The microbiology of reef tank cycling.

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

  1. john.m.cole3

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

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    Tonight I'll test the water again, dose to 2 ppm, re-test, wait 24 hours and test againg. The light I'm getting for it won't be ready until Feb. 7, so I'll have time to play around with testing and hopefully a different test kit.
     

  2. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I missed a little clue last time at your house I wish I'd caught: digest testing in the bucket!! That leftover nitrate from the experiment could've been dumped right out

    Not huge deal here in the new frag tank, but technically it would have been better to just digest test in the Home Depot buckets and then move over the ready rocks to new tank

    Either way, nitrate is coming in the new tank we all deal with but that would be a neat way to reduce it where possible.
     
  3. john.m.cole3

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

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    True True, but it's only a 50 gal system, so a few 50% changes isn't too crazy to accomplish.
     
  4. john.m.cole3

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

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    Dosed 2 ppm ammonia just now. Test verifies the dose was accurate. 20170126_192154.jpg
     
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  5. john.m.cole3

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

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    24 hours later ammonia is zero. Only 20 lbs of live rock cycled this 50 gal system. 20170127_193853.jpg
     
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  6. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Thanks tons for that detail John and btw the API looks accurate

    My friend seabass would be very happy about that :)
     
  7. austinl

    austinl Well-Known Member

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    What a great thread.

    I am just starting this process all over again as i restart my build. Previously I had started curing my macro dry rock where i had dosed Ammonia and then added a few pieces of live rock from a LFS to my curing Brute can, however since that time the rock went dry so I am back to square one again.

    My tank is finally up and running with water so I am about to start seeding it once again, I assume i can do both ammonia dosing and Aquavitro Seed at the same time ( maybe at different times of the day )

    I also plan on getting a few pieces of rock from a friend or LFS to place in my sump to help as well.


    I did notice that a few pieces of the rock that i had previously cycled still showed signs of some pink which i assume it probably dried up coraline, anyone know of a good way to really get coraline growth at a quicker rate?
     
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  8. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Thanks tons for posting!

    my friend John up top here has me considering from now on just cycling dry rock setups in buckets or external tanks, not even the main tank, because the water is so accessible for smaller setups and full water changes


    Instead of cycling in a main tank where the final nitrate has to be exported in hard water changes with large volume, I'd rather do it from five gallon buckets, then set fully cured group A rocks into a clean tank of ready water in three weeks!


    John showed it's simple to powerhead+heater cycle thirty pounds of dry lr in a series of Home Depot buckets. What a changeup on the normal routine...makes dry rock cycling tons easier. Just rip a full water change a few times, an approximation of liquid ammonia and some bottle bac into the buckets, drop in whatever live rock boosts avail, and in three to four weeks one can setup a ready tank. John C nice job showing that bucket cycling at five months submersion the rocks had a tangible slick and textured feel to them, indicating a rich community we could assess through alternate physical means other than testing.

    Austin will be good to know your post cycle timelines can't wait to see. The setup you are describing with boosting live rock plus bottle bac I bet w cycle in three weeks or better and any extra submersion time after that is fine tuning
     
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  9. austinl

    austinl Well-Known Member

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    I am hoping that it takes only a few weeks. The wife after three days wants to know when the fish arrive. I will probably continue with just the Aquavitro for another few days then dose some ammonia and then finally add a few friendly or LFS rocks.

    I had considered doign the Brute method as I did previously but couldnt bring myself to tear down my aquascape after testing a few designs and finding one i liked.
     
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  10. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Page 6: A section for review of the ethics and microbiology of instant cycling products

    For those who may be unsure, these are dosers that people add so they can use fish the instant a tank is setup, without using live matured surfaces as a filtration carryover. This is the most controversial type of cycling.
    Nobody thinks its controversial to dose liquid bac in a bottle, wait thirty days, digest test, then add fish. This is the red-flagged insta setup technique + fish with no wait on group A uncycled rocks we are reviewing.

    we should consider a tank that wouldn't be using live sand as a booster as well. focus on what the additives do


    We can uncover how fast one can reasonably stock fish in such a setup given certain timeframe pressures.



    I keep sps in a flower vase pressed up against the glass like ten clowns in a vw, many have called that unethical but it's produced frags for ten years and coral mass on the cheap was my only meter:
    bowl.jpg


    Any system that can sustain fish or coral to the point of reproduction reaches validity in my opinion..that leaves lots of room for varying approaches in how we keep fish and coral, and how we cycle

    No pico I've ever put online was any cycling mode other than group B brought home with frags, add water, add frags. Begin enjoying the reef before I've sat down for the evening, reading posts on why that's not possible reef biology.

    People who utilize modes of skip cycle using group A aren't offensive to me, they're exercising available arrangements.

    The finer details of ethics are suited for other threads...today we assume you have a system of appropriate planning and dilution for a given bioload and that you've quarantined whichever fish you'll be using... whenever you stock them. Perhaps you needed a skip cycle tank a hospital tank for one reason or another

    Microbiology:
    Instant cyclers are typically combination sets of feed + bac in a bottle and absolutely will work consistently following their directions.

    *they are using suspension-based cycling, what you've added to float in the water, not whats on the critical surfaces, as the workhorse to be able to instantly pass an ammonia digestion test 24 hours after adding*

    Its not that the critical surfaces in the tank are made ready instantly with these dosers, they'll follow the known guidelines we've posted to populate active surface area based on hydration and boosters used.


    when we charge up a complete water column w hungry bac, and bac food, and then fish instantly, the dilutions (tank volume) we should be working in will add up to being able to instantly oxidize a given sensible fish bioload-- this isn't an offense, it's an available option given all reasons for using fish are in valid. Most use ammonium chloride, ask yourself why you aren't before choosing an instant fish cycle.

    *all our systems prior this passed a digestion test and can endure a full water change, be refilled, and still pass the ammonia digestion test because the surfaces are active. what happens to the water column doesn't matter**

    *these instant cycling systems are reliant on what is in suspension- so if we rip that out in a big water change the whole locus of our cycling is removed as well

    critical surface areas still require the times noted in order to seat with the excess bacteria we're used to working with, 30-40 days submerged.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
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  11. Hemlawk

    Hemlawk Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post OP.

    I'm about to cycle my first tank. I have dry rock. So should I add bio-spira and the shrimp on day one?
     
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  12. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Yes thanks for posting! you can add either the shrimp or ideally some liquid ammonium chloride, any bottle bac, hit it a few more times with bottle bac over the course of four weeks, do a giant water change, and begin light reefing with a few easy frags at the end of four weeks.

    Add some fish after five or six weeks

    We wouldn't even have to test for anything at all because ~30 days submerged using any kind of loose boosting (the bottle bac and shrimp or raw ammonia) will seat bacteria on your rock enough to process a small bioload.

    There's not anyway it can stall or not work, what bacteria do is predictable like clock work

    All the sensitive ammonia testing/digestion measures are only designed to speed up the 30-40 day rule... if such a deadline is needed then it can be pushed to as fast as two weeks using strictly AC and the bottle bac and any known precise ammonia tester (not API)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
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  13. Hemlawk

    Hemlawk Well-Known Member

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    Awesome thanks bud
     
  14. edinphilly

    edinphilly Well-Known Member

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    Feel like this is the best thread for good answers on my situation. @Paul B if you have ideas I'd also love to hear them.

    75g plus sump added some rock that turned out to be phosphate laden. Plus selling our house so maintenance went out the window.

    Now... both current and new houses under contract but there will be three months in temp housing inbetween moves.

    99% sure I don't want the 75 in the new house. Too many other things I'd rather spend time doing. But maybe a smaller tank. Want to keep the rock alive and perhaps deal with the phosphates.

    It'd be at my fatherinlaw's basement. How much maintenance for a brute can of rock? With the top on how often top-off? Trying to decide if it's worth it. The bulk of the rock is TBS not the phosphate crap.

    How tolerant to salinity swings is the live rock? Any suggestions overall?
     
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  15. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Salinity swings within reason won't harm the bac nor lack of feed while they are being held

    Simple submersion is all they need they can get their trace feed easily from the natural world that wafts into the brute containers. Some toss in flake feed and that's no prob. I'd draw a line w black marker at water level and keep topoff there, so that benthic life beyond the bacteria might remain too...coralline for example if applicable

    Thanks for posting!
     
  16. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Real Reef Rock
    http://realreefrock.com/blog/reefapalooza-2012-real-reef-rock-exhibits


    there's 30 tanks that used RRR at a reefing convention to avoid having to cycle, you can do the same at your home if the rock you brought home was wet, and it stayed wet after it left the production facility. discerning its chain of command is easy, ask the LFS rep


    Notice on that whole web site there's not one direction that says to treat that rock by adding rotting shrimp to it.

    They don't say on that site that the rock carries no bacteria and you should ammonium chloride cycle it, in fact they list how they precure it (for you to skip cycle with) and then mail it out wet, which costs more in shipping than dry rock.

    Treat RRR as we do group B rock on page one, you paid for that ability because dry uncured rock is cheaper and ships cheaper. I can understand reefing skepticism, but no LFS wants to pay extra to be shipped wet/heavier than dry living materials, then dry them out secretly in the back area of the store, then rehydrate the day before you purchased them to trick you.

    When you encounter wet RRR at a lfs just treat it like ready to go group b and bring home some zoanthids and mushroom corals along with the rock. If you must digest test it due to unfounded reef OCD then use salifert ammonia and don't go above .5 ppm/24 hrs so you wont burn off the little copepods.

    When people rot shrimp inside a tank full of RRR they are potentially wiping out pod life that many posts show do come along with that rock which was cured underwater. couple that event with unverified API testing, parameter guessing, and it will seem like these rocks aren't cycled. Have you noticed when nano reefers have a fish die within their tank, they still register a small ammonia event? Its not because their tank isn't cycled, its because a huge rotting piece of meat is in the water.

    One of the hardest things to let go of for the new tank cycler is using all API gear to affect ammonia and nitrite decisions, paired with other testers in comparison we can locate threads where the readings differ significantly-- anytime an ammonia spike is sustained there will be alternate indications such as smell and cloudy water to accompany. have two or more tests of the different name brands ready to make ammonia decisions, or use salifert, that's the only way we can streamline events among cyclers. the variation in parameter measuring is astounding, we can't write a cycling thread without taking that into account

    when no verification is avail, anything else should be paired with an API reading before making critical decisions regarding ammonia. API indicating ammonia where there is none has been the most impactful distraction the cycling portion of this hobby has seen
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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  17. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    bump

    don't spike ammonia to real reef rocks


    see post #116
    heh
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  18. BoomCorals

    BoomCorals www.boomcorals.com R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Just wanted to chime in and add a bit of what I did with my reefer 170. On February 6th I received live rock and sand from Tampa Bay Saltwater. This rock and sand is shipped fully submerged in seawater so the die off is extremely low. February 6th and 7th no ammonia.

    February 8th was my first ammonia reading, at .50 according to API test.
    February 9th ammonia was down to .25 ppm.
    February 10th ammonia was gone.

    My sand had a hitchhiker blenny in it, so that blenny was in the tank from day one (February 6th). He is still alive and well today.

    This is not the first tank I've done skip cycle "style" on. I did it with all my tanks except my first one. Each with the same results where there is little or no ammonia that ever shows up. I had 5 fish in the reefer 170 pretty quick. No ammonia ever showed up after february 9th.
     
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  19. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    excellent and thanks for the input

    They sell the nicest mail live rock ive seen for sure, and I think they're selling the most included benthic creatures possible on rocks that travel between states to be used quickly upon arrival. The RRR above has much fewer inclusions, that rock focuses more on just the bacteria. I believe if Im not mistaken, the tampa bay rock has solely natural growths and no production level pigmentation (fake coralline) at all. Its prob the best non real reef rock we can get, excellent info thanks tons

    thank you for not dosing that rock immediately with many ppm ammonia the instant it breached your doorway. :)

    nitrifying community bacteria will not die in hydrated containers shipped from Florida to Oregon even if the bag has no real water in it, 100% humidity w suffice. any minor dieoffs from TBS rock are from higher order animal loss during shipping, its not that the bacteria were limited.

    you may have lost a bristle worm along the way heh but your rock showed up with all the bacteria it will need, and so did real reef rock buyers they just got less wormy extras.
     
  20. john.m.cole3

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

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    For the record, I only added ammonium chloride to my already cycled rocks to prove that they could process 3 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours.
     
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