Live rock. Best way to cycle the reef? Advantages and Disadvantages.

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reefinginBD

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Hey there, I will be setting up a 600 litre mixed reef tank most probably with live sand and some aqua forest purple rock. But, I have been seeing some videos and they say that it is better to wash and dry the sand before adding it to a tank and running a magnet through it to remove any magnetic materials which can harm the tank later on. So, there are two ways of cycling the tank that I have in mind. They are:
1) Add sand, rock and water. Wait 24 hours and then add a bottle of live bacteria like Turbostart 900, Colony or One and Only and then drop a pair of clownfish into the tank. Then test regularly for ammonia and if any pops up dose some Seachem Prime to help get rid of it.
2) Same process as option one, but just add some live rock in the tank before adding the fish after the cycle. Then leave the rock their for a good month or two so that the good bacteria from the rocks can also colonise the tank. Then
3) Add sand, rock and water to the tank. Then add some live rocks to the sump and also ghost feed the tank or add a prawn for ammonia. Wait until ammonia and nitrite reads zero and then add a pair of clownfish along with a bottle of bacteria just to be safe.
4) Add sand, rock and water. Wait a few days (ghost feed the tank or add a piece of shrimp to produce ammonia) then add live rubble rock to the sump in a container. Wait for the cycle to fish and when it does, add a pair of clownfish and remove the live rock from the sump. Basically, add no bottled bacteria to start the tank. As I do not want to keep any rock in the sump. I will have Maxspect Plates in between the last baffles of the sump before the return pump.

Please let me know which option among these will be the best. I can wait around 20 days before adding the fish as I will be quarantining them before adding them to the tank. So like I will quarantine the fish while the tank cycles. Also is there any other source of ammonia other than using a prawn or ghost feeding? As they may get smelly and produce lots of nitrates and phosphates. Bottled ammonia is not an option for me. I can cycle the tank with mollies as well, but some say it is cruel. Will the bacteria from the live rock reach the tank if I leave the live rock in the sump? I mean it will but will it take a long time?
I’m really sorry that it is really long :(
 
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reefinginBD

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Imo the more live rock in the display the better since it's already fully colonized with a diverse mix of bacteria and other life...i know this doesn't precisely answer your question but hope it helps
I don’t think I will be able to find that much live rock in the shapes and sizes that I want. So, do you think if I keep some live rock in the sump instead will it help? Also which number method would you suggest I use? Please let me know. Also if I add live rock in the sump and let the tank run for about a week without any ammonia source will I be able to add fish? Please let me know. Thank you!
 
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exnisstech

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I've haven't been doing this as long as many but I have set up 6 tanks off and on through the years upgrading etc. I have never used bottled bacteria. Used live rock and dealt with hitchhikers. I have also used dry rock and cycled with liquid ammonia pretty much just like I used to do for freshwater. I'm old and tend to follow the older tradition methods rather bottled majic.

EDIT : I also never dry sand. Rinse in a bucket with tap water untill clear, drain as much water as I can and dump it in the tank. Unless it's a small nano what little chlorine and other stuff in the tap will be small it will be gone by the time your adding live stock. The magnet through the sand thing is new to me but I'm not much of a youtuber so I'm probably missing out on a lot.
 
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reefinginBD

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I've haven't been doing this as long as many but I have set up 6 tanks off and on through the years upgrading etc. I have never used bottled bacteria. Used live rock and dealt with hitchhikers. I have also used dry rock and cycled with liquid ammonia pretty much just like I used to do for freshwater. I'm old and tend to follow the older tradition methods rather bottled majic.
Did you just add live rock and then add the fish? What are the main problems you faced? What hitchhikers did u get and how did u deal with them? Can you please tell me how you did it in a little more detail please.
 
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Crab traps work just fine...cut a water bottle in half and turn it inside out...the crabs climb in to get the food and can't make it back out the bottle neck
I see thank you! The other hitch hikers and pests don’t cause mutch problems right? As we all get them eventually through corals, fish, inverts and all.
 

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My first tank was with live rock from off the coast of Puerto Rico. There was a diver that seeded the rock in the ocean and went back later to harvest and sell it on Amazon, OH the good old days. I cured it in a brute trash can with salt water and a power head for a month or so. I was lucky and my hitchhikers consisted of astrina stars, some brittle stars and some bristle worms. I was lucky and didn't get any bad crabs. Rinsed the rock in salt water and put it in the tank then poured in the sand. That was the only time I did that as I then just began moving the live rock to other tanks as I was upgrading tanks. Sometimes I added dry rock also when going to a larger tank. One downfall of that though is you can't make a beautiful rock scape like you can working with dry rock tho I have read some people glueing rock under water.
 
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My first tank was with live rock from off the coast of Puerto Rico. There was a diver that seeded the rock in the ocean and went back later to harvest and sell it on Amazon, OH the good old days. I cured it in a brute trash can with salt water and a power head for a month or so. I was lucky and my hitchhikers consisted of astrina stars, some brittle stars and some bristle worms. I was lucky and didn't get any bad crabs. Rinsed the rock in salt water and put it in the tank then poured in the sand. That was the only time I did that as I then just began moving the live rock to other tanks as I was upgrading tanks. Sometimes I added dry rock also when going to a larger tank. One downfall of that though is you can't make a beautiful rock scape like you can working with dry rock.
Unfortunately it is not possible for me as like I like around 12 hours away from the beach and basically nobody does this here. Would you say that I should cure the rock in a container before adding it to the tank? Or just cleaning it with a brush and then rinsing it is enough? Please let me know!
 
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