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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i'm confused... Im fairly new to this so please forgive me if my questions are dumb. So you only have to cycle the tank only once? Why don't you have to cycle again after doing a water change? I heard it's because of the filter but what if you change out the filter? i'm so lost :( Also i'm cycling my tank with fish food and shrimp right now, how long should I keep "feeding" my tank fish food? and how long should I keep the shrimp in there?
 

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Well technically the nitrogen cycle never ends otherwise everything would die. But the initial cycle to establish the benificial bacteria is not affected by water changes once complete. Very little of the bacteria live in the water column. It's primarily in the live rock which is your filter in a saltwater system. HOB filters used in freshwater aren't appropriate for biological filtration in saltwater.

You can leave the shrimp in til it disappears or until you detect an ammonia spike. Once you do, leave the tank alone and monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Once ammonia and nitrite spike and then hit zero and you have nitrates, your system is cycled. You will need dry/live rock for a saltwater system.

What is your setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well technically the nitrogen cycle never ends otherwise everything would die. But the initial cycle to establish the benificial bacteria is not affected by water changes once complete. Very little of the bacteria live in the water column. It's primarily in the live rock which is your filter in a saltwater system. HOB filters used in freshwater aren't appropriate for biological filtration in saltwater.

You can leave the shrimp in til it disappears or until you detect an ammonia spike. Once you do, leave the tank alone and monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Once ammonia and nitrite spike and then hit zero and you have nitrates, your system is cycled. You will need dry/live rock for a saltwater system.

What is your setup?
I have:

20 gallon tank
Hood with LED light with actinic lighting also
wheel filter by marineland
Heater
Powerhead
15lbs of dry rock
1" of caribsea sand

I'm planning on getting maybe 2lbs of live rock to seed my dry rock, do I have to get live rock? I want to do the way that's fastest to cycle my tank. I'm not in a rush but I heard average is 1 month so I want it to cycle for a month but i've heard people who cycles for 3 months! I'm only planning on getting like 2 ocellaris clownfish, a snail and probably a shrimp. and maybe 2 coral. Oh and also the water I used in my tank is all stage 6 reverse osmosis water.
 

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I would just remove the marineland biowheel filter. The problem is they are great for the nitrate cycle, but that is only 3/4ths the cycle. Filter floss/wheel type filters are incapable of denitrification and that is why they are poor choices in filtration for saltwater. The rock and sand are capable of doing this. They will also be able to handle all the bacteria you will need. In fact you dont even need the sand ;)

You dont have to get live rock, dry rock is just fine but you do need patience. With no patience you will most likely crash your tank, nothing good happens fast in this hobby but you can crash a tank in a few hours time. 3 months to cycle a tank is one of those odd instances, the usual cycle time is 1 month to a month and a half, the only way around this is to start with already cultured live rock from a well established system, even then there is still risks of an ammonia spike.

I would cycle your tank, add your snail(s), spend the next 2 weeks feeding your tank a lil every other day, get your shrimp, keep feeding your tank a lil every other day then get your clowns. Adding two fish at once is very risky for first additions especially if your tank isnt being fed on a regular basis. This will also give you time to setup a great maintenance routine. In a couple months if all is well you can get the coral you want. But before you do that your going to want to make sure your lighting is sufficient.

Have you checked out the reefkeeping made easy link in my signature below? Its a great read with alot of useful info to help keep your tank at its best.
 

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the nitrogen cycle is Ammonia-> Nitrite -> Nitrate -> Nitrogen gas

Cycling a tank is more of an expression but what it means is you are culturing enough bacteria to handle this process. Honestly they should call it culturing a tank or something different to avoid the confusion. This bacteria lives primarily on the surface of live rock. For your filter, it contains practically no surface area compared to that of your live rock.

Now for water changes water changes are used(in turns of nitrogen cycle only) to get ride of the extra nitrate in your tank. The process to go from nitrate to nitrogen is very slow because the bacteria that does this is anaerobic( lives in areas devoid of oxygen). So you have to assist by removing some of the nitrate. the water change adds in fresh saltwater that does not contain any nitrate/nitrite/ammonia and the bacteria live primary on the surface of the rock, so no new "cycle" or culturing of bacteria is required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would just remove the marineland biowheel filter. The problem is they are great for the nitrate cycle, but that is only 3/4ths the cycle. Filter floss/wheel type filters are incapable of denitrification and that is why they are poor choices in filtration for saltwater. The rock and sand are capable of doing this. They will also be able to handle all the bacteria you will need. In fact you dont even need the sand ;)

You dont have to get live rock, dry rock is just fine but you do need patience. With no patience you will most likely crash your tank, nothing good happens fast in this hobby but you can crash a tank in a few hours time. 3 months to cycle a tank is one of those odd instances, the usual cycle time is 1 month to a month and a half, the only way around this is to start with already cultured live rock from a well established system, even then there is still risks of an ammonia spike.

I would cycle your tank, add your snail(s), spend the next 2 weeks feeding your tank a lil every other day, get your shrimp, keep feeding your tank a lil every other day then get your clowns. Adding two fish at once is very risky for first additions especially if your tank isnt being fed on a regular basis. This will also give you time to setup a great maintenance routine. In a couple months if all is well you can get the coral you want. But before you do that your going to want to make sure your lighting is sufficient.

Have you checked out the reefkeeping made easy link in my signature below? Its a great read with alot of useful info to help keep your tank at its best.
So should I just remove the bio wheel? Do I have to remove the filter media's also? Or should I just remove everything and use the filter to move around water?
 

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I would remove everything including the filter housing, but at least remoce all the media (wheel and filter media). You can use the housing for water movement if you want, just clean it out periodically, you can also put media in it during water changes to help polish and clear the water then rinse the dilter media and store it until next use or if you ever run chemicals then its a good place to do that.
 
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