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The microbiology of reef tank cycling.

brandon429

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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.
Here's one

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.


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:




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

Higher-order animals attached like anemones are even better confirmation:
(see how in that thread, attached anemones prove cycle completion?)

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

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







____________________________________________________________________


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.

do you see how that recently cycled thread shows no nitrate? going off old methods of cycling, all three parameters compliant, that tank isn't 'cycled' (but it is)

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.
we dont need to know nitrite in updated cycling science.







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:

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:



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


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:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/t...ead-aka-one-against-many.230281/#post-2681445

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)








20140125_110413-picsay.jpg
20140125_110419-picsay.jpg







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
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/tampa-bay-saltwater-live-rock.245819/

group B skip cycle rock macro shots, hitchhikers in tow:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/what-is-this-thing-crawling-all-over-my-live-rock.309762/



*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.
 
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brandon429

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Transporting group B rocks home, or across town, or among tanks in your house, or from your pet store, or to a MACNA convention, all the same:


Live rock (group B) is typically sold wrapped in wet newspaper or in a styrofoam box with no water for ease of transport after you buy it out of the stock tank above.
IMG_20160111_182149237.jpg

They may stack a few pounds in empty fishbags. Lfs will not typically bag your LR underwater unless you provide the buckets or request them individually in fish bags with water. Merely opting for that step alone, keeping the live rock underwater for the trip home, changes your cycle dramatically and is preferable to any emersed transport although I transport mine without water and have no cycle. Since wild things happen on the web (you're all wielding API ammonia kits in the background/admit it) we'll control that variable.




Whether or not the transfer and the tank water differ in pH, temp, specific gravity does not matter within reason. Calcium, alk, magnesium levels of different tanks will not recycle live rock.





Packing live rock in newspaper or in empty bags is done in the industry because it is known that emersion is on the spectrum all but the most sponge covered live rock will tolerate for short periods. Its so reliable that it is the go to method for most shippers and lfs, and the rock typically moves tanks while not losing its life. limited air exposure to group b rocks isn't harmful like once thought. People who upgrade tanks, build emergency QT or frag tanks, move tanks to a new home, or set up at a convention appreciate the science of skipping the marine aquarium cycle.

Small amounts of ammonia may leak from live rock transported like this and placed in your new tank, but not because bacteria were killed off. It takes medication or true desiccation to kill them, simple dieoff within live rock may produce small level ammonia and that subsides quickly if the reading for ammonia is accurate
The trip home did not sterilize or remove the mass bacteria from the rock, even if brought home with no water, true desiccation can take days. Any ammonia present would be from loss of higher order animals + decay time, that's pretty rough handling for live rock. Transporting it submerged works every time


This thread shows that .25 sustained ammonia, the classic stuck cycle reading from search returns, cannot occur in reefing. We have been paying into the bacteria machine for a condition that has never occurred for any tank.

 
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Tahoe61

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Very nice Brandon.

Boy this thread takes me way back.
 
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brandon429

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This calc lets you add ammonia to 1 ppm in any system where you know strength of ammonia solution % and volume.

http://www.fishforums.net/aquarium-calculator.htm

follow that calc and make your tank of water 1 or 2 ppm ammonia.
Use high quality ammonia test kits in 24 hours to see if set point went down clearly, but no hard zero required.





Buy this kind of ammonia below its routinely used for tank cycles


This thread is an interesting market study in that we discuss legitimate purchase of bottle bac, we also use science and thread outcome repetition to discourage reinvestment.

A form of doubt permeates the hobby about what bacteria tolerate; spurned by mistesting we're making thousands of dollars of purchases to fill a gap which isn't there.

image.jpeg
 
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https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/qt-and-biofilm.292878/page-2


that thread above has tenets regarding the true nature of bacteria in our tanks be sure and read it


we cannot remove nitrifiers and the heterotrophic bacteria they complex with on our filtration surfaces through any easy means--which is why you can move live rocks home from a store and not lose the bac. or ship them and not lose the bac, live rock stays able to filter until you do insane things to it, and in that thread even bleach wont work well to remove them, says a doctor of fisheries.

our cycling thread here is about the tough, predictable and reliable nature of bacteria so these two posts are strongly linked though different subject matter.


This thread has good data on salinity ranges our bacteria will accept
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/c...a-survive-changes-in-specific-gravity.300396/
 
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Rocks that exceed the visual ID requirements for group B, uncured marine rock, and how they cycle oppositely of what we'd assume:

http://reef2reef.com/threads/nano-reefer-from-tx-help-me-id.215869/#post-2475140

repasted w perm. from ismaellobato


*this is how his rock came, not what he added to the rock. its loaded such that its prob the nicest starting reef rock Ive seen. rare to get uncured items that are not in a state of decay, we have to behave oppositely here to hopefully keep them alive.

This thread above is a prime example of a third class of rocks, not common but ever present an option for the new tank cycler. Uncured rocks in this case means came from the living ocean, not cured down to what an aquarium maintains long term, dieoff is likely since we don't feed well enough to support this array of benthics. high points:

-again, no bacterial support is needed, there is coralline and more.
what bacteria they bring in is vastly more diverse and ammonia hungry than what we will ever get from a bottle or from a mature reef tank, the bacterial diversity is ideal and highest here, and will begin to streamline in time down to what a tank keeps.

But this rock above has benthic animals some beyond ID ability, bottom living creatures, adapted to true ocean life. As soon as they are in our tanks they are starving, missing 99% of the complement that floated by them in the ocean for the taking. Add to that chemistry changes being shipped among retailers, and we can see that uncured live rock may likely emit ammonia for a while when added to our tanks, via loss of benthics, and never ever due to lack of bacteria.

For this group of rocks, you actually begin changing water immediately and remedying ammonia any way possible so there is never a detectable trace in the system, recap:

Group A rocks either need more time in system to develop benthic animals that always indicate nitrifier presence, or they must be digest tested to know if they're ready.

Group B rocks show up with full bacteria and do not need us to add more, although a bunch of redundant ammonia additions wont kill it.

Interim rocks, or uncured rocks with clear life forms moving, swaying, making them beyond group B live quality are likely to self generate ammonia if dieoff occurs, and we need to begin stopping that or arresting it

we've paid top dollar for this rock (this poster above gets about $100 of free corals too) and ammonia will cause a death cascade, it comes with more bacteria than we could ever attain after years in a reef tank. this rocks cycles opposite of group A rocks.

*****look at the video in this link of uncured, live ocean rock he got with zoanthids, unnamed inverts waving, 100% coralline coverage, and more bacterial diversity instantly input into his tank than the finest array of bottle dosers


http://reef2reef.com/threads/fresh-...ould-you-remove-detritus.243176/#post-2853105


This video above is example of rock you must not cycle. You literally skip cycle this rock by design, by constantly removing the detritus pumped out via water changes and hand guiding/cleaning as needed, permitting no ammonia whatsoever
How different is that than group A rocks? It's literally opposite

All due to the life shown in that short clear video.


Rocks factor into Group A or B or uncured here because that's the three types of rocks we typically get in reefing

Only group A rocks get raw ammonia, the others get opposite, zero free ammonia

example of uncured rock preservation.
https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/384273-boris-12g-first-salt/
 
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Harold Green

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I was saying pretty much the same thing this morning. Three kinds of rock. There's dry, needing to be cured or already cured, fresh. Over the last ten years I've used fresh entirely with little or no cycling. I gradually add bio-load allowing the system time to catch up between additions. Here's a 54g that's one week old that I just set up using dry base rock and fresh live rock. While the tank matures I add pyto or other coral foods daily to keep the clams, sponges, corals, feather worms all alive and rarely see any ammonia at all.
corner tank .jpg
 

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Cycling is over rated! lol unless your starting a tank with everything dead. Dead rock, sand, etc. Then do a full cycle.
 
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brandon429

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Good points above. Good pic example too

I feel we've basically incorrectly cycled every tank that was using live rock lol much to no harm, but we also need a balance point between total reef anarchy heh and worrisome extended cycling by guess and constant .25

By early identifying your rock as group A,B or uncured you have a clear direction and endpoint which is repeatable, a true start point until you add your first frags.

When there's coralline and living indicators you suppress ammonia not spike it, and when there's not coralline or indicators you can spike ammonia and/or digestion test to find out.
**Free ammonia is counterproductive to diverse life on the rocks we've paid top dollar for and are trying to preserve. Since there is biological order to the establishment of benthic animals on live rock, bacteria came first, we can infer the presence of bacteria through visual cues excluding atypical use of meds for obvious reasons. The reliability of visual cues like coralline, live worms, snails, plants, pods, tiny fanworms, in aquarium cycling literally tells you what direction to take when you see those cues. We take a no ammonia direction.



When you use any reef test kit that is not a calibrated probe reading digital display, checked against another calibrated tool *before* you make changes to the tank chasing params, you are just taking guess readings that are not what the calibrated probe would read the vast majority of readings. the misreads outweigh the accurate ones by a margin of 8 to 2, someone test it if needed and post back.
see here, actual lab verification that titration tests are in dispute. A bunch of people with ranging color chart perception are stressing over elevated magnesium and not a thing indicates their readings to be true.

http://reef2reef.com/threads/magnes...xed-saltwater-is-it-safe-to-use.252382/page-4
 
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Harold Green

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Back in the 70's starting a marine tank was pretty much a simple routine. Crushed coral over an undergravel filter. You poured in a vial of bacteria and added a damsel or pair of black mollies. Today we have a much improved list of ways to start a tank. The problem is there are so many successful ways that most beginners are totally lost. The most basic method is to add an ammonia source to a tank of dead rock and allow it to cycle for six to eight weeks. Trouble is most people want to fill up the tank and add animals not realizing that even if the tank cycles rapidly the water itself may not be suitable for fish yet. Until you have the experience the slower methods are less likely to fail and kill all your livestock.
 
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brandon429

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I might request a little clarity on the water part above, but agreed on not adding fish and other motile animals too fast, make sure you know your ammonia status first.





The mention of the water aging does have merit, aged sw has millions of nitrifiers in it, it is indeed helpful in nitrification (but we find it not a breakpoint). It is commonly said in forums that bacteria are only on the surfaces not the water, but its not the case, contamination and association with other nonfiltration bacteria have them floc'd everywhere. If the details matter, the reason we are getting by with full changes of otherwise filtration-helpful water is because we don't spike the initial bioloading of any new tank (fish). that was a good point to bring up and discuss I think .
 
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Harold Green

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It's hard to suggest people wait for two months. I said that a while back and another aquarist insisted he cycled his tank in two weeks or less and fully stocked it at that time and it's doing well. I wasn't able to get the point across to him that for new hobbyists it's much safer to allow time for the tank to mature before stocking and ramping up the bio load slowly. What we do in our tanks may be next to impossible for beginning hobbyists no matter how much information we give.
 
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How live sand carries your cycling risk when cleaning, transferring tanks:

we have been taught for 20 yrs to not clean sandbeds, so most don't (as usual, Im opposite. mine is clean all the time, fully, and has zero waste=fully hands on)
usual stored-up sandbeds continually take on waste in the form of half-rotted detritus and proteins and various degrading bits and practice a hands-off reefing mode out of fear of disturbance, many a tank has been impacted by the partial disturbance of a deep sand bed, one that was also allowed to store waste cumulatively.
Detritus pockets are potential ammonia pockets and if those get disturbed and not removed then an ammonia event can occur during maintenance or tank moves. detritus is always the source for the ammonia if all higher animals are accounted for and we are using good source water.

Contrast that risk of sandbed work to live rock taken care of, not plugged up with detritus.. established live rock can move from one tank to another in your home, no cycle.


Before tank work, plan and visualize how to isolate your delicates from pockets of waste and how to rid the tank fully of these waste storage areas as well as prevent the buildup differently in the future, be deliberate.
 
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Harold Green

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Here's a question I don't have an answer for. Will marine fish flourish in a sterile tank? Just fresh seawater with zero ammonia, zero nitrite, zero nitrate. Do the fish require more? Things like plankton, a variety of foods, an interesting and stable environment to live in. Somewhere between the sterile tank and an old aged tank there is a point where fish do more than just survive. We need to make every effort to provide that environment rather than try to keep fish alive in a desert. I think many new hobbyists have the impression that if you complete a nitrogen cycle that's all that's required to keep marine fish and too many experienced hobbyists reinforce this view. Let's hear from the ones who have kept a group of fish for more than five years without a loss and whether they feel it takes more than a sterile tank to accomplish this.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Our scope here is ammonia control and earliest possible start dates that will keep animals alive, helpful in emergency moves or upgrades as well, bacteria specific testing. I highly agree that the majority of rushed reef tanks will fail from other factors, no need for speed but meeting a legit demand for it is ok as well. agreed, don't rush unless you have to, salinity spikes alone can kill a new reef low on practice.
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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I want to link a few upcoming threads that have the rock type identification details we use to predict cycling phase, what items prove live rock has full bacteria in tow not requiring further human intervention:

http://reef2reef.com/threads/live-rock-critter-ids-and-cycling-a-new-tank.217435/


Regarding this tank above and looking at the detailed pictures, would the keeper spike ammonia here? What if they didn't spike ammonia, will the bacteria begin to die?
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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Summary


1. Group A rocks
unverified gray rock with no benthic indicators, a digestion test indicates ability to act as a nitrifying filter. Can spike ammonia, nothing on the rocks the spike would kill. bottle bac and cleaning ammonia appropriate. Treat until can digest 2-4 ppm ammonia in 24 hrs using undisputed quality marine tank ammonia test kit, salifert for example.


2. Group B rocks
known verified aged rock, coralline + or other life means don't spike ammonia, keep it zero and feed the life forms

3. blended tank. partial live, partial dead rock awaiting cycle added same time. Wait for the group A part to catch up naturally, can't spike ammonia in the blended tank due to the group B portion. The group B portion can carry the entire bioload even though the majority of the rocks are group A. bottle bac was added here.
blended tank example:

4. uncured rock
so packed with life your tank isn't likely to handle in terms of feed or other variables, likely to produce ammonia not from lack of bacteria but by overwhelming the bacteria in this dieoff adjustment. All ammonia production is assumed and prevented using any method that stops ammonia loss cascade of the rare animals on the uncured rock
 
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brandon429

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why did you put a reef in that
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*nitrites aren't mentioned here...next page has nitrite details. We don't use nitrite details here because it is not required in tank cycling either group of rocks.

Not needed to know, even in group A rock cycling~

Not having to care about nitrite just removed 1/3 of your cycling woes.

How many graphs for tank cycling on google images show nitrite persisting past 40 days

And that's all for group A rock ****in no way do any of the charts apply to group B rocks***

To me that's why we should group rocks for discussion. Those graphs are understood by many to be what occurs when you put any live rock in the tank, even group b rocks transported underwater and the entire basis of this thread is the distinction between the two groups, and the cycling actions taken.
 
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