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Old 10-15-2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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after cycling... next steps?

Hi, could someone direct me to a really good article on step by step instructions for when the cycling is completed? I need instruction from the water change (remove water from sump and add to tank, is this correct?) to what to add next ( inverts first or fish?). Do I remove my smelly bag of raw shrimp right before the water change? and how long should I wait after the water change before adding the first guest to my 75 gallon FOWLR?

* Also need recommendations for a gravel vac ( I have all aragonite sand bed). Should I get one?
Thanks!!
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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Too lazy to look for an article for ya right now. A work .

Did your ammonia and nitrate readings both go up and back down to zero yet? That would tell you the cycle is complete. I'd do at least a 25% water change it it were me now.

What's in the tank? Rock and sand? If nothing in there now, you can go ahead and remove it from the tank or sump. I used to remove from the main so I could vacuum up some of the debris/waste. I'd aturn the main pump back on and add to the sump unitl the water level was back at my mark. Actually put a high level line on yur sump so you know when to stop adding water so that if the power goes out, your sump wouldn't overflow.

Not sure how much you got in your sump. What, 20g tank maybe with 10-15 gallons of water??

Some swear by the Python units for vaccuming/cleaning.

Also, you'll want to mix the new SW 2 days in advance so it can settle. Need to match the salinity and temp readings to your main. keep a powerhead in the pre-mix also to make sure it's airated/has oxygen. A small Maxi-jet or somthing will do.

Depending on how much rock, you'll be adding a small cleaning crew (maybe 3 snails or so, 5 hermits, and even cleaner shrimp are OK) and maybe your first fish or two at the same time.

What kinda fish do you ultimately want in there. Clowns and what else?? Reef or just fish?

Everybody wants clown fish, right???

Also, I'd remove the smelly shrimp when the ammonia gets real high. 4.0 or so.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:51 AM   #4
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Still confused..today I went to local FS ( most reputable in town, only do SW fish) to double check my water. When the sales person asked what I added to cycle with, I proudly answered "Oh, I just used raw shrimp". Thinking I would be commended for taking the moral high road and committing myself to patiently researching all of my steps, I was surprised by her reaction that the shrimp wasn't enough to cycle. I explained that my ammonia did rise to only 1 then fell again as nitrites rose to 5 then sharply fell again. Nitrates went to 15 and currently are there. ?????? I do have about 45 lbs LR, 60 lbs live sand and am using old bio-balls and rubble in my trickle filter. I have some brown algae ( diatoms? ). Long story short, I've spent the evening sitting in front of my tank enjoying my 3 new chromis and 1 new damsel! She told me to watch the ammonia if it spikes again & wait on the water change.
Anyone else want to share their ammonia readings when using shrimp to cycle? Was mine just a mini-cycle in 3 weeks? I'm still committed to being patient, I have no plans to add anything else until I know everything is stable.
** Another conflicting piece of advice** she said that in the store they do not wait 24 hours to add after mixing new salt water, as long as it is clear and salinity is fine. Anyone else out there want to own up to doing the same or does everyone follow the Golden (AA) Rules? I'm just asking...
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:03 AM   #5
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How many shrimp didja use? And wondering if you missed the higher ammonia readings. At what point didja start taking those readings? It's real easy to get the ammonia to 3 or 4 with the shrimp method - agian depending on the size.

Now that you have the fish in there, you'll be able to tell if the cycle is complete if no more ammonia shows up.

I have seen fish stores add newly mixed SW right away. Not a golden rule, but I'd still do the 24hrs to be on the safe side. You've only got 75 gallons and things could go south much easier than a big ole fish shop where a lot of the tanks are tied together for much greater gross volume.

Also, describe the LR. Was it funky before you put it in? If not, it may have been already cured with the desired bacteria already present - which could explain low ammonia readings and fast cycle.

Still, now that you got the fish in, you'll see what's going on. I'm thinking in a day or two with fish and feedings, you'll see ammonia unless all is fine and you're done cycling.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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Your LFS is doing their job and trying to make a dollar. We are not making anything off of you. We are concerned with you doing things the right and humane way. First on the cycling part, Anybody that even took one day of chemistry will be able to say that anything that rots in a tank will give off ammonia. This does not have to be just shrimp it could be flakes, dieoff from the LR or anything else that will decay. Ammonia is needed to start the cycle. If you read the fishless cycle article we have you`ll see that once your nitrifying bacteria starts up that your ammonia will turn to nitrites and then to nitrates. Your LFS wanted to make a sale so of course he was going to say that the shrimp would not work. He instead gave you fish to cycle the tank which is not fair to the fish. It sounds like maybe you did experience a cycle I dont know but your LFS is not very knowledgeable at all. Secondly, The reason for waiting 24-48 hrs is to give the salt mix time to mix properly and become stable. Freshly mixed SW is very caustic and needs time to aerate and mix properly. I really try to be leniant on LFS because they have to make money. I have two that I deal with but I also have several I dont deal with because I dont mind them making a dollar but not at the expense of my tank and its inhabitants. I think you should really consider this. On the other hand we are here for you.

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Old 10-16-2008, 09:35 AM   #7
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Also, what kinda damsel you got? I've heard of folks trying desperately trying to catch them later when they terrorize new additions to the tank. Some of them can be real mean lil' buggers, stressing other fish to jump or get sick from the stress.
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Old 10-16-2008, 11:41 AM   #8
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Sounds like the "best" LFS in town leaves a lot to be desired. There were wrong on both accounts regarding cycling and saltwater. Sounds like they're a good place to buy livestock, but not get advice.

When I cycled my 10g quarantine tank the first time, my ammonia reading got up over 4ppm - which in hindsight was way too high. I believe it actually slowed down the cycle. The other issue was that I used an entire cocktail shrimp in a 10g, which was waaaay too much.

The second time I cycled the same QT, I only got readings of around 1.0ppm ammonia, and it still cycled fine.

When I cycled my main tank (46g), I threw in a shrimp (or fish food... can't remember exactly) and just saw a hint of ammonia for only a couple days, and never any nitrites. But I did see my nitrAtes slowly increasing. Then again, I was using a fair amount of cured live rock which actually was live. So in that tank, I only really had a mini cycle because of the rock I used.

So I guess my point is that if you saw a "blip" of ammonia, but have seen steadily increasing nitrates, then you probably cycled quick. But as Austinsdad mentioned, its really a mute point now since you have a fish in there. It will be obvious within a week whether or not you truly cycled.
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Old 10-16-2008, 06:55 PM   #9
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my LR was cured, great stuff ( even had feather dusters popping up from the first day!). I have 3 little blue-green chromis and a small yellow tail damsel, all same size. As for my first reading after adding raw shrimp, I waited til the 3rd day and my ammonia was at 1. The 4th day it was at 1 also, then dropped to .25 and continued dropping from there. Think the shrimp would have spiked it in 1 or 2 days? Haven't taken new reading yet today, as I'm nervous about jinxing things, these little guys look like they are having so much fun.
Will let you all know how it turns out, thanks! J
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:01 PM   #10
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Cured LR likely caused only a mini cycle. Good luck with the damsel!Maybe that's oneof the mider ones, not sure.
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