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A Tropic Marin Tank (3): The Cycle - Part 1

After setting up the reef tank aquascape and filling the tank, we need to get it ready to sustain life. For that we need to establish nutrient cycles in the aquarium. Mainly the nitrogen cycle but also other beneficial bacterial and microbial cycles which create the healthy biodiversity we want.


The cycle for this aquarium is split into two parts. The first part is about establishing the nitrogen cycle and preparing the aquarium for fish. The first step is to add the nitrifying bacteria. Two methods of introduction is done: The first is by dosing Tropic Marin Nitribiotic (a unique bacterial blend which is a cornerstone in a Tropic Marin tank) the second is by adding actual live rock, which comes from the natural reef.

The picture shows the light rock in the sump. Some detritus accumulation is unavoidable, especially since the mechanical filtration is offline during the cycle. The aquarium comes with a filter roller, but it is offline. The live rock is kept in the dark, but in the highest available flow. As visible in the picture, the rock is growing all kinds of marine sponges. These act as a cool natural mechanical filter. Again, biodiversity is key and a goal for this tank. Doing it this way, the amount of live rock taken from the ocean is minimal. This small pile of rocks is only 1/36th the amount of liverock used in a traditional reef tank of this size with live rock. It's really the best of both worlds.

To culture the Nitrifying bacteria and biodiversity from the rocks, some dosing is required. Tropic Marin offers a wide variety of products which can aid in this. Tropic Marin Nitribiotic and the live rock add bacteria. These bacteria need to grow, and for growth they need nutrients. Tropic Marin Reef Actif adds natural algae polymers which act as a food source for beneficial bacteria found in the coral reefs. Imagine the amount of algae that is decomposed at any given time on a natural reef, the bacteria responsible for this are fundamental for the reef ecosystem. Tropic Marin Plus-NP is the source of nitrogen, phosphate and carbon that will be the main nutrients for the general bacterial population. Tropic Marin A- and K+ Elements add important trace elements, which will ensure they don't run out. Of particular importance is iodine, which in a newly cycled tank will be very low, since all the bacteria will utilize it.

An aquarium without iodine, nitrogen and phosphorous is not ready for coral. So it is important that these are dosed from the beginning. Otherwise the water chemistry is already less than ideal within a few weeks, which will only make the reefing journey harder.

Weekly: 1 ml /

150 L or 40 gal

Weekly: 1 spoon / 500 L or 125 gal

Daily: 1 ml /

150 L or 40 gal

Daily: 1 ml /

300 L or 80 gal

Daily: 1 ml /

300 L or 80 gal

This is the dosing schedule used for this tank. If the PO4 concentraion rises above 0.1 mg/l, the Tropic Marin Plus NP dosing is stopped. A UV filter is kept on hand ready for use in case a bacterial bloom occurs. The lights are off during this time period. This dosing was maintained for about 4 weeks. At this point the first fish were added, when the aquarium read 0.0 ammonia and some nitrates were present. The next post will cover fish feeding. - Samuel Christensen













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