Some cycling questions.

instantaquatics

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
73
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
To start off with what I know, I have been working with reef tanks for many years and freshwater tanks for much longer. My knowledge on the cycle is pretty good, but my reef tanks were never great, and now I want to change that. I am starting out with dry sand and dry rock which is very controversial, but I weighed my options and this is what I want to go with. I am of course using RO/DI water.

The information I gathered:

Melevsreef reef timeline video, where he says after the nitrogen cycle is complete, you will get diatoms and once those are gone you can add fish and turn on your protein skimmer. The tank lights should not have been on at this point at all until around month three when you decide to add coral.
First Question: What if you don't see diatoms at all after the cycle?
Second Question: If you do see diatoms and they don't go away, what do you do? This is where I usually got stuck with my reefs: diatoms for years on end.

The Supreme Guide To Setting Up A Saltwater Reef Aquarium, where it says you will go through the ammonia cycle, nitrite cycle, and finally anaerobic bacteria within the rock work? Which doesn't seem right to me, since that takes a very long time to develop and requires a good amount of feed to my knowledge. Either way, after that it says to turn on the lights and you will get diatoms, then cyanobacteria, then green/brown algae. Then you can finally add livestock.
First Question: What if you do not get any of these algae, or only one and not the other? When is it "fine" to go through with livestock and start doing more with your tank?

Cycling an Aquarium, where the post just goes over general information of the cycle. Basically says to me "add livestock after the nitrogen cycle is completed". No questions here.

Related Question: When do you add your protein skimmer? I feel like it's overkill with one fish and weekly water changes, asking to get dinos, no?

TLDR; What if I don't get diatoms, cyano, or green/brown algae like these guides say you should? When is it generally acceptable to add a fish (I was thinking after ammonia and nitrite are done and over with which I always thought was typical)? Coral? What do you do if these diatoms, cyanobacteria, or green/brown algae show up in your tank and stay for way too long? At what point is it acceptable to forget the "natural" aspect of this transition and use chemicals or manually remove? When do I add a protein skimmer so as to not get algae but also not get dinos?

Thanks in advance, and I apologize if I butchered melev's video or the articles.
 
Last edited:
OP
I

instantaquatics

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
73
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Get Instant Ocean BIO-Spira and just insta-cycle your tank. Then you can put fish in Day 1. It costs a little more than the regular bacteria/ammonia route - but then you don't have to f**k around with the whole cycling thing.
I'm not really too worried about adding fish day one - I just setup a quarantine tank and will be getting a fish for it next week, so I've got around two and a half months before I will be wanting to add a fish to the display tank :)

I have thought about adding some bottled bacteria but not sure yet. Waiting for more replies.

Thank you for the input!
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
It is technically possible to get no diatoms during/post cycling but very very unlikely. This is because of the silicate in the water/sand/ dry goods. At the beginning stage of the tank, there is no competing organism and diatoms will take over. You mentioned that you had diatoms for years, and I would say that this was because you did not run RODI prior.

There is no reason why you cannot put livestock in at the end of cycling. You might not ever get to experience cyano/gha/etc as every tank is different so this is certainly not a benchmark for when adding livestocks is acceptable. Once ammonia is gone, it is considered safe for fishes and corals to go in. Just use caution to not add too many livestock and overload your newly established system.

As far as skimmers go, you can put it in day one and tune it to your need. Contrary popular beliefs, dinos do not infect a "too clean" tank. They infect tank that lacks competing micro-biodiversity and insufficient nutrients export. In other words, dinos infect a biological "clean" but nutritional "dirty" tank.

You do not get dinos because you have double 0 N and P, but rather you have 0 N and P because you have dinos.
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0
OP
I

instantaquatics

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
73
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
It is technically possible to get no diatoms during/post cycling but very very unlikely. This is because of the silicate in the water/sand/ dry goods. At the beginning stage of the tank, there is no competing organism and diatoms will take over. You mentioned that you had diatoms for years, and I would say that this was because you did not run RODI prior.

There is no reason why you cannot put livestock in at the end of cycling. You might not ever get to experience cyano/gha/etc as every tank is different so this is certainly not a benchmark for when adding livestocks is acceptable. Once ammonia is gone, it is considered safe for fishes and corals to go in. Just use caution to not add too many livestock and overload your newly established system.

As far as skimmers go, you can put it in day one and tune it to your need. Contrary popular beliefs, dinos do not infect a "too clean" tank. They infect tank that lacks competing micro-biodiversity and insufficient nutrients export. In other words, dinos infect a biological "clean" but nutritional "dirty" tank.

You do not get dinos because you have double 0 N and P, but rather you have 0 N and P because you have dinos.
I understand the go-to way to add micro-biodiversity in a tank is through live sand and or live rock, but is there another way to do so? I'm assuming bottled bacteria is the next best option, and another user already suggested I go with that.
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
I understand the go-to way to add micro-biodiversity in a tank is through live sand and or live rock, but is there another way to do so? I'm assuming bottled bacteria is the next best option, and another user already suggested I go with that.
I went with the bottled product and regretted my decision 3 months in.

The most cost effective method is using a LITTLE bit of live rocks/sand to mix with and seed your dry rocks and sand. In the hindsight, this is what I should have done in the beginning to save myself a lot of money and headache.
 
Upvote 0
OP
I

instantaquatics

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
73
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I went with the bottled product and regretted my decision 3 months in.

The most cost effective method is using a LITTLE bit of live rocks/sand to mix with and seed your dry rocks and sand. In the hindsight, this is what I should have done in the beginning to save myself a lot of money and headache.
Good idea. I have some live sand shipping now, and I will go get a pound of live rock to turn into rubble (to make sure no pests and such) when I pickup my fish for QT. Then I'll just spread it throughout my dry rock.

Thanks for the input!!!
 
Upvote 0

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
7,723
Reaction score
5,668
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
It is technically possible to get no diatoms during/post cycling but very very unlikely. This is because of the silicate in the water/sand/ dry goods. At the beginning stage of the tank, there is no competing organism and diatoms will take over. You mentioned that you had diatoms for years, and I would say that this was because you did not run RODI prior.

There is no reason why you cannot put livestock in at the end of cycling. You might not ever get to experience cyano/gha/etc as every tank is different so this is certainly not a benchmark for when adding livestocks is acceptable. Once ammonia is gone, it is considered safe for fishes and corals to go in. Just use caution to not add too many livestock and overload your newly established system.

As far as skimmers go, you can put it in day one and tune it to your need. Contrary popular beliefs, dinos do not infect a "too clean" tank. They infect tank that lacks competing micro-biodiversity and insufficient nutrients export. In other words, dinos infect a biological "clean" but nutritional "dirty" tank.

You do not get dinos because you have double 0 N and P, but rather you have 0 N and P because you have dinos.


I don't believe there is any evidence of those dinos claims. The only known common factor across the majority of dino issues is 0.00 phosphate. This also may likely need to be sustained for a while before the dinos appear, as they do not appear before or as soon as phosphates hit 0.00 in most scenarios that I have dealt with or read about. "Biodiversity" isn't measured nor defined well, and would indicate dinos as being a problem with new tanks only (or most of the time) with dry rock, but this doesn't seem to be the case. They would, in that scenario, likely appear immediately in a new tank.
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
Good idea. I have some live sand shipping now, and I will go get a pound of live rock to turn into rubble (to make sure no pests and such) when I pickup my fish for QT. Then I'll just spread it throughout my dry rock.

Thanks for the input!!!
You’re welcome.

The only other advice that I can give you is to take things slow. After cycling my 150g tank, I put in a few clowns and 2 shrimp. In the first 3 months I only saw 2 weeks of diatoms and I had no outbreak of the “uglies”. Thinking I was in the clear, I rapidly added 9 fishes + many corals and tripled my feeding to meet the demands. Within weeks I had a full blown dinoflagellates outbreak that wiped out half of my corals and a took me full six months to get under control.

So do yourself (and your wallet) a big favor and slowly let your system mature slowly and naturally :)
 
Upvote 0

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
7,723
Reaction score
5,668
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
The common idea behind predominantely getting one type of algae bloom at first is that not much else is there, and predation is relatively low. Therefore, its sort of a initial free for all of who gets there first. Again, this is a reasonable explanation, but not universal and not necessarily backed up by anything but anecdotes. You may or may not get diatoms. I have no clue where this silica is coming from unless popular live sand companies uses tap water high in silicates, or a tank was filled with some silica from tap or not 100% effective rodi units.

Turn the skimmer on when you get fish. I don't like skimmers in young tanks (as they strip the water column of bacteria), but this is not a common opinion (that is to say, me not liking skimmers in young tanks, not the other part). They are also not very good at preventing phosphate build up, which (the lack of) is the only common variable known within the dino threads (0.00ppm). If you are concerned about 0 nitrate, just run the skimmer water level low so it doesn't collect much but still aerates (or run it on a timer having it on at night).
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
I don't believe there is any evidence of those dinos claims. The only known common factor across the majority of dino issues is 0.00 phosphate. This also may likely need to be sustained for a while before the dinos appear, as they do not appear before or as soon as phosphates hit 0.00 in most scenarios that I have dealt with or read about.
Yes there are evidence of dinoflagellates in N and P consumption. Various scientific literature found that the growth of dinoflagellates have a negative correlation to N and positive correlation to P.
In a controlled environment, Dinos grew exponentially in a high N environment (with highest preference toward ammonia) and plateaued out when N is depleted.
 
Upvote 0

Lasse

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2016
Messages
9,644
Reaction score
27,431
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Källarliden 14 D Bohus, Sweden
Here you can get a few tips - that´s the way I have started many tanks without any ugly phases, The different steps is recommended because they together address most of the issues raised in other post of this thread

Sincerely Lasse
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
Yes there are evidence of dinoflagellates in N and P consumption. Various scientific literature found that the growth of dinoflagellates have a negative correlation to N and positive correlation to P.
In a controlled environment, Dinos grew exponentially in a high N environment (with highest preference toward ammonia) and plateaued out when N is depleted.
I don't believe there is any evidence of those dinos claims. The only known common factor across the majority of dino issues is 0.00 phosphate. This also may likely need to be sustained for a while before the dinos appear, as they do not appear before or as soon as phosphates hit 0.00 in most scenarios that I have dealt with or read about. "Biodiversity" isn't measured nor defined well, and would indicate dinos as being a problem with new tanks only (or most of the time) with dry rock, but this doesn't seem to be the case. They would, in that scenario, likely appear immediately in a new tank
This is also seen in the ocean where the seasonal shift brings in nutrients rich water and cause massive dinoflagellates bloom.

I do believe that the 0 P assumption is correct however. While P doesn’t have a great correlation to the growth of dinoflagellates, there seems to be positive correlation. Meaning P increase as the abundance of dinos increase. I believe this is due to the fact that the dino bloom spatially outcompete other algal species that heavily consume P.

So if your P is depleted in a reef tank, that is certainly not good for algae species that consume P and compete with dinoflagellates for living space.
 
Upvote 0

Spare time

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
7,723
Reaction score
5,668
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Here
This is also seen in the ocean where the seasonal shift brings in nutrients rich water and cause massive dinoflagellates bloom.

I do believe that the 0 P assumption is correct however. While P doesn’t have a great correlation to the growth of dinoflagellates, there seems to be positive correlation. Meaning P increase as the abundance of dinos increase. I believe this is due to the fact that the dino bloom spatially outcompete other algal species that heavily consume P.

So if your P is depleted in a reef tank, that is certainly not good for algae species that consume P and compete with dinoflagellates for living space.


The problem is that literature on wild dinos may not be applicable with our tanks. That is a common issue in biology, as captive vs. wild studies often have dramatically different results
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
The problem is that literature on wild dinos may not be applicable with our tanks. That is a common issue in biology, as captive vs. wild studies often have dramatically different results
I agree that literatures on wild dinos in their natural environment “in vivo” cannot be directly compared to our captive reef. It would be irresponsible to assume that these aquarium-dwelling dinos will perform and behave exactly the same as their wild counterparts since there are too many variables that are not taken into account.

That said, some of these results were also performed in “in vitro” where specific strains of dinos (I looked at ostreopsis and prorocentrum in particular as these were the dinoflagellates that I had to deal with), were grown in controlled laboratory settings with fine tune administration of various species of N and P. These tests were replicated by many laboratories and papers with similar results in correlation to dino intake of N and P. To me these settings are much more similar to our reef aquarium and hence I believe that these trends and results are applicable to our approach in preventing/dealing with dinoflagellates.
 
Upvote 0
OP
I

instantaquatics

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
193
Reaction score
73
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
When should I do my first water change?

I want to keep lights off until my ammonia and nitrite are converted to nitrate, then I will add fish (assuming QT is done). But before I add lights on, I want to make sure my nitrate and phosphate are low enough. Would I just change water until it gets to a good point, then turn lights on and eventually add fish when their quarantine period is over (then continue weekly water changes)?
 
Upvote 0

jrmailo

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2021
Messages
61
Reaction score
49
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hampton
When should I do my first water change?

I want to keep lights off until my ammonia and nitrite are converted to nitrate, then I will add fish (assuming QT is done). But before I add lights on, I want to make sure my nitrate and phosphate are low enough. Would I just change water until it gets to a good point, then turn lights on and eventually add fish when their quarantine period is over (then continue weekly water changes)?
Post-Cycling, you should not have any phosphate, only Nitrate. Phosphate is not a byproduct of aquarium cycling nor denitrification. You will start to have a rise phosphate after you introduce and start feeding your livestocks and/or have start to decomposition of organics in your tank.

You can do a water change after successfully cycling to reduce your nitrates.

The point of having your lights off in the initial stage of your aquarium is to prevent or at the very least reduce the amount of photosynthetic pest organisms (algae/cyano/Dino/etc) from using your left over nitrates (from cycling) and other leftover residual elements to grow in your tank. It’s not really a benchmark for when you can start adding fish.
 
Upvote 0

How many different food items do you feed your fish?

  • Only one food

    Votes: 6 6.2%
  • 2 Foods

    Votes: 12 12.4%
  • 3 Foods

    Votes: 22 22.7%
  • 4 Foods

    Votes: 12 12.4%
  • 5+ Different Foods

    Votes: 27 27.8%
  • 10+ Different Foods

    Votes: 18 18.6%
Legendary
Top