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Old 03-10-2008, 11:58 PM   #1
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Bilogical cycle & Live Rock

My first post so take it easy!!

hey guys, just want to start by saying that I have found and answer to almost every question I've had so far (there's been alot) so thank yo to all the pros and aficionados wanting to share their knowledge with us the rookies of the marine world..

can somebody give me a little bit of feedback on what I am doing and clarify my understanding of things: here's my story..

I set up my tank (250L + 40L sump + hi flow Canister) on the 25 of Jan 08 and placed 10kg of live rock on the first day, two weeks later I added another 10KG of LR (expensive stuff so slowly but surely), last week I completed adding my last piece (7kg) of LR and completed forming the shape I wanted.
Q1: my understanding is that patience is the key and I assume that the tank has been maturing even though I have disturb it slightly by adding LR and rearranging the decor and things, the sand and filtration media has only been cleaned (slightly rinsed) once and I've done 2 water changes since starting (10% each), would I have severely disturbed the maturing process by the slow addition of LR?
Q2: last weekend (overnight) I experience a cloudy/milky state to the water which appeared to be clean as there was no obvious impurities floating around even though it was cloudy, ammonia levels were 0 when I first noticed itafter research on this forum I have put it down to a bacterial bloom, I read a little about this and I undertood this in simple terms of not having enough ammonia to feed the bacteria so they die off causing the milky water, this has since cleared up to very clear water though normal filtration, I have also since then placed a dead shrimp in there to cause the ammonia spike and my intension is to wait till ammonia is 0 again before the tank will be ready for fish? has my cause of action been ok (dead shrimp), and is my plan for fish when amonia levels are 0 realistic with the age of the cycle (since late Jan08).

Q3: my intention was to begin with corals and then add fish afterwards but having read some of the topics I realise that the tank maturity is more crucial to corals than it is for fish. is this correct?

and one last question. how do you guys attach new coral to the LR??

many thanks in advance..


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Old 03-11-2008, 12:12 AM   #2
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Q1: Hard to really answer without having actual ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test levels during all that to know what was really going on. But in the end, it really doesn't matter, because I'd personally recycle the tank to insure it's truly ready.

Q2: Kind of goes along with Q1. I'm guessing that with each addition of live rock you may of had a mini cycle. (Was the live rock cured?) No matter what really happened, you can't mess anything up by adding a shrimp (dead) and waiting for the ammonia spike. If your tank IS cycled, then you won't see much (or any) of an ammonia spike, but will instead see your nitrAtes rise. At that point, after sufficient water changes to bring your nitrate levels back down, you'd be good for livestock. If you DO see ammonia, then let the cycle run it's course.

Q3: Personally... after the cycle is complete I'd add a cleanup crew of some snails and hermit (if you want hermits.) You'll want them in there eventually, and after the cycle is a great time to make sure no nuisance algae gets a foothold. They'll also take care of the diatoms that will most likely show up.

I'd then add fish before coral. Adding fish will effect your bacterial population and if the fish are added too quickly (one after the other) you could end up with mini cycles after each fish. If that were to happen, then it's better that you don't have any corals in the tank to worry about. I found that waiting 3-4 months after introducing your first fish lets you get into a good maintenance routine, and gives yourself confidence that your water quality is OK. If you're going to have water issues (from either poor maintenance, poor source water, or just plain laziness!) then it seems like it rears its head within the first 3-4 months. Having corals in the tank while dealing with these "new tank" issues just raises the stress level even higher.

And as far as attaching corals to LR... it all depends on the coral. Some don't want to be on rocks, but instead want to be on the sand bed. Others want to be epoxied (with underwater epoxy like this... Aquarium Aquascaping & Coral Propagation: Two Little Fishies AquaStik Epoxy Putty ) or superglued (with plain ol' superglue) to your rock. Just research the needs of the coral (lighting and flow) and understand what it is you're buying... before buying!

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Old 03-14-2008, 07:47 PM   #3
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Q1 - No adding live rock in intervals won't really mess up the cycle only legthen it. Even when you purchase cured live rock it is shipped out of the water and some die off (even at bacterial) will occur.
Q2 - Cloudiness - could be dormant critters in live rock becoming active. Many times after the addition of live rock all the critters in there become active and "blow out" there respective holes, nooks, crannies, etc. That is one scenario, with allgal blooms the condition usually lasts longer - even persists for a time. The addition od shrimp will aid in bacterial production, but once ammonia goes up (spikes), then it should go down and nitrites will spike up. When nitrites go to zero and nitrates begin to go up you want to watch for them to fall or go to zero. Then time for water change and introduction of janitorial crew to aid in the upcoming algal / diatom cycles the system will go through. When you do finally put in fish think utilitarian - a sailfin or lawnmower blenny and a sand sifter like a Diamond watchman goby.
Q3 - Try and research now the fish and corals you would eventually want.
Add a couple at a time and you should be fine. Chemically though your tank will not reach total equilibrium for about 100 days. pH, alk, ca, all vary as the chemical portion of a cycle goes on.
Q4 -Holdfast epoxy, Aquastick putty, and "super glue gel.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:59 PM   #4
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I agree with Kurt that I would add some fish first. Their waste will feed the nitrifying bacteria that will keep the nitrogen cycle going.
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cycle, live, live rock, rock

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