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Old 03-11-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
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Will I lose my cycle?

I just bought a 28 gallon bow front aquarium and am in the end stages of fishless cycling. Soon I will be able to add fish!

For now, I was just going to put in my 4+ year old betta in there (he's currently living in a bowl) and let him live out his life in greater comfort. After that, I plan to more fully stock my tank with a community of fish.

My question is: if I put just my one betta in there after doing this full fishless cycle, will he produce enough ammonia to keep the cycle going? Or by understocking my tank will massive amounts of bacteria die off and cause the cycle to crash?

Thanks so much in advance for your help and advice!
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:44 PM   #2
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You will not have enough ammonia from just one betta to support the bacteria in a 28.

You won't have complete bacteria die off, but you will need to introduce fish slowly (like one or 2 every few weeks) & watch out for mini-cycle with each batch of new fish.

You can try to maintain the bacteria by throwing in some extra fish food. The food will decay & feed the bacteria. <This is prob. best if you are planning to add fish within the next week or so.>
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:11 AM   #3
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With such a large tank, is it possible to throw in a few tank mates?

One good example might be an apple or mystery snail. The snails are slow enough moving that the betta might not pay any attention to them, but specifically these larger snails are way too large for the betta to every think about eatting, and they have a significant bio-load compared to other invertibrates (at least as I understand it).

I recently setup a 5 gallon tank for a betta. I included some amano shrimp. But I never got to see the shrimp because the betta would chase them off anytime he spotted one of them. But when I removed them and replaced them with a nerite snail, the betta doesn't even seem to notice he even has a tank mate.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:18 AM   #4
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Bettas do fine with otos, small plecos such as clown or bristlenose, and cories. They might flair and check them out but that is about it. I don't know if they will work with the stock scheme you have in mind or not.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:19 AM   #5
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danios could work too
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:37 AM   #6
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I second the small pleco idea.
Your betta shouldn't have a problem with a bottom dweller and pleco have a relatively high bio-load as compared to most other fish.
DON"T buy a common pleco, they get extremely large and will out grow that tank.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:10 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the replies!

What I was tentatively planning to put in the tank after the betta lives out his life are long-finned zebra danios, and either tiger barbs or diamond tetras. Or maybe neons? I'd love some cories or a mystery snail and some top dwellers, but I need to figure out how many fish I can get into my 28 gallon for a nice community display without overstocking. Ultimately, I may not be able to have a community tank with schools of fish at all levels of the tank. I'm still learning.

Hmm, I don't want to lose my cycle...I'll either decide on some tank mates for the betta (like the cories or the snail if I figure out stock levels--danios can coexist with bettas? I didn't know that) or get him his own smaller aquarium and stock this tank when the cycle is complete.

Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:30 PM   #8
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IMHO, the smaller Eclipse tanks are perfect for bettas. They come in 3 gallon rectangle, 5 gallon corner, 5 gallon hex, and 6 gallon bowfront configurations. It has a filter, but the filter doesn't provide too much flow so the betta isn't constantly swimming up stream wearing him out.

If the idea of a 5 gallon tank suits your betta, I saw where PetSmart currently has the Hex on sale for like $42.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:35 PM   #9
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The betta won't do well with the long-finned danios <or anything else with flowing fins>, but might co-exist with some short finned fish. It depends a bit on the personality of the fish.

The bottom dwellers suggested would do fine. A dwarf pleco would be a good addition as that would work with your eventual stocking scheme. A school of cories would work also.

However, I think bettas are happier in their own (good sized) tank, maybe with a plant or 2.
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:36 PM   #10
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I'm leaning towards putting the betta in there when the tank finishes cycling with a mystery snail and seeing how it goes. When I'm ready to fully stock my tank, as long as I do it slowly it should allow the bacteria time to adjust to a heavier load, right? How do you do that with schooling fish? Won't they be stressed and lonely if you buy just a couple at a time?

My other question is: will Patches (my betta) feel lost and scared in such a big aquarium?
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Cougrrr View Post
...When I'm ready to fully stock my tank, as long as I do it slowly it should allow the bacteria time to adjust to a heavier load, right? How do you do that with schooling fish? Won't they be stressed and lonely if you buy just a couple at a time?...
Once you have a fully cycled tank, it doesn't take long for the bacteria to grow to required levels. Case in point, I made the mistake of rinsing my filters in tap water and the chlorine killed off a good hunk of bacteria. The result, a mini-cycle. Ammonia levels increased followed by nitrite levels increased and I had to do a few PWC to keep the levels down. But within 5 days, the bacteria that remained on the filter (I didn't kill it all off) had repopulated the filter to handle the bio-load.

So if you want to stock schooling fish, you can put the whole school in there all at once. But you need to daily monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels and do some extra PWC as called for. Within a week, your bacteria will have most likely multiplied enough to handle the new load. From the stand point of getting your filter ready for the bigger load, I would think it would be better (as appropriate) to first stock some of the non-schooling fish you plan to add and give your filter time to adjust to the new bio-load. Then add the schooling fish. That way, from a percentage point of view, you're not increasing the bio-load quite as much (the idea being that if a set of schooling fish will double the bio-load, add a few other fish first so that when the schooling fish are added you are only increasing the bio-load by 50% rather than 100%.

Now the other thing you could do is add some ammonia to the tank to help build up the bio-load for several days before adding the schooling fish. Obviously you would have to be extreamly careful doing this to insure ammonia levels don't get too high. But I'm talking about levels equal to one drop in a ten gallon tank twice per day (and obviously you migh want to pre-dilute the ammonia in a cup of tank water before adding it more make sure you drop it directly in the tank at the output of your filter or power head to insure it gets distributed as fast as possible).

Now I'll admit, all of my advice is coming for logic based on what I know about fish keeping and science in general. The closest I've come to doing anything I'm talking about in practice is that I'm currently "feeding" a fishless quarintine tank ammonia to keep the filter cycled, but I'm doing so in low enough doses that the MTS and nerite snail (both of which like good water parameters) are no disturbed and start trying to climb out of the water.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:04 PM   #12
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The thing is that not all of the bacteria was in your filter, and you would have had a decent amount in your gravel/sand. His tank will have had only one fish, so its not necessarily the same thing.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:42 PM   #13
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Let me know how it goes. I had a gorgeous beta years ago and put it into my 125 and it was too big for him and he practically blew up. I never believed that a larger tank was bad for betas until I put mine in. It was very hard on him to handle and died after a few months in his new larger home.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:21 PM   #14
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Thanks so much for the advice on stocking my tank, Missileman, and to everyone else for their help as well!

I'll put the betta in there and give it a try when my cycle is comlete. (It seems to be taking forever at this stage!) If he seems too overwhelmed, I'll fish him out and put him back in his bowl and dose the tank with ammonia to keep the bacteria populated until I can stock the tank.
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