How long does it take to "seed" bacteria

Okd

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Hello friends,

I've had a nice little 45 gallon mixed reef tank going for years now just waiting for my boys to get old enough not to mess with (and preferably appreciate . . . and of course years later help out with!) a larger "forever" tank in the living room.

Anyway, I have a friend who would like to set up a 70ish gallon reef aquarium and I thought I'd help him get started. Of course I could give him some sand or something, but since he was in no hurry he was wondering if he could throw a few pounds of "dry/inert or whatever you call it" live rock in the display (I could easy "hold" a few pounds in the corner) or less so in the sump, or even but some of those bioballs or ceramic things in the sump then transfer it over to get his new reef aquarium going (of course he would have to then add an ammonia source to really get things going).

Anyway, my question is: how long do you all think it would take for a meaningful population of beneficial bacteria to seed the dry rock or whatever he puts in my aquarium for the purposes of then transferring to his new set up to get it going? He is not really in a hurry, but man when I look at this chalk white dry rock and then look at the live rock in my aquarium there is no comparison and I wonder if it would take months to really seed this stuff properly and if a random cup of sand wouldn't just do the trick better than 4-5 pounds of dry rock sitting in my aquarium for a weeks then transferring over. Same question for those bioballs or ceramic things.

I doubt anybody has an exact answer but I welcome input.

Thanks!
 
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Ron Reefman

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Getting dry rock to home bacteria for the nitrogen cycle (for both ammonia and nitrite) only takes 2 to 4 weeks. You can buy bacteria in a bottle to jump start the process.

HOWEVER, that is NOT going to make the old dry rocks look any less stark white! That takes coraline algae, algae and corals which requires months worth of time (coraline algae), work and money (corals).

BTW, welcome to Reef2Reef! And invite your friend to join us as well! Really, most of us are pretty nice people! ;);Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious

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Okd

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Thanks for the reply.

He was just going to throw the dry rock in the new aquarium and add bacteria in a bottle and an ammonia source, but figured if I didn't mind just throwing some rock in my aquarium for 3-4 weeks then transferring to his and it would essentially accomplish the same goal then why not. I thought it might take longer but maybe we will try this and a cup of sand with some filter media.

I understand it takes a long time for coraline and other algae to grow but how long does it generally take for this dry rock stuff (never used it) to looks not straight blindingly chalk white.

Also thanks for the hospitality. After scanning through this forum I think I've got the itch to get going now (my sons are 5-6 now so should be old enough not to do something ridiculous to the tank like a toddler might do). I have my eye on the red sea e260.

Posts/threads to follow!
 

Ron Reefman

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Good luck. I always wanted to be a science teacher but back when I graduated from college teachers couldn't get a job and if you did, the pay stunk! Now as a retired person, I spend time doing volunteer work where I get to do some 'teaching'. I was never mature enough to have kids. Hey, at 70 I'm still to self involved to want to be tied down with kids. But I alway knew I'd enjoy teaching kids, and your start with young ones and a new aquarium is a great educational possibility. I hope you and the kids all have fun with it. I only started in the hobby 20 years ago and I'm still learning because of it. Especially when I get to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys and see so much of the aquarium life in it's natural state! Mother Nature is awesome!
 

lapin

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Howdy

It will only take about a week for your tanks bacteria to invade the new rock. It will take much longer once its in his tank to populate his rock to the point it is ready for fish and coral.
Like said above a bottle or Turbo Start 900 or another bacteria in a bottle will help along with some food for the bacteria.
 
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Okd

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Good luck. I always wanted to be a science teacher but back when I graduated from college teachers couldn't get a job and if you did, the pay stunk! Now as a retired person, I spend time doing volunteer work where I get to do some 'teaching'. I was never mature enough to have kids. Hey, at 70 I'm still to self involved to want to be tied down with kids. But I alway knew I'd enjoy teaching kids, and your start with young ones and a new aquarium is a great educational possibility. I hope you and the kids all have fun with it. I only started in the hobby 20 years ago and I'm still learning because of it. Especially when I get to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys and see so much of the aquarium life in it's natural state! Mother Nature is awesome!
By the way, I too enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in the Keys. I have a meeting in Miami for work at the end of next month and was planning on heading down to the Keys right after before flying back to NY.

Are there any known scuba divers on this forum or should I create a new thread? I'm a 38 year old single father (but will be going down alone) who usually just goes by myself when I'm in the area like this (with a company and guide not literally alone) but I'd be happy to meet up with anybody of any age who also enjoys the reef aquarium/scuba diving combo who may be there at that time vs just signing up with a company and making new friends on the spot like I usually do.
 

brandon429

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Okd did you know nobody has tested and logged what you are asking

All of us have been given and are giving estimates including myself about water only transfer of bac to inert surfaces

The form of cycling you are considering is important to measure, please make some data for our hobby so we guess less

Take your intended set of items to cure, immerse them in your tank and choose a guess test date where you'll see if they are truly ready. *take them back out on that date - 2 weeks or one month are common offers, and put in 5 gallon bucket(s) of clean new saltwater and then take ammonia reading from just that setup, take pics so we see what zero ammonia looks like on your particular tester for isolated surface area.

Dose a tiny amount of cycling liquid ammonia, about half a ppm worth do not go to two, input barely enough for your tester to indicate the first degree of color change, half a ppm worth is plenty into the bucket. Take a pic of the new dose reading

let it swirl overnite with bubbles or current somehow. See if test goes back to calibrated zero in 24 hours, it's a big deal because I can find notable sources right now claiming reef water has hardly any filter bac inherent, yet that is the sole vector for your test coming up. Post data here and be the first to be fed up with guessing in a place of science :)
B

Only ammonia matters not the other two

 

Katrina71

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KP Aquatic sells live aged rock, but live rock is MUCH more expensive.
 
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Okd

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Okd did you know nobody has tested and logged what you are asking

All of us have been given and are giving estimates including myself about water only transfer of bac to inert surfaces

The form of cycling you are considering is important to measure, please make some data for our hobby so we guess less

Take your intended set of items to cure, immerse them in your tank and choose a guess test date where you'll see if they are truly ready. *take them back out on that date - 2 weeks or one month are common offers, and put in 5 gallon bucket(s) of clean new saltwater and then take ammonia reading from just that setup, take pics so we see what zero ammonia looks like on your particular tester for isolated surface area.

Dose a tiny amount of cycling liquid ammonia, about half a ppm worth do not go to two, input barely enough for your tester to indicate the first degree of color change, half a ppm worth is plenty into the bucket. Take a pic of the new dose reading

let it swirl overnite with bubbles or current somehow. See if test goes back to calibrated zero in 24 hours, it's a big deal because I can find notable sources right now claiming reef water has hardly any filter bac inherent, yet that is the sole vector for your test coming up. Post data here and be the first to be fed up with guessing in a place of science :)
B


I'm actually a scientist (physicist) and really like measuring and quantifying things like this and of course providing data to spread knowledge and help others. In this case, I figured I'd just ask some random people on the internet to get an estimate or even make a hypothesis but not blindly act upon what people were guessing since it's relatively easy to follow the aquarium cycling process and objectively verify when it is complete, plus my friend is in no hurry so if it doesn't work out as hypothesized or in a reasonably time frame then he can just go back to doing things the tested and true "old fashioned" way.

I just wonder if the common test kits are accurate enough with regards to margin of error to provide any meaningful and reproducible data. Let me think about this and if not now for this exact situation I might just do it later "on the side . . . just for fun and knowledge".
 

Ron Reefman

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By the way, I too enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in the Keys. I have a meeting in Miami for work at the end of next month and was planning on heading down to the Keys right after before flying back to NY.

Are there any known scuba divers on this forum or should I create a new thread? I'm a 38 year old single father (but will be going down alone) who usually just goes by myself when I'm in the area like this (with a company and guide not literally alone) but I'd be happy to meet up with anybody of any age who also enjoys the reef aquarium/scuba diving combo who may be there at that time vs just signing up with a company and making new friends on the spot like I usually do.
There have been a few divers who have posted in this thread I started.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/snorkeling-collecting-discussion-group.412414/

I snorkel the Keys 3 to 5 long weekends every summer. Well, now that we are retired we go more during the week to avoid the crowds. I started the thread for snorkelers, finding new snorkel spots in the Keys or anywhere else, and for collecting wildlife information. Your scuba info and posts will be a most welcome addition there and maybe some other scuba divers would see it as well.

Have fun. We don't go until May when the water really starts to get comfortable!
 

stevieduk

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easiest way , that ive been using for years, is if your friend gets a old canister filter say like a fluval 405, and you hook it up to your sump for a few weeks, that will be long enough then he takes it from your tank to his and gets it running straight away, as long as there is a ammonia food source for the bacteria in the filter they will seed his take in a month. give him some water to when you do a water change.
I have used this system for years for setting up tanks or changing to bigger ones and it never fails
 

brandon429

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Can we get a definitive test on the matter it’ll be the first one in reefing to be logged.

I mentioned test calibration steps above that works for Red Sea and api, anyone using seneye won’t have to calibrate. That adjustment will provide 100% reliable measures for the test since we are measuring only ammonia movement and don’t have to get a hard zero reading on cheap testers to make the case.

I too predict within a month any linked systems will be able to pass a stand alone test, proving significant amounts of nitrifiers in suspension
 

Belgian Anthias

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It will take at least 4-12 weeks, even longer or forever, depending on the carrying capacity in mind and the evolution of the system. Is it the intention of keeping some corals or also some bigger fish? Normally an installed carrying capacity is based on autotrophic ammonia reduction (nitrification).
In an established tank, everything needed is present. Take some scrapings from the base rock, a bit of the filter and sand bed, a bit of what is growing in light and dark, a bit waste from a mechanical filter ( not from the skimmer) and some scraping from a coral base. This should be enough to seed any aquarium or and bio-filter .
Do not waste your money buying bacteria in a bottle. One must be aware a nitrifying biofilm only contains +- 25 % nitrifiers and +- 40% of such biofilm is using an anaerobic pathway for remineralization and respiration. ref: http://www.baharini.eu/baharini/doku.php?id=nl:makazi:bio-chemie:biofilm&rev=1579351458 . Even if 30% of the diversity needed to form a functioning biofilm can be delivered in a bottle, those bacteria must be able to make the transformation to form a bio-film with all other bacteria needed and not present in the bottle.
After introducing the seed, from another aquarium or from nature, one has to wait for al least 6 weeks before introducing quarantined fish. This to eliminate the risk for pathogens to complete their life cycles and with respect for the effort for quarantining the fish.

The quality of the seed!? Eliminate contamination as much as possible. Put the seedlings in a bag, submerged att all time, and use them as fast as possible.

In a new aquarium, it is important to replace the "live" already present by the introduced life which should be of marine origin. This should not be a problem as introduced marine specimens will outcompete the others. To install a proper carrying capacity before the introduction of a big fish one has to feed the aquarium as needed.
I advise bio-filters for managing the nutrient content which makes easy active management possible, now and in the future. An aquarium grows constantly and using a controllable bio makes active management of the carrying capacity and nutrient export possible at all times.
Introducing micro-algae, copepods and other such mini grazers from the beginning and feed them with f2 media if needed to introduce competition. This will balance algae growth due to grazing and competition. Once fish are introduced all may be used as a food source. Adding a refuge beside the display to keep up a micro-livestock and to export nutrients, use it as a bio-filter, is something to consider. If one has the place, do not hesitate.
 
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brandon429

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Continued pattern: guessing, links that have no context and no tests for the simple measure though all of us have the tools.

We reefers are skirting the issue for like twenty years. One day someone will actually measure vs posit and that w be great
 

Belgian Anthias

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It is impossible to mimic what may be called " real live rock" .
Any rock in an aquarium may be called "live rock". In the same context all pumps, glass windows, sand, stones, ... and everything present, supports "live". ref: http://chucksaddiction.thefishestate.net/rock.html
A growing biofilm just needs the space and time to build into a thriving community and the provided substrate will make a big difference. In an active aquarium, this is mainly the space not accessible for feeding and a water exchange rate high enough to provide what is needed and make a difference.

Newly introduced bleached rock present in a marine aquarium is " live rock". How it will look within a few months all depends on the way nature may play its role in the closed environment of an aquarium one is able to manage as desired.

About bacteria in a bottle, seedings in a bag : http://www.cryerfamily.eclipse.co.uk/BacteriaBottleParable.htm
 

Belgian Anthias

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To have a positive discussion one has to talk about the same thing. I do know a lot about conditioning bio-filters for different tasks but how to define " cycling an aquarium ".

Is it about closing the nitrogen cycle?
Is it about closing the carbon cycle?
Or is it just about reducing ammonium?

The carrying capacity is based on the ability to reduce ammonia, the ammonia reduction rate, the time needed to reduce the produced ammonia. This can be done by photo-autotrophs, heterotrophs, and autotrophs, by assimilation or by respiration. ref: http://www.baharini.eu/baharini/doku.php?id=nl:makazi:het_water:ammonium_reductie

Introducing a high carrying capacity based on heterotrophic growth is not that difficult. It can be done in a few days. One just needs low protein food and some sugar. No need for seeding the aquarium.
Maintaining this heterotrophic carrying capacity over a long period of time is something else as it needs correct feeding and dosing all the time. The risk of human error is high.
Biofloc technology is used in aquaculture for a few decades, for the cultivation of fish and scrimp. The by growth produced bio-load is harvested at the end of the cycle. ref: http://www.baharini.eu/baharini/doku.php?id=nl:makazi:het_water:filtratie:biofloc
Adjusted Biofloc Technologie can be used in aquaria, used in a refuge of a reef aquarium system, this way eliminating the risk for a C:N ratio high enough to kill or harm corals.


When an aquarium is considered to be " cycled"?
 

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