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Old 09-22-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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Starting over

After something wrong with my 150G tank that killed nearly everything, it's about time to start over. I don't know exactly what happened before, but there's a thread...

Problems

...about it. I have five damsels left in a 20G quarantine tank, which is cycling right now. I have a couple of measurements from the quarantine tank:

5 fish placed in QT on Saturday 9/12 (then I went on vacation, so that's why no measurements)

Saturday 9/19:
Ammonia 2.5 ppm
Nitrite 0.2 ppm
Nitrate 8 ppm

Monday 9/21:
Ammonia 2.5 ppm
Nitrite 0.5 ppm
Nitrate 10 ppm

I had seeded the filter I'm using for the QT from my original display tank, so that leads me to believe that my display tank never cycled, or if it did, there was not enough load on the tank for it to really support anything. The fish in the QT are doing very well.

Anyways, since I have no idea what the problem could have been before, I want to be extra careful in setting up the DT again, and I have several questions:

1. I'm looking to buy a RO/DI unit. Does anyone have any suggestions on what is a good brand or certain type?

2. How should I clean the tank, the sand, and the 100 lbs live rock so that I can be certain that whatever caused the problem before won't still be there? If that means killing off the LR and the sand, that's fine, but I'm not sure what the safest way is...

3. For this next run, I want to use LR for filtration, and get rid of the bio-balls in my old wet-dry filter (but keep the mechanical filtration part and use it for a refugium). Maybe there are articles about this, but what all will I need to cycle a 150G tank with uncured LR? I'd like to have about 250 lbs of LR total, along with about of 75 lbs of sand that I already have. What else should I have for the cycling process?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:15 AM   #2
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Might wanna read this article on this site too on cycling a tank.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ank/Page1.html
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:03 AM   #3
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So I've never done a fishless cycle before -- well for my puffer tank I seeded a filter from my freshwater tank for a couple of weeks and used a "skip the cycle" product that probably helped a little and I didn't see a cycle.

If I cycle the tank with LR will I need to provide ammonia? I'll order 150 lbs more dry (pre-cycled, but not cured) and I have 100 lbs left over from my old DT. I don't know if it will still be live, or how live it will be when it's ready to go back in the tank... I imagine there will be some die-off to provide ammonia between that and the pre-cycled rock I'll get?
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:19 PM   #4
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I kept rock from my display tank alive for 5-6 weeks in a rubbermaid tub, with an powerhead to provide the oxygen, and a small heater since it was in a cold basement. Dropped a small bit of fish food in it every 4 or 5 days to feed the bacteria. No light needed. When I set my tank up again, that rock added to it made it so there was no cycle at all. Where is the 100lbs now and how long has it been there?

To cycle with uncured rock, I'd take a new nylon brush with no metal parts and brush a lot of the loose debris that comes with some of it with fresh water. There'll be enuf stuff remaining that will still die off and create the ammonia source.

You can cycle a tank with uncured LR since it will have die-off and create ammonia. No additional ammonia will be needed. Just get the test kit and see the ammonia and nitrite levels throughout the process to be sure it is cycling. Some add a piece of raw grocery store shrimp if it needs a boost.

I'm not a fan of "skip cycle", Biospira or other additives to the tank. I prefer old school methods (well, except for cycling with fish).
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #5
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The 100 lbs of LR is in a trash can in my garage with a powerhead. When I was curing the LR I needed to do water changes, but I guess that's not necessary for this? As it gets colder I'll put the heater back in, it's in my garage. I haven't been adding food, it's been in there about a week and a half.

Are there any other considerations for cycling and filtering a tank with LR? I have a couple of underwater pumps for circulation, do I need a whole bunch?
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