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

Wy Renegade

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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.
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.
So basically the cycle usually past ammonia and halfway through nitrites when I throw him in......
anemonekeeper, these posts clearly show that you don't fully understand the nitrogen cycle and you haven't done enough research. Lets start off with a basic look at the nitrogen cycle. In our aquariums, the nitrogen cycles (or cycling) begins with the presence of ammonia and bacteria within our tanks. That ammonia can be introduced in the form of ammonia itself (either directly by the hobbiest), indirectly through the introduction of live organisms (your damselfish) which produce waste that contains ammonia, or through the biological breakdown of a dead organisms (such as a cocktail shrimp). The aerobic bacteria within the aquarium (either introduced by the hobbiest via "living" sand or rock, or the addition of "used" aquarium water, or having arrived on their own from spores in the air) begin the process of converting the ammonia (NH3) into nitrites (NO2-). Both ammonia and nitrites are toxic to fish at the high levels they are present at during the cycle; so when you say that introduce your damsel halfway through the nitrite portion of the cycle, you are in fact deliberately choosing to expose a fish to toxic chemicals and are therefore choosing to torture that living organism. While the toxicity of the toxins present may not be enough to cause instant death, they are chronic and research has shown that exposure at less then deadly levels is chronic and significantly shortens the life span of the fish in question. You are also clearly showing that you do not understand how this process works. Once nitrites are present in the system, there is no need to "kick start" the cyle as you put it, the cycle is clearly already underway. All one needs at this point in patience, which you evidently lack. The "cycle" is typically completed when the nitrites (NO2-) are further converted by aerobic bacteria into nitrates (NO3-), and a large scale water change is completed to remove the end products (nitrates) from the aquarium. While in truth the nitrogen cycle at this point is not complete the portion of the "cycle" we are primarily interested in at this point is considered complete.

Comparing the use of a damsel to cycle a tank to the old school practice of using a canary in underground mines to determine the presence of toxic gases or the use of feeder fish to feed other fish is absurd IMO. The canary was used to insure the safety of human miners; you are in no danger of dying because of a cycle in your tank, there is no comparison. The feeder fish are being used to serve the purpose of feeding other fish, again there is no comparison to you choosing to use a damsel because you are too cheap or too lazy to use a chemical test kit to determine the nitrate and ammonia levels are a zero.

To say that you can never be 100 percent sure that the water is completely safe for living organisms without potentially sacraficing another living organisms is also incorrect. Chemical test kits clearly show when the levels of these toxic chemicals have reached zero and when it is completely safe to add a living organism without inflicting any harm to that organism.

I find your advice and your continuing to give such advice to be poorly thoughtout and childishly stubbord. FWIW, I don't hate you for giving poor advice, I simply desire that you spend some time research and learn a better way to do things.
 
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beaslbob

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One of the things on cycles most don't IMHO seem to understand is that the dangerous ammonia and nitrIte spikes are not necessary.

If you setup the tank with plenty of plant life (FW plants Salt macro algaes even corraline algae) and let that life get established and thriving, there will be no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes when fish are first added.

What I do is after a week of plants I add a very low bioload like only a couple of male fish. the don't add food for a week. And finally add a female and start feeding a single flake per fish per day. (can be done with mollys on saltwater).

There are no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes and the fish never are stressed in anyway.


just my .02
 

Wy Renegade

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One of the things on cycles most don't IMHO seem to understand is that the dangerous ammonia and nitrIte spikes are not necessary.

If you setup the tank with plenty of plant life (FW plants Salt macro algaes even corraline algae) and let that life get established and thriving, there will be no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes when fish are first added.

What I do is after a week of plants I add a very low bioload like only a couple of male fish. the don't add food for a week. And finally add a female and start feeding a single flake per fish per day. (can be done with mollys on saltwater).

There are no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes and the fish never are stressed in anyway.


just my .02
Indeed allowing macro algae to fully establish and reduce those levels to zero would allow that to happen, however to insure that those levels are none harmful, you need to test and make sure they are at zero. IMO
 

johnanddawn

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One of the things on cycles most don't IMHO seem to understand is that the dangerous ammonia and nitrIte spikes are not necessary.

If you setup the tank with plenty of plant life (FW plants Salt macro algaes even corraline algae) and let that life get established and thriving, there will be no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes when fish are first added.

What I do is after a week of plants I add a very low bioload like only a couple of male fish. the don't add food for a week. And finally add a female and start feeding a single flake per fish per day. (can be done with mollys on saltwater).

There are no ammonia nor nitrIte spikes and the fish never are stressed in anyway.


just my .02
i agree there is no need for a hard cycle and i will add that i add corals bfore fish - it has always been my belie that one should have a functioning ecosystem with bacteria. plants, rock, and some corals before fish are ever added. and then fish added slowly over time
one can avoid all the issues of amm and no2 with some simple forethought and started with the simplest organisms first and working up the line slowly
 

Reef Breeders

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Ohhh, you think I use the damsel to START the cycle. I do not do that, I put him in when the nitrite level is below 1 to test for excess toxins that may effect other fish long term. Damsels show clear signs of stress early, like I mentioned. I dont throw them in when ammonia and nitrites are high, halfway through the cycle means when nitrites are down to 1 or lower. The damsel tells me if there is anything that cant be tested, as I also mentioned. If he does show excess stress, I pull him out, test the water, and do a 50% wc. I have never used a damsel to start the cycle, only to complete it and make sure everything I cant test is at a safe level for the long run.
 
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Troylee

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Fwiw the worst thing you can do is change the water while the tank is cycling... Let it run it's course after a complete cycle do a wc.;)
 

Reef Breeders

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Really? I always thought that was good for remove nitrites and trates and anything that cant be tested. Im no expert, I really only had to cycle two or three tanks.
 
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Troylee

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It slows down the cycle and would make it start
Over....
 

Reed639

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I cycled my tank with Live Rock,Live Sand, and also Special Blend. I highly reccomend you cycle your tank with live rock and live sand.Hopes this helps.
 

Wy Renegade

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It slows down the cycle and would make it start
Over....
Hhhhmmmm, not sure I agree here Lee. The purpose of cycling is to build bacteria levels of at least two, possibly three, different kinds; those that convert ammonia to nitrite, those that convert nitrite to nitrate, and those that convert nitrate to nitrogen gas. Most people traditionally "over cycle" their tank. In other words they build up huge bacteria population based on large amounts of decaying organic matter. Once that decaying organic matter is gone, the bacteria population begin dying out. When fish or other livestock are then introduced into the tank, the bacteria levels without our tanks standardizes around the amount of wastes that are being produced from a combination of factors, the waste produced from the fish, the left over food we feed, etc. Populations of bacteria will fluctuate based on availability of nutrient sources, just as populations of cyanobacteria, nuscience algae, and invertes such as feather duster worms will. Therefore reducing nutrient levels throught the cycle by doing partical water changes to insure that spiking nutrients doesn't truly slow down the "cycling" process or require that it restart, it simply reduces the population at which those bacteria are stabalizing. Thus requiring that the hobbiests be far more careful about introducing livestock in large numbers so as not to overwhelm the existing bacteria populations and cause what many refer to as a mini cycle. A mini cycle is truly nothing more than an overabundence of nutrients that the populations of already existing bacteria have to increase in order to deal will.
 

johnanddawn

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Fwiw the worst thing you can do is change the water while the tank is cycling... Let it run it's course after a complete cycle do a wc.;)
i disagree - this is a common misconception is cycling
what you need to understand is you are cycling the system not the water. bacteria develop on surfaces and can quickly multiply to meet the inputs of the system. changing water during cycling can help keep the NO3 and PO4 levels down as the bacterial colonies develop
excess end product nutrients in the water will simply result in algae growth when you begin to add nutrients to the system
 

barbarag

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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!
What do you mean by seed rock
 

megisawesome06

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Following. This is super interesting! My tank was already established when we got it. I'm going to set up a QT though, and I assume it needs to cycle as well?
 

brandon429

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it will follow the same rules as other tanks

if you use cured substrates and xfer them correctly, skip cycle. every reef i ever had online was a skip cycle reef by simply using live sand, live rock, and no api ammonia test kit.
 

Fontana92117

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Just ready through this. I am also wondering what MB7 is, i am assuming its something similar to the product BioSpira that was mentioned earlier?

I am currently in the newborn phase of my tank. I purchased Live Rock from a local hobbyist who was breaking down his tank. The rock looks to be covered in coraline algae and no visible pests (aiptasia, etc). I purchased new bag of live sand and I have had the rock and sand in the tank for just over a week now. My water is brand new, but the rock is established, or was established prior to me taking over. I have no idea how to gauge how much die off their was when i transferred it from his tank to my house.

I have not done the "add a piece of dead table shrimp" to the tank to begin the cycle. Should i with the established rock? Can i just continue to do water tests and wait for nitrites to be zero and nitrates to be low?

I tried to read through as much as i could before asking questions but couldn't find the exact answer. Any info would be great.
 

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