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When starting a new tank

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
When starting a new tank is it beneficial to pull some water from an established tank? Would pulling water from multiple tanks be better than just one? What about adding a water sample from the ocean? We live on the coast and have friends that take the boat out often and could bring us a gallon jug of water?

Also, could someone explain to me what the major difference is between live rock that is wet when purchasing and the stuff that sits out in the air and is dry? I’m assuming the wet ones have better bacteria loads but will dry live rock still be beneficial in a new tank? What can I supplement with if I do a dry live rock? I am nervous to ship it wet due to damage and not knowing what you’re getting style wise and locally I have only been able to find it dry.
 


D

Deleted member 14033

Guest
I would only start with mixed saltwater. Instant ocean for example. Water from other tanks is not going to be as good as moving rock. You want beneficial bacteria to move. The bacteria you want lives on surfaces not in the water column.
Live rock is rock that should have beneficial bacteria growing on it to some degree. Buying it from established systems. Dry rock is going to be a start from scratch affair. You will need to seed your tank with something to start the cycling. My advice. Is take some old nasty filter floss from another system and put it in with your new filtration. With the bio media to be more specific. Then you need to either through a raw shrimp in to rot or get a tough fish to cycle.
 

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
I would only start with mixed saltwater. Instant ocean for example. Water from other tanks is not going to be as good as moving rock. You want beneficial bacteria to move. The bacteria you want lives on surfaces not in the water column.
Live rock is rock that should have beneficial bacteria growing on it to some degree. Buying it from established systems. Dry rock is going to be a start from scratch affair. You will need to seed your tank with something to start the cycling. My advice. Is take some old nasty filter floss from another system and put it in with your new filtration. With the bio media to be more specific. Then you need to either through a raw shrimp in to rot or get a tough fish to cycle.
I don’t have another cycling saltwater tank so would just throwing a shrimp in alone start the process? What about adding some phytoplankton and/or adding a “clean up crew”
 
D

Deleted member 14033

Guest
I don’t have another cycling saltwater tank so would just throwing a shrimp in alone start the process? What about adding some phytoplankton and/or adding a “clean up crew”
I wouldn't add any inverts at first. Buy a bottle of turbo start or if you happen to have a LFS ask if they have a sump that you could take some filter media from for a price. That or buy the live rock from a LFS.
 

pkilian

Vampyroteuthis
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
261
Here's how I start a tank:

1- set up only the bare bones of your tank (pump and heater and bag with biomedia)
2- fill tank with freshly mixed salt water (I don't start with water from other tanks or use any material from other or old tanks (without bleaching) because I have to worry about cross contamination. You likely don't, but it's good practice to not share things between systems if they house animals from different areas of the planet)
3- set heater to 80F and add bacteria starter per instructions on the bottle you purchase. I've never used what Timothy linked but I'm sure it's just as good as API quick start or Dr Tim's quick start (which I have used successfully many times)
4- let the tank cycle for 3-5 days
5- add your filter material (filter sock, filter floss, sponges, etc.) I purposely don't add the filter material right away when seeding a system because I want my beneficial bacteria to grow in the live rock and biomedia that I put in the tank, and not in the filter material (which I remove when doing water changes).
6- let your tank cycle 1 week, adding fresh water if needed to maintain water level
7- dose your tank with ammonium chloride (I dose to about 1.5ppm resulting concentration in my tank) I use Dr. Tims.
8- let the tank cycle for another 2-3 weeks, doing a 10-20% water change after 8-14 days depending on how slowly/quickly your ammonia is being turned into NO2 and NO3
9- Once my ammonia is down to ~0, I know the tank is ready for some animals (and I can add the rest of my aquarium filtration system (protein skimmer etc.))


Please note that this is not the only way (or probably even the best way) to begin to cycle an aquarium. I take the steps that I do because I have to worry about cross contamination between systems (something you shouldn't need to worry about), and I don't like to "jump start" the aquarium seeding process by adding hardy animals in the place of step 7. You could opt to put crabs or hardy saltwater fish in the tank instead of ammonia chloride, but you always run the risk of having an improperly seeded system and killing animals and having to start over. If you add ammonia chloride instead, you can measure the ammonia in the system immediately, know what your starting value was, and see how quickly it is being turned over into nitrite and nitrate. This gives you time to add more bacteria or let the system cycle longer to make sure your bacterial friends can keep up with the ammonia load.
 


BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
Here's how I start a tank:

1- set up only the bare bones of your tank (pump and heater and bag with biomedia)
2- fill tank with freshly mixed salt water (I don't start with water from other tanks or use any material from other or old tanks (without bleaching) because I have to worry about cross contamination. You likely don't, but it's good practice to not share things between systems if they house animals from different areas of the planet)
3- set heater to 80F and add bacteria starter per instructions on the bottle you purchase. I've never used what Timothy linked but I'm sure it's just as good as API quick start or Dr Tim's quick start (which I have used successfully many times)
4- let the tank cycle for 3-5 days
5- add your filter material (filter sock, filter floss, sponges, etc.) I purposely don't add the filter material right away when seeding a system because I want my beneficial bacteria to grow in the live rock and biomedia that I put in the tank, and not in the filter material (which I remove when doing water changes).
6- let your tank cycle 1 week, adding fresh water if needed to maintain water level
7- dose your tank with ammonium chloride (I dose to about 1.5ppm resulting concentration in my tank) I use Dr. Tims.
8- let the tank cycle for another 2-3 weeks, doing a 10-20% water change after 8-14 days depending on how slowly/quickly your ammonia is being turned into NO2 and NO3
9- Once my ammonia is down to ~0, I know the tank is ready for some animals (and I can add the rest of my aquarium filtration system (protein skimmer etc.))


Please note that this is not the only way (or probably even the best way) to begin to cycle an aquarium. I take the steps that I do because I have to worry about cross contamination between systems (something you shouldn't need to worry about), and I don't like to "jump start" the aquarium seeding process by adding hardy animals in the place of step 7. You could opt to put crabs or hardy saltwater fish in the tank instead of ammonia chloride, but you always run the risk of having an improperly seeded system and killing animals and having to start over. If you add ammonia chloride instead, you can measure the ammonia in the system immediately, know what your starting value was, and see how quickly it is being turned over into nitrite and nitrate. This gives you time to add more bacteria or let the system cycle longer to make sure your bacterial friends can keep up with the ammonia load.
This is a tremendous help! Thank you so much for such a through breakdown!
 

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