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reef cycling questions
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.07(Fri)19:57    Post subject: reef cycling questions Reply with quote

I am putting together my research from the book I purchased and what I have read here, and I have a couple questions on cycling. In the articles section here I read about combining argonite sand, live rock, and a protein skimmer and I'll have a nice happy self contained system without need for a filter. Do I need to do any kind of fishless cycle before adding the live rock or do I add the live rock right away and that starts the cycle? Will there be the same amonia-nitrite-nitrate pattern as there is in freshwater tanks? My understanding from my book is that the live rock seeds the tank much like using a mature tanks gravel/filter media in freshwater tanks, is this true? If there is an actual cycle with amonia, etc, will this kill off the little guys that live in the live rock? Do I need to supply an additional amonia source (like fish food) to keep the tank happy while I'm waiting for it to mature enough to stock with fish/inverts or will the live rock take care of that? And just for curiousity, how long should the maturation process take?
Thank you!
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.07(Fri)21:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the live rock should kickstart the cycle and it will go through the same ammonia-nitrite-nitrate cycle as a f/w tank (although, the live rock will be seeded with bacteria).

What will happen is your live rock will undergo a "dying off" period. This will contribute ammonia and get the cycle going. And no, you don't need to add anything to keep the process going. It should take care of itself. But don't worry about stuff dying. Chances are some stuff in the rock will survive.

When I cycled my reef tank, I simply plunked in the live rock and waited. It took about a month to fully cycle (56 gallon tank). I also didn't have my lighting setup for most of that, so no algae formed. At the end of the first month, my tank looked dead. The rock was completely devoid of anything.

However, over the next few months life returned. I ended up with a massive hair algae outbreak, along with every other type of algae conceivable. I also noticed critters starting to appear in my LR. Mainly fan worms and peanut worms, plus a couple tiny snails.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.08(Sat)12:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete,
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the help and answers you've been giving me. I really appreciate it. I think I am finally starting to understand the idea behind the reef. I really can't wait to get this set up.
Thanks Smile
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.09(Sun)0:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're most welcome. I just set up my tank 4 months ago, so it's still slowly being established (I don't even have corals yet). But I'm happy to contribute whatever knowledge I can. Very Happy
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