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Old 02-23-2006, 02:20 AM   #1
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Cycle (In Progress) ? and Clean Up Crew ? (Post Cycle)

Ok, tomorrow evening will mark 1 week since I put my LR into my tank and what I'm considering the start of my cycle. I'm doing a "fishless/shrimpless" cycle hoping that the Die Off from my LiveAquaria LR will be enough to get my cycle started (and I have dropped a pinch of flake fish food in every day for good measure).

I've been testing my Water Every Other day and havn't yet seen the Huge Ammonia spike that everyone talked about. I am actually still having problems reading the SeaChem Test Kit (distinguishing specific values based on the colors, which look basically the same to me), and may try a different test kit.

I think my Ammonia was in the .2 Range (I could tell that it has risen some since the first test or two) and Nitrate somewhere between 5-10 and Nitrite Less than 1 to this point. (Was 3.5 for first test and the less than one later on, again assuming I'm even close in reading these things). PH was arround 8ish, but I wasn't testing it every time.

I have been topping off the evap with Fresh (non-salt) RO/DI Water as needed, but was curious if/when I should start my Water Changes, or if I should just wait until after my Cycle and then do a large one before stocking?

My 2nd ? is about a 'clean up crew'... I see places like LiveAquaria and SaltWaterFish, etc sell packages... is this something I should look into at the end of my cycle? I'm planning FOWLR for now and didn't know if these were useful in that scenario. Since I have a 46 Gal, there is a 30 Gal Package and a 55 Gal Package, and didn't know which way I should go.

I am also hoping for a Starfish or two at some point, and see the Detritus Attack Pack on LiveAquaria and wondered if something like that could also be tossed in there with the other (Algae) Clean up Crew?

Does the cleanup crew count against my Inch/Gallon fish equation when I start stocking down the road also?

Thanks for the Advice!

SW2
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:35 AM   #2
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Under normal settings, the ammonia may not start to show up until the beginning of the second, which is where you are at. So what you are reading is pretty much right on.

To better see the color shades of test results, place the test tube up against a white surface.

Basic water changes should start right away. So long as the tank doesn't become over populated or over fed, 15% water change once every two weeks should be well enough to keep things balanced. You're also adding in freshwater which does include as 'new' water.

With clean up crew packs and such, take a good look at the species of animals included.

How I advise people to add such animals is to start off with reef hermits and snails. Wait a couple of weeks and get an algae blenny (aka: rock blenny and lawnmower blenny) along with a skunk cleaner shrimp. Detritus eating animals should be introduced well after the tank is mature. You want to build some of that detritus up first so there's food available right away once they are introduced. I say at least three months, but six months would be better.

I never go by the so many inch per gallon of water thing anymore. Too many variables make it too difficult to come up with an accurate measure count. Best thing to go by is the available territory and bio load.

If you do go for any of the clean up crew packages, go for the smaller amount and always wait at least one week, preferrably two weeks inbetween introductions of new livestock. This allows the bio to adjust to the new waste load and the newbies can settle in.
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Old 02-23-2006, 03:59 PM   #3
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I noticed today a slight bit of "fuzz" starting to form on and arround my LR.

Is this "normal" and expected at this stage of my cycle (1 Week)? I don't run the lights much if at all... sometimes just on long enough for me to inspect the rock and look to see what kinds of cool stuff I can see growwing, etc.

Thanks
SW2
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:58 PM   #4
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You could inspect that fuzz. If it's decay, you can remove it. Sometimes it can be just natural growth like sponge. Maybe it's not getting enough water flow??? Check to see if maybe that area of the tank is lacking movement. If so, direct a flow of water through to keep the area from becoming stagnant.

It'd be good to run the lights from the very beginning. There's a lot of interaction between life on the rocks and the light it recieves. 8 to 10 hours during the day and the rest a night period. Moonlights are great for night time. If you have actinics on a separate on/off switch, they can provide a dawn and dusk period. Turn them on prior to the daylights about half an hour and turned off before the daylights prior to night for about half an hour.

Even in the very beginning stages, the light is an important factor to the growth on a reef. The light periods are important to help sustain a balance of natural growth in a particular environment. The beginning stages sets a foundation for this environment. Best to have the natural growth in the beginning to match that of those later as you populate the tank and it matures. Low light and no light will produce growth proper for those environments. Regular light...growth proper for that light amount in the environment. High light, that growth will be proper for high light growth and the same for everything in between. Hope that didn't confuse you...LOL.
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The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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