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Old 04-20-2015, 02:01 PM   #1
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Freshwater aquarium Nitrogen Cycle: when can I put my fish in?

I just got a fish tank and Petco told me I need to complete a fishless nitrogen cycle for 3 days and then I should be able to put fish in. I looked up this information on the internet and some people are saying a week or a month or two months that I have to wait until I can put them in. I have no idea who to believe. I want to keep a healthy fish tank and I am willing wait as long as it takes for my tank to be healthy for fish. Petco game me some deconditioner and Safe Start plus to put in to help the Nitrogen cycle so that is what is in my tanks water. I also made sure to rinse out the tank, rinse off my gravel and decorations before I put any water in. I have a 10 gallon tank with a filter and a heater set for 80 degrees F because I want tropical fish. If anyone could tell me when I can put my fish in I would really appreciate it because I have no idea and I want to have a healthy tank.And also if anyone could give me some beginner tips that would be a plus too. Thank you!
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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Ok, so the nitrogen cycle is where you culture special beneficial bacteria that convert toxic fish waste (in the form of ammonia) into nitrite (which is more toxic) and then into nitrate (which is mostly non-toxic). Without these bacteria fish waste builds up and kills your fish.

The length of time it takes to develop the nitrogen cycle depends entirely on how long it takes to grow and establish enough of these bacteria. Usually it takes about a month but can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months (rarely more).

To know when you can add fish, you need a source of ammonia. I recommend checking dollar stores around your house for a source of pure ammonia with no surfactants, dyes or other additives.(It's sold as a cleaning product). You can add this to your tank as bacterial "food". Add a certain amount to your tank every few days, and once that amount of ammonia has been completely converted to nitrate in a 24 hour period, you can safely add fish.

Do you have an API Freshwater Master Test Kit? You will absolutely NEED one of these to be a good fishkeeper. It's arguably the most important tool in the hobbyist's kit.

What fish do you plan to add? What is your filtration? The answers to these questions will help us help you start fishkeeping on the right foot!
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:19 PM   #3
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Ok thank you Exactly how much ammonia would you say I should add to my tank? I don't have a API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I will need to go grab one today. My filtration is a Tetra 2-10 filter. Atleast that is what it is says on the box. I am completely new to nice so sorry if I get confused with some things. And I am still trying to decide what fish I want. It's so hard to decide.
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:28 PM   #4
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My advice is to add anywhere between 2 and 4 ppm. Just a teaspoon of it should be enough. The API freshwater master test kit will allow you to "keep track" of the bacterial growth. You'll see ammonia disappear, nitrite rise, and then nitrite disappear and nitrate rise (The API test kit measures all of these values!)

Your filter is just fine! Allow me to save you some money and fish though- You don't need to change your filter cartridges, ever! In fact this is a bad thing to do because all of the bacteria live in the filter cartridge. Instead, rinse it in old tank water once per month and then put it back.

Do you have any fish in mind? Many fish that first time aquarists want are very poor choices and fish stores may often lie or mislead you about what will and won't be a good fit for your tank and experience level. Fish like algae eaters of any kind, sharks, oscars, and silver dollars come to mind. I'd like to make sure you avoid those fish and get fish that will be happy and healthy and beautiful in the tank you have!
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:22 PM   #5
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Ok thanks! & as for fish: I am thinking about maybe 3 corys and 4 or 5 neon Tetras. I did some research and they are suppose to be compatible. I think that wouldn't be too much fish but I'm not 100% sure. I'm still looking but I like those ones the best.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niveddoodle View Post
Ok thanks! & as for fish: I am thinking about maybe 3 corys and 4 or 5 neon Tetras. I did some research and they are suppose to be compatible. I think that wouldn't be too much fish but I'm not 100% sure. I'm still looking but I like those ones the best.
A 10 gallon tank is a little bit small for most corydoras. The exception would be dwarf or pygmy corydoras, but they can be quite tricky to find.

Neon tetras would be ok! However, because they have been bred indiscriminately for so long for aquariums, they tend to be genetically weak and sometimes die out of nowhere. Glowlight tetras are less colorful but are much more durable, so that's what I would recommend!

Have you considered kuhli loaches? They're really fun and look kinda like eels, but they're also colorful. They're some of my favorite bottom dwellers for small tanks.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:37 PM   #7
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Also Oto Catfish, Rasbora's, and cherry barbs are all nice in a 10g


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Old 04-22-2015, 07:41 PM   #8
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Also Oto Catfish, Rasbora's, and cherry barbs are all nice in a 10g


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I agree, especially with cherry barbs, but otto catfish are definitely best left to people with a bit more experience as they can be delicate and sensitive to water quality.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Niveddoodle View Post
I just got a fish tank and Petco told me I need to complete a fishless nitrogen cycle for 3 days and then I should be able to put fish in. I looked up this information on the internet and some people are saying a week or a month or two months that I have to wait until I can put them in. I have no idea who to believe. I want to keep a healthy fish tank and I am willing wait as long as it takes for my tank to be healthy for fish. Petco game me some deconditioner and Safe Start plus to put in to help the Nitrogen cycle so that is what is in my tanks water. I also made sure to rinse out the tank, rinse off my gravel and decorations before I put any water in. I have a 10 gallon tank with a filter and a heater set for 80 degrees F because I want tropical fish. If anyone could tell me when I can put my fish in I would really appreciate it because I have no idea and I want to have a healthy tank.And also if anyone could give me some beginner tips that would be a plus too. Thank you!

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