Originally Posted by 919
Everyone needs to step back and relax a little...
1. Damsels are hardy fish, and recommended as a cycle fish in "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Fenner. Widely viewed as the definitive reference on salt water aquariums.
2. I am posting my parameters to show, that my tanks is cycling and my fish are fine.
3. Every time I have cycled, utilizing other means; I have always experienced a mini cycle no matter how slowly I add additional fish.
4. I have yet to see any definitive quantifiable evidence that cycling with fish is not any worse than without fish. I understand the value of rules of thumb, but following them blindly is a horrible idea.
919... thanks for finally posting your reasons. I wasn't trying to bait you, but I just wanted to know your reasons - even if I don't agree with them. As long as the thread stays on topic and doesn't get nasty, it doesn't seem like it should be closed or locked, but that's just my opinion. If folks don't want to read it, then well... don't read it!
You say that there is no quantifiable evidence that cycling with fish is any worse (for the tank) than cycling without. Strictly from an ammonia standpoint, I believe you're correct. Ammonia is ammonia, whether it's from fish poop/respiration/feeding or something rotting away. But the flip side of that argument (which is also true) is that there is no quantifiable evidence to say that cycling with fish is any BETTER - which you are claiming. Both methods supply the needed ammonia.
Where I think many folks run into problems with fishless cycling is that they don't get enough ammonia in there to start with, and don't build up enough bacteria to really handle the first fish. Or they often add too many to start with. Not sure if any of these possibilities could explain your experiences, but having cycled my main tank and a quarantine tank fishless, I can vouch that it will cycle a tank and in my case have no measurable cycle as livestock are added.
Regarding the comment that you're posting your parameters that show you're cycling, and the fish "are fine"... well... I guess the fact that they're alive is the definition of "fine." I think that's were most folks will disagree with you.
Finally... before trotting out Mr. Fenner's book as your strongest support, you should read some of his more recent writings here:
I'll quote part of Mr. Fenner's article here:
About Damsels & Torturing Other Wildlife :In the Dark Ages, back in the 1950’s, when such pet-fish luminaries as Robert Straughan were discovering and disseminating how to set-up working marine systems, people fell into the habit of using "tougher" livestock like Damselfishes (family Pomacentridae), Anemones… even brackish Turtle species to provide starter and ongoing ammonia to establish nutrient cycling. Turns out, these organisms aren’t necessary, nor advised. There is plenty of ammonia available from live rock, live sand organisms, old/used media, and even starter cultures.
As you said, following blindly is a horrible idea.