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View Full Version : New Tank Startup - Dry Rock / Dry Sand


milkman55
01/23/2010, 03:59 PM
I started up my 120 gal about 2 weeks ago with 100 lbs new dry Fiji Rock from BRS and 180 lbs of new Carib sugar sand. I just started adding MB7 bacteria to the tank at the recommended dose for startup tanks and plan to continue that daily for the next two weeks.

Do I need to add some "live" sand or rock to seed the tank? I cycled the rock for two months in rubbermaid tubs before I added it to the tank.

I am not seeing any signs of a cycle after two weeks. The rock is still white. The only thing my Octo Extreme 200 is pulling out of the water is the muck from the sand.

I had so much trouble with hitchikers in my last tank, I decided to start this one from a "sterile" state, but just wondering if that is a little overdone?

I am in no hurry as I have two other tanks, but if this tank is never going to establish bio filtration, I would like to make adjustments now.

Grandreef 2
01/23/2010, 04:33 PM
I did a mixture of dead and live rock so some of my live rock can seed the dead rock. It has been 3 months and the rock is just staring to turn a light brown phase.

stealle
01/23/2010, 04:48 PM
I started up my 120 gal about 2 weeks ago with 100 lbs new dry Fiji Rock from BRS and 180 lbs of new Carib sugar sand. I just started adding MB7 bacteria to the tank at the recommended dose for startup tanks and plan to continue that daily for the next two weeks.

Do I need to add some "live" sand or rock to seed the tank? I cycled the rock for two months in rubbermaid tubs before I added it to the tank.

I am not seeing any signs of a cycle after two weeks. The rock is still white. The only thing my Octo Extreme 200 is pulling out of the water is the muck from the sand.

I had so much trouble with hitchikers in my last tank, I decided to start this one from a "sterile" state, but just wondering if that is a little overdone?

I am in no hurry as I have two other tanks, but if this tank is never going to establish bio filtration, I would like to make adjustments now.


I plan to do the same thing you are doing.

I don't think it is possible for you to see signs of a cycle at this point and you shouldn't since you never had any dead matter in the tank. The reason you have a cycle with live rock is because there is almost always some amount of die off during transit (provided transit took longer than about 30 minutes out of the water). The only way you are going to get a cycle is to have some dead matter in the tank.

Do you have any fish in the tank yet? If not, try this. Toss in about a half cube of mysis or a small chunk of shrimp. Don't let it get removed by the overflow. Test for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates over the next 5 days or so. If that doesn't cause your ammonia to spike and your nitrites/nitrate remain zero then you are good to go. Introduce some fish or a clean up crew. If you do get a spike in ammonia, then watch it until it goes to zero, then slowly introduce some fish after the nitrites/nitrates go back to zero. Also, continue dosing the bacteria according to the directions.

If you do already have fish in the tank and you have tested your parameters and they are all zero, then you are good.

stealle
01/23/2010, 05:01 PM
Also, the rock will probably remain white unless you have the lights turned on. I would not consider this a lack of bio-filtration. It's just a lack of light to fuel nuisance algae. The rock will no doubt start to turn brown after you have the lights on for hours every day. Of course you will never see any coralline algae on the rocks until some hitchhikes in on a coral plug or something. Personally, I would leave the lights off until you are ready to add a clean up crew.

Eventually you are going to need to introduce some fish or a cleanup crew to help establish the bio-filtration. You need some poop in there to feed the bacteria. You might want to start using something like Prodibio BIO DIGEST (bacteria) and BIOPTIM (bacteria food) for maintenance.

jjstecchino
01/23/2010, 07:44 PM
I as you did started my tank with "sterile" dry rock and sand. Mine were marcorocks, fiji type. The rocks were treated with vinegar and cycled for 2 months.

I did not experience a classical cycle as well. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates alwajs remained undetectable, however I had an initial small diatome bloom am=nd a small cyano bloom that rapidly went away. The rocks were bright white at the beginning but now they are full of coralline algae. The tank is now 6 months old and you can seel the curing process and recent pictures Here (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1643671&page=3).

I also used dry rock and sand to avoid unwanted pests, however I have to say that avoiding hitchikers is almost impossible. Despite the sterile rocks and sand, I recently saw a fireworm in my refugium and a small gorilla crab in the display. They may have come in as eggs, larvae or something with some coral frags otherwise I cannot explain their presence. Use a few pieces of coralline encrusted live rocks to speed up the coralline spread. SOme people have used GARF Grunge with success for the same purpose. look for it at garf.org.

Be patient and good luck.