• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Species for Tank Cycling

Jul 24, 2003
Does anybody see any problems in cycling a tank with two baby clown fish and a couple of little crabs?

I would plan to give the clowns back to the LFS when finished cycling and the tank was ready for the octo, but leave the crabs in for munchies.
A lot of Tonmo'rs have been having spectacular success with common black mollies...they are inexpensive, hardy, easy to adapt to saltwater...and if the octo eats them...oh well!
Nothing wrong with the clowns either, though.
Cheers folks

Might have alook at mollies no sure if ive evr seen one, just thought clown fish because they will give me something pretty to look at whilst cycling. Since they look so cute and good enough to eat when the're little.

Dont worry I wont really eat em!!

Congratulations on your promotion J!!!
Well thats good somebody else has used clown fish, it was just the fact that i was unsure if they were hardy enough for cycling but obviously are.

I suppose also it will be a little test for me, in that if i cant control the water parameters for these fellas, i cant control the parameters for me eight armed ambidextrous future matey.

Hah!!! There's a question!!!! I shall move that one into the more appropriate forum!!!!

Why on earth would you want to cycle using fish? When the tank is going to go through it's amonia spike, you are going cause useless suffering and even have a good chance of killing them. Using fish to cycle SW tanks is a thing of the past and should stay so. If you are using live rock, get uncured live rock. The die off will be more than enough to get the cycle going. If not, the simple cocktail shrimp method will work fine. You can even seed your tank with nitrobacter available commercially to speed things up a bit.

I'm sorry to say so, but IMO anyone who would even consider using fish to cycle their tank should question themselves on the reason they ever got into this hobby.
Well that certainly touched a nerve with you an this post is blast from the past.

I do agree to a certain extent with your views.

So whats this shrimp cocktail buisness? sounds worth considerin......
Once the new tank is filled, just chuck in a raw cocktail shrimp or two and let it decay. The decay will provide all the amonia needed to feed the nitrifying bacteria and make them reproduce which is exacly what cycling a tank is all about.
I can understand why you are angry at using fish to cycle our tanks. You might think its cruel but as long as we check parameters and maintain our tanks, I don't think the fish will die. Its not like we're starving the fish or something.
The fish might not die, but they will suffer. Why not just cycle with the octo? It might not die if you check the water params. If the water doesn't get 'bad' the tank never really cycles, so adjusting the water doesn't accomplish anything. IMO, live sand and live rock will cycle the tank just fine.
Thought I might just put this here for those who don't seem to know what a cycle is all about.

First the nitrate cycle. Animals produce waste in the form of amonia. The aerobic bacteria (living in the upper layers of sand and everywhere where there is oxygen) bacteria consumes amonia and produces nitrites. A secont type of bacteria (anaerobic living in the deep layers of sand and where there is almost no water circulation) consumes nitrites and produces nitrates. Amonia and nitrites are toxic while most animals can support the presence of nitrates quite well.

When you set up your tank, the 2 types of bacteria are present in very small number and are not able to break down the amonia produced by any higher tank inhabitants fast enough, so the reason we cycle is to develop the 2 bacteria colonies to a level sufficient to support the waste of the octo. When you setup, the die off on the sand and live rock will produce amonia, which causes the amonia spike, a short time later, the amonia consuming bacteria will use this amonia to reproduce into a number able to look after the amonia, at the same time they cause the nitrites spike. The same process goes on for the second family which break down the nitrites into nitrates. At this point we can export the nitrates via some macroalgae or water changes.

Now, if you control the parameters during the spike by water changes etc... you are not cycling your tank. You are simply getting rid of the food that the bacteria you want to promote needs. So the day you put your octo in your tank and the amonia production goes WAY up, the real amonia spike is going to happen which will most likely kill your octo.

Hope this clarifies the situation for some.
Cheers mate, that clarifies the situation a lot and reiterates what the cycle is for, in detail.

So, in conclusion, it is obvious that we do not want to cycle the tank for the octo with the octo, as you may kill it.

N.B. If somebody is an octo keeper they may well be in the same mind frame of an octo and just think of fish etc as food, so ultimatley not mattering if they suffer slightly before becoming food (STOP!! dont think for a second im relating anybody or everybody or even me for that matter with this view, it is merely a theory!!! so get off your horse an drink your milk, i havnt finished yet!!!), althou they may not and wish to give good conditions to fish.

Right so supposing they do feel for the fish (which for clarification is where i stand , but hadnt really thought about it in detail until igoRulse raised it, as im unfortunatley not at that stage yet, not throu lack of tryin!!)

well then we are talkin about a fish less cycle, cause its a bit silly to stress an octo (somthin you wanna keep) an not fish (somthin you dont/might - depends)

so if were talkin about a fishless fella, then we are talkin about either

1) uncured live rock

2) wee in it

3) chemical stuff spoke of above/below (depends which side of the world your surfin the net on)

4) cocktail shrimp

5) fish cycle

6) im sure there are more


1) some dont want this as you loose lots in the rock

2) only david blaine wee's in a glass box

3) dunno anythin about it but sounds borin

4) those poor little shrimp!!! sacraficed for the same reason a bunch of fish would be, but the fish would be given the chance to fight for their lives. Never the less a good idea, but borin, although kinda one of my more likley routes

5) painful, possibly for the fish, risk of death (RISK), not very nice if your into looking after animals an fish an all that larky magarky. Although exiting cause you have somthin to look at.

6) cant comment cause i have no other means

Ultimatley, igoRulse has raised a good debate, and one he/she feels strongly about, which is cool. However, there is no hard and fast rule here an it needs to be recognised that people are given the choice to act as god (im no bible basher incase you wondered!) in some respects with life. So it is up to them at the end of the day.

If a person can live with a borin tank with a couple of rotten maky little shrimp off the deli in there tank then fine you set a good example. If you cant you have to accept any sufferin that comes your way, as what goes around comes around.

There you have it! thats my two pence worth an you can do what you like with it!

I like the idea of lookin at a couple of clowns etc wonderin round the tank for a while, but i dont ( a lot! ) like the idea of seein them suffer just for my later enjoyment, im very tempted by the cocktail shrimp idea, but can i face the boredom. dunno?

best thing is i dont have to think about it at the mo cause im tryin to sort other stuff out first.

if i use clowns...send your mates round with baseball bats an we'll see!! if i dont send your mates round with franchensense an mere (or however you spell it!!)

as a closin note, as i know ive gon on a bit, maybe the best option is to cycle with a cocktail shrimp for the few weeks or whatever it takes to cycle an then for newcomers to marine (i.e. me) then throw in some fish to practice keeping parameter?????????????

but tonight Mathew..............my name is Trevor Brookin an im sittin on the fence!!!!!!!!!!!! :bugout: :lol: :D :shock: :P :P :P

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