Approach to biofilter start up (rock discussion)

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jabberwock

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I will be starting a 25 gallon lagoon in the next 6 months. Taking my time, spreading out equipment purchases, and waiting for the home remodeling to get done.

After studying a lot of posts here, and some experience... I think it is coming together in my mind. Here is my plan. First, put 1/3 of total rock mass consisting of LFS wet rock in a quarantine/observation tank. Let that sit for a few weeks with flow, maintain temp and feed it lightly. Monitor the parameters. Then add 1/3 total mass of "live" rock from a reputable aqua culturist (add lighting for potential plant/coral hitchhikers). Let that sit for a few weeks with flow, temp and light. Monitor parameters and observe. Remove obvious pests (as best I can).

Assuming all goes well, add some sand (live sand?) and rocks I have been cooking to display tank, and then add some type of biomedia blocks in the back of the AIO (plus mechanical filtration). Feed it lightly, monitor and wait for cycle to be complete and have some semblance of stability before adding fish.

Any input to this plan is welcome. Thanks for looking!
 
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OfficeReefer

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@jabberwock sounds like a plan. I don't think adding the next 1/3 is really going to do much here from what you'll have in the first 1/3. The last 1/3 is going to make the largest difference IF you are using the that first 1/3 and its cured, not just wet. If not, just keep it dark for a month and go about your business. The best is going to be the sump and your micro/miso/macro bacteria biomes.

Check out the most recent BRS Investigates from ReefPalooza this year, Ryan does several on what your doing specifically.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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you're basically taking a known skip cycle approach, and choosing to drag it out weeks. the biomedia is not helpful; your tank doesn't run better or more stable or more safer with it; it's literally a waste of cash. the rock that is skip cycled into the tank can carry all future bioload the tank will ever see on day one that it's added.


the removing of pests in isolation won't help. you bring in more with each addition, and will need ongoing practice removing pests by hand with a fully stocked nano.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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what you're describing is the type of cure time needed for the ocean uncured rocks covered in tunicates and algae tufts.

rock from cured tanks and pet stores are always skip cycle, which means specifically you can't get a safer system more ready to carry corals and fish on day 100 wait vs day 1 / no wait.


here's 100+ skip cycle reefs ready on day one, with no wait, look at how some utilized this opportunity:

if you read the examples, you'll see sps and lps systems built in one day/skip cycle.


your planned build is a skip cycle at the start, and then you're adding skip cycle rocks from the pet store.
 
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jabberwock

jabberwock

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@jabberwock sounds like a plan. I don't think adding the next 1/3 is really going to do much here from what you'll have in the first 1/3. The last 1/3 is going to make the largest difference IF you are using the that first 1/3 and its cured, not just wet. If not, just keep it dark for a month and go about your business. The best is going to be the sump and your micro/miso/macro bacteria biomes.

Check out the most recent BRS Investigates from ReefPalooza this year, Ryan does several on what your doing specifically.
I have seen the video, pretty amazing what you can learn when your job is being a reefer.

So are you saying that I should skip ocean live rock? I thought that would have the most biodiversity.
 
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jabberwock

jabberwock

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what you're describing is the type of cure time needed for the ocean uncured rocks covered in tunicates and algae tufts.

rock from cured tanks and pet stores are always skip cycle, which means specifically you can't get a safer system more ready to carry corals and fish on day 100 wait vs day 1 / no wait.


here's 100+ skip cycle reefs ready on day one, with no wait, look at how some utilized this opportunity:

if you read the examples, you'll see sps and lps systems built in one day/skip cycle.


your planned build is a skip cycle at the start, and then you're adding skip cycle rocks from the pet store.
Thanks for your response, I will read the link you provided. Does the biomedia not increase surface area for more bacteria to grow on? I was choosing to add that in order to create a more minimalist aquascape (less rock).
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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it certainly will not hurt at all to run. *reason for advice: it's one more area to clean. we have zero instances of any display using a few pounds of live rock that wasn't enough to carry the entire bioload easily + all feed and even occasional losses which all tanks suffer. The smallest degree of reef rock is so convoluted and twisted and poky and dead center flow path that no extra help is simply needed, but we'll never get free of the 'little extra can't hurt feeling and it's no harm to add extra surface area, most do.

handy in planning though in a few unapparent ways to know that ammonia is 100% trustworthy to be controlled by natural surface area alone, even in reduced live rock displays. there has never been one instance of a display tank failing to handle normal operating bioload and requiring surface area adding in all reefing.

there's only a series of six million api readings showing partial nh4 activity lol, that does not mean cycles lacked. it means we wish they owned nh3 readers that were digital before remarking on their cycles and by extension, their surface area ability to handle the waste created daily in a tank.

*additional hidden clues

we see daily here in most forums I went on vacation, came home to all dead fish.


*there is no degree of surface area you can pack in that will offset a full fish kill from a velvet wipeout. everyone in reefing packs in six times the needed surface area for daily running, yet 100% of them will go through a full tank cycle if a full fish dieoff happens and nothing will stop it. only being home to remove the dead carcasses before they degraded would've stopped the cascade.

extra surface area really isn't all that helpful until we find a single instance where it would have made a life/death difference in a reef. the main benefit is you don't have to plan for ammonia control where live rock goes, even a small amount. I guess if its a ping pong ball size that's too little and would need a boost. seven, ten pounds? that's skip cycled for 15 tangs / lots of fish lol.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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a full fish kill is literally the only event I've ever seen that caused a display reef to fail to carry it's bioload, not an array of causes, one cause.

in ten thousand analyzed false ammonia panic posts...


I am not counting the person who dumped a bunch of copper meds into the display to cure ich. That doesnt even count lol it's unreasonable. If I replace my saltwater with battery acid, the tank might recycle too lol.
 

Lost in the Sauce

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I have seen the video, pretty amazing what you can learn when your job is being a reefer.

So are you saying that I should skip ocean live rock? I thought that would have the most biodiversity.
No absolutely not. If you have the choice, real ocean live rock is #1. There's no telling how long the wet rock at your LFS has been cooking much less what it's been cooking with.
 

Lost in the Sauce

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a full fish kill is literally the only event I've ever seen that caused a display reef to fail to carry it's bioload, not an array of causes, one cause.

in ten thousand analyzed false ammonia panic posts...


I am not counting the person who dumped a bunch of copper meds into the display to cure ich. That doesnt even count lol it's unreasonable. If I replace my saltwater with battery acid, the tank might recycle too lol.
Ten thousand huh?
 
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jabberwock

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Shipping time = 2 days
15pounds of gulf aquaculture rock
wrapped in wet paper
shipped in the winter time

That is what I was planning. It is funny, four years ago when I set up my first reef the prescribed method was dry rock to mitigate pests, cycle, and then farm algae...
 

beesnreefs

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That kind needs ranging cure times based on shipping details and rock inclusions set from the ocean vs home tanks
Hope this isn’t a bad hijack…. @brandon429 I just started a new 225g system with OceanDirect live sand, live ocean sand from AquaBiomics, and dry rock.

Once the cycle is completed I was thinking of getting 10 lb of KP Aquatics starter rock (shipped in ocean water, not wrapped in wet newspaper) and putting it directly into the sump on arrival (no curing). Bad idea??
 

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Shipping time = 2 days
15pounds of gulf aquaculture rock
wrapped in wet paper
shipped in the winter time

That is what I was planning. It is funny, four years ago when I set up my first reef the prescribed method was dry rock to mitigate pests, cycle, and then farm algae...
Three years ago it was ULNS or Nothing, two years back out was NSA scape or bust... Both kind of crashed and burned.

Live rock from the ocean has been the best option for decades. There is a cost of doing business there. You do need to take some time to remove any potentially uninvited guests. This can be done in many ways. High salinity dips/bottle traps, manual removal of anything you don't want...
 
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jabberwock

jabberwock

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Hope this isn’t a bad hijack…. @brandon429 I just started a new 225g system with OceanDirect live sand, live ocean sand from AquaBiomics, and dry rock.

Once the cycle is completed I was thinking of getting 10 lb of KP Aquatics starter rock (shipped in ocean water, not wrapped in wet newspaper) and putting it directly into the sump on arrival (no curing). Bad idea??
No worries, glad to have the diversity of thought. I would recommend you pull that dry rock out immediately. Algae farm waiting to happen.
 
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jabberwock

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Speaking from experience...

IMG_3393.JPG
 
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jabberwock

jabberwock

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Three years ago it was ULNS or Nothing, two years back out was NSA scape or bust... Both kind of crashed and burned.

Live rock from the ocean has been the best option for decades. There is a cost of doing business there. You do need to take some time to remove any potentially uninvited guests. This can be done in many ways. High salinity dips/bottle traps, manual removal of anything you don't want...
Alright then, new plan. Just pay the extra money and get a few more pounds of ocean live rock. Skip the wet LFS rock and artificial biomedia. Maybe drive to Florida and pick up the rock myself, drive it back home in a cooler with some tank water.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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For heavily uncured rocks, take a kitchen knife and scrape off obvious things not likely to live in a reef, there isnt a requirement to let it all die off internally in the tank, you can surgically pre cure it and remove destined to be lost mass such as tunicates, sponges, algae tufts, various slimes, vermitids, all the things on real live rock

you‘re in it for the bacteria not so much the top growths, cure away, force it with knife surgery and sw rinse till the rock is clean and ready.


those rocks have been tracked on seneye before which really helps to at minimum know if we’re dealing in toxic levels of ammonia even during an unassisted cure and they always pass as ok/within range. So adding a little to a sump isn’t likely a big deal, and an ideal diversity boost, only very bad shipping such as busted open box + sits on Miami tarmac for eight hours etc would be bad
 

beesnreefs

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No worries, glad to have the diversity of thought. I would recommend you pull that dry rock out immediately. Algae farm waiting to happen.
Man sorry about the algae struggles. That’s super not fun.

I’ve planned for it. Tank is being run without lights for first 6-8 weeks. After cycle is complete, I’ll be adding a huge seeding of pods as well as miso-crustacean diversity pack from Indo Pacific Sea Farms (and possibly the live rock from KP Aquatics which will live in the sump without light). I’ll have multiple layers of natural defense against any algae taking over.

Frags eventually added to the tank will be dipped including a diluted peroxide solution.
 
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