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Old 10-12-2004, 12:19 PM   #1
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Just starting

Howdy everyone. I just joined Aquarium Advice today.

I have just converted my 29 gallon fresh water to tank to all saltwater and plan to go all fish for a stretch.

The tank is up an running: temp @ 76 degree, gravity at .021 and am using both undergrave and outside charcoal filled flow through filtration. I have a Vortex Diatom Filter unit as well but do not have it hooked up yet. Any advice on the use of Diatom Filters appreciated. I am thinking that it might not be good to start using the Diamtom filter during the early stages of the cycling process and maybe not at all until it has stabilized.

I have done quite a bit of web reading about cycling the tank and of people loosing their fish during te process.

I plan to start the cycling process today by purchasing a couple of Damsels. What I would like to know is advice from members of the group as to how I can lessen the chances of the Damsels dying during the cycle process. I have allready secured the mindset of "patience" so I am not in a hurry.

Thanks a lot.


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Old 10-12-2004, 12:32 PM   #2
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Cycle with a raw shrimp from the grocery store. That will ensure you don't kill any fish during the cycling. See this article on how to cycle without fish: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=15

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Old 10-12-2004, 02:59 PM   #3
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You also may want to loose the undergravel. It equates to a dead area and will eventually lower water quality. LR , a hang on filter with a skimmer would serve you better to start. Live rock is the best way to establish filtration and will also do a nice job at cycling your system.
Also please use the fishless cycle. The poor damsels will suffer.
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Old 10-12-2004, 03:23 PM   #4
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Another reason to cycle damsel-free (aside from the cruelty issue) is that then you're stuck catching the damsels! In a LR tank, they can be really hard to catch and if you search you find many, many threads in which people talk about how much trouble their damsels are. (Okay, they have their fans, too. ) Fishless is the way to go, especially with live rock--lots of time to see the interesting stuff that develops as the tank matures.
75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
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Old 10-13-2004, 02:33 AM   #5
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Wow....thanks everyone for your wonderful advice and so timely as well. I can tell this is going to be a great group to rely upon. Sure am glad Google found it for me.

I too do not want to put any of the fish through unnecessary stress or harm and have decided to take your advice and head to the LGS instead of the LFS and get some raw shrimp and cycle my tank the fishless method as advised.

I like the idea of having some live rock and have seen in at the LFS. When can I put the live rock in? Is that supposed to be after cycling and with an all ready stable tank or can it be put in anytime now?

Thanks ....Steve
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Old 10-13-2004, 07:56 AM   #6
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Hi Steve!! Welcome to this "great group".

Yep, w/out the damsels, you'll have room for the few fish you really want. Let us know when you start doing your planning for inhabitants. Heck, you'll probably have loads of fun with the live rock for a while. See some of the threads here about LR.com (or liverocks.com, i think) to get a feel for the rock experience.

Good luck

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Old 10-13-2004, 10:41 AM   #7
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You should put the LR in now so if there is any die off it will occur now during the cycle. If you put it in after the cycle the die off can cause another cycle from the die off. 1lb per gal is a good starting point. Ask the LFS if its cured LR if so then you may not get a cycle. UGF toss it...... Are you using sand or Crushed coral??
Just remember tanking things slow is the best approach.
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:22 AM   #8
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A few suggestions.

1. don't use the whole shrimp to cycle the 20 gallon tank. just about half of it should be fine.

2. purchase your live rock and stick that in now before you buy fish. Live Rock will start another cycle in your tank which you don't want with fish. Also, if your LFS Live rock looks dead, it probibly is. Check out liverocks.com. They have excellent Live Rock for cheaper than what you can probibly get at your LFS. YOu will want about 30-45 lbs worth.

3. remove the UGF, and purchase a nice HOB filter. (I like emporers but you will need to remove the bio-wheel.) also, you will need a skimmer. A CPR Bak Pak 2R skimmer would work great.

4. Be patient! it will take a while for your tank to cycle and be ready to add fish. Expect the cycle to take at least a month.

5. With a tank that small you will have to be extra careful to make sure that all the water parameters stay perfect. a small swing will kill your fish. regular water changes and testing is a MUST!

6. Don't overstock your tank. you can probibly fit about 3 small fish in a 29 gallon. This may seem like it sucks, but accually SW fish are so pretty and so interesting, that having only a few fish will still really satisfy you! SW fish just need more room. and to many fish will cause spikes that will kill them all. Also, do your research now. Decide what you want to put in now. Many fish stores carry fish that look small now, but those fish will get HUGE! Most SW fish are much, much bigger than freshwater fish. another reason why You must be careful in selection. I saw a Blue Reagel tang at my LFS that was barely 2 inches long. the cutest little thing. Unfortunatly, they will die in anything less than a 75 gallon tank. THey just get way to big.

I have a small tank too so I can make some suggestions on fish to look at. Check out Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clowns, Small gobies, small angels like the flame angle and the Coral Beauty Angel, firefish, six-line wraise, chromis, etc. there are tons of great fish out there!
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Old 10-13-2004, 03:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for new replies.....

I am using crushed coral.

So am I correct that I can put the live rock and piece of shrimp in at the same time.

The LFS I asked about live rock did have the cured kind. If the cured rock perhaps would not start the cycle, the piece of shrimp should. Is that correct.

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Old 10-13-2004, 03:13 PM   #10
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Yes you can add LR adn the shrimp at the same time. Cured rock is usually more expensive than un-cured, FYI.
Cured rock should NOT cause a cycle...think of cured rock as already cycled rock.
Curing means that all the stuff on the rock that would've died in transport to the LFS has died, decayed, created ammonia which then fed the bacteria on the rock.

Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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