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SallyElizabeth
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PostSubject: Fishless Cycling   Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:47 am

I have recently purchased a 64 litre fishtank and after a lot of research have decided that the best way to set up my tank is to do a fishless cycle. The only problem i am having is understanding how to carry out the fishless cycle. How much ammonia am i supposed to put into the tank each day??

Any help would be much appreciated
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:34 am

Hiya sally. welcome to the forum, and well done for deciding to do the fishless cycle - it is by far the best way to prepare your tank for fish.

As for how much ammonia to add, it really is a bit hit and miss I am afraid. See if you can get a syringe from your local chemist, if not use a small spoon (teaspoon or smaller). Add a small bit of ammonia and test the water, add a bit more if necessary, and so on until you get a reading of 5ppm.

Then every day repeat the process. You will soon get to know how much to add and it wont be a problem.

What type of water testing kit do you have by the way?

Any other questions dont hesitate to ask Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:03 am

hi sally first welcome to the forums

as fishfan says test your water every day, if you have a test kit if not it would
be a good idea to get one so you can keep an eye on your water quality
i find its best to check it once a week or fortnight, if i have forgotten anything
rich may be on line later to get you up to speed hope you get your tank sorted
and by the way what fish do you intend stocking



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Rich
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:22 pm

I'll assume your wanting to keep tropical fish (if not - the process is the same except for the heater temp parts)

OK - first of all - its best to have a 'shopping' list

This needs to be a sourse of ammonia (some will say to pee inthe tank, or use a prawn or two but its easier and more accurate to use household ammonia which is sold in boots or in hardware stores)

You also need test kits to measure ammonia levels and nitrite - you dont NEED a nitrate kit - but it will be useful later so for economy, I suggest a API master freshwater test kit which also has all three kits along with a pH kit (again you dont need this for a fishless cycle but its useful later) - a useful item to get from the chemist is a 10ml syringe (or a few of them) as not only can you accurate measure the amount of ammonia you put in each day - but also the 5ml lines on the test kit tubes are not 100% accurate so use a syringe to measure the amount of water to be tested.

IF you know someone who keeps fish already - ypur onto a big head start (or if your LFS is especially friendly - LFS= Local Fish Store/Shop) - so if you can get/beg/borrow/steal a quantity of used filter media, filter sponge squeezings, tank water, gravel - be it some of each or just the squeezings - this will provide an amount of bacteria to colinise your tank

Im sure you know the bacteria deal with the waste products, turning ammonia to ntrite, then nitrite to nitrate (and nitrate is what you throw away when you do a water change)

Basically the process is as follows

set up your tank, ie the filter(s), heater(s) and air line -set the heaters to run at about 28degrees C (a higher temp spreeds up bacterial growth) Some people say not to add plants (live ones) at this stage - I did it with plants and im not sure it matters too much. When the tank water is at the right temp (allow 24-36hours from start to reach this temp) you can then start up your filters and add the donar material.

if you dont have a donar source - not to worry, as the bugs will develop regardless - it tales a lot longer from start to finish. With donar material - 10 days is about the normal rate - upto a month isnt uncommon without donar bugs.

Basically - add ammonia (1ml at a time) - wait 5mins (to mix in withthe water) anbd then test the levels - when the lelev is about 5ppm - stop adding ammonia and leave the tank for 24hrs.

The repeat at the same time the next day - You will find after a couple of days that a set amount of ammonia gives 5ppm,

You also need to watch the nitrite levels - these will gradually increase until you get really high readings (the spike) and once you hit this spike - you want to gut the ammonia input to about 3ppm per day.

Basically you keep going until one day - you test the water (before adding ammonia) and you find no ammonia and ni nitrite - ie you have enough bugs to consume the ammonia and nitrite produced/added in a 24hour period.

You do not change any water whilst your growing the bugs - only just before your ready to add your first fish - when your are ready, you need to carry out a 80% water change (dont forget to turn the heater down to a more reasonable temp between 24-27degrees c depending on the fish you want)

Keep a diary of readings - so you can watch whats going on - its norm,al to have a faster growth of ammonia eating bugs than nitrite bugs - you may want to have a look at Rich's tank (in my tank section ofg the forum - in photograhy) as i have my fishless cycle there.

If you explore the site - you should find a few posts on this topic (try using the search tool) but otherwise - the tinterweb is full of info on fishless cycles.

Good luck - and dont hesitate to ask (we were all new once) and I think I ve covered everything - its a big topic - its not as complicated as it sounds - once you get intothe swing of things, its quite simple.

Cheers -
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Mary
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:56 am

to TFF wave

First of all, good for you for doing your research before adding fish as most people (myself included) do the research afterwards and end up with all sorts of problems due to having the fish in an uncycled tank. It takes patience and perseverance to get through the fishless cycle but rest assured, it's the best and safest way to set up the tank for the fish. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:19 am

Thanks so much to all of you for your help, its made things much clearer Smile

Wander if any of you could answer this question for me...

I know i dont need to worry about this just yet but would be useful to know for the future.

When it comes to changing the filter pads whats the best way of going about this? I've heard of some people cutting them in half and replacing half at a time so that not all the bacteria is lost at once.

Am i right that the best way to clean the filter is to rinse the pads in tank water (water i have taken out during water changes) ??

Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:55 am

OK - 1st point - filter instructions often say to replace all the media on some sort of regualr basis - usually recommending their own - this is just to make money so ignore it.

If a sponge is so 'rotten' that is breaks in your hands when cleaning (yes - in tank water) then it needs replacing - and yes, half is the usual amount - allow a minth or so then replace the other half.

If you have a bigger external filter, you can get away with removal of a whole layer (sheet) of sponge - but I wouldnt recommend this for at least 1 year - and to be frank (or bob) you ought not need to replace a spnge etc for well over a year - in the case of ceramic noodles or plastic bioballs - they ought never need replacing.

Some of the courser sponges can get clogged up beyond cleaning - and I find ceramic noodles a better course mechanical media as you can easily wash of the chincky crud in tank water whilst keeping a very healthy bug hoard.

Hope this helps Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:16 pm

SallyElizabeth wrote:
Thanks so much to all of you for your help, its made things much clearer Smile

Wander if any of you could answer this question for me...

I know i dont need to worry about this just yet but would be useful to know for the future.

When it comes to changing the filter pads whats the best way of going about this? I've heard of some people cutting them in half and replacing half at a time so that not all the bacteria is lost at once.

Am i right that the best way to clean the filter is to rinse the pads in tank water (water i have taken out during water changes) ??

Thanks

I think Rich has more or less said it all (as usual Smile)

I have had the filters going in my tank filter for about 3 years and have yet to change them. All I do is give them a bit of a rinse when I am doing the weekly water change (in the old tank water) and they work fine.

The only time you need to think about changing the filter pads is if the flow from the filter is getting less, or the pads have started to fall to bits, but that shouldn't happen for a long, long time.

By the way, habe you started the cycle yet?

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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:31 am

Ok thanks very much

Yep i'm 3 days into the cycle now Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:04 am

keep up the good work


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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:10 am

I think I am a bit weird because I really enjoyed doing the fishless cycle. I couldn't wait to do my water testing every day and see if there was any change, and I used to put the tank lights on in the evening and admire how I had positioned the fake pants and ornaments.

Sad isnt it!

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SallyElizabeth
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:14 am

I'm exactly the same dont worry lol. I've been obsessed with this fish tank.
I have real plants in my tank but who knows how long they will last seeing as i already threw a strop with one plant yesterday as it decided to die on me lol.
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:19 pm

Do you have any thoughts on what fish you will be getting Sally?
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SallyElizabeth
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:44 am

I've been thinking about that for soo long now that i really havent got a clue. I've got soo many i want that i'm having a problem narrowing it down to just a few fish.

I know i definitely want some guppys and would really like some endlers as well, i think they are ok to keep together as i dont intend to breed them and only want males.

As for other fish thinking of having some cardinal tetras and a few ottos.

Thats probably about all i would fit isnt it??

I have a 64 litre tank.

Any suggestions on any fish that would be suitable would be much appreciated Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:01 am

Ok be told - as 1st fish - none of them

just to save you early heartache - simply because they are all 'delicate' and basically they require a stable environment - a well established tank - which means everything is running merrily and has been for at least 6months (this gives time for all the microbes, bacteria, algae and others) to establish fully

So with this in mind and im guessing you want smaller species - cherry barbs are small and quite attractive and hard as nails - and will make great starter fish (they will tolerate any early mistakes you will make cos we all made em early on) and they will keep the filter active as well the other things ive mentioned.

That mix of fish you mentioned above is fine - just later on

I have a 64liter tank (FishPod) dunno if its what you have - but in mine I have 5 corydora catfish, a pair of Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlids, too many guppys to name - 3 Black Neons, 4 Galaxy Rasbora

I had a major catastrophe with some decor that wiped out alot of my fish which is why I have a seemingly odd mix

A tank with just a shoal of neons would look stunning Wink
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SallyElizabeth
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:25 am

Yeah i have a fishpod too Very Happy

Ok thanks for the advice, think i will probably get a few cherry barbs to start off with then. Any other fish that are quite hardy that i could put with them?

Think i'll wait a few months before i go for guppys etc.

Would the corydora catfish be ok as a starting fish? As i have liked them just i know they are best being kepy in a group and didnt think i'd have enough room.
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:05 am

Once you have finished the fishless cycle Sally, you will be able to fully stock your tank so it's an idea to have a look round and make a bit of a list. If you dont fully stock, but just get a few fish, the bacteria in your filter drops back to deal with the amount of waste those few fish produce. When you then add a few more fish there is a chance of having a problem with water quality until the bacteria numbers builds up to deal with the extra workload.

Cherry barbs are lovely, and you should be able to a small group of them in a 64litre, as well as a group of corys (dont forget they need some hiding places to make them feel secure.

Have a think and a look round to see what else you would like, and then just fully stock when you are finished.

What sort of readings are you getting in your cycle now?

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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:02 am

Hiya sally, how's it going then? Are you going to do live plants or artificial - had a thought yet?
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:05 am

Hey sorry havent been around much recently. Been dealing with snow issues lol!

Tank is doing well atm. Apart from i have had another one of my plants die... (fishfan i have live plants and 1 fake)

Nitrite is through the roof. Pinker than my scale goes lol
Ammonia is about 4.5ppm
Nitrate is rising slowly, now at about 30ppm

Does that sound right?
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:03 am

Sounds like things are going well then Smile

When your Nitrite stops going up dont foeget to reduce the amount of ammonia you are adding to keep the level at about 2 or 3ppm/

You will soon be able to get your fishies Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:58 am

you have to be sure your nitrite is really off the scale - if your using an api liquid test kit - your looking for deep purple - otherwise - you end up with what we call a mini cycle - long stgory but a pain

When your certain youve hit the nitrite peak - then you cut the ammonia input - and its relativly smooth running once this happens (as I said, the nitrite bugs seem to take the longest to establish)

FYI - all the ammonia and nitrite in your tank - well, your plants wont appreciate it much either - unstable environment and all that - also - live plants can and do (somewhat) interfere withthe cycle process anyway

No matter - i cycles with live plants (they are hopeless on a tandum tho Very Happy) and at the end of the day - plants are easily replaced (although they are costly and technically like fish etc are living organisms too)

anyway - ive given up crying over dead plants - ive not killed any plants in well over a year - these fake plants are tough cookies Wink

Off to the LFS soon me thinks (for you Very Happy) speaking of which - Chequered barbs are tough too - quite attractive in their own right and about the same size and dietry etc needs as cherry barbs - corys may be ok - but expect a few losses if you add them as 'first fish' - but in a fish pod - id start out with say 4-6 cherry barbs - then in a week or two - add a similar number of checkered barbs (spellings are optional both are ok) - corys - well I have 5 'brinze' cory in my fish pod (two are albino and live midwater most the time)

Cory really do much better if you feed them catfish pellets instead of expecting them to eek a living outta scraps - a couple of times a week feeding a pinch of catfish pellets will do them a world of good Wink - in general, try to keep the diet of your fish varied to (hopefully) be sure of a reasonably balanced and nutrious diet - health = happiness = prettyness Wink

If your not too far from me - I may be able to give you some free home bred (and thus strong) guppy's

Hope this helps
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:23 pm

What fish are you going to get sally? Have you got a shopping list ready Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:30 am

Dont talk about fish lol. Still undecided about what i want.

Definitely want some corys and some platys but still havent got a clue what other fish to get.

Think i'm driving my boyfriend mad by dragging him round the fish shop every week lol.

Bought more plants today, added a small Co2 unit and improved the lighting in my tank so hopefully i will better luck with them now though. Tank is much more planted out now so the fish will have plenty of places to hide when i eventually get them. Will post a picture of it to get peopls opinions soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:12 pm

Look forward to seeing those pics sally. How is the fishless cycle going - your nitrites shot up yet?

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ViaAqua Tank AR620 97litres
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PostSubject: Re: Fishless Cycling   Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:15 pm

You do know about PLaty's (and livebearerss in general) ?

ie they breed like speed and vigra driven bunnies Very Happy

No LFS will pay for the fry (if they take them off you at all)

just to warn you cos 3 platys will soon be 20 or more

BUT they are nice fish (i still think about getting more now I have angel fish to deal with the fry)

the great thing about smaller tanks - is that small fish can and do look great in them - especially with the right decor Wink
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