Cycling with everything live


New member
After 9 days of my tank cycling I have seen only a slight change in Amonia go from 0 to 0.50 nitrate and nitrite are stil lon 0

I read before buying things and read if I went with Live rocks and live sand it would cut my cycling time in less then half?

But now I am being told on here to still wait weeks.

I am told too add a few hermtt crabs then told No I am told to add a shrimp then told no. add a starfish no, Damsel no I understand everyone has there own opionon and I have to figure out who I would rather listen to .But wow

Can I get a n explanation ?
I really aprecciate all the advice on here but I paid alot of extra money for live stuff to speed up the cycle but now that I have done that Iam being told it is no different I still have to wait 4- 6 weeks ??????

So is there a difference using live stuff or not



Premium Member
I would opt to wait the 4 to 6 weeks before putting any livestock in the tank. Knowing that you have probably spent a pretty penny stocking the tank with live rock and sand, it would probably be best to be patient(wouldn't want anything to compromise the time and money you have already spent). That's just my opinion, keep in mind that I'm new to the hobby too.


Premium Member
Hi is confusing. Especially being new because you will get a lot various opinions from various people. I always try to go with the majority. Plus, everyone's tank is different, so what may work for one person, may not work for someone else.

How many pounds of LR and LS did you add?

I cycled my 29g BC with LR and LS and it took about 3 weeks or so for my cycle to complete. I did not add anything else to the tank to help it cycle by way of food or anything like that.

If you want to try and speed it up, you could probably just drop some flake food in there. Anything like that will basically decompose to get the cycle started.

I didn't try this, but I had a cousin start a tank about a year ago, which is what got me hooked. He used Cycle in his tank and said he completely cycled in about 15 days. I don't know if it's true or now.

As for hermit crabs or shrimp or whatever. That's probably more personal preference, just like the damsels. Some people like hermit crabs as part of the clean up crew. Some like them becuase they're amusing to watch. Others just don't like them at all because they can kill snails, etc. I have snails and hermits...I have the small hermits and have not had a big problem. They have knocked off a snail or two for their shell...I just bought more snails.

I'm thinking the hermits and shrimp are personal preference. More so the hermits. I've never had any shrimp, but I'm sure they're OK depending on what type of shrimp and what else will be in the tank.

I'm not sure on the starfish. As for the Damsel's, people use to use them as a starter fish because they're very hardy fish. But, by the same token, they can be very aggressive and territorial and hard to remove later on. That's probably why people have been telling you yes and no.

I started my fish with 2 Green Chromis. Still a damsel, but not as aggressive and still very hardy.

I hope this helps some!

Good luck.


Premium Member
The longer you wait the better off you'll be, but you should at least wait until your ammonia levels are undetectable. Using cured live rock can speed up the cycling and be better for your tank in the long run, but if someone sold you something and said "this is all you need" then don't take advice or buy from that person again.

Patience is a real virtue with this hobby.


New member
LR = fine
LS = fine
live animals = nooooooo!

either way your tank is gonna cycle and take time doing it. just wait it out like everyone.

unless you bought cured rock from an established tank and all then you prob. won't have a cycle if you kept everything under water during the transfer.


New member
My advice would be to be patient. As you will learn with this hobby nothing happens over night. Just think of your purchase of live rock/sand as a wise choice to lay the appropriate foundation instead of a tool to speed things up. I know it is hard as you want to fill your tank ASAP but you should get used to waiting. For example, as your start to add fish/coral/etc... you should do so slowly as not to increase your load on your tank so much that it cannot support the life. Coraline takes time to grow, frags take time to develop, and your tank won't be stable for at least 6 months. I found a great article on here which I cannot find now listing all of the things you should not do during the first 6 months. Anyway, not to lecture, just to point out that this hobby takes patience and trial and error. One thing I think most people on this forum will agree with is that when you rush in this hobby you just end up wasting money on equipment you don't need as well as dead animals that really had no reason to die other than the owner being impatient. Regarding the star fish, I would not add a star fish to a tank that has not completed it's cycle, in fact, I wouldn't add one until after your tank has been up for at least 6 months. Good Luck, this is a great hobby!!


New member
I am not sure who came up with the term cycling, but that is what they call it.

I think you need to understand what cycling means…I interpret it is creating the Oceanic Circle of Life.

In a nutshell

Your circle of life is not established even though you add “live” stuff.

Some of your “live stuff” will have die off raising your pollution levels to more than your biological filter system can handle. Your biological filter has to play catch up with your (bioload)

In your case you don’t need the dead shrimp (to create a bioload) because you will probably already have one from the die off from your live transplants.

Bottom line…If you do not have a strong circle of life, it will be very easy to overload one part of the circle. Now you don’t have a circle any more…(more like an oval) When your circle of life gets too far out of balance….it crashes….meaning everything dies (including your expensive live stuff)

Think of your tank parameters as your perfect circle of life….I would stop doing anything until the parameters reach that perfect circle and only then begin to add….slowly

NOTE: Each time you “Add” something, it will take you a little bit off your perfect circle…Your system will adapt and grow in the right areas to get back to the perfect circle…..Add too much too fast and the circle gets so far out of round so fast that it can’t recover…….That is a sure Crash.

The way I see it is this whole game is based on “how long can I maintain the perfect circle” …..NOT….”How fast can I get my tank fully stocked the way I want it”

Expect it to take years to get to a fully stocked and established tank….

That is the "nutshell" version of the circle of life.... The part you need to do now is go and research each part of the circle of life and see exactly how one affects the other.

Algea - (All Kinds)
Sand Bed - Depth / Bugs / Infuana /
Water Temp - Rate of Metabolism / Stress Level / Oxygen /Growth
SG - Live Animals Tolerance / Stress Level / Growth
Skimmer - Ocean Wave Simulation / Protien Removal

Get to this point and you will just be scratching the surface....

Good Luck


Premium Member
I would wait for 2-3 weeks of zero ammonia. That gives time for all the decay to end, and for most delayed ammonia spikes to come and go. Most likely, the tank is fine now, though. I'd do some water changes in the mean time.

Delayed ammonia spikes seem to happen. My guess as to the cause is that some fairly large organism in the live rock dies.


New member
Ok thanks everyone All great advice can I get one more thing the water changes should I be doing them now? It has been 9 days /.If I have to do them now how much water?

Should I also mix salt and water In another bucket?
I havenot bought a ro/di yet so I wil lbe using NY tap water


New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11662052#post11662052 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Ricky1066
Ok thanks everyone All great advice can I get one more thing the water changes should I be doing them now? It has been 9 days /.If I have to do them now how much water?

Should I also mix salt and water In another bucket?
I havenot bought a ro/di yet so I wil lbe using NY tap water

You don't want to change your water during the initial cycle.

You want that initail water to force your biological filter to grow strong to get rid of all the bad bioload.

If you change the water, it will leave you with a "weak" biofilter system that will easily get overloaded when you add any livestock.

Let your biofilter grow and remove the Amonia and Nitrates on its own....It just takes time.

Don't do it know and you will pay later.


Premium Member
I'd do some changes. I've never believed the arguments against them, and cleaning up the water column can help save animals. I wouldn't run myself ragged, though, either. Water changes definitely are optional.


I have not bought a ro/di yet so I will be using NY tap water

I'm with the waterchanges also except I would strongly recommend ro/di water and not tap water. You have spent a lot of money so far for good LR/LS, equipment etc., why go cheap on the water. There is a lot of stuff left in drinking water that is not good for reef critters.



New member
Ok I need to know what ro/di is good for me can someone recomend?

I just got my twopowerheadsin the mail Koraila #3 I put one on the top left of my tank and One on the right bottom So they are blowing one across the back one across the front both are hitting the lr is that ok.

I also had a canister filter fluval 405 that the store guy told me I needed I removed all the stuff from it except the carbon from the advice here and was using it for the flow NOw that I have the powerheads whould I take it out completely?


Premium Member
You can continue to run carbon in the Fluval, or remove it. That's a personal choice. It might also be useful if the Koralia pumps leave some dead spot in the tank, I suppose.


BadMotorScooter sells a very good unit, the customer service is outstanding as well. He will help you setup and will take care of any problems you might have. One of the best investments you can make in your tank. In the interim, you can get water from a local fish store or from a place that sells ro/di water. Some supermarkets sell ro water, just make sure there is a maintenance record posted and that monthly maintenance is being done. Some places let the maintenance contract lapse and the filters are not changed out as required. HTH



New member
The configuration of the powerheads will cause a circular flow, which isn't the most optimal. Here is what I would recommend for the Koralias.

On each side, put them at the mid-point of the glass (front to back), and a little higher than the half-way mark. Then point each one UP towards the water's surface (so that you see turbulence on the surface), and then towards the front glass.

This will cause currents that crash against each other, cause a wave-like flow, and a surprising amount of downward current that will help keep things stirred up.

I would also not hesitate to add a few snails if you've had a few days of zero readings. Start small.

Have fun!!


New member
Ok Have the powerheads running ok I have been using tap water as I said but the last time I added water I added POland spring