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Cuttlefish tank cycling.

ekocak

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Dec 7, 2008
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Upstate NY, USA
#1
Recently started a cuttlefish tank and it was suggested I start a thread here. Right now I'm 10 days in. I added 80 lbs of liverock to my 40 gallon breeder tank on May 4th, along with about an inch of sand. Ammonia is currently at .25, pH 8.1 and salinity is 1.024. I ran the skimmer for the 1st week, but have turned it off as I felt like it may have been unnecessary to run it so early. Thoughts on that appreciated.

 

ekocak

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#2
So a few notes/updates. All equipment is running fine. I've been turning on the T5 lights for a few hours a day here or there although I know that's not necessary. I haven't tested the water again since last weekend, but going to do that again shortly. Hoping for some nitrites. Have had the skimmer off for most of the week. The liverock was purchased from my LFS's curing tub and put directly into mine, with about a 20 minute car ride. There are starfish, tube worms and other stuff definitely still living in there, so I'm wondering how much of a cycle I'm going to really see.It'd be nice if some of those critters survived. I have noticed a slight tinge of brown algae on some of the rocks, so I'll probably shut the lights off for good for awhile.
 

ekocak

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#3
pH 8.0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite .25
Nitrate 10
Salinity: 1.025

So, pH is a little low, may need to rectify that. I did not expect all the ammonia to get eaten up so quickly, esp since I've been throwing fish food in there every couple of days. I suspect turning the skimmer off helped.
 

ekocak

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#4
Today I noticed a small bristleworm and some tiny skittering microorganisms all over the glass (pods of some kind, maybe?) The fan worms that hitchhiked in on the rock seem to have all survived for now as well, although I have no idea what they are eating. About half the tank is covered in brown algae (I assume from the nitrate and/or phosphate spike). I fitted a filter sock in the sump last night to help with some of the micro bubbles (since I don't have any baffles in there) and it seems to have worked. There is also a bit of what looks like hair algae forming in the upper righthand rocks. A single large nerite snail and a single blue leg hermit crab seemed to have also survived and seem happy to pick at the new algae. I'm still concerned over the low(ish) pH, and since I used sand and not crushed coral, I am thinking of going and getting a small bag of crushed coral and putting it in a filter bag in the sump to see if it helps.
 

ekocak

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#5
Weekend updates: So, nitrites finally came down to 0, and nitrates only shot up to about 15 ppm. My LFS was having a huge sale on livestock this weekend so I picked up a few hermit crabs and snails. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they do OK. (They seem to have made it through the first 24 hours). I will probably be doing a water change in a day or two. Also, this morning (Monday) I noticed a bazillion tiny free-swimming little shrimp of some kind.
 

Jocco

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#6
The shrimpy things I've been told are a type of 'pod' too. I've also been told they are good things, yay! Mine come and go. Your tank pic reminded me to get a thermometer (ty!). Looks good, as far as I know anyway!

What other sorts of things can one add to a sump? I was looking at set ups that include refugiums, but my sump doesn't have one... but I've also noticed people adding stuff to their sumps which makes me insanely curious.
 

ekocak

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#7
My sump is really basic. I used a 20L, and I don't currently have any substrate or anything. It houses a heater, the vinyl tubing that goes from the hard plumbed input, and output, and a leaky, but effective CPR bakpak skimmer. I also have a bit of chaeto in there, as the sump gets a fair amount of ambient light. And I just fitted a filter sock over the input and weighted down the tube with a chunk of lava rock.
 

ekocak

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#8
I don't think the little shrimp are amphipods, as someone elsewhere suggested, as they are free swimming and not crawling on the rock. I'm wondering if maybe they are mysids?
 

DWhatley

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#9
Catch a few an put them in a glass and photograph? Mysid are notoriously difficult to cultivate but a few members have been able to have a small number continue to reproduce by separating the young from the adults - sadly, not enough to use as food for baby cuttles. If they totally disappear in a week or so, then that seems like a good guess. There are several "pods", Wikipedia mentions that some forms of the smaller copepods are free swimming.
 

Jocco

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#10
Interesting set up - the add ons to the sump systems can get quite involved. The youtube videos of peoples' elaborate set ups are rad. Would you mind taking a photo? I'm totally new and curious.

The main heater for the tank can go in the sump?
I was reading about how to fortify our lid, and the wire for the heater posed a little problem for us. Our heater is in the tank. We left it because the LFS put it there, figured it must stay in there.
The next phase for us is to get a protein skimmer and to fortify the top, a couple little odds and ends, and live food... but we're ready to get an octopus after it is all in place.
 

DWhatley

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#11
Definitely put your heater in the sump. You may need to kick it up a little but octopuses don't understand being burned. Jacques Cousteau was intrigued by this and mentioned that they had to stop their "experiment" as it was clearly cruel. Before dive lights, underwater photography and night dives used torches (don't ask me how that worked :grin: I have no clue). As I remember it (Octopus and Squid, The Soft Intelligence - Highly recommend reading - out of print but available used quite inexpensively) the dive team wanted to see how the octopuses would react to the torch and heat since it was something they would not experience in the wild. The octopus was curious and did not flinch away, resulting in a burn.
 

ekocak

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#12
Here's a pic from when I was still putting things together. The skimmer leaked so was not set up on the back like shown. I'm not a huge fan of the stand but it was what I had. I think eventually I will replace the stand with something better (ideally I'd like to try building my own but my carpentry skills are nil at this point.) I'll definitely second putting the heater in the sump, too. Will try getting a pic of the tiny shrimp soon. image.jpg
 

Jocco

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#13
Rocco wanted to build a stand, I support the idea (he built stage set ups in college) it was winter when we got the tank... so building wasn't exactly an option at the time. We also wish ours was not against the wall. We placed our rock not as a pile in the middle and we would like to see the back of our tank. Maybe with a water change, we can somehow move it. Seems like a ridiculous idea at the moment. Can I also put my skimmer in my sump? You have yours in the tank still? ... you're setting up for cuddles... less worry about escaping lol.
 

ekocak

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#14
Skimmer is currently sitting smack in the middle of the sump. I snapped one of the skimmer's pipes while trying to tighten and stop a leak, but it's fine, it looks better down there anyways. I'm starting to get flecks of some kind of bright almost neon pink growth. It doesn't look like cyano but not sure it's coralline either. image.jpg
 

DWhatley

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#16
I've had bright pink coraline to grow where it does not get much light, usually on unexposed rock. I have tried flipping the rocks to expose it for esthetics but it dies. I have one rock that grows it nicely that I keep in an ambient light only tank and I will try to remember to photograph it next week.
 

ekocak

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#17
I was not able to take a decent picture of the tiny shrimps, but they seem to have mostly gone now. I'm seeing an explosion of the tiny little white flea guys that stick to the glass though. No casualties yet, aside from one astrea snail that was murdered in the name of hermit crab real estate.
 

Jocco

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#19
I was not able to take a decent picture of the tiny shrimps, but they seem to have mostly gone now. I'm seeing an explosion of the tiny little white flea guys that stick to the glass though. No casualties yet, aside from one astrea snail that was murdered in the name of hermit crab real estate.
"Pods" they 'worm' 'wind around sort of aimlessly' and 'flit' around in the water or on the glass. If you stare at a fixed spot of rock on your tank, they are on the rocks too, tons of them in groups. The population ebbs and flows.
The mysterious pink stuff - cool color - great that the critters eat it. No idea what it is, but it wasn't a negative thing seemingly. :)
 

ekocak

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#20
Alright, updates. I tested the water earlier in the week a few times and kept getting slightly lower pH readings which, as you can read above, has been worrying me. A lot of people don't worry about a pH of 8, but I'm a worrier. Since I was planning on mixing something into the sand anyways, I opted to use a bit of crushed coral, but a handful at a time so as not to cause a drastic swing. This seems to be working, but I need to take a new test this evening to confirm. I received a small colt coral frag from the LFS for $10 and while Im hesitant to add things while Im still stabilizing here, everything Ive read says they're hardy and actually like a small amount of nitrates in the water. It seems to be doing extremely well. It went from being this tiny deflated sad little thing to looking taller than it did in the LFS's tank. All polyps are fully extended. Nitrates, btw are staying around 10 ppm after a 20% water change last week. I've noticed also, that there are tiny brittle stars living in my rock that come out at night, so that's cool. Finally, this morning I noticed the first signs of some cyanobacteria forming on the glass and on one rock. I peeled it off, but will probably grab some phosphate removing pads next time I stop at the LFS.
 

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