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Old 05-29-2008, 07:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CatatonicBug View Post
I think the shrimp thing is just gross !

I much prefer the idea of adding pure, clean ammonia to the tank rather than dealing with some rotting flesh that I have to pick out later...
I have to use the shrimp method because where I live, you can't get pure high-grade ammonia. I find the method fine!.

That said, I've never picked out the remains later. Once it goes in, it's in! It only takes a few weeks to rot away to nothing. By the time it rots to nothing, you're done cycling. I know others have put it in an unwashed stocking so no handling required.

The only downside to cycling using raw prawn... Anyone who goes within a meter of the tank will ask you what the nasty smell is.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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The only downside to cycling using raw prawn... Anyone who goes within a meter of the tank will ask you what the nasty smell is.
The way I figure, a tank should be seen and not smelled
I just think the idea of having rotting anything in the tank is gross, especially if you can see it (and/or smell it). The use of ammonia from a bottle is definitely cleaner and easier, but I understand if you can't get it where you are. Too bad for you!
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:28 PM   #13
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I consider the rotted critter my clean up crew's first meal in their new tank. Mine never smelled....
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:24 AM   #14
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Whether it smells or not depends how much you use. Use a little (enough for a 1.0ppm ammonia level) and it won't smell but it will tank longer to cycle. Use a lot (enough for a 4.0ppm ammonia level) and I got a smell, however I was cycled in 30-ish days.

Well, that's my experience. Unless it was a garlic prawn I added
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #15
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It takes just as long to cycle a new tank whether it is the "fishless method" or by using just a FEW fish. The original purpose of the fishless method was to avoid introducing disease to the tank. As one who has more than 40 yrs experience and a retired LFS owner I know from past experiences the problems newcomers face. The first thing they want to do as soon as the tank comes home is fill it with fish to the max. A big NO-NO.

Cycling a new tank the original way with only a few HEALTHY fish is the easiest and least expensive way to go. Patience is the key. A 10g will cycle in 3 weeks... a 150g will take 8 months. It doesn't matter how you do it, the tank will cycle on its own terms, not ours. But a newcomer hasn't learned the "patience" part of it. They want something in that tank! Do it slow, with HEALTHY fish (you quaranteened them first for at least 3 weeks didn't you?), never overfeed, SMALL (10-15%) water changes every week, plenty of fast growing plants, and the tank will be cycled in no time at all. It sure beats looking at a bare, empty tank for 6 weeks > 6 months and having to resist the urge to fill it because "its not cycled yet!"
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:14 PM   #16
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It takes just as long to cycle a new tank whether it is the "fishless method" or by using just a FEW fish. The original purpose of the fishless method was to avoid introducing disease to the tank. As one who has more than 40 yrs experience and a retired LFS owner I know from past experiences the problems newcomers face. The first thing they want to do as soon as the tank comes home is fill it with fish to the max. A big NO-NO.

Cycling a new tank the original way with only a few HEALTHY fish is the easiest and least expensive way to go. Patience is the key. A 10g will cycle in 3 weeks... a 150g will take 8 months. It doesn't matter how you do it, the tank will cycle on its own terms, not ours. But a newcomer hasn't learned the "patience" part of it. They want something in that tank! Do it slow, with HEALTHY fish (you quaranteened them first for at least 3 weeks didn't you?), never overfeed, SMALL (10-15%) water changes every week, plenty of fast growing plants, and the tank will be cycled in no time at all. It sure beats looking at a bare, empty tank for 6 weeks > 6 months and having to resist the urge to fill it because "its not cycled yet!"
I'm afraid I have to seriously disagree with you, Kimo.

The purpose of the fishless method is to cycle your tank without exposing any livestock to the toxic, long-term effects of ammonia- and nitrite-poisoning. It's simply more humane, and gives the human a lot more leeway to make mistakes in the first few weeks of the tank's life without harming the fish.

As for the length of time it takes, as long as you start out with 4-5ppm of ammonia in the tank (which would be toxic to fish), you can jump-start the growth of the beneficial bacteria in the filter, without having to wait for the "few healthy fish" to create enough of a mess to make the ammonia levels rise. If you have fish in the tank, you are forced to perform more regular PWCs to keep the ammonia levels low enough so as not to kill off your fish. This lengthens the time it takes to cycle.

I don't have experience cycling a larger tank, but it seems odd to me that a 150g tank would take 8 months to cycle, as long as you keep the ammonia levels up to 4-5ppm. The bacteria grow in the filter, so the volume of water should not make a difference. Can anyone interject on this?

IMO, there is no other way anyone should start a new tank than with a fishless cycle (unless they can seed it from a previously cycled tank). It's clean, humane, and acts as a wonderful learning experience for the new aquarist who may not have the experience with testing water quality.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:16 PM   #17
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I'm afraid I have to seriously disagree with you, Kimo.

"The purpose of the fishless method is to cycle your tank without exposing any livestock to the toxic, long-term effects of ammonia- and nitrite-poisoning. It's simply more humane, and gives the human a lot more leeway to make mistakes in the first few weeks of the tank's life without harming the fish."

If the usual "few fish" to a cycle is maintained, and the aquarist knows firsthand what his/her ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings are.... and CORRECTS any "high" readings by doing small water changes.... the fish are never exposed to TOXIC levels of anything.

"As for the length of time it takes, as long as you start out with 4-5ppm of ammonia in the tank (which would be toxic to fish), you can jump-start the growth of the beneficial bacteria in the filter, without having to wait for the "few healthy fish" to create enough of a mess to make the ammonia levels rise. If you have fish in the tank, you are forced to perform more regular PWCs to keep the ammonia levels low enough so as not to kill off your fish. This lengthens the time it takes to cycle."

I am ignoring adding "anything" to hasten the time it takes for the cycle to complete for this discussion. Adding seeded filter material from another tank can introduce unseen diseases. Plants will lengthen the time but will keep ammonia levels down.

"I don't have experience cycling a larger tank, but it seems odd to me that a 150g tank would take 8 months to cycle, as long as you keep the ammonia levels up to 4-5ppm. The bacteria grow in the filter, so the volume of water should not make a difference. Can anyone interject on this?"

I have the 40+ years of experience in setting up 1,000's of tanks (past owner of an LFS)... I have learned the easiest ways of doing things. Now I don't even own a test kit! Don't need it and can tell from the way things are in an aquarium just what it needs/doesn't need, and I adjust before it needs it.

The bacteria grow all ALL wet surfaces of the tank..., in the gravel, on the glass, ornaments, etc., not just the filter.

"IMO, there is no other way anyone should start a new tank than with a fishless cycle (unless they can seed it from a previously cycled tank). It's clean, humane, and acts as a wonderful learning experience for the new aquarist who may not have the experience with testing water quality."
You can cycle a new tank in any manner you want... but the minute you introduce a fish or other livestock, you run the chance of introducing disease, more than not because of conditions outside your control (stressed, sick fish from the LFS, stress from transport, (#1) injury to the slimecoat
from just the act of netting a fish. Now you have done your fishless cycle perfectly, the tank is stable, the filters are doing their job... and you still have sick fish! All from not choosing the right fish from a healthy (hardly ever) LFS tank and keeping them in isolation for at least 3 weeks (how many newbies do you know that have put their first store bought fish into an isolation tank (read this as "what? I need another tank?")?

I'm not trying to knock your way of doing things... to me its just a lot of extra work that doen't need to be done. Staring at an empty tank for 3-6 weeks while it cycles is not what the customer wants.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatatonicBug View Post
The purpose of the fishless method is to cycle your tank without exposing any livestock to the toxic, long-term effects of ammonia- and nitrite-poisoning. It's simply more humane, and gives the human a lot more leeway to make mistakes in the first few weeks of the tank's life without harming the fish.

If you have fish in the tank, you are forced to perform more regular PWCs to keep the ammonia levels low enough so as not to kill off your fish. This lengthens the time it takes to cycle.
I also agree with these statements. I think you're confusing as to why many people here advocate fishless cycling over cycling with fish. It doesn't have anything to do with preventing the introduction of disease. As you rightly point out Kimo, quarantining is the most effective strategy for this.

Just personally, I prefer the fishless cycling method. I am pleased to stare at an empty tank for a few weeks if it means I won't cause my fish to be exposed to any potentially harmful ammonia and nitrite levels. Exposure to ammonia and nitrite during a cycle is likely to shorten their potential lifespan.

Once these themes are explained to the newbies, I have personally found that they are willing to explore the fishless cycle method, just like I was. And are then you find that they are more receptive to the concepts of quarantining, etc.
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:10 AM   #19
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I also agree with these statements. I think you're confusing as to why many people here advocate fishless cycling over cycling with fish. It doesn't have anything to do with preventing the introduction of disease. As you rightly point out Kimo, quarantining is the most effective strategy for this.

Just personally, I prefer the fishless cycling method. I am pleased to stare at an empty tank for a few weeks if it means I won't cause my fish to be exposed to any potentially harmful ammonia and nitrite levels. Exposure to ammonia and nitrite during a cycle is likely to shorten their potential lifespan.

Once these themes are explained to the newbies, I have personally found that they are willing to explore the fishless cycle method, just like I was. And are then you find that they are more receptive to the concepts of quarantining, etc.
IF you use AmQuel+ (don't know if its available in Australia) as a water conditioner, you will never have to worry about ammonia, nitrite spikes.
It removes chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, toxic organics. It locks up the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates but still makes it available to the bacteria and plants. If you catch the spikes in time the fish will never be exposed to toxic levels.

For an example of lifespan: I bought 6 neon tetras in 1991. Three are still alive and well... 7 years for a neon is like 150 yrs for a human. The other three lived for more than 5 yrs. I raise fancy guppies to sell and they live for an average of 3.5 - 4 years. Thats 1.5 times longer than usual.

Everyone has their own way of doing things... It's just that after 40+ yrs I have found ways to do things the EASIEST way. Never having to worry about a cycle gets things off to a great start.
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:12 AM   #20
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Never having to worry about a cycle gets things off to a great start.
Here! here!
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