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Old 12-14-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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new tank cycle - i'm confused

I think I read too much and from too many different opinions I've flat out confused myself. I read the article on here about fishless cycle and many other posts from people starting their tanks.

New tank starting FINALLY (been waiting 6 months with an empty tank)!
65 gallon reef tank
20 gallon refugium
20 gallon sump

Rock and sand come in this week. I ordered 105 lbs of Marco Dry Key Largo Rock and 120 lbs of sand.

So I put the sand, rock, saltwater, all equipment in just how I want it and then add 3 fresh shrimp to start the cycle keeping the light off the entire process. I'll get an ammonia spike which grows bacteria that produce nitrite. Then get a nitrite spike as new bacteria grows and eats the nitrite, then produce nitrate. The ammonia and nitrite levels go back to zero. Whole process taking up to 8-10 weeks.

My questions are:
1) How often do PWC and how much during the cycle process? I've read every other day 50% and I've read once a week 10% like a normal tank, whats the benefits of each because every other day at 50% is a lot for salt!

2) The PWC will remove the nitrates and after the cycle I can then add my macro algae to the refugium or can they go in from the start?

3) I need to add small amounts of fish food each day after the ammonia spike to keep those bacteria growing or do you just leave it be throughout the whole cycle with just the raw shrimp?

4) Since it is all dry rock/dry sand there are no other little critter like copepods, beneficial worms and such so the tank must be seeded somehow. If I take some LR out of my existing tank and some sand from my existing tank that solves this problem? How long before these critters take hold in the new tank and I can move the LR back into the current tank? And I put this LR in from my existing tank AFTER the cycle is complete?

5) The CUC goes in after the cycle is complete, but do I also put a fish or two in at that time as well? If not do I need to feed the CUC?

I've just read way too much and am really second guessing myself so I need some reassurance that this is correct since I'm starting with all dry rock/sand.

thanks! Can't wait for the rock, sand, and overflows to come in this week so I can get started.


John
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:17 PM   #2
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1) you dont do a pwc until the cycle is complete, there is no ammonia or nitrites, and then you add fish

2) that sounds like the best plan

3) or another couple shrimp if the ones you use completely decompose before the cycle is complete

4) if you are using only base rock, sticking a few pieces of live rock in the tank from an existing tank will speed up the cycle big time

5) realistically, its probably best to add the cuc after the fish so that you have some "gunk" built up already... simply adding them with no food source for them is not a good idea

and dont forget, everybody has their own opinions and ways of doing things, so trying to get one straight answer is sometimes hard
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. That makes me feel better about my plan. Was told to research research and more research before starting. I just read too many opinions, ill-informed opinions too which just confused the heck out of me.
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:38 PM   #4
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Did you read our article on SW cycling in our articles section.
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #5
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Yea I did.
It gives a great overview and general direction but says nothing about PWCs, using cured LR vs only base rock, seeding the tank, and so on which I had found conflicting information on and made me oh so confused.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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Well since you are using only baserock and you have no life in the tank other then the upcoming bacteria there is no use in a PWC until the very end and before you add your CUC and other lifeforms. The Live sand would be more then enough life to add to your new tank and I would do that from the very start.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
1) you dont do a pwc until the cycle is complete, there is no ammonia or nitrites, and then you add fish

2) that sounds like the best plan

3) or another couple shrimp if the ones you use completely decompose before the cycle is complete

4) if you are using only base rock, sticking a few pieces of live rock in the tank from an existing tank will speed up the cycle big time

5) realistically, its probably best to add the cuc after the fish so that you have some "gunk" built up already... simply adding them with no food source for them is not a good idea

and dont forget, everybody has their own opinions and ways of doing things, so trying to get one straight answer is sometimes hard
Pretty much agree with everything said here. #5 though might depend on how "gunky" your tank is after the cycle. If you end up with a massive diatom bloom, some snails (astrea, trochus) might not be a bad idea to eat up the diatoms.
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