Cycling to end with premium live rock, best method?

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BubblesandSqueak

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Why? I don't understand the logic. How can your running tank with all its flow, filtration, and lighting not be the best place for your brand new expensive live rock? There will be minimal die off. You probably won't even get an ammonia spike.
Not ready yet for inverts that are in and rock? (Sea stars, urchins etc....) Some corals, sponges, fauna may die creating a spike? Premium for established, base for cycle.
 

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The cycle is an ongoing thing... thus the word cycle... as in cyclical.

The reason why some don't suggest or want you to use premium rock during the initial stages of the tank is that some things will indeed never be suited for captive life and will die off in time and sometimes very quickly. The best chance of keeping these sensitive things alive is after your tank is cycling well (as in ongoing) and have the most stable enviroment.

People get so caught up in only the first/initial step of getting a tank ready for inhabitants that they thing that the job is done - this is why the D should never be added to cycle since it is never done.

The base rock will have enough thing on it to either process nh4 or use it directly... same with no2. Either way, the levels should be quickly handled. Most think of this as "cycled" but that is as stupid as saying that once a kid is toddling, then they are ready to be a NCAA division 1 track star. As the tank progresses and you get some more stable pH, kH, calcium, etc., then you can add in some premium live rock and have a better chance at more things living if you get some really cool stuff like stony corals, hard to keep crustaceans, etc.
 
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The cycle is an ongoing thing... thus the word cycle... as in cyclical.

The reason why some don't suggest or want you to use premium rock during the initial stages of the tank is that some things will indeed never be suited for captive life and will die off in time and sometimes very quickly. The best chance of keeping these sensitive things alive is after your tank is cycling well (as in ongoing) and have the most stable enviroment.

People get so caught up in only the first/initial step of getting a tank ready for inhabitants that they thing that the job is done - this is why the D should never be added to cycle since it is never done.

The base rock will have enough thing on it to either process nh4 or use it directly... same with no2. Either way, the levels should be quickly handled. Most think of this as "cycled" but that is as stupid as saying that once a kid is toddling, then they are ready to be a NCAA division 1 track star. As the tank progresses and you get some more stable pH, kH, calcium, etc., then you can add in some premium live rock and have a better chance at more things living if you get some really cool stuff like stony corals, hard to keep crustaceans, etc.
You cleared up a lot in that paragraph. And that’s what I want to get to is to the premium. So it’s essentially how much base to cycle with for how long to get to the point of adding premium. Half base, cycle X time, then finish with the other half as premium? If I get the full amount of base rock then I have to do something else with the base to get to the premium.
 

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You cleared up a lot in that paragraph. And that’s what I want to get to is to the premium. So it’s essentially how much base to cycle with for how long to get to the point of adding premium. Half base, cycle X time, then finish with the other half as premium? If I get the full amount of base rock then I have to do something else with the base to get to the premium.
As jda said, there is no "how long" to cycle with base vs premium. Regardless of what type of rock you start with (dry or live), once the colonies of nitrifying bacteria are large enough to quickly process a meaningful amount of ammonia (generally 1-2 ppm) , then it's safe to start slowly adding livestock. If you add too many fish (or if you add something that will have die off) too quickly, the nitrifying biofilter won't be able to keep up and may cause an unacceptable increase in ammonia (this is what people call a "mini-cycle").

That being said, if you don't plan to add any fish, etc for a while, you can start the tank with either base or premium rock - the micro life (bacteria) is the same, but the premium will have more macro life (algae, coral, etc). The premium rock has a bigger chance of having die off (and adding ammonia to your system) since there's more on it. (You'd be curing the premium rock while you "cycle" the tank.) But if there's nothing in your tank (no fish, etc), this ammonia spike won't hurt anything... But you're also potentially wasting money on premium rock if the stuff that makes it "premium" dies...

As for the hitchhikers, you'll need to decide for yourself how you want to handle them... If you're not ok with them in your display then you should put the rock in a bare bottom tank and remove the bad hitchhikers first.
 
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You cleared up a lot in that paragraph. And that’s what I want to get to is to the premium. So it’s essentially how much base to cycle with for how long to get to the point of adding premium. Half base, cycle X time, then finish with the other half as premium? If I get the full amount of base rock then I have to do something else with the base to get to the premium.
More simply put than my last post, if you're ok with possibly losing some of the good stuff that comes in on premium rock, there's nothing wrong with starting off with it.

And if you "cycle the tank" with all base rock and need to make room for premium later, I'm sure someone will be happy to buy it... Just understand that by removing base rock, you'll remove the biofilter you've cultivated, so consider temporarily keeping the base rock in the tank while the premium rock cures.
 

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The base stuff from the ocean is going to have an massive amount more on it than anything that people will get out of bottles of pods and bacteria. The base is more than enough. The premium will have some macros, corals and other things. Most of them die, but not all. If it is worth it for you to try and see if the stuff on the premium will live, then go for it - some cool stuff can come. However, if all that anybody ever gets is the base rock, then they are well ahead because the rock will have sponges, pods, worms, starfish, etc. still on it.

I would describe what you are after without using the term cycle or cycled. The misuse and ignorance around it might lead to some bad advice. If you do plan on getting some premium, then wait for the tank to have a bit of an ecosystem, film algaes and bacteria are there, coralline is starting to grow, life has moved to the sandbed, etc. Maturity to where the whole tank starts to get covered in stuff. If you just say cycle, then some people do not understand the difference between this type of maturity and day X after adding bacteria in a bottle, but the difference is enormous.

If you have rock shipped in water, then a bottle trap can get out most nasty crabs and shrimp. If the rock is shipped in damp paper, then crabs and shrimp crawl out and nearly none survive. They are easy to catch and significantly easier than dealing with dinos, hair algae, etc.
 

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You cleared up a lot in that paragraph. And that’s what I want to get to is to the premium. So it’s essentially how much base to cycle with for how long to get to the point of adding premium. Half base, cycle X time, then finish with the other half as premium? If I get the full amount of base rock then I have to do something else with the base to get to the premium.
I still don't understand what you think is happening when you put the base rock in your tank. What do you mean by cycling? What are you going to do with the tank while it is "cycling"? The rock arrives full of bacteria. [Amended, ignore this and do not take it literally, don't overload your system: It'll handle anything you throw at it if it arrives in water. Ok, don't add a school of tangs, but] back to my point, what do you think is happening for the "cycle X time"?
 
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jda

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The rock will not be able to handle anything that you throw at it. This is simply not true. Even if you don't kill a fish, if you raise ammonia just a touch, you could lose a stony coral or some other sensitive invert on the rock that might have otherwise lived. You can also damage fish without killing them - think of asbestos exposure or mesothelioma for humans when exposed to toxic things with their lungs like fish can get in the early stages of a tank to their gills. You still have to wait for the ecosystem to develop. Since cycles are never done and are ongoing, there is also no such thing as an instant cycle - the idea is just ignorant and I am sorry that a few self-important individuals on this board like to say such things.

Bacteria for fish waste is only a smart part of a real cycle. It is only really ever needed in the beginning when there are no other things to use fish waste directly. These are AOB - ammonia oxidizing bacteria. As things grow and establish, coral, film algae and other bacterias start to use ammonia directly for the nitrogen and the bacteria that people add from a bottle and talk so much (the AOB) about die back quite a bit - they just are not needed as much anymore. They never fully disappear, but they become relegated to the sidelines and clean up with does not get used directly.

As your tank matures, with each cycle, more and more things grow on surfaces and in the water column and most of these are not AOB. If you remove a bunch of corals, then the next cycle the AOB will multiply since there are not as many corals there to use nh4 directly. Each cycle brings balance in time - nature will work it out if you do not interfere too much.

Cycling is a process. It is never over until your tank is shut down. Think that a cycle completes and that somehow something is done or a tank is static is just folly and does not help the hobby.
 
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The rock will not be able to handle anything that you throw at it. This is simply not true. Even if you don't kill a fish, if you raise ammonia just a touch, you could lose a stony coral or some other sensitive invert on the rock that might have otherwise lived. You can also damage fish without killing them - think of asbestos exposure or mesothelioma for humans when exposed to toxic things with their lungs like fish can get in the early stages of a tank to their gills. You still have to wait for the ecosystem to develop. Since cycles are never done and are ongoing, there is also no such thing as an instant cycle - the idea is just ignorant and I am sorry that a few self-important individuals on this board like to say such things.

Bacteria for fish waste is only a smart part of a real cycle. It is only really ever needed in the beginning when there are no other things to use fish waste directly. These are AOB - ammonia oxidizing bacteria. As things grow and establish, coral, film algae and other bacterias start to use ammonia directly for the nitrogen and the bacteria that people add from a bottle and talk so much (the AOB) about die back quite a bit - they just are not needed as much anymore. They never fully disappear, but they become relegated to the sidelines and clean up with does not get used directly.

As your tank matures, with each cycle, more and more things grow on surfaces and in the water column and most of these are not AOB. If you remove a bunch of corals, then the next cycle the AOB will multiply since there are not as many corals there to use nh4 directly. Each cycle brings balance in time - nature will work it out if you do not interfere too much.

Cycling is a process. It is never over until your tank is shut down. Think that a cycle completes and that somehow something is done or a tank is static is just folly and does not help the hobby

Thank you for taking the time to write all this and explanations.
 

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The rock will not be able to handle anything that you throw at it. This is simply not true. Even if you don't kill a fish, if you raise ammonia just a touch, you could lose a stony coral or some other sensitive invert on the rock that might have otherwise lived. You can also damage fish without killing them - think of asbestos exposure or mesothelioma for humans when exposed to toxic things with their lungs like fish can get in the early stages of a tank to their gills. You still have to wait for the ecosystem to develop. Since cycles are never done and are ongoing, there is also no such thing as an instant cycle - the idea is just ignorant and I am sorry that a few self-important individuals on this board like to say such things.

Bacteria for fish waste is only a smart part of a real cycle. It is only really ever needed in the beginning when there are no other things to use fish waste directly. These are AOB - ammonia oxidizing bacteria. As things grow and establish, coral, film algae and other bacterias start to use ammonia directly for the nitrogen and the bacteria that people add from a bottle and talk so much (the AOB) about die back quite a bit - they just are not needed as much anymore. They never fully disappear, but they become relegated to the sidelines and clean up with does not get used directly.

As your tank matures, with each cycle, more and more things grow on surfaces and in the water column and most of these are not AOB. If you remove a bunch of corals, then the next cycle the AOB will multiply since there are not as many corals there to use nh4 directly. Each cycle brings balance in time - nature will work it out if you do not interfere too much.

Cycling is a process. It is never over until your tank is shut down. Think that a cycle completes and that somehow something is done or a tank is static is just folly and does not help the hobby.
Let's try to be kind and polite on this forum. Calling commenters on this thread that you don't know self-important individuals is rude, and to my knowledge everyone commenting here understands the cycle quite well and is posing serious questions. I've ammended my comment above so that the OP and anyone else picks up on its lightness and doesn't read it literaly. No one here is suggesting OP throw 10 fish (or even one fish) into the tank with the rocks, as OP's questions involve how to add base and premium rocks to a new tank, not when and how to stock it. Regardless, there are serious practical questions.

What happens when you put base rock and/or premium rock directly from shipping water into tank water with circulation, light and filtration? Assume they don't take the rocks out of water for 30 min to take pictures. Also assume the owner will follow protocol and test for NH4/NO2/NO3 and perform regular water changes, daily in the beginning as recommended.

Do you expect the life on the premium rock to die off due to the base rock not having a month to sit in water? What do you think happens during that month? Will AOBs and NOBs expand in preparation for the addition of new rocks (are more AOBs/NOBs even required?)? Or will they decline or go dormant in a fallow tank?

Would you expect the premium rock to have die off if you just added 100lb of premium directly due to not having some other cycled media in the tank?

If you've seen these rocks, you know that they have all kinds of growth all over their surface. Some of this will be short lived because they are maladapted to life in an aquarium. Some do well and thrive. I never detected ammonia after more than a month of checking with Red Sea kits and ammonia alert badges, despite red/orange sponges, black sponges and some tunicates and bivalves gradually dying off. Stony coral hitchhikers did fine all the way until Valonia took its toll.

Some die off is inevitable, but I'm not convinced by anything I've read here that you'll lose all the good stuff because you add premium at the same time as base rock. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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I didn’t find rudeness. Everything is great info. Everyone has different methods that have worked for them. i just dont see where/how you benefit from premium if you cycle with base with the cost increase later. Seems like you should cycle with regular dry rock then switch later to premium for the cost or just stay with base. This is just throwing money away. After 7 months of a bottle of bacteria I only had 2-3 weeks of cyano and a couple spots of GHA and a few Aiptasia that came in on a coral. Unless I’m blind, nothing is diseased and nothing has been a huge loss. I’m going with base rock. Not overloading so I can add more later.
 

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If it were me I'd save some money and extra steps and just get KP base rock. As has been mentioned, a lot of the extra life on the premium rock doesn't survive. The base rock comes wrapped in wet paper with a little water. Any unwanted guests will be at the bottom of the styro. Here's a better pic of how it looks. Had I known how nice the base was I wouldn't have wasted my money on the premium, because it just ends up looking like the base anyway.
PXL_20231124_193357485.NIGHT.jpg
 

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I think someone would get upset if she found out the rock in the tank cost more than the rock on her finger
My wife did a yearly audit of our finances. "You bought a plane ticket for ROCKS!?!?"
 

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I started my tank (150) almost a year ago with Marco flat rock. I've struggled with it from the beginning and the turf algae was the last straw for me. So I ordered 100 lbs of premium deco live rock from Gulf Live Rock. He harvested the rock from the ocean on a Monday, shipped it on Tuesday, and it went in my tank on Wednesday (I removed almost all the Marco rock). I lost no fish and no corals, I wish I would have started the tank like this from the start. My skimmer did go crazy for a few days so there was probably a little die off but no harm.
 

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I started my tank (150) almost a year ago with Marco flat rock. I've struggled with it from the beginning and the turf algae was the last straw for me. So I ordered 100 lbs of premium deco live rock from Gulf Live Rock. He harvested the rock from the ocean on a Monday, shipped it on Tuesday, and it went in my tank on Wednesday (I removed almost all the Marco rock). I lost no fish and no corals, I wish I would have started the tank like this from the start. My skimmer did go crazy for a few days so there was probably a little die off but no harm.
And the rock is beautiful. I love your gorgs!
 

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Thanks, the one in the back right came attached to a piece of rock and is huge. I didn't think it was alive but it survived the trip. I haven't seen any critters good or bad, maybe because the rock was harvested in the colder climate.
 

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This is false information from JDA:

" Since cycles are never done and are ongoing, there is also no such thing as an instant cycle - the idea is just ignorant and I am sorry that a few self-important individuals on this board like to say such things."


I would additionally add: JDA can NOT link, nor has ever seen, a single instance of rising ammonia killing a stony coral like he said, nor a fish.

@jda

post some link examples from threads you were in.

JDA is ignoring testimony from literally a thousand pages of skip cycles we have on file, and some of them mentioned here. he paints fear where there shouldn't be fear, he can't provide an example other than a random google search + paste. not an actual thread or instance he's ever seen himself. awaiting some links jda.
 

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why did you put a reef in that
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it's important to note: select JDA's avatar/find all posts. he has no work done whatsoever on skip cycling to be able to make any comment. his posts are 100% inserted into other people's works. no original material on tank cycling means something.

here is an actual work thread, showing opposite of JDA's claims, using other people's cycles as the example. if their stuff starts to die we will know it, they'll report it.



JDA has never even seen uncured ocean rock kill fish, and that's the kind of rock most likely to do so via dieoff. the fear you're being told is so rare I don't think anyone can actually find a loss example they've ever been in primarily in a thread. random google searches for 'rising ammonia' don't count: that's what all owners of red sea and API have to face/false ammonia concerns.

I bet we will see zero matched examples for the fear that we just saw above for the no-fear advice.

even without any work threads, at all, he will still be writing this old information next year just the same. comfort zoning doesn't require change.
 

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