Should we rethink and refine means and methods for cycling tanks?

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Eagle_Steve

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Let's do this! I'm going to do a dry rock bottle bac as well as mimmick what ive done with my live rock start up.
I really do want to monitor everything as closely as possible to cross refference whats happening in both tanks.
You could bring other much needed experience and ideas in your system.

Like you guys have both said and couldn't have nailed it any better.
This is not a quick end all fix or approach. It really does take diligence to the highest level to maintain params and keep them locked in to be successful.
Im glad we are at least looking at and talking about this if anything.
I have no issue with testing this, but I will not use critters to test. I will do some digging to see if I can figure out exactly how much ammonia a common fish can produce (clownfish for example) and then go from there.

I would think that one could show if all dry rock, all dry sand and all new equipment could process ammonia or not process ammonia from the get go with the addition of bottled bacteria or macros. My only concern would be the macros have a biofilm on them that is basically like cheating. I have no way to examine that, so may need to do that as a separate test.

The problem I see is knowing how much ammonia production a day, hour, minute to use as a starting point. This is where I can see it getting tricky. I have never looked into how many times fish pee in a day or how fast the food I feed takes to turn into ammonia, so one would have to do multiple tests at different levels of ammonia being dosed at all different times to gauge how well it works. That mean a lot of tests over and over with all new sterile starts. At least that is how I am looking at it.

The above is thinking out loud and may be a little scattered, so let me do some digging and see what I can come up with.
 
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Lovely - but II can´t understand that you still prefer MH :D:D:D

Sincerely Lasse

Yes, you can. If you were lighting larger areas like I do, keep mostly more difficult acropora like I do and live in a climate where heat is a blessing (actually, I am probably sure that this is true for the most part), you would likely do the same thing. :) I just don't want people to think that this is an actual argument between us or anything.

On the other stuff, I just don't want to see this thread linked somewhere else with the text along the lines of "see - proof that you can have a tank cycled in 24 hours." brandon is really bad about this in other threads when all of the nuance, details and discussion are left out when everybody know that nobody will read the thread and just take snippet as fact.

The Hannah Nitrite test kit seems easy and accurate - as least as much as their other kits. I won one at a club auction and I have used it a few times out of curiosity although I have no idea what anybody would ever use it for in real life.
 
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I have no issue with testing this, but I will not use critters to test. I will do some digging to see if I can figure out exactly how much ammonia a common fish can produce (clownfish for example) and then go from there.

I would think that one could show if all dry rock, all dry sand and all new equipment could process ammonia or not process ammonia from the get go with the addition of bottled bacteria or macros. My only concern would be the macros have a biofilm on them that is basically like cheating. I have no way to examine that, so may need to do that as a separate test.

The problem I see is knowing how much ammonia production a day, hour, minute to use as a starting point. This is where I can see it getting tricky. I have never looked into how many times fish pee in a day or how fast the food I feed takes to turn into ammonia, so one would have to do multiple tests at different levels of ammonia being dosed at all different times to gauge how well it works. That mean a lot of tests over and over with all new sterile starts. At least that is how I am looking at it.

The above is thinking out loud and may be a little scattered, so let me do some digging and see what I can come up with.
The above is right in line with what I was hoping would come out of this!
Yessir ill even let the pros decipher how much ammonia would be needed to fully cycle a 10 gallon at reasonable stocked capacity.
Critters don't need to be used during cycle period. Bottle bac in dry rock tank.
A little food in live rock tank.
How much idk maybe @Lasse could help us with control on that.
I love the idea of chaeto. I dont feel its cheating at all. The more control experiments that are done will show different benefits to different applications to be used with.

I will however bring the addition of critters in after tank is considered cycle to show it can maintain bioload.
I'm not going in blindly. I'm using past experiments and observation of data that has shown me whether or not it can handle the bioload.
 

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The big divide here should be new hobbyist and experienced aquarist. I lot of the newer techniques I think can be detrimental to new hobbyists developing a full understanding the nitrogen cycle.

Those discussions we all get into with new folks on "why isn't my tank cycled" always seem to miss the point which should be "Is your tank ready for fish?" Maybe a term like "initializing" or "starting" or "readying for fish" would be better. Yes, I realize it will never change. But I do like to set the table for the new hobbyists that this is a journey and yeah, adding first fish is a key milestone, but it's only maybe step 11 of the 10,000 steps they're going to take on the journey.

Experienced aquarists really don't need lessons in this and their methods are going to be much more efficient (or not) if they choose. I personally don't have an issue with an experienced reefer that likes dumping a dead shrimp for a few days and waiting for 3 weeks because that works. Same way with someone who needs to setup insta-tanks for their business or hobby there's ways to do that safely and discussions on how to improve on that are very valuable.

All the debate on it can be detrimental to a new reefer that needs to understand what's happening because that nitrogen cycle lesson is valuable way beyond the initial phase rather than just a "do this and magic happens and then you add fish" which I think is what it can seem like to newbies on insta-tank discussions. But based on latest knowledge/practices I think we can help new reefers be efficient and save money and understand the why's better and not just the end goal. I don't recommend a full starter test kit anymore (unless the person really wants to see the whole cycle - and that can be very valuable) and personally I still recommend adding ammonia (it's available and cheap). I think them actually going through the motions is more valuable than just explaining that 1-2 ppm ammonia is roughly what a couple fish can produce in a day. Yes, they'll learn this isn't exact but it does make the point. When they see that much getting managed in a day, they have a basis going forward and some awareness of the relations between bacteria population,volume tank/fish numbers and size and what the tank can handle. Even that dead shrimp as inefficient as it is, has a lesson to teach about decomposition.

I also feel that all the focus on speed can give bad impression to new folks as well . Yes, to us it's simply trying to get through a process we fully understand quickly and safely as possible because we're not going to learn much here and we know what we're doing (or are very good at pretending to). But is saving 2-3 weeks really more important than developing a full understanding of the biological processes? Maybe rapid readiness can be done along developing the understanding needed but so far I've seen more 'I added this bottle, can I add fish?' questions than I'd like.
 
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For scientifical purposes of course;)
I know that brs is looking at new ideas for setting up tanks.
They have fully cycled and stocked a successful tank in 48hrs.
I've done a tank in 24hrs.
We know that we can fully transfer tanks over to new systems and not even experience cycles as long as we don't exceed bioload from existing tanks.
We know that we can pretty much do the same thing with dry rock/bottle bac tank start ups if cycle protocol is followed and tank is stocked correctly.
We know that color coded test kits can read astronomically high when seneye shows ammonia levels in hundredths and sometimes thousandths on same new "cycling" tanks.
If by definition a cycle is considered over when ammonia and nitrite levels top out and begin to decline. Why do we continue to tell reefers they are still cycling when tanks are fully capable of handling bioload?

Why aren't we really exploring the benefits of these controlled approaches to cycling tanks? There are too many successful reefs being documented daily using new approaches and getting same job done more efficiently.
Why are we still regurgitating old school rules when they are out of date and no longer apply to new school data and methods?
Because this hobby mixes science and "science" and anecdotal stories, and sometimes the anecdotal stories outweigh the rest.

As in most hobbies, the vast majority of us (me included) are not scientist or even close to being a "professional" in any regard to the marine science field. We do things BECAUSE THEY WORK and we want to have success. If it worked for the last 100 people who did it, I'm going to give it a shot to work for me.

People keep using the same methods because those methods work (to an extent) and it gets them to where they want to be.

Personally, I don't care what a seneye meter can read in the 1/100th of ammonia or not, because that information isn't relevant to me. Did I add bacteria and an ammonia source? yes. Did the bacteria process the ammonia, produce nitrites? Yes. Did the bacteria then consume the nitrites and produce nitrates? yes. Ok, I'm cycled and ready to go. The seneye reading such a low amount of ammonia just sends people off trying to find an ammonia source that may or may not be there. There's a constant supply of ammonia in the aquarium from the fish so I would expect that sometimes there would be low levels of ammonia that may show up if I fed heavy for a couple days and the bacteria population couldn't handle the input.

BRS is now into the microbiome analyzation of things. Funny, they weren't into this when there wasn't a product to be sold. I bet we see these test kits available to order from BRS and send to companies much like ICP tests. The issue I have here is that you get all this information, and no direction to even get pointed in. Nothing is going to change here until companies start labelling what bacteria strains and at what ratios of those strains to one another are in products. Right now every is just "dump and pray" when it comes down to bacteria.

People already complain that the hobby is expensive, adding a $200 seneye item is NOT the answer, especially if we're talking just cycling a tank.
 

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I think its great, that these new ideas and methods exist, for those that want to have a fully stocked tank in 1 or 2 days without needlessly killing fish. Hopefully I'll never have to read another post about people using fish to cycle their tanks.

But for me, I think, so what then? Getting a tank set up and to that stage where it can hold life, is one of the best parts of the hobby. Those first few months are precious. I'm not in any kind of hurry.

To each his own
 
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Because this hobby mixes science and "science" and anecdotal stories, and sometimes the anecdotal stories outweigh the rest.

As in most hobbies, the vast majority of us (me included) are not scientist or even close to being a "professional" in any regard to the marine science field. We do things BECAUSE THEY WORK and we want to have success. If it worked for the last 100 people who did it, I'm going to give it a shot to work for me.

People keep using the same methods because those methods work (to an extent) and it gets them to where they want to be.

Personally, I don't care what a seneye meter can read in the 1/100th of ammonia or not, because that information isn't relevant to me. Did I add bacteria and an ammonia source? yes. Did the bacteria process the ammonia, produce nitrites? Yes. Did the bacteria then consume the nitrites and produce nitrates? yes. Ok, I'm cycled and ready to go. The seneye reading such a low amount of ammonia just sends people off trying to find an ammonia source that may or may not be there. There's a constant supply of ammonia in the aquarium from the fish so I would expect that sometimes there would be low levels of ammonia that may show up if I fed heavy for a couple days and the bacteria population couldn't handle the input.

BRS is now into the microbiome analyzation of things. Funny, they weren't into this when there wasn't a product to be sold. I bet we see these test kits available to order from BRS and send to companies much like ICP tests. The issue I have here is that you get all this information, and no direction to even get pointed in. Nothing is going to change here until companies start labelling what bacteria strains and at what ratios of those strains to one another are in products. Right now every is just "dump and pray" when it comes down to bacteria.

People already complain that the hobby is expensive, adding a $200 seneye item is NOT the answer, especially if we're talking just cycling a tank.
I'm sorry man but I just dont see how the $200 addition of a seneye up front to actually give more accurate ammonia results wouldnt save the hundreds of threads of people on stuck cycles.
Not to mention the benefit of stocking tank with inhabitants that can help establish biodiversity faster as well as save the dreaded ugly phase when done correctly.
Benefits far outweigh the negatives.
And the boards are full of failed cycles and tanks with issues done the old way.
I'm hoping we can show how to do things successfully.
 

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I'm sorry man but I just dont see how the $200 addition of a seneye up front to actually give more accurate ammonia results wouldnt save the hundreds of threads of people on stuck cycles.
Not to mention the benefit of stocking tank with inhabitants that can help establish biodiversity faster as well as save the dreaded ugly phase when done correctly.
Benefits far outweigh the negatives.
And the boards are full of failed cycles and tanks with issues done the old way.
To be a devils advocate here, as I know we can carry out a discussion in a civil manner lol.

I see a lot of the "old way" fails, but is there really truth in those posts? Someone comes and looks at this forum, see the way they should have done it and then makes a post that they did it that way. Even if they had not, as they see all of the bashing from others who did it the way they did. I have seen this numerous times, cannot prove it, but the date they joined to the date they posted, shows lurking about before posting. As in the joined date was after they started the tank and the post is well after both, if that makes sense.

I also see tanks setup the "old way" and are doing very well.

A lot comes down to the time invested, no matter the way done.

Also, I know this may not always be true, but this has to be looked at when saying "tons of failed tries the old way" are seen. In actuality, how do we know what the person making the has not been fabricated, had things added to, etc? We do not. Again, I am not saying all people or even that many are guilty of this, but it is a possibility.

In short, someone new should take a more cautious approach, take things slow and should learn about how it all works. Once you understand how it all works, not just reading but watching it before your eyes, it is typically locked in and remembered. (Well for most lol)

Research should also be done, but that is not going to happen.

If we do end up doing some testing and all of that, I still think there needs to be a huge disclaimer at the end of every post for the results. I do agree that some things get posted with a reference and it is not the whole story and then the valuable things get overlooked. This is never good.

There is even the option of us doing it and not posting updates. We could treat it like an article or something and all results, pics, etc. etc. would be posted all at once. Again, a big disclaimer that this is not for the ones just getting started.
 
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The big divide here should be new hobbyist and experienced aquarist. I lot of the newer techniques I think can be detrimental to new hobbyists developing a full understanding the nitrogen cycle.

Those discussions we all get into with new folks on "why isn't my tank cycled" always seem to miss the point which should be "Is your tank ready for fish?" Maybe a term like "initializing" or "starting" or "readying for fish" would be better. Yes, I realize it will never change. But I do like to set the table for the new hobbyists that this is a journey and yeah, adding first fish is a key milestone, but it's only maybe step 11 of the 10,000 steps they're going to take on the journey.

Experienced aquarists really don't need lessons in this and their methods are going to be much more efficient (or not) if they choose. I personally don't have an issue with an experienced reefer that likes dumping a dead shrimp for a few days and waiting for 3 weeks because that works. Same way with someone who needs to setup insta-tanks for their business or hobby there's ways to do that safely and discussions on how to improve on that are very valuable.

All the debate on it can be detrimental to a new reefer that needs to understand what's happening because that nitrogen cycle lesson is valuable way beyond the initial phase rather than just a "do this and magic happens and then you add fish" which I think is what it can seem like to newbies on insta-tank discussions. But based on latest knowledge/practices I think we can help new reefers be efficient and save money and understand the why's better and not just the end goal. I don't recommend a full starter test kit anymore (unless the person really wants to see the whole cycle - and that can be very valuable) and personally I still recommend adding ammonia (it's available and cheap). I think them actually going through the motions is more valuable than just explaining that 1-2 ppm ammonia is roughly what a couple fish can produce in a day. Yes, they'll learn this isn't exact but it does make the point. When they see that much getting managed in a day, they have a basis going forward and some awareness of the relations between bacteria population,volume tank/fish numbers and size and what the tank can handle. Even that dead shrimp as inefficient as it is, has a lesson to teach about decomposition.

I also feel that all the focus on speed can give bad impression to new folks as well . Yes, to us it's simply trying to get through a process we fully understand quickly and safely as possible because we're not going to learn much here and we know what we're doing (or are very good at pretending to). But is saving 2-3 weeks really more important than developing a full understanding of the biological processes? Maybe rapid readiness can be done along developing the understanding needed but so far I've seen more 'I added this bottle, can I add fish?' questions than I'd like.
Yeah no so folks don't run across this thread and think the cycle process is being undermined here.
The cycle process is being fully adhered to strictly followed in my tanks.
Whats being accelerated is addition of livestock to tank thats fully capable of handling said livestock and thats what the data shows based on the guidelines set for cycle process.
Whats being discussed is certain methods can be applied. Like using cured rock, media to greatly accelerate that process and livestock is being introduced after science is complete.
Let's not get it twisted out to anything beyond what it actually is.
 

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Yeah no so folks don't run across this thread and think the cycle process is being undermined here.
The cycle process is being fully adhered to strictly followed in my tanks.
Whats being accelerated is addition of livestock to tank thats fully capable of handling said livestock and thats what the data shows based on the guidelines set for cycle process.
Whats being discussed is certain methods can be applied. Like using cured rock, media to greatly accelerate that process and livestock is being introduced after science is complete.
Let's not get it twisted out to anything beyond what it actually is.
Agree 100% and I wasn't assuming that at all...my point was about experience allowing practices that may not be optimal in the learning phase. Now why didn't I use that sentence originally. :)
 

Eagle_Steve

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Agree 100% and I wasn't assuming that at all...my point was about experience allowing practices that may not be optimal in the learning phase. Now why didn't I use that sentence originally. :)
You might be like me me and it takes a few times to get the word from my head to my finger and then to the keyboard correct lol.
 

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You might be like me me and it takes a few times to get the word from my head to my finger and then to the keyboard correct lol.
I think the problem is more that I like hearing myself talk a bit too much still. "Quietman" is more of a goal not a character trait I have fully developed.
 
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To be a devils advocate here, as I know we can carry out a discussion in a civil manner lol.

I see a lot of the "old way" fails, but is there really truth in those posts? Someone comes and looks at this forum, see the way they should have done it and then makes a post that they did it that way. Even if they had not, as they see all of the bashing from others who did it the way they did. I have seen this numerous times, cannot prove it, but the date they joined to the date they posted, shows lurking about before posting. As in the joined date was after they started the tank and the post is well after both, if that makes sense.

I also see tanks setup the "old way" and are doing very well.

A lot comes down to the time invested, no matter the way done.

Also, I know this may not always be true, but this has to be looked at when saying "tons of failed tries the old way" are seen. In actuality, how do we know what the person making the has not been fabricated, had things added to, etc? We do not. Again, I am not saying all people or even that many are guilty of this, but it is a possibility.

In short, someone new should take a more cautious approach, take things slow and should learn about how it all works. Once you understand how it all works, not just reading but watching it before your eyes, it is typically locked in and remembered. (Well for most lol)

Research should also be done, but that is not going to happen.

If we do end up doing some testing and all of that, I still think there needs to be a huge disclaimer at the end of every post for the results. I do agree that some things get posted with a reference and it is not the whole story and then the valuable things get overlooked. This is never good.

There is even the option of us doing it and not posting updates. We could treat it like an article or something and all results, pics, etc. etc. would be posted all at once. Again, a big disclaimer that this is not for the ones just getting started.
I think different approaches is great. I do understand and recognize where you and @jda are coming from. On a responsible level I cant stress enough how the science of old cycle process is being followed 100% and if anything its being proven in the process.
Randy pointed something out to me in different thread.
I guess @Lasse idea of cycle definition may be different.
Mine has always been traditional feed the tank, ammonia bump and back to 0 and cycle is over. This can change dramatically from system to system with different methods used.
I'll be using mine.
No livestock has been added to any of my systems with out cycle process being 100% complete after initial set up.
Yes I seen a cpl bumps of .006 after livestock was introduced after a cpl feedings.
Those bumps of .006 went away after an hr or 2 and those bumps didn't occur after first few feedings.
Folks are reporting ammonia being monitored higher than that when they are dosing fuge in fully functioning reefs.
Safe approach is great and respect it.
I'll be Journaling and continue to jaurnal my endeavors based on proven cycling science alone. And show that data.
 

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When I went to Lfs last year, the man told me to cycle either by using a damsel or raw shrimp decaying from the store lol, I bought bottle bac and never looked back. So people are still recommending old cycling methods
Teach a person to reef and they'll be a customer forever, tell him to kill a damsel and they're probably going to shop online.
 

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I think different approaches is great. I do understand and recognize where you and @jda are coming from. On a responsible level I cant stress enough how the science of old cycle process is being followed 100% and if anything its being proven in the process.
Randy pointed something out to me in different thread.
I guess @Lasse idea of cycle definition may be different.
Mine has always been traditional feed the tank, ammonia bump and back to 0 and cycle is over. This can change dramatically from system to system with different methods used.
I'll be using mine.
No livestock has been added to any of my systems with out cycle process being 100% complete after initial set up.
Yes I seen a cpl bumps of .006 after livestock was introduced after a cpl feedings.
Those bumps of .006 went away after an hr or 2 and those bumps didn't occur after first few feedings.
Folks are reporting ammonia being monitored higher than that when they are dosing fuge in fully functioning reefs.
Safe approach is great and respect it.
I'll be Journaling and continue to jaurnal my endeavors based on proven cycling science alone. And show that data.
I will say, as we do seem to have some sort of different approach, the end goal is still the same.

We want to be able to effectively process ammonia, have the bio filter there to continually do it and then have that filter grow as the livestock grows.

The point of this would be to determine how fast that can done, can it be sustained and ensure no critters are harmed in the process or after the process.

At least that is how I see it.

I should also add, this will done by experienced people who have been doing this for a long time and is not recommended to anyone new in the hobby.

So,

Anyone new, DO NOT TRY THIS!!!!

Sorry about the above, but just wanted to ensure it was in here.
 

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I'm sorry man but I just dont see how the $200 addition of a seneye up front to actually give more accurate ammonia results wouldnt save the hundreds of threads of people on stuck cycles.
Not to mention the benefit of stocking tank with inhabitants that can help establish biodiversity faster as well as save the dreaded ugly phase when done correctly.
Benefits far outweigh the negatives.
And the boards are full of failed cycles and tanks with issues done the old way.
I'm hoping we can show how to do things successfully.
There's also threads about the seneye giving false ammonia readings.

And I agree the ability to add inhabitants that can mitigate the ugly stage is a great thing! The problem is you don't know what is in the bottle of bacteria. I'm sitting here reading the bottle of remission from aquavitro. It doesn't say what strains of bacteria it adds, just that it is bacterial strains developed in aquaculture. It also doesn't say how much bacteria you're adding or is in the bottle. The bacteria additives has become like the supplement world for people, everything is a "proprietary blend" and you never know how much of any ingredient you're adding.
 

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I think the old school cycling thats gets banded around alot is largely for education of the new guys and gals, the need to learn how to manage their water chemistry before the tank environment becomes stable and mature enough to manage itself ( obviosly not taking into account the need for element replenishment and coral survival) i have done just about every method across fresh and salt water though either necessity, emergency, impatience and every other reason you can think, all with vary results but by and large the most success i have had is through trusting my instincts, not being a slave to the ideal numbers game and being able to notice, monitor and adjust to minor changes that i see. Im not saying we should advocate insta starts for people with little to no knowledge but there are times and circumstances where resources and experience allow
 
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