your very welcome and thanks for sharing your adventure.Prow, just wanted to thank you again for all your continueed advice. I've read and re-read your newbies cycling page and just wanted to be clear on this.
3-4wks is about right on starting to add CUC.Im about 3 weeks into a 14gallon tank. (all live sand, live cured rock and water from an established tank at the LFS) Ammonia and nitrites are down and Im changing out water to reduce levels of NO3 to begin adding a clean up crew.
perfectStage 1 of the cycle is in good shape and now I want to focus on growing anerobic bacteria.
yes. the only things that wants/uses light (photosynthesis) right now is algae and unwanted bacteria. after you start to add fish is when you want to, slowly, cycle in your lighting.My questions are as follows.
1. Should I still keep the lighting down to a minimumum to prevent excessinve alage growth?
yeah they do, not so much the shrimp. no worries though, the algae is there even if you can not see it. if you see it now, then its overgrowing and out competing your anaerobics. a blooming is normal but you dont want to let it remain all over the rock, CUC time and lighting up the refugium. you will be seeing some for sure but untill your anaerobics establish adding light to the main display will just give algae all the energy it needs to take over. the algae growing on the rock and sand is starving/preventing the anaerobics growing under it.(its not that black and white, fyi) snails and no light helps big time. if your worried about feeding your snails, leave lights off and put some algae flake foods or dried nori seaweed in there. you can get nori in the asian sec at whatever grocery store. but i would not do this in a nano. nutrients will build up quick in a 14gal, in effect it would be like adding a fish, to early in that size tank.Don't the snails, shrimp etc need the algae to feed?
na, not after adding some CUC members. in a larger 100gal system with 150lbs of rock, with all that surface area for bac growth, you may want to add extra foods. but not in your 14gal, the CUC will be enough. nano's are a little different this way. i am glad you brought this up, i should have included a size range and warned of differences, esp. with nanos. thanks for brining this up in a nano a NO3 level of 20 happens quick, but in a 100gal that same amount of NO3 might not even be detectable. one or two shrimp is enough for a nano but in a 100gal its just a start, its not an exact scale down. while posting this i had in mind a average tank of 90ish gallons. no idea if that is the average size reef.2. Should I add occasional flake food or something to provide a steady food source?
that is how you should be feeling, i still feel like that everytime. but having a idea on what to focus on and what to do/prevent instead of waiting and putting out fires(dealing with issues) when they pop up forever, its so nice later on, your tank will keep itself in check.I want to be very cautious and not rush the addition of too many critters in here, and ensure a good population of anerobic bacteria.
ok timing wise, and these are estimates, goes something like this, leaving out water changes and stuff but would be doing them;
no lighting, growing aerobics for 3-4wks with shrimp and/or adding organic foods to break down. after stage one in 3-4 wks i then add some cleaners also light up the refugium to encourge what algae will grow to grow in the sump/refugium and add macros to complete with micro algaes plus skim-then one week after the first cleaners were added i add about double the amout of CUC i did the first time-then add more in another week. now its about 4-5wks into it and i start to get my Ca/alk/Mg all good and make any final rock scaping adjustments then add some carbon. it takes about a week or two to get the chemistry settled. i may add some other CUC if needed. now its 6-8wks in and i add my first small fish and start to slowly cycle my lighting in like starting with one hour a day and increasing it 30min every two days. a dig timer is great for this, $15. watching for a NH3 spike, dont usually get one BTW, but am ready to do water changes if it happens. then your off and running-while keeping good husbandry you will have a nice solid little reef going:snshne: