Cycling - live vs dry

geckoejon

New member
Hello,
I have read numerous articles about cycling. They have all referred to using dry rock and seeding with a little live. I am wondering about the change if all live rock is used? Will it speed up the cycling process? What are the differences that will occur?
Thanks...
 

schatzi

Professional amateur
Biggest difference will be in cost. LR costs $6 or $7 a pound and higher, dry rock can be had for $2 a pound.
 

thegrun

Team RC
Because live rock is typically more expensive than dry rock, many reefers use some or all dry rock. Live rock adds a variety of living organisms to your tank (mostly good but it also adds a risk of introducing unwanted organisms). There is a large variance in live rock as far as how much living and dead organics the live rock contains. Live rock that has a lot of dead organics on it could extend a cycle so that it takes longer to complete, but it could on the other hand already be cycled and drastically reduce or even eliminate the cycle time. Without knowing a lot about the live rock you are thinking about using, it is impossible to determine if it would speed-up or slow down your cycle.
 

leveldrummer

New member
All live rock will speed up the cycle, as long as the rock is cured and the tranfer method/time doesnt allow much die off before its placed in the new tank. being exposed to air will kill off some of the life, and that will in turn cause a small cycle when you place it in your tank.

the other benefit to all live rock is the rock immediately looks aged and will have coraline algae on it and other beneficial organisms, of course with more beneficial organisms comes more pests too. so its really a toss up. As its already been said, most people use lots of dry rock strickly for the cost benefit.
 

Susan Lohrer

New member
Why not start with mostly dry rock and add one piece of live rock from a tank you know has no nasties in it? Though the no-nasties part would be hard to know for sure.
 

geckoejon

New member
Thanks for the feedback! I am only starting with a 29 cube and have added about 3/4 live and 1/4 dry between the dt and the sump. I wish i had gone with all live. being that small, there wouldn't have been that much of a price difference. the rock looks nice and aged with some deep green, brown, and red colors to it. hoping i didn't bring in any unwanted critters.

It has only been running a couple weeks, I took readings this morning, and they looked good. I will post them once I get home. I forgot my log book. Wondering if the amount of live shorted the cycle. Alright... Hoping. Lol I'm trying to have patience....
 

geckoejon

New member
Susan, that is how I have seen numerous articles describe starting out. I haven't seen any articles on starting with mostly or all live though. I guess I was hoping to get a faster cycle time using more live. The owner of the lfs said this would work. I'm still trying to learn about reef tanks, and what all is necessary.
 

thegrun

Team RC
If the live rock the owner is selling has already been cycled you would have little or no cycle. If on the other hand he just added it to his storage tank a couple of days ago from an unknown source and it is just starting to decay and cycle, it could actually extend the cycle time.
 

Ptyochromis

New member
Why not start with mostly dry rock and add one piece of live rock from a tank you know has no nasties in it? Though the no-nasties part would be hard to know for sure.

No 'goodies' either. IME the good stuff far outweighs the bad. Not to mention that biodiversity is a cornerstone of tank healthy.

As far as cyclinig time goes, dry rock can be very dirty (dehydrating dried husks). LR time for curing really depends on the condition of the LR.
 

geckoejon

New member
thanks for the feedback.

well, it has had water on it for a couple weeks now, and have had algea sprouting all over the rocks and sand the past couple of days. the readings this morning were...

alk - 3.5
ammon - 0
ph - 8
nitrate - <10

thoughts as to where i am in cycling?

thanks!
 

Susan Lohrer

New member
As for where you are in your cycle: After nitrite peaks and then drops, nitrate will start to climb. That indicates your initial cycle is complete, and the water should be stable enough that you can start adding fish (slowly, since every time you add something that produces waste, you're putting an increased load on your tank, and your bacteria population needs to adjust to it).

Adding delicate creatures that need a stable, mature system will be a better idea starting in about a year. Only bad things happen fast in this hobby. The good things are always the slow things. :)
 
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