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- Dec 9, 2014
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You can skip your cycle. Ive been reefing online for twenty years and have never waited one second for a tank to cycle, because I buy rocks that are already cycled and move them home.
My tank has been cycling with live rock for 17 days now. Early on I had a spike in nitrate, and since my salinity is 0.024, ammonia has sat at a constant rate of 0.5, my nitrite sometimes goes to 0.25, but then quickly back to 0, and my nitrate remains at 0 since the spike. I know 0 ammonia is...
thats not illegal, or unethical, its how nearly all reefs at MACNA are set up to meet the start date, for decades. this method of cycling has been conveniently left out of the manuals, formerly a domain for the sellers only.
buyers wait, sellers start when they want to. This is the first rule of updated cycling science for 2020. its better for buyers to be unsure of what filter bacteria do, and if sellers know what they do then the slant is in their favor for your $
we list the tricks here.
The primary purpose of this thread is to demonstrate when to dose ammonia in a cycle and when not to dose ammonia into a new reef.
The secondary purpose is to challenge and highlight the bottle bac sales machine which is benefiting from unneeded bacteria sales, from people who read false claims about stalled cycles in the marine hobby and relate that to misreads on tests, then click buy.
Reef tank cycles don’t stall. they follow a predictable completion timeline set by the boosters applied to the system, and even systems you add no boosters to still self-cycle given enough environmental exposure time in a home (see all of the 1970's and 1980's in the hobby, delayed wait cycling)
Using API and Red Sea tests improperly contributes all the data to false stalled cycle claims. The wrong way to use API is to take a reading once of your tank and then make a change (or a purchase) off the single point reading (which is what the directions say to do)
if you do that, you will see free ammonia when there is none. Here below is how to get API ammonia to work correctly, and only the ammonia param is needing verification, the other two do not.
So in my previous thread, I had an ammonia issue that was out of hand. As suggested, I did a 100% WC and now i’m wondering when I should start adding fish back. If anyone has suggestions, let me know!
If you are using bottle bacteria to start, which is a fine use of bottled bacteria, then your cycle isn't going to take past 10 days you can look up Dr. Reef's bottle bacteria verification thread (97 pages) to see how long the common strains take to adhere to surfaces fully, so that a full water change doesnt change the oxidation ability of the new substrate after bacteria have seated in place and multiplied.
Cycle stalls have consequence, they're not just a minor test reading variation
Watch how many reefs we cycle in this thread, see if a single stall happens. A stall kills the first animals you add; it means the tank isn’t ready, the start was premature. if we pull off pages of successful tank starts, then no cycle stalled.
hesitation is non existent here, we have visual cues and or measures for ammonia alone that determine the start date for all reef tanks. MACNA has no trouble making start dates for 500 reefs in one building, all on a Friday, nobody gets much lead time, yet no cycle stalls when money is ready to be pumped
we can take those cycling rules and make them our own, then we're able to design better reefs and make them live longer by never hesitating about what bacteria can tolerate
you can cycle any aquarium (that requires cycling) without using test kits...because test kits are estimates largely, people are trying to sell you bottle bac when you don’t need it, and filtration bacteria mechanics are a science of submersion TIME and test kits merely indicate spikes and troughs in a graph so well known, that all cycling charts on google show pretty much the same time frame or number of days until nitrite always complies with ammonia performance. today’s bottle bac strains move that time up to same day, with bioload:
I just started a new tank a little over a week ago. I started with all dry rock and new sand. I added a bottle of Bio-Spira and put fish and coral the same day. Never saw any ammonia and fish and coral seem healthy.
that doesnt mean all reefs should be one day setups, it means its possible because ammonia control is so consistent tank to tank (not variable, as non seneye ammonia readings would claim)
that could be a handy dry start skip cycle approach if we have to set up a hospital tank quickly, for some reason.
True live rock from a pet store reef tank with coralline and pods and fanworms is already cycled and it doesnt die on the way home at all
Do you see the interesting motile pods and creatures here below that are part of a new tank because purple coralline real live rock was used?
Don't burn them by adding ammonia. Ammonia is only added to tanks where no life is burned by it.
Video and tank by ChefNate
Study microbiology in the reef tank with us here and you'll never doubt nitrifiers ever again.
Learn to measure nitrifier presence by seeing growths on live rock, like algae waving in the current or by an attached fan worm. If those organisms had time to attach, bacteria were fully ready first.
testing relates to visual growth here, handy example of visual growth cues indicating a fully-cycled reef
Does green and brown algae mean the tank cycle is coming to a end? Ammonia is at zero nitrates 5ppm and nitrites are zero ph 7.8! Thanks for the help.
Higher-order animals attached like anemones are even better confirmation:
The rock you got is going to save you maybe 20+ new tank problems! Best of luck
Don't let a $9 tester for ammonia completely wreck your view on what nitrifiers really do... We don't need test kits here to cycle any aquarium because they all follow similar rules and time frames to completion. Watch as we turn out tanks for pages, never measuring for ammonia but applying what we already know it does
look at this cycle where non Seneye ammonia is stating its not cycled after 90 days
So, as of today, I've: Turned off the skimmer completely for a week (didn't realize that was a thing with bacteria additives) Filtered with carbon for a week ahead of time (turned off now) Pumped 15 gallons (20%) out of the tank Carefully sifted about 15 dead snails out of the sand bed Added 15...
bottle bac has you ready in 1-10 days time, not ninety. thats the impact of misreading tests.
All reefs at a marine aquarium convention like MACNA start on time for a reason, because reef cycles don’t stall. They are nearly all live rock instant skip cycle setups, because moving already cured live rocks among tanks doesnt uncycle at all. There are no mini cycles thats a hobby API test kit falsehood; live rock simply transfers unless its mailed and then that stress sure might kill some organisms. Moving it in aerated containers doesn't stress it.
Bottle bac cycles dont take 20 or 30 days, Dr Reef's bottle bacteria thread shows that these are truly fast cycling products.
Most bottle bac strains are adhered to surfaces in less than one week's timeframe, per Dr. Reef's comparison thread.
Maturation vs Cycling for initial bioload carry ability:
Maturing the tank via food web establishment takes months and years, but not cycling/the ability to carry an initial bioload safely without any harm to the organisms we add. Your tank is cycled when full water changes can't affect the bacteria and when initial bioload is ready to be cared for safely (cured live rock keeps these characteristics no matter where you move it to, but mailing it in closed off bags might cause dieoff/KP aquatics live rock mailed example)
Do we think MACNA instant cycle reefs are willing to house $50K in rare frags and fish inside a weakly-cycled tank? no, they know a proper skip cycle is still bacteria fully attached to rocks, and they make use of that hidden secret. They move live rocks among tanks in wet + oxygenated transports and it does fine. if they're doing a bottle bac dry start to make the start date on time, they add water, surface area, bottle bac, and then they test for ammonia control which always works unless the bottle bac was dead (rare, we dont see that in this thread over the years)
they then set up the reef, like Ike did, and it works fine.
**surfaces in a reef tank actually do increase in filtration capacity over time but its through an unapparent mechanism that adds to your tank's surface area so that new bacterial populations have a place to adhere: vermitid snails, coralline, limpets attached, new coral growths, increase surface area therefore they increase filtration capacity as long as they're not blanketed in detritus waste which covers up the newly formed channels for bacterial attachment***
A cycle is improved over time by that slow mechanism.
Ammonia vs no ammonia, when should I blast ammonia into my system as a new aquarium?
when the rocks you bought were dry, kept on a shelf, with no living animals-we place those in water and add ammonia and bottle bac and wait, for the cycle to complete
when you buy live rock that brings in life in any form, especially forms you can already see, we do not add ammonia, as that kills/stresses the life you paid $ for and the presence of the animals already means your filtration bacteria is in place
you wouldn’t add bottle bac to live rock setups, you just paid extra for bacteria rocks.
When can I add fish?
***read this before adding any fish to your cycling reef***** your cycle wont kill them, disease will
AlgaeBarn raises live stock in tanks that have had nothing wild for years and should therefore be clean. Reef cleaners has fish free systems, so their inverts shouldn't be carrying fish diseases. Do folks who follows the "QT anything wet" philosophy trust those vendors enough to make exceptions...
Which parameters do we test for using updated cycling science vs old rules: Ammonia nitrite and nitrate?
Testing. no ten testers will report the same rating on a given sample, yet our entire concept of what bacteria do is based upon how we interpret ranging test kits, this should be shocking to readers.
I have a 3 months old 14 gallon nano tank with heavily stocked livestock. Two clown, one small hippo tang(getting new tank soon), one clown fish and few invertebrates. It is heavily stocked small tank but i strictly do maintenance everyday. I do maintenance by chaning filter every two days...
we only need to control ammonia to cycle, nitrite and nitrate do not have to be tested in updated cycling science.
Randy’s chem forum searches show us that Chloride presence in reef water neutralizes nitrite effects on fish, so we don’t factor it. That alone stops thousands of dollars of extra bottle bac purchases, to know we don’t care about nitrite in updated cycling science.
Hey guys I have an aquarium system that has about 45gallons of water cycling so I Let it cycle for about week and I added seeded marine pure ceramic balls and the bacteria in a bottle. I had no choice but to add my 2 clownfish from my quarantine into the tank.. because I needed to put a sick...
When ammonia is oxidized nitrate is by rule being formed, we do not have to test for nitrate to know when a cycle is ready, and they do not factor nitrite or nitrate compliance in MACNA starts they only verify ammonia control, that's whats needed.
reminder, we dont add ammonia to obviously live rock to prove it, that burns live rock animals:
don't add ammonia to live rock. If you are dealing with live rock you withhold ammonia, not add some. Adding ammonia is for dry rock cycling. was the rock wet at your pet store, then wet when you brought it home? did it have live copepods on the rock in the morning on your tank walls? what about the tank holding it at the pet store, any pods or worms lying about on the edges? This distinction is critical in setting the boundaries for how you clean an aquarium, how you can respond to emergencies in the tank, and it's all related to how you think bacteria work in an aquarium. we don't add ammonia to live rock in a civilized society of new tank cyclers.
What is the impact of using new cycling rules vs old ones, any benefits other than shorter waits?
* how you handle cycling impacts how you handle tank invasions and algae problems even though those two seem unconnected currently. they're completely intertwined, and what filtration bacteria will allow sets your action boundaries when responding to tank invasions or algae issues. By knowing what marine filtration bacteria will permit, you can control your tank in amazing ways. Cycling is about bacteria, not plants, so don't permit algae as part of a cycle, keep your new tank hand cleaned until maturation takes over.
Look how rocks with coralline tend to repel algae, and white new rocks tend to attact it:
Hello R2R, I have been cycling my new rocks and decided to throw a cube of Mysis shrimp to feed the various animals living in my rock work. I woke up the next day to an absolute explosion of GHA all over the glass, dry rock, and even some on the Live Rock. I know that there's usually an ugly...
keep your tank cleaned manually if its of the size where that's practical. we do no invest money only to wreck it for half a year or longer, learn direct gardening and make it as often as needed. expect twice the work if you choose white dry base rock, we can see above.
____________Most common types of reef tank cycles with examples_______________________________________________
These are the main types of tank cycles, what you are attempting is one of these, and each version does something different with ammonia:
1. fully cured live rocks, transferred. You just move the rocks from petco home in a bag, set them in your tank and add water.
2. all dry materials, this gets the ammonia + bottle bac to cycle since there are no bugs/pods/worms to kill on dry rock.
3. mixed cycling where both live and dry materials are present at the start. a few different options exist here. dont add ammonia, burns the live portion. Give the set of rocks twenty days to coexist and theyll all share bacteria via water transfer:
EDIT: In conclusion, if using the method I did - connecting an established reef to a new system with dry rock (clean), I recommend the following: 1. Dose your new tank prior to connecting to your old tank with NO3 and PO4 enough to raise to your established tank levels. 2. Take your skimmer...
4. uncured ocean rock
its plant base will be massive on the rock, it will look amazing, and since your whole tank doesn't look that way now we can only expect uncured rock to dieback and match what you can currently sustain. some even pre-remove these growths via reef surgery before adding to the tank. expect this rock to produce ammonia, we sure don't want to give it any. try and suppress ammonia production from this kind of live rock as it cures
5. Caribsea LifeRock cycling
this rock is painted in bacteria within the coralline paint on the surface. to cycle liferocks, you merely add saltwater and wait two weeks. change out the water, begin. they're cycled. no feeding is required, submersion is required.
here's a caribsea setup
Hi, I have recently started a new tank (Reefer 250). I put carib sea life rock and live sand in it. After 5 days of no activity, I added a raw shrimp and let it rot for 4 - 5 days. Then I took it out. Now my measurements are No2 1 ppm and No3 100+ ppm. This has been like this for more than a...
we use known submersion times to predict when a cycle is ready, we are unreliant on test kits to cycle reef tanks in this thread. They merely confirm what our timelines w already show, and to get a test kit to read correctly you have to change the way you run the test...we don’t look for zero ammonia, it doesn’t run at zero in a reef tank.
What is related to cycling and what is not:
NO UGLIES PHASE ALLOWED
Cycling has nothing to do with letting green hair algae show up and you hope it goes away
Cycling has nothing to do with letting cyanobacteria overtake your tank for any period of time, cycling has no ugly phase, because you can't see the bacteria that cycling hopes to implant on your rocks and sand.
do not start out your tank with unrinsed sand (cloudy). its not that its harmful, its that sand (including live sand) is ideally pre-rinsed before use, so that it cannot cloud, and you are freer to clean your tank better than normal. clouding sand makes people hesitant to act. this is a six page thread on sand rinsing, tank transfers, tank cleaning and restorations for proof:
Algae and cyano can come on strong anytime, unrelated to cycling we can see in problem algae threads, so don't begin your new tank down an invasion path. keep it cleaned, manually, and as it matures your work will lessen.
Pictures of types of rocks, we call them Group A (can't be visually verified, looks barren) and group B (easily verified as live/cycled with coralline, attached animals, tubeworms and pods)
Top pics are group A, the unverified gray no visual life barren rocks. This is where dr Tims and other bottle bacs come into use, and rotting shrimp or (much cleaner and workable) raw ammonium chloride dosing.
Visual cycling / things we can see is a recurring theme here... proofs where we can verify cycle completion without using test kits.
Group B rocks
Bottom pics are cured live rock with months/years of coralline and fanworms and calcifications, colors, growths, pigments, textures, smells nicely...the nitrifier-verified, group B rocks. Group B rock has attributes you can spot from across the room, those details mean it has a full complement of filtration bacteria. you do not need to cycle it by adding ammonia.
example of group B
group B skip cycle rock macro shots, hitchhikers in tow:
*the hallmark of group B rocks is that the living growths and pigments take longer than bacteria do to adhere as colonies on the rock surface exposed to the currents. Any rock that has accreted organisms is full up completely on filtration bacteria... these communities deposit on marine substrates in a sequential order always. Bacteria first, and last, given no meds dosed.
Applying raw ammonia to group B rock is counterproductive, it's stressing animals we were charged top dollar for, to verify a group of organisms we can already see are there plain as day.
Group B rock we handle like a living organism, it's a collection of them indeed. Do we add raw ammonia to a bag of fish while we float them in the tank to equalize temperature?
One can forego the entire wait time of biological cycling by using coralline covered rock or coralline spotted rock and caribsea wet pack sand and transporting it home in a reasonable way. From this fact, we can move tanks between homes or cities without a cycle (how all marine convention tanks are set up) and we can make upgrades and downgrades without a cycle
Do people who set up aquariums at massive aquarium conventions show up three weeks before the event to cycle?
We aren't advocating rushing, we advocate being exact in your cycle based on the substrate you paid for, the microbiology at hand, and not adding ammonia to living organisms when ammonia articles say it stresses them.
The actions the reefer takes when dealing with type A or B rocks are polar opposite, what we do to cycle live rock is opposite of what we do to cycle dry rock.
Once the bacteria are established on rocks, only meds or extremes will kill them * not ever moving between aquariums* and this sets the stage for our unique cycling thread here and why starting a tank with live rock and sand is very different than starting with dry substrates. Keep in mind that when you move live rocks between tanks using any reasonable preservation method, say an old tank vs a new one, or your pet store back home to you, your bacteria doesn't die, it actually stands to get a boost (if dieoff occurs this is feed)
You can only kill the live rock bacteria by introducing it to any extreme such as temp, desiccation or true drying, and meds, and it takes something that pronounced to kill them. nothing we do practically in tank work kills them, now we begin to trust bacteria and see them as the strongest group of animals we keep...not the weakest. You can NOT starve a completed cycle by withholding fish food, that is a hobby falsehood.
*of any life form in your tank at any time, bacteria as a community are the toughest and most resilient and adaptive to any change, any cycling thread needs this opening frame of reference.
Changing the way you see cycle testing is the first step in becoming an efficient tank cycler, free from retail influence over matters of microbiology you can likely wield free of charge. Watch our example set grow here, year after year.