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How Did You Cycle?

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NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Hey everyone! I'm curious to the methods you used to cycle your tank. There are a few options out there.

One way is through the use of raw shrimp to kick start the cycle. For those that don't know this method, simply place a shrimp in a nylon and stick it in the tank to decompose for a few days (anyone have a rule of thumb on how many shrimp per gallon?). Once the ammonia has spiked, remove the nylon and shrimp.

Another method is by using uncured live rock. Some use a mixture of uncured and cured. **If you used this method, please state whether you performed small water changes daily, a larger one a couple of times a week, or none at all.

The last method is by using livestock (hardy fish). The bioload the fish provide, gets the cycle going. IMO, the other two options are better choices, as you aren't harming fish with elevated ammonia levels.

*Did you run a protein skimmer during your cycle?

*Did you have any kind of photoperiod during the cycle? - Some advocate having the lights on for at least a short time, in order to preserve any light loving life on the LR. - Others say not to have the lights on at all because it will fuel algae growth. What is your opinion?

*When did you perform your first water change?
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For those that don't know what cycling a tank is and wish to understand what I'm talking about....Basically it is establishing a bacteria population that will convert ammonia (NH4) --> nitrite (NO2) by bacteria in the genus Nitrosomonas --> Nitrate (NO3) by bacteria in the genus Nitrobacter. As ammonia rises, the bacteria that break it down to nitrite begin to populate, then nitrite starts to rise, creating a new set of bacteria, which break nitrites down lowering the levels, while nitrates begin to rise.
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
7,670
Location
Columbia Falls, MT.
When I cycled my 300, I started with 300 lbs. of well cured LR. After 2 weeks the green hair invaded,and after 4 weeks I put about 100 snails and 100 hermits in there. At 6 weeks, most of the hair was goin away. At 2 months (today as a matter of fact), all that is left is a few tufts of brown stuff that my naso, achilles, and purple tangs are really workin hard at.
I Skimmed the whole time, and was one busy you know what emptying the waste collector.
2 blue grenn chromis and a yellow tail damsel went in at 4 weeks.
My photoperiod was what I am using now, I fired them up and said here you are, go for it!!!!!!!!!!
Water changes were performed weekly, 30 gallons at a time.
At 6 weeks I added a refugium (75 Gal.) with just some caulerpa in it. I run that with a reverse photoperiod.

God, this was a long post. Sorry bout that:oops:
 

Gina

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
54
Location
Maryland
When we cycled our tank, we used about 30lbs of pre-cured live rock. At the time we didn't know about using shrimp or fish to kick start the curing process.

We did use a skimmer and had our lights on about 5-6 hours daily. We had one algae outbreak and after a week it started to disappear. After about 6 weeks we added some snails and hermits for our clean up.

We did weekly water changes for about 6 weeks and probably at that point we added our sump.

Like alot of new people, we did not research what we wanted to do before we got into this and have learned alot since.
When the time comes to start up a new tank, I'm sure we will have everything planned before hand.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Great replies! Charlie, did you use anything to spike ammonia? or did you just have the cured live rock for the first month?

Originally posted by Gina
When the time comes to start up a new tank, I'm sure we will have everything planned before hand.
I bet you and Mark already have the next one planned :D
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
7,670
Location
Columbia Falls, MT.
Nikki,
Just the cured live rock, I did forget to mention that I grabbed some sand out of my 80, about 5 lbs., to give the sand bed a kick start.

Typing this early without coffee should not be allowed.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
:) .... I have trouble sometimes when it isn't early...lol

You made a good point about seeding from an established tank.
 

Ray Pollett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
196
Location
Blaine, WA
I put alayer of base rock on the bottom of the tank. I pour the sand ( usually play sand from Lowes) in over the rocks. I add the LR ( some fully cured from one of my other tanks and some uncured). I fill with salt water that is just mixed and saltwater from one of my established tanks. I take an Emperor 400 filter from another established tank ( put a new one where that one came from) and use it on the new tank. Use the lighting that will be used when everything is set up. Seed with Live sand from as many different tanks as possible. I let it run for 2-3 weeks. I then do a major water change of 50-80%. Tank is now cycled, some times I do not even see a cycle. I then add the detrivore kit and clean up crew. Feed 3-4 times daily. Wait 3-6 weeks and start to add fish.

If people want a skimmer it is run from day one. I do not use skimmers on all my tanks.

Ray
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
My first tank was started with all uncured LR. I handpicked it and didn't choose any I had to hold at arm's length because of the smell. ;) I added ammonium chloride and some of that bioenzyme crud (hey, I was an excited newbie LOL), no skimming for the first week, minimal skimming for the next, lights were on a short photoperiod, about 6 hours. I had some nice zoanthids, porites and lots of tubeworms in the rock so I did do a few small waterchanges. The tank "cycled" in 18 days. I was thrilled!

Subsequent tanks all have been seeded with LR and LS from existing tanks, run full out from the get go with very little cycling required.
 

G~

Super Gobie
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Messages
133
i threw in a couple of pieces of LR from my current running tank. it had been running for close to 10 years. so i am pretty sure it was cured.:D

i ran the entire system full bore. lights on normal cycles, skimmer on, CLS running. after about a month i put in some more LR from the old tank.

i did not do a water change until i was going to move the critters over from the old tank to the new one. i feel that when you do water changes you are removing what the bacteria need for fuel. i also did not have anything in the tank that would care what the water quality was.

after 2 months i did the switchover. because i had to, heater unplugged over christmas break :( , i was going to let it cycle of 3 months alone. i figure after 3 months of cycling it does not really matter if it was cured or uncured. the bacteria whould have had plenty of time to colonize all surfaces of the system.

G~
 
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