Back to the basics.... Cycling a new tank...

Troylee

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We all know there is numerous ways to cycle a tank... I my self always just add live rock from current system... What have you found to be the best and fastest way???? My current tank I used mb7 and a few pieces of live rock and never experienced a cycle at all.. Share you tips and tricks... Shrimp, damsels in distress etc....
 

Kataro

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I found that using live rock (especially one that hasn't been out of water too long) work the best when combined with MB7.

When I started my tank, I got the live rocks. The trip home was about 40 minutes so there was quite a bit of die off, so I cook the rocks in a seperate container for about 1-2 months. So whatever died have time to repopulate. And when I set up my new tank I try to get the rocks into water as quickly as possible. Don't think my nitrate was ever higher than 5ppm throughout the whole cycle.
 

fab1971

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just added some bio digest and mb7 to the tank full of sand and base rock. It was ready after only a few days time.
 
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Troylee

Troylee

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Keep them coming guys I would love to stick this thread for our newbs not much Info in there forum....
 

fsu1dolfan

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Good question - Actually i was wondering if anyone uses bacteria to jump start it and which they prefer. I saw Bio Digest mentioned. What about Bio Spira, SuperBac, Fritz etc.
I cant even remember which i used when i first started but live rock definitely helped!
 
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Troylee

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i was guilty of the damsel thing myself on my first tank.... they all survived and became terrors down the road when i added more fish lol... must have been pay back!!!!
 

Harry_Y

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Put in the Live rock, then go find another hobby to do while it cycles.

I always suggest that people with Reef tanks need a second
hobby to keep them away from the tank so it can do it's thing.
 

slice

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My first SW tank, some 20+ years ago, when undergravel filters with airstone lifters was cutting edge tech, all we knew was to start the cycle with damsels. In fact, the LFS back then advised me to also use a condy and a feather duster as well. Never could understand why the condy was always moving, trying to get the heck out of there!!

Back to beginner advice
It bugs me a bit when we use terms that we all understand, but can be confusing to newbies. We all say "the tank has cycled" or "the cycle has finished". We all know what we meant, but others may not. In reality, a tank that "has cycled" or "finished the cycle" is a dead tank.

I try to always say "the cycle has been established". The nitrogen cycle never ends...hopefully.
 
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Wy Renegade

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Here's an excellent article on "soft-cycling your tank" by a friend of mine.

Originally Posted by spanko

SOFT CYCLE
Now let’s talk a little about uncured rock. Rock taken right from the ocean, whether from an established reef or from an area that has had dry rock dropped into it with the goal of establishing it as live rock. This uncured rock comes to the retailer fresh from the ocean and is then shipped to local fish stores or in some cases direct to the aquarist with all of the life and the subsequent death on it. Some fish stores may turn it into cured rock hoping to get the higher price that cured rock demands. Or they may sell it as uncured rock. Some aquarists may put it directly into their aquarium to “cycle with” or they may cure it outside of the tank so that they can use it later. Some may cure or use it to cycle their tanks as noted above in a hard cycle where no consideration is given to how high the ammonia and nitrites get. This hard cycle kills off some if not most of the life on the rock they paid a premium to get. Remember it is less costly than cured live rock, however it is more expensive than dry rock that can be used in our tanks and just seeded with a pc. or two of live rock.
Soft cycling is a method by which the attempt is to retain as much life as possible on the nice live rock you paid a premium for. It starts the same as a hard cycle, get a glass box, add some substrate if desired, add the live rock and the saltwater. Here is where things change though. During a soft cycle the aquarist is advised to run the filters, skimmers, lights. He\she is also to monitor ammonia on a daily if not twice per day basis and if the ammonia is shown to rise to a reading of .5 they are to immediately perform a water change. And every time thereafter when they see a reading of ammonia at .5 boom, another water change. Keep the skimmer cup emptied, Keep the filter floss, pads etc clean. Do everything they can to keep ammonia below that magic .5 reading. Because you see. Live rock contains ….. er…..well…..life. And in a soft cycle we are trying are hardest to keep that life……um……live! You would be amazed at the life that will flourish under these conditions. Sponges, feather dusters, snails, plant, corals, worms, pods etc. etc. etc. all of the things that we are trying to replicate in our small glass boxes. All for a little more work and a little more expense, to get closer to a small system that more resembles the ocean that it originated in.
Soft cycling is not for everyone. Some of us require a more antiseptic looking reef tank. But for those of us that wish to observe life as it exists, both the good and the bad, soft cycling may be something that you want to look into on your next, or even first setup.
Thank you for reading, I hope I have given some a little information to think about.
 

Maximus

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Here's my recipe that has worked for me on numerous occasions:

1. Rock (live or dead)
2. 1-2 prawns (let it decompose and supply the ammonia source)
3. Seed rock (if you are using dead rock)

After 2-3 weeks., all cycled!
 

Dave3112

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I just do more frequent water changes on my 220 and use the water from it to put in my new tank. I just set up a 125 for my wife and used Marco rock , Caribbean direct sand and water from my 220. I'm going to add some LR from the 220 to kick start the coraline algae before I add much else but it is cycled in less that a week.
 

Monroereef

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Use BioSpira. That is the only thing I know that works. I have used it both for fresh and saltwater with great success.
 

Tabasco1

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Nice write up on soft cycling. I am planning on getting live rock from Tampa Bay Saltwater shipped in water to preserve life. Could be hype but I'm buying into it. I'll let y'all know how it goes.
 

Reef Breeders

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I think damsels really help cycle. I wait a week or two, in my first tank I waited a month, then if they last a week or so, other fish are good. I personally think that its better than sitting in petco for weeks until someone feels sorry for them and puts them in a refugium. Nasty fish, my blue damsel bit my snowflakes, and that was it. I scared him into a piece of lr trying to catch him, and hes been gone well over a month.
 

Wy Renegade

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I think damsels really help cycle. I wait a week or two, in my first tank I waited a month, then if they last a week or so, other fish are good. I personally think that its better than sitting in petco for weeks until someone feels sorry for them and puts them in a refugium. Nasty fish, my blue damsel bit my snowflakes, and that was it. I scared him into a piece of lr trying to catch him, and hes been gone well over a month.
Hhhhmmm . . . interesting. So just to be clear here, you actually are promoting dumping living animals into a tank of potentially toxic chemicals just to see if they can live for a week? You do realize that exposing these animals to high levels of the toxic products of the nitrogen cycle in order to push the "cycling" of the tank significantly shortens their life span? And you're ok with that?
 

bmac16

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i have just about finished the cycle of my 40B using pure ammonia on day 1. i waited until the ammonia was at 8ppm and started dosing mb7. i am at 3 weeks and 4 days and my cycle is just about finished. ammonia .25ppm nitrite 2.0ppm nitrate 80+. no fish harmed and relatively quick and powerful cycle
 

Reef Breeders

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I test water first of course, I dont just dump them in. I add buffer, trace elements, etc. I might have left that out, and sounded like an animal torture (lol) but I wouldnt dump any fish in unless the params at least looked good. You can never be entirely sure the water is safe, you would rather put a canary in the mine first, or a damsel before a $500 tang, right? Im just saying that it is much better to run the small risk if death with a four dollar fish that is a real b$&[email protected] in the long run than a fish you know and have had for years.
 
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Troylee

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even with params in check your making a living fish suffer!!!! thats what a cycle is all about... the ammonia spikes "most will die here" survivors then go through a nitrite spike "kills more" then it's neutralized by nitrates.....not good man there is a ton of ways to do it now a days without sacrificing fish....
 

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I have never lost a fish during a cycle, like I said, I wait at least 2 weeks to a month before adding the fish. That whole time Iam running carbon and biological filtration. If that doesnt have the cycle ready to be kickstarted (the biomedia comes from a mature tank) than nothing will. I check params the whole time daily, and if the the ammonia rises above .5 ppm I assure you the damsel is temporarily removed. They are hardier fish than people give them credit. How else can you know a tank is safe before adding a fish? I dont want to put in a clownfish pair and hundreds in coral to find out that something that cannot be tested for killed my prized sensitive coral. With a damsel you can see this early and do everything in your power to fix it. For example, white flashes infidicating stress, or piping. If this occurs I remove the damsel and put him in my fuge. I then run double carbon and perform a 50% wc, and wait a few days before he goes back in. Im not just throwing a fish in to see if he dies, although that can happen, but it very rarely does. I dont purposly aim to kill a fish to cycle a tank. And I dont see anyone opposing feeder fish. You feed a fish to another knowing it will die, or you have the fish cycle a tank, running the small risk of death. I have never heard of a different method that works as well. If you can give me one that I can trust on a $500 fish, then I would like to hear it, really, Im open to suggestions, but adding a "canary" first is one of the best working methods that I have heard of, although slightly enethical.
 

Complaining about the cost of aquarium equipment when you pay large sums of money for coral & fish..

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