REEF TANK CYCLE QUESTIONS

ASWoodsy

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I am currently cycling my 32.5 gal reef tank, and it’s been cycling for 1 week. This is my second time cycling a reef tank, but I am still fairly new to it. My livestock is currently an ocellarus clownfish pair and a tailspot blenny. I just have a few questions:

1) Should I do water changes? (I’ve heard both you should and you shouldn’t, so what would be the benefit of either)

2) When should I add other fish and coral?

3) When should I turn my lights on?

4) Should I add chaeto to my refugium during or after the cycle? (Also do I know I can add it?)

I also have a couple questions that aren’t about the cycle:

1) What would be the best fish to add if I have a tailspot Blenny, two ocellarus clownfish, a yellow Coris wrasse, and snails?

2) What are some really good, inexpensive, beginner-intermediate, coral to add? (I currently plan to add zoas, acans, mushrooms, Euphyllia corals (torch, hammer, frogspawn, and Kenya tree), Blasto coral), mushroom coral, bubble coral, and Fox coral.)
 

Dreminon

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Wow 1 week and already have 3 fish? how are you cycling your tank? Live rock and sand? Whats your Test for salinity, ammonia, nitrite and Nitrate read? first water change normally after cycle is finished to bring down the Nitrates. I can only give you answers from what I have researched not having had a saltwater tank myself till a month ago. Main thing I would say is you need to slow down.
 

JNalley

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Ok, so not a fishless cycle. Get yourself a Seachem Ammonia badge to quickly see and monitor the Ammonia in the tank. Whenever it starts to turn from yellow to grey, do a water change... You have too many fish in that small of a tank to do a live cycle in my opinion, and that blenny might not be able to withstand the onslaught of ammonia that is going to be produced over the short term...
 
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ASWoodsy

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Wow 1 week and already have 3 fish? how are you cycling your tank? Live rock and sand? Whats your Test for salinity, ammonia, nitrite and Nitrate read? first water change normally after cycle is finished to bring down the Nitrates. I can only give you answers from what I have researched not having had a saltwater tank myself till a month ago. Main thing I would say is you need to slow down.
I added live nitrifying bacteria day 1, so it’s safe to add fish. Also fish help with the cycle, especially hardy fish like clownfish. I have not yet had a spike in ammonia or nitrate, so I’m still waiting for that.
 
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ASWoodsy

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Ok, so not a fishless cycle. Get yourself a Seachem Ammonia badge to quickly see and monitor the Ammonia in the tank. Whenever it starts to turn from yellow to grey, do a water change... You have too many fish in that small of a tank to do a live cycle in my opinion, and that blenny might not be able to withstand the onslaught of ammonia that is going to be produced over the short term...
I normally wouldn’t have added the Blenny with the clownfish, but I have nowhere else to hold him. I had to shut down the tank they were previously in (my quarantine tank) so I could get it off of my dresser. Also I have the sea hem ammonia badge, I just wish they had more than just ammonia.
 

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I added live nitrifying bacteria day 1, so it’s safe to add fish. Also fish help with the cycle, especially hardy fish like clownfish. I have not yet had a spike in ammonia or nitrate, so I’m still waiting for that.
This is not correct. I am afraid this is not going to end well. Did your LFS give you this advice?
 

kateJD

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I am currently cycling my 32.5 gal reef tank, and it’s been cycling for 1 week. This is my second time cycling a reef tank, but I am still fairly new to it. My livestock is currently an ocellarus clownfish pair and a tailspot blenny. I just have a few questions:

1) Should I do water changes? (I’ve heard both you should and you shouldn’t, so what would be the benefit of either)

2) When should I add other fish and coral?

3) When should I turn my lights on?

4) Should I add chaeto to my refugium during or after the cycle? (Also do I know I can add it?)

I also have a couple questions that aren’t about the cycle:

1) What would be the best fish to add if I have a tailspot Blenny, two ocellarus clownfish, a yellow Coris wrasse, and snails?

2) What are some really good, inexpensive, beginner-intermediate, coral to add? (I currently plan to add zoas, acans, mushrooms, Euphyllia corals (torch, hammer, frogspawn, and Kenya tree), Blasto coral), mushroom coral, bubble coral, and Fox coral.)
I’m really new at this (my first reef tank has only been up about 6 weeks), but I will say, you may have made your life more difficult by starting with a relatively heavy load (3 fish for an uncycled tank that size is a lot). I have a 69 gallon reef tank and started w 2 maroon clowns after a fishless cycle and had a real spike in ammonia/nitrite levels so you will need to keep a close eye out until they go back down to zero.

coral wise, I put some GSP and some pulsing Xenia and both are recovering from my beginner mistake involving an ATO and low salinity and they’re fun to look at.

have fun!
 

JNalley

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I added live nitrifying bacteria day 1, so it’s safe to add fish.
Correction, it's safe to add 1 medium or two small hardy fish (fish that can deal with the ammonia level that is going to be produced
Also fish help with the cycle, especially hardy fish like clownfish.
Yes, fish become the source of ammonia that the bacteria need to eat to reproduce and propogate. Hardy means won't die easily in chemical swings... Clowns are technically Damselfish, so they're some of the hardiest fish out there, but that blenny, not so much...
I have not yet had a spike in ammonia or nitrate, so I’m still waiting for that.
Ammonia is what you have to worry about. How long have they been in the tank? You don't need to worry so much about Nitrite or Nitrate, those won't kill saltwater fish in the levels found in our reef tanks, but ammonia certainly will.
 

jabberwock

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I think even if a fish survives a cycle, the ammonia diminishes their ability to thrive for the rest of their lives. They will die sooner than if they were not exposed to high ammonia levels.

Like if you had a severe injury it would impact you for a long time.
 

JNalley

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I think even if a fish survives a cycle, the ammonia diminishes their ability to thrive for the rest of their lives. They will die sooner than if they were not exposed to high ammonia levels.

Like if you had a severe injury it would impact you for a long time.
I dunno man, loads of tanks (including some of my own) were started with fish back in the day. I started a 55 gallon in 2001 with 3 small damsels and they survived their full 4-5 year life expectancy... I'm not saying you're wrong, and I definitely agree that now that we have plenty of ways to cycle that don't need fish we should totally not put them through that kind of stress, but we're already here, so trying to make the best of it :-D
 
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ASWoodsy

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Not really setting yourself up for success, fishless cycle gives the tank time to do its thing without having to worry about any livestock health.
I think even if a fish survives a cycle, the ammonia diminishes their ability to thrive for the rest of their lives. They will die sooner than if they were not exposed to high ammonia levels.

Like if you had a severe injury it would impact you for a long time.
Correction, it's safe to add 1 medium or two small hardy fish (fish that can deal with the ammonia level that is going to be produced

Yes, fish become the source of ammonia that the bacteria need to eat to reproduce and propogate. Hardy means won't die easily in chemical swings... Clowns are technically Damselfish, so they're some of the hardiest fish out there, but that blenny, not so much...

Ammonia is what you have to worry about. How long have they been in the tank? You don't need to worry so much about Nitrite or Nitrate, those won't kill saltwater fish in the levels found in our reef tanks, but ammonia certainly will.
I normally would do a fish less cycle, but this was my only option under the circumstance that I was in.
 
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ASWoodsy

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"Adding" stuff to your tank does not make it safe or ready. "Time" makes a tank ready. Safe is hit or miss. Cycling with fish in the tank is not a good idea. Search nitrogen cycle on this site for information on how to properly cycle a tank.
I’ve done research on the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank in many places. However, I know adding stuff to your tank doesn’t make it 100% safe, but once you let the bacteria settle for 5 days, it’s safe for a few fish. The issue is when the spike of ammonia happens, which is what I’m waiting for.
 

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I’ve done research on the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank in many places. However, I know adding stuff to your tank doesn’t make it 100% safe, but once you let the bacteria settle for 5 days, it’s safe for a few fish. The issue is when the spike of ammonia happens, which is what I’m waiting for.
It seems that you do not want to hear the opinion of others, and so I will withdraw. Best of luck.
 

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Add stability seachem “fish can be added anytime during the cycle as long as stability dose is maintained for 7 days” p sure this and prime will make sure u can add fish when u add water and also avoid stressing them out while adding the bacteria needing to establish - worked in one situation for me take it with a grain of salt
 
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ASWoodsy

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It seems that you do not want to hear the opinion of others, and so I will withdraw. Best of luck.
I didn’t mean for my paragraph to make it seem like I believe the way I’ve learned is the only correct way. I’m always open to suggestions. The only reason I explained my way is because through my research, a large sum of the articles, videos, and emails say that after adding live bacteria and following the instructions on the bottle, it is ok to add fish, just not to overstock, which I do not believe I did. Plus I know time makes a tank safe, not adding stuff, but time is something I didn’t have a lot of, so I made the best with what I had, allowing it to cycle as much as I could before putting fish in.
 

EeyoreIsMySpiritAnimal

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You've already had many people tell you that cycling a tank with fish is just plain wrong these days, so I won't pile on...

Please plan to always have at least 30 gallons of saltwater on hand for the next few weeks as frequent large water changes may be the only thing that saves your fish.
 

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