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Kick Start Cycle in Saltwater
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Crystal
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Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: 2006.08.11(Fri)19:03    Post subject: Kick Start Cycle in Saltwater Reply with quote

I have been cycling my saltwater tank for 2 weeks now and my tests still show zero ammonia, nitrites and nitrates which I am taking to mean that the cycle hasn't even started yet. My LFS told me to just run the tank and it will cycle itself in 1 - 6 months which I was fine with, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything!

So, I'm looking for advice, I hear there are some advocates for "kick starting the cycle" by adding an ammonia source to the water. I know that this shouldn't be done by using living creatures but what about other ways? Or do I really have to just wait? Will the Ammonia ever show up?

I was looking through the articles section of this site but there was nothing relating specifically to saltwater that I found.

Thanks!
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.08.11(Fri)19:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

The amonia eating bacteria won't show up without amonia to eat, so you do need to add some amonia source. I've seen people recommend using uncured LR. I got cured LR and threw in shrimp pellets to break down to keep the bacteria already on the rock happy. I'm not an expert, that's just what worked for me.
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Crystal
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Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: 2006.08.11(Fri)20:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barby Girl, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any Live Rock to buy except online and I'm a little nervous about what is going to happen to it in shipping. I have another thread asking about getting live rock and any experience people have had getting it online.

I have some brine shrimp pellets from my freshwater tank, would those work for starting the ammonia?
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.08.11(Fri)20:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go ahead and buy some rock online, some of the stuff is going to die off in shipping and boom, there is your amonia. If too much of it died, then I'd "network" at any local stores and maybe the owner or associate would know someone who could give/sell/trade you some LR from their tank to seed the rock you bought online.
As for the shrimp pellets, I used the same ones I feed to my Fresh water fish, so yeah. Again though, maybe one of the expirienced guys on here would have a different suggestion, this is my first reef tank so I just know what worked for mine.
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2006.08.11(Fri)21:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't call myself experienced either but...

Agreed that there will be no ammonia if there is nothing to break down.

Those shrimp pellets should work fine, as should any type of fish food, or any raw seafood (people tend to use prawns).

I understand that with live rock, cured will produce less of an ammonia spike (as it's already been dealt with in the LFS' tanks) while uncured will produce a higher diversity of hitchhikers. People don't tend to put uncured live rock into an established tank - the possible ammonia spike would wreak havoc; they also tend to add live rock in small quantities if possible as it will reduce the intensity of the ammonia spike.

My plan is to perform the cycle separately from adding the live rock. I'm cycling my tank with a chunk of base rock, shallow sandbed and raw prawns. I will then 'seed' the sandbed with live sand, keep 'feeding' and wait for the sand to populate itself. Only after this will I add in the uncured live rock that I'll also probably order online.
Basically, I want as much diversity in the tank as possible and that will be accomplished by adding uncured live rock to an already cycled tank that is geared towards breaking down waste fast so ammonia spikes are reduced as much as possible.
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