Finally, after years of dreaming, I started my first reef tank! anyways, I have a few questions about cycling...

PGJE

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Alright so I properly mixed the reef salt, salinity is 1.022 ppt, Ph is around 8.1, and I have everything set up that I need. I JUST added the water to the tank, like, 10 minutes ago. I have the bacteria bottle that I will add to the tank to start the cycling process, but I have a few questions first: (keep in mind that I have dry rock, NOT live rock)
1. Is it okay to get started on the cycle right away? (I mean like adding fish food to the water to raise ammonia, and adding the bacteria) It's been only a few minutes since I added the water to the tank.
2. The bottle with the cycling bacteria didn't say anything about adding fish food or having something decompose in the tank to raise ammonia, but I've heard it is essential to starting a tank. Should I do that, or just add the bacteria? and also, if I do add food, how much, and when? do I add more over time each day or when the last piece decomposes, or is it all at once?
I also want confirmation that I know what I'm doing and am not going to screw up the cycle process really badly...
So first, you add food to decompose and, eventually, raise the ammonia levels in the tank. Bacteria is added, which thrives and colonizes, and starts growing on the rocks. After a while, the bacteria will start to disappear as the energy and food has been used up. When the algae is no longer visible, the tank should be stable and ready to accept fish and other creatures.
Any information will help, and remember, this is my first time with saltwater so go easy on me :)

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tlindsey

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Alright so I properly mixed the reef salt, salinity is 1.022 ppt, Ph is around 8.1, and I have everything set up that I need. I JUST added the water to the tank, like, 10 minutes ago. I have the bacteria bottle that I will add to the tank to start the cycling process, but I have a few questions first: (keep in mind that I have dry rock, NOT live rock)
1. Is it okay to get started on the cycle right away? (I mean like adding fish food to the water to raise ammonia, and adding the bacteria) It's been only a few minutes since I added the water to the tank.
2. The bottle with the cycling bacteria didn't say anything about adding fish food or having something decompose in the tank to raise ammonia, but I've heard it is essential to starting a tank. Should I do that, or just add the bacteria? and also, if I do add food, how much, and when? do I add more over time each day or when the last piece decomposes, or is it all at once?
I also want confirmation that I know what I'm doing and am not going to screw up the cycle process really badly...
So first, you add food to decompose and, eventually, raise the ammonia levels in the tank. Bacteria is added, which thrives and colonizes, and starts growing on the rocks. After a while, the bacteria will start to disappear as the energy and food has been used up. When the algae is no longer visible, the tank should be stable and ready to accept fish and other creatures.
Any information will help, and remember, this is my first time with saltwater so go easy on me :)

View attachment 1399982

Exciting stuff!!! You should add the fish food now tbh don't know how much. Keep in mind the Bacteria in the bottle will need a food source. Ammonia as you already know.
I personally would have used some sacrificial fish like Black Mollies or a few cheap Damsel specie. I must admit the fish food is a better option.
 
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spotfin

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What size tank (looks like a 10 gal)?
Add a small piece of raw shrimp if you have some, and add your bacteria in a bottle. Let it run for quite a while- don't rush into it. Monitor the water quality as the progress goes. DON'T go and add a cleanup crew or other organisms until this tank has cycled.
If possible add a couple pieces of live rock or some sand from an established tank after a week or so. Filter media from another tank will also help.
 
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PGJE

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What size tank (looks like a 10 gal)?
Add a small piece of raw shrimp if you have some, and add your bacteria in a bottle. Let it run for quite a while- don't rush into it. Monitor the water quality as the progress goes. DON'T go and add a cleanup crew or other organisms until this tank has cycled.
If possible add a couple pieces of live rock or some sand from an established tank after a week or so. Filter media from another tank will also help.
Your right, 10 gallons. I think I saw a video about cycling where someone had put a raw shrimp in, i guess it must have slipped my mind. My question is, will the entire thing really decompose? For a tank that small, shrimp are pretty big...
 
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tlindsey

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As with a Freshwater cycle you want parameters to stabilize and a positive Nitrate reading.
 

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Goliath Tigerfish
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.022 is kinda low for a reef, I would recommend closer to .025 for corals and invertebrates.
As for cycling, it just takes time you can add a pinch of food to help it get going.
Remember stability is where it’s at with reef tanks.
It can be done on small tanks, changes happen faster with smaller volumes of water so you will need to pay close attention to the water parameters once you start stocking.
 

tlindsey

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I assume the nitrates will come naturally with the decomposing food/shrimp?

Yes after the conversion of Ammonia to Nitrite and the two stabilize Nitrite will convert to Nitrate. Like spotfin spotfin stated testing is crucial and I agree ask the LFS for a sample of Sand or Bio Media from one of their healthy setups.
 

spotfin

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Your right, 10 gallons. I think I saw a video about cycling where someone had put a raw shrimp in, i guess it must have slipped my mind. My question is, will the entire thing really decompose? For a tank that small, shrimp are pretty big...
Probably don't need a whole shrimp for that size tank. 1\3 should be fine.
IME marine tank cycling is the same as cycling a fresh water tank, except it takes longer. It will really help if you can get some material from an established tank. Do you have a lfs that has marine tanks?
 

PGJE

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Okay, so I put 1/3 piece of shrimp into the tank, along with the proper dose of bacteria from the bottle. I guess now I wait and watch what happens!
As for spotfin asking about the live rock at my LFS, yes, i can go get some eventually. This might be really stupid but I thought with the dry rock and shrimp and bacteria it should be able to establish a colony on its own? Or is it always better to boost it and get already established algae in there

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