The microbiology of reef tank cycling.

OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
I am flat-out not a reef tester at all (the tests I use to reef are temp and salinity only) so I’d have to defer to others on testing accuracy vs calibrated readouts from places like ICP or others for trace elements

You mentioned key visual + submersion timing and ammonia action indicating your own tanks very quick cycle. Anything we can see forming in the tank like diatoms, algae, light cyano etc all by rule are deposited after nitrifiers.

We won’t find examples of tanks that have sat underwater long enough to develop any form of biofilm covering and not be cycled. To biofilm is to completely cycle

The bottle bac you used has been repeatedly used here and in Dr Reefs thread and found live/good to go, so your tank is cycled in that a starting bioload will not die

It should also be able to withstand the classic test of full water change / redose ammonia and it again oxidizes in half a day or so (the water change exports suspended bac if any, leaving only deposited ones on surface to reveal the action. In this way we can’t be getting a cheat reading on nitrification from floating bac out of the bottle)

thank you for posting your cycle example- we love relating visual detection clues + timing rules for all our cycle analyses to show consistency. Now your tank is past cycling for base ammonia control and into rock curing and maturing. As soon as coralline starts to build on the rocks that’s the sign home free is coming soon for that rock to behave better in terms of fending off algae and early primary colonizers we don’t like

*continued testing of ammonia is a combo measure of your sand which was already cycled and the bottle bac + what stuck on rocks so far and whatever may still be suspended bac in the water. A neat way to truly measure rocks alone would be to set some in a simple bucket and dose to half a ppm, see if rocks alone with no help can still oxidize ammonia.
 
Last edited:
Best reef aquarium LED lighting

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
While I have had reed tanks before, I haven’t delved into it as much as we have now. Could you provide a bit more insight into what biofilm is? Is this just the natural bacteria growth on rocks, is it in other places, etc?
 

tstar

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
110
Reaction score
86
Location
North Central PA
Coralline Algae - Oh good! I'm going to learn something new again today!!

It's my understanding that coralline will NOT spontaneously appear, correct?? My tank started as dead as dead can be, I haven't added anything with coralline on it yet, not even a CUC member. Of which I'll be adding soon but I plan on going very slowly and add on as the fish bio-load increases. Cool??

Tim
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
They make coralline in a bottle, helix I think, it’s a great seed for it. Snail shells and coral skeletons w have it attached when you start stocking


Yes agreed it’s just that LetterK regarding biofilm production, intermixed communities of slimes / molds fungi bacteria algae dinos cyano and or diatoms, room dander wafted in

slicks contain nitrifying bacteria all co mingled and mixed in - competing against each other for resource. Coralline outcompetes stranded algae invasions really well when it finds favor and spreads

These biofilms are so vital in our thread, one way nitrifiers get feed anyway when we withhold it is by living off the waste of a dead fungus next to it :) or perhaps nonfilter bacteria that died and rots next to nitrifiers. Feed by association.


Trace ammonia from nature, slower than what we provide but effective

we can’t starve bacteria when wet, yet thousands of posts online say you can. Our thread is to test claims between competing biofactions lol


In the middle of this thread is a three year, feed withheld tank showing the exact same ammonia ability as any cycled and fed tank here...which is amazing biology. Bioslicks caught, held, and generated feed for those filter bac the whole three years.



Bioslicks are the reason I can drain my entire reef tank in the air for 33 mins and it doesn’t die. 13 yrs of corals open up next day and there isn’t a recycle, they insulate nitrifiers from drying out. For days.

Bioslicks are the reason the sand rinse thread is 20+ pages of breaking every reef law written about a sandbed and none of the tanks die.

We use depositional biology to cycle tanks here and what I enjoy the most about it versus testing is how every tank cycles by a certain date, you can visually see the clues we use without paying for a test kit, we get to break more hard rules written for us, cyclers are happy here, no losses, and it’ll still be like that on page 145 one day ~

In this thread if someone shows up with a wet aquarium then they’ve met the requirements to complete a cycle. We will state the completion date based on boosters used or not.
 
Last edited:

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
Will this potentially show up as anything on the glass? The reason I ask is that I see that I have some white growth on the glass which I haven’t previously seen on my old tanks (though the most recent one I bought used and already running/cycled). I am planning on doing the 100% of close to that water change this weekend and begin stocking. I will just need a couple more buckets to make the water I will need. Again, greatly appreciate the wisdom!
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
not sure on that, sounds like castings floating around off the base rock curing/not sure. those same slicks can form on the glass agreed but substrates are usually first pics in the new tank, glass work comes a bit later with extended lighting and feed etc.

Regarding stocking, do you have a plan in place for fish disease prevention? I myself don't keep reef fish, just corals, but I read constantly about the design options people use regarding fallow/tank transfer/quarantine type approaches which is what it takes to keep marine fish alive consistently. what cha doing along those lines for the initial stocking?

now that cycling is covered, time to make an algae plan so you don't have to enroll in a thread to save tanks from algae headaches that never go away. early fish use=nitrogen in bulk for algae so that's something to consider for new tanks. best to wait on fish a while depending on the overall direction wanted for the tank. I like to stock with corals, clean up crews, be feeding and water changing to allow for maturation, and then fish later.

again, the exact opposite of the norm ha but I wouldn't want to break the trend of making our own rules, that's for sure~
 
Last edited:

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
not sure on that, sounds like castings floating around off the base rock curing/not sure. those same slicks can form on the glass agreed but substrates are usually first pics in the new tank, glass work comes a bit later with extended lighting and feed etc.

Regarding stocking, do you have a plan in place for fish disease prevention? I myself don't keep reef fish, just corals, but I read constantly about the design options people use regarding fallow/tank transfer/quarantine type approaches which is what it takes to keep marine fish alive consistently. what cha doing along those lines for the initial stocking?

now that cycling is covered, time to make an algae plan so you don't have to enroll in a thread to save tanks from algae headaches that never go away. early fish use=nitrogen in bulk for algae so that's something to consider for new tanks. best to wait on fish a while depending on the overall direction wanted for the tank. I like to stock with corals, clean up crews, be feeding and water changing to allow for maturation, and then fish later.

again, the exact opposite of the norm ha but I wouldn't want to break the trend of making our own rules, that's for sure~
I plan on adding mostly corals at first and maybe 1 fish. My overall stocking plan is for a pair of clowns and maybe 1 fish as I am aiming for low bioloads and my end goal is a ULM tank. This seems fairly light load for a 45g. Further I am planning on feeding lightly in general, having a strong cleanup crew, and am running a skimmer, chemipure elite, and Purigen. I have another chamber that I am currently debating what to add for further filtration.

I do not have a QT set up given it is a new tank but I plan on dipping all corals in Coral RX and will eventually get a fluval 13.5 to use as a QT/hospital tank.
 

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
that is a light bioload / green light :) and those r tough fish.
Sounds good! Like I said, I ultimately want to be ultra low maintenance and high automation. Unfortunately, the hobby isn’t where I really could be at just yet. Likely fish load will be the clown pair and maybe a yellow or diamond goby
 

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
So far the two corals I have added have been happy for the last week and I just finished a ~90% water change. I have about 10 gallons of salt mixed on standby which depleted my initial tropic marin supply so will be getting the 200 gallon my next shot know this will last a while since I didn’t need to make ~40 gallons when setting up the tank and another ~40 for the water change. My build thread is below. Given the timing and my test kits were showing 0 ammonia, nitrite and 40 nitrate BEFORE the large water change and having dosed the ammonia several times, any concerns on getting a pair of clowns this weekend? Likely will only get one more fish down the road but there’s been a premium Picasso pair in our LFS for a month and my wife is attached... I think the tank is ready (and received the green light) but just wanted to make sure one final time.

 
https://www.omegasea.net/
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
I am 100% sure dos mas clowns will not over run the system. can do, will enjoy watching your system develop

Merely adding corals brought in so many more seed bacteria, and a week is indeed long enough for that diversity to multiply and begin maturing the tank. Attached to that coral was likely: little tiny fan worms that are spiral and have ornate red crowns, but in juvenile forms we can't see. Coraline. A sponge is likely. Pods are common associates. Groups of mixed aerobic bacteria, generalized aerobes that remove ammonia in addition to current measured amounts are hitch hiked in. Well done
 

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
I am 100% sure dos mas clowns will not over run the system. can do, will enjoy watching your system develop

Merely adding corals brought in so many more seed bacteria, and a week is indeed long enough for that diversity to multiply and begin maturing the tank. Attached to that coral was likely: little tiny fan worms that are spiral and have ornate red crowns, but in juvenile forms we can't see. Coraline. A sponge is likely. Pods are common associates. Groups of mixed aerobic bacteria, generalized aerobes that remove ammonia in addition to current measured amounts are hitch hiked in. Well done
Perfect, thanks.
 

Letterkenny

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
114
So where’s the thread of the microbiology of brown diatoms? Starting to see these pop up on the sand bed. Thoughts are that they are coming from the sunlight slipping through the blinds. Been testing water daily and nitrates are ~5ppm, using a BRS 5 stage RODI for making water and Marin tropic reef salt so it doesn’t sound like those are the culprits?
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
that’s our sand rinse thread :) it’s not diatoms specific, but we clear early tank diatoms lots of times

It’s possible to just blast clean them out and rinse out the sandbed to perfect clarity any time you want, thereby taking diatoms and or any other matted invader with them. *this doesn’t mean you have to use brute force/no coaxing or wait, it just means if you want to we know how to deep clean a tank without recycling. Diatoms are common new tank associates they usually go away given time. Or they can be blasted out, your choice


The reason we like brute force is because it’s panspecific. Whatever the invader is, this is harmful to it.

All other accepted reefing actions are measure, hesitate, double check something, wait a long time and hope. But that group of tank rippers never uses testing for params before or after, they do not ID the organism before acting etc. the tank follows direction as it’s not allowed to not comply, at all. We think exercising total control over a reef tank should be a valid option, and a new tank is great to practice takedown cleaning before it’s all stocked up

The only safe way to move a reef tank is to clean it to the bone, we show (neat side effect of studying tank restoration works)
 
Last edited:

tstar

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
110
Reaction score
86
Location
North Central PA
We're really paralleling LetterKenny, I'm in a pretty large Brown Diatom bloom myself. I've recently added nine coral and a small CUC. The Trocus are amazing to watch cleaning it up but they can only get to so many places and I only have three in a 29 gal...

I'm going to peruse the Brandon's Sandbed cleaning thread but if I recall from over 20 years ago, the Brown Diatoms kinda disappear on their own???

Tim
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
They sure do mostly self cure. Many people think they're living on silicates a while (and that pre rinse removes lots of flash silt which is very high surface area powder silicate) if y'all do any reef takedown cleaning / surgery please take pics we will link all work examples
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
Team, this is what real ammonia does.

free ammonia never, ever, ever hovers at .25 for days or .5 those are literally all misreads. It’s destructive, overcoming, and as listed on page one here as obvious, without a nine dollar tester.


I do not like using someone’s crash as a wierd focal point, but we study ammonia biology here (and how to instantly stop it) and we need the rare, real examples of when free ammonia occurs in a reef tank.

when your active surface area is insufficient, you’ll know. It will be a tipping point not a hovering measure slightly above zero
 
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
Hey team look at this


A genuine skip cycle using liferock. Not liferock hydrated 12 days and ready, dry liferock from day one :) and unrefrigerated bottle bac. This is a testament to today’s skip cycle engineering. Best work I’ve seen on dry starts, an anemone on day one!
 

Ky_acc

Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
63
Reaction score
37
Just started a new tank and figured I would post in this thread. It’s a bare bottom Redsea Max E170. The primary goal over the next 6 months will be to start this tank off as clean as possible with as little nusisance algae and other issues as possible.

I’m Using about 30 lbs of Carib sea life rock (and also quite a bit of ceramic media in the rear chamber) and I just added water yesterday and plan on cycling this tank over ~30 days using:
1) dr Tim’s ammonia
2) microbacter clean (similar to vibrant)

originally I had planned on using microbacter start (brightewell’s live bacteria product) - but was advised against it by the owner of Brightwell aquatics who explained to me that the bacterial coating on Carib sea life rock will compete with the nitrifying bacteria in microbacter start (As well as dr. Tim’s and other similar live bacterial boosters)

here’s the excerpt from microbacter starts product page for reference:

“Do not use live sand and particularly DO NOT USE dry seeded artificial live rock. There are no dry bacteria species that will be compatible with this nitrifying bacteria product or that are useful to cycle an aquarium! To use a dry bacteria will only lengthen the time it takes to cycle by many weeks and increase your work by 6 to 8 times!”

He instead recommended that I use microbacter clean and expect the cycle to take around 4-6 weeks.

Anyone have any thoughts or care to discuss this approach?
461BCCF3-640D-40AD-9D83-5DFB9C16246B.jpeg
 
Last edited:
OP
brandon429

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
9,954
Reaction score
7,760
Location
tejas
Hey nice to meet you thanks for bringing your cycle we want all examples collected here/ measured after predictions are set

Anything you arrange will work after 30 days. I think there's an aspect of your cycle perfectly fitting here: that some element from a retail product claims a warning

Our going theme is if you've got thirty days, and boosters literally in any arrangement, then you've got a cycled tank. Adding or withholding any strain of bottle bac in addition to the life rock has no bearing on day 30 though it comes with a warning... you can't help but cycle now

:)

The life rock alone has excellent bac, anything you add feed- wise or extra types of bac won't matter to the end test: change out water fully then take a picture of an ammonia test after the water change, we know this is zero ammonia due to the water change and whatever slight color the test may show is now calibrated to zero, even if a slight amount appears we know a full water change and nothing re dosed renders zero ammonia because nothing is dying off it was liquid ammonia only.

Dose liquid ammonia just barely, under do it, until that test kit moves up half a ppm or a barely visible color change. Don't go to 2ppm to keep these tests calibrated just register a known change in ammonia then stop

Re measure in 24 hours, let's see if it goes back to calibrated zero. Add in water, bac sources you have some ammonia and let it stew thirty days, how it tests in the interim doesn't matter, and even if you approximate items it still cycles the same by day thirty



If you haven't already bought bac and ammonia it's not needed, life rock cycling on page one shows it only needs water we have two full examples there. Adding any bac won't suppress or stop them it's just a mix of bac that balances out over time
B
 
https://www.omegasea.net/

If you don't keep your sand bed clean it will cause your tank to crash.

  • True

    Votes: 83 13.4%
  • False

    Votes: 378 61.1%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 26 4.2%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 132 21.3%

Online statistics

Members online
1,136
Guests online
7,586
Total visitors
8,722
Tunze
Top