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Old 08-01-2011, 01:59 AM   #1
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First SW tank. 35 gallon

So I've had a freshwater tank for a little over a year now, and I got a good deal a 30+ tank, so I've decided to go ahead and try salt water. I have all the equipment I need for now (filter, protein skimmer, heater, etc). I'll be getting live rock next week, and I'll let the cycle for a month or so.

I have a few questions though...well..one for now...or maybe more...we'll see. Anyways, I've learned the hard way about adding too many fish at a time, but I was wondering if there were was to add larger groups of fish, without a big ammonia spike. Could I possible artificial build up ammonia, and therefor buildup bacteria, in preparation for adding fish? The reason I ask, is that I would like to purchase fish online, due to better prices and bigger selections. However, shipping is gonna cost me way to much if I have to get fish one at a time. I realize that this is only 35 gallon tank and so its not like I can even maintain that large of a group, but, I was just wondering if there was a way. I'm especially interested in a deal liveaquaria.com has. If you buy $60+ worth of cleaners, you get free shipping. A good deal, that'll get me some good urchins, snails, and cucumber. However, I would feel really nervous and uncomfortable adding that much at a time even if they are particularly hardy and small animals. So...any advice? Would it be bad to start off with cleaners in the first place? What's good to first add after an aquarium has been cycled with live rock?

Thanks...sorry for the wall of text.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:13 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by fairtrade
So I've had a freshwater tank for a little over a year now, and I got a good deal a 30+ tank, so I've decided to go ahead and try salt water. I have all the equipment I need for now (filter, protein skimmer, heater, etc). I'll be getting live rock next week, and I'll let the cycle for a month or so.

I have a few questions though...well..one for now...or maybe more...we'll see. Anyways, I've learned the hard way about adding too many fish at a time, but I was wondering if there were was to add larger groups of fish, without a big ammonia spike. Could I possible artificial build up ammonia, and therefor buildup bacteria, in preparation for adding fish? The reason I ask, is that I would like to purchase fish online, due to better prices and bigger selections. However, shipping is gonna cost me way to much if I have to get fish one at a time. I realize that this is only 35 gallon tank and so its not like I can even maintain that large of a group, but, I was just wondering if there was a way. I'm especially interested in a deal liveaquaria.com has. If you buy $60+ worth of cleaners, you get free shipping. A good deal, that'll get me some good urchins, snails, and cucumber. However, I would feel really nervous and uncomfortable adding that much at a time even if they are particularly hardy and small animals. So...any advice? Would it be bad to start off with cleaners in the first place? What's good to first add after an aquarium has been cycled with live rock?

Thanks...sorry for the wall of text.
I have used the shrimp method for cycling many times. You can buy uncooked shrimp from your local store. Then put a piece or two in two media bags. Tie the bags to the tank where one bag will float and the other will sit on the sand. Make sure the one on the sand is on the sand. You will need to put a shell or rock on it to keep it there. Do this after you have the sand and LR in there. Let the bags in there until you can smell it. And it will smell bad. Take them out after that, and let it sit for a day or two. You will have high levels of NO3 & NH3 that first day. After the levels come down you will be good to go. I have used this quite a few times and never had a problem with it. And it only takes days for the tank to cycle. As far as a clean up crew, look on reefcleaners.org. Best prices out there, have not found many that are that low in cost.. Good luck on the best hobby in the world...
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great reply!

So, with this method, do I put the shrimp in after the tank has initially cycled with live rock?
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great reply!

So, with this method, do I put the shrimp in after the tank has initially cycled with live rock?
Put all of your sand and rock in the tank. After the cloudiness clears up from the sand, add the shrimp. So, after your water sand and LR is in the tank, add the shrimp.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:08 PM   #5
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Put all of your sand and rock in the tank. After the cloudiness clears up from the sand, add the shrimp. So, after your water sand and LR is in the tank, add the shrimp.
well would the method work after the initial cycle?
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:55 PM   #6
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well would the method work after the initial cycle?
I'm not sure I understand? If it has already cycled you should be good. It is a good idea in new tanks to put fish in one at a time. If you don't you risk getting new tank syndrome. And you don't want that!! I usually go in week intervals, one fish this week, then 7/8 days later another fish..
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fairtrade

well would the method work after the initial cycle?
So you already have it cycled? I'm a bit confuzzled
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:34 PM   #8
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i think what hes asking is if he can artificially replicate the bioload that his online fish order will create...the reason being that he cant simply order that many fish at once and toss them in a newly cycled tank...itll spike. he wants to "acclimate" the tank to handle them. id normally say gofor it but i dont know of any way to measure what sort of ammonia/waste/food output that fish istwould generate, therefore making it hard to adjust accordingly
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
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i think what hes asking is if he can artificially replicate the bioload that his online fish order will create...the reason being that he cant simply order that many fish at once and toss them in a newly cycled tank...itll spike. he wants to "acclimate" the tank to handle them. id normally say gofor it but i dont know of any way to measure what sort of ammonia/waste/food output that fish istwould generate, therefore making it hard to adjust accordingly
Exactly, that's what I meant. The problem with adding multiple fish is that it creates a large ammonia spike. Even if the tank is cycled, there is not enough bacteria in the system to handle the all the new ammonia. So what I'm wondering is if I can artificial compensate for that spike. If I artificial begin adding ammonia in preparation (either by putting dead shrimp in or pure ammonia or whatever you guys would think would be best) this will build up the bacteria. So then, I could add a larger group of fish because the system would already be used to that much ammonia.

Now as you mentioned, it would be hard to estimate how much ammonia I should prepare the tank for, but I would think that in theory, this should work.

Of course, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm still very new to the whole aquarium scene.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:24 AM   #10
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in theory idk lol. before trying to go that route, why not list your order list...nd also if you have any extra tanks/containers/ that you could house these fish in seperately for 2-3 days?? it may result in several lil tanks or containers in the room...but if you could do that, then you could add them in over 3-4 days and atleast smoothe the spike out...

***edit*** just to showcase a point, when i moved my 125g, i pre-mixed new sw, added the sand, added the lr and got everything running....i had to add 2 domino damsels, engineer goby, MaY clown, and a niger trigger within the next day( due to rapidly declining levels in holding tank)...i fought a spike for 3 weeks...and just now got it down
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