Cycling a new aquarium with fish

jaythenoob

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Hey! I just got a new aquarium (36gal) that has been up and running for 2 weeks with live rock and live sand. I was getting my params tested by my lfs and 3 days ago they gave me the go ahead to add a pair of clowns.
They told me to NOT do a water change for another 4 weeks.

however I know my tanks cycle is not done yet so I’m going to go out and buy a master test kit.

THE QUESTION:
At what point during the cycle do I do my first water change? Should i just not do a water change regardless of what my parameters are? If I see ANY ammonia should I do a water change? How much should I change?
Please help ty:)
 

WIReefer

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Hey! I just got a new aquarium (36gal) that has been up and running for 2 weeks with live rock and live sand. I was getting my params tested by my lfs and 3 days ago they gave me the go ahead to add a pair of clowns.
They told me to NOT do a water change for another 4 weeks.

however I know my tanks cycle is not done yet so I’m going to go out and buy a master test kit.

THE QUESTION:
At what point during the cycle do I do my first water change? Should i just not do a water change regardless of what my parameters are? If I see ANY ammonia should I do a water change? How much should I change?
Please help ty:)
If you see ammonia I would do a large water change since it’s very toxic.
 

BighohoReef

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Test your parameters first. If you have ammonia in the water I'd postpone on adding fish until you get through that portion of the cycling process. As @WIReefer mentioned it's toxic and it'll cause your fish to stress and worse they could get a disease and/or die.

I'm curious did you use and type of bacteria starter like Dr.Tims?

The golden rule in this hobby is to take things slow... rushing leads to some bad results. You are in the right place for help.
 

Chewbacca

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If you just set the system up the you are still cycling don’t change water at all don’t and expensive fish yet either. Get a small damsel to help with further cycling. Get you test kit and test every other day is what I do and have done you could use additives to help ammonia but I go natural cycling. I have a 120 gallon cycling Over 3 months now. The bacteria’s needed will come naturally as the system matures. Again I’m in no hurry this is how I set up. GOOD LUCK
 
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jaythenoob

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Test your parameters first. If you have ammonia in the water I'd postpone on adding fish until you get through that portion of the cycling process. As @WIReefer mentioned it's toxic and it'll cause your fish to stress and worse they could get a disease and/or die.

I'm curious did you use and type of bacteria starter like Dr.Tims?

The golden rule in this hobby is to take things slow... rushing leads to some bad results. You are in the right place for help.
I already bought them on the LFS go ahead they said my parameters were good after 2 weeks. Then said after I add the two clowns don’t do a water change for 4 weeks. I will update this post with peramiters in a bit. As of right now the clowns are eating and acting normally tho
Also no I didn’t use dr Tim’s or anything they said just use the live rock and sand, I do have API quick start but have not used it yet
 
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BighohoReef

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Ah seems pretty quick but if you had live rock and live sand then you might have a good bacteria population already (every tank is different). I'd just monitor your water to make sure you don't get any ammonia spikes... Keep us posted.
 

LeftyReefer

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Test your water for any signs of ammonia. When/if you get ammonia showing up in your tests, you can simply add some Seachem Prime to bind the ammonia so it isn't toxic for your clowns. Typical dose is 1ml per 10 gal, per PPM of ammonia.

With the live sand, you should be OK, but a good bottle of bacteria might speed up the process.
 
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jaythenoob

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Ah seems pretty quick but if you had live rock and live sand then you might have a good bacteria population already (every tank is different). I'd just monitor your water to make sure you don't get any ammonia spikes... Keep us posted.
Ammonia .25ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 0ppm

note sure what to make of this as my LFS said I have natrate 10ppm
 

brandon429

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I bet you are already cycled two weeks ago.

post pics of these suspect rocks, a quick hashing w occur

fun to predict:
non live rock is typically bone white no growths no pigments no attachments that are alive

fish in a tank with uncontrolled ammonia hover at the top, gasping for air. if they swim about, you have no uncontrolled ammonia and your cycle is done. uncycled tanks kill fish overnite, their wastes compound fast like an animal with no kidney function.

bagged wet sand is already enough skip cycle surface area to pull it off alone, if applicable

post tank pic we weigh factors for live vs unlive solely off pics.
*they have to start reef conventions somehow...400 reefs all start on the same date vs a wildly varying start date where u miss the convention with nonperforming api nitrite or ammonia-how do they approach mass skip cycle events and pull it off 25 years in a row?

*moving live rocks from one tank to another constitutes about 98% of reef convention skip cycles, all tanks align.

if your pics show bone white no confirmation benthic life then wait a month or zap it with bottle bac and itll be ready by Sunday. but if the rock is live by several clear measures, dont buy bottle bac that's a big foul in the trusting bacteria playbook.
 
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jaythenoob

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I bet you are already cycled two weeks ago.

post pics of these suspect rocks, a quick hashing w occur

fun to predict:
non live rock is typically bone white no growths no pigments no attachments that are alive

fish in a tank with uncontrolled ammonia hover at the top, gasping for air. if they swim about, you have no uncontrolled ammonia and your cycle is done. uncycled tanks kill fish overnite, their wastes compound fast like an animal with no kidney function.

bagged wet sand is already enough skip cycle surface area to pull it off alone, if applicable

post tank pic we weigh factors for live vs unlive solely off pics.
*they have to start reef conventions somehow...400 reefs all start on the same date vs a wildly varying start date where u miss the convention with nonperforming api nitrite or ammonia-how do they approach mass skip cycle events and pull it off 25 years in a row?

*moving live rocks from one tank to another constitutes about 98% of reef convention skip cycles, all tanks align.

if your pics show bone white no confirmation benthic life then wait a month or zap it with bottle bac and itll be ready by Sunday. but if the rock is live by several clear measures, dont buy bottle bac that's a big foul in the trusting bacteria playbook.
these are the live rocks. I went to the lfs to see if we would get the same results for water tests, theirs came back As
ph 8.0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

apparently the time I went before they used a different test kit but when I went today they were using the same one as me “api saltwater test kit”

they assured me that it’s ok if the ammonia test has a slight green tint for the salt water test.

I told them I didn’t use any live bacteria and they told me to dos Seachem stability just in case for 7 days.

I also noticed that some brown ish algae is forming on my live rock today. Tested params all came back as 0 ammo,nitrite, nitrate

2D36F76F-1FBA-4D51-84EB-F94697ECAD8D.jpeg 87E22999-8CCA-4EAE-8B08-E64CBFEA96C7.jpeg
 
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FortyFour44

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Cycling a new aquarium with a pair of clowns? Not the best first impression from your local fish store. Hopefully, you have more.
 

Uncle99

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I thought we are all passed the cycle with fish thing.
Speed in this hobby is both deadly and expensive.
Using fish as the ammonia source is just wrong these days.
 
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jaythenoob

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Edit:
i didnt see other posts after yours. Yes, that tank is cycled...
Haha I just saw your comment before in my email, ty for the response, quick question, do you happen to buffer your top off water, my LFS says do it to keep ph stable but people on here say don’t. My ph is 8.0 but my buffer goes up to 8.3. I’m afraid if my top off water is to high a ph the change in ph will kill them, even if I only add around half a gallon every other day.
 

Fishbird

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I would not add the pH buffer.

1) A pH of 8 is an extremely fine pH to have. (Your pH will rise and fall depending on the time of day and your light cycle. That's fine and to be expected.)

2) Adding a pH buffer will raise your alkalinity rapidly. Rapid alk swings are definitely bad for your tank.

3) I think you have good instincts to question the advice your LFS is giving you here. :) I always research to make sure that advice I'm being given is accurate but I am (and I think everybody should be) especially careful when taking advice from people who are essentially advising me to give them money (to buy something to "fix" a "problem". I put "problem" in quotes here because a pH of 8 is just 100% not a problem in the slightest.).

Here's a video on pH.

 
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jaythenoob

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I would not add the pH buffer.

1) A pH of 8 is an extremely fine pH to have. (Your pH will rise and fall depending on the time of day and your light cycle. That's fine and to be expected.)

2) Adding a pH buffer will raise your alkalinity rapidly. Rapid alk swings are definitely bad for your tank.

3) I think you have good instincts to question the advice your LFS is giving you here. :) I always research to make sure that advice I'm being given is accurate but I am (and I think everybody should be) especially careful when taking advice from people who are essentially advising me to give them money (to buy something to "fix" a "problem". I put "problem" in quotes here because a pH of 8 is just 100% not a problem in the slightest.).

Here's a video on pH.

This was a really great vid. So no ph buffer for top offs but it’s my only source for I have right now to get my water change water ph up.
Post a pic showing clownfish here
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Nice confirmations, you are cycled for these reasons, independent from ammonia testing (we can infer your ammonia status off these details)

1. living vs dead fish. even slightly burnt fish from free ammonia show darting, lethargy, hovering sideways at the top. free ammonia is never inconsequential. since your fish swim down low, in the middle, they're getting oxygen bc gills aren't burnt by free ammonia. free ammonia attacks fish gills quickly, lethally.

2. though you have elements of nonlive reef structures, the live portions of rock appear to be caribsea liferock but already aged; pods you mention didnt hitch in on the fish or plastic pieces, they're in the rock. they werent in the bag of sand. there's a 30 page thread called the microbiology of reef tank cycling here in the new forum; that says anywhere benthic animals go, that substrate was already cycled and didn't uncycle getting moved to your home. I can see white fanworm inclusions adhered to the rock; it came from a running tank and was months underwater...due to your pic details. uncontrolled free ammonia will kill all your pods, but they live.

3. But how do we know those chunks of live rock are 'enough'
reason#1. if the active surface area was insufficient, the fish + feed will die in two days it never delays out past a week and then dies due to incomplete cycle

4. your bottle bac has already been tested and found viable, fast. thats in addition to live rock.

5. inherently clean water in the pics. ammonia noncontrol hallmark sign is cloudy water then total loss.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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the going statement in the reef masses is that cycling with fish is bad, but there's a catch. that can't be a blanket statement, its rare that fish-in cycling actually burns fish (we do not accept that ammonia burnt fish act ok...see mariculture and aquaculture data on free ammonia tolerances for fish, its tight, like kidney control is for animals in general)

Ive never met anyone who put fish into a dry setup without using bottle bac. if they didnt use bottle bac, the fish will dart/gasp and die overnite, max 2 days, water cloudy all fouled...a clear crash.

but the reason all these setups are doing fine, and fish never dart or die, is due to the power of bottle bac. I always find it odd that as a hobby we can't let go of old cycling timeframes, but we're ok not downloading songs at 45 mins/5 mb anymore. We're ok with laser fast data, but laser fast cycling NO GO

:)

the proof of your cycle is literally in the results. the risk of fish-in cycling is disease vector, its not a cycling heresy.

***ive never met a single person who tracked a fish-in cycle with a seneye** so that means all the assessments made from api are pure guesstimates. nothing pinpoint whatsoever. using biomarkers from pics beats any current ammonia testing for accuracy/from the thread.
 
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