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Dr. Tim's "One and Only" complete step by step instructions.

Mark L.

Moved On
Oct 8, 2010
The Woodlands
Thanks to Jasonc for giving us this awesome write up. I figured I'd make a fresh thread and sticky it so everyone can find the instructions easier without having to dig.

OK - here's how I interpreted the directions and completed my cycle. Funny thing is, Dr. Tim told me I still did it wrong and could have added more ammonia sooner. Why can't this guy get decent directions out??? Anyway, here is what worked for me:

Day 1: Calculate your water volume (tank/sump minus rock/sand). For my 180 with 60 gallon sump I estimated 140 gallons for the tank ( 100 lbs of eco-rock and a 4" sand bed) and and I have an operating sump volume of 40 gallons for a total of 180 gallons. I probably have more water volume but I would definitely go easy on the ammonia. You are shooting for 2 PPM in your system. So test until you get to 2 PPM or just guesstimate it. The ammonia supplied by Dr. Tims says 1 drop per gallon or 1 ML per 20 gallons will bring you to 2 PPM.
I turned off my skimmer, dosed 8 ML of ammonia, shook the bottle and added the contents to the tank.

Day 2: Test ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and record. If you have nitrate - don't test again until your cycle is done; you just want to see if it's there for peace of mind that your cycle is on the right track. If you see nitrate that means the bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate are there and that's all that matters. Otherwise, your just burning up tests that are probably false high readings. Add a HALF DOSE of ammonia - I dosed 4 ML

48 hours after adding bacteria - turn your skimmer back on. It's a great time to break in the skimmer while nothing is in there and all the bacteria have had time to settle (contrary to popular belief the bacteria in our systems are not in the water; their on hard surfaces [sand/rock/glass etc])

Day 3: Test and record ammonia and nitrite.

Day 4: Test and record ammonia and nitrite

Keep this up until you have 0 on ammonia and nitrite. Once you hit 0 on ammonia and nitrite add another FULL DOSE. Once this processes (24-48 hours) you are good to go! Here's the best thing....ADD FISH AND CORALS!

I added soft corals the day after I cycled and have not lost a single item. I added fish, crabs, snails and shrimp 2 days after the cycle and have not lost any of those items either. No signs of stress...nothing.

So far in the 180 I have all my LPS and softies - a labouti wrasse, a hooded wrasse, a pair of swallowtail angels and a small sailfin tang. All are doing great! I move in the rest of my crew this weekend (borbonius, royal gramma and chalk bass).