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Cycling Process

Jul 24, 2003
In order to get my tank cycling, without havin to get the live rock (20lbs) as i cant afford at the mo.

I was thinkin of lendin some rock off a mate an throwin a prawn or two in to rot. oh will put sand in aswell. Maybe put some shellfish in there aswell?

But will this not then cause a big unwanted ammonia spike later when i add my rock, thus messin the whole process up?

Will the ammonia spike not be worsened by the fact that i fancy the idea of gettin uncured LR since its half the price an you can pick it out at heathrow just after it comes in (as i want carriabean).

Thoughts on this would be to get uncured bung it in an feed it with loads of phytoplankton.

Any thoughts?

Much appreciated :biggrin2:
I do not think adding the prawn to rot will help things. Since there will not be alot of good bacteria to help break down the waste from it at this point. Maybe a little from the borrowed rock, but it wont help a ton, the prawn willl merely decompose and not help the cycling much. If money is not available for live rock, I would recommend perhaps a small damsel to kick things off and to have a constantly source of ammonia while the bacteria builds. Additionally, I would recommend live sand to help with the process. It is about $2/lb in the US. You are correct. when you add the uncured rock you will get a spike as well as there will be some initial die off of some of the live rocks inhabitants.

I have also sped up cycling in the past by getting a few scoops of some live sand to mix in with my newly bought sand, this will help seed the tank. If your friend has a healthy tank, with no parasites, etc I have also sped things up by adding media from another cycled filter to mine. Hope this helps.

If anyone has issue with anything suggested please feel free to correct me, but I think you'll be alright as long as you follow some of the above suggestions and let it cycle for about 5-6 weeks minimum, preferably longer for a ceph who really benefit and need good water quality.

There are many ways to get a tank cycling and live rock is not the only way. It definately helps, and live rock definately needs time to cure, but adding some mollies or damsels would be a good start. IMO -Shellfish will not hurt either, however, I usually pull out everything that dies in the process. You would have a spike from a rotting carcass in your system.

That being said, I have heard of many strange and unusual way to cycle a tank. Bivalves, Urine (yes urine - don't try it, just laugh like I did!!), etc.

Smaggin is right live sand has help me personally, but is not necessary. There are cheaper alternatives.

If my memory serves me correct you are not planning on adding the octo for a few months. If you are just wanting to look at something in thetank (which I understand totally!!!!) I would suggest adding sand, base rock, and a few fishies. The reason I say base rock is it is far less expensive and you can add live rock on top and fill it in. You will never see the live rock on the bottoom anyways!

Whew! Hope that helps! 8)
Smagin, I disagree with your prawn theories. That is a convenient way to cycle the tank if you arent going to look at it for a while. The prawn rotting creates the constant (at lease until it is fully decomposed) source of ammonia. Then the ammo is coverted to nitrite, then nitrate. The bacteria that convert it are everywhere, just not in consentrated areas, except, in an aquarium. So you would want to get some filter material, and other biomaterial to start your own bacteria farm!


I would get that uncured rock as soon as you can, because everyday longer you wait now you will have to wait later. :|
thanks for the comments folks :biggrin2:

So to summise...

i could cycle the tank with a prawn, some base rock, some sand (with a cup or two of live) an a bit of some mates live rock. then maybe, just maybe poss get some damsels or mollies in there to get it rockin an have somthin swimmin round? but realistically they wont come for a while!!

but is it really worth it, cause am i gunna ruin the process by throwin in uncured rock?

how long does uncured rock take to cure?

an whats more how do you know your gettin your cycle goin with a prawn an gettin enough ammonia thats gunna create nitrites an then nitrates to support you octo, as you dont have a body mass to compare with the octo i.e. three fish?????

p.s. filter material i cant get as my mates dont run mech filters an i dont want it from my LFS due to contaminents.

p.p.s. i plan to cycle the tank for 3 months :biggrin2:
It usually takes 20 -30 days for rock to cure. If you add more once you already have a bio filter going its not that big of deal, unless you add a ton. You may not even notice some param changes depending on your bio filter. :smile:

I would issue some caution on adding anything from another tank unless you are absolutly sure copper has never been used. Copper can absorb into many things - ie rock, filters, etc.
Burstsovenergy24, though the prawn will work to some extent (it will break down to ammonia and help in building good bacteria as needed), I do not think it is considered the best way to cycle a tank. I believe it would take a little while to break down, and then it would pollute the water, making it cloudy. As well, I do not think it will prepare the tank for impending bioload. I think he would be better suited to getting damsels (or mollies), to have a constant source of ammonia (their waste), besides giving him something to look at. Damsels here are less than $4-$5/per here, mollies even less.

I hate to say it, if you cant afford a damsel or two to cycle with, you might want to re-consider owning a tank as the cost to set them up and maintain them with proper equipment is not a cheap proposition. By far dwarfing the minimal cost associated with cycling.

How big of a tank are you setting up?

I didnt say it was the best way, just a good one if your not going to look at it much.


Dont worry you will not kill the bacteria off by adding too much uncured rock. However, you may kill a fish so its not recommended. If you can get the uncured live rock now, do so.

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