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Old 04-05-2006, 12:42 AM   #1
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Fishless Cycle ... when will it ever end?

Well I know it can take up to 6 weeks but i was hoping for a little sooner. I have just hit the 2 week mark and here are my readings ....

Ammonia: 5 ppm
Nitrite: .25 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

I added some gravel from an established tank at about the 6th day of the cycle in some panty hoes and figured that would speed it up. Couple questions ..... am I on the right track so far? how much longer do you think it will be cause i know i still need the bacteria that converts nitrites to nitrates.

One question i had was should i move some of the gravel out of the panty hoes and put it into the extra media cartridge on my emperor 280 so that the stuff on the gravel gets transported right to the bio wheel. Also once i see ammonia at 0 and nitrites at 0 and nitrates a little high i do a PWC but how big of one do i do .... and i did get a python that 50' which i will be using all 50' of it just about cause my tank is far away from the closest sink but does anyone have tips on using it for the first time ... i dont wanna spill water or anything bad like that.

Also concerning the stocking when the cycle is finally done, i was thinking about some zebra danios , some tetras of some sort, some kind of bottom feeder, and maybe a dwarf gourimi ....... is this a good list and would i be able to add anymore? also any tips on food for these fish? ..... and when i go to get these fish at the store what should i look for? and when i take them home how do i put em in the water? do i just open the bag and put them in or do i have to float em or something? ... TIA guys

Ray
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Old 04-05-2006, 12:51 AM   #2
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You are absolutely on the right track, keep the ammonia at 4-5ppm and the seeded media should help. Usually about 3 more weeks but might end up being faster with the gravel. You don't need to add the gravel to the filter the bio wheel will pick it up as the water flows through it. When your cycle is done do a 50% water change. Just don't worry about gravel vac as of yet as there will be no gunk on the substrate.

The python is easy and you shouldn't have any problems whatsoever. Just follow the directions on the diverter valve's open and closed position and you should be fine.


Your stocking seems fine, I'm sorry but what size tank is it? Or did I miss that somewhere? Can't tell you if you hae the right stock without knowing tank size.

Acclimation is best done by drip acclimation IMO, which is slowly dripping water through an airhose into a bucket with the fish and the water from the lfs. You can also float the bag in the tank for at least 1/2 hour then add some tank water and float it for a while longer.

When purchasing fish at the lfs, look for fish that seem active, have no white spots or cottony growths on them. Ask the lfs how long they have been at the store. Don't add all the fish at one time. Add a few, wait a couple of weeks and then add a few more. This way you won't cause an ammonia spike.
Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2006, 01:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Zagzs ..... i did realize i forgot to put what size my tank was. It is a 29 gal i believe because I got it used and they said it was a 30 but after measuring it and lookin at some dimension things online i concluded that it was a 29 gal.

So when i do this first water change I can just stick the python down in it and take the water out and then put the same temp water back in .... also should i add the dechlor (stress coat) as im putting water in or after its all in? ... and should i turn the filter off when i add new water cause i know chlor kills bacteria. I shouldnt need to turn my heater off cause i have the visi therm stealth and i have it near the bottom of my tank horizontally.

Also ive heard that i should put all the fish in at the same time cause that way they can map out territories without new fish being added later or something ... but is this a bad idea?

thanks

Ray
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:24 AM   #4
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Viperboy,

Your idea about putting some of the gravel in the filter is a good one. I did that when cycling my 20gallon. I had a bag in the filter as the first cartridge, and had another just sitting in the tank under the Aquaclear filter. My tank cycled in slightly over 2 weeks. If you decide to just keep the bag in the tank, every day or so squish it around the tank. You'll be surprised how cloudy it will make the tank. The cloud will go away in a day or so as it settles or is picked up by the filter. I still think being IN the filter makes a big difference, but either method will work well.

One thing before the below, KEEP YOUR TANK LIGHTS OFF.

Things you can do to speed up the cycle (in order of benefit):

1. Turn up the tank temp to mid 80's (Stay away from 90 as this will NOT help). The bacteria will multiply quicker

2. Add aeration to the tank. You can add an air stone, but what is easier and slightly better is to lower the water in the tank a couple of inches (2-3) so that your HOB filter (if you have one) has a waterfall effect. This will provide more oxygen to the bacteria which is especially needed if you have raised the temp.

3. Buy a liquid phosphate test kit (you'll need this if you ever decide to get live plants). Test the tank for phosphates. If you get a zero reading you need to dose a SMALL amount of phosphate in the tank (a shrimp pellet or algae wafer works well as they have ~1% phosphate in them). KEEP THE LIGHTS OFF!

4. Check pH and buffer with baking soda if not in the mid 7's. Ammonia to nitrIte bacteria multiply fastest at pH 7.2-7.4 and nitrIte to nitrAte bacteria multiply fastest at pH 7.8-8.0.

5. Rig up a DIY CO2 setup. I'd only recommend this due to cost and time required to build if you have plans on a planted tank later on.

The first 2 will decrease your cycle time by a good amount, the 3rd is only if you have a deficiency, and the last 2 will only help if the first 3 are in perfect condition. Again these methods (other than the first 2 which are easy and I highly recommend) are measures to get the quickest cycle time possible. After the cycle is completed I'd do several large water changes to get the pH/KH/phosphate down to near zero.

HTH

justin
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Old 04-05-2006, 11:18 AM   #5
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Thanks justin .... i do have a bubble stone and a bubble wand in it to make a bubble wall in the back so i think my water is getting enough oxygen. I am gonna take some gravel out of the hoes today and put it in the filter ... i figure it cant hurt anything and can only make it better.

Also anyone have ideas on PWC and when and how to add my stress coat and if i need to turn off the filter as to not kill the bacteria ... also if putting in fish types a time is the way to go or putting a bunch in at once when my tank is done cycling ... TIA

EDIT: Ive had the lights off the whole time and temp is about 79 but i will up it to around 83 or so today .... also the water in my area is very hard and my tanks PH is 8.2 and my tap waters PH is 8.8 or so .... should i put in some driftwood to bring the PH in my tank down a bit?

Ray
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Old 04-05-2006, 01:01 PM   #6
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8.2 is fine, I wouldn't mess with it. You have a perfect candidate for a planted tank however...
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:18 PM   #7
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As a side note, my fishless cycle took about 10 weeks.
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:38 PM   #8
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Cool im glad my tank is a perfect canidate because i am in the process of looking for low light plants/trimmings through that plantxchange thing .... but i did a test today and here are the results

Ammonia: 5 ppm
Nitrite: .50 ppm
Nitrate: 8 ppm

I noticed that nitrates are looking a little orange and starting to go up .... does this mean that the nitrite to nitrate bacteria are starting to multiply or am i just making things up.

Also i went by some LFS today looking for a good piece of driftwood that i think would fit my tank and look good ... well at the second store i got a great find ... a maylasian driftwood that has cool groves and stuff and will fit and look good in my tank ... when i got home with it i washed it with hot water and got some excess stuff of it ... then put it in a big rubbermaid and then filled it with hose water from outside and left it outside to soak ... and the driftwood actually sank on its own. So my quesiton is ... can i leave it outside or will that effect the process ... temps here in kansas right now are ranging from 40-80 sooo yea

Also i turned the temp up to 82 so hopefully that will also make the process go a little bit faster ... anyone have advice on when and how many fish to stock and enlighten me on how PWC should go? like turning of filter? when to add dechlor? and how much?

TIA again guys

Ray

EDIT: Kind of from the barter/sell forum thing justin but

PS .... My light is a single tube that is called Aqua Rays , Fresh and Salt water by GE 20 watts ..... my other question is do i need to get a need hood / light fixture to upgrade to some CF or can i put a single CF in this fixture that will put out say like 60watts ....

also try to read that other thread cause i posted on it too ... thanks bud
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:54 PM   #9
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Check out Elmers online awuarium guide for some stocking ideas. Its a pretty comprehensive site.

http://www.elmersaquarium.com/h701el...r_handbook.htm

Hang in there on the cycle, it will come. Nitrifying bacteria like the higher pH.
Most people would either add the dechlor or water treatment right before the water change, although some might do it right after. The universe is probably split on how much to use (ie: dose by the whole tank volume or just the water change volume). Oh, and I leave the filters going. After the cycle is over, In theory you could go pretty high on your stocking, but I would start out at about 25% of your planned stocking level or less. Then if all is well in a week or two, go ahead and add some more. One benefit to stocking a little bit each week is that you get to keep that new tank feeling for longer!
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:25 AM   #10
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Thanks TOmk2 that is helpful .... anyone know about prep for driftwood i should do besides just soaking .... or anything about lighting?
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:33 AM   #11
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Here is a nice article about preparing it. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...q=2&fldAuto=34
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:35 AM   #12
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Thanks rich ill read it ... and i dk what i was talking about lighting for in my last reply i think i was thinking about another thread of mine .... thanks guys for all your help so far .... ill post my test results for today when i get out of class later ..... maybe get some pics too .... might go check out the fish store for plants but i was told not to add any till im done cycling

Ray
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:46 AM   #13
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I tried soaking driftwood for a few days, and after that it still floated. This driftwood was dried up and in the store's driftwood bin for years. I gave up on soaking, and used silicone to attach it to some slate so that it would stay on the bottom, and the flat piece of slate was covered with substrate. Others have used stainless steel screws to attach to slate (drill a hole in the slate with a drill bit large enough to accept the screw).

The dried up driftwood I used did not leach or stain the water in any way.
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Old 04-06-2006, 02:03 PM   #14
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thats cool yea im up at school right now and im going back home today and ill check the driftwood and see if it has turned the water i have it soaking in a yellowish color ... if it didnt i might just add it to the tank now cause i consider myself lucky to have got one that sinks on its own .... thanks and ill post the other stuff when i get home later

Ray
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Old 04-06-2006, 03:30 PM   #15
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at this point you can really lower you ammonia dosing to 3ppm. that's still more than your fish will produce with a normal stocking. too high of ammonia levels will stunt the bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate.

assuming your tap water was nitrate free, you're getting nitrates now, so its really just a matter of growing your colonies to a size that'll turn 3ppm of ammonia into 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite in 24 hours...with an increase in nitrates.
when you can do that for 2-3 days in a row, the cycle is complete.
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Old 04-06-2006, 05:05 PM   #16
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The test are in .. I also had a problem with heat and if anyone could check out my thread in the general disc that would help ... but maybe the heat helped and this is why my numbers are this ..

Ammonia: 3 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (really dark purpale so i think its about 5)
Nitrate: 20 ppm (really dark oragne so i think around 20)
(AP FW Master Test Kit)

are these right or wrong plz let me know ... TIA

Ray
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:26 PM   #17
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At the 2 week mark, with ammonia and nitrite still present in the tank, I would venture a guess that your tap water might have some nitrate in it? If it started with 0 nitrate, I would think that if you had enough bacteria to have created 20 ppm of nitrate in your tank, your ammonia and nitrite would be lower? Also, an increase of 15 ppm of nitrate since your post yesterday is a bit wierd. If that were true, 15ppm of ammonia and or nitrite would have disappeared from your tank (each ppm of ammonia becomes one ppm of nitrate, with a nitrite intermediate). Testing error might be involved here, as the two bottle nitrate test is the most complicated of the tests?

Something to think about. But regardless, since you have nitrite and probably some nitrate creation, you are on your way. While it is frustrating to wait it out, it will get there.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:04 PM   #18
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OK so maybe it wasnt 20 ... it could have been 10 some of those colors are so hard to tell the difference between sometimes ... also when my ammonia was at 5 the day before i think it actually was higher than that cause the greens are hard to tell the difference between sometimes too .... but im positive my nitrites are def a lot higher today than they were yesterday ..... but i dk ill test again tomorrow and see what i get ... i havnt added ammonia for 3 days cause i think i added too much 4 days ago :/

Ray
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:23 PM   #19
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i hear you on the colors being hard to tell apart. i'm very colorblind and have found that holding the color guide and the vial against a large pure white background in natural light is the easiest way for me to tell what the colors are. the colors our eyes see are definately affected by other colors in our range of sight, so the larger the white area the better... hth
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:07 AM   #20
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Yea the colors can be tricky ... i think ill post some pics once i get my driftwood all soaked and good and ready to go in the tank ... ill post hopefully some more accurate test results here today and see what is going on today .... hopefully my temp is normal today i kind of had a scare yesterday and i posted about it in the general disc forum .... i wont be able to check things till i go home cause i have classes all day

BIG EDIT TIME:

Well here are the test results for today IMO i think they look like they should but ill let you guys take a look let me know if anything looks odd

Ammonia: 1 ppm (def a lot lighter green and looks close to 1 so i added a few drops of ammonia)
Nitrite: 5 ppm (def deep dark purple so at least 5)
Nitrate: 20 ppm (a dark orange so i assumed it was 20 or around there)

No pics today but once i get it all set up and maybe some fish ill post some
Also im starting to think of a stocking list so tell me how this sounds and if their are any good additions or editions that need to be made

1. A school of tetras (at least 6) not sure what kind yet
2. 3 cory cats or yo yos or some type of bottom feeder
3. Maybe 4 or 5 zerbra danios just cause i heard they are pretty hardy
4. Maybe a gourimi or angelfish ... or both ... let me know if i can do that or what
5. Thats all i can think of but i know or at least i think i know that i can have more .. so let me know what else is good with these (and i like lots of color )

TIA

Ray
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