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Old 04-18-2006, 09:24 PM   #1
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cycling WITH fish

what advice can i give to my (impatient) sister whom i've just aquired a 160 litre tank for(which she will pay me for). i've told her about this website and directed her towards the fishless cycle thread and also towards another site which explained the fishless cycle. but she is adamant that zebra danio's are the way to cycle a tank. i intend on mailing her the link to this thread so she can read it herself, but if she doesn't, i will pass on any info given.

please help me, to help her, to help herself and to help her fish.

i'm not an aquatic guru, i'm still learning myself.

TIA
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:52 PM   #2
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You can lead a horse to a bucket of water, but you can't make it drink. When this happens, just dump the bucket on the horses head! It won't do any good, but it will make you feel better.

The moral to that story is no matter how much you try to convince people to do something that is right, sometimes you just can't. As much as alot of us disagree with it, using fish to cycle tanks has been done for a long time. You can liken it to living in a sewar, and remind them they will be stuck with a bunch of fish they probably would rather not have, all of this, to no avail. Especially when the guy at the LFS will tell them that cycling with fish is the way to do it. Show her this thread, encourage her to sign up herself, and maybe even print off the article on fishless cycling. Other than that, it is up to her.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:54 PM   #3
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I agree it will ultimately be on her head. If you can't convince her to fishless cycle, try and convince her to at least get a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and do daily water changes as necessary to keep the levels way down. Explain to her that fish cycling takes longer than fishless cycling and that it is far less humane. Good luck.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:05 AM   #4
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I have done a fishy cycle and it took about eight weeks to finally finish. Even though my tank is only a 20 gallon (75 liters) I had to do partial water changes every other day! That means that I had to haul away 10 gallons to my sink which is only 30 feet away and back again, but that is a great deal of work! She will have to double that. She will also need a GOOD liquid test kit, and become very good at testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.

On the bright side, I have heard that danios are very hardy and should weather a cycle if the tank's parameters don't get out of hand.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Yeah I fell into the boat of the LFS telling me to cycle with some hardy fish. I didnt find these forums till that day, so I didnt have a lot of advice besides random websites to guide me before here. So now I am stuck in a fishy cycle, but having a PYTHON has helped with the changes. Also....I am using whitecouds to cycle...i wouldnt mind them as a schooling fish in my normal stocking. Though there is nothing special to them, they are fairly colorful, yellow spines, red/yellow tails, they look good enough to keep, and school nice together.

I would still never do a fish cycle again, I would stick to the fishless for any new tank set up. I may be new to all of this, but I learned my lesson fast!
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:59 AM   #6
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If all else failes, at least stay with very few fish.

Small, or very few fish,and less food = less amonia = longer time to cycle, but fish that live!
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:41 PM   #7
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just do water changes often enough to keep Amonia and Nitrite below 0.5 - it will make the cycle take forever, but the fish should survive it.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:21 PM   #8
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Bigmac,

Do you have a cycled tank up and running? If so you can greatly reduce her cyling (fishy or fishless) time by seeding her tank from yours. Some used filter media, a handful or two of gravel stuck in a knee-hi stocking, some decorations or such will transfer over some of the good bacteria.

I fishy cycled my 10 gallon with 3 harlequin rasboras. I wanted to fishless, but all my local stores carried ammonia with additives. It took over 8 weeks. I did daily 50% pwc's and some days it took pwc's every 12 hours to keep the ammonia down enough. It was a lot of work and a lot of frustration. In the end I didn't lose a single fish, but I was super paranoid and careful not to let my levels go too high.

My 2.5 gallon betta tank was cycled in a week flat by using the seeding method. Ammonia never registered over .5 and I saw a blip of nitrite for one day. No stress for me or for the betta was ever evident.
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:28 PM   #9
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As others have mentioned I think the best way you can get the fishless cycle across to her is the amount of work required to keep fish alive in the tank during this time.

She apparently doesn't care about the health of the fish (burning gills, suffocating), or else a simple explaination of why fishless cycling is not the best method anymore would suffice.

You MIGHT be able to sway her decision if you mention the decreased life expectancy, increased chance of disease/deformation that ammonia/nitrIte poisoning can cause.

You could also play the $$$ game and explain that most people that cycle with fish lose most of their first couple sets of fish due to poisoning (those members on this site are the RARE exception since they will be doing frequent PWC's to keep the levels down).

But the bottom line is its her decision (unfortuantely), just don't expect any sympathy when her $20 worth of fish, and $80 worth of useless chemicals (just ballparking from other posters experiences) leave her with an uninhabited smelly tank.

I truly hope you get through to her,

justin
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:31 PM   #10
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thanks for the advice. i think i've managed to convince her that fishless is the way of the future. in response to one of the comments made above, my tank is cycled now but i live afair distance from my sister and i don't visit her that often so i don't know if donating some water and gravel would be a practical solution. i followed the advice from my lfs and bought a 12 litrebowl(no filter) 2 goldies and some food. he told me that i could get approx 8 in there. never did. only went up to 3. 2 i still have, the 3rd i took back to another lfs as he got too big for my 70 litre. when my current stock are finally depleted, i'll start again doing everything differently. aim for a more natural habitat rather than something that just looks good. i'm trying to acheive that now but slowly so i don't stress the poor little fellas. oh, and i will go fishless.

thanks for the advice, she has read this thread, and as i said, i think it has been enough to convince her.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:47 PM   #11
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I have a rather wordy essay on cycling with fish at:


http://home.comcast.net/~tomstank/to...s/page0017.htm

Keys to sucessful fish cycling without ammonia and nitrite levels are very low number of fish and huge amounts of patience! But wait... didn't you say your sister has no patience? That would be more trouble and work if you go with fish.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:51 PM   #12
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Congratulations on convincing her! It's fantastic IMO when a dedicated aquarist helps another to become the same.
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Old 05-10-2006, 03:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gena575

Do you have a cycled tank up and running? If so you can greatly reduce her cyling (fishy or fishless) time by seeding her tank from yours. Some used filter media, a handful or two of gravel stuck in a knee-hi stocking, some decorations or such will transfer over some of the good bacteria.
how long does the beneficial bacteria remain on decorations and gravel after removal from a tank? also does the water quality degrade over time. if i was to bottle some of my water now after a pwc, would the same qualities still be there when i go to visit my sister in 2 weeks time?
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:29 PM   #14
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the bacteria die off rather quickly when dried out, exposed to high heat, or when frozen. To seed a tank, one would take colonized biomedia from an established filter, and transfer it to the filter of the new tank. If the transfer is not immediate, the media should be kept moist or submerged the whole time. Ideally It should be transfered within 24 hours, and the sooner you do it the better.
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hara
You can lead a horse to a bucket of water, but you can't make it drink.
And all this time I thought it was "you can lead a horse to drink, but you can't make him water". no wonder I get strange looks 8O

I agree though..when someone thinks they know it all, there's not much you can do.

If she still insists on a fishy cycle, let her know she'll be doing daily water changes...half the tank capacity, for about 3-4 weeks. That's the only humane way to do it. Subjecting fish to ammonia and nitrites on purpose isn't a great idea, but failing to keep those levels out of the toxic range is down right inhumane.

Ammonia burns the gills chemically, and permanently scars them. Ammonia poisoning kills fish, or leaves them crippled for life.

Nitrite poisoning can kill fish...suffocation again, but at least its not permanent damage (though death, of course, is permanent).

Good luck, and a pat on the back for trying to get her to do the right thing.
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Old 05-10-2006, 05:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomK2
To seed a tank, one would take colonized biomedia from an established filter, and transfer it to the filter of the new tank.
i'm due to change some of my filter media this weekend, active carbon sponge , nitrate removal sponge and the top top one (can't remember it's name, it isn't geoff, i know that), the one that filters the largest bits of matter, as it won't be until the next weekend til i see my sister, will i be able to keep these sponges submerged in water and they still retain their qualities over such a long period. just to make matters worse, i don't know what filter her new tank has as i haven't collected it yet. what about water from my tank? if i was to bottle the water after a pwc, would the bacteria die in the next week or so?

also, it will please eveyone to know that i have convinced her to do a fishless cycle and she has been doing some research on it.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:08 PM   #17
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The bacteria aren't free-floating, for the most part, so bottling your old tank water won't really do much good. Why not just wait to change your filter media until she sets up her tank? Even if she has a different filter than you do, she can float your media in her tank and that will help a lot. Just remember that when using this method, the bacteria will need a source of ammonia to live, so she will need to either add a small bio load or add some pure ammonia at the same time the media is added to her tank to keep the bacteria alive. This will not cycle her tank instantly, so she will still need a test kit and be prepared to do some pwcs to keep ammonia and/or nitrite under control until the tank cycles. I've started quite a few tanks this way in the past and it should only take a few days to cycle.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:38 AM   #18
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i never cycled my tanks. when i first got them . I had no clue to anything. and all my fish lived for quite a while.
my betta is a year old and holding on. And my algea eater is still kicking it.
My danios would have still been kicking if my shark didnt kill them for eating the Guppy babies.
i learned my lesson tho. and Patients is virtue and worth it in the end.
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:57 PM   #19
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:58 PM   #20
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