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Old 09-07-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
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cycling and damsels

I recently started to cycle my 55 gal. aquarium. The lfs lady said that I would need 8 damsels in order to make enough amonia, nitrite, nitrate, and bacteria to cycle my tank. Upon her recommendations, I bought two damsels to start and she told me to come back in a week to get two more and so on. I really dont want to purchase 8 damsels in order to cycle my tank because I dont want a tank full of damsels, and not have enough room for other fish. My question is, can I cycle a tank using using just two or three damsels? Will they create enough waste in order to eventually make enough bacteria to support other species of fish? I have had my tank set up for two weeks and put the damsels in 6 days ago. I have been testing my water every day and none of the tests are changing. Amonia is good, nitite is good, and so on. I am looking for a spike and drop, but its not happening. I also forgot to mention that I have three pounds of live rock. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:49 PM   #2
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I would suggest the humane way

Cycle your salt tank
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:00 PM   #3
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I agree with Mike...doo the humane way you will feel much better about your tank. It really does work well...
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:08 PM   #4
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And it doesn't cost you a cent if you plan to have shrimp for dinner that night! Take the damsels back...
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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May not look as pretty, that shrimp will do a much better job.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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I totally understand your point about being humane. As of now, I am in a situation where I have two damsels (that cannot be returned), and I am trying to cycle the tank with just two fish, because I dont want to purchase more. is it possible? I am also willing to wait a longer period of time to cycle with two versus eight.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:20 PM   #7
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You can cycle with just the two damsels you have now. Get an ammonia test kit so you can keep an eye on the ammonia levels. If they get too high then do a water change to bring it back down. It will cycle a little slower this way but you will have a better chance of not losing the fish. Also, feed every other day and try to feed only as much as they can eat in a minute or two. Lowering the amount of food put in the tank will help keep your ammonia levels down to a resonable level.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
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So the fish store that sold them to you - solely to cycle your tank - will not take them back when you're done with them?!! Like you said... who wants eight damsels (let alone 2) in a 55g tank. I'd even go out on a limb and say 8 damsels in a 55g is way too many, even if you wanted damsels!!

That's really a bad deal if the LFS won't take them back - even when you're done with your cycle. (And if they will take them back when your cycle is complete, I'd be magically "done" with my cycle and return them!)

As Pat mentioned, 2 damsels will cycle that tank. In the mean time, I'd find a new LFS. Seems like if a store if going to tell folks to use their damsels to cycle a tank, they should at least take them back for *some* amount of credit when you're done.

Just noticed you mentioned 3 lbs of live rock. Is that a typo? Only 3 pounds? If that's correct, what other biological filtration do you have going with the tank. Any hang-on back filters, bioballs, etc?
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:18 PM   #9
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Kurt,
To answer your question about the live rock: It is not a typo. The same lfs lady said that I could add live rock as I go, and not to worry about putting a lot at the same time. Having said that, I also have a fluval 305 canister filter, which has biomax in it. Would the bacteria that is in the live rock, eventually grow on the biomax?
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:23 AM   #10
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With only 3 lbs of rock in a 55g, your rock is not really going to be housing much of your biological population. It will end up living wherever it needs to... in the sand, on your glass, in a cannister... that's why I asked about the cannister. Yes, the biomax will end up housing a fair amount of bacteria.

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.
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