Adding crabs and corals before cycle is done

Goose91

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Hey guys, i was wondering if adding a handful of crabs and some corals would help keep the tank healthy and ballanced before my cycle is complete. Cant seem to find a disscussion on this yet. So what are your thoughts? Earliest i can add it in would be about the end of the 2nd week into my nitrate cycle. I already see small amounts of algea on my live rock, and reading other articles, new tanks seem to have a consistent problem of higher calcium concentrations and then others have said they drop down once they have the correct stuff to consume and use said nutrients.
So is addding a hand ful of cleaners and some corrals a good idea at the end of week 2 or am i better of to just wait till my cycle is completed?
 

Brett S

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The reason there hasn’t been any discussion about this is because you simply can’t do it. There’s nothing to discuss.

Coral especially are very sensitive to ammonia. If you try to add things now at best the high ammonia levels from the cycle will damage them and at worst it will kill them.
 
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Goose91

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Im about as green as they come to this, but the live rock looks to be really healthy, but ive got everything brand new, and so even if i dont need to complete a full 30 day cycle, i think it would be best to at least let that bio filter build in my pump/filter hosing.
Also testing daily to watch my levels and keep on top of it and would rather take my time learning lots here before jumping in to quickly and learning the hard way with tank failures.
 

mfinn

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Im about as green as they come to this, but the live rock looks to be really healthy, but ive got everything brand new, and so even if i dont need to complete a full 30 day cycle, i think it would be best to at least let that bio filter build in my pump/filter hosing.
Also testing daily to watch my levels and keep on top of it and would rather take my time learning lots here before jumping in to quickly and learning the hard way with tank failures.
It's not about a set time limit.
It's about what the test kits say.

The bio-filter is in the rock.
 

MnFish1

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Hey guys, i was wondering if adding a handful of crabs and some corals would help keep the tank healthy and ballanced before my cycle is complete. Cant seem to find a disscussion on this yet. So what are your thoughts? Earliest i can add it in would be about the end of the 2nd week into my nitrate cycle. I already see small amounts of algea on my live rock, and reading other articles, new tanks seem to have a consistent problem of higher calcium concentrations and then others have said they drop down once they have the correct stuff to consume and use said nutrients.
So is addding a hand ful of cleaners and some corrals a good idea at the end of week 2 or am i better of to just wait till my cycle is completed?
Im about as green as they come to this, but the live rock looks to be really healthy, but ive got everything brand new, and so even if i dont need to complete a full 30 day cycle, i think it would be best to at least let that bio filter build in my pump/filter hosing. Also testing daily to watch my levels and keep on top of it and would rather take my time learning lots here before jumping in to quickly and learning the hard way with tank failures.
IMHO there is no such thing as a 'full 30 day cycle' (How do you know your cycle isnt complete?) If its 'live rock' - and that has a different definition depending on who you ask - your tank nay be cycled already (in which case you can easily add crabs, etc). How is your biofilter building (i.e. are you adding fish food - or some other ammonia source?). I would check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate - and see where they are. Its difficult to answer whether you can add anything 'now' without knowing some of these details:)
 

najer

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Im about as green as they come to this, but the live rock looks to be really healthy, but ive got everything brand new, and so even if i dont need to complete a full 30 day cycle, i think it would be best to at least let that bio filter build in my pump/filter hosing.
Also testing daily to watch my levels and keep on top of it and would rather take my time learning lots here before jumping in to quickly and learning the hard way with tank failures.
Welcome, patience is one of the keys, ask questions and react to things slowly, try not to panic.
Get the ammonia and nitrite gone, go from there, start a tank journal, it can be useful to look back on if you have a snag?! :)
 
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Goose91

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IMHO there is no such thing as a 'full 30 day cycle' (How do you know your cycle isnt complete?) If its 'live rock' - and that has a different definition depending on who you ask - your tank nay be cycled already (in which case you can easily add crabs, etc). How is your biofilter building (i.e. are you adding fish food - or some other ammonia source?). I would check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate - and see where they are. Its difficult to answer whether you can add anything 'now' without knowing some of these details:)
Also i havent added any boosters/chemicals or food at this point. Just kinds letting the tank do its thing. Other info ended up above yours‍♂
 

MnFish1

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Well on day 2, my ammonia lvl climbed to. 0.25ppm, everything else still at zero, salinty is .35 and ph is only 7.3 that i need to bring up
Curious what kind of test kit are you using? how are you measuring salinity - do you mean 35 (good) - or 1.035 (badO SG? a pH of 7.3 is pretty low. are you sure thats a correct test? Also - how many days has your tank been up - if its been only a day - I would not add anything 'alive' until things are more stable. What kind of 'live rock' do you have - does it have lots of living things on it - or has it just been in a bucket of water for a long time?
 

MnFish1

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Also i havent added any boosters/chemicals or food at this point. Just kinds letting the tank do its thing. Other info ended up above yours‍♂
IMO again depending on what your 'live rock is' - and especially if you add a bacteria supplement such as Fritz 900 - you shoudl be safe to add crabs, snails after 2 weeks. I would not add corals for a longer period. I would get some fish in and thriving first (start small and build your fish population). IME - snails and crabs, hermits, etc - can survive in harsh conditions as compared to corals and fish.
 

Brett S

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Also i havent added any boosters/chemicals or food at this point. Just kinds letting the tank do its thing. Other info ended up above yours‍[emoji3603]
So cycling a tank doesn’t mean setting it up and putting water in it and letting it sit for 30 days. Cycling a tank means allowing the beneficial bacteria grow to a population that will support a living ecosystem.

This cycle can happen in a short time or over a long time, but 30 days is a good average.

However, in order for this bacteria to generate it needs to be fed. If you set up a new tank and put in bare dry rock and dry sand and add saltwater and just let it run the tank could run for 2 years and will still never be cycled. You need to add a source of ammonia to the tank to feed the bacteria.

This could be directly adding ammonia, or adding fish food or even pieces of shrimp from the grocery store which will decay and add ammonia to the tank.

It also could come from your rocks, if you added ‘live rock’. If the rock you got was not dry rock, but wet rock that already had algae and stuff on it, then the rock will help complete the cycle not only by containing a significant population of bacteria to start with, but also by creating ammonia as some stuff on the rocks die off due to being transferred. If you added live rocks that didn’t have a lot of die off then it’s possible that your tank could cycle as quickly as a few days.

The way to tell if your tank is cycled is by adding a source of ammonia daily and testing the ammonia level with a good test kit daily. If you see the ammonia level spike then your tank has not cycled yet. Once the ammonia level comes down to 0 and stays at 0 then the tank has cycled.

In your case, if you added live rock it’s possible that your tank has already cycled, but you won’t know that until you add a source of ammonia and then test for ammonia over several days. If your ammonia levels remain at 0 then you are good to go.

But you need to add ammonia to check to make sure that the bacteria in the tank is processing it. Just testing for ammonia is not enough because a tank set up with dry rock and dry sand will have 0 ammonia and will also never cycle without an addition of ammonia.
 
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Bleigh

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Curious what kind of test kit are you using? how are you measuring salinity - do you mean 35 (good) - or 1.035 (badO SG? a pH of 7.3 is pretty low. are you sure thats a correct test? Also - how many days has your tank been up - if its been only a day - I would not add anything 'alive' until things are more stable. What kind of 'live rock' do you have - does it have lots of living things on it - or has it just been in a bucket of water for a long time?
I wondered about the salinity too.

When I switched to salt, I was adamant that I was going to let it cycle for 6 weeks. I decided to test the parameters, just to have a baseline, and already had nitrates and no ammonia and nitrites. That's why I joined the forum, to see if it was actually possible to have it cycle in less than a week. I never saw ammonia, because I had really healthy live rock and live sand as well as adding some bottles of bacteria. Healthy live rock can totally change the game. Test your levels. When they are down to 0, that's when you can start adding things slowly. May take 3 days, may take 30.
 

brandon429

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cycle ump sez:



this tank is ready - proceed. use it as you would a set of rocks that have been cycled for twenty years.

remember the key detail of live rock: if I cycle live rock in my system till its covered in coralline, that takes months and years not days.

Its cycled. if I then lift out that rock, and move it across the street to Scott's tank, its the same cycled rock. He doesn't have to go through steps 1-9 again.

even if you drive farther, say from the pet store to home with that cycled rock...same outcome. It stays cycled if it stays wet.

You are maturing the rock and electing in and out of various expected algae stages. But the bacteria? done means ready/done/already set/no prep needed/can use/ready yesterday etc

the reason you can add things to your tank is bc the rock is cycled, we can see. Plus we already know its submersion history from your other thread. cycle confirmed.

How to call a cycle off pics, by looking:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-microbiology-of-reef-tank-cycling.214618/
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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great discussion for sure, good microbiology up for analysis here.

google cycling charts show how long it takes nitrifiers to plate onto rocks/surfaces once hydrated.

we know that growing coralline is not a days or weeks venture, but months. ergo, coralline comes well after nitrifiers and the only way to disengage the two is with antibiotic meds, measured and sustained for an entire dose run. in other words- you have to medically engineer a cycle to stall. *introduced in the equation nowadays is painted coralline rocks/liferock

usually they're marked as such/dry when purchased but in case of mis ID between live rock skip cycle/ liferock which does need ramp up time to build bac/ we can look beyond coralline.

Fanworms take longer to adhere to the side of the rock than nitrifiers do.

sponges, same.

any form of attached growth, same. algae / etc.

vermetid worms take longer to adhere than nitrifiers do

worms or pods that inhabit the porous structure take longer than nitrifers to set up shop and be teeming like real live rock is upon visual ID closeup.

The vat the actual rocks sit in at the LFS matters, real live rock has animal castings and casings and shells and parts lol scattered on the bottom and pods scurrying about as you lift up rocks to evaluate. we have several ways to visually ID bacteria we cannot see, by association.
 
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Goose91

Goose91

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The live rock i got was in a large tub with running water at the store, its looks rather healthy, see images above, got about 23lbs for 32g tank and 40lbs of crushed corrall as substrait. Tank is on day 3 for up and running.
Once im home i will re test everything, to give you guys better and more update info. And im not sure on brand of test kits, but the salinity test was with binocular scope looking thing.
 

Brett S

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The live rock i got was in a large tub with running water at the store, its looks rather healthy, see images above, got about 23lbs for 32g tank and 40lbs of crushed corrall as substrait. Tank is on day 3 for up and running.
Once im home i will re test everything, to give you guys better and more update info. And im not sure on brand of test kits, but the salinity test was with binocular scope looking thing.
You can’t really tell just by looking, but it certainly sounds like you might be good to go. As I said above, the definitive test is to add a source of ammonia to the tank and test for ammonia and make sure the ammonia level doesn’t rise.
 
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