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Old 01-06-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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OK... Taking the plunge (FW)

Here it goes
Ive mentioned before Im looking to get a roughly 12 gallon tank.
I am going tonight to look at them and decide. I had my eye on one last time I was in the LFS that was roughly 25 gallons.
I will be adding
Neons (8-10)
Small pleco (L-series I believe someone called it)
A catfish.
a Snail maybe 2.

Heres my main questions. I have read all the stuff here about fishless cycling and DEFINATLY plan on doing it.

1.) roughly how long does it take. I know it probably depends on your water and such but the process itself... is it 2 days, 5 days, 10 days?
2.) how often do I check the water for the nitrItes and nitrAtes, and how do I put he amonia in.... just dump it in, put it thru the filter, and how do I measure it?
3.) I do want to put all rocks and decorations in BEFORE i treat it forrect (from what I have read here it seems like i want the bacteria to grow on it.

have more questions but lol this darn thing they call work is bothering me again... i have to go back to it

Thanks for all the help ahead of time
glad I found this site
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
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Bigger is always better, especially for newcomers, as the extra water volume allows for your tank to be more forgiving. Depending on what size tank you end up getting will determine how many fish of the above list you can maintain at a healthy level.

For plecos, all plecos are an L-series, it's basically just a number identifier for the different species, so you'll need to figure out which one it was/is you're looking at.

Fishless cycles can take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks generally. It's highly dependant upon your conditions. The absolute best way to minimize the amount of time it takes is to find a good source for seed material, meaning a friend or an LFS that's willing to give you an old, used, bacteria filled piece of filter media, or gravel, etc, to kickstart the bacteria population in your tank.

During your cycle, you'll want to check your ammonia and nitrIte levels pretty much every day, then towards the end of your cycle you'll start watching the nitrAte levels as well, to be able to determine when your cycle is trully complete.

As for the ammonia, if you're using a pure ammonia source (I think I've iterated this to you before, but it is absolutely imperative you have a pure source), just dump it into the tank. Your filtration will get it all mixed in the water for you, so just in the tank is fine.

As for the decor, before is better because it creates surface area for the bacteria to develop onto. However, it's not necessary, as they'll find somewhere else to reside if it's not there, and will move onto it once the decor is present.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
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ok *whew* I was not sure about the cheking the level's... i wasn't sure if I had to test the water say every 6 hours or somehting like that. BTW the links in your signature neilanh... are SUPER helpfull. im goint to follw them to a "T" as much as possible .
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:05 PM   #4
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Nope, once a day is sufficient, mainly to monitor your progress. Also, there's large debates on how long the bacteria can go without food before dieing off, in general it's my opinion to make sure they get fed at least every 48 hours if ammonia isn't available already to them. Whether or not they can go longer than that I've never tried, as I didn't see a reason too.

I'm glad the articles were helpful, that's what they're there for, and kudos to the older members that put them together as they have helped a countless number of people through the years. Your results will vary a little bit, but they are very good, solid guides to get you through the information.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
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now my question as far as putting the ammonia is how do I tell how much to put in? I know you want to keep it around I believe it was 2-3 ppm... how do i know how much to put in to get it to that?

It mah have been in the article... i have just read so much now lol I am full of numbers

also... what do you do if wher you get your fish, the ammonia gets to high or low?
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:20 PM   #6
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I just typed this out early this morning in another thread, so I'll save my fingers a bit and do the old copy 'n paste thing.

Quote:
Per the article, you'll want to dose your tank to between 3 and 5ppm ammonia. I use a small syringe from some old toddler medicine to dose with. Basically, you add a little bit, something like 1 ml, and test and see where this puts your system. Dependant upon your water volume everyone's system is a little different. After you add 1ml, you test and see where you're at, then adjust accordingly by adding more if necessary until your test kit reads out between 3-5ppm. Once you get it there, you test every day and add more as it gets processed out by the bacteria until you're cycle is complete. Make sure you have a good quality test kit, I use the API Saltwater master kit (or the Freshwater master kit for my freshwater tanks). You can cycle both you SW and FW tanks with the same ammonia and same method, and your cycle can take anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks, depending on all the factors detailed in the article.
Once your cycle completes, IMO it's best to continue to feed 3-5ppm of ammonia every day until you're ready to go buy your fish. The night before you are going to get fish, do a large PWC (80% +) to get your nitrates down, then you can add your fish the next day, and they will provide the ammonia source for your bacteria from that point forward. After you introduce your first fish, if later on you want to add more, you'll need to do so slowly so that your bacteria can adjust to the new bioload.

one of the advantages of a fishless cycle is that you're building up a large bacteria colony that can support a lot of fish. Once you add fish, they're only going to produce so much waste, so some portion of your bacteria colony is going to die off. This is normal and nothing to worry about, but after this occurs you need to not add too much more bioload at any one time (meaning wait several weeks between any changes) so the tank can adjust accordingly.

once you have fish, you'll still want to test your tank every few days for a while until you get comfortable that your tank is stable. If at any point the ammonia or nitrIte levels start to climb, if they get over 0.5ppm on either is when I'd recommend doing a water change to keep the levels safe for your fish.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Once your cycle completes, IMO it's best to continue to feed 3-5ppm of ammonia every day until you're ready to go buy your fish. The night before you are going to get fish, do a large PWC (80% +) to get your nitrates down, then you can add your fish the next day, and they will provide the ammonia source for your bacteria from that point forward. After you introduce your first fish, if later on you want to add more, you'll need to do so slowly so that your bacteria can adjust to the new bioload.
if I do an 80% wont I lose most of my bacteria?

also... what exactly do I need. I mean BASICS lol
Tank (cover,light, etc)
gravel for the bottom (Going purple or red I think if I cant find black)
filter
heater
pure ammonia (Can I get it in someplace like petco?
eyedropper (for hte ammonia

test kit mentioned in post above
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:23 PM   #8
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also would u suggest adding the catfish and pleco 1st and waiting so the bacteria can add back up or do maybe 1 then a week, or days later the next, then the neons
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:59 PM   #9
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The bateria build up in your filter and on surfaces (like the gravel), not the water itself. So the amount of water you remove is irrelevant.

On the subject of Ammonia source, I recently ran accross an forum talking about fishless cycling and the only source of pure ammonia (no sufficants or additional ingredeants) that could be found was ACE Hardware Store brand ammonia.

As for how much, you add it to the tank in drops.

While you should go back and reread the articles on fishless cycling, the quickest of summaries would be to get the tank all setup (filter and substrait media such as gravel and water). Start running the filter and add a couple of drops of the ammonia. After about 1/2 an hour, use your ammonia test to determine the ammonia concentration. That value should let you know about how many more drops are needed to bring the ammonia level up to about 5ppm. Initially, you won't need to do any PWC nor will you need to begin testing nitrIte or nitrAte levels immediatly. Even when I seeded a new tank, it still took 48 hours before nitrIte levels reached detectable levels.

From there, you test the water once a day and keep "feeding" it some ammonia.

Again, as an example of the amount of ammonia needed, I started a new fishless cycle in a 5 gallon tank about 5 days ago. I am finding that I need to add ONE drop of ammonia in the morning and ONE drop of ammonia in the evening to keep "feeding" the tank while it cycles.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:02 PM   #10
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Awesome thanks... there is an Ace hardware store less than 2 miles from my house... guess where I'm going tonight after work
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