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Old 09-27-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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Cycling without fish

Hi everybody. I first want to say that I did extensive reading on tank cycling withOUT fish and I'm still so confused. So I figured I'd come here and give it a shot.

My question:
Is there any way a new tank can be "cycled" without using either fish or ammonia? I read that I can just add some fish food and that will produce the stuff needed to get this bacteria cycle going. But is that enough?

We are willing to be as patient as it takes for this, absolutely no rush here..... probably one of the reasons I don't want to use "disposable fish" if it isn't truly necessary. Also, may be a bit odd, but I don't want to use [bottled] ammonia either.

Any and all advice will be truly appreciated!! Thanks!


(specifics)
- We got a 29 gallon saltwater tank -> added the water+salt mix -> used hydrometer. etc etc
- Added sand on the bottom (its crushed coral).
- A week later we bought 25 lbs of "cured" live rock form local pet store.
- The rock has been sitting in the tank for 5 days now.
- We have a filter hanging on the top and one powerhead (so far) that have also been running for the whole time (since day one). The water temperature has been at a constant 75~ degrees.
- We did a test on the water on 9/24 for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and PH. Ammonia + nitrite were at 0, and the other 2 were within basically perfect ranges... So am I still waiting for a spike? Do I have to do something to make that spike happen? LOL My gosh I am so lost at this point. lol




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Old 09-27-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Well, you can use fish food, but it has to rot and produce ammonia, which would be the exact same thing as adding ammonia straight from a bottle... If youre not in a hurry you can just "feed" the tank, but its not as accurate as its hard to judge how much ammonia will be produced by the food you feed it... but it'll work
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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there is no way to cycle a tank without some kind of ammonia. ammonia is a ammonia, regardless if its from doing a fish-in cycle, fish food, MP, or bottled ammonia.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #4
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Ok so the live rock alone is not enough to cycle it.. since the live rock is not producing any ammonia? I hope I am understanding this right. Sorry for the obviously dumb questions. hehe
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:03 PM   #5
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Not a dumb question at all. I`m glad you asked. Several things about what you asked. As mentioned above to cycle the tank you`ll need an ammonia source. In our article on cycling

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ank/Page1.html

You`ll see we recommend a shrimp from the grocery store. It can be flakes like you said or it can be dieoff that is on LR. The nitrifying bacteria will grow on surfaces like your LR and will feed from the ammonia and nitrites and result in an end result of nitrates. PWC`s and skimmers will take care of that. Thank you very much for considering the fish and what they have to go through. Any more questions just ask.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by melosu58 View Post
Not a dumb question at all. I`m glad you asked. Several things about what you asked. As mentioned above to cycle the tank you`ll need an ammonia source. In our article on cycling

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ank/Page1.html

You`ll see we recommend a shrimp from the grocery store. It can be flakes like you said or it can be dieoff that is on LR. The nitrifying bacteria will grow on surfaces like your LR and will feed from the ammonia and nitrites and result in an end result of nitrates. PWC`s and skimmers will take care of that. Thank you very much for considering the fish and what they have to go through. Any more questions just ask.
Finally, a good clear article. I'll definitely try the shrimp and let the bacteria on the LR do its thing.

Thank you so much for clearing this up everyone!! I'll post an update with pics in a few weeks when the tank is ready for a clown or two.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #7
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I use 1 raw, unseasoned jumbo shrimp per 30 gallons to cycle my tank.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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Go with the jumbo shrimp. It's a heck of a lot cleaner than cycling with live rock. I cycled with live rock, and my tank is still in the aftermath of its effects. If i could go back to the first day i was about to cycle, i would have used the shrimp method.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:43 PM   #9
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Ok guys, the shrimp is now in! I put it in a small piece of nylon (old pantyhose haha) and wrapped it up tight and dropped it in.

So here we go! Let the cycling begin. Wish me luck!!!!
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:38 AM   #10
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Good luck, it's in mother natures hands now just let her perform her magic. Remember only test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates because your other readings will be all over the place while the tank is cycling. Don't run your skimmer and it's OK to leave the lights off.
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