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Old 09-08-2010, 09:35 AM   #11
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The rock that I put in is fully cured. As far as I understood about the cycling process involving live rock, I thought that I could put in a couple of pounds of lr, which houses bacteria. This in turn, would allow the bacteria to grow and expand throughout the tank, biomax, substrate, base-rock and so on. Basically I thought that it would be beneficial to use a small amount of bacteria to seed the tank, instead of not starting with any bacteria at all.
Another thing that is getting me confused is that I have been testing my water from the very beginning. Throughout these past two weeks, I have maintained 0 amonia, 0 nitrite, my ph is good, yet, my nirtate levels have been rising and now they are at around 30 ppm. I have been waiting for my amonia to spike, then for my nitrite to spike, and then for my nitrate to go up, in that order, but it isn't the case. Should I do a pwc when it reaches 40 ppm, and if so will this affect the cycling process? I didnt expect to get such nitrate readings so early in the setup process.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:15 AM   #12
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I went through this process about a year ago with my 150G setup -- I originally used damsels to cycle the tank, and never saw any readings that indicated a cycle took place. I never figured out whether or not the tank had actually cycled (I had very few fish for a 150G tank, so the ammonia/nitrite could have been very diluted), but a couple months later the tank crashed and almost all of the fish I had in there died. All of this with a similar setup to what you're describing now.

I ended up starting everything from scratch again, and this time I did a fishless cycle (I tried raw shrimp and didn't get anything. I would suggest using pure ammonia, since it's a lot easier to control the exact amount you use and verify for sure that your tank is cycled). Fishless cycling is also much quicker -- mine took only two weeks from when I started using pure ammonia, but there's no way you could keep damsels in there during that process. I have had no problems whatsoever since, and it's been almost a year.

Another advantage to doing it this way are that you don't have to buy live rock, but instead you can buy base rock for much cheaper. IMO, you will save much more money on rock than you did buying these two damsels you have now. I'd be very surprised if you couldn't find a fish store that would take them back for free -- the only reason to keep the damsels at this point would be if you wanted them. It sounds like you don't, but in my case I did, so I kept them in a quarantine tank for almost 6 months while I stocked the tank I was rebuilding.

You don't have to take it, but my advice is this: take the damsels back to a fish store, and don't count on getting any money for them. Buy as much base rock as you want and add it to the tank. Put enough ammonia in the tank to get it to 2 ppm or so and track how long it takes for your readings to show 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. If that takes less than 24 hours, your tank is cycled; if not, then begin your fishless cycle.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:43 PM   #13
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Adding live rock as you go is OK, but if you do add live rock to an already cycled tank you have to make sure the rock is fully cured prior to putting it in your tank. So that means you have to buy fully cured rock from a LFS, or cure it yourself outside of your tank. Anything that is not fully cured will have enough die-off from stuff on the rock that it could cause another cycle to begin. That assumes you're putting a fair amount of rock in. I can't imagine 2-3 lbs would amount to anything, but then again I suppose it depends on the rock.
I'm going to add a little to this. What i say may not be kurts opinion and i'm not trying to say he is wrong. I think you can add rock slowly over time with out having a problem. You just can't add to much at once. If you transport rock out of the water you will get some die off that can cause the re-cycle kurt is talking about. If you went out and picked up 50 lbs worth of rock and had a hour ride home you might see another small cycle because of it. If you picked up 10-15lbs at a time it will be fine. I think the best option for you would be to buy dry (aka base) rock like Adam mentioned. It is much cheaper then live rock and will cure in the tank over time.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:14 PM   #14
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Adam,
This amonia that you speak of, I this something that can be found at the lfs, and if not, where can I find it? I could see how the lfs would want to take the damsels back for free and I dont mind. I do mind, if I have to take the live rock back, and not get anything back for it. I dont really have anywhere to put it, in the mean time, if I was to take your cycling suggestion. I am thinking that the live rock would not survive the amonia cycling process.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by metree7 View Post
Adam,
I am thinking that the live rock would not survive the amonia cycling process.
The nitrifying bacteria on the LR feeds on the ammonia and nitrites. You would not have to take it back as it`s curing and the tank is cycling.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:48 PM   #16
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Most LFS won't carry ammonia. They want you to buy their "skip the cycle" products that are more expensive and don't work. When I tried to find ammonia, I had a tough time finding the right kind -- it's very important to find ammonia with nothing added, particularly without surfactants (soap additives). I found mine at ACE Hardware -- you can check the ammonia at the store by shaking the bottle. If it doesn't foam up at all, it's the right stuff. If there are any bubbles, then it's got surfactants, and you shouldn't use it -- it can really mess up your tank for a long time.

melosu is right -- there's no need to take your live rock back. However, there is no need to buy more live rock at this point. Any rock you buy right now should be base rock. This will be the best time by far to buy your rock since base rock does you just as much good as live rock, and base rock is much cheaper. That's why I suggest you buy as much as you want now if you can fit it in your budget. What I did was completely remove my bio-balls (your canister filter) entirely and use the rock for biological filtration. I have 250 pounds in my 150G tank, so anywhere between 50-100 lbs total rock would be a good range for you to aim for if you wanted to go that route.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:37 AM   #17
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I would not feel very confortable with making my own judgements and decisions on wether or not an amonia product was safe for my tank or not. On the other hand, if I knew the exact brand that you used, then I would feel alot more confident in the process.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:39 AM   #18
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It's the ACE Hardware store brand. I can post a picture of the bottle tonight when I get home if you want...
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:50 AM   #19
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After a quick (Instant, ) Google search, I found this...

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g1...s0808/ammb.jpg
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:14 AM   #20
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Thanks, I will have to check and see if my local Ace store carries it. If I am undersatnding you correctly, I am only using this product in order to check to see if my tank is cycled. If I put enough amonia (2ppm), and wait 24 hours, and if it goes back to 0, then I can make the conclusion that it is cycled? I imagine I will also monitor my nitrites and nitrates as well. I should see a spike in nitrite next?
If I try this and it my amonia doesnt go to 0 within 24 hours, then what is my next form of action? I will have a tank full of water with high concentrations of amonia. So, do I let it take its course and go through the nitrification cycle?
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