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Old 01-23-2007, 05:24 PM   #1
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How does cycling with shrimp work?

I'm finally getting my tank back up after moving, and am heading to the store tomorrow, but first I need to decide whether to get ammonia or shrimp. Does using shrimp take longer? Is it easier? Do I just throw a shrimp in the tank and then test regularly, or will I need to add more later? Can I just buy some frozen shrimp at the grocery store for this? I have a 30 gal with plastic plants, sand substrate, and a millennium 3000 filter. And I don't know anyone here with fish, so I won't be able to seed my tank.

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Old 01-23-2007, 05:53 PM   #2
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You got it right.. You basically throw in a raw unseasoned and untreated shrimp into the tank and then test regularly while the shrimp becomes good and funky. Once your ammonia and nitrites drop to 0 you do a large water change and your good to go. This is the Readers Digest version. There is a very good sticky that explains it in detail. I would reccomend reading it and then give it a whirl. If you do it don't be distressed when the shrimp forms what looks like a funky coccoon around it.

"edit" I could have sworn there was a sticky but I cna't find it. If you search fishless cycling you will get threads with the details. Sorry about that.

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Old 01-23-2007, 06:11 PM   #3
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There's threads around, like FF said, talking to both manners of doing a fishless cycle. There's pros and cons to each. Since you asked, using shrimp does take longer, because you have to wait for the shrimp to rot to a certain point before any trace ammonia becomes present, as with dosing ammonia directly you start from day 1.

If you do go the ammonia dosing route, please make sure you get the right stuff, or you will encounter major headaches in cleanup. I can't stress that point enough. The ammonia must not contain any dyes/colors, perfumes/scents, or surfactants. Ace hardware sells a great source of this stuff, but like I said, you have to be careful that you get the right stuff.

With the dosing, you have specific control over what's going on in your tank. With shrimp, you have a lot less hands-on, so to speak, during your cycle, as you just kinda watch (and smell) as it rots away.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:44 PM   #4
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I cycled with a shrimp and let nature take its course. Ammonia will show up within 2-3 days, and yeah, a funky white bacteria cocoon will form around it. I have never cycled with pure ammonia so can't speak to that, but with shrimp all I did was watch and test my water. And wait. Waiting is a big thing.

If you're looking for seed material, I have an extra filter cartridge I can pack up (and keep wet) and send to you. The last time I cycled, I used seed material and it took about 3 weeks total, with 2 shrimp in the tank.

PM me if you'd like it.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:55 PM   #5
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Placing the shrimp in a plastic bag with holes poked in it will allow you to pull the shrimp out later without having to touch the rotted goodness.
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:28 PM   #6
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mmmm rotted goodness
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Old 01-23-2007, 10:39 PM   #7
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I cycled with two large shrimp (prawns) for my 20 G. I took one out after about 5 days though b/c I didn't want the ammonia to spike too high. It took exactly 20 days.
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MyCatsDrool
mmmm rotted goodness
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:05 AM   #9
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Oooh, I get to pull out the rotted goodness if I use shrimp? I'm sold!
LandGhoti, I PM'd you about that filter cartridge, thanks so much for the offer! The kids keep asking how long until we can put fish in, so speeding up the cycle will definitely be a huge plus.
Well, I'm off to do more research on shrimp cycling!

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