FAQ #39: Should filter media be used while cycling a reef tank?

March 1st, 2017
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Today on BRStv, we have another episode of BRS 52 FAQ where we answer all of your frequently asked reefing questions from our popular 52 Weeks of Reefing series.

This week we are answering Charles Mullen's question: "When cycling a new tank should I be running all of my filter media or should I exclude some types of media?"

There are definitely some filtration media that can be avoided during the cycle but there are some that may be beneficial as well. Biological filtration like Marine Pure is a great addition if your plan is to keep it in your system for a prolonged period of time. When it comes to biological filtration the biggest key is to not add anything that you may remove, since it may be removing the beneficial bacteria colony along with it.

Carbon is highly debated but if you cured your rock properly and used it during the curing process, its use should not be needed during the cycle. Carbon is made up of a network of pores that can easily house the dominant colonies of bacteria, and if removed it may be devastating to the bacterial colony and populations that you have been waiting to form.

GFO shouldn’t be required until food is being added to the tank and light is being introduced. During your cycle we do not recommend using any light and once you add livestock to your tank after the cycle you can use GFO to help prevent any algae issues, but shouldn’t be needed during the cycle.

Filter Media like Zeolites that follow a system should be used according to the systems instructions that you are trying to emulate. Some of those systems require use of filter media during the cycle, where others do not.

So follow along as we answer today's question, provide some helpful insight, and help make reefing just bit more fun and easy for you and your tank.

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