Tired

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Any method in which you supply a reasonable amount of ammonia should work. Fish-in cycling isn't ethical because there's a lot of potential for the fish to suffer painful ammonia burns, but it does technically work, you just shouldn't do it. Even if you didn't add any bacteria source, you'd get bacteria from the air.

If you don't get any live rock, I'd highly suggest getting some algae-covered frag plugs, rubble bits, and the like from an established, healthy tank. They'll bring over some helpful algae and bacteria. A handful of a well-established sandbed would also be good.
 
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Azedenkae

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Any method in which you supply a reasonable amount of ammonia should work. Fish-in cycling isn't ethical because there's a lot of potential for the fish to suffer painful ammonia burns, but it does technically work, you just shouldn't do it.
That's not quite true anymore given you can render ammonia harmless by dosing something like Prime - that's the whole way in which fish-in cycling works nowadays and is a lot more prominent than in the olden days where it was considered unethical.
 

Uncle99

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back when the lfs here cycled between instant ocean and reef crystals my given care method resulted in thick coralline and coral skeletons that never weakened

but given the exact same care method and stocking levels, them being on Fritz last 4 years has caused old colonies of corals to break, skeletal loss which only happens in low pH and or alk conditions

I started dosing two part to compensate and my sandbed is kept clean, no waste buildups it’s truly been a low alk issue from the entry level Fritz mix. Two part dosing really should fix it though, at least it’s truly clean reliable production water put it right into five gal water bottles and lug out. I wish it was reefcrystals.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
 

Tired

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That's not quite true anymore given you can render ammonia harmless by dosing something like Prime - that's the whole way in which fish-in cycling works nowadays and is a lot more prominent than in the olden days where it was considered unethical.
Still, why take the chance that the Prime dosage might not be enough, just to get fish in a tiny bit faster? I'd call that an emergency method for if a cycled tank is needed now and fish are already present. Giving the tank time to cycle without fish will give it time to at least begin to approach some form of stability, And it's probably best to encourage newbies to go slowly with stocking, anyway, rather than starting with fish immediately.
Fair enough, it's possible to fish-in cycle safely, if it's done carefully. But I don't think it should be recommended to newbies, and if you're going to recommend it, you need to specify that it has to be done with careful monitoring and use of Prime.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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there aren’t any examples of burnt fish. It’s a made up consequence from forums

post one example if you have seen the thread


these bottled bacteria work so well we can’t really find any fail examples. Before seneye, everyone’s fish-in cycle seemed fine, water was clear, fish normal, no indication of burn


and then once seneye came online for accurate measure, we can see the bottles instantly control bioload ammonia and that explains why the fish act normal in all examples. The bottle bac was enough, the prime wasn’t needed. Fish disease from too-soon use is the real risk.

honestly seeking a single example of burned fish if you have one. If free ammonia isn’t controlled they’ll act burned, no feeding, darting around or hovering at the top unable to breathe and clearly distressed. All the examples I see are two clown fish doing fine
 
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Lowell Lemon

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No problems with using natural seawater especially from Scripps Institute! Water is prefiltered and from a deep water source. Just look at the systems at Scripps and judge for yourself as to its ability to maintain sea life. I have seen very successful reef aquariums run off Pacific ocean water on the Oregon, California and Washington coasts both private and public displays. No problem with prefiltered natural ocean water!
 

flyfisher2

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I'm cycling my 150 since mid July. I added Brightwell Quik Cycle to 2.0 ppm Ammonia reading. Didn't add anything other than a bag of Seachem Matrix I had for a month in the sump of another established tank. My Ammonia is still at 2.0 and I'm at 30 days. I'm fine with that. No rush but just saying it can take awhile.
 

Supa

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What I did is just run the water for a few weeks ghost feed and don’t run the skimmer at the start. I did use dr Tim then Got 2 clowns after I seen slight ammonia spike then a drop. They have been in there for a few weeks …. Not sure if this is correct way but what I did. I didn’t turn skimmer back on until about 3 weeks in…. I won’t add any coral until 3 months or so, just take is slow and wait for some good algae. That’s a signal for your water “maturing”. You can add coral earlier but just saying what my game plan was and is
 

Tired

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It's not the water that matures, it's the rock. Waiting until the worst of the ugly stage has passed and the rock is starting to mature is a good rule of thumb for corals, though many of the hardy soft corals will do at least okay in any cycled tank.

Don't run a skimmer unless you have an excess of nutrients and/or dissolved organics in the water. It strips out stuff that the beneficial algae and corals use.
 

flyfisher2

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Yes I did that back in the 80’s and then went on to the live rock method and now just let nature takes its course
It’ll happen and in this case to be honest the longer it takes the better
I’ve got a couple fish on Quarantine. Bought 7 from my well known LFS and 2 are left!!!
I’ve never had this happen
The LFS QUICKLY shared their policy on not knowing my methods so they don’t warranty fish
 
RAP

Karen00

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Curious to know who told you not to use bottled bacteria with live sand lol
It says not to use bottled back on the CaribSea live sand bag. I started with the exact same setup as OP (CaribSea live sand and CaribSea dey life Rock). I also purchased bottled back but didn't use it because of the live sand instructions and it cycled fine. After reading threads about this it comes down to competing bacteria. Having said that lots of people added bottled bacteria (only to read the instructions on the sand later). It sounds like their cycles completed fine.

@mamareef I have the same setup as you (my first tank as well). Even though I had bottled bacteria I didn't use it with the live sand and it cycled fine. I think almost instantly. I would suggest adding some flake food over a few days and testing ammonia, nitrites and nitrates to see what happens before adding livestock. What happened with me is that I setup my tank and the very next day I came across a fellow reefer who was selling a goby/shrimp pair. I purchased them and added them to my tank that day. Of course I was super scared that maybe the tank wasn't fully cycled so I was adding Prime and doing daily water changes to be safe however my parameters were fine the entire time. I stopped doing this routine after about two weeks and the tank remained stable. Given you don't have livestock I would say just get it running with the live sand and feed the tank with flakes everyday for about a week and test every day to see what the tank is doing. I'm sure the live sand will handle it. If you find it doesn't then I would add the bottled bacteria. Eventually the bacteria will seed your rock. Start off slow when adding livestock. I haven't added more livestock yet and it's been about two months. If I ever get another tank or upgrade to a bigger one I would not start it with livestock at the same time like I did with this one. That was stressful but I couldn't pass up on the deal I got on the pair. :)
 

olonmv

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Did you get it figured out? Hopefully you did but just in case……I did mine low n slow. Live sand, dry rock with the prawn method and lights off.
 

Frostblitz20

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Everyone does it a different way.
I use carbsea sand and Rock with rodi water mix in fritz blue box salt. Throw in some frozen mysis then fritz turbo start. Wait 2 weeks run test if okay I add in fish. Start small batching in with non aggressive fish first. Never massive dump all fish in at the same time.

add in CUC as the tank matures and gets dirty don’t add them week1-2 won’t be much if anything to eat.
 

Rmckoy

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IMO and fail proof way to cycle any tank .
fill with salt water , rocks , sand ,

run all pumps as it will run even including skimmer ( perfect break in time )

add a raw shrimp in a nylon and walk away for a few days .

no need to test for ammonia as we already know natural process is to break the shrimp down to ammonia .
And you want a concentrated level of ammonia .
When you are able to test nitrates , make sure ammonia is zero . Which is should be …..

Cycle is done .
start adding fish slowly .

things needed : test kits .( choose good quality kits such as Hanna ( alkalinity , phosphorus/ phosphates )
Salifert makes decent calcium , magnesium , nitrate kits .

refractometer or floating hydrometer for assuring salinity is accurate .
 

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