Cg’s 1 month rapid reef cycle

BRS

LegendaryCG

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Greetings, I’m making this thread at the request of some fellow reefers to discuss my method of maturing a reef tank rapidly. This is not a recommendation to follow anything what I say, just a discussion of my method. As most folks are aware there is a belief that as a tank matures it becomes easier to maintain, and certain organisms will do better. I don’t debate any of this, however I believe there are several things we can do to significantly accelerate this process.

This hobby in the last several years has focused on starting everything sterile as a way to prevent pests from getting into our aquariums. Unfortunately, nature needs competition to keep things in balance, and in a reef tank many of the organisms that we can’t see are involved in helping achieve this. Here’s a picture of a reef tank I started with this method on Jan 4th. The rock structure is dry real reef rock, and the zoa rock in the bottom is the only rock in the tank that came from an established aquarium. This tank has many intermediate to advanced SPS (rainbow acro, california tort, myagi tort, blue stag, WD, montiporas, etc)
842C72AF-CC4A-45B4-A533-E4E131CDE625.jpeg


Step #1
Run your tank empty with fresh water a week to make sure everything is dialed in and working well. We don’t want to need to adjust things once we go live.

Step #2
Fill your tank with rock sand and salt water at proper salinity. Raise temp to about 84 degrees. Add 5ml vinegar, and a dead chunk of shrimp, some GFO to your return, and bottle of bacteria (ones I use are BioSpira, Dr Tim’s, MB7, zeobak).
Increasing temperature helps the bacteria populate faster and the vinegar and shrimp provide a food source for them.

Step 3: After 3 days you can probably remove the shrimp and let tank sit for another 4 days. Measure your ammonia to make sure it’s 0.25 or less, you can then start adding live phytoplankton to the tank.
Live phytoplankton is a foundational food source for pods and filter feeders while helping to control nuisance algaes from taking hold. As a photosynthetic organism it also reduces co2 causing a rise in pH helping to promote calcification to occur.

Step 4: Continue adding phyto every day (around 15 ml) after a week you can seed the tank with pods from a source like Algae Barn. If you have a refugium now is a good time to add macro algae.

Step 5: A week after adding pods you can get another bottle of bacteria (I recommend a different type than what you used previously), and introduce your first fish. If you have any established live rock you intend to use now is the time to add it. If you have A skimmer turn it on 4 hours after you add the bacteria or run it without the cup. Make sure to bring temperature down to your normal temp and I usually remove the GFO now and put in Carbon.

Step 6: Continue on slowly introducing a fish every few days at a time.

Step 7: You should be close to adding a clean up crew around week 3. I recommend an urchin. If you don’t have a coralline source I recommend adding something that has it around this time, your cuc probably will have some on its shell.

Step 8: Week 4 - order an ICP test and make any required adjustments to the water, and start adding your coral.

Congratulations! You should now have a rapidly maturing reef tank that has a large amount of micro fauna and biological diversity that will lead to success.
 
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jamesdomini4

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I loosely followed the WWC/BRS 4 month cycle. The main differences are that my tank is bare bottom, I did not add pods and only added 2 types of bacteria.

I added establishment live rock from a fellow reefer at 6 weeks. I had to run a UV at 1 month when I switched on my lights. I kept the lights off UV running until the tank cleared. Lights were switched on again at 2.5 months together with the UV. I wonder if running UV during the early stages delayed my tank’s maturation process.

I have some coraline algae growth on the rocks.

9065F0C8-0B11-481B-A2F9-DCFF795ED8BB.jpeg


The tank is now a little over 4 months old. The acros I added bleached over 2-3 days. LPS is doing fine. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe I should just give it some more time.


Parameters:
Salinity - 1.025
Alk - 8.1
pH - 8.1
Cal - 470
Mag - 1440
Nitrate ~ 0 - 5 (API)
Phosphate ~ 0 (API)

I have ordered a Hanna phosphorus ulr checker.
 
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I loosely followed the WWC/BRS 4 month cycle. The main differences are that my tank is bare bottom, I did not add pods and only added 2 types of bacteria.

I added establishment live rock from a fellow reefer at 6 weeks. I had to run a UV at 1 month when I switched on my lights. I kept the lights off UV running until the tank cleared. Lights were switched on again at 2.5 months together with the UV. I wonder if running UV during the early stages delayed my tank’s maturation process.

I have some coraline algae growth on the rocks.

9065F0C8-0B11-481B-A2F9-DCFF795ED8BB.jpeg


The tank is now a little over 4 months old. The acros I added bleached over 2-3 days. LPS is doing fine. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe I should just give it some more time.


Parameters:
Salinity - 1.025
Alk - 8.1
pH - 8.1
Cal - 470
Mag - 1440
Nitrate ~ 0 - 5 (API)
Phosphate ~ 0 (API)

I have ordered a Hanna phosphorus ulr checker.
SPS eat pods, and phyto. They also consume bacteria
 
RAP
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LegendaryCG

LegendaryCG

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I loosely followed the WWC/BRS 4 month cycle. The main differences are that my tank is bare bottom, I did not add pods and only added 2 types of bacteria.

I added establishment live rock from a fellow reefer at 6 weeks. I had to run a UV at 1 month when I switched on my lights. I kept the lights off UV running until the tank cleared. Lights were switched on again at 2.5 months together with the UV. I wonder if running UV during the early stages delayed my tank’s maturation process.

I have some coraline algae growth on the rocks.

9065F0C8-0B11-481B-A2F9-DCFF795ED8BB.jpeg


The tank is now a little over 4 months old. The acros I added bleached over 2-3 days. LPS is doing fine. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe I should just give it some more time.


Parameters:
Salinity - 1.025
Alk - 8.1
pH - 8.1
Cal - 470
Mag - 1440
Nitrate ~ 0 - 5 (API)
Phosphate ~ 0 (API)

I have ordered a Hanna phosphorus ulr checker.
0 phosphate isn’t good. API test kits suck so it might be that. But in general you need some phosphates in your tank. Carbon dosing provides a method for your coral To eat bacteria that contain phosphate. I have enough coralline that I need to scrap my glass every day at this point.
 
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LegendaryCG

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I loosely followed the WWC/BRS 4 month cycle. The main differences are that my tank is bare bottom, I did not add pods and only added 2 types of bacteria.

I added establishment live rock from a fellow reefer at 6 weeks. I had to run a UV at 1 month when I switched on my lights. I kept the lights off UV running until the tank cleared. Lights were switched on again at 2.5 months together with the UV. I wonder if running UV during the early stages delayed my tank’s maturation process.

I have some coraline algae growth on the rocks.

9065F0C8-0B11-481B-A2F9-DCFF795ED8BB.jpeg


The tank is now a little over 4 months old. The acros I added bleached over 2-3 days. LPS is doing fine. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe I should just give it some more time.


Parameters:
Salinity - 1.025
Alk - 8.1
pH - 8.1
Cal - 470
Mag - 1440
Nitrate ~ 0 - 5 (API)
Phosphate ~ 0 (API)

I have ordered a Hanna phosphorus ulr checker.
BTW I find running a high alkalinity salt like Red Sea Coral Pro to be very beneficial to helping kick off a tank. The high Alk helps encourage calcification so coralline and Stony corals can establish quicker - although you will want to make sure nutrients don’t bottom out from thr rapid growth.
 

jamesdomini4

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BTW I find running a high alkalinity salt like Red Sea Coral Pro to be very beneficial to helping kick off a tank. The high Alk helps encourage calcification so coralline and Stony corals can establish quicker - although you will want to make sure nutrients don’t bottom out from thr rapid growth.
Unfortunately, my experience with high alk was just the opposite. I had it running close to 11 (with barely detectable nutrients). Any frag that I would introduce would bleach instantly (with in minutes LPS will bubble and attempt polyp bailout).

I got my Alk down to 8 and now LPS frags do fine on introduction. I wonder if going bare bottom changes a lot of these things.
 
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Unfortunately, my experience with high alk was just the opposite. I had it running close to 11 (with barely detectable nutrients). Any frag that I would introduce would bleach instantly (with in minutes LPS will bubble and attempt polyp bailout).

I got my Alk down to 8 and now LPS frags do fine on introduction. I wonder if going bare bottom changes a lot of these things.
My suspicion on that is it was a shock to the coral. You might need to acclimate them up to higher alk.
 

jamesdomini4

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I added some live sand to the sump. It has been there for 2 weeks now. The rocks are now covered in green in all high light areas (appears to be green coralline, no fuzziness to the green). I had a small cyano outbreak immediately after adding the sand, that was solved by running UV for a week (lasted less than a week, maybe it was not the UV).

My nutrients have shot up. Nitrate are around 5 and phosphate is 0.10. Added chaeto last week on a 13 hour reverse photo period. It is producing some bubbles, so I am hopeful it will live. Will do some water changes as well.
 
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LegendaryCG

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Fascinating, I can't see why this wouldn't be a great way to start up a new tank. What is a GFO? You mention adding it to the return?
Many dry rocks have problems leaching phoshates into the tank. Running GFO early on helps remove it and controls algae outbreaks. Some people choose to continue to use GFO, but I don’t. Coral need phosphates but they are bad at acquiring them, they can absorb them indirectly by eating bacteria and pods. This is one of the primary benefits carbon dosing or bacteria additives provides.
 
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