Will I Regret Doing This Later?

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reefinginBD

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Hey there, I will be setting up a 600 litre mixed reef tank most probably with live sand and some aqua forest purple rock. But, I have been seeing some videos and they say that it is better to wash and dry the sand before adding it to a tank and running a magnet through it to remove any magnetic materials which can harm the tank later on. So, there are two ways of cycling the tank that I have in mind. They are:
1) Add sand, rock and water. Wait 24 hours and then add a bottle of live bacteria like Turbostart 900, Colony or One and Only and then drop a pair of clownfish into the tank. Then test regularly for ammonia and if any pops up dose some Seachem Prime to help get rid of it.
2) Same process as option one, but just add some live rock in the tank before adding the fish after the cycle. Then leave the rock their for a good month or two so that the good bacteria from the rocks can also colonise the tank. Then
3) Add sand, rock and water to the tank. Then add some live rocks to the sump and also ghost feed the tank or add a prawn for ammonia. Wait until ammonia and nitrite reads zero and then add a pair of clownfish along with a bottle of bacteria just to be safe.
4) Add sand, rock and water. Wait a few days (ghost feed the tank or add a piece of shrimp to produce ammonia) then add live rubble rock to the sump in a container. Wait for the cycle to fish and when it does, add a pair of clownfish and remove the live rock from the sump. Basically, add no bottled bacteria to start the tank. As I do not want to keep any rock in the sump. I will have Maxspect Plates in between the last baffles of the sump before the return pump.

Please let me know which option among these will be the best. I can wait around 20 days before adding the fish as I will be quarantining them before adding them to the tank. So like I will quarantine the fish while the tank cycles. Also is there any other source of ammonia other than using a prawn or ghost feeding? As they may get smelly and produce lots of nitrates and phosphates. Bottled ammonia is not an option for me. I can cycle the tank with mollies as well, but some say it is cruel. Will the bacteria from the live rock reach the tank if I leave the live rock in the sump? I mean it will but will it take a long time?
 
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Timfish

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Short answer, Yes.

Longer answer: If you are using live sand rinsing it and drying it will kill all the live stuff on it. And FWIW only about 2% of the microbial stuff on reefs can be cultured and stuck in a bottle. Bottled bacterial cultures are fine but they likely are mostly all the same species as found on manufactured "live" rock with bacteria added. None of these products will provide the diverisity of wild or maricultured live rock and live sand. Especially the cryptic sponges essential for healthy reef ecosystems.

Really, really long answer: I realize the links I'm psoting below has a ton if info and will seem overwhelming but you don't have to check them all out at once. I would start with Aquabiomics article though as it shows the benefits of live rock in establishing healthy microbiomes.

 

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When you say "live rock", do you mean "rock someone put in a bin of water for a bit", or "rock that has recently been in the ocean"? If it's the latter, your tank is cycled as soon as any die-off stops.

For that matter, what kind of live sand? The stuff that comes in a bag, or something that came out of the ocean recently? The same principle applies to ocean-harvested live sand; stuff's covered in bacteria.
 

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Typically a rinse in a bucket assuring no loose sediment if sufficient. Sand has silicates as well so be prepared for varied results once in tank and I have always used Carib Sea live sand with Araga-milk and NEVER had cycling issues and Minimal diatoms
 
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reefinginBD

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The only "live sand" I would ever consider would have to come ocean direct. Anything else is just snake oil.
I have been looking for it. I probably won't be able to find it here, so I will most probably go with dry rock. But, if I do find it I will definitely use it.

When you say "live rock", do you mean "rock someone put in a bin of water for a bit", or "rock that has recently been in the ocean"? If it's the latter, your tank is cycled as soon as any die-off stops.

For that matter, what kind of live sand? The stuff that comes in a bag, or something that came out of the ocean recently? The same principle applies to ocean-harvested live sand; stuff's covered in bacteria.
I am looking for live rock that has been taken out of the ocean recently and has been shipped wet. But, here the most common types of dry rock are dry rock which has been seeded with bacteria and live rock which was shipped moist and then left in tanks without fish or corals. I tried to get my hands on some sand directly from the ocean, but it just isn't feasible for me.

Typically a rinse in a bucket assuring no loose sediment if sufficient. Sand has silicates as well so be prepared for varied results once in tank and I have always used Carib Sea live sand with Araga-milk and NEVER had cycling issues and Minimal diatoms
Okie thank you so much! I have seen some bags of live sand, but the most common is dry sand. The live ones are usually way more expensive as well. So, I might just add a bag of live sand and for the rest use dry sand.
 
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Live rock that's been shipped moist from the ocean is live rock that's been shipped moist from the ocean. If it's kept in water, that preserves the bacteria, fish or no fish. That's an instant cycle. Add rock to tank, monitor for ammonia from die-off, and stock with snails as soon as the ammonia is gone.

The "live sand" that comes in bags has pretty much the same bacteria as the stuff in bottles, and the same as the seeded dry rock. You should probably just pick one of the three and disregard the other two. They'll all work, though none of them as well as ocean rock.
 
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reefinginBD

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Live rock that's been shipped moist from the ocean is live rock that's been shipped moist from the ocean. If it's kept in water, that preserves the bacteria, fish or no fish. That's an instant cycle. Add rock to tank, monitor for ammonia from die-off, and stock with snails as soon as the ammonia is gone.

The "live sand" that comes in bags has pretty much the same bacteria as the stuff in bottles, and the same as the seeded dry rock. You should probably just pick one of the three and disregard the other two. They'll all work, though none of them as well as ocean rock.
I see thank you so much! I will most probably be aquascaping the tank with Marco rock or artificial purple rock and dry sand. So, I will add about a kilo or live rock to the sump. That should introduce most of the good bacteria to the tank. I will just give a quick scrub to the rock with a small brush and remove the things like algae. Then add it to the sump. If I keep the rock in there for a month or two that should transfer all of the bacteria to the bio media that is there. And as well as the display tank. Right?
 

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Keep the live rock in there for good. It takes a lot longer than a month to develop the kind of bacterial diversity that ocean live rock has, it'd be a shame to waste it by not exploiting its full potential.

I'd suggest putting the ocean rock in your main tank. Hide it behind something if you don't like how it looks. Don't scrub it, either- you want that algae. Having a wide variety of algae species makes it easier to get the beneficial kinds established, allowing them to start on outcompeting the pest algaes. Algae is inevitable, so you may as well encourage the good stuff.
 
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reefinginBD

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Keep the live rock in there for good. It takes a lot longer than a month to develop the kind of bacterial diversity that ocean live rock has, it'd be a shame to waste it by not exploiting its full potential.

I'd suggest putting the ocean rock in your main tank. Hide it behind something if you don't like how it looks. Don't scrub it, either- you want that algae. Having a wide variety of algae species makes it easier to get the beneficial kinds established, allowing them to start on outcompeting the pest algaes. Algae is inevitable, so you may as well encourage the good stuff.
I see thank you so much! I was really afraid of adding live rock earlier as I kept reading that it brings hitchhikers and can destroy tanks and all. But at the end of the day we eventually get those hitchhikers in our tanks through corals, inverts and all. So might as well add the live rock and introduce the good bacteria as well!
 

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Live rock does not destroy tanks with any frequency worth worrying about. Some pests it can bring in are annoying, but generally far less so than what you get when you start with dry rock that the really nasty stuff (dinos, etc) can run amok on.
Truly catastrophic pests are very rare on live rock, particularly when you're only getting a tiny bit. Most hitchhikers are either doomed in reef tanks, harmless, outright beneficial, or, worst-case, harmful but easy enough to trap and remove.

Friendly tip for future reference; you don't need to directly quote a message that's just above yours. Quotes are for when you're replying to something several posts back, where it might otherwise be unclear what you're referring to, or where you're talking directly to one person out of several in an active conversation.
 
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No need to apologize, a lot of people think that's what the quotes are for. It's not technically wrong, but it tends to make the thread longer to scroll through, so it's better to save the quotes for when they're needed.

Good luck with everything! Live rock puts you off to an excellent start, even a little of it.
 

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Ooooops! Forgot to add these to my post above. :/

"Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas" This video compliments Rohwer's book of the same title (Paper back is ~$20, Kindle is ~$10), both deal with the conflicting roles of the different types of DOC in reef ecosystems. While there is overlap bewteen his book and the video both have information not covered by the other and together give a broader view of the complex relationships found in reef ecosystems

Changing Seas - Mysterious Microbes

Microbial view of Coral Decline

Nitrogen cycling in hte coral holobiont

BActeria and Sponges

Maintenance of Coral Reef Health (refferences at the end)

Optical Feedback Loop in Colorful Coral Bleaching

DNA Sequencing and the Reef Tank Microbiome

Richard Ross What's up with phosphate"

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Timfish

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@reefinginBD

Just a small suggestion/advice on your opening post regarding the sequence. Irrespective of what process you adopt for cycling the tank, remember that Rock goes 1st (aquascape) and then the sand and not the other way round.

Thanks

:D I've always added some water, then sand then the live rock and any dry rock I might also use then the rest of the water.
 
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