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Old 02-03-2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Starting Cycle in Saltwater

I am in the process of starting up a 15 gallon reef setup and had a question about getting the cycle started. I have dry rock (marco rocks) and plan on seeding with some live rock rubble. I was concerned, as the rubble is cured, that the rubble would not have enough die off to provide an ammonia source. I have seen numerous recomendations to add a raw shrimp to decompose and add the source of ammonia. I know some people do the same in freshwater as well. I'm a little leary about adding dead flesh to my system and the potential for harmful bacteria or fuel for parasites. Has anyone had adverse effects from adding the raw shrimp?

I used pure ammonia to cycle my freshwater system and am wondering why I have not seen any recommendation to do so for saltwater. Is it not the same?

Thanks for any help or insight!
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:52 PM   #2
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You could also add a few flakes as a well instead of the shrimp but a small shrimp will work and be OK. Ask the millions that have cycled their tank that way over the yrs.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:20 PM   #3
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I cycled with pure ammonia when I started my 55 gal reef tank. It works exactly the same way. Like you, I didn't like the idea of having to deal with a raw shrimp. It's been so long ago, but I believe I dosed enough ammonia to raise the levels to 3 ppm on my test kit. After the cycle finished, I simply tested by dumping one small capful of ammonia into the tank and made sure that it could completely break it down within 24 hours. Afterwards, I started performing water changes to bring down the nitrates and introduced a few fish.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input! I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. I would think the caution with pure ammonia would be not to dose too much.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:27 PM   #5
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That's the good thing about the shrimp. The decomposition rate is kind of a built-in control that doesn't let the ammonia levels get too high - unless of course you put in too many shrimp! Drop one in per 30g and walk away from it all.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:10 AM   #6
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The ammonia method really requires you to add just enough and keep it there for a bit. The raw shrimp method is self sustaining. Of course adding uncured LR will really get the cycle going.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:27 AM   #7
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Don't worry at all about the dead flesh/shrimp and any bacteria or parasite. Those bacteria are what is needed to cycle. And the bacteria created from this will consume all the bad stuff. That's what it do.

It's all a good thing.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:52 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, I'll trust the experience here and roll with the shrimp.
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