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Old 06-14-2005, 01:09 PM   #1
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On the right track? Smelly cycle.

Hello all,

I am a newbie starting my first saltwater tank and am wondering if my cycling is on the right track. I have a 55g tank with external wet/dry, bioballs, an in sump protein skimmer (not running yet), return mag drive 9.5, and two maxi jet 1200's for flow. I ordered 40 lbs. of uncured liverock and stuck it in the tank as soon as it arrived last Friday. I am using the rock to cycle. It has been about four days and the water smells pretty bad as a lot of the life on the rock died. Besides the rock, nothing in the tank is living. Also the water has been pretty murky. The lights have been shut off since I put the live rock in. My current parameters are temp 84, SG 1.018, pH 8.0, ammonia 3.0, and no nitrites or nitrate. I have been reading quite a bit on this site and have questions regarding this cycle. The bad smell is normal with uncured live rock cycle correct? It is just the ammonia spike from the die off? Can I just leave the rock be or do I need to brush off the dead material with a brush? I have my protein skimmer currently off, will turning it on combat the smell and get rid of some of the soup? Would this then prolong the cycle? Are water changes necessary during a cycle or would that just help combat the smell as well? Preferably, I would just like to keep my hands off the tank for a little while and let the cycle take care of itself. The smell is not too bothersome yet, I can put up with it for about another week. If it persists longer my girlfriend may take a temporary leave of absence from the apartment. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2005, 01:22 PM   #2
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I cured my rock in the tank, the rotten smell is normal. You should brush off the dead stuff with a new toothbrush or any other brush that's never been used for anything else. I personally had my skimmer on to help move things. Keep the ligths off and most importantly do 50% H2O changes with already prepared H2O every week. As long as you have ammonia don't test for nitrite or nitrate, they will be really high. When ammonia is 0 or almost undetectible then start testing nitrite, for this one wait until is 0 to test for nitrate or you'll get a false reading. Then when testing for nitrate you want to keep this between 10 and 20 ppm or less. Ideally it should be 0 too. The process of curing live rock (which will also take care of the cycle) can take anything from 2-8 weeks depending how bad it is. Hope this helps
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:15 PM   #3
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Having the skimmer ON is a must, thats whats its there for to remove waste from the water. Cleaning LR is your choice, is it needed IMO no, I cured 125 lbs in my tank and cleaned nothing thats what the snails and crabs are for after the cycle. Also some say changing water during the cycle can make the cycle last longer. I see no reason to change out water during the cycle, there is no life in the tank so why waste salt making up new water.
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:52 PM   #4
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It took my cycle only 2 weeks curing 45 Lbs. of rock and doing H20 changes. Plus every reading I've ever done on this subject recommends it. Not trying to argue though...just helping the guy the best possible way I know.
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Old 06-14-2005, 04:59 PM   #5
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2 weeks is good, but all LR is not the same and all cycle are not the same. If he has more die off then you did it will take longer, if he has more LR then you it can take longer. If your LR had a small amount of die off then your cycle will be quicker.
If thats what they want to do is do a WC then that is fine, I'm just telling them it is not necessary to do one. There are many opinions and different ways to do things in this hobby and the end result could be the same.
They did not seem like they wanted to do a WC so I am just saying its ok not to do one. Sometimes its best just to keep our hands out of the tank and let things rip..
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