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Old 08-17-2004, 01:17 AM   #1
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Anemone skeptic

Okay, I know i have not been on this forum as long as many other people, however I would like to know where people get the evidence that a tank cannot support anemones under a year of age? I see it posted all over this site, by a variety of people, yet I would really like to see the reasons behind this theory.

I'm not trying to be a trouble maker, or stir stuff up just for the sake of it...I just genuinely wondered why it is suggested?

Thank you so much, this is by far the best place for advice (sw or otherwise, but especially sw) on the internet!
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:27 AM   #2
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This sums it up about as concisely as can be done:

Eric Borneman:

Quote:
>>Hi Eric, I was hoping you could help me to understand better what it means for a system to "mature" or "become established". Hobbyists (me included) are always saying not to keep that sps or this anenome for a least a year untill your system has matured.
What exactly are the differances between a tank which finished cycling a month ago and one that finished cycling 11 months ago.<<

more below

>>Does it have to do with water parameters being more stable?<< yes, nut ot necessarily

>>Does it have to do with natural food availability?<< Not sure but I don't think so.

>>Does "tank maturity" pertain more to those who utilze a DSB, because it takes 6 months for a DSB to become functional ?<<

no. Tank maturity seems to be even more of an issue without the sand bed.. The sand bed just takes some time to get enough nutrients in it to sustain populations and stratify into somewhat stable communities...seems like a longer period of time makes things go in the other direction.

So, here's the tank reason, and then I'll blow into some ecology for you.

When you get a tank, you start with no populations of anything. You get live rock to form the basis of the biodiversity - and remember that virtually everything is moderated by bacteria and photosynthesis in our tanks. So liverock is the substrate for all this stuff, and also has a lot of life on it. How much depends on a lot of things. Mostly, marine animals and plants don;t like to be out of water for a day at a time...much less the many days to sometimes a week that often happens. So, assuming you are not using existing rock form a tank, or the well-treated aquacultured stuff, you have live rock that has either relatively free of anything alive, or you have live rock with a few stragglers and a whole lot of stuff dying or about to die because it won;t survive in the tank. From the moment you start, you are in the negative. Corallines will be dying, sponges, dead worms and crustaceans and echinoids and bivavles, many of which are in the rock and you won't ever see. Not to mention the algae, cyanobacteria, and bacteria...most of whcih is dead and will decompose, or which will die and decompose. This is where the exisitng bacteria get kick started...

Bacteria grow really fast, and so they are able to grow to levels that are capable of uptaking nitrogen within...well, the cycling time of a few weeks to a month or so. However, if you realize the doubling time of these bugs, you would know that in a month, you should have a tank packed full of bacteria and no room for water. That means something is killing or eating bacteria. Also realize that if you have a tank with constant decompositon happening at a rate high enough to spike ammonia off the scale, you have a lot of bacteria food...way more than you will when things stop dying off and decomposing. So, bacterial growth may have caught up with the level of nitrogen being produced, but things are still dying...you just test zero for ammonia cause there are enough bacteria present to keep upwitht he nitrogen being released by the dying stuff....does not mean things are finished decomposing.

Now, if things are decomposing, they are releasing more than ammonia. Guess what dead sponges release? All their toxic metabolites. Guess what else? All their natural antibiotic compounds...prevents some microbes from doing very well. Same with the algae, the inverts the cyano, the dinoflagellates, etc. So, let's just figure this death and decomposition is gonna take a while. OK, so now we have a tank packed with some kinds of bacteria, probably not much of others. Eventually the death stops. Now, what happens to all that biomass of bacteria without a food source? They die. Ooops. And, denitrification is a slow process. Guess what else...bacteria also have antibiotics, toxins, etc. all released when they die. But, the die-off is slow, relative to the loss of nutrients, and there is aleady a huge population...so you never test ammonia..."The water tests fine"

But, all these swings are happening...every time, they get less and less, but they keep happening. Eventually, they slow and stabilize. What's left? A tank with limited denitrification and a whole lot of other stuff in the water. Who comes to the rescue and thrives? The next fastest growing groups...cyano's, single celled algae, protists, ciliates, etc. Then they do their little cycle thing. And then the turf algae. Turfs get mowed dow by all the little amphipods that are suddenly springing up cause they have a food source. Maybe you've boght some snails by now, too. And a fish. And the fish dies, of course, because it may not have ammonia to contend with, but is has water filled with things we can't and don't test for...plus, beginning aquarists usually skimp on lights and pumps initially, and haven't figured out that alkalinity test, so pH and O2 are probably swinging wildly at this point.

So, the algae succession kick in, and eventually you have a good algal biomass that handles nitrogen, the bacteria have long settled in and also deal with nutrients, and the aquarium keeper has probably stopped adding fish for a spell cause they keep dying and they started to visit boards and read books and get the knack of the tank a bit. They have probably also added abunch of fix-it-quick chemicals that didn;t help any, either. Also, they are probably scared to add corals that would actually help with the photosynthesis and nutrient uptake, or they have packed in corals that aren't tolerant of those conditions.

About a year into it, the sand bed is productive and has stratified, water quality is stable, and the aquarist has bought a few more powerheads, understand water quality a bit, corallines and algae, if not corals and other things are photosynthesizing well, and the tank is "mature." That's when fish stop dying when you buy them (at least the cyanide free ones) and corals start to live and grow and I stop getting posts about "I just bought a coral and its dying and my tank is two months old" and they start actually answering some questions here and there.
Source: Eric B's Coral Forum

Most people think that "cycling" the tank is the only biological process occurring in a tank. Hopefully, the above information gives you some insight into how much is going on in a new tank. It doesn't make it unable to sustain life, just much more difficult with less chances for success.
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:19 AM   #3
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Thank you, great post!
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:57 AM   #4
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I'm just gonna play devil's advocate here...that I know a person that only has a 20gallon tank, with a single 65watt PC, and the tank's only a year old now. They have a clownfish in the tank with some live rock, and shortly after they setup the tank they got a rose anenome...which has thrived the entire 10 months it's been in the tank...and still going.

They also don't claim to be an expert, so is this beginner's luck?
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
It doesn't make it unable to sustain life, just much more difficult with less chances for success.
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Old 08-18-2004, 12:08 PM   #6
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I got a simple purple tip, a couple of weeks after the cycle of my tank, not know what the pros say. Anyway, I am in my 6th month and the anemone has grown to twice it's original size, and is home to my tomato clown. It is very beautiful, and is always open and flowing with the current. It never moves, which I hear means that it is happy.

I am not condoning getting one so early, but it is a success so far. Also the Purple tips can be very hardy.
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Old 08-18-2004, 12:59 PM   #7
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No fair revhtree, you're part of the Steve-s fan club so you got an inside edge on proper captive care. Your opinion must be stricken from the record :P .
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Old 08-18-2004, 01:35 PM   #8
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LOL!
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Old 08-18-2004, 05:51 PM   #9
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Hoops,

I guess I should have read the whole post!

*slaps self* No more quick posts first thing in the morning for me!
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