Starting Bio-Cube 29G! Advice? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 114 Old 11-16-2011, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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I might have everything overnighted from BRS. I do have a few questions about this though. If I were to order Pukani DRY ROCK, Can I just put it into my tank with the Live Rock and let the bacteria spread? Or are there steps to introducing Dry Rock into my aquarium.
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post #12 of 114 Old 11-16-2011, 08:30 AM
Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
I might have everything overnighted from BRS. I do have a few questions about this though. If I were to order Pukani DRY ROCK, Can I just put it into my tank with the Live Rock and let the bacteria spread? Or are there steps to introducing Dry Rock into my aquarium.
Throw it all in the tank at the same time. Bacteria will make your dry rock Live Rock. And its best to cycle it all at the same time.
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post #13 of 114 Old 11-16-2011, 08:34 AM
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i suggest taking a look at marco rocks dry rock.

adding dry rock to what you already have will require more patience then just using all live rock. it will take atleast a month or two for the dry rock to seed depending on your live/dry ratio.
youd save money using dry rock, and you can save money while you wait for its cure.
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post #14 of 114 Old 11-16-2011, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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I only have 7LBS of Pukani right now because the LFS i goto didnt have anymore peices that were of a good size. all they had left was broken off peices about 3" long and 1" wide. I'm gonna check another LFS today. theres only 2 in the city i live in lol.
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post #15 of 114 Old 11-16-2011, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Well the LFS I originally got my LR from will have some ready for me tomorrow. I bought a Hydor Koralia Nano 425gph Powerhead, and a magnet cleaner. I'm gonna get about 10lbs of LR or so. Hopefully I can add my first inhabitant soon.
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post #16 of 114 Old 11-17-2011, 08:36 AM
Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
Well the LFS I originally got my LR from will have some ready for me tomorrow. I bought a Hydor Koralia Nano 425gph Powerhead, and a magnet cleaner. I'm gonna get about 10lbs of LR or so. Hopefully I can add my first inhabitant soon.
You mentioned that you got dry rock. Your tank needs to cycle first, which is going to take around 4-6 weeks.
Typically after live rock is collected from a reef rubble area, it has to be transported to a dealer,an aquarium store, and then finally to the aquarists.. The problem is that during each of thetransportation or storage periods less than ideal conditions are provided for the live rock.
Many of the organisms become unduly stressed by stewing in their own wastes for extendedperiods and lack of light.
It is likely that many will even die. Additionally there are species that cannot even survive withina reef aquarium for various reasons. Cycling allows the dying animals and plants contained onthe rock to die off and the resulting products from the decay of the tissue to be further processedinto relatively harmless compounds.
The cycling period gives an aquarist an opportunity to see evidence of the ammonia cycle, ornitrification which is the conversion of ammonia to nitrate.
During this cycling period the ammonia level rapidly climbs as heterotrophic bacteria process thedead organisms. This high level of ammonia, with ammonia being toxic to most marineorganisms, can have a synergistic effect and cause more organisms to die. Which will then inturn produce more ammonia. The populations of bacteria involved in the converting ammonia tonitrite quickly build up to sufficient numbers to process the waste generated and the ammonia levels go down to undetectable levels (by aquarist test kits).
Nitrite then becomes the dominant toxic species present, which another group of bacteria feed onand convert to nitrate. The nitrite to nitrate bacteria take a bit longer to build up a sufficientpopulation to handle the waste, but then the nitrite levels will become undetectable by aquarist test kits. This is the important part at this point but later denitrification can start and remove thenitrate which starts to increase in concentration.
It is possible to buy live rock cycled, partially cycled or almost straight from the reef. If the liverock is going to be utilised in an existing reef aquarium then cycled live rock should be used.This will minimise the peak in ammonia and nitrite caused by the addition of the rock to thesystem as there will be very little die off. In a well maintained tank it is even possible to add some additional live rock to the system without any visible adverse effect to the inhabitants.
It is preferable to cycle the live rock in the target aquarium, not in the collectors, dealers oraquarium stores tanks. What this will allow is; greater control over the cycling period, thepossibility of more organisms surviving this highly stressful period, and minimise the loss ofmobile organisms that can leave the rock.
How this can be done is discussed in the following section.
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post #17 of 114 Old 11-17-2011, 08:36 AM
How Do You Cycle Live Rock?

The current general procedure for cycling live rock is to throw it into a large container, either thetarget aquarium or a large cycling tank, have a skimmer operating on the system, add largeamounts of circulation and provide no lighting.
It is left there for about 2-4 weeks and the ammonia and nitrite levels are monitored.Thecirculation is required to allow good nutrient and waste exchange between the live rock and thewater, to assist in the removal of any dying organisms from the rocks, and to minimise any areasthat may go anaerobic.
Areas may become anaerobic because of a large organism dying and the large oxygen usage bythe bacteria processing the tissue. No lighting is provided to avoid any excessive micro algaeblooms in the system while nutrients are at an elevated level.
The length of the cycle takes around 2-4 weeks, from the time the rock is placed in the vessel towhen the nitrite levels drop to undetectable levels.
Longer periods are possible, and in some rare cases the cycle seems to get stuck after theammonia levels drop. The reason for this is still unclear, but may have something to do withinhibitors for the nitrite to nitrate bacteria (which are more sensitive to environmental conditions and slower growing than the ammonia to nitrite bacteria) being introduced into thesystem via some mechanism.
The 'dark' technique of cycling of live rock is seen by the author as an out of date technique. Itreally should be avoided because there is no effort made to make the cycling period less stressfulfor any of the organisms present.
There is a much better way to do it which will provide a higher survival rate.
The idea is to; provide enough light to photosynthetic organisms such that they can survive andlow enough such that micro algae cannot bloom during this period of high nutrient levels, andremove as much of the waste from the system before it becomes converted into a pollutant orremove the pollutant from the system.
The best type of lighting to use is actinic as it is typically of the correct wattage and it suppliesdirectly the wavelength ranges that the photosynthetic organisms utilise. So far as a rule of thumb around 0.14 W/lt (1 W/gal) is a sufficient level to use.
The lights are operated on an increasing length of time during the cycling period, starting at around 6 hours per day, then increasing an hour every couple of days until the full day length is reached. Note that this is based on the authors own experience and that of another aquarists usingthis technique that the author has communicated with.
Further experimentation in this area could be done to further clarify this, but in the cases where it has been use there has been a good survival. Once the cycling is over, then the other lighting can then be gradually phased in. Need to avoid any sudden addition of light as this will stress any photosynthetic organism as they take time to adjust to new lighting levels.
In addition to the lighting used, continuous operation of a skimmer, activated carbon, and regular water changes should be implemented. These activities are used with the idea of transporting as much of the waste and pollutants from the water, therefore reducing stress in thesystem.
The use of the skimmer and activated carbon removes compounds before they can be broken down by the heterotrophic bacteria. Water changes remove compounds before they can breakdown, but also remove some of the toxic ammonia, nitrite and other pollutants from the system.
There is no reason to worry about substantially prolonging the cycling period by using waterchanges because the amount of nutrients for the bacteria has been reduced. This is a myth.
Bacteria will grow and multiply at a exponential rate, with all environmental factors staying constant, until there is a high enough population to process all of the available nutrients. At this point the population will stablise.
A change in the nutrient level, which will change the end population required, will make a very small change in the time frame required to reach this point because of the exponential growth rate. Additionally at the end of the cycling period, all of the dead organisms have been processed so there is now a reduced amount of nutrients available.
The bacteria population will adjust to the level to process the amount of nutrients now being generated in the system by living organisms. This will most likely result in a reduction in the population from a peak during the cycling period. There is no way that initially an operating system will generate as much nutrients as is generated during the cycling period. Therefore reducing the amount of waste and nutrients will not influence the final bacteria population or thetime frame to any large extent.
The recommend method of cycling live rock is summarised as follows:
  • As the live rock is unpacked remove any white, slimy areas and anything else that is decaying. The white spots where an organism, typically a soft coral, hard coral or sponge, has died. Removal will help to minimise the stress on the system by removing another source of nutrients.
  • Clean off some of the invertebrates on the rock, such as sponges and corals. But unless you know what you are removing and are experienced they you may remove some very valuable specimens. There is no need to be so harsh and take to it with a brush and scrub it clean. This practice is rather excessive.
  • Inspect each rock for the presence of bristle worms and remove any if found. Bristle worms have a tendency to come out of the rock, or hang partially out, after the rock has been in transit.
  • It is a good idea to remove any plant growth, both macro and micro algae, as these can easilyre-grow from the root system left behind.
  • Arrange the live rock in the aquarium. Ensure that only small areas are in contact with the bottom of the aquarium and between the rocks. This will ensure good water circulation around the reef structure. Working towards small contact areas between the rocks also helps to build an open reef structure with many tunnels, arches, overhangs and caves. This has the added bonus of making a much more interesting reef structure to look at.
  • Position return and circulation pump outlets such that there is good water movement throughout the entire reef structure. In dead spots detritus will accumulate. This can be use to an advantage by making a spot where detritus can settle that is easy to access. Then regularly the detritus can be siphoned out of the system.
  • A mechanical filter can be used during this period to help remove suspended solids from the system, but ensure that it is cleaned regularly, every day is preferred. This is because the material the filter catches is not removed from the system. It will continue to break down and contribute to the addition of pollutants in the system.
  • Operate the skimmer continuously and tune such that a dry, dark foam is collected.
  • Keep activated carbon in a high flow area of the system such that the water passes through it.Once the cycle is over use activated carbon as usual, whether intermittently or continuous.
  • Operate the actinic lighting from the beginning, starting with about a 6 hour photo-period.Gradually increase this by an hour every couple of days until the full day length of 12-14 hours is attained.
  • If white spots appear on the rock or something appears to be dying then siphon or remove it from the rock.
  • Regularly perform partial water changes and siphon out any detritus that has settled anywhere in the system.
  • The more frequent these water changes the better, as this helps to keep the levels more constant without giving huge swings. The amount of the water change can vary, but a 50% is a good start. If there are problems with such a high volume change then decrease to a level that is possible. But the higher the water change the better as it will remove more of the nutrients and pollutants.
  • When the cycling period is over, with ammonia and nitrite levels undetectable, start to phase in the main system lights. Do this gradually to reduce stress on the photosynthetic organisms present and to avoid a micro algae bloom.
  • Start a regular maintenance program, including water changes at the length and volume for a normal operating system. This varies, but around 5-10% of the system volume per month is currently recommend. But higher and lower levels have been successfully used by various aquarists.
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post #18 of 114 Old 11-17-2011, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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So should I have my lights on or off?? Also can you explain to me what the steps are to know I'm cycled? an algae bloom will happen indefinitely?
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post #19 of 114 Old 11-17-2011, 05:58 PM
Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
So should I have my lights on or off?? Also can you explain to me what the steps are to know I'm cycled? an algae bloom will happen indefinitely?
Algae bloom, no not always. Diatoms, yes. this is a normal bloom in a new tank, but will go away entirely by itself. your tank has cycled when your Ammonia reads 0, your Nitrites read 0, and your Nitrates have come down under 40. At this time, you make a wate change to knock the Trates down alittle more and your ready for a fish. If you add to many fish at one time, you'll throw your tank into another cycle. You can run your lights, skimmer and everything else you want to run in the tank during its cycle.
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post #20 of 114 Old 11-17-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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If I don't currently have a skimmer, is that a bad thing? I have 20lbs of pukani and it looks pretty full. I might add some small pieces at a later time, but at this point I'm satisfied. I added 10 hermits, blue and red legged. I have the hydor nano 425 going already and had the actinic light on for 6 hrs
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