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Old 02-20-2014, 10:59 PM   #1
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Fishless Cycle General Questions

I have just started my first potential FOWLR tank a few days ago. I wanted to clarify a few questions, since I heard that the cycle is a very difficult part of starting a tank.

I have a 29 gallon tank, 1" of live sand, and 35 lbs of live rock. I filled with tap water, after using tap water conditioner on it, added salt, currently having a sg of 1.025 at 78 degrees. I have one power pump, heater, and a bio-wheel power filter. I plan on getting A protein skimmer after the cycle completes I can start putting my janitors in. I run my lights 10-12 hours/day.

First, I would like to clarify if no PWC should be done during the cycle.

Second, I would like to clarify what I should be looking for during the cycle. What should I be measuring, and how will I know when the cycle is complete?

Is there a way to speed up the cycle? I heard something about putting a piece of raw shrimp in the tank and letting it decompose.

Lastly, any general advice would be greatly appreciate in addition to these question. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 02-21-2014, 02:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by DWick180 View Post
I have just started my first potential FOWLR tank a few days ago. I wanted to clarify a few questions, since I heard that the cycle is a very difficult part of starting a tank.

I have a 29 gallon tank, 1" of live sand, and 35 lbs of live rock. I filled with tap water, after using tap water conditioner on it, added salt, currently having a sg of 1.025 at 78 degrees. I have one power pump, heater, and a bio-wheel power filter. I plan on getting A protein skimmer after the cycle completes I can start putting my janitors in. I run my lights 10-12 hours/day.

First, I would like to clarify if no PWC should be done during the cycle.

Second, I would like to clarify what I should be looking for during the cycle. What should I be measuring, and how will I know when the cycle is complete?

Is there a way to speed up the cycle? I heard something about putting a piece of raw shrimp in the tank and letting it decompose.

Lastly, any general advice would be greatly appreciate in addition to these question. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Placing a raw shrimp in your tank is one of the easiest ways, IMO, to cycle your tank. Basically just toss it in your tank and let nature take over. All you would have to do is test your water params ( I use the API saltwater master test kit) watching for spikes in ammonia, then nitrites and lastly nitrates. Once your ammonia and nitrites go back to zero then you should be good to go. At this point your nitrate reading should be pretty high so you would need to do a large water change before adding any critters. Also you're right about not doing PWC's during the cycle.

Another way to start your cycle would be dosing your tank with pure ammonia or you can use something like Dr Tim's (I think that's what it's called) but I have no experience with either method.


The most difficult part of cycling is having patience. I don't know of way to speed up a cycle but some do cycle faster than others, my 30g cycled in about 8 or 9 days which I thought I was pretty fast.

Are you planning on getting a rodi unit or just use conditioned tap water for top offs?
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:46 AM   #3
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Placing a raw shrimp in your tank is one of the easiest ways, IMO, to cycle your tank. Basically just toss it in your tank and let nature take over. All you would have to do is test your water params ( I use the API saltwater master test kit) watching for spikes in ammonia, then nitrites and lastly nitrates. Once your ammonia and nitrites go back to zero then you should be good to go. At this point your nitrate reading should be pretty high so you would need to do a large water change before adding any critters. Also you're right about not doing PWC's during the cycle.

Another way to start your cycle would be dosing your tank with pure ammonia or you can use something like Dr Tim's (I think that's what it's called) but I have no experience with either method.


The most difficult part of cycling is having patience. I don't know of way to speed up a cycle but some do cycle faster than others, my 30g cycled in about 8 or 9 days which I thought I was pretty fast.

Are you planning on getting a rodi unit or just use conditioned tap water for top offs?

Thank you very much for your answer! I will be getting a piece of uncooked shrimp tonight to put in the tank. How long should I leave it in there, do you think?

I plan to top off my tank with rodi water from here on out.

I'm just very nervous I will think the cycle will have ended when it actually hasn't. I am going to get a more detailed test kit tonight as well to help me monitor the ammonia and trite levels.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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When I did it I just left the shrimp in until it was gone. Others put the shrimp in a stocking or mesh bag or something so it's easy to take out once the cycle is done.

As far as when your cycle is complete..You'll know, when your ammonia and nitrites spike, then return to 0. If you end up using the API test kit it is very important that you follow the directions exactly as they are written. If you don't then you'll get a false reading
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:16 PM   #5
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A sure way to know if it's finished and ready is if ammonia and nitrite test 0 drop another piece of shrimp in
If the ammonia goes up a little but goes back to 0
Or if it doesn't go up at all
This is a sure indication you have a strong population of biological bacteria established
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:27 AM   #6
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+1 to dropping in another piece of shrimp, great way to be sure you have the BB.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:08 AM   #7
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Fishless Cycle General Questions

I have a 55 gal with 3 nerite snails. Waiting on fish and tank equip so i am fishless atm. My tank was cycled but has been fish less for 6 days.
So I have had 4 raw shrimp in my tank for ~31 hrs and one shrimp for ~46hrs. Started with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Nitrates were 5.
Last test at 9:15 shows .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10-20 nitrate.
With my tank having already been cycled will I see a big jump in ammonia? Or will the shrimp just keep my bb fed? Keeping them fed was my plan, I will be getting tank inhabitants Saturday, 5 days. Just didn't want bb to die or deplete too much before sat.
I also have one 3 leaved Anubis plant,I know it has a role in the cycle but idk how much at this juncture.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:53 AM   #8
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I have a 55 gal with 3 nerite snails. Waiting on fish and tank equip so i am fishless atm. My tank was cycled but has been fish less for 6 days.
So I have had 4 raw shrimp in my tank for ~31 hrs and one shrimp for ~46hrs. Started with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Nitrates were 5.
Last test at 9:15 shows .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10-20 nitrate.
With my tank having already been cycled will I see a big jump in ammonia? Or will the shrimp just keep my bb fed? Keeping them fed was my plan, I will be getting tank inhabitants Saturday, 5 days. Just didn't want bb to die or deplete too much before sat.
I also have one 3 leaved Anubis plant,I know it has a role in the cycle but idk how much at this juncture.

You would've been fine with just the single shrimp IMO. When I let my 55 sit fallow for 11 weeks (I had an outbreak of velvet) I put one shrimp in and it kept my bb fed.

Seeing as you have an ammonia reading I'd leave one shrimp in there and keep testing as if you were cycling. Then once the ammonia gets down to zero I'd dose the tank with pure ammonia until I got it to 4ppm...if it goes back to zero after 24hrs you are good to add fish at that point...after a PWC anyways
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:07 AM   #9
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11 weeks down that's painful. Thank you for the insight. I have have been unable to locate pure ammonia, all I an find is ammonia clear. I am going to check the other side of the city today
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:19 AM   #10
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I have read that ammonia clear is ok. As long as there is no other ingredients in it. The one I have is Austin's clear ammonia. I got it at the dollar store. But one thing to know is it is only 2% concentrated so you have to adjust the amount accordingly. There is link for a calculator floating around on here. It will help you to know how much ammonia to dose according to your tank size and current ammonia levels. I'll see if I can find it.
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