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Old 08-12-2003, 02:08 PM   #1
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Resources for step-by-step process for fishless cycle

Hi,
I'm new to this forum and to the hobby. I've heard about the fishless cycle and I was curiuos how to go about setting up my new 37 gallon tank with this method.

I currently have a 20 gallon tank with a couple of fan tails, but I don't want them to go through the stress of cycling a tank. I've had a heck of a time with the cycling process of the 20 gallon tank and lost a couple of GF during that process.

I would appreciate any reference material or steps you observed to do a fishless cycle. Also, what products will I need to do this process? Are products like "Bio-Spira" and "Stress Zyme" products to do a fishless cycle?

TIA!
Kyle
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:30 PM   #2
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Coupla suggestions:

If you can get a hold of Bio-Spira, use that. The correct amount added with the fish to a new tank cycles the tank immediately (its the only product that does). Of course you'll want to keep an eye to be sure, but you shouldn't have any major problems.

If you cannot get a hold of Bio-Spira, then a fishless cycle is fine. Basically, you are providing a source of ammonia so the bacteria have a food supply. Theres an article here about it: http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm

Finally, you can seed the tank with live bacteria from a mature tank; a filter, some gravel, a bio-wheel would all be good starter material as long as they are all mature and you add enough.

With any method it is imperative to keep a close eye on water parameters as I'm sure you're aware of.

Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:53 PM   #3
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If you are moving the current fish to the new tank then don't worry about cycling. If the 20 gallon is cycled and you don't add new fish then move everything overe to the new tank and you should be fine. Then if you want to add new fish make sure to add them slowly to watch out for ammonia spikes. Stress Zyme is really just a fancy dechlorinator with aloe. Not needed. Bio Spira works great by all accounts.

If you are starting a new tank then fishless cycle is very safe and allows you to add a full bioload of fish. I would suggest using some of the filter material or gravel from your current tank to speed things up. Then add some pure ammonia to 5 ppm and test until your tank can remove 5ppm in a 24 hour period. If you buy pure ammonia from the store then make sure it has no detergents in it as this will kill your fish. Shake the bottle and if bubbles form then it has detergents in it.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:25 PM   #4
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I'm actually going to keep the 20 gallon running for a Q/H-tank. I heard about using other media or gravel to jump-start the fishless cycle process using mosquito nets or nylon stockings to hold the gravel until the cycling is finished.

As for the water treatment (dechlorinator such as Amquel), do I wait until the cycle is complete before I use it or can it be used in conjunction? Also, should I remove the charcoal filter from the power filter while in the process of cycling?
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:54 PM   #5
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You do not want to use Amquel before nor after the fishless cycle because it removes the ammonia that you used for a food source for the bacteria. I wondered why my cycle was taking so long when I used Aquasafe until I read the back of the bottle and it said that it removed ammonia. I bought a bottle of Tap Water Conditioner from Aquarium Pharm. My tank cycled in a couple of weeks with gravel and filter from a 20 gallon. The article by Chris Cow stated that there was a case where Amquel was used after the cycle and it caused a mini cycle when they added fish.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:55 PM   #6
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I always dechlorinated water, even when doing a fishless cycle. I don't use a type that converts ammonia such as Amquel, as most tests can't tell the diff between the deadly form and the converted form, and its hard to tell levels without the right tests.

Don't forget to get pure ammonia and one that has no additives.
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Old 08-12-2003, 08:04 PM   #7
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So what do you recommend for just dechlorinating water (chlorine and chloramine)? I'm not familiar with Tap Water Conditioner, but it looks like it removes heavy metals as well.

Again, should I remove the charcoal from the power filter to prevent the filtration of ammonia during the cycling?

Thanks for the tips and I will remember to purchase pure ammonia from the market.
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Old 08-12-2003, 08:40 PM   #8
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I use wardley dechlorinator. All it gets rid of is chlorine and chloramine. Any LFS or WalMart will have a similar product. Some get roid of heavy metals as well. Just stay away from ones that get rid of ammonia.

Most people don't use carbon in their filters unless you need to get rid of medications. I would remove it and not add it back in if it were me. I use a combination in my HOB of filter floss and fluval sponges I cut to shape. Things work well in my tanks.

If you are keeping the 20 gallon as a QT then you will need to keep adding a source of ammonia or else the bacteria will die.
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Old 08-14-2003, 10:28 PM   #9
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Here's a good article on fishless cycling:

http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquamag/cycle2.html

Of course, I gave up and went the Bio Spira route but you're better equipped to do this than I was since you have an existing established tank.

Good luck!
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