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Old 03-07-2009, 01:44 AM   #11
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Are there fish in the tank causing the ammonia spike? If so, you want to also do some water changes to get the ammonia levels down.

If there's no livestock, I'm not sure why the need to rush. Cycling is cycling, and it has to happen. "Bacteria in a bottle" can yield mixed results, and often times give you a false sense of security that your tank is ready for livestock. Better to just take it slow... as I'm sure you're read already, lack of patience in this hobby is setting yourself up for trouble.

Regarding adding live rock, you should add that now anyway. If you wait and add it after your tank is cycled, it will cycle again - unless the rock is fully cured.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:55 AM   #12
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No fish in there right now, and I'd be looking at getting live rock that is already cultured.

If I add dry live rock, how long before the water would be ready for live stock?
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:56 AM   #13
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You need to cycle it first. If using "dead" live rock, then 4-6 weeks for the cycle to happen.

Regarding your ammonia... what are your levels?
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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What's in the tank right now? errr.. What are you using to cycle with that's giving you the ammonia?

I know your in a hurry to add fish but if you rush this part all you'll end up with is dead fish. Next time you're in the LFS take a walk through and add up the cost of the livestock you want. Then think how it would feel losing them all just because you were in a hurry. You don't need Cycle (IMO it doesn't work). Heat and an ammonia source are all you need. Cured LR will help immensely but your going to pay top $$ for that too. Partially cured or base rock will add to your cycle due to the dead material on the product.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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I`m not trying to be short but I just wanted to explain that in this hobby patience is a must. Usually when things are done quickly then that is when problems arise. Try to take the word "quickly" out of you SW vocabulary. That being said if you add LR that is already cured then it will already have the nitrifying bacteria needed to get your cycle going. Usually your LFS will have some cured LR that you could use but it will not be as cheap as the dry rock. We have several articles in our articles section that will help you understand the cycle and curing process. You can actually do both at the same time and in the same tank but it will take time and patience. Good luck on your tank.
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:26 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info guys!

I didn't know that heat was necessary! I only have one small heater in there right now, and its not quite doing the job. I was going to buy another 200watt or so, a day or 2 before I got the fish to bring the tank up to temp.

And yea- I'll remove the word 'quickly' and use - enhance
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #17
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What is your ammonia source?
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:52 PM   #18
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No idea.

The water in the tank consists of 50g of water from the previous owner, live sand which I'd rinses repeatidly (also from the old tank) and 140g of new water that I'd mixed up on my own.

There hasn't been anythingin the tank at all other than the plant in my sump.
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:28 PM   #19
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Ok, so here's a very brief crude overview of the cycle. Ammonia (produced by fish, decaying matter, direct addition of ammonia) is converted by a certain type of bacteria into nitrites which is toxic to fish (as is ammonia). Other strains of bacteria consume nitrite and excrete nitrate (which is non toxic to fish at low levels). This all happens thru the grace of God (if you will). However the starting point is up to you.

You need top either dose ammonia directly, drop a raw shrimp (or something else..errr cod perhaps?) in there to decay or add fish food so that can decay and produce ammonia which will get everything started. You need to measure the ammonia level daily and keep ammonia in there to feed to bacteria your growing until the cycle ends and you add fish. When the cycle ends you still need to have an ammonia source to feed the ammonia eaters until you add fish. Otherwise you'll start your new little inhabitants.

They are alive. It's just like having a bunch of little pets. You have to feed them. The good thing is you don't have to scoop the poop. You hire that out to the next set of bacteria (nitrite eaters).

The cycle is done when you can add ammonia and after a few hours both ammonia and nitrite are 0 and you see the nitrates rising. Nitrates are kept in check by water changes (one way).

Don't have much time so there's a lot of holes in the story. But that's the cheap tour. Google the fish cycle (specifically fishless cycling). It's all about ammonia and testing and keeping track so you knnow when you're done. And heat.. 80+

Takes 4-6 avg.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:17 AM   #20
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I just want to put this out there for you since you are in a hurry.

I bought some seasoned live rock from a person off of craigslist that was changing his reef to freshwater. He was also in a hurry to get rid of the whole setup and I have about 200lbs of his LR for about $3/lb. This promoted my cycling process 5x's.

Right now, my tank has been up about 3 weeks. I already have 4 fish, tons of mushrooms, frog spawns, and a great cuc. My ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and nitrate between 0-10. My plan now is to fill my fuge section of my cpr dual bakpak with Chaeto Alage to help on the Nitrate. Once my Nitrate levels are consistent I will start adding more Coral/Anemones.
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