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Old 04-11-2005, 11:50 AM   #1
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need new tank advice!

I recently set up a 25 gallon eclipse tank. Following the saltwater FAQ that's everywhere on the internet, I got the temperature, specific gravity and ph levels correct, and then let the tank sit for about a week because I was too busy to work on it. Two days ago I bought two damsels to start the nitrogen cycle and put them in. So now I come here and learn that my damsels have a good chance of dying during the ammonia spike! The FAQ didn't say there were ways of cycling without using live fish. It also made it seem like live rock is optional, so I didn't put any in.

What should I do? So far the fish seem active and healthy, although one has bullied the other into hiding (I read that damsels were territorial so I asked the guy at the shop if getting different types would help - he said there was a 50/50 chance. Turns out I probably should have avoided the 4-striped one altogether; this guy is pretty mean and the poor blue one just cowers beneath a rock.). Any help is appreciated.

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Old 04-11-2005, 11:53 AM   #2
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You should take the damsels back to the lfs as soon as you can, then put in 1-2 raw shrimp.

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Old 04-11-2005, 01:47 PM   #3
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It is not humane but Damsels have been used to cycle for years. They will probably live but the big question will be if you want them when the cycle is done. They are mean little suckers.
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:22 PM   #4
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The best thing in my opinion would be to return the damsels, and do a fishless cycle, like Morticus suggests. It's a whole lot easier, there's no risk to any fish, and it gives you time to REALLY consider what fish you want to keep. With 2 damsel's, any other small fish will be bullied and chased constantly. A pair of clowns would go nicely in there without damsels, but they aren't something you'd ever want to risk losing (at roughly $15 a piece, even people who don't care about their fish won't pay that much for cycle fish).
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Old 04-11-2005, 06:10 PM   #5
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
I agree, consider taking the fish back.
live rock is optional
Well...yes it is optional, but I would never considering doing a tank without it. It is by far the best filtration media available. It is a nice way to cycle a tank as well.
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
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Old 04-12-2005, 12:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, everyone! Unfortunately I could not return my fish today as the store is closed on mondays. They seemed fine until I got home - now they are both sort of staying in one hiding place and won't eat. They have woken up a bit since I got home, but it's still a pretty drastic change. Is there anything I can do to help them survive until the morning? Ammonia is reading about .25ppm, nitrite and nitrates both 0. Ph may be a bit high; it's hard to tell on the strips. I have Kent Ammonia Detox - would it help to put some of that in? Thanks for all your help with my dumb mistake!
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:31 AM   #7
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Like ellisZ said, damsels have been used to cycle tanks for years. They should be fine... Keep an eye on test parameters.
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:14 PM   #8
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So I returned the poor fish and started a fishless cycle. I'm just now seeing a peek of nitrites in the tank. I was wondering - if my ammonia levels hit zero before the shrimp is totally gone, is it safe to add fish in the same tank as a rotting shrimp? Should I take it out first?

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