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Cycling Methods & Procedures

Reefscape

I shoot people with a Canon
Staff member
Awesome, thanks! That was my single biggest question, the exact definition of "cured" live rock VS. "Uncured" live rock. Please make sure I have this correct:

CURED rock, is rock harvested by a supplier, which has sat in holding tanks for X weeks, in which a certain amount of die-off has taken place and reached a point at which in those tanks there is no further die-off. When this same CURED rock is then shipped to you, there is additional die-off from it being out of water for X hours or days. This rock may then need to go through another mini-curing, in your own personal tank, while the die-off associated with the shipping decomposes. Inside your tank, once it has reached a point where there is no additional die-off, it is fully CURED. Is this correct?

UNCURED live rock, is rock that has been immediately harvested and no time for the initial die-off has been allowed to take place. Placing this into your tank will result in substantial die-off, and all the mess and odor that may involve. Is this correct?

What do we call formerly live rock that is so depleted of life from being out of water, shipping, abuse, etc, that is is virtually "Dead" and has no value for a tank until it is seeded with other cured live rocks? I see some live rock that looks basically dead in comparison to other rocks that have plenty of green and purple and little creatures and things. I would assume the rock that looks to have more life and exponentially better to use in the tank?

My understanding of CURED rock in relation to the CYCLING process is that it helps the process along, but is it necessary? Would it be better to cycle a tank without live rock, and then add live rock in, and therefore create less die-off in terms of the creatures and microbes on the live rock? Or does a uncycled tank have no effect on live rock? I just don't want to spend $300.00 on live rock which I place in the tank in the first few days, just to have it all die-off and become lifeless.

What do we call dead rock (like something found in my yard and boiled) which has been seeded with live rock? Is this now considered live-rock?

Thanks for all the help.
To keep things simple...

Cured Rock - Rock which has gone through the cycling process and is does not have life on it dying off, acting fully as a natural filter....no odour..

Uncured Rock - Rock which needs to go through a cycle, had dead or dying matter on and in the rock, smells bad.

Dead / Base Rock - Rock which has been left out of water to dry out, effectively dead, no life, no decaying matter or brand new base rock, commonly ocean rock, which has not been in an aquarium yet.


My understanding of CURED rock in relation to the CYCLING process is that it helps the process along, but is it necessary? Would it be better to cycle a tank without live rock, and then add live rock in, and therefore create less die-off in terms of the creatures and microbes on the live rock? Or does a uncycled tank have no effect on live rock? I just don't want to spend $300.00 on live rock which I place in the tank in the first few days, just to have it all die-off and become lifeless.
Cured rock, really does not have a relation to the nitrogen cycling process, per se. People simply use un-cured live rock as a means of providing an ammonia source ( decaying life matter ). This ammonia source can also be provided by a raw shrimp / prawn or pure ( 100% ) ammonia.

In my opinion, its better to cycle the tank with all the live rock already in there, as this will save any mini-cycles from occuring when you do add rock "after" the cycle has completed ( which is a common occurance ). Live rock is pretty hardy, in my opinion. Your always going to get a small portion of die-off when you add some live rock, but, that small portion will very quickly become live again, its certainly not something to be concerned about.

Hope that helps.
 

sue711

AC Members
Hi all, I have just crossed to the salt side from the freshwater group. :) I have just started a 20L salt tank, put in 20 lbs live sand, 20 lbs cured live rock. I did a one minute hyper-salinity dip of the cured rock first to drive out any unwanted critters, then brushed and rinsed the rock in proper salinity salt water before putting into my tank. Sure enough two, inch long brown hairy crabs were caught before adding to the tank this way. :) I am putting in my shrimp today, and I will let the cycle progress according to the great advice here. After the cycle I will slowly be adding a pair of Clowns, clean up crew, and a few corals...maybe a Blennie, and a Tang latter on.

My question is all about lighting:
During this cycling time, do I leave the lights on a very restricted schedule so as to not produce an algae bloom? ( I have actinic, and 50/50, and moonlights in my unit) I have heard anything from a couple of hours a day of just the actinic, no daylight bulbs on at all...to nadda at all for the first several weeks. (OK with moonlights anytime) Can anyone please give me a rough idea of what my light schedule should look like during the next few weeks. Thanks so much.
 

VanQvreef

AC Members
So over 2 weeks into my set up of my RSM 130d. This is my second go at a reef system. The Biocube I had last time I used cured rock (as well as 2 damsels..oops) and the system cycled to a high ammonia level and settled very quickly.

This time I am using uncured rock and after 2 weeks the highest spike I have had in ammonia is a measely .3, a touch of nitrites and nothing showing on nitrates.

It stymies me that this cycle is taking so long when those rocks were smelling like rotting flesh last week. Now I have my algae bloom starting.

Does it make sense?
 

ghengis

cunninglinguist
...I have just started a 20L salt tank ....I will slowly be adding a pair of Clowns, clean up crew, and a few corals...maybe a Blennie, and a Tang latter on.
...can't help you with the lighting Q, but I gotta advise you: putting that fish in a 20 Long will have the Tang Police knoking down your front door double quick!!

Don't be messin with the Tang Police, y'all!! :nono::rofl:
 

sue711

AC Members
LOL! That's OK, I'll stick with the clowns and maybe a Goby. Well its been 6 weeks now and all is going great. The tank actually cycled in a few days due to the live rock, and the lights have been on a regular schedule of 8 hours PC, and 10 actinic. I only have the clean up crew in there so far, and I'm planning on adding my first soft corals in a week or so. My only problem is red turf algae on a few of the rocks...argh! (Maybe I'll rent a Tang to eat it!)
 

ctenophor

AC Members
i think that we as aquarist rush these initial processes to much, in our own impatience and ignorance.

i did a total of a 4 month cycle. i raised the ammonia to off the chart levels (above 8) for a few weeks-3 or 4. then let it take its course. i added all my fish at once and never had an ammonia spike.

i know of reefers who did the same method, on over 200 gallon systes, and the cycle lasted only a month. he added 11 fish, including a huge achilies tang, and never had an ammonia spike.

mini cycles are for beginers, beginers should stick to freshwater.
 

leng1986

Registered Member
erm hi everyone, I have a question. Is the shrimp for cycling purpose must be saltwater or freshwater shrimp?
 

scomstock

AC Members
Does anyone have any experience using DR. TIM'S one and only bacteria additive ? Starting up a new tank and i'm thinking this is the way i'm gonna go
 

Star_buck

AC Members
Probably the most googled question!

Once you see the brown diatom bloom in your tank and the water is clear your'e pretty much on your way there. IME its best to have your temperature set at 78.8 F once the water is in and to add live rock a day later followed by your arag. The liverock and the hitchhikers on it will provide the necessary ammonia plus there will already be bacteria colonies on the liverock. Get a good bacteria culture to give that added boost to your system. Have your skimmer running before you add your live rock in to take care of the die offs from the liver rock. Leave your lights on for 6 to 8 hours a day during the break in of your tank. Voila!
 
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