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Cycling and Sump Questions

Guns286

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
May 9, 2022
Messages
9
I’ve read a few great posts on here regarding how to cycle a new tank. Instead of scattering my questions around the different threads, I figured I’d make a new post and ask them here.
I’m nearing the completion of my acrylic tank and wood stand build, so I’m starting to gather the tanks operating equipment (pump, plumbing, protein skimmer, etc) and research cycling. When the time comes I’ll order live rock and live sand. My ultimate goal is to have an octo tank with coral. So, an octo/reef tank.
I’m planning on using Dr Tim’s Fishless Cycling System. A lot of people recommend it and it comes with step by step instructions. Here’s the first question. Once the tank is cycled should I put some fish, inverts, coral in to keep the beneficial bacteria alive and happy, until I get my octo? If things line up and by the time my tank is cycled I have the opportunity to get an octo right then, is the tank considered “mature” enough to put the octo in? I read in a post that your tank has to be established for a year or more before you can add an octo.
I am going to have a 20g sump, with a refugium. AlgaeBarn sells an Ultimate Refugium Starter Pack with live bacteria, pods and media. I assume that I wouldn’t want to “start up” the refugium until there is a bio load on the tank. Is that correct? If so, would I start the refugium after the cycling, but just before adding fish, inverts, coral and, ultimately, the octo?
By the way, I do know that fish and most inverts can not go in a tank with an octo. I’m just wondering if I should but some in, in the beginning, to establish a bio load. Then I’ll trade them to my LFS when I get the octo.
 

tonmo

Cthulhu
Staff member
Webmaster
Joined
May 30, 2000
Messages
10,837
Hi @Guns286 -- hoping you'll get some expert input here.

A tip of sorts, sometimes replying to a thread might be effective, as our system will often send an email notification to the thread starter, and anyone else watching the thread, which can increase chances of visibility. Of course, users can self-manage these settings, so it may not always yield results, but it CAN be effective.

That said, do keep us posted on your build and progress here!
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
9
I’ve read a few great posts on here regarding how to cycle a new tank. Instead of scattering my questions around the different threads, I figured I’d make a new post and ask them here.
I’m nearing the completion of my acrylic tank and wood stand build, so I’m starting to gather the tanks operating equipment (pump, plumbing, protein skimmer, etc) and research cycling. When the time comes I’ll order live rock and live sand. My ultimate goal is to have an octo tank with coral. So, an octo/reef tank.
I’m planning on using Dr Tim’s Fishless Cycling System. A lot of people recommend it and it comes with step by step instructions. Here’s the first question. Once the tank is cycled should I put some fish, inverts, coral in to keep the beneficial bacteria alive and happy, until I get my octo? If things line up and by the time my tank is cycled I have the opportunity to get an octo right then, is the tank considered “mature” enough to put the octo in? I read in a post that your tank has to be established for a year or more before you can add an octo.
I am going to have a 20g sump, with a refugium. AlgaeBarn sells an Ultimate Refugium Starter Pack with live bacteria, pods and media. I assume that I wouldn’t want to “start up” the refugium until there is a bio load on the tank. Is that correct? If so, would I start the refugium after the cycling, but just before adding fish, inverts, coral and, ultimately, the octo?
By the way, I do know that fish and most inverts can not go in a tank with an octo. I’m just wondering if I should but some in, in the beginning, to establish a bio load. Then I’ll trade them to my LFS when I get the octo.
Dr. Tim's is a good one to use, though many people believe (with a fair amount of evidence to back the belief) that there's no need to use any sort of additional bacteria as long as the live rock is still "live," though there's certainly no harm in adding more bacteria (and possibly a fair amount of benefit). So, you've got a solid start up plan there.

If it's going to be a while before you add the octopus, you can put some fish in to keep things going, or you can ghost feed the tank by adding food (a lot of people just toss in a piece of shrimp like you buy at the grocery store) or by adding ammonia directly. The ammonia is really all that's needed to keep it cycled, so any of these would work. If you add ammonia directly, I'd look up how much you should add before putting any in the tank.

With regards to whether or not the tank is mature enough for the octopus as soon as it's cycled, most people would say to wait. However, to the best of my knowledge, the keys are really just stability and whether or not the tank is cycled sufficiently to handle the bioload. If you can keep the parameters stable enough, and if you tank is thoroughly cycled (which it should be if you use the proper amount of live rock/Dr. Tim's), then you should be fine. One tank I've seen added fish, corals, and an anemone (it's usually recommended to wait several months before adding anemones) the same day they cycled the tank using just bottle bacteria, and they had zero issues even as far as a few years down the line. Similarly, for big fish/coral events and for at least one big name quarantined fish seller, the instant cycle using bottle bacteria has shown to be safe and effective when done properly. So, again, assuming you've got the cycle part down properly, you should just need to keep the water parameters stable to be able to keep the octopus - regardless of how old your tank is. Some people like to "test" if their tank is cycled enough once it's completed its cycle by adding a large amount of ammonia and tracking how their tank handles breaking it down into Nitrate before actually adding any livestock as a "just in case" safety thing - you could do this if you're concerned about it handling the bioload. Similarly, whenever you get the octopus, you can be prepared to do a water change if needed as a just in case for if some parameter goes out of whack or some other problem arises unexpectedly.

Regarding the refugium, you can start it up whenever as long as the tank is cycled, as the macroalgae really just needs Nitrate and Phosphate (and light, of course), so any feeding of the tank (be it feeding the fish/octopus, ghost feeding the tank, or adding ammonia) should be able to keep it the algae growing. The algae is really just there to export Nitrate and Phosphate to keep the tank's parameters in the green (so to speak), so, personally, I would go with your plan of getting it going just before adding livestock, but you could start it whenever.
 

Guns286

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
May 9, 2022
Messages
9
Dr. Tim's is a good one to use, though many people believe (with a fair amount of evidence to back the belief) that there's no need to use any sort of additional bacteria as long as the live rock is still "live," though there's certainly no harm in adding more bacteria (and possibly a fair amount of benefit). So, you've got a solid start up plan there.

If it's going to be a while before you add the octopus, you can put some fish in to keep things going, or you can ghost feed the tank by adding food (a lot of people just toss in a piece of shrimp like you buy at the grocery store) or by adding ammonia directly. The ammonia is really all that's needed to keep it cycled, so any of these would work. If you add ammonia directly, I'd look up how much you should add before putting any in the tank.

With regards to whether or not the tank is mature enough for the octopus as soon as it's cycled, most people would say to wait. However, to the best of my knowledge, the keys are really just stability and whether or not the tank is cycled sufficiently to handle the bioload. If you can keep the parameters stable enough, and if you tank is thoroughly cycled (which it should be if you use the proper amount of live rock/Dr. Tim's), then you should be fine. One tank I've seen added fish, corals, and an anemone (it's usually recommended to wait several months before adding anemones) the same day they cycled the tank using just bottle bacteria, and they had zero issues even as far as a few years down the line. Similarly, for big fish/coral events and for at least one big name quarantined fish seller, the instant cycle using bottle bacteria has shown to be safe and effective when done properly. So, again, assuming you've got the cycle part down properly, you should just need to keep the water parameters stable to be able to keep the octopus - regardless of how old your tank is. Some people like to "test" if their tank is cycled enough once it's completed its cycle by adding a large amount of ammonia and tracking how their tank handles breaking it down into Nitrate before actually adding any livestock as a "just in case" safety thing - you could do this if you're concerned about it handling the bioload. Similarly, whenever you get the octopus, you can be prepared to do a water change if needed as a just in case for if some parameter goes out of whack or some other problem arises unexpectedly.

Regarding the refugium, you can start it up whenever as long as the tank is cycled, as the macroalgae really just needs Nitrate and Phosphate (and light, of course), so any feeding of the tank (be it feeding the fish/octopus, ghost feeding the tank, or adding ammonia) should be able to keep it the algae growing. The algae is really just there to export Nitrate and Phosphate to keep the tank's parameters in the green (so to speak), so, personally, I would go with your plan of getting it going just before adding livestock, but you could start it whenever.
Wow! Thank you for all the info!
 

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
929
I'll just add to make sure that you keep your nitrates in check as you cycle it to ensure they don't get too high.

Good luck!

Greg
 

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