how to setup a new saltwater tank for beginners – how to cycle a saltwater tank – prevent fish death

how to setup a new saltwater tank for beginners – how to cycle a saltwater tank – prevent fish death


new saltwater aquarium setup ammonia kills fish saltwater fish, uneaten food and fish breathing release ammonia. ammonia is toxic to fish ammonia must not be present in your saltwater aquarium before adding fish! you need bacteria in your aquarium. beneficial bacteria in your saltwater aquarium removes ammonia use shrimp from a butcher to start the cycle of your new saltwater aquarium. cycling your new aquarium can take 4-6 weeks. you cannot place a fish in your new saltwater tank until this is complete this is why they call it live rock and live sand bacteria lives on the rock and sand beneficial bacteria breaks down ammonia so fish can live healthy

71 thoughts on “how to setup a new saltwater tank for beginners – how to cycle a saltwater tank – prevent fish death

  1. Loved this video thanks i added a shrimp (dead) my ammonia went sky high but the day after it went down again will test again tomorrow once again great video 👍

  2. How about seed the tank from another filter?. Then add two small dominoes after quarantine or add a small fish from the same tank as the bacteria.

  3. Loved this! A great place to practice being patient in this hobby is RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING! Like you said, don't rush nature! 😎

  4. Done many times with water changes once a week 10 percent. Never had a problem. Cruel is keeping marine fish thousands die every day. I'm guilty of this also. Fresh water also done rite tank cycles in 7to 10 days. Did it in my whole sale bussiness worked great

  5. Let me expand on my lower comment we used under gravel filters with dolomite as a substrate 1 1/2 inches on top. When you are running 3to 500 tanks this worked best for a quick cycle. Ammonia was never in the danger zone. Fish were lost mostly in shipping bags or over drugged when caught. I kept 6 moorish idols for six years in a 500 gallon tank . My friends and I caught them in Hawaii. I then donated them to the Brooklyn aquarium . Steven channel is the best he knows his stuff keep jamin A

  6. Nice video! I wish you could do a cool animated video that shows how everything works together… Such as phosphates, calcium, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, magnesium etc. BTW, I sent you an email about looking at what I do to fix audio for a podcast I volunteer to adjust… Just wondering if you got it.

  7. Hi, I'm about to set up a saltwater tank but the thing is I'm buying live sand, live rock and premixed saltwater that is supposed to have all the beneficial bacteria so do I have to wait 4-6 weeks or maybe less please help

  8. Thank you for supplying that info .. I have just set up my 120L reef tank and it is just cycling now . Have told myself 4-6 weeks of testing before i add any fish

  9. rotter tube reef, when cycling im planning on adding the shrimp leaving it for around three days to decompose then removing, whilst everything is running bar the skimmer, then after three days turn skimmer on and resume cycling normally ?, or would you have the skimmer on from day one ?, also planning on cycling with no lights to stop algae as much as i can, also from what i gather i should only have to do one water change during the cycle when the ammonia/nitrites reach zero & the nitrates are high just to get them down then add CUC .. right ?, or would a weekly 15 percent water change help it along ?, many thanks in advance if you can answer my questions done alot of research so far just a few minor details im unsure of before i jump into my first tank, keep up the good work mate !!

  10. Thanks for posting this and the specifics. My wife, Crystal, told me to be sure to let you know that this helped a lot and she liked the simple explanation of the cycling process! As newbies, this is a big help. I had read about the cycling process before but that's the first I'd heard anyone mentioning using shrimp as starter. BIG THUMBS UP!!!
    In our original plan, we were going to give the DrTim's "One and Only" a try and watch the measure levels based on the instructions before adding fish. We're trying to be careful to do this the right way the 1st time. We bought a 75 gal tank but returned it for a 90 gal with built-in overflow. Also, we picked up a used 30 gal tank for quarantine area. Just got two Eheim 250W heaters (one for failover safety). Now we're waiting for our store bought cabinet to be modified by a handy friend so we can get a 20-30 gal sump underneath it safely & with greater weight support. (We had the same problem that you had in your 2015 video cause the sump wouldn't fit underneath). The next plan is to have an 8"x8" or hopefully, a little larger, bio refugium along with various media to help maintain clean, properly balanced water. (This is the sump https://reefbuilders.com/2016/08/01/freedom-sump-proclear-aquatic-systems-launches-its-own-upscale-filter/).
    Still lots of things to learn and continue working toward before the first clown fish can ring our doorbell. 🙂

  11. No Thank You. And to think I was going to sacrifice a clown fish. I'm glad I stumbled upon your video. Thanks again

  12. Can I start a new tank and use live rocks and water from already established tank, But Buy new live sand, can I start putting fishes and corals?

  13. Thanks for the video. how many shrimp should i use for a 210 gallon tank?
    Should i run the skimmer at this time, if not, when should i start the skimmer?
    Should i wait for the lighting to be installed or can the bacteria grow in minimal light?

  14. Hi I am having an 20gallon tank Iam using dry rock so how many days it will take for the beneficial bacteria’s to settle on to it ?
    And should I put my lights and skimmer on during this cycling process ?

  15. i am at the third stage i am doing a fishless cycle i just tested the water today ammonia was 0 and nitrite is around 0.50ppm getting there but not rushing

  16. Thank you for the amazing video! But I do have a couple of questions. How often do we add the shrimp, just once? And do we leave them in there or pull them out after a few days? Thank you

  17. Great video really enjoyed it. But I do have some questions do you believe in adding bacteria or live rock or live sand and/or would you be worried about critters getting in also the other question is some people say that the tank will crash if you don't have live sand or rock because some of those critters that are in the rocks or in the sand are needed to balance out the treitas and waste?

  18. Very informative video! So i have a question for you. If you have 0 ammoina, 0 nitrite, and 20-40 nitrate does that mean that your tank is cycled? My though is that it cant be that fast… I am really confused. I got this number in a week of setting up a tank. Its a 17g tank. I used 17lbs live rock from lfs, 15 lbs caribsea live sand, 2 boxes of 5 gallon ocean water and rest premixed water. I put pinch of fish food in day 2,4,6. Also added big 8oz bottle of Bio Spira half on day 2 and rest on day 4. Today i went out and bought a API saltwater test kit and i did the test correctly. I was confused and did another test with my test strips i had and same result. I dont see any diatoms but very very small specks of  brownish green fuzzy looking things. I mean that is very little on very small portion of rocks. I just want to do it right the first time. Thanks.

  19. this is the BEST explanation for me as a person who is her English is a second language. Simple yet it came ALL in my mind Easily! thank you so much for this video. I watched so many videos with too much talk yet it didn't get to my mind like you did.

  20. Ok, ldead live rock is a waste of money!!! Love rock does same thing!! Half the price, so other than looks…can you please tell me why everyone tells me to get live rock? I don't worry about ammonia!! I clean my filters more than most people, and do lots of water changes…

  21. Thank you so much for great videos! My question is I’m in middle of cycling my saltwater tank and its been about a month! I feed my 3 puffer fishes once a day and seems that ammonia keep going up when nitrite and nitrate is at 0. People say when you water change to get rid of ammonia you are stepping back to 1st step of cycling and like this your tank doesn’t cycle! My question is im changing about 20% water every 2-3 days to bring ammonia level down so my fish wont die! Is my tank still going to cycle like this even im changing 20% water every few days? Thanks a lot for your help 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

  22. Hello lovely video really got some idea how to setup an salt water aquarium
    Just wanted to know what subtracts to add for the external canister filtration.
    can we add Bio-Rio for the flirtation or just Bio-Balls and Activated Carbon is enough for the aquarium?
    Please help out..

  23. I just fully set up the tank today for it to cycle. I have a 29g with live sand/dry/live rock. I put a bacteria booster to give it more bacteria. Should I be putting fish food in the tank to let it rot? even though there’s no fish?

  24. i know this may sound like a stupid question, by my little sister is really allergic to shellfish and gets crazy when i get inverts, and i know fish food, the stuff anyways, is meaty and full of protein, so can i start the cycle with just fish food as it decays?

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  26. Hi Sir.
    If i start new tank, with bactery housing from old tank (15months old tank). But i use dead rock & not live sand.

    Should i wait as usuall cycling (around 8 weeks) or i can speed up the cycling?

  27. I've been setting up tanks since the 80s and can tell you that it's perfectly fine to set up a new saltwater tank and add a fish right away. I set up a 6 gallon little saltwater tank. Bought some live sand, mixed my own saltwater, tossed in a maroon clown the following day and he lived great for 5 solid years. You don't really need to look into it too much, unless you're doing some fragile fish.

  28. Im pretty sure I know the answer buuut
    Can your tank cycle without a filter.?
    I have live sand dry rock and the saltwater + wavemaker… but the filter was broken day one and has been on back order… didnt know if it would still cycle or what…

  29. Did you forget to mention that we should remove the decomposing shrimp, once the tank is cycled, but before adding the 1st fish?

  30. I use a brand of ammonia that has no cleaning supplicants or scent additives. Dose the tank to 1PPM then run tests once we start seeing nitrates in the water keep dosing until 1ppm can be converted to nitrates with 0 ppm of ammonia or nitrites in ~24hour period . Did all my fresh water tanks this way called it the humane way of doing it without using hearty fish approach of old hehe

  31. Good video.I began cycling my tank soon and using the shrimp method:cured my pukanni dry rock 2 months in bleach on the dark,dry sand

  32. When do you add the cleaner species like crabs, snails and urchins? Also if I wanted to add red mangroves to help balance my tank would I add it during cycling or wait till the cycling was over? Also if I'm using live sand and shrimp method do I have to have live rocks? My pet store said I need both but I really do not want the smell from live rocks.

    My plan was to add live sand first, wait for it to balance then add live rocks, mangroves and cleaner species, wait for it to balance, and then add my fish. Is this a good course of action?

  33. Just add Dr.Tims aquatics one and only formula and ammonia and your tank will be ready in about a week and call it a day!

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