R.E.E.F Methodology: What is this thing called cycling?

dallasg

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So what is this thing called cycling? No it has nothing to do with Lance or doping :)

I have seen a few beginner ask or refer to this... so i will try put this short and sweet:thumbup:

This is the process we are concerned with:
Red = bad
Orange = acceptable
Green = good
Ammonia (NH4) -> Mineralisation -> Nitrite (NO2) -> Nitrification -> Nitrate (NO3) -> De-nitrification -> N2 + H2O

cycling is the process of getting enough bacterial growth so that any TOXIC ammonia added to the system can be converted as quick as possible to Nitrates via the processes listed above.

There are many ways to start this process, the traditional way of adding LR and letting the tank mature over a few weeks until we cannot pick up NH4 on our test kits, which IMHO works but as soon as we add a bio-load there is a lag as we need a constant food source(NH4) to keep the populations at peak levels. how do we sustain this? well we can keep adding small amounts of "food" , fresh shrimp or frozen fish, and as they decompose they feed the the Biological processes, and as soon as we get the spike of NH4 and it goes to 0 we are approaching a cycled tank. i would then advise to add another small piece of "food" and then start the testing again and in a few hours to a day we should have no NH4.

there are other ways available today due to technological advances that allow use to "seed" the system with alive bacteria that do allow us to "avoid" the long cycle. These ways are for the more advanced or those that are going to follow the instructions/manuals to the T. eg. Special Blend, Prodibio Start, Seachem Stability.

I have personally used and tested all these avenues and all have worked well.
So before you venture out on any of these methods, i do suggestion to understand each process, the nitrogen cycle and the risks.

Enjoy Reefing
 

RiaanP

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Cycling depends 100% on the condition of the liverock you added to the system.

Lot of dead stuff = lot of ammonia = long cycle

cured rock = no ammonia = short maybe even no cycle

rock bought from fellow reefer? depends? What was his phosphate readings when he decided to pack up? High? Then long cycle

Deal liverock, as in it used to be in some tank, sitting dry in some tub for months. Be prepared for extra long cycle.
 

dallasg

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Cycling depends 100% on the condition of the liverock you added to the system.

Lot of dead stuff = lot of ammonia = long cycle

cured rock = no ammonia = short maybe even no cycle

rock bought from fellow reefer? depends? What was his phosphate readings when he decided to pack up? High? Then long cycle

Deal liverock, as in it used to be in some tank, sitting dry in some tub for months. Be prepared for extra long cycle.
yes a good point that can influence the "cycle"
 

dallasg

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bump for the new guys
 
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So if I move all my aragonite, rocks and water over from an existing tank will there be a cycling process as well or is it best to wait and test to see what is happening?
 

dallasg

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So if I move all my aragonite, rocks and water over from an existing tank will there be a cycling process as well or is it best to wait and test to see what is happening?
it can be done, no issues, thats how i did mine, provide temp and O2 are good, die-off will be minimal, you could prob go for 8 hours plus, @butcherman did it that way when we swopped his tank.

then i would dose some extra bacteria to just help things settle
 
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I've often wondered about that. Well the move is from one tank in the house to another so it is literally 3 meters away so I doubt the die off will be too severe. Any bacteria you can recommend?
 
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So if I move all my aragonite, rocks and water over from an existing tank will there be a cycling process as well or is it best to wait and test to see what is happening?
If you are testing NH3/4, NO2 and NO3 daily during a new tank set up then you are not over testing. You can only benefit.

For stocking the tank immediately then your most important part of your move will be the bio-filtration section. You can achieve this by the incorporation of seeded bio media or dosing new bio media with a bacteria product.
 

dallasg

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what media are you using? DSB?
 
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There is a DSB in the old tank (in the sump) in the tank itself there is shallow sand bed and a fair amount of live rock. I will most probably just set up the new tank with a mix of new and old water then let it cycle for a while. I am in no rush to get this one all set up.
 
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What's the volume of the new tank bud?
 
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I used special blend when I did my move. I dosed the recommended dosages and let the tank run for a week before moving all livestock across. Dosed some more special blend on the day and then went over to the maintenance dose. All stock transferred fine.
 
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190 Litres, but with rock and sand I would imagine this to come down to about 140 give or take a few.
The other option is to go fetch NSW instead. Sea is just down the road and the water is nice and clean. Then add the live rock and gravel from the old tank and let that sit and cycle for a while. Either which way I am going to let this tank go through the whole cycling stage before a single fish or coral is added.
 
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I used special blend when I did my move. I dosed the recommended dosages and let the tank run for a week before moving all livestock across. Dosed some more special blend on the day and then went over to the maintenance dose. All stock transferred fine.
Nice Marius, how old is the tank now and are you still dosing maintenance dosage (like monthly or something and during water changes)?
 
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190 Litres, but with rock and sand I would imagine this to come down to about 140 give or take a few.
The other option is to go fetch NSW instead. Sea is just down the road and the water is nice and clean. Then add the live rock and gravel from the old tank and let that sit and cycle for a while. Either which way I am going to let this tank go through the whole cycling stage before a single fish or coral is added.
As you please, but if you want you can dose bacteria and add one cheapy fish from the beginning. Bacteria dosed and his wastes will help the cycle. And test daily or weekly
 

dallasg

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As you please, but if you want you can dose bacteria and add one cheapy fish from the beginning. Bacteria dosed and his wastes will help the cycle. And test daily or weekly
its not something we try to promote here on MASA
 
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its not something we try to promote here on MASA
I was not aware of the above. My reply came subsequent to the reading of the Seachem stability directions. In the directions Seachem laboratories advise that livestock may be introduce at any time as long as dosage is maintained. The hobbyist who uses this product must follow the directions to the T.
 

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