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Old 06-25-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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May be a dumb question

I have a 29 gallon aquarium that I just got up and running with everything in it besides fish. I am going to do a fishless cycle but am leaving to go out of town for 10 days in less than a month. I do not want to start the cycle and not get it complete before I leave. So my question is will my tank be OK just running without doing anything to it until I get back in Aug? I have added prime conditioner to it already but that's it. Sorry if this is a dumb question but all we have where I live is a petsmart and a lfs that has convinced me they do not know what they are talking about. By the way this is a great site. Just became a member today but have been scanning the site for months. Thanks in advance for the info.
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:26 PM   #2
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There is no problem doing that. Just let it run while you are gone. You will have some evaporation but will be ready to fishless cycle when you get back home.
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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it'll be fine as long as the filter is still running so the water isn't just getting stale and covered in grime
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:29 PM   #4
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why wouldn't you just let it start fishless cycling now? Chances are that it won't be cycled by the time you leave, and you could just toss some fish food or something in there to keep the bacteria going. They won't completely die off.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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Tossing in food to rot provides a huge input of ammonia at once, and then taper off to nothing (and therefore supporting almostno bacteria). This is why I don't recommend food, shrimp, or any rotting source of ammonia for fishless cycling.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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I'm with jeta, you can use pure ammo now, and just toss in a couple shrimp or fish food in a mesh bag while you're gone.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
Tossing in food to rot provides a huge input of ammonia at once, and then taper off to nothing (and therefore supporting almostno bacteria). This is why I don't recommend food, shrimp, or any rotting source of ammonia for fishless cycling.
If anything, I would say that adding liquid ammonia does that. Are you trying to say that the breakdown of organic matter happens all at once?
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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I am saying it happens a lot at first and then tapers off, resulting in a large supply of food that then slowly disappears, leaving the system where it was before you started.

Do it right or don't waste your time.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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I would have to assume that the amount of time the shrimp will be producing the ammonia will provide an adequate food source for long enough to prevent any significant die off. I don't recommend using shrimp for other sanitary reasons, but on this case I think it would be a great tool to not lose progress of your cycle during the time you are out of town.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:16 PM   #10
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I am saying it happens a lot at first and then tapers off, resulting in a large supply of food that then slowly disappears, leaving the system where it was before you started.

Do it right or don't waste your time.

So you are saying that all of the people that have cycled their tanks using the shrimp/fish food method haven't done it right? You do realize we are talking about the time span of 10 days right? That's not even close to enough time to kill off of a bacteria colony.

Also, another thing to consider, the bacteria colony is going to grow as long as it has a food source, whether its 1ppm or 4ppm, as long as food is available, it will grow. It can only consume the ammonia so fast, so as long as a steady ammonia reading is being kept, the colony is growing.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #11
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I would have to assume that the amount of time the shrimp will be producing the ammonia will provide an adequate food source for long enough to prevent any significant die off. I don't recommend using shrimp for other sanitary reasons, but on this case I think it would be a great tool to not lose progress of your cycle during the time you are out of town.
I don't really recommend the shrimp method either because i don't think I'd want a stinky tank. I just don't see the point in waiting for over a month just to start cycling when its something that can make progress without someone constantly eyeballing the tank.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:28 PM   #12
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I think I'm actually familiar with a couple members who did their entire cycle using just one pair of shrimp (they may have switched them out once).

Random thought of the day...this would be a good opportunity for someone to design some sort of automatic trickle / drip ammonia dispenser for cycling tanks. Fill up the reservoir, turn it on and check back in a month for a cycled tank.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:26 PM   #13
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Not exactly. The bacteria will not jsut keep growing as long as there is ammonia. They will grow to match the ammonia supply, which gets smaller and smaller the longer that shrimp rots.

It takes far less than 10 days to starve nitrifying bacteria.

It works, obviously. But so does fish-in cycling. It really depends on how it is done, how the stocking is started, etc. Depending on the size of the tank and the first fish added you may not get any detectable ammonia on an uncycled tank. So yes, it is possible that the rotting shrimp method didn't work for some people as well as they thought.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:30 PM   #14
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Wow thanks guys. I will leave the filter and bubbles going while I am gone. I don't mind waiting until I get back. The reason I went ahead and got it started was b/c my wife was tired of it just sitting in our living room with nothing in it. I'm actually getting it started for my 9 month old daughter. Just want to do it right... the first time. I'm going to just wait till I get back form Cali to start the cycle. I will be following The (almost) complete guide.... Thanks again for all the info.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BostonRedSox
Wow thanks guys. I will leave the filter and bubbles going while I am gone. I don't mind waiting until I get back. The reason I went ahead and got it started was b/c my wife was tired of it just sitting in our living room with nothing in it. I'm actually getting it started for my 9 month old daughter. Just want to do it right... the first time. I'm going to just wait till I get back form Cali to start the cycle. I will be following The (almost) complete guide.... Thanks again for all the info.
Even though you're a Red Sox fan, we're still happy to help, lol. I'd still vote for going ahead and getting a serious head start, but it's your call obviously.

FYI, if you're using my guide, check out the one in my signature. It's a slightly revised version from the one in the articles section of the site. Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:51 PM   #16
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Not exactly. The bacteria will not jsut keep growing as long as there is ammonia. They will grow to match the ammonia supply, which gets smaller and smaller the longer that shrimp rots.

It takes far less than 10 days to starve nitrifying bacteria.

It works, obviously. But so does fish-in cycling. It really depends on how it is done, how the stocking is started, etc. Depending on the size of the tank and the first fish added you may not get any detectable ammonia on an uncycled tank. So yes, it is possible that the rotting shrimp method didn't work for some people as well as they thought.
I think you are getting off the point. The first point I was making is that the shrimp or whatever kind of food put in the tank is not going to rot all at once, its a process. I do agree that bacteria colony matches ammonia supply, but as long as there is ammonia present, it will keep feeding on it and growing.

I think its common knowledge that the bacteria colony grows according to the bioload, thats why its recommended to only add a few fish at a time when stocking an already cycled tank.

And no, it takes way more than 10 days to starve nitrifying bacteria. Why? because what happens when bacteria dies? what does it release? Oh yeah, ammonia. Even still if you disagree with that, I defer to Dr. Hovanec's research in the subject.

That's really detracting from the point though, as food, shrimp, or whatever, in the tank is not going to break completely down and completely be gone in 10 days.

Just giving a very viable and alternative option to waiting another month to get the tank going.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco23

Even though you're a Red Sox fan, we're still happy to help, lol. I'd still vote for going ahead and getting a serious head start, but it's your call obviously.

FYI, if you're using my guide, check out the one in my signature. It's a slightly revised version from the one in the articles section of the site. Good luck and keep us posted
Hey don't be hating on my Red Sox bro...hana

I am glad you're fishless cycling! We'll help you if you ask.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:16 PM   #18
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Hey don't be hating on my Red Sox bro...hana

I am glad you're fishless cycling! We'll help you if you ask.
I grew up in NY...hating the Red Sox is part of my DNA, lol.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:53 PM   #19
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Mind sharing that info? Bacteria dying give off an insignificant amount of nutrients. Definitely not enough to keep the colony going. They live because as they die they feed themselves?

Sorry, doesn't add up.

They will not keep growing, that is the point. As the supply of ammonia drops off so does the population of bacteria. Once there is nothing rotting providing ammonia there is no food for bacteria and therefore no bacteria.

Or we can skip all this and do it right with a bottle of ammonia for a buck or two from almost any store.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:05 PM   #20
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I simply fail to see negative consequences of beginning the cycle using pure ammonia, then before leaving town adding a mesh bag of shrimp or fish food to provide a temporary source of ammonia for the 10 days the OP is gone. I agree it's not an ideal and scientifically controlled situation...but again, I fail to comprehend the down side. I don't see the possibility that this would in some way destroy your cycle and set you back to the word go.
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