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Old 04-14-2014, 03:33 PM   #11
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It's doesn't matter whether the rock is cured or not when it comes to producing enough ammonia for the cycle. Either way you have to add an ammonia source to get your ammonia up to at least 4ppm.
Not to quibble but I was an importer of live rock from around the world. It DOES matter whether it was cured or not as we sold both cured and uncured rock. Uncured rock can pollute a tank to such a degree it could take months for the tank to settle. Then there was also the stink factor. ( We used a separate warehouse for our uncured rock due to this. ) Cured rock would be good to go immediately.
The point was ( and is) that it doesn't matter how high the ammonia level goes for a tank to cycle. If there is enough BB in the tank from the rock to support, say, 1 fish and after adding that fish, there is no ammonia or nitrite readings, then the tank is "cycled". If you added 4 fish and the ammonia spikes, the tank wasn't cycled for that load.
I'm not sure where or when the magic number of 4PPM came into play but a cycled tank/bed/ filter, system, whatever , is achieved based on the amount of ammonia that is being converted to nitrites then nitrates no matter how high it goes as long as it falls back to 0. A healthy setup is technically based on the eventual bioload of the living organisms that are present in the system with the BB bed growing as you add life to the tank. In mathematical terms, if you add ammonia so that you get a reading of 4 PPM and the amount of ammonia you added was equivalent to say, 2 damsels swimming , breathing , eating and pooping in the tank, if after the ammonia and nitrite levels go back to 0 ( and considered cycled by today's standards) and you then add 20 more damsels making a total of 22 damsels now in the tank, the tank will recycle as you have added too much load for the bacteria bed to handle. It may not take as long to recycle, or be as deadly the second time around, but it will happen. This was why I pointed out that the eventual load is the determining factor. This is why "old school" thinking and practices of slow and steady vs fast and furious created better more stable environments. Not to say that fast & Furious doesn't create the same thing eventually, there are just too many cases of disasters from this methodology. Once again, this is why I suggested getting more knowledge of how a marine ( and even freshwater) system works so as to not have the need to ask "Which way is better? "
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:05 PM   #12
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Can you " jumpstart a cycle "

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Originally Posted by Andy Sager View Post
Not to quibble but I was an importer of live rock from around the world. It DOES matter whether it was cured or not as we sold both cured and uncured rock. Uncured rock can pollute a tank to such a degree it could take months for the tank to settle. Then there was also the stink factor. ( We used a separate warehouse for our uncured rock due to this. ) Cured rock would be good to go immediately.
The point was ( and is) that it doesn't matter how high the ammonia level goes for a tank to cycle. If there is enough BB in the tank from the rock to support, say, 1 fish and after adding that fish, there is no ammonia or nitrite readings, then the tank is "cycled". If you added 4 fish and the ammonia spikes, the tank wasn't cycled for that load.
I'm not sure where or when the magic number of 4PPM came into play but a cycled tank/bed/ filter, system, whatever , is achieved based on the amount of ammonia that is being converted to nitrites then nitrates no matter how high it goes as long as it falls back to 0. A healthy setup is technically based on the eventual bioload of the living organisms that are present in the system with the BB bed growing as you add life to the tank. In mathematical terms, if you add ammonia so that you get a reading of 4 PPM and the amount of ammonia you added was equivalent to say, 2 damsels swimming , breathing , eating and pooping in the tank, if after the ammonia and nitrite levels go back to 0 ( and considered cycled by today's standards) and you then add 20 more damsels making a total of 22 damsels now in the tank, the tank will recycle as you have added too much load for the bacteria bed to handle. It may not take as long to recycle, or be as deadly the second time around, but it will happen. This was why I pointed out that the eventual load is the determining factor. This is why "old school" thinking and practices of slow and steady vs fast and furious created better more stable environments. Not to say that fast & Furious doesn't create the same thing eventually, there are just too many cases of disasters from this methodology. Once again, this is why I suggested getting more knowledge of how a marine ( and even freshwater) system works so as to not have the need to ask "Which way is better? "

I wasn't saying that cured or non cured rock didn't matter all the time, but in this instance, you still need to dose up ammonia because it needs To be established no matter what. Even if the rock is cured, you should still dose ammonia to ensure the BB can handle the amount of Bioload it is going to receive over time.

As for the 4ppm, it creates a strong enough colony of bacteria to handle what most people would stock their tank with. .25ppm of ammonia from the rock will do nothing. The second you add a the ammonia will start to spike, causing harm to it. That's why you always add an ammonia source. I can also assure that two damsels will not create more then 4ppm ammonia. You also implied adding 20 damsels. Well, no one would every do that. We all know that tanks most be stocked slowly or it can create havoc within the parameters. If you added the damsels one at a time it would slowly increase being ok, so I don't see how that example helps.

I'm not trying to be rude, love a friendly debate.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:24 PM   #13
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:28 PM   #14
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+1. The articles on here are great.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:47 PM   #15
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Any source that claims that it doesn't matter if you add cured or uncured rock to the tank would be suspect to me. Adding cured vs uncured has a huge difference in both the cycle and the amount of ammonia being added to the tank.

Soft Cycling the Saltwater Aquarium
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:27 PM   #16
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Can you " jumpstart a cycle "

The bottom of the line is - IMO all rock, cured, not cured, or base, while cycling an ammonia source should be added. No matter what. It doesn't matter whether you soft cycle, hard cycle, cycle with a bacteria in a bottle product like Dr. Tim's, an ammonia source should be apparent to make sure the rock has been populated well with beneficial bacteria.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:43 PM   #17
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Ok so I'm new to this. It's been a week into my cycle and I've got nothing. I've been ghost feeding with fish food and frozen shrimp. My ammonia went to .25 the other day and today zero. Very little traces of anything else. I've got a 75 gal tank with about 40lbs of live rock and 60lbs live sand. I know a cycle could take a long time.. So should I just keep waiting???? I really am in no rush cause I wanna do it right. But I'd like to know if I am doing it right!? Lol thank you
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:55 PM   #18
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Will raw shrimp cycling hurt live rock ???
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Macscale View Post
The bottom of the line is - IMO all rock, cured, not cured, or base, while cycling an ammonia source should be added. No matter what. It doesn't matter whether you soft cycle, hard cycle, cycle with a bacteria in a bottle product like Dr. Tim's, an ammonia source should be apparent to make sure the rock has been populated well with beneficial bacteria.
If you are using uncured liverock, the rock itself provides a direct ammonia source as organic decomposition occurs as a result of die-off of the organisms on the uncured rock. If you are using the proper amount of cured liverock directly transferred to your tank, bacteria populations are already present and therefore there is absolutely no need to hard cycle to some arbitrary number unless your goal is to add the entire stock of your aquarium immediately upon completing the cycle.

Lets Talk about Mythconceptions Regarding Nitrogen and the Cycling Process

One of the things that I commonly run across on this and other forums, is the notion that if I hard cycle my tank to that arbitrary number (maybe somewhat tied to high end stocking numbers, but arbitrary non-the-less), it is somehow "magically" prepared forever thereafter to accept any and all fish that I wish to place in the system. In reality, bacteria populations in any aquarium are in a constant state of dynamic flux, adding to or shifting the bioload causes an very quick fluctuation in that bacteria population (with mature populations, that fluctuation can occur in as little as 12 hours), resulting in increasing populations or die-off of your bacteria population.

The only benefit one can gain from hard cycling an aquarium to that arbitrary number is the immediate opportunity to stock the fish levels. Wait just 24 hours without maintaining those ammonia levels in your tank, and that opportunity is gone. Hence why people who have been engaged in this hobby for much longer periods of time understand that the old tried and true method of slowly adding a few fish at a time to a tank with an established bacteria population is generally a much safer and surer way of doing things.
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:02 PM   #20
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Ok so I'm new to this. It's been a week into my cycle and I've got nothing. I've been ghost feeding with fish food and frozen shrimp. My ammonia went to .25 the other day and today zero. Very little traces of anything else. I've got a 75 gal tank with about 40lbs of live rock and 60lbs live sand. I know a cycle could take a long time.. So should I just keep waiting???? I really am in no rush cause I wanna do it right. But I'd like to know if I am doing it right!? Lol thank you
If the ammonia is disappearing then the bacteria levels are starting to stabilize. Again, how long you want to wait totally depends on what your goals are. Keep in mind that having a tank with active bacteria populations is a far cry from having a mature tank.

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Will raw shrimp cycling hurt live rock ???
If the ammonia levels are allowed to reach toxic levels, then yes the hard cycling may kill off beneficial organisms on the liverock other than bacteria. Some may survive.
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