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Old 06-28-2009, 11:04 PM   #1
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Tank Cycle With Table Shrimp?

when you use a table shrimp to cycle, how long do you leave it in? I put one in for a few days, ammonia started rising so I thought I could remove it. Had lots of brown stuff buid up in the tank, nitrites came up. Now, very little ammonia/ nitrite and nitrate. Was I supposed to leave it in? 55gal, 3" SB, 5# Garf Grunge?? Please help a dumb newbie!
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:17 AM   #2
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Sounds like you kept it in long enough. There's no magic number... as long as you get some ammonia going to get things started. Once your ammonia and nitrites are at zero, you can consider yourself cycled! Woohoo!

Just make sure that you start slow and only add one fish per month for the first few months. That will let the bacteria catchup with the new bioloads.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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So basically once the ammonia starts, you don't need anything producing ammonia?
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:17 PM   #4
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once you see ammonia show up, you have ammonia, thus no longer needing more ammonia.
However I imagine the more ammonia you have (within reason) to start with, the more beneficial bacteria you'll have at the completion of your cycle, thus giving you the ability to handle more bio-load.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the feedback. This is a really nerve racking time. I guess being new to this I don't really know what to expect.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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Hang on.... the bacteria need a constant supply of ammonia to survive. They consume it and create biproducts (i.e. NO2). They are normally provided this through fish wastes. If there are no fish or other sources, you will need to add an ammonia source to keep the tank biologically cycled.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:48 PM   #7
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So if I just remove the shrimp, my bacteria will die and I'm back to square one? What should I do? Should I continue adding shrimp or could I use fish food once I have the ammonia built up? Seems I've seen something about feeding the tank. Any advise is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:50 PM   #8
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Your right HN1, however your time line is a bit compact. Once the bacteria are there, they can live for a long time without having ammonia. So once the ammonia is gone and converted into nitrite then nitrate the "cycle" is complete. The bacteria will live long enough and even continue to multiply slightly while you start adding fish.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:58 PM   #9
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Your right HN1, however your time line is a bit compact. Once the bacteria are there, they can live for a long time without having ammonia. So once the ammonia is gone and converted into nitrite then nitrate the "cycle" is complete. The bacteria will live long enough and even continue to multiply slightly while you start adding fish.
There are multiple types of baterium involved in the basic aquarium "nitrogen cycle". One converts NH3 into NO2, one cosumes NO2 and creates NO3. If you deprive the tank of ammonia, you will get die off that results in ammonia, but will never equalize and you will eventually have to start from scratch. No living creature can reproduce for any significant amount of time without a food source. There must be a constant supply of ammonia to support the colony.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:14 PM   #10
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So I should keep a source there. Would a daily feeding of fish food work? I think that exact thing happened to me. I put a shrimp in, saw ammonia starting, then nitrite. I removed the shrimp and ammonia, nitrite dropped but never zeroed and I had just a little nitrate.
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