First reef is cycling, excited yet nevous


New member
Hi all!!!!! First of all please accept my apologies for my inexperience. This is my first reef and would love to learn from you all.

Her name is Solana 34G. Currently she has 1'' live Tropic Eden miniflake. About 25G of live water transferred from my friend's tank and the rest is fresh RO/DI water. I also gave her 15lbs of cured live rocks from my friend's tank, they stayed out for a little more than an hour so hopefully that's fine. I'm on my 2nd day and stayed up whole night last night trying to do some rockscape :crazy1:

Currently no live stock. After doing some research, I'll be cycling it with the light off, heater on. However I still have some unclear items:

1/ Do I need to run the skimmer?
2/ Currently the stock return pump is running. I have the MP10 ready but do I need to run it now?
3/ How do I know when the cycle will be over? Don't I have to test for certain chemistry such as ammo, nitrite, nitrate????
4/ When or if I should add live stock like shrimp or fish to help the cycle?

I appreciate all your feedback in advance. :reading:


New member
1. yes
2. I would just to see how/ if it blows the sand around so you can adjust if you want.
3. The best way to tell if the cycle is over is to test. Ammonia goes up then down, then Nitrite which is a product of the Ammonia being processed.
4. You can add a piece of shrimp (like the frozen kind from the store), or some people just use a little cleaning ammonia. I wouldn't add live stock until you see the ammonia go up then down, and probably after the Nitrite does the same.
In your tank with live rock/ sand and "aged" water this may happen very quickly.

My .02: Turn on everything except lights, throw a blanket or something over the top so no light gets in, then come back in like 3 weeks +. Empty the skimmer/add water if you need to. This gives everything a chance to settle in. Then test for ammonia. If it is negative on the test you should be good. I know the feeling of having a new tank, and wanting to see little nemo's swimming in a forest of coral, but trust me when I saw you should take it slow. Especially when getting started. You can be more aggressive with adding/ changing as your tank matures. Good luck.


New member
Adding a shrimp will work.. but get ready for you house to smell awful!!! if you add a shrimp add a very small one.

Here are some tips.

Dont rush to put anything in the tank because if you do and something bad happens... trust me... it feels way worse then if you just waited. add things slowely and be patient. impulse buying, etc will almost always bite back.

other than that it is the most relaxing hobby ever... at least when things are going right ;)