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Old 06-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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I'm still trying to gather as much info on cichlids as I can before I start the tank. (not sure if I should have posted this here or in the getting started thread) When setting up a cichlid tank is it best to cycle with fish or without?
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:03 AM   #2
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I'm still trying to gather as much info on cichlids as I can before I start the tank. (not sure if I should have posted this here or in the getting started thread) When setting up a cichlid tank is it best to cycle with fish or without?
Cycling is actually a general process of establishing bacteria in your tank to process ammonia from the fish. You'll need to undergo the same process regardless of your doing cichlids or tropical fish.

There really is no "best" method. I've done both before and I prefer the fish-in cycle. You'll save yourself a ton of trouble if you can do some type of media transfer from a friend or LFS.

You'll need a good kit like the API freshwater master kit in order to check your progress and keep the water safe (if you do fish-in).

There are numerous articles on this site explaining fish-in and fishless cycling for more specifics.

Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x5

Cycling is actually a general process of establishing bacteria in your tank to process ammonia from the fish. You'll need to undergo the same process regardless of your doing cichlids or tropical fish.

There really is no "best" method. I've done both before and I prefer the fish-in cycle. You'll save yourself a ton of trouble if you can do some type of media transfer from a friend or LFS.

You'll need a good kit like the API freshwater master kit in order to check your progress and keep the water safe (if you do fish-in).

There are numerous articles on this site explaining fish-in and fishless cycling for more specifics.

Good luck.
I already have the test kit because I already have four tanks that are set up and cycled, I know how to do the fish in cycle because that's what I've done with all of my other tanks but they are tropical fish such as guppies and tetras. I've just never done a fishless cycle and since I don't know much about cichlids, I was wondering if the fish could handle the cycle. If not then I'll try my hand at fishless cycling. Thanks for the info 5x5!
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by butterfly_koi View Post
...When setting up a cichlid tank is it best to cycle with fish or without?
I'm pro fishless-cycling myselef, particularly if you're going with african rift lake cichlids such as lake malawi mbuna's (I'm not sure which type of cichlids you're planning to acquire).

But if it is mbuna's (or any other aggressive types that due best in large groups such as lake tanganyikan tropheus, etc), it's best to add them in an initial group size of 8 or more (sometimes double that or sometimes adding all the intended stock all at once), because as they get established it becomes harder to add new ones to the tank without aggression-related repercussions). These start up numbers (8+) would produce too much ammonia to go with the cycle with fish option in my opinion.

I'm not sure if you're going with mbuna's or not but if you are I'd recommend fishless cycling until the biologic media is capable of converting 5-6ppm of ammonia into a nitrate within a 24hr period prior to adding the group. You could jump start the process by using established bio-media from your other tanks.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x5

Cycling is actually a general process of establishing bacteria in your tank to process ammonia from the fish. You'll need to undergo the same process regardless of your doing cichlids or tropical fish.

There really is no "best" method. I've done both before and I prefer the fish-in cycle. You'll save yourself a ton of trouble if you can do some type of media transfer from a friend or LFS.

You'll need a good kit like the API freshwater master kit in order to check your progress and keep the water safe (if you do fish-in).

There are numerous articles on this site explaining fish-in and fishless cycling for more specifics.

Good luck.
You can order the Master Test kit on Amazon for 16$ versus the 33$ at commercial pet places. I accidentally did a fish in cycle with cichlids but lemme just say it caused more stress and so much hard work. LARGE Water changes daily (imagine my water bill after 5 weeks of this -.-) not to mention all the prime I had to use to get them through. I only lost one though!
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kay-bee19

I'm pro fishless-cycling myselef, particularly if you're going with african rift lake cichlids such as lake malawi mbuna's (I'm not sure which type of cichlids you're planning to acquire).

But if it is mbuna's (or any other aggressive types that due best in large groups such as lake tanganyikan tropheus, etc), it's best to add them in an initial group size of 8 or more (sometimes double that or sometimes adding all the intended stock all at once), because as they get established it becomes harder to add new ones to the tank without aggression-related repercussions). These start up numbers (8+) would produce too much ammonia to go with the cycle with fish option in my opinion.

I'm not sure if you're going with mbuna's or not but if you are I'd recommend fishless cycling until the biologic media is capable of converting 5-6ppm of ammonia into a nitrate within a 24hr period prior to adding the group. You could jump start the process by using established bio-media from your other tanks.
Thanks Kay! Your info was very helpful! I think it is the mbuna that I'm looking at getting (I'm still trying to learn the names of allot of these) I guess my next bit of reading material will be on fishless cycling


Quote:
Originally Posted by christine2012

You can order the Master Test kit on Amazon for 16$ versus the 33$ at commercial pet places. I accidentally did a fish in cycle with cichlids but lemme just say it caused more stress and so much hard work. LARGE Water changes daily (imagine my water bill after 5 weeks of this -.-) not to mention all the prime I had to use to get them through. I only lost one though!

And I will definitely look into looking it up online (lfs-$49)
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christine2012

You can order the Master Test kit on Amazon for 16$ versus the 33$ at commercial pet places. I accidentally did a fish in cycle with cichlids but lemme just say it caused more stress and so much hard work. LARGE Water changes daily (imagine my water bill after 5 weeks of this -.-) not to mention all the prime I had to use to get them through. I only lost one though!
The mistake a lot of people make is adding too many fish when doing them fish-in cycle. Then it becomes a lot of work as you said.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly_koi

I already have the test kit because I already have four tanks that are set up and cycled!
If you have other established tanks, save yourself a load of time and work by using established media from those tanks.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 5x5

The mistake a lot of people make is adding too many fish when doing them fish-in cycle. Then it becomes a lot of work as you said.
Wont be doing that again. Ha
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by butterfly_koi

Thanks Kay! Your info was very helpful! I think it is the mbuna that I'm looking at getting (I'm still trying to learn the names of allot of these) I guess my next bit of reading material will be on fishless cycling

And I will definitely look into looking it up online (lfs-$49)
Fishless cycling would give you a very high starting bacteria colony. The only downside is I've seen my pH go all over the place due to the incredibly high ammonia dosing required to build such a large colony. This isn't always stabilized when you start adding fish.

I didn't realize you had established tanks in your initial post. With a substantial amount of seeded media, I think you could likely do an instant cycle. It will depend on the type of filters you have in your current tanks and if you can seed enough media for transfer.

On a side note:
$49 for the master kit is a crime.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kay-bee19

I'm pro fishless-cycling myselef, particularly if you're going with african rift lake cichlids such as lake malawi mbuna's (I'm not sure which type of cichlids you're planning to acquire).

But if it is mbuna's (or any other aggressive types that due best in large groups such as lake tanganyikan tropheus, etc), it's best to add them in an initial group size of 8 or more (sometimes double that or sometimes adding all the intended stock all at once), because as they get established it becomes harder to add new ones to the tank without aggression-related repercussions). These start up numbers (8+) would produce too much ammonia to go with the cycle with fish option in my opinion.

I'm not sure if you're going with mbuna's or not but if you are I'd recommend fishless cycling until the biologic media is capable of converting 5-6ppm of ammonia into a nitrate within a 24hr period prior to adding the group. You could jump start the process by using established bio-media from your other tanks.
If you already have numerous tanks cycled and running then you have a big head start. Take some of the filter media from those tanks and add to the filter you will be using in the cichlid tank. That will also have some bacteria established so if you then do a fish-in cycle it should be much faster.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #12
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The past posts about seeding using media from your other tanks is a good one, as long as there is in disease in the other tank. Established bacteria still need Ammonia in one form or another to survive, though.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:19 PM   #13
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To elaborate....

There is another possible choice to consider:
Get some filter material (i.e. Pad) or a sponge filter and put it into an existing tank while you are deciding when and what kind of fish you are going to be doing. Once you have decided, take this material and place it in the new tank. If it's been in the other tank for a while, it should have enough starting bacteria for an instant cycle. I would use whatever tank you have the most amount of fish in to do this as more fish equals more bacteria necessary to keep the water parameters in check equals a healthier bed.

Keep in mind tho, as indicated previously, if the tank gets sick, you will be transferring the disease into the new tank. If this is parasitic, it can be remedied by not having any fish in the tank and the parasite will die off. If it it bacterial or fungal, it would not be advisable to transfer the material.

FYI: I seeded an entire warehouse using this method. 1 roll of DLS material from the old system seeding 25,000 gals of new water.

Just something to think about
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sager
There is another possible choice to consider:
Get some filter material (i.e. Pad) or a sponge filter and put it into an existing tank while you are deciding when and what kind of fish you are going to be doing. Once you have decided, take this material and place it in the new tank. If it's been in the other tank for a while, it should have enough starting bacteria for an instant cycle. I would use whatever tank you have the most amount of fish in to do this as more fish equals more bacteria necessary to keep the water parameters in check equals a healthier bed.

Keep in mind tho, as indicated previously, if the tank gets sick, you will be transferring the disease into the new tank. If this is parasitic, it can be remedied by not having any fish in the tank and the parasite will die off. If it it bacterial or fungal, it would not be advisable to transfer the material.

FYI: I seeded an entire warehouse using this method. 1 roll of DLS material from the old system seeding 25,000 gals of new water.

Just something to think about
That's a good idea Andy. Thanks for the advice everyone! I have never used seeded material to cycle a tank before, guess this is my first time with allot of things with this tank
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:01 PM   #15
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use the media from an established tank and fishless cycle that way. shouldnt take long, maybe no time at all.
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