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Old 08-17-2006, 09:57 AM   #1
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Can I cycle a tank with fish food?

Ok, so I'm new to the whole cycling thing. When I set up my first tank I didn't know there was such a thing. Now I have a new 25 gal tank that I plan on moving my 4 goldfish into. (I know 25 gal is still too small for 4 gf but it beats the 10 gal they've been living in for the last 2 years and it's all that space would allow at the moment. Hopefully by the time they outgrow it, I'll be in a better position to accomodate them.) I've been reading up on cycling and thought that I would like to have my tank cycled before moving any of my fish into it.

So, I've been reading up on the whole fishless cycle thing, but I've run into a bit of a snag. First I thought I'd add ammonia directly but the more I read about it, the more worried I became that the ammonia I would add would inadvertantly contain something that may kill my fish. I read somewhere that you can do the fishless cycle just by using fish food which will decompose to provide the ammonia, so I've been doing this for a couple of days now. Is this practical? I don't know if I'm adding enough or too much fish food? And how long will it take to get an ammonia reading from the decaying food? I checked last night and there was none detected. I'm probably being impatient but I'd like to know if I'm doing this right or just wasting my time. Would it be better if I moved one of my gf in? I don't want to hurt or kill any of them, I've become rather attatched to all of them
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:59 AM   #2
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You could move the fish and the filter from the smaller tank to the new one. Run both the new and old filters at the same time and you wouldn't have to cycle at all.
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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Really? I could do that and skip the whole cycling bit? Would I have to physically run both filters or could I just take the filter material from the smaller one and put it in the new larger one? I ask because I won't be able to run both filters (both are hanging type) with my hood on. I guess if that is necessary, I could just leave the hood off for a while? The new tank is in my living room so it's not like they would be in total darkness.

Does that mean that I if I do that, I shouldn't see any ammonia or nitrite spikes at all? How would I know when it was safe to remove the second filter?
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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You could just move all the media to the new filter. Move the substrate to. If you do not plan on using the substrate agian or it doesn't match then just put it in a new stocking and stick it in the new tank.

If you run both filter figure about a month or so.

You should have little or no cycle using either method. If you do the two filter method the filter for the ten will still be cycled and you could put it back on the smaller tank and be ready to stock that one again. With small fish this time.
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Old 08-17-2006, 11:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
...If you do the two filter method the filter for the ten will still be cycled and you could put it back on the smaller tank and be ready to stock that one again. With small fish this time.
That's not a bad idea at all, I hadn't thought of that but I have been thinking about fish I could get for the 10

About the substrate: I have new gravel for the new tank (didn't like the colour of the old). I did put a mesh bag of it in already. Should I put it all in? And I guess I could then put that in the old 10 when I'm done the same way as I will likely be putting new gravel in that as well?

Also, I'm currently running a zeo carb and an ammonia remover in the 10 gal filter (because of the overstocking issue), should I keep those in when I move it over to the new tank or will that just slow down the build up of the beneficial bacteria? Should I take those out and just move it with the sponge and bio filters?

I was thinking as well, do you think it would help if I took the sponge (or bio either or) part out of the old filter, put it in the new one and put a new sponge back in the old (so it would be ready when I transfer it back to the 10)? My thinking is that will help build up the new filter quicker, what do you think?
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:16 PM   #6
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I think that your ideas with the sponges is a good one. Remove all the chemical absorbtions pads. They will slow down the cycle. I didn't know you had them so you may have a bit of a cycle but it should be controllable with a few water changes.

I would put in as much of the gravel as will reasonably fit. You dont have to use it all.

Good luck.
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Old 08-18-2006, 09:39 AM   #7
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Did the transfer last night. Put in a good bit of the old gravel in an old leg of pantyhose. Put a new sponge in the small filter and put the old one in the new larger filter. Also added some cycle (I know most people on here think it's useless but I already had it so I figured it couldn't hurt). Made sure the temp of both tanks was the same. Everything seems to be going good.

Ran ammonia and nitrite tests shortly after making the transfer. Ammonia was at .5 ppm, no nitrite. I figure the ammonia was most likely due to all the rotting fish food I had put in previously in an attempt to do a fishless cycle. I did change out most of the water and lightly vacuum the gravel before doing the transfer, but of course there was no way I could get all of the old food.

Ran the tests again this morning and there was no ammonia or nitrite readings. Bungled the nitrate test and didn't have time to do another one as I had to get to work, so I'll check that this evening. So far so good. I will keep a close eye on the levels and do frequent water changes as necessary while my little darlings settle into their new home.

Thanks again for all the advice. You've been a huge help!
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Old 08-18-2006, 09:57 AM   #8
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Sounds like it went well. Keep testing for a few days and you should be off and running.

Now where are the pics?
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:16 AM   #9
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I'll be sure and get some posted this weekend, though it's going to be a busy one with my nephew visiting and his 6th birthday being tomorrow. =D
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Old 08-18-2006, 05:41 PM   #10
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Definately sounds like everything went well. I'm sure the goldfish are loving their extra room. Just to be safe might want to skip a day of feeding or so just to be safe.
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Old 08-18-2006, 05:54 PM   #11
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I too am starting to cycle my fishtank and I have just been adding some fish food for the past 2 days.. so i just started. Last week i had added "Cycle" a solution i got form the petstore that will put enzymes/bacteria already in the tank. I dont have a test kit yet so I have no way to tell where I am at but I shoudl have it by the end of next week. Typicaly how long should i do this before I add any fish?

Also: If i am already addish fishfood into the tank would it be benificial to get some gravel from a friends tank or do the amonia drop thing? Or is it best to just do one of the methods versus a combination
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Old 08-19-2006, 09:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tukie2kie
I too am starting to cycle my fishtank and I have just been adding some fish food for the past 2 days.. so i just started. Last week i had added "Cycle" a solution i got form the petstore that will put enzymes/bacteria already in the tank. I dont have a test kit yet so I have no way to tell where I am at but I shoudl have it by the end of next week. Typicaly how long should i do this before I add any fish?

Also: If i am already addish fishfood into the tank would it be benificial to get some gravel from a friends tank or do the amonia drop thing? Or is it best to just do one of the methods versus a combination

Glad to see your doing the fishless method. Much easier on you and the fish! OK, Cycle is generally considered to have no affect on the time it takes to cycle the tank. Don't count on any 1 week cycles from this product.

I would stop adding fish food to the tank now and let it rot. Keep the tank lights off and the tank out of sunlight if possible.

Get as MUCH gravel/filter media/fake plants as you can from your friend. Offer to buy them a new filter insert (if they have more than one in their filter) or more gravel/supplies/etc. If your friend has fake plants offer to buy his and replace them with nice "NEW" ones that don't look discolored and ugly. That is the only true way (other than BioSpira) to speed up the cycle of your tank because you are directly adding live bacteria to the tank.

Other small things you can do to speed up the cycle:

-turn up the tank temp to close to 90F

-if you have a HOB filter lower the water level a couple inches so you have a nice waterfall

-JUST REMEMBER: Anything you get from an LFS or your friend that is wet needs to stay wet in TANK water until it goes in your tank. If anything gets dry, the bacteria on it are dead, and its useless in your cycle.

Hope this helps!

justin

EDIT: And if you can do the ammonia drop method as opposed to the fish food I would definately do it. The ammonia drop method is the ONLY fishless cycle way to accurately monitor and maintain your bacteria levels. There is also no mess and less chance for algae since you are adding only a nitrogen source, while the fish food will also add a lot of phosphates which can cause problems in a new tank. Just make sure you get the proper ammonia!
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:55 PM   #13
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Thanks, my tank temperature has been riding high anyways so I might just turn it up

TO lower the water level do i just scoop some water out? I already have about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches from the water level to the filter due to evaporation.
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:14 PM   #14
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That should be fine, that is a nice drop. If you had a test kit you could monitor the ammonia level no matter how you add it. If you want a higher ammonia level for a higher stock at the end just add more food. If the levels are out of control a water change brings it back under control. No worries about the rigt ammonia and you dont have to dose every few days to keep it at the right level.
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Old 08-24-2006, 03:36 PM   #15
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I turned up the heater and the water has been aroudn 87 for a few days and i have not added anymore food. I still dont have my testkit yet. When should i do the amonia drop or should i even do it now?
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