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Old 06-14-2004, 02:15 AM   #1
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Why FISHLESS cycling???

It seems like most people here use the fishless cycle method. The only advantage I see to this is once your tank is cycled you can add a lot of fish all at once. It seems like it would be a lot easier to simply start with a few hardy fish and slowly, slowly add more - letting the tank cycle naturally. Isn't this easier than finding, buying and adding the right kind of ammonia every single day? Or perhaps I have missed something.
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Old 06-14-2004, 02:42 AM   #2
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You missed the part where the fish have to go through the ammonia and nitrite spikes.
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It seems like it would be a lot easier to simply start with a few hardy fish and slowly, slowly add more - letting the tank cycle naturally.
You still get the spikes with this method. If you are willing to do small water changes on a daily basis to keep the fish from becoming stressed, the "natural way" is for you. However, adding a little ammonia for a week or so seems easier than doing daily water changes

The BEST method is to take media from an established tank and put it in a new filter on a new tank and go from there. Or even better, take a whole filter from an established tank and put it on a new tank.
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Old 06-14-2004, 03:31 AM   #3
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Re: Why FISHLESS cycling???

HB,

The real advantage I see in fishless cycling is a bottle of ammonia is .99 cents while buying fish to cycle a tank is more expensive. I’m a bit of a nuts and bolts guy and always wonder why a person would spend extra money on fish to cycle a tank, when there is a cheaper, and more humane way to cycle a tank. Your thoughts would be most appreciated?

Best regards,

William

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Originally Posted by hashbaz
It seems like most people here use the fishless cycle method. The only advantage I see to this is once your tank is cycled you can add a lot of fish all at once. It seems like it would be a lot easier to simply start with a few hardy fish and slowly, slowly add more - letting the tank cycle naturally. Isn't this easier than finding, buying and adding the right kind of ammonia every single day? Or perhaps I have missed something.
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Old 06-14-2004, 06:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hashbaz
It seems like most people here use the fishless cycle method. The only advantage I see to this is once your tank is cycled you can add a lot of fish all at once. It seems like it would be a lot easier to simply start with a few hardy fish and slowly, slowly add more - letting the tank cycle naturally. Isn't this easier than finding, buying and adding the right kind of ammonia every single day? Or perhaps I have missed something.
Fishless cycling is a much easier and less stressful method for cycling a tank. With a fish-in cycle there is a great deal of stress placed upon the fish. Water changes must be done every time there is a spike in ammonia or nitrite. It's not uncommon to find yourself doing water changes daily or every other day during the nitrite phase.

All that you need to do a fishless cycle is a bottle of clear, non-sudsing household ammonia. Add enough ammonia to get the cycle going and keep adding a little bit through the cycle until you have nitrate. Do a water change and add fish. The beauty of this method is that no fish are put at risk and the entire tank can be stocked at one time.

There isn't much of a time difference in the length of time that it takes for each method. I haven't cycled a tank in two years. I keep my filters loaded with sponges. When I set up a new tank, I load up the new filter with sponges from established tanks, some gravel from the established tanks and plant heavily. Works like a charm.

Bryan
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:23 AM   #5
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Re: Why FISHLESS cycling???

Quote:
Originally Posted by hashbaz
It seems like most people here use the fishless cycle method. The only advantage I see to this is once your tank is cycled you can add a lot of fish all at once. It seems like it would be a lot easier to simply start with a few hardy fish and slowly, slowly add more - letting the tank cycle naturally. Isn't this easier than finding, buying and adding the right kind of ammonia every single day? Or perhaps I have missed something.
It's like telling you that we want you to go live in a sewer, but don't worry in a few weeks it'll be suitable for habitation. It's part of being a responsible aquarist.
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:56 AM   #6
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I think fishless cycling is very easy .I am newbie and if I can do it anyone can !
Also I have lost a few fish in the past to newbie mistakes / new tank syndrome etc. My fish have been *knock on wood* happy this time as I did fishless cycling. Also, even though you are using hardy fishes to cycle, they still get some permanent damage due to the ammonia spikes. Why make your fish go through this pain ??
All you need for fishless cycling is a cheap ammonia bottle and lots of patience
(looking at the water-filled tank with no fish can be frustrating )
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:37 AM   #7
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All you need for fishless cycling is a cheap ammonia bottle and lots of patience
(looking at the water-filled tank with no fish can be frustrating Smile)
Or, just get Bio Spira when it is availible. Spending some $$$ on Bio Spira is not that bad when you figure all the time you would waste doing the fishless cycle
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Old 06-14-2004, 11:05 AM   #8
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Spending some $$$ on Bio Spira is not that bad when you figure all the time you would waste doing the fishless cycle
I used bio-spira on my 55 with good results. But I think bio-spira is only good if you want to make an "instant aquarium". I got more time than money, so a fishless cycle is how I'm doing my tanks from now on. Spending more time also gives me chance to make sure the tank looks how I want it too before I add fish to it.

Quote:
Isn't this easier than finding, buying and adding the right kind of ammonia every single day? Or perhaps I have missed something.
I bought a gallon of pure ammonia (no foam when you shake it) at Giant Eagle for $1.59. One capful raised my ammonia to 2 ppm. I'll check the water in a couple of days to see where it is at. Eventually I'll check the water and see no ammonia no nitrItes and plenty of nitrAtes.

Cycling with fish does damage and can kill your fish (regardless of hardiness). $1.59 is cheaper than most of the fish I want to keep. So instead of taking a chance killing a fish by cycling with them, I'll do a fishless cycle (saving a fish and the money I spent on him).
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Old 06-14-2004, 11:30 AM   #9
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"I got more time than money, so a fishless cycle is how I'm doing my tanks from now on."

With three tanks, why don't you just use filter media and substrate from the 55g to seed the two new tanks?
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:32 PM   #10
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yeah and if the fish die when your cycling then most pet stores wont take them back/replace them. if their a responsible pet place they'll check your water. but all of them around here dont.

im on like day 5 or 6 on my 29 gallon cycling and its almost done. i have nitrates. now im just waiting for the ammonia/nitrites to go down.

the method im using is every day im switching off a filter cartrage. i put the old "dirty" one in the 29 gallon and put the new one in the filter. the next day that one probally has some bacteria so i switch that one with the one in the 29 gallon.

plus imo fishless cycling is faster. with fish your stressed their going to die. and fishless cycling usually takes a month. it took 3 months with my 5/10 to cycle with fish... but that was a long time ago. "when fishless cycling didnt exist in the world of Danny" gl
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimlock3000
With three tanks, why don't you just use filter media and substrate from the 55g to seed the two new tanks?
I am. I am going to be adding fish after the tank(s) can handle a decent bio-load. Since all the inhabitants are going to be showing up at once I want to make sure that there isn't a mini-cycle to have to deal with.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:53 PM   #12
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Knowing what I know now, I would not use fish to cycle.

Please use my "learning-the-hard-way" experience so you won't make the same mistakes I made when starting out our 75 gallon tank.

After setting up the tank, using the appropriate de-chlorinators. and running the tank for a week (without fish, or a dead shrimp or ammonia), I informed my local aquarium store owner that the tank hadn't leaked.

He then proceeded to convince me that I could drop in 5 porkchop rasboras and 6 zebra danios into the tank, as long as I also poured in the prescribed amount of water conditioner which was sold under the fish store's own brand name.

Well, 4 dead zebras and 1 dead rasbora later, and a tank whose ammonia level swiftly dropped to 0, but whose nitrite level was stuck at 1.6 for two weeks, I purchased an 8.45 oz bottle of Tetra SafeStart (patented BIO-Spira bacteria). The nitrite level was down to zero in less than 3 days, and I've had no fish deaths since.

If a person does use fish to cycle, please use 2-3 danios and no more. And please be patient, and check your water chemistry daily until things normalize, or "cycle."

But, like I said, if I were to start-up another tank, I'd use non-sudsy (and no colorant, etc.) ammonia to cycle a tank.

Also, unfortunately, be prepared to ignore the advice of people who might have far greater expertise than you but might also have an agenda or philosophy which is flagrantly different than your own. Knowing what I know now, I would have simply said to the owner of our neighborhood aquarium store, "Thanks, but I'm going to cycle our tank in a different way than what you're suggesting, and when the cycle is completed, I'll be back to buy some fish."
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:55 AM   #13
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I cycled with fish. However if you are determined to go down this route you have to get very hardy ones. Black Skirt tetras did mine and they are all still with me!

Mind you, they are so hardy I could probably keep them in a bottle of ammonia and they'd be fine!

But doing this way carries a big risk of you killing your fish!
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:11 AM   #14
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While your Black Skirts may still be alive, if they were subjected to high ammonia/nitrite levels you may have drastically shortened their lifespan. They can look fine and healthy now but the damage may already be done. Just a FYI.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:32 PM   #15
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Yeah. I guess my "point" is that there are clearly at least 3 ways (and some hybrid ways, too) to cycle a new aquarium: (1) fishless with ammonia; (2) fishless with a dead shrimp (or fish food, which I've read is not ideal as the fish food is comprised of many elements, not only dead fish) ;or (3) using hearty fish, with or without BIO-Spira (or another formula of live or dormant bacteria).

I am not saying one method is the best; but it is clear that the owner of the fish store where I purchased all of my tank and equipment (other than the artificial plants) had a specific philosophy, which was not only to use a (presumed) BIO-Spira equivalent, but to also initiate a tank with a far greater amount of fish than I've heard anyone else recommend. And then, once the group of 4 zebras perished, the employees chastised me for having done a series of partial (5% at a time) water changes in response to the fish deaths. It was pretty surreal discussing the situation with one of the more... I'll say assertive.... and younger employees that it wasn't possible for me to have killed the fish with water changes when the deaths came first and then afterward I performed water changes in response to hopefully prevent even more fish loss and stress on the surviving fish. (Now, when I enter the store, if that same guy is working, I wait until another employee can assist me.)

So, the next time I start-up a fish tank, I'll be armed with not only much greater knowledge but also a personal philosophy as to the method I want to use, regardless of what the fish store owner (or other hobbyists) tell me.

Unfortunately, most of us learn by doing. I happened to lose 5 out of 11 fish because of it. I realize the weird ironies of being on top of the food chain, though: on the very day those zebras perished, I prepared a meal of tilapia fillets for my family--no one grieved for them (and I'm not implying that anyone should). But, once I went through the process with the "aid" of my neighborhood fish store, it is obvious that their start-up philosophy is that you sacrifice inexpensive fish for the sake of the more expensive fish that you're going to stock your tank with, later. I'm not saying that's illegitimate; I just wish, knowing what options were available, that they'd been up-front about that from the get-go.
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