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Old 08-31-2014, 11:29 PM   #1
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Talking Just finished cycling for the first time!!! But I have some questions.

I finally cycled both the main tank and the quarantine after 3 months!!! (Had a few problems at first.) I can't believe it's finally done. But I don't have the time right now to immediately get the first fish, so I have a few questions.

1.Do I do a water change THE day I'm getting the fish, or do I do it BEFORE the day I get the fish?

2.Do I still have to do a 50% water change to lower the nitrates now, even though I'm not getting a fish yet? Or do I leave the tanks as is until I can get the fish?

3.I cycled the tank with a raw shrimp, that is still in both tanks. Is it ok to keep them in there until the day I get the fish?

4.Since I'm going to use the quarantine tank first, does that mean I don't have to do any water changes on the main tank, until I can put the quarantined fish in it? Or should I be doing water changes? If so, how many a week until the quarantined fish is done?

I think that is all my questions.
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Old 09-01-2014, 02:02 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Aneamals View Post
I finally cycled both the main tank and the quarantine after 3 months!!! (Had a few problems at first.) I can't believe it's finally done. But I don't have the time right now to immediately get the first fish, so I have a few questions.

1.Do I do a water change THE day I'm getting the fish, or do I do it BEFORE the day I get the fish?
I don't think it matters exactly when you do the water change - as long as you don't have anything in the tank that might raise the ammonia > nitrite > nitrate levels again. So for example if there's still some shrimp in there, that will start raising the nitrates again after you do the water change.

As long as the nitrate levels are low when you put those fish in, all should be well, whether you did the water change on the day or earlier.

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2.Do I still have to do a 50% water change to lower the nitrates now, even though I'm not getting a fish yet? Or do I leave the tanks as is until I can get the fish?
You don't have to do water changes to keep the nitrates low until you put fish in the tank. You might want to do a test or so during that time to make sure ammonia and nitrite levels really are at 0, but no need to worry about keeping nitrates low in an empty tank.

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3.I cycled the tank with a raw shrimp, that is still in both tanks. Is it ok to keep them in there until the day I get the fish?
If there's going to be a big break before you get the fish then it is probably a good idea to leave the shrimp in there so the bacteria have some food source. In that case, do a water change after you take the shrimp out.

Opinions differ about how long bacteria can survive without a food source - some say they don't die, they just go dormant and can revive pretty quickly. But I guess it's safer not to experiment with that at this stage!

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4.Since I'm going to use the quarantine tank first, does that mean I don't have to do any water changes on the main tank, until I can put the quarantined fish in it? Or should I be doing water changes? If so, how many a week until the quarantined fish is done?

I think that is all my questions.
If you are leaving the shrimp in your main tank to keep the bacteria fed, you don't need to do water changes except for the one you do just before you put the fish in. You might want to do a few tests along the way to keep an eye on the levels though, to be double sure that the tank really is cycled. And of course, the nitrate levels will go fairly high so you'll probably need to do quite a big water change then.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:11 PM   #3
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I don't think it matters exactly when you do the water change - as long as you don't have anything in the tank that might raise the ammonia > nitrite > nitrate levels again. So for example if there's still some shrimp in there, that will start raising the nitrates again after you do the water change.

As long as the nitrate levels are low when you put those fish in, all should be well, whether you did the water change on the day or earlier.



You don't have to do water changes to keep the nitrates low until you put fish in the tank. You might want to do a test or so during that time to make sure ammonia and nitrite levels really are at 0, but no need to worry about keeping nitrates low in an empty tank.



If there's going to be a big break before you get the fish then it is probably a good idea to leave the shrimp in there so the bacteria have some food source. In that case, do a water change after you take the shrimp out.

Opinions differ about how long bacteria can survive without a food source - some say they don't die, they just go dormant and can revive pretty quickly. But I guess it's safer not to experiment with that at this stage!



If you are leaving the shrimp in your main tank to keep the bacteria fed, you don't need to do water changes except for the one you do just before you put the fish in. You might want to do a few tests along the way to keep an eye on the levels though, to be double sure that the tank really is cycled. And of course, the nitrate levels will go fairly high so you'll probably need to do quite a big water change then.
Great! Thanks then! About how big of a water change should I do if the nitrates get really high after some time of leaving the tank alone?
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
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Great! Thanks then! About how big of a water change should I do if the nitrates get really high after some time of leaving the tank alone?
Depends how high the nitrates are, try to get them to under 10 ppm for new fish. So likely 50-75%. The lower the better.
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:41 AM   #5
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Depends how high the nitrates are, try to get them to under 10 ppm for new fish. So likely 50-75%. The lower the better.
Ok! Thanks again!
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