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Old 03-22-2003, 10:26 PM   #1
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New tank cycling questions

I have a 75 gal tank with in sump wet/dry filter. I put 100 lbs. of CaribSea
live sand in with appx 50 lbs of base rock and 40 lbs of dead "live rock".
It has been running about 6 days and Ph is 7.5, Ammonia is 4.0, Nitrite is
about .50 and nitrates are 0. LFS said all the sand is probably dead since I haven't had anything in tank to feed bacteria. Suggested I put in fish food to accomplish this. Is this right? I've been reading a lot the last month or so and have only learned enough to be thoroughly confused. I would appreciate any help. My question is, what now?
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:43 PM   #2
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Well, to tell you the truth, you are already on your way to getting the tank cycled.. Test the water every other day or so to watch for the ammonia and the nitrite to fall...when they get to 0 then you are ready for stocking....I am concerned about the PH except that it will swing a bit up and down during the cycle period...You may want to test this first thing in the morning when the lights are off.. you will get a better reading IMO.

Give it a few weeks or sooner and it will be ready to go...
Patience is a virtue in this hobby...

After the cycle is over, if your ph stays that low, you may want to get a supplement for your alk and calcium... this is something to start reading about and getting familliar with.. you will want the PH to be above 8.0 but not higher than 8.4.

I am sure that someone else wants to add to this so I will let them...Good luck
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:44 PM   #3
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what do you mean by "DEAD" "LIVE ROCK"?

With an ammonia level of 4 you got PLENY to feed the bactera. If not to much.

Dont add anything to the tank in the way of fish, fish food or anything else that would contribute to the ammonia production.

Take a look at our articles section. There should be an article in there about cycling your tank with shrimp. Dont add shrimp to your tank but it might help explain the while process. I think you will also find an article about the ammonia or nitrogen cycle.
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:47 PM   #4
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I think that he means he has actual live rock for a base, and then just other rock that will become LR because of his actual live stuff. I think this is what he means
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:50 PM   #5
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The rock I'm speaking of was dry rock and the guy told me that some of the growth might come back. Maybe I'm phrasing it wrong. Thanks.
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:50 PM   #6
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Ammonia at 4.0 ....... wow this is plenty to start your tank cycling. You now only have to do the hardest thing IMO to do ........ wait. Keep testing and be patient. Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:54 PM   #7
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Actually, the bacteria in the sand feeds on the ammonia/nitrite. Like most bacteria, it's pretty hardy also. Adding fish food or any other organic substance will only increase the ammonia/nitrite and add to the cycle time. I wouldn't do anything for a while except monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels. Don't bother testing for nitrates at this point...just wasting test reagent. When the ammonia starts to drop, you'll see the nitrite begin to rise. It'll take a little longer for the nitrite to cycle since the bacteria that processes nitrite grows at about 1/2 the rate of the ammonia eating bacteria. When the nitrite has dropped to 0, do a water change and check for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Add buffer to correct the pH if needed. When you said "base rock", I'm guessing you're talking about rock that had some life on it, but not really nice live rock? If it was all dry rock, you'll need to get a few pieces of LR to add to the tank. This will get the coraline algae started. You could also order some of the Garf Grunge from www.garf.org . They claim it is loaded with coraline and sand critters. In order for your sandbed to function properly, you have to have the critters (worms, amphipods, copepods, ect...). Another option is to get some sand from a well established reef tank and add it to yours. I'd wait till the tank was cycled before doing this. If you get LR from the LFS or from a friends tank, keep it underwater while you transport it home. This will minimize any die off and keep you from having the tank go through another mini cycle.
You mentioned a wet/dry filter? Is it full of the dreaded bio balls? Your rock and sand will take care of your biofiltration so you won't need the media in the wet/dry. The bio balls will only cause you to have high nitrates which you don't want. I'd like to hear more about your tank. What kind of lighting do you have? What kind of fish/inverts do you want to keep?
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:57 PM   #8
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Sounds like it will be a cool tank, but like Logan said, if you have those little blue bio-balls, they will just become a big nitrate factory, I would let the LS and LR be your filtration, it will be fine IMO. Do you have a skimmer?
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Old 03-22-2003, 11:12 PM   #9
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Yes I do have the blue bio balls. The lighting that came with the tank, ( I bought everything used) is a 2 -light system . One says it's a Coralife 6500K/ Full Spectrum F40/T-12. The only thing about the other bulb I can tell you is that it is blue.
I want a tank with live rock and fish to start but at some point I would like to have
some cral and anenomes. I don't have a skimmer yet but most everyone I ask says it would be a good investment.
Should I get rid of the bio balls now or wait until everythings settled down?
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Old 03-22-2003, 11:13 PM   #10
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I think it's unlikely that any of the growth will come back on the dry rock. I'd plan of a few pieces of good LR and some sand from an established tank. As d9hp mentioned, a skimmer would be a nice addition. Not absolutely necessary, but helpful IMO.
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