The microbiology of reef tank cycling.

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by brandon429, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    http://reef2reef.com/threads/lets-d...ndefinite-reef-life-span.222105/#post-2558471


    This is one of my very old mini tanks above, the reefbowl. It has a six inch deep sandbed, and I can take out 14 year old corals and group b rocks, set them in the air for 15 mins on dinner plates, take the whole reef apart, flip the 6" sandbed top to bottom during hard rinse, put it all back together with no cycle

    My tank has no dilution, no room for errors. Large tanks have a better safety margin, so we are free to deep clean if done in a certain order.

    This mini model action is what we use to outline dismantle/cleaning steps for giant multi thousand dollar sps tanks in our peroxide threads. This science is useful
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  2. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    The point of the thread is to have cleaning, algae prevention and access permission to every area in your reef and know how that relates to a cycle, or no cycle. When you know the sources of ammonia in the new reef tank (decay, detritus and well-water prep water at times) you know when to both start and how to clean your reef tank and never have it cycle again. My tiny tank above looks novel compared to full size reefs, but lacking the dilution factor mines a better test of ammonia control.
     
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  3. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/rhf/index.php

    Discusses the toxicity of nitrite above, I do not own a nitrite test kit and wouldn't, even if I was cycling Group A rocks.

    **though it is not labeled, each chart online is for group a rocks, zero charts are for group b rocks*** it is negligent of benthic life to have left the distinction out.


    Per the charts we can search, nitrite production ramps and stabilizes in between known and measurable time frames for ammonia and nitrate then drops like a log not to return.

    From the example chart, nitrate is your persistent. You are dealing with ordered metabolites, nitrite being center means it's optional data :) why add more options to your cycle?


    You can cycle an entire new dry tank using only ammonia/bottle bac and known number of weeks until the tank can reduce 2-3 ppm of ammonia down to zero in 24 hours

    The entire point of this thread is known start dates, when can one begin a reef tank and be prepared for its requirements in terms of filtration.




    [​IMG]

    Notice where day 28 nitrite is above. Within about a month-40 days of fishless cycling bottle bac and low level ammonia your tank can pass a small digestion test.



    Nitrite testing was not required here
    http://reef2reef.com/threads/is-ph-ammonia-nitrate-nitrite-good-enough-to-test.229109/
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  4. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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  5. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    -Rinsing Live Sand Before Usage, yes caribsea wet pack...rinse it-

    http://reef2reef.com/threads/the-of...ead-aka-one-against-many.230281/#post-2681445




    Rinsing your dry, or live sand before use in your new established tank is a hidden secret to long term success using sandbeds.




    if I rinse my live sand, it isn't live anymore, doesn't that defeat the purpose of live sand?

    this statement above is 100% of the reason people will not rinse clouding silt out of their sandbed before use. Many sands have instructions that say not to rinse, compliance is recommended in reefing agreed but rule breaking by design also has benefits.


    You absolutely can skip a rinse, 95% of users do. Im recommending an opposite approach based on the giant tank correction threads we run where non rinsing comprised a huge portion of tank problems. The live sand you are buying is wet sand, silt, and water, it is not pods and worms and sponges (true live) so a pre rinse that still leaves plenty of seed bacteria is harmless, and wise. Bacteria still cling to the sand grains not in the fluid within the bag primarily.

    Whether or not you rinse later in the tank as a form of care varies, many who have diverse life forms in the mature bed opt not to, this is about the initial rinse and the unwarranted concerns about it. Sometimes we must disassemble a full sandbed without recycling the tank for various reasons, moving, detritus correction, going bare bottom etc. this thread is 100% about your ability to skip a tank cycle when working with your sandbed. What I do to my ten year old pico reef as an example at least shows I believe in the access method.


    My reefbowl right now (see post #21 above) can be taken apart, the rocks laid out on the table and the corals, the sandbed flipped 180 degrees and the whole system refilled back up with 100% new change water and have no clouding, or mini cycle. That is the specific benefit of pre rinsing. I have unfettered access to my entire reef at all times, so what invader could ever win? How is my sandbed ever going to get old if its detritus free all its years? ***this is why large tankers can move tanks, change sandbeds etc, a living reef model is parted out on my counter above as a direct example of deliberate action.**** (plus I don't have any dilution factor, the real nature of ammonia is revealed in that link above using my $$ on the line)

    -anticipate access needs in your new or redesigned aquarium-
    leaving messy silt in your new bed provides no biological benefit to you now, or later, it is a side effect of production and travel in the bag it ships in. When you rinse your arms off with wet tap water, are you under the impression that your arms and skin are now sterile of all prior bacteria? Rather than go into extra long posts of why rinsing isn't an antibacterial step in anything aquarium related, users can google around to find counterpoints and post them here for great discussion.

    Lastly, how many cycling threads on the web do you see where the sandbed was the breakpoint in being able to support the ongoing bioload? Even if you start with dry sand (hopefully pre rinsed) this thread covers the abilities of the rocks as the primary workhorses for your cycle. People leave to bare bottom all the time from prior sandbeds...the extra bac in a sandbed aren't a deal breaker and rinsing doesn't sterilize anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  6. aquaterra

    aquaterra Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the write-up I read it a couple of times and am slightly confused on how to approach my situation here.

    I currently have a heavily stocked 29 gallon cube tank (thats about 3 years old and survived 2 moves, bought established from someone else) that I'd like to upgrade to a 60 cube. My plan is to transfer everything out of the 29 to the 60 when I feel it is safe. The 60 is not plumbed right now but the person I bought it from gave me 80#s of "LR" which look a lot like your group A rock. He had it in a brute trashcan with a powerhead and heater for weeks...no coralline. I have this rock still submerged in a couple buckets with powerheads. I'm thinking of reusing all my old rock from the 29 (probably in the sump) and maybe 60#s of that rock he gave me as a new scape.

    My current 29 has coralline algae everywhere on about 30#s of rock that look like your group B, and about 25#s of fine sand.

    How can use the 29 and the rock in there to help get this bigger tank set up going?

    I'm a little apprehensive because I have sensitive corals in my 29 that people say to wait a year to place in and sensitive animals like a RBTA.

    I assumed technically if I just get the 60 going I could take all the water from my 29 and move it over to the tank with 30+ gallons of fresh saltwater in the tank waiting and transfer the current inhabitants. but what kind of issues will I run into? I was gonna try to use as much wastewater from my 29 also.

    I was also planning on changing my sand to new stuff--the tropic eden reef flakes which are currently dry.

    What should I do to safely transfer my corals and fish over, do I wait for a cycle?
     
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  7. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    So very glad you posted

    If you don't have a huge fish bioload + very small amount of live rock being transferred, the new sand being dry doesn't matter, same bio impact as turning the new tank into bare bottom. An atypical tank with high fish loading and sparse live rocks might indeed rely on sand or additional equipment to meet ammonia digestion needs for the tank, this is so rare I don't even have any examples to link but I could envision some.

    I wrote this much below because your $$ are on the line and I'd hate to leave something out. Anyone holler if you see something missing.


    You can literally set the new tank up with new sand and new water circulated and awaiting, matching salinity and temp to your old tank, and move the rocks and corals directly over, this is a no cycle event for live rock animals such as bacteria, pods and worms.
    Use your same salt brand in the new tank ready water just to put an extra consistency in place, no old water has to move, this is how powerful group B rocks are as filters for new tank. Acclimate the anem like its day one from the pet store. That simple... hard to believe I know. The extra dilution from the new tank is a safety hedge, the extra live rock you are adding is a hedge, the challenge is if you want to move your current sand. The most important tie-in from this thread to your event is that moving group B rocks among tanks especially in your same house doesn't cause a cycle, at all, even if you didn't match params as well as we are about to in making all the safety hedges.




    ***my specialty is no cycle events, not anemones. I still think he'll be fine but if something shocks him it certainly won't be ammonia :)



    with the prior move of tanks, that's already good xfer practice. not upping your fish bioload during transfer into new tank makes sense since your current bio filter is simply going to be moved among glass holdings, and in fact it sounds like you are adding group A rocks that have some + submersion time=tipped in your favor even better. The specific way to know how much they help is the digestion test (but we don't have to know since the current biofilter will be the same match to your fish bioload moved)

    Your current biofilter cannot retroscale or get weaker during the move, bacteria will 1000% not die, and live rock transfers here do not cause dieoff unless it's going to take an abnormal amount of time out of water for your current rock base to be simply placed on a brand new sandbed or your old highly rinsed one in the new tank full of fresh new water (no old water transfer required, any amount)

    BTA--a valid sensitive. Our goal here will be to give you a zero ammonia transfer, and the acclimations to the new tank for sensitive fish and inverts is just like bringing them home on day 1, subject to variation. The base action we are doing here is stating that if you use the most accurate ammonia test kit money buys for a reef tank, it will read no event the whole time because sensitive life was kept apart from old sandbed access. from what I'm reading you will be transferring the items that constitute biological age into the new tank, your whole current load of group B rocks as I'm reading so far, sump is fine.

    Purple live rocks are the workhorses and do not change pace having been moved into a tank of fully 100% made saltwater (not meaning made 15 mins before the transfer, I'm saying its new water with none of your old waste laden water, you don't need to transfer waste among these tanks. Have new tank running water a couple days ideally, verifying things/plumbing).
    Those BTA like matching params between tanks, get the pH salinity and temp well-matched. I'd have that new tank running with new water, and highly rinsed sand either live or dry it doesn't matter ready to go before this move is initiated.

    2. Your danger event is the removing from the old tank primarily. The rocks and corals should be picked out first before that current sand is ever touched, because within the current sand is your only cycle risk, partially rotting detritus which varies among tanks and may not even be that bad for you, we'll assume it is as a safety hedge again.


    can you post current tank pics?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  8. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Why is no old water required from the prior tank?

    Old tank water certainly does have nitrifers in it as floc associates but we don't need them, I have done ~ a thousand 100% water changes in my example reef above (10 yrs X 1-2 changes a week it's entire lifespan online)

    If you want to move old tank water as a safety hedge for the anemone that's just fine but siphon remove it carefully before any sand disturbance is done in the old tank. The anem didn't require LFS water to be added to your tank when it first came in. the anemone's main needs in the new tank are stable params, good feed offerings and benefits of hosting + adequate lighting
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  9. aquaterra

    aquaterra Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Brandon! What a great response...this all makes sense and gives me a lot of confidence in doing my tank transfer. One of my concerns was losing biofiltration from my current sand to support my current bioload; but it seems it may be the greatest liability in this tank upgrade to try to clean it as good as possible and avoiding that cycle. I'm totally supportive on pitching the sand if it becomes a potential cause for an unwanted parameter swing. I'll just use this new sand that happens to be larger and friends claim it's easier to clean too.

    I may be able to move some hardier corals too and slowly do the transfer as if buying from my lfs except I'm just moving 5ft across the room. I just hope I can move enough rock over to match my bioload that i move over and leave enough to cover what remains in the tank. Or is it better to move it all at once?

    Regardless I'm gonna set my tank up to run as soon as possible with matching parameters. So far I actually have an issue with an ulns and some corals losing color lately.
    No3 consistently 2-10ppm
    And PO4 = 0
    Some pictures of the cube below.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  10. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I absolutely love the pressure involved with saying all that before seeing pics, and then realizing a tank of the month quality setup here is what's being moved and not just a goldfish bowl's worth of coral :)

    I'd feel stranger if biology wasn't as trustworthy.

    Any five of your corals is worth my whole tank in $$ heh


    With a perfectly easy fish balance like that, and as much purple rock, it doesn't matter how fast you transition to the new tank. merely corals fish rock and anem being removed before touching the current sandbed is the total safety focus
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  11. aquaterra

    aquaterra Well-Known Member

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    You're too kind! I'm so stressed about making this upgrade, but I did buy the tank on a whim so I'm still on the fence about the upgrade and losing everything. :eek: Then again I'm real excited to open up to some more space, and to have an actual sump to work with!
     
  12. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    no harm in running dual tanks for a week either to ease into the bio trust mode, can test/verify things in the new tank over a few days with your initial moves in tow without the instant full move, fully realize this insta jump feels weird and unnatural with this much $$ on the line

    no harm in move a few rocks, and only a few corals and eye gauge em

    Perhaps move a set of transfers over to the new tank and watch how bright and happy polyp extension/feed response is going before the others. those initial selects are instant move tests to see how it goes before all others are transferred. When they pan out fine after a few days, moving the rest was fairly tested and won't change status of new tank except for an awesomeness upgrade even if the other 75% of your corals are moved at once.
     
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  13. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Using this thread to start reef tanks in various stages of pre curing:


    http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/368946-i-would-like-some-feedback-on-my-cycle/#entry5224323


    The specifics of that link above-

    Has cycled rock, but it looks like Group A rocks because of no coralline. Upon further inspection, most of the tank has alternate benthic identifiers, fanworms, and some spotty coralline when we see up close. The LFS advised him the rock was ready to go due to pre curing, and that he could expect no cycle. Id support that assessment based on visual cues. Was using API as ammonia assessment as well, we decided against further digestion testing here in the presence of the micro life in the tank. outcome, we have verified what the LFS said and can make a reasonable start.

    aquaterra do you have updates on that pristine reef!
     
  14. aquaterra

    aquaterra Well-Known Member

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    I went a different direction with my tank. I'm gonna do a full build thread because this is the first time I'm dealing with a sump. Fresh Upgrade: From 29 Biocube to Double 40B Set-up
    https://www.reef2reef.com/index.php...-From-29-Biocube-to-Double-40B-Set-up.228811/

    Just waiting for the tank and stand to be made should be pretty sweet! 2x 40Bs
     
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  15. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    that's great to anticipate and solid prep.
    new stand and custom match yes that's a rather nice upgrade~should be simple swap for any current reef life moved
     
  16. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blo...-responsible-for-nitrification-instead-of-two

    Strides are being made in microbiology such that a single species is seen to be able to complete the nitrification process, at least until another study confounds the new current understanding in some way.

    How does that test for validity in hindsight, or impact our cycling thread here?

    it doesn't, we've focused on the ammonia portion the whole time, nearly exclusively. I don't care if they find one or nine groups doing the work... digestion test outcomes are the same

    In my opinion our cycling regimen here is simplified to the point that any details about which groups do the work won't impact our overall method.

    B
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  17. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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  18. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Our friends at nano-reef.com are using this thread and also contributing nicely to our pic share between these two friendly sites. Soon I will link up an excellent, hard work uncured rock build from OnepsychLynne which features hard work water changes to arrest the die off, and then finally emerging with some coralline and survived benthic animals + full bacteria ready for a go. We've all been doing lots of cycling work lately, fun stuff. Pics and thread links coming
     
  19. john.m.cole3

    john.m.cole3 cyclOps R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Hub City Reef Club

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    this needs to be pinned to the top of "new to saltwater" forum. @revhtree can you help us?
     
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  20. ParkerB

    ParkerB Well-Known Member

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    I have some rock that is coralline covered about 3lbs maybe and I have another rock that is also live but not nearly as live as it wasn't sitting under light it's just regular color (roughly 6lbs) and I have both rock in a bare bottom 10gallon AIO I can't detect any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. It's only been 4 days but I was wondering if maybe the live rock already cycled the tank does anyone know how i would tell? I almost feel like I have both rock A and B just and 2/3s of my rock being A.

    Any advice for me?
     
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