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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning out starting my first reef aquarium after being a freshwater aquarist for many years. I have read tons of books, scoured the internet and talked to every LFS that carries saltwater anything.

Most of what I read and hear was that you should set up your tank and cycle it for at least 6 weeks before you put anything live (other than live rock and live sand) in the tank. And this was my plan. Then I went to the last LFS, where the owner told me that I was being stupid that I should throw a damsel in right away because it was faster and then it would be enjoyable to watch. I told him that speed was not important to me that I wanted to do this right. But he kept telling me that the damsel way was the way to go because (in his words) "Hey, I sell those damsels for $3.69 and if they die, then who cares".

Now, should I run screaming from that store :eek:, never to return, or does he have a point? It just seems like sacrificing fish like that is just wrong. Also I heard that if they do survive this cycling, then they are mean and territorial.
 

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Welcome to TRT.

As far as the damsels go, go with your instinct. Fish which are used to cycle a tank suffer irreversable damage to thier respiratory system due to the high levels of ammonia and nitrate.

Patience is your friend and you seem to be very much on the right track.

Use a piece of shrimp to cycle your tank. The fish you eventually put in your tank will thank you for not having to 'duke it out' with the damsel(s) for territory.
 

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The only thing worse than a Damsel Fish is a person who uses this method knowingly.

Don't get me wrong I used this method on my first tank because I was instructed by an LFS just as you where. And later on as I lost fish after fish to these damsels I WISHED they had been lost in the cycle. Either way, I was wrong to use the fish for a cycle, and wrong to subject the other fish to this torture and death. In hind sight I learned from it...and hopefully you can take the lessons of those of us idiots that did this, and save yourself the trouble. Trust me you will make enough mistakes on your own, just skip this one.

Dave
 

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Ya I have a damsel if you want one for the cycle. I already got rid of one as it killed one of my fish, now the other one is becoming aggressive towards the dottieback I have. Word of advice don't get any damsels!!! They are devils!

CHEERS
:beer:
DERM
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to everyone for the helpful answers. I think I will follow your advice and follow my gut - no damsels for me.

I'll just do live rock and sand and use the shrimp suggestion. And take anything that they say in that store with a grain of salt.


I'm really glad that I stumbled upon this group - it's proven very useful. You guys rock!
 

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cmknox get some good uncured rock and throw it in that will jump start that baby,thats what I like to do. :)
 

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Banggai Mommy
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And if you go the cocktail shrimp route, it's one for the tank, and the rest sauteed in butter and garlic for you!

I'm glad to hear that you felt something intuituively wrong with the "it's just $3.69" approach. Welcome to the board, and the reefing insanity. :)

Danielle
 

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Ughhh.. Dinoflagelettes..
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Welcome aboard....

Yeah, no matter how much we despise ****-sels, we will not use them to cycle a tank. It's just not the right thing to do...
 

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cmknox said:
... But he kept telling me that the damsel way was the way to go because (in his words) "Hey, I sell those damsels for $3.69 and if they die, then who cares"...
Jeeze what a jerk...

You are with good advice here on TRT, your rock will do better if cycled in place any way and you'll be able to improve your infauna pops and diversity with live rock curing in the tank. It will drive your cycles for you, and there is no ethical considerations involving a higher vertebrate.

Jeeze, what a jerk. :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

This attitude makes me drive 200 miles to go to a decent LFS (Jenn at Imaginocean or Tommy at High Tide) when I buy from them.

it's not the money, each creature is of infinite value, and I refuse to support such lack of compassion, not even 1 cent.
 

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FWIW, I used a couple damses about 6 years ago and still have them today :)
A blue in my 120 sps and a black and white stripe in my 90 fowlr .They have beacome part of the group and get along just fine with their tank mates.
I would probably not use this method again because 6 years ago I didn't now any different. We set up a fowlr at work several months ago and used nothing but natural sea water , LR, and I seeded the sand with sand from my system. It never spiked .
 

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:mad: [email protected]#$$#ls. If you do use them for cycling, then when you are ready to have sushi, you have to rip apart all the rock, disturb everything, fight to keep the water in,:angry: :angry: ......

Just say NO. Stop the insanity!!!
Lee
 

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Take it from me..........I knew nothing when I first started.....but the LFS knew less than me.

Just keep coming here.......members on this board are EXTREMELY knowledeable and won't steer you wrong.


WELCOME!!!


Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I sold off the African Cichlids that I had been keeping yesterday, then drained and cleaned my tank. And put 60 lbs of live sand (and another 100 lb of play sand from Home Depot - which I owe to this board since I would never have come up with that on my own) and around 20lb of live rock in - no damsels! But I did think it was interesting that the label on the bag of live sand said "Instant Cycling - No More Waiting - Add Fish Immediately!" I'm going to just test the water everyday and see how it's coming along before I call in my fish order to the LFS (then I'll have another week until the fish actually arrive) - so I plan to have a 'boring' aquarium for awhile. But I figure it's worth it.
 

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cmknox said:
...- so I plan to have a 'boring' aquarium for awhile. But I figure it's worth it.
heh!

Actually, this will be the time when a lot of interesting stuff will be going on. Much of the benthos inhabitants and the isopods, etc that are in the cracks of the rock will come out of hiding and begin to populate your system, especially in the absence of predation by fishes. Hold off for several months before putting fish in, your system will more fully mature and be more capable of handling the organis and nitrogen with larger populatioins of benthic creatures to drive the food chains. You will need to add the different consumers to your system as some of the blooms occur, but fish, with the exception of a potential algal grazer, will be the last things you add.

Lots to consider, sounds like you've got a great start!

HTH
 

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Good luck and thanks for not using damsels. It took me a room full of live rock on the floor to realize not to do that again. Now my tanks go rock only for 6-8 weeks.
 

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cmknox said:
"Hey, I sell those damsels for $3.69 and if they die, then who cares".
Also I heard that if they do survive this cycling, then they are mean and territorial.
I don't think that I would go to that LFS! If they told you that they will try to sell you anything!

$3.69 WHO CARES :angry: Are they going to come over and remove all your LR chase those little ********* around your tank to get them out.

If not is it worth $3.69? not to mention the damage they can do here's a pic of what a blue devil damsel did to my yellow tang's top fin
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh, that poor baby! :( That's horrible.

I did sort of get the impression he would say anything to sell me something. He told me that I shouldn't get VHO since they were discontinuing them (which no one on this board has heard - so I don't think he was right). Then when he asked me to follow him to see his light suggestion, I asked if it was MH - he told me that it wasn't and that MH was too expensive and this was better. Then he showed me a PC lamp.

Now I've heard some good things about PC, but never that they were better than MH. I don't think he carries any MH items and that colored his suggestion.

Another thing that irked me was when I went back another day to buy some LR, he quoted me a price that was a couple dollars higher than my first visit. I think I'll have to start traveling for my aquarium supplies - the other store that has saltwater supplies has problems too. When I brought my African Cichlids in to the store to trade in, the woman working there looked at them and told me "I don't know what those are and I can't do anything with them" - this is after I had spoken to someone earlier that week who told me to just bring them in. Then as if that wasn't annoying enough, she ignores me for the better part of a half hour while looking up information to answer some questions for a family of newbies that I could answer off the top of my head. Then takes my 5 6" fish and puts them all in a box that was about 2"x6"x8" and leaves them there while she goes to look for a tank to put them in. I had to put my hand on the box to keep them from jumping out. I was so frustrated by the time I got home.

So how far will fish travel in a car? There's a great LFS in my hometown, but that's two and half hours away or I could go down to Premium Aquatics since that's about two hours. I'm just worried about any livestock I purchase.
 

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I am humane as you can be but we are already contributing to the declination in quality of life, by taking inhabitants out of their natural environment in favor of a closed system. I believe it is important to get fish in your tank at least 2 weeks into it. You have to have some life in there to monitor activity. Especially if you are new to the hobby. Everyone gets their water tested, however, this is not the only indicator of whether things are being done right or not. I know that we have all had fish die in this grand experiment of a closed environment. They were victims of the same curiosity and experimentation that this LFS owner is suggesting for the damsels. Maybe I'm missing the point.
 
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