sounds good. There is no sump. I have a fluval FX4 on it that I picked up for $75. It actually came with 2 of them and a brand new spare pump. It doesn't pull Phosphates and Nitrates so I just ordered a Aquamaxx Bullit 3 for it too which is a HOB skimmer. I'll keep the canister becuase it does a good job at mechanical filtration and can be used as a reactor. I never have anything sit for more than a few minutes on the bare bottom. I'll pull the matrix for the experiment. I have several more fish that need to make it into the display. I'll be able to start in a few weeks. I'll report back. I'm going to shoot for a 25lr/75dr percentage.

I understand that lfs lr isn't that much more expensive than dr. Some people don't have the luxury of grabbing much of it from a lfs or they want to use mainly fancy fake rock shapes. I live in a big city and it's rare to see 100#.
Screenshot_20231203_114215_Facebook.jpg
 

ConchLife

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yes because adding dilution doesn't press the remaining biofilter more, it presses it less and within two weeks of being in the mix the inert surfaces will take on enough filter bac to pull all loading.

one of the main reasons skip cycle tanks work so well is because the live rock is beyond the surface area needs for a tank and it's placed right in the display, where waste is emitted/this is fast contact low traverse time in solution in the water column

when the active surface area is sequestered down in a sump the swirling water in the display doesn't contact it as often, so it's not ideally placed. your bioload didn't increase, and your dilution did more than threefold, so it's not likely to give an issue. it will for sure skip cycle if you put them up front in the display spread out for normal contact and then remove them later, or even better: add in some coralline-cured live rock to the display just a few more pounds would be solid start and transfer all the items to the new surfaces in short order.
Thanks Brandon. I'll add the live rock to the main display.

This is the plan then...

New tank has 20kg of dry rock in it plus sand, I'll fill it full of new saltwater and get it up to temp.

I'll then transfer all of the rock over from the Fluval Evo and transfer corals, fish and CUC (assuming it's ok to do immediately?).

Does any acclimatisation need to happen? Floating bags? Drip acclimating? Thanks.
 
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The sand needs to be cloudless pre rinsed to do the transfer right

Because water clarity after transfer matters in tracking cycle control, we don't want sand clouding masking up the first few days post transfer assessment

Only temp and salinity need to match for sure it'll work great

And in twenty days the inert surfaces will have taken on free bacteria and be fully cycled independently

All new water in the new tank, just put rocks right over nice and centered it will 100% for sure skip cycle transfer.
 

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For much more detailed updates, please click on the "My Tank Thread" badge under my picture.

Just wanted to give you all the latest summarized updates:

Water parameters after tank has been set up for about 1.5 weeks and here are the results:
Salinity: 1.026
Magnesium: 1470
Nitrates: 2-2.5
Calcium: 500+
Alkalinity: 159
Phosphate: 0.16

Added 20+ frags, redid the rockscape, dipped all corals, added a powerhead, cleaned the glass, updated light settings. Will be putting the frags on rocks in the next few days.

Looking to add fish and inverts in about 3 weeks.

Here are the latest photos:

91846C4D-927D-41FC-A2C2-81CA3FAC2733_1_102_o.jpeg

5E2DD1E2-5A90-44D9-AE88-F1F8D4387FBF_1_102_o.jpeg

4F98B9EB-51DB-4D22-A4FF-C395D95632C4_1_102_o.jpeg

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0A6EDF6F-E315-403C-9E71-8FE1AAA255A0_1_102_o.jpeg
 

Ben's Pico Reefing

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Just to add some updates. I recently just transferred the live rock from my one 1 gallon to another 1 gallon due to lighting issues and needing different lid. Added new sand to tank as well. This was done Monday and will be updating log later today. No bottle was added after transfer.. Water was also 100 percent changed which doesnt hold much value anyways on bacteria. Will be adding a bit more sand this week or next.
 

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For much more detailed updates, please click on the "My Tank Thread" badge under my picture.

Just wanted to give you all the latest summarized updates:

Water parameters after tank has been set up for about 1.5 weeks and here are the results:
Salinity: 1.026
Magnesium: 1470
Nitrates: 2-2.5
Calcium: 500+
Alkalinity: 159
Phosphate: 0.16

Added 20+ frags, redid the rockscape, dipped all corals, added a powerhead, cleaned the glass, updated light settings. Will be putting the frags on rocks in the next few days.

Looking to add fish and inverts in about 3 weeks.

Here are the latest photos:

91846C4D-927D-41FC-A2C2-81CA3FAC2733_1_102_o.jpeg

5E2DD1E2-5A90-44D9-AE88-F1F8D4387FBF_1_102_o.jpeg

4F98B9EB-51DB-4D22-A4FF-C395D95632C4_1_102_o.jpeg

2BF3AE81-79DD-4547-BF96-89E1493ED607_1_102_o.jpeg

0A6EDF6F-E315-403C-9E71-8FE1AAA255A0_1_102_o.jpeg

Folks, could not resist and ended up pulling the trigger (2 weeks ahead of schedule) and grabbed two Clownfish and two Blood Red Fire Shrimp yesterday. The tank just turned 2 weeks old. They have already been eating in the tank and seem to be settling in well. Here is some current tank shots

Screenshot 2023-12-07 at 2.38.56 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-07 at 2.39.22 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-07 at 2.40.00 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-07 at 2.39.46 PM.png
 

DarkReefer

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Will be attempting to essentially skip a cycle with my new build, but will still be taking it slow nevertheless just in case.

I currently have approx 2kg of marinepure bio spheres that's been sitting in the sump of my existing tank for the past 2-3 months gaining bacteria.

I'll be using new caribsea special grade sand (approx 100lb of it and hoping it will be enough, might be a little light but we'll see).
New Java Rock for 2/3 of the scape and mixing up my own saltwater using Quantum Mixed Macro Probiotic salt.

Method will be;
Once new rockwork and sand is in the tank
Add Saltwater slowly over approx 2-4 days (I only have 2x 190ltrish drums 1 to mix salt and one to keep RO and require probably a bit under 800ltr all up) due to having to make new RO as I go.
Add in the marine pure spheres, likely add additional 2kg worth as well and allow the system to just run
After a week to 2 weeks I'll add in my existing rockwork & livestock.

Whilst I expect the tank to be more or less able to go straight away from the bio spheres & liverock that will be added. I still don't want to rush things and potentially regret it later. Keeping the other tank going for an extra week or two is no biggy.
 

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Will be attempting to essentially skip a cycle with my new build, but will still be taking it slow nevertheless just in case.

I currently have approx 2kg of marinepure bio spheres that's been sitting in the sump of my existing tank for the past 2-3 months gaining bacteria.

I'll be using new caribsea special grade sand (approx 100lb of it and hoping it will be enough, might be a little light but we'll see).
New Java Rock for 2/3 of the scape and mixing up my own saltwater using Quantum Mixed Macro Probiotic salt.

Method will be;
Once new rockwork and sand is in the tank
Add Saltwater slowly over approx 2-4 days (I only have 2x 190ltrish drums 1 to mix salt and one to keep RO and require probably a bit under 800ltr all up) due to having to make new RO as I go.
Add in the marine pure spheres, likely add additional 2kg worth as well and allow the system to just run
After a week to 2 weeks I'll add in my existing rockwork & livestock.

Whilst I expect the tank to be more or less able to go straight away from the bio spheres & liverock that will be added. I still don't want to rush things and potentially regret it later. Keeping the other tank going for an extra week or two is no biggy.
You should be fine, i transferred all mine in a day - its been going just over a week so far and all is looking good. Starting to get a little algea on the glass like normal.
 

ConchLife

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Just wanted to provide an update. On Wednesday morning I transferred everything from my Fluval Evo over to my Red Sea Reefer 250 (rock, corals, fish and CUC). The only things left behind were sand and water. I ensured that the temp, salinity and alk were as closely matched as possible between the two tanks. The new tank had new sand (thoroughly rinsed) and a lot of dry rock.

Everything has gone really well, all fish, corals and CUC are happy. Starting to see a dusting of diatoms on the new rocks and sand and I've had to scrape the glass today. Added 2 new fish yesterday and 2 new corals today but I worry about going too fast so I'll leave it alone for a few weeks now in terms of bio load.

I know this thread has had some 'what's so revolutionary about this?' type comments but to someone like me that is relatively new to the hobby and was quite nervous about doing this, it's been really helpful so thanks.

I did have someone in a fish shop yesterday telling me that it was 'quite an old fashioned way of doing it' and he wanted me to dump a bottle of bac in...I refused.

All parameters are good, phosphate a little high.

Thanks everyone, especially @brandon429.
 

ConchLife

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Did see 0.7 nitrates on Friday (Hanna checker) but it's been 0.0 for a few days, I'm starting to wonder if my bioload is actually too small. No ammonia detected on the Seachem Ammonia Alert thing.
 

Macbalacano

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Did see 0.7 nitrates on Friday (Hanna checker) but it's been 0.0 for a few days, I'm starting to wonder if my bioload is actually too small. No ammonia detected on the Seachem Ammonia Alert thing.

Interesting, I've been holding consistently at between 2-5 Nitrates (testing with Salifert) with my two clowns as well. I've been feeding 2-3 times a day, mostly with frozen brine (they're picky!).

I was surprised that the nitrates have stayed fairly low, but just assumed that's how it is with well-established rock. Will be interesting to see how your tank progresses as well with nutrients.

Have you got a full tank photo to share? Very curious about your setup!
 

Mixing an (un)intentional concoction: Do you know what you are adding to your reef tank?

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