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Old 07-06-2003, 11:56 AM   #1
Kel
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Cycling

Could someone explain or point me in the right direction to info about cycling? I don't think I understand it yet.

This most likely has to do with cycling but I just got my 20 g tank going and I am on my 4 day. It is at 25C with a Ph of 7.2 I bought it as a kit and used the water conditioner it came with but the water has started to get a little cloudy. Could it just need time??
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Old 07-06-2003, 05:48 PM   #2
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The water getting cloudy is because of a bacterial bloom it will go away soon. It is harmless against fish.

Cycling is a process where the ammonia produced by fish respiration, excretation and uneaten food get turned into nitrite. Bacteria builds up in the tank and the filter. These bacteria are called Nirosomonas. It takes time for Nirosomonas to colonise the tank so it might take a few weeks for ammonia levels to drop...during this period of time, high ammonia level would be deadly to fish. When Nirosomonas has fully colonised the tank, the ammonia is then changed to nitrite.
Nitrite then can be reduced to nitrate. The bacteria that reduce nitrite to nitrate is called nitrobacter. Nitrobacter takes even more time to adsorb nitrite, and in this stage nitrite is prominent and it is another dangerous time for a fish, even a hardy one. After a while, nitrite will drop and nitrate will be prominent in the tank...but nitrate although not as toxic as ammonia and nitrite, regular water changes is need to keep the nitrate level down.

Basically if the ammonia and nitrite has spiked then rapidly dropped and you could test for nitrate, the tank has cycled. The ammonia and nitrite has to read 0 and nitrate below 20 to reduce changes of death.
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Old 07-06-2003, 06:23 PM   #3
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Great question and answer. I have been wondering the same thing. I am into week 6 on my 6g tank. I had a huge overcrowding problem so my cycling will be starting now that I have thinned the stock down.

While trying to save my fish from high ammonia I have done frequent (daily) water changes of 25% to 60%. I also used Ammo Lock. I used Bio Spira to treat the water before adding to the tank but I got a huge milky white bacterial bloom. Now I am using only Aqua Plus to treat the water.

My question is how these emergency treatments effect the Nirosomonas and the Nitrobacter colony. Do these stop the colonies from developing and thus make it more necessary to use emergency measures? Is it better to have a high level for a while to let the colonies develop?
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Old 07-06-2003, 07:43 PM   #4
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It's a risk you take...the higher the ammonia in the water, the more chances of the fish dieing. Ammo-lock is a great product, it doesn't slow the cycling down at all. It just neutralizes the ammonia into ammonium which is less toxic to fish. Changing water doesn't effect the Nirosomonas and Nitrobacter colonisation because these bacteria stick to the filter and the walls of the aquarium.
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:09 PM   #5
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Kel:

Out of curiousity, what are you doing to cycle the tank? There has to be a supply of ammonia, be it from fish, dropping a little food in and letting it decompose, or adding pure straight ammonia. Chances are, if you haven't added any ammonia, its not cycling; you may be in the beggining of an algae bloom.

Theres a neat article on the nitrogen cycle at the Skeptical Aquarist. You may want to check it out (gets a bit technical, but really interesting): http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/doc...t/nitcyc.shtml

Awesome brief explanation on the cycle azn! I may borrow that one day; would that be alright if I mention I got it from you on here?

Oh and xplanes? Ammonia and NitrItes are deadly to fish (ammonia destroys their gills, nitrItes take the place of hemoglobin and slowly suffocate the fish). Its fine to have high levels if you are doing a fishless cycle, but high levels with fish can kill them. I *think* Cycle and Bio-Spira add the same bacteria into the tank that would normally be there, but you might want to do some research and check that out. If you do, would you post what you find here? I'm curious.
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:47 PM   #6
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Allivymar--

In my experience, Cycle doesn't really do anything. Bio-Spira does work though. There's a really long thread with "experiments" I and several other people conducted with Bio-Spira.

http://www.fishgeeks.com/modules.php...ewtopic&t=7372
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:48 PM   #7
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I dont use chemicals but hear some work good
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Old 07-06-2003, 11:28 PM   #8
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Oh brilliant Voodoo! Thanx for the link (great forum too...will have to add it to my list *grin*). I've used Cycle once ever, and it DID help (reduced nitrites from .2 ppm to .1, and ammonia from .1 ppm to 0 overnite), but from the reading I've done I get the impression, unless its ABSOLUTELY fresh (like, not sitting on a shelf for a few months) its useless. I'm guessing the bacteria really can't survive very long.

I have been looking for Bio-Spira for a few weeks now, but none of the lfs in my area carry it yet. I may wind up getting some from Bernie (who I heard about in yet ANOTHER forum) as I plan on setting up a planted tank in the next week, and will be setting up a 55 next month.
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:33 AM   #9
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You're exactly right, Allivymar-- Cycle can work, but only if it's still fresh. The problem is that it's really hard to know how long that bottle of Cycle has been sitting on your LFS's shelf. The Bio-Spira has to be kept refrigerated and has an expiration date, as well. If I'm remembering correctly, the bacteria is viable for 6 months. I've been really pleased with the results. I can't say enough great things about Bernie, either. He owns my LFS (great shop, by the way! ). He started mail-ordering it after so many people on Fishgeeks couldn't find it at their shops.
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:09 AM   #10
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I did some research on another forum (wetwebmedia.com) and have discovered why I am having such a hard time finding it in a lfs:

"...finally spoke to LFS manager who admitted she knows what bio-spira is and has other customers who want it. She said she refuses to carry it because she's not going to send Marineland a couple of thousand dollars for their special refrigerator they require LFS to buy -- "I already have a fridge!" "

Feh. They make them buy the fridge (or give it free apparently if the store orders a ton of Bio-Spira)? No wonder I can't find it round here. Money is really tight in this area; I can see the lfs not wanting to dole out more money. Thumbs up to Bernie to taking the plunge.
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Old 07-07-2003, 12:24 PM   #11
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Kel:

Out of curiousity, what are you doing to cycle the tank? There has to be a supply of ammonia, be it from fish, dropping a little food in and letting it decompose, or adding pure straight ammonia.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have two Cory's in there now and the guy at store told me to use sinking pellets daily for week before adding anymore. SHould I be using straight ammonia or are the Cory's enough??

BTW my one Albino Cory(1") gets swimming back and forth the length of the tank (30") so fast she makes waves. I hope thats normal cause its fun to watch.
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Old 07-07-2003, 03:42 PM   #12
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Couple of things Kel.

Whew ok LOL that wasn't clear in your initial post, and I couldn't tell if there was a source of ammonia in the tank. The fish are your source of ammonia, as its a product of their waste: they both secrete it (as we do when we pee) and its also a part of their respiration process. The decomposing food can also be a source if you are not cleaning the tank and getting it out.

I wouldn't add any ammonia; as you've read previously its toxic to your fishies. Its generally used when people do a "fishless cycle", which is when the nitrogen cycle is done with no fish in the tank. When cycling WITH fish, you have to keep on top of those ammonia and nitrite levels, and do lots of water changes to keep the water toxicity from killing the fish. Of course, you're pulling out the stuff the bacteria need to grow and reproduce, so the cycle can take a lot longer to finish.

The whole cycle thing with fish is a hard choice. You need the ammonia and nitrites to feed the bacteria and grow the colonies, but you need a lot of bacteria to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down. Sort of a catch 22 you know? I admit tho, I don't do the fishless cycle, although I may try it with a new tank I'm setting up. And to put it bluntly, I've been nothing but lucky in not losing any fish when I did that. Then again, I do water changes 2-3 times a week and that may have played a small part.

I strongly suggest (if you haven't already) that you purchase an ammonia and a nitrite test at the very least, and test your water daily at this point (that will become unnecessary once the tank cycles; I test once a week now). If you see any ammonia, and if the nitrite levels become high, do a partial water change ASAP to dilute those toxins. A nitrAte test would also be a good thing to have, as thats the end result of the nitrogen cycle; generally, if you have no levels of ammonia or nitrite, and levels of nitrAte, you know the cycle has completed.

Lastly (god, this has become a novel hasn't it? LOL sorry). Your tank will mini cycle everytime you add fish. Why? You are adding more sources of ammonia! More fish poo, more fish breathing in the tank, more food added. Don't be surprised if you get a bacterial bloom when you add. Its one of the reasons its suggested to stock the tank in stages; so the ammonia levels do not become too high, and the bacteria have enough time to keep up with it.
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:45 PM   #13
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Thanks that is very helpful. I bought a ammonia test kit today and the girl I talked to at the fish store said to speed up the cycling I should add 3 or 4 "stronger" fish than Cory's like Tetras etc. I have heard add fish one at a time, two at a time and 4 at a time so far.

Tank:
25 C
Ph 7.2
Ammonia is 0 according to the test
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:48 PM   #14
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Yes...don't add in lots at a time. Because if you do, ammonia will spike again and all the fish would be at risk. Buy platties...they are realy strong fish that could last the cycle...or guppies, but for some reason in my experience that male guppies die easier than female guppies
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:54 PM   #15
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So do you think I should add some then?
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Old 07-07-2003, 07:05 PM   #16
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Add like 2 or 3 at the max. Because your ammonia has dropped, nitrite in your tank should start rising. This is a dangerous time so i'm sad to say that i don't think the corys will make it Do frequent water changes during this time and hopefully they'll all live Have you got live plants? they help a lot to use the nitrite into energy
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Old 07-07-2003, 07:11 PM   #17
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I have two live plants but I can't remember the names.

So I guess I should add 2 or 3 strong fish ie: platties? Then do 25% water changes everyother day or more?

I thought if ammonia was low that it would be a good thing.
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Old 07-07-2003, 07:17 PM   #18
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Yes low ammonia level is a good thing but do remember that nitrite is even more toxic to fish than ammonia. Do 20% every other day because if you do it too rapidly and change to much, it causes stress to the fish and parasites can infect the fish at that time :|
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