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Old 05-05-2006, 11:32 PM   #11
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pick up some pure ammonia (clear without additives like soap) and use that instead of the shrimp. i used pure ammonia and seeded my tank doing a fishless cycle and had success in a very short period of time. you'll be much happier in the long run and so will your fish!
on a side note, look into a bottle of ozium. it's hospital grade stuff that neutralizes air of bacteria, which is what causes smells usually. one 2 second spray into the middle of your room will make it smell great all day! check your local head shop for availability. lol-don't ask...
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:33 PM   #12
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You can do it with pure ammonia from ace hardware. Janitorial strength, 10% solution, the tank will not smell.
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Old 05-06-2006, 09:28 PM   #13
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Hi Sarah,
It is okay to cycle with fish, as long as you are committed to doing the water changes necessary to do it safely for them. You should get a Python to make water changes easier. There is also a knockoff version of the Python that is a little bit cheaper. It is so much easier than lugging buckets, which you will be doing a lot of if you cycle with fish.

Tom K, who posts on this site, wrote this article about doing a safe cycle with fish:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomstank/to...s/page0017.htm

There is also the option--if you have the cash and are very impatient to have a full tank that is cycled--of buying BioSpira. People report that it is the only instant cycle product that actually works, but not many fish stores carry it. You add the BioSpira and all of the fish at once and hope that it works. Some people here have posted good reviews.

Good luck, and keep asking questions. It sounds like you are well on your way to getting a serious case of MTS.

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Old 05-06-2006, 10:01 PM   #14
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Hi Sarah, welcome to the world of tropical fish.

The whole process can be daunting, but it's much easier once you get through the initial cycling stage.

I went with fishless cycling at first, using fish food (feeding fishless tank) as an ammonia source. I had the ammonia spike, but got impatient in the middle of the nitrite spike and added a school of zebra danios - the cycle finished a few days later and the zebra danios did fine. I lost one a few days ago, but that was after the cycle finished - so I'm thinking it was age or something else that killed him.

About your cycle - You can use pure ammonia, but that can be odorous as well - and can be difficult to find (since you wouldn't want ammonia with additives or colorings in it). Besides rotting shrimp and fish food, the other option is Bio-Spira. The Bio-Spira can be expensive and hard to find, since the product has to be kept refrigerated until used and some stores don't want to invest in the refrigerator (I think the manufacturer actually requires stores to buy the fridge from them to ensure that the store will store the product appropriately). Otherwise, you could try to get some hardy fish - besides the tetras, you could try zebra danios or white cloud mountain minnows.

About the pH - You'd need to keep the pH higher if you want to keep cichlids, but not for tropical fish. For tropicals, you'll still want to keep the pH stable at some level - but it doesn't really matter what that level is as long as it's reasonable (6.0-8.0).

As for fish - Have you checked out dwarf gouramis? I like to have more smaller fish, rather than fewer larger fish - so I am sticking with danios/minnows/tetras with a dwarf gourami for color...since they max out at about 2-3".
Also, you may want to fit 2-3 otocinclus into your stocking plan to help with brown algaes.

Hope everything works out. Good luck!
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6g Marineland Eclipse (8w T-5):
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