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Old 01-14-2001, 07:40 PM   #1
king1522
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Livestock after cycling - how long ??


After a tank has cycled, how long can one go without adding livestock (fish, inverts, or?).Doesn't the cycle have to be maintained? In other words, doesn't the tank need more ammonia sources to keep the cycle going? Also, when can sand stirrers, such as worms, etc(such as Indo-Pacific Sea Farms sells)be added. Can they be added while the tank is cycling?? Also, what the heck do they eat to stay alive?? In all my reading, I can't seem to find a specific answer to these questions. Help is appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2001, 11:21 AM   #2
Alice
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Greetings and welcome to The Reef Tank!

It can be confusing when you are starting out; a lot of information out there can contradict itself or as you say, not be quite specific enough.

After your tank cycles you can add your clean-up crew. Go very light on the hermits, just a few, but you can add lots of snails of different varieties: trochus, cerith, nerite, Margarite and Nassarius (did I spell that right for a change?) seem to be good "reef workers." Turbos tend to get too big and bulldoze things, Astreas cannot right themselves if they get turned over so you have to do "snail patrol" and turn them over by hand before the hermits get to them.

You can also add the "detrivore" kits from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms and Inland Aquatics, there may be other online suppliers that are offering those critters now too, but I've only ever heard good things about the two I've listed above.

You'll need to do a slow acclimation on all the above critters except for the hermits. Hermits can stand a one hour acclimation but the others should acclimate for at least two hours by either the drip method or by very slow and small additions of your tank water.

You will need to very lightly feed your tank to maintain the life in the sandbed, a tiny bit of some food a couple times a week will do to start. After you add the clean-up crew you'll have to feed a little more, making sure that the hermits get their share so they don't eat your snails. The trick is to walk the line between maintaining the life in your tank and feeding the algae blooms that are an inevitiable part of a reef tank's maturation.

As for when to add corals and fish, many advocate not adding any corals or fish until the tank is 6 months past the end of cycling. Not many are that patient but if you feel you must add some livestock, do so slowly and add only one coral, fish or invert at a time to not push the limits of an immature tank's bioload.

Hope this answers some of your questions; can you tell us a little about your tank set-up and what animals you might want to keep? We do have a tank specs forum where you can post your tank "stats".

Have fun!

~Alice

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Old 01-15-2001, 02:49 PM   #3
king1522
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Thanks for your prompt reply. As I said, no one has been very specific. That is exactly the information that I have been looking for. You're right about the acclimation of snails. My LSF told me just to throw them in. After causing great risk to the snail population of this world, I learned about the drip method. Now they live!! Also, I did not realize this about the Astreas. Thanks again for the great reply.

[This message has been edited by king1522 (edited 01-15-2001).]
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Old 01-15-2001, 03:02 PM   #4
king1522
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Quote:
Originally posted by king1522:
Thanks for your prompt reply. As I said, no one has been very specific. That is exactly the information that I have been looking for. You're right about the acclimation of snails. My LSF told me just to throw them in. After causing great risk to the snail population of this world, I learned about the drip method. Now they live!! Also, I did not realize this about the Astreas. One more question please. When you say feed lightly, do you mean dry flakes? Also, as dumb as it sounds, how do you keep your powerheads and filters from sucking the food up before the snails, worms,etc can get to it? Thanks again for the great reply.

[This message has been edited by king1522 (edited 01-15-2001).]
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Old 01-15-2001, 03:18 PM   #5
Alice
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Glad I could help a little

Dry flakes will work but go easy on these as they tend to be high in phosphates. A little flake, a little brine shrimp, maybe a piece of frozen cube food or home made coral mush, all are suitable food for the tank. You can vary what you feed.

You can turn the pumps/pwerheads off during feeding time for a few minutes so the food can settle towards the bottom. Once you have fish in there, they may keep the food from heading for the overflow or pumps and you may not need to turn them off.

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Old 01-15-2001, 03:32 PM   #6
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King,

Glad to have you here!
Alice has given good advice....we all listen when she speaks!
Please tell us more about your tank; what size; rock; sandbed; filtration; skimmer; parameters such as temp, salinity, pH, etc. and when did you set it up?
It would be helpful to also put this data in the Tank Specs section so it could be referred to for future posts without repeating.
Dick
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Old 01-23-2001, 09:45 AM   #7
nitedive
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I am in the same situation here. Would anyone reccommend the Reef Relief http://www.ffexpress.com/cleanup.htm from ffexpress? The critters sound way more interesting than what they offer in their Cleanup Crew package.
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Old 01-23-2001, 09:47 AM   #8
nitedive
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This goes with the previous msg I posted.....

Someone told me to do a 50% water change after my tank has cycled (0 ammonia & nitrite) and before I add a cleanup crew???
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Old 01-23-2001, 10:42 AM   #9
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Nitedive, the problem I see with most of the so called cleanup packages is they all tend to promote a lot of hermit crabs. Also the cucumbers can be problematic at times, some are highly toxic if they die. Personally I would favor fewer hermits, maybe 1 per 5-10 gal and a lot of snails, several varieties, as each species tends to target certain algaes. a few brittle or serpent stars are good, avoid the big green ones at this point.
Abolone may be good for a heavily algaed tank. Urchins are sometimes recommended as algae eaters but only the Tuxedo or Royal urchin is considered reef friendly, Thay dont eat near as much coralline as the others and don't tend to bulldoze as much either, can be problematic in smaller tank as they need some room.
Cukes, generally the atlantic varieties are less apt to do the toxic tank thing, Allegedly the more colorful, the more toxic.
Mithrax or emerald crabs are useful,usually if there is a lot of valonia but like I said in another post, crabs are omniverous and may feed on anything if their favorite foods aren't handy.
I like a variety of snails including the nassarius for scavenging and sand bed cleaning, Trochus, strombus, Margerites, and a few turbos work well. As you tank matures you will get a lot of hitchhiker snails so up including limpets and the half shelled stomatella snails. These are good to have. The mini britlestars and small bristleworms are also good scavengers. Peppermint shrimp in groups will help with cleanup, keep aptasia in check, and being hermorphaditic will spawn in groups and contribute planktonic larvae to the food web.
As far as the 50% water change when the nitrogen cycle is over, you should have some detectable nitrate at this point although if you have macro algae starting to sprout the readings may be low as the algae binds it into the cells as nutrients. At any rate it dilutes the nitrate and phosphate(PO4) by approx half, helps replentish trace elements and helps restore alkilinity by diluting the acids that occur during the decomosition and respiration processes. At this point one is advaised to invest in good test kits for Calcium and Alkilinity and start monitoring for stability and good coralline growth. As the biofiltration establishes and the tank gets stocked the natural tendancy is for pH to slowly drop as buffering potential is reduced by neutralizing acids from CO2 (Respiration)and waste reduction, thats why adding a buffering compound is important,HTH

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Old 01-24-2001, 12:29 AM   #10
nitedive
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Thanks for the great info! Advice taken - I think I'll talk with my LFS at this point and see what they say, since they're real reliable.
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