This thread is for cycling science and the goal is to have a single thread be able to meet the needs of saltwater tank cycling in a repeatable manner using visual biology and in a way different from other cycling threads, so that every tank complies. Every other cycle is is using unverified API color chart testing interpretations to define their cycle, we don't. we aren't using single-source color chart readings to guide a cycle, there's a better way where 10/10 readers will get the same result...no livestock loss and a tank full of active corals. If someone has digital/calibrated probe info to offer, post up. Keep color chart info to a minimum but post as needed for us to endure We will collect as many cycles, no loss of tank life, without color chart variation/interpretation. All tanks cycle the same given parameters you can affect. It's not that someone's tank in TX has a persistent .25 for twelve days and someone in MN was zero from day one, it's that testers are using one off-- unverified testing to make impactful tank decisions and google searches show how many ways there are to misread an API ammonia test at very low levels. Using vision and olfaction and known required bacterial timeframes can beat the old way of API interpreting in consistency; three onboard senses define when a cycle ends quite well...knowing when a tank can be used for intended bioloading is the goal of each cycler. There are no extended cycle tanks here, ever, check when it gets to 10 pages (prediction) Accurate cycling biology has a repeating finish time for each type of cycle, and all tanks comply given no meds dosed or other unnatural events. How simple is it to guide a cycle only off what ammonia does? That's our way here...one param predicting and one param verified accurate testing when needed. The last cycling article I read online said to put cocktail shrimp in the tank so that bacteria have feed, so why the title of this thread? Old cycle materials never told us that established bacteria don't need our help, won't die without our additions, and that a much better (precise, non algae fueling) method than gaining ammonia from rotting meat exists for the times bacteria weren't established right from the start. The point of this thread is using life forms you can see in the aquarium to guide cycling if you bought live rocks and replace test kits where possible. When testing is required, use salifert brand ammonia testing to reinforce your API readings, provide two numbers for the params so we can see the spread. If API cannot be verified by salifert we should leave out the API info for this thread, our cycles will not depend on how close a yellow is to a green hue nor a purple to a blue. Choosing when to start a tank based on biological allowance has nothing to do with how long you should take before starting to identify leaks, get electrical components installed and verified. When you can support an initial bioload is when you begin reefing and stocking the tank lightly, all other verifications in place. Quarantine all your fish, this prevents fish quick stocking After reading you will always know when your cycle is done, with finality, and you will know when to use ammonia and when not to, this is the full intention of the thread. Top pics are group A, the unverified gray no visual life barren rocks. This is where dr Tims and other bottle bacs come into use, and rotting shrimp or (much cleaner and workable) raw ammonium chloride dosing. Your end goal for these rocks is to make your system be able to digest a few ppm ammonia down to zero within a 24 hour period, 30-40 days after starting the fishless cycle method you can search out very easily. results can be earned within two weeks of a fast-paced fishless cycle using accurate ammonia testing and multiple bottle bac additions, but typical time is a month for group A rocks We don't spike ammonia in tanks that have life you can see stuck to the rocks and moving around--group A rocks don't have this life. pods, worms, snails crabs come with group B rock below. Group A rock tanks have water and a bunch of wet gray or white rocks, no pods worms or snails, they lack the obvious visual life (and by extension bacterial life) of purple/aged rock. Pick up a group A rock from your pet store and look how barren it is at this current stage. Group B rocks Bottom pics are cured live rock with months/years of coralline and fanworms and calcifications, the nitrifier-verified, group B rocks. *you do not ever have to ghost feed group B rocks because they are sitting in a tank, spike them with ammonia just to be sure, or cycle them whatsoever. Group B rocks means ready to go, you can skip the cycle if you plan carefully and transport them home wet/ underwater is better You can forego the entire wait time of biological cycling by using coralline covered rock or coralline spotted rock and caribsea wet pack sand and transporting it home in a reasonable way Do people who set up aquariums at massive aquarium conventions show up three weeks before the event to cycle? No, they skip the cycle and house twenty thousand dollars of bounce mushrooms just fine. If those tanks weren't taken down, they'd continue living just like any other reef but they skipped the initial cycle due to simply relocating already cycled materials, like when we bring home purple live rock from a pet store. We aren't advocating rushing, we advocate being exact in your cycle based on the substrate you paid for, and not adding ammonia to living organisms when ammonia articles say it stresses them. group B rocks show up at your home fully loaded with bacteria, and feed reserves for bacteria, opposite to common thought-those bacteria get food even if you don't add it. First aquarium myth of filtration bacteria shattered....destroyed. Aquarists don't sterilize high surface areas within an aquarium by withholding feed, we ascribe too much weakness to bacteria but microbiologists don't. Pick up and examine a group B rock up close, you can likely count several clear associated life forms on first peek and more will be littered and moving around the actual holding tank. Pods, worms, algae growths, small crabs indicating the busy nature of group B rocks. Coralline and fanworms are best to verify bacterial presence, because they take months to accrete to a rock and it always occurs long after bacteria took up initial residence. **group b rocks smell like the ocean out of water, .25 leaking rocks smell bad just a little. Key test for .25 claimers, or .75 worriers your rock will smell horrible if it's dying as any persistent ammonia indicates fully. If you think you have .5 ammonia and nothing stinks when you lift a rock out of the water, you don't have it from the rock. You have ammonia test error which is the bulk of ammonia testing The actions the reefer takes when dealing with type A or B rocks are polar opposite, what we do to cycle live rock is opposite of what we do to cycle dry rock. Once the bacteria are established on rocks, only meds or extremes will kill them * not ever moving between aquariums* and this sets the stage for our unique cycling thread here and why starting a tank with live rock and sand is very different than starting with dry substrates. Keep in mind that when you move live rocks between tanks using any reasonable preservation method, say an old tank vs a new one, or your pet store back home to you, your bacteria doesn't die, it actually stands to get a boost (if dieoff occurs this is feed) You can kill the live rock bacteria by introducing it to any extreme such as temp, desiccation or true drying, and meds, and it takes something that pronounced to kill them. *of any life form in your tank at any time, bacteria as a community are the toughest and most resilient and adaptive to any change, any cycling thread needs this opening frame of reference. Minor and even major things you do to the tank don't kill off or sterilize your bacteria, they may or may not affect your higher order and more sensitive life forms like pods, sponges and worms. minor salinity changes, pH changes, tank value changes, most things assumed to harm bacteria are simply no harm, none, to an insulated community such as nitrifiers Someone I respect greatly remarks on single point testing (not needing nitrate or nitrite testing in cycling) here: http://reef2reef.com/threads/nitrates-disappeared-mid-cycle.251059/ This link literally says quit testing for nitrite, the great time waster http://reef2reef.com/threads/nitrite-spike-in-qt.252455/ Post#8, persistent false nitrite reading from a non-api kit, a high quality kit: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2604106 any of the tanks from above would have been an "extended cycle" thread if we based the cycle completion upon debatable low level sustained nitrite readings. In this thread, we'll ignore nitrite readings, since nitrite follows ammonia digestion per all online cycling charts.