Beginning my First SaltWater tank this Week!

tutmatt3

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Hey Guys,

Very nice to meet you, and thanks in advance for the tips! I did a lot of reading & a lot of watching & a lot of question asking - and turns out there's a ton of contradicting information. I figure I would just lay out my specifics & seek guidance from the awesome community here!

So I'm beginning a 55g tank this week, and got pretty much the essentials on order. My main questions are regarding curing/cycling (and possibly cooking?)

I ordered 35lb Dry 'live' rock from BRS (reef saver), 60lb Hawaiian black caribsea 'arag-alive' sand, and 10lb marine blue gravel (thought black & blue might look nice, big difference in size I realized though)

I'm in no hurry for live-stock (and not planning coral/reef anytime soon), and just want to make sure to get it right from the get-go. So... here are the questions (in no specific order)
Don't feel you have to answer all of them! I have a lot to ask!!
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1) Is it better to cure the rocks & cycle the tank @ the same time? Or should I have the rocks in their own container while curing?

2) If curing/cycling @ the same time in the tank, should I also add in my 'live' sand & fully set everything up? Then complete a full water change prior to prepping for live-stock. Do I need to fully empty the sand prior to refilling the tank?

3) How often should I do water changes if doing both cure/cycle @ once? How much water to change? If done in separate containers, how much water to change & how often? Does the water need to be salt-water if curing in separate buckets?

4) My plan is to seed the dry rock (since I love starting everything from scratch & watching it develop). When should I add in a small amount of wet live rock from the LFS to begin seeding? After the curing/ after the cycle / or after both?

5) How much wet live rock is required to seed? My thoughts were maybe a small rock or 2? Or should I not seed at all - in fear of introducing hitchhikers, and use another method instead?

6) Are there other methods I should introduce to aid in developing the rocks to become alive? Some people suggested snails, pods, or even a dead uncooked cocktail shrimp?

--

I think those are the main questions I have regarding initial set up. Crazy how much goes into this BEFORE even considering adding fish! I saw there are many products out there that can help you toss in fish ASAP - but I'd rather do it right, rather than introduce a chemical/product that will 'act' as live rock does. Thoughts?

Thanks again for everything guys, really looking forward to this hobby!!
Cheers
Matt
 
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tutmatt3

tutmatt3

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Eeek, sorry forgot 1 that came up:
#7) I saw some people with issues regarding phosphate with this rock. Is that something that would go away in time or possibly with the 100% water change? Or do I need to take some type of measure/precaution to avoid this?

Thanks!
 
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tutmatt3

tutmatt3

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Awesome! Good to know! I figured there shouldn't be too big an issue curing & cycling @ the same time, especially with no fish in there.
A rep @ BRS suggested to avoid tossing in a wet live rock until the curing of the reef saver is done - since it could introduce bacteria I'm trying to get rid of on the RS.

I thought it would be ok to cure wet & live together, which I thought would sooner begin the seeding process, but what do I know!

I guess it'll give the RS more time to gain that film they were talking about.
 

Dapperjman

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I don't have reefsaver rock, but I just used pure Ammonia to start the cycle in my tank after i got my dry rock aquascaped and sand in. I'm sure it cycles faster with some live rock and you also get faster coralline algae growth, but I didn't want any hitchhikers or ich being introduced.

Also, my rock was leaching some phosphates so I did let it sit in heated saltwater a few months prior to putting in the tank. I needed time to finish up my stand and plumbing anyway.
 
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tutmatt3

tutmatt3

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I don't have reefsaver rock, but I just used pure Ammonia to start the cycle in my tank after i got my dry rock aquascaped and sand in. I'm sure it cycles faster with some live rock and you also get faster coralline algae growth, but I didn't want any hitchhikers or ich being introduced.

Also, my rock was leaching some phosphates so I did let it sit in heated saltwater a few months prior to putting in the tank. I needed time to finish up my stand and plumbing anyway.
Got it. So looks like you did 'cure' your rocks separate from cycling the tank. I don't mind either method, just didn't know if one is preferred over the other
 

Dapperjman

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Got it. So looks like you did 'cure' your rocks separate from cycling the tank. I don't mind either method, just didn't know if one is preferred over the other
Well to be honest, they didn't have much on them. I was just trying to cycle the rock in a bin first so it would be a quick cycle once it was ready to go in the tank; however, I let it dry out while finishing up some other things [emoji53] When i hear the word curing, I typically think of purging the rock of dead organic matter. I think either way would work though! [emoji3]
 
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tutmatt3

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Well to be honest, they didn't have much on them. I was just trying to cycle the rock in a bin first so it would be a quick cycle once it was ready to go in the tank; however, I let it dry out while finishing up some other things
When i hear the word curing, I typically think of purging the rock of dead organic matter. I think either way would work though!
Got it! I think I may be confusing the word with 'cooking' then.
I doubt there will be much to be cured on these rocks, since they don't come from the ocean - but I guess cooking adds that bio-film & reduce algae?

So in theory, they would be curing, cooking, & cycling @ the same time if done all in the tank? I guess lights off & a blanket over should help keep it in shade
 
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tutmatt3

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Sorry guys - really hope I'm not spamming here.
So I think I'll be doing everything all at once, and my newest question is:

- Should I add in instant ocean bio-spira & dr tims ammonium chloride during this cycle/curing process?
 

Dapperjman

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Sorry guys - really hope I'm not spamming here.
So I think I'll be doing everything all at once, and my newest question is:

- Should I add in instant ocean bio-spira & dr tims ammonium chloride during this cycle/curing process?
Hopefully you get a few more opinions than mine, but I've personally used both and I would recommend them!
 
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jgvergo

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Hopefully you get a few more opinions than mine, but I've personally used both and I would recommend them!
+1 Bio-spira works great. Nevertheless, it will still take nearly a year for your tank to mature, i.e. grow coralline, have dinos and algae spring up and die back, etc. Patience!
 
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JP79

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I would cycle and cure everything at once. Any issues you have can be dealt with all at once. Slow and steady wins in reefing. Good luck and welcome to R2R.
 

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