Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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troseph 01-08-2009 01:43 PM

Question about live rock and cycling
Firstly I'd like to say I'm happy to join the forums and I'm looking forward to being on here every day asking inane questions. haha

If I were to buy salt water from my local fish store and live rock from somewhere like petco would I have to cycle the tank? In which order/when should I add fish, invertebrates and so on after I get the system up and running. The whole Live rock/sand and dead rock thing hasn't been explained to me well enough for me to grasp yet.

Kellsindell 01-08-2009 02:14 PM

Welcome to the forums and questions are always welcomed as well as comments.

Live rock (LR) and Base rock (BR) are quite differnt. LR has life in them, bacteria that helps breakdown nutrients within the tank. BR is just rock that was put into the tank. it will in fact become live, but until it does, it will not do any filtration within the tank until then. There's still much more, but we'll move on for now.

There are 2 types of LR, one being cured and the other uncured. Uncured is fresh from the ocean(generally) and has all kinds of things growing on it. In shipment those things die and when you put it into a new aquarium, it rots its way in the tank and starts the cycle for you. If you get too much, then your tank will give off this horrific smell that takes a while to get rid of.

Cured rock, is something that has been in a tank with a powerhead for flow, and skimmer and SW (saltwater). It takes all the dead stuff off and leaves only the bacteria. Most LR from a LFS (local fish store) will have cured. Again i use the word most.

Your tank is always cycling no matter how long the tank has been up. I does need to be started, but if you are using water that's just made, then it'll need to cycle, but not for as long as a tank with uncured LR or no LR at all.

Lets talk substrate. What will you be using? Sand? Aragonite? Crushed Coral(please don't), grave (again a no-no)l? You want a DSB (Deep Sand Bed) or no SB(Sand Bed) at all and go bare bottom. The problem with barebottom is that you don't get any filtration, but people use both and are happy. To each his own.

When you can add inverts are generally the same for most perspectives. You want a CUC (clean up crew) shortly after your tank finish its cycle. You'll know if you are testing your water for Nitrites and Ammonia. They will shoot up and come back down, then you'll have byropsis (brown algae) bloom that feeds the bacteria in the tank.

Fish are a whole different story. Everyone has an oppinion on what you can and can't put into the tank and how far down the line. Fish are hardy, then some are very sensitive to changes in the tank.
Please see to get an idea of what fish you don't want to start with.
Also see for filtration needs. Please do your research before you get anything put into your tank. You need an understanding of what you are doing, goals and expectations.

What size tank will this be?

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