I have heard that a tank can be cycled using certain fish which are more tolerant to less than perfect water conditions. My LFS told me that I can use Trigger Fish and Damsels. Is this possible? If it is, when can they be added? I just put about 100lbs. of Live Rock in my 75 gal. tank yesterday, and I already have an ammonia spike. How can it be safe to add ANY fish under those conditions? The LFS also said that they will "buy back" the fish after the tank cycles if I choose not to keep them. Since I plan on having a tank with a somewhat aggresive population of fish, Triggers do appeal to me.
Thanks for the help!
the live rock itself will be enough to start a cycle, as you found out you already have an ammonia reading.
your best bet would be to wait out the cycle before adding fish. if you want to "feed" the cycle you can add a raw shrimp from your grocery store. this prob. isnt even necessary, as 100#s LR is a decent amount. please be patient and wait out the cycle... ammonia-nitrite-nitrate (then water change) before adding any live stock
Sounds like you're off to a good start! One question, is your live rock already cured? Or are you curing it in your tank?
I am a proponent of the "fishless cycle" as even with damsels it puts stress on them which ultimately is not necessary... If you purchased your rock pre-cured, that I would suggest waiting a week or so (and I would even run your lights for 12 hrs/day) and then adding in some hermit crabs (not too many, and not fancy ones, just regular hermits). The hermits will be happy to narsh all the newly grown algae, as well as any die-off on the LR. Hermits seem to be very hardy, I started off with 12 and I still have 12 almost 3 months later. At this time I would also suggest that you add in a few lbs of "premium" cured live rock if any of your Local shops sell it.. You only need a few lbs but it will really get things going! I noticed that my coraline algae spread faster once I added in some live rock with healthy growth on it.
If your LR isn't pre-cured, then maybe wait a week or 2 more and then do the same thing... As for the fish... People have had success curing with Damsels (and they can get quite aggressive), but I've never heard of cycling with a triggerfish... Personally I would not do it... Triggers can be quite expensive and from what I understand they are mostly caught in the ocean, which makes them already stressed and prone to disease/death even without the added stress of cycling a tank... If you must use fish I would think that tank raised fish would by far be the best.
In my case I set up the tank with the pre-cured stuff and live sand. In a week I added a dozen hermits (in a 29 gal) and a piece of premium rock with a ton of coraline. The coraline spread rapidly and 3 weeks later I started adding fish!
This is not on topic, but I figured I'd mention that in a book I read regarding marine fish the author said he has heard of people cycling tanks with younger queen angels. In another book I read that some people cycle their tanks with lionfish.
Seems like some pretty expensive cyclers to me.
Haha. Yes, they are on the expensive side, but look at it this way: if you are going to get a queen angel or lionfish in the end, then you might as well save the money you'd spend on the damsels and put the green towards the other fish you actually want. :)
Well I suppose you're right... Personally, I would still wait a few weeks... Assuming his live rock was pre-cured, then his tank is basically cycled within a few days... When his levels are stable, I would say he could start adding his regular stock. I would stay away from some of the grazing fish though, as the growth of algae and other green stuffs might not be there yet.
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