How long should you wait to add livestock to your reef tank? That question has plagued saltwater aquarists for years. Odds are you would receive different responses to the question from anywhere from a few days to months. The later method is part of a trend to wait as long as possible to add livestock to your fish tank called “conditioning”.
Conditioning is not a new strategy when setting up a new fish tank but few observe the unique strategy. It is most popular with Europeans who tend to wait at least 90 – 180+ days before adding their first live animal to the tank. Conditioning is really an extended “cycling” period, one that sees the Nitrogen Cycle come and go usually in less than 30 days and adds additional days for good measure.
Americans are said to less likely to use the strategy compared to their European counterparts. Europeans tend to plan and strategize their tanks whereas many new novice American hobbyists purchase livestock as needed at local fish stores. However, more seasoned hobbyists use quarantine systems before introducing them into their new or complex systems – a approach that is recommended by professional hobbyists.
We’re interested in learning how long you waited before introducing livestock to your reef tank? 30 Days? 60? 90? 180+?