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Old 11-01-2014, 07:10 PM   #1
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Smile And it's FINALLY taking off! My 1st FOWLR!!! ;)

Hello to all!

I figured I'll make a thread of the actual cycling/ stocking. It's my first aquarium so all advice is definitely welcomed!!! (YES- my 1st aquarium. I've never had a freshwater tank so I know I'm going through a HUGE learning curve here by jumping straight into the saltwater world!)

Today I bought 20 lbs of live sand, 10 lbs of live rock, and the store brought over 30 gal of cycled water. The owner came over and set it all up for me; that was so nice of him considering that he was in his son's baseball game when he got the call!!! I know I'll have a long, lasting relationship with them. They've all been sooooo nice and helpful.

What's next? Some damsels to help with the cycling, a few more rocks to enhance the decor, a sump (per the advice of the shop, especially since I plan on expanding to corals when the time is right), and, as soon as it is safe--- my first black and white clown fish!!! Oh! And a cleanup crew.... Gotta have some guys help keep the tank in shape!.... Can you tell I am totally EXCITED?!


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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:36 PM   #2
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The tank 4 hours later....


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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:40 AM   #3
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And it's FINALLY taking off! My 1st FOWLR!!! ;)

A few bits of advice...
1. The cycle (which as you probably know is the collection of bacteria that facilitate the nitrogen cycle) occurs in your live rock, not I the water. This is why it's ok to do huge water changes - the proportion of beneficial bacteria in the water is very tiny.

2. That rock looks like it's not very good quality if you're relying on the Berlin method (which you most likely are - that's just the name for using live rock as the primary filtration method). You want rock that's super porous. If you buy more rock (which, in my opinion, you should) get the best quality (i.e. most porous) you can find. Don't skimp on that part. Also, choose rocks that won't compact so there's lots of space in between them for optimal water flow.

3. The only way the rock can filter your water is if the water actually moves past the rock. Get some power heads (such as the ever-popular Hydor Koralia) to circulate the water so that the toxins (ammonia and nitrite) can get to the bacteria on the rocks.

4. I would be careful with those pot decorations because salt has a way of eating through a lot of things and, if they're not made for saltwater, they could dissolve and have adverse effects on water chemistry and livestock.

5. Since all the rock and sand is already cycled, you should add some sort of fish fairly soon (otherwise the bacteria will start dying and you'll lose the cycle. Also make sure you have a test kit that tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph. Once you have a fish in there, test to see if the tank is going through another cycle (this will occur if the existing bacterial population isn't large enough for the amount of ammonia produced by the tank inhabitants). Once this cycle is over, you can add more fish.

6. I would say hold off on a cleanup crew until you see what algaes/pests/etc. are in your tank and in what quantities. If you buy the wrong kind/too many cleanup critters, they'll eventually starve because they won't have anything to eat. Once you see the specific problems in your tank, you can tailor a cleanup crew easily.

Hope that helps


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Old 11-02-2014, 08:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for all of your valuable information, Joseph!

I've been reading a lot about tank cycling so I understand what you are talking about. I was told by the guy who came that I'm going to need a stronger power head so it's on the list of items to buy. I just need to be patient and wait until I get my next paycheck- LOL! It's a hobby that I am funding on my own without relying on business or house funds. I could get it all right now, but I have to be true to my word to my hubby.

I'm searching for more rock. Thanks for the advice as to what kind! That points me in the right direction now.

The pot deco is safe for both saltwater as well as freshwater. I made sure of that. If they don't work out, then I'll take them out. I know that they will be gone by the time I decide to go into corals!

Thanks again for all of the info!!!.... Oh! I am going to get some cycling fish today after church. I will take another pic when they are in the tank!!!!!


~Liza
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:47 PM   #5
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I wouldn't recommend cycling with fish - just use a raw shrimp to start the cycle. Its cruel to put fish through the poisonous cycling process and chances are they are fish you will want to get rid of after. Just be patient and cycle the tank properly and get the fish you want after...


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Old 11-02-2014, 07:28 PM   #6
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Thanks for the recommendation, Bectan01! The store tells me that I can get some cycling fish because the water they brought over to me was cycled water. I'm not sure what my parameters are because I have to get the test kit. I'm researching to find my best option.

I have two questions for you:
(1) Do you still think it is cruel to put the fish through this process with already cycled water? I have read about the cycling using RO/DI water but it's not the case here. I'm interested to know what you think.

(2) What test kit would you recommend I get?

Thanks again!!!


~Liza
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:29 PM   #7
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Hang on a sec... I thought the rock was already cycled? If not, then I agree with Bectan - just use a piece of raw shrimp to cycle. Otherwise, since you need some more rock anyways, you could buy some live (as opposed to dry)and use that to seed the rest. If you go with that route you could probably put one small fish in right away.


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Old 11-02-2014, 07:30 PM   #8
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And it's FINALLY taking off! My 1st FOWLR!!! ;)

I didn't see your previous post... The thing about the water being "cycled" is absolute nonsense.

As for the test kit, I would recommend Seachem, RedSea, or Salifert; API isn't very good IMO. You can get a marine master kit from Seachem for $50.

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Old 11-02-2014, 07:45 PM   #9
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Thanks, Joseph!

The water came from water changes they did in the store. That's why they said it's already cycled. When I went to buy my stuff, the guy said they were just about to do water changes so they would give the water to me. Then the owner came out and poured it into my tank. Does this make sense? Is this a good practice on the LFS's part or was something not done right here?

Hmmm.... Now you guys have me thinking!!!
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36- gallon bow front FOWLR established on 11/1/14 with
1 blue- green Chromis, 2 bi- colored Chromis, 3 black and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 orange and white Oscellaris clownfish, 1 Banggai cardinalfish, 11 Turban snails (1 died), 6 hermit crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp, and lots of love....
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:46 PM   #10
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Water can not be cycled. If the fish store is telling you otherwise, they are only trying to "sell" items to you.
The cycle comes.from the bacteria that forms in the rocks.
I also agree that those rocks look really dense and not very beneficial. I would replace all that rock with about 20 lbs of good porous rock. Look for reef rock, figi, tonga, etc. Dry rock isuch cheaper than live rock, but will typically take longer to cycle.
I hate to say it but it seems like uour trusted LfS guy is giving you poor quality at probably top prices. Dont get discouraged, fact is, an LFS is out to sell, and usually do it at the expense of the livestock.
Also, I agree with fishless cycling, a cylce takes on average 4 weeks, and it is incredibly hard on any fish to live through. Best of luck!
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