Bottled bacteria vs live rock

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rueric

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Generic question but wanted to see if there are any really successful reef tanks out there that started completely from all dead/dry rock with bottled bacteria.
My tank is coming up on the 1 year mark but I'm seeing seeing minimal coral growth and my alk rises even without dosing.

From a similar thread on this forum, it looks like folks in similar situations have added live rock from KP and started to see a big improvement.

My question then is, was my use of microbacter 7 to cycle my tank not enough bacteria? Should I add some other bottled bacteria to get me the "live rock" effect?
My concern with getting live rock is all the pests that hitch hike onto the rock. Plus, my tank is small, 32g so trying to find a pest free live rock seems like overkill if I can solve it from a bottled bacteria.
 
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Generic question but wanted to see if there are any really successful reef tanks out there that started completely from all dead/dry rock with bottled bacteria.
My tank is coming up on the 1 year mark but I'm seeing seeing minimal coral growth and my alk rises even without dosing.

From a similar thread on this forum, it looks like folks in similar situations have added live rock from KP and started to see a big improvement.

My question then is, was my use of microbacter 7 to cycle my tank not enough bacteria? Should I add some other bottled bacteria to get me the "live rock" effect?
My concern with getting live rock is all the pests that hitch hike onto the rock. Plus, my tank is small, 32g so trying to find a pest free live rock seems like overkill if I can solve it from a bottled bacteria.
i usually do 2-3 different bacterias usually do micorbac7, biospira, and drtims every day add one of each just running the wavemakers and return pump no filters no carbon no socks just let it soak into the rocks i usually run little or no light aswell
 

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Generic question but wanted to see if there are any really successful reef tanks out there that started completely from all dead/dry rock with bottled bacteria.
My tank is coming up on the 1 year mark but I'm seeing seeing minimal coral growth and my alk rises even without dosing.

From a similar thread on this forum, it looks like folks in similar situations have added live rock from KP and started to see a big improvement.

My question then is, was my use of microbacter 7 to cycle my tank not enough bacteria? Should I add some other bottled bacteria to get me the "live rock" effect?
My concern with getting live rock is all the pests that hitch hike onto the rock. Plus, my tank is small, 32g so trying to find a pest free live rock seems like overkill if I can solve it from a bottled bacteria.
you can get a successful tank with dry rock and bottled bac, but its much faster and easier if you use liverock.
 
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jda

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You need more than bacteria if you are looking to replace live rock. Worms, sponges, algaes, mini starfish, pods, etc. don't come in bottles (well, some pods do come in bottles, but not all of them).

Am not a pro on this, but read plenty of compelling stuff that the gut bacteria from your fish is more comprehensive than what is in a bottle... so if you have been feeding fish for a while, you probably have all of the bacteria than you will need.
 

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Both of my tank are using dry rock or a life rock ( also considered as dry ). Having success with both of them. It took a while for it to mature. My water parameters are stable on my recently established tank, but I’m deadline with slight cloudy water. Which isn’t affecting corals. Had this happened in my main tank as well. Bacteria eats up alkalinity in your tank. So a rise in alkalinity might mean your tank doesn’t have a stable population of bacteria.
 
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ReefGeezer

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It's not at all about the simple denitrifying bacteria that everyone focuses on at the beginning of a cycle that determines the success of your tank. That's true no matter what bottled bacteria marketers tell you. The real source of success when starting with or adding real live rock is the diversity of life it contains. Not just nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, but a host of other organisms, including other bacteria, that help process nutrients and/or become part of the food web.
You can get there with dry rock, but it will take a long time. AND... it will not be sped up by adding bottled bacteria. I would add live rock (or even corals) anytime before some unknown bottle of "bacteria".
 
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rueric

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I've used biospira as well, I'm considering getting some dr. tims too to add
Both of my tank are using dry rock or a life rock ( also considered as dry ). Having success with both of them. It took a while for it to mature. My water parameters are stable on my recently established tank, but I’m deadline with slight cloudy water. Which isn’t affecting corals. Had this happened in my main tank as well. Bacteria eats up alkalinity in your tank. So a rise in alkalinity might mean your tank doesn’t have a stable population of bacteria.
How long is "a while" to mature.
And what is your definition of mature?
Coming up on the 1 year mark for the tank, I feel like my tank is far from being mature, battling rising alk, GHA, etc.
I've got specs of coralline algae growing, but not much.
If it's a waiting game, I'm willing to play, but my concern is if the bottled bacteria I've used doesn't contain the right strains of bacteria, then my tank will never reach that equilibrium.
 
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JoJosReef

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Agree with the above. I understood bottled bac to just get you quickly through the nitrogen cycle, i.e. no ammonium. But then dry rock is a blank canvass for anything to occupy, which tends to be nuisance algae, and lots of it. I started with dry "LifeRock" and then added gulf rocks and watched it improve.
 

Koh23

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Nothing in bottle can replace living thing.... For now....

Start with dry rock, throw something to rot in tank..... And get few small rock from established tank, or even better fresh live rock.....

From nothing to various life forms it take some time, but only thing u need to do is seed it, and be patient to life spreads trough the tank...

I got 3 snails...yes, 3.... Put them in tank, newer to be seen again for month or two.... From "looook i have a snail, it's alive" to " my god, there's milions of them" it takes few months, but you will get there...

Same excitement when i saw first copepod, now, who cares, i know they are there... ;)
 
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I've used biospira as well, I'm considering getting some dr. tims too to add

How long is "a while" to mature.
And what is your definition of mature?
Coming up on the 1 year mark for the tank, I feel like my tank is far from being mature, battling rising alk, GHA, etc.
I've got specs of coralline algae growing, but not much.
If it's a waiting game, I'm willing to play, but my concern is if the bottled bacteria I've used doesn't contain the right strains of bacteria, then my tank will never reach that equilibrium.
For my tanks they don’t like high bio load which I noticed in reduced cloudiness, it didn’t really affect the nutrients in my tank. I started with 2 fish and add one every other week till I got 5 fish in a 20 gallon. I noticed that everytime I reduced a fish my tank would clear up ( it has only 3 fish now ). I was dealing with low alkalinity while having barely any corals and an algae issue while my parameters were consistent. It’s been a year now and I feel like everything is stable on my main tank. Algae growth has been reduced massively by reducing the bio load.
 

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I've used biospira as well, I'm considering getting some dr. tims too to add

How long is "a while" to mature.
And what is your definition of mature?
Coming up on the 1 year mark for the tank, I feel like my tank is far from being mature, battling rising alk, GHA, etc.
I've got specs of coralline algae growing, but not much.
If it's a waiting game, I'm willing to play, but my concern is if the bottled bacteria I've used doesn't contain the right strains of bacteria, then my tank will never reach that equilibrium.
I started my last tank with dry rock, Fritzyeme, and some live rock. It is now 15 months old and nearly mature. BUT, I added more live rock and live rubble rock, copepods, cheato, and other life along the way to help. It has been an ugly trip so far. My next tank will be started with 100% live rock.

Maturity to me means that the system processes all the forms of nutrients in a manner that keeps pest algae and bacteria at bay and creates a complete food web for the life in the tank.

Think of all the life in a tank as either nutrient users or nutrient producers. In a mature tank, these two categories of life are fairly balanced.

No bottle of bacteria will contain the "Right Strain" because there is no such thing.
 

Koh23

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Speaking of various life.....

For some time now, i newer see those little brittle starfish, that was first thing u gonna get when add frag from anyone tank....

But lately, not a single one appears in my tank, and i get frags, rock and stuff from various sources.....
 
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ReefGeezer

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Nutrient users include: Bacteria, sponges; tube worms; sea squirts; clams; corals; and algae of all kinds.
Nutrient Producers include: Fish, snails, crabs, and starfish

Nature will always make sure there is a balance.... the trick is to create the balance with the organisms you desire not what nature provides.
 

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I am a strong supporter of diversity. Use products in a bottle, actually use two or three different bottled products. Also add live rock. ... Also use some volume of already established WATER.

We recently had Eli Meyer from AquaBiomics give an overview at our club meeting. We had good discussions on these topics. My Ah-Ha was there are different Surface based bacteria and Water based bacteria. Therefore the old school technique of adding some "used" water from an established tank, Plus live rock, add different diversity.

April PNWMAS Meeting - Eli from AquaBiomics​


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Mperry622

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I'm on my first saltwater tank. It's been up and running on week 4 now. I clearly did not know how much live rock costs and the places around me to get it where I can get it in water and bring it to my house is minimum $9 a pound if I buy 10 or more lbs.. I decided to take the plunge and I invested $400 in select live rock. Love the way it looks. I've never gotten more enjoyment than coming home from work and sitting in my chair directly in front of the tank and just watching the life. My only concern is is I'm on week 4 and I've never seen my ammonia Spike or my nitrates.. I literally just tested my water I am running 8.1 pH. 1.026 salinity my tank is at 80.9f. is it possible with all the live rock I started with and bacteria I used to bypass the spikes all together? I have a 55 gallon acrylic tank running a fluval 4. I started with two damsels one of them killed the other when he decided to own the entire tank. I just have cleaners right now a red ghost shrimp and three blue hermit crabs.

My first post sorry if it's disorganized I appreciate you guys..
 
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I'm on my first saltwater tank. It's been up and running on week 4 now. I clearly did not know how much live rock costs and the places around me to get it where I can get it in water and bring it to my house is minimum $9 a pound if I buy 10 or more lbs.. I decided to take the plunge and I invested $400 in select live rock. Love the way it looks. I've never gotten more enjoyment than coming home from work and sitting in my chair directly in front of the tank and just watching the life. My only concern is is I'm on week 4 and I've never seen my ammonia Spike or my nitrates.. I literally just tested my water I am running 8.1 pH. 1.026 salinity my tank is at 80.9f. is it possible with all the live rock I started with and bacteria I used to bypass the spikes all together? I have a 55 gallon acrylic tank running a fluval 4. I started with two damsels one of them killed the other when he decided to own the entire tank. I just have cleaners right now a red ghost shrimp and three blue hermit crabs.

My first post sorry if it's disorganized I appreciate you guys..
live rock doesn't usually need to cycle because it's already established. Sometimes there is dieoff but if not then the tank is good to go.
 
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