How to "properly" cycle a tank?

What do you use to Cycle a Tank "Properly"

  • Add Ammonia to spike the tank and slowly add bacteria over time.

  • Let the tank do its thing with live sand and live rock. (wait it out)

  • Adds Tons of microbacter7 and let the strongest bacteria win.

  • Toss Shrimp in from super market and create ammonia spike more naturally.

  • Put in hardy "less expensive fish" into the tank to start feeding and pooping.

  • Add in daily fish food into the system and let that break down to cause spike.

  • Adds Tons of Turbostart 900 and let the strongest bacteria win.

  • Add in Biodigest and let the strongest bacteria win.


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Salty-Sailor

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So, I bought pukani rock from BRS and put it in a large brute trashcan in saltwater for 1 month with a power head and heater. i did 100% water change on the trash can with my "old" water change water from my frag system once per week after the first month of just circulating the water & i did that for 1 month. check levels through out these two months and the rock went through a pretty good cycle with high spikes of ammonia, nitrites & nitrates. also because of using my "old" water from frag tank Ive added a ton of pods to the rocks as well. :)

I have now added these rocks to my red sea Reefer 525XL along with 6 20lb bags of live sand.

right now i do not have lights on over the tank but other then that the tank is fully operational.

My question to everyone is how should i cycle the tank? (side note, seeing all the amazing pods in the tank makes me want to avoid large ammonia spike because it will "likely" kill the existing pods)

I'm adding as many ways to cycle the tank that i can think of and if i missed one or you think theres more to it defiantly let me know so i can add it to the poll. Thanks for Voting!!!
 

Sea MunnKey

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After my 2013 ice storm disaster I took a few years of hiatus and only recently when I'd decided to make a come back. I went and brought along a few empty buckets to my local lfs prior to his store's water change. Brought the filled buckets home & added the lfs water to my home system plus freshly mixed saltwater. Expedited recycling process imo ....
 
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Salty-Sailor

Salty-Sailor

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After my 2013 ice storm disaster I took a few years of hiatus and only recently when I'd decided to make a come back. I went and brought along a few empty buckets to my local lfs prior to his store's water change. Brought the filled buckets home & added the lfs water to my home system plus freshly mixed saltwater. Expedited recycling process imo ....
Great idea! i already somewhat did this with the rock and my frag tank so makes since to do it with the display tank too!
 

saltyfilmfolks

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So your vote is "Let the tank do its thing with live sand and live rock. (wait it out)"?

or do you suggest adding any additives to help improve the cycle?
It is processing ammoina.
That is the cycle.

The only thing to consider is when you add it to the tank , the water needs/or more correctly , would benefit from , "letting the water mature". All that entails is allowing more of the bacteria into the water column.

Funny thing folks forget is, you can add pure ammoina only into a tank
And it will cycle. The nitrifying bacteria form naturally. (Shrimp method)
 

Susan Edwards

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I'm considering doing the same thing. Plan to order rocks end of month. But when I design my landscape in March or so, the rocks will be out of water for at least a few days. Does that mean starting over cycle wise or is it still worth doing as it gets the rocks cleaner/leached bad stuff out? If it makes no difference, then it's a waste of time and resources to do it. But if it still cuts the initial cycle time down, might be worth it.
 

bdejong1112o

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I hesitate to reply only due to the request to "properly" cycle. I dont know if what I did was proper or not but it did work and worked well.

I followed the process in the cycle thread here where i used pure amonium nitrate to spike the ammonia and then used some bacteria in a bottle and sat and watched it happen. The only reason i used the bottled stuff was to move it along quicker and i used dry rock to start. You dont need to but it did jump start the process.

I am however an advocate of using the ammonia dosing method because it doesnt use fish and you can test it as part of the process. That worked for my engineer mind. Dose and measure. Log data and you can see it go away in a predictable fashion.
 

dutch27

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I've used quarried rock and boat rock for tanks. The quarried stuff that had no dead things on it to rot and make ammonia cycled just fine, and all I did was toss a bunch of fish food in the tank/bin the rock was cycling in, and let it do its thing. Always works just fine, I've never used an off-the-shelf bacteria product. I've added in small pieces of LR from an established tank to try and help out, but find no discernible difference in time to cycle between that and just letting it happen on its own.

To the OP's questions, you shouldn't need to cycle that tank if the rocks all cycled before going in the tank. Take some measurements, add some food, measure a few times again over a week and see if you get ammonia or nitrites from that food breaking down, if not, I'd say go ahead and slowly start to stock.
 

saltyfilmfolks

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I'm considering doing the same thing. Plan to order rocks end of month. But when I design my landscape in March or so, the rocks will be out of water for at least a few days. Does that mean starting over cycle wise or is it still worth doing as it gets the rocks cleaner/leached bad stuff out? If it makes no difference, then it's a waste of time and resources to do it. But if it still cuts the initial cycle time down, might be worth it.
You may have some bacterial die off.
But putting back into the tank , the Bactria will reestablish.

You may want to consider a larger tub or bin once the scape is designed. I did that for my center piece. The rest were small
 

Susan Edwards

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You may want to consider a larger tub or bin once the scape is designed. I did that for my center piece. The rest were small

Was thinking that if I put together my bases and either cemented or used acrylic rods, I could cycle them as an unit and then fine tune just before going into the tank
 

saltyfilmfolks

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Was thinking that if I put together my bases and either cemented or used acrylic rods, I could cycle them as an unit and then fine tune just before going into the tank
Yep. Pretty much exactly the process I think.
 
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Salty-Sailor

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I hesitate to reply only due to the request to "properly" cycle. I dont know if what I did was proper or not but it did work and worked well.

I followed the process in the cycle thread here where i used pure amonium nitrate to spike the ammonia and then used some bacteria in a bottle and sat and watched it happen. The only reason i used the bottled stuff was to move it along quicker and i used dry rock to start. You dont need to but it did jump start the process.

I am however an advocate of using the ammonia dosing method because it doesnt use fish and you can test it as part of the process. That worked for my engineer mind. Dose and measure. Log data and you can see it go away in a predictable fashion.
I like your logic! if you can test for it then there is a lot less guess work.

Also i was being a bit facetious on the word "Proper" because so many people think matter of fact when it comes to their "way" of doing things.
 

brandon429

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Here’s one helpful juncture in all cycles that I find critical: the change from suspension cycling to substrate cycling. One of those can’t deal with a full water change, and one of them is immune to ten thousand full water changes (so this transition point has a clear impactful measure for a reefer)

Ever wondered why all cycling charts on google are 30-40 days and never longer?

The difference between suspension cycling and ideal substrate cycling is why dr tims cyclers report seeing nitrate on day three sometimes, though we can’t secure nitrifiers onto surfaces that fast.

Being able to command and predict the transition secretly means people dont have to test for a single param to cycle a reef tank. That’s to me a big deal. There are charts that tell how many drops of ammonia to add, from that we can calculate all the nitrite and the nitrate, and submersion times tells us the transition time based on boosters used or not in the cycle= no test cycling.

It’s such a critical juncture, that when the transition to substrate cycling occurs it cannot be undone unless one medicates the entire tank. The strongest community of animals we w ever farm comes about during the transition phase, and after that phase, we can begin to trust our bacteria in the neatest testable ways. Vast armadas of pico reefs exist online using those tenets, the majority of those skipping the cycle altogether since we know that moving susbstrate-cycle complete materials among tanks doesn’t kill off bacteria. Based on those details and more, I nominate suspension vs substrate cycling as quite a big deal.

Being able to command a suspension cycle means we can set up a hospital tank in an uncycled paint bucket, if needed, when tanks break for example. Being able to command both types of cycle makes a dynamic reefer.

Wassup Geoff
 
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Luis Figueroa

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I wish I still had my pictures of my 55 gallon tank setup. It was a bare bottom I bought around 40 pounds of live rock on the 7th and on the 14th I added a snowflake eel and foxface. both lived happily for 2 years!
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Luis I believe you that’s skip cycling and we use it daily in smaller tanks


You just bioload tested it real nicely ~

Were it not for skip cycling, everyone would have to show up at MACNA thirty days early with rotting shrimp to be able to have a coral and fish tank ready for the party.

Nobody is going to risk fifty grand in bounce frags and new clown strains to suspension cycled setups, they’ll opt for the other where reliability is required (they bring over already cycled materials, install them, and set up the skip cycle tank)
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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that means the right way to cycle a reef requires the keeper to use a plan involving the right type of cycle for the substrates at hand.


Whether they add ammonia to a set of rocks, or not, must come from a coherent and clear plan plan based on the current state of bacteria. The two types of cycles people use have totally opposite requirements for the provision of ammonia to the system... though no cycling articles I’ve read state that. They always advocate adding ammonia to a cycling system, but cured live rocks moved among tanks don’t need our help, or ammonia. They retain bac just fine.

Not zapping our expensive new live rock with 5 ppm is a clear indication of a coherent plan, lr organisms we paid top dollar for are killed by ammonia. Knowing when to add ammonia or not to me is the most basic division in cycling nobody ever discusses in my opinion.
 

Susan Edwards

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Now my brain is ready to fry. Can someone put that cycling bit in super easy terms? If you add rock and sand from an existing tank, and some of the tank water, and or sponges, and/or a lot of old tank water, does that mean no cycle or shorter cycle? Esp. if new dry rocks were cycled before adding to new tank?
 

lbacha

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I started my tank with fully cured live rock from the sump of my LFS. I also added some Dr Tims to seed the tank with more bacteria (I wanted to make sure the glass and the block of marine pure I added got seeded). I ghost fed the tank and never saw ammonia or nitrites.
 

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