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Old 09-02-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
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Re-starting my 80g fw

Hey Guys,

I'm new here. Lots of good info in this forum.

I have an 80g fw community tank. Anyway, I recently moved, and unfortunately my fish did not survive the 5 hour drive to the new place. So bummed .

So, I am in the process of pretty much starting over. I have a Fluval 405 canister filter, which I still have the old media, but the bacteria in there must have died off since my unknowing wife drained the water in it before we moved.

I was able to keep the substrate (Eco-Complete) wet and in the tank during the trip, so maybe there is some bacteria living in the gravel?

Based on this circumstance, am I truly starting over with the cycle, or is it possible that enough bacteria remained in the gravel to help the cycle along? I guess I should just test the water to truly find out.

Also, I started what I would call a new cycle last Wednesday (8/26) by filling the tank up and getting the filter going again. I would like to start adding some live, low light plants. Is it too early to start adding plants? Does the tank have to be cycled for plants to survive, or is the cycling in the interest of the fish only?

Thanks.
T Fades
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:57 PM   #2
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I would say since the canister was dry, you would be better off recycling the tank. Depending on the amount of bacteria in the gravel, you may just go through a mini cycle. I dont know about the plants. Like you said, keep an eye on the parameters. What are they now? Have you seen any ammonia or nitrItes? If they are 0 and you have some nitrAtes, then you may have been able to skip the cycle and saved some of the beneficial bacteria. Have you been giving the tank an ammonia source? If not you have probably had complete die off and will completely recycle. Take some readings and repost. That will tell the story.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:16 PM   #3
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Plants will slow down a cycle, they don't *need* a cycle because they eat the chemicals that fish can't take: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. In the past year (wow, has it been a year on AA already?) I've done 5 cycles and plants were present in most of them; the cycle took 4 weeks, every time. So if you're serious about cycling, don't rush it because the nitrites won't show up for the first 7/8 days. Some bacteria will survive rough treatment but you won't know for sure until the test results come in.

btw, I'm sure some are curious, since you didn't post details... what kind of fish did you have before? A 5 hour car ride shouldn't be the end of most aquarium fish.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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The old inhabitants included:

5 glass cats
7 rummynose tetras
3 oto's
1 dwarf gold nugget pleco
3 yoyo's
1 flying fox
1 marble angel
5 black phantom tetras
3 pictus cats

funny, I never realized I had odd numbers of each species.

New inhabitants will hopefully be:

15 cardinal tetras
6 pink skirt tetras (for the wife of course)
1 male pearl gourami, maybe 1 female also
5 glass cats (again)
3 oto's (again)
1 bristlenose pleco
3 cory cats
maybe a couple kuli loachs
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:37 PM   #5
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It may not help much but I agree

It is almost guaranteed that you had some bacteria die off just due to the fact of no ongoing ammonia source. You may, however, have some live bacteria in the substrate that will help seed things and make the normal "new" cycling a little shorter.

As has been said, keep an eye on your parameters; that is your best "test" of what is happening.

If you have plants that die off slightly, this will also give you the ammonia source to help re-seed the tank.

I recently completely reset my 75. I had eco-complete but it developed a lot of "dead" spots and my ammonia levels were almost always high despite numerous and constant water changes. Now, I didn't change the water so often that it would result in a new cycle. I went the easy route, removed the eco complete, swapped over to straight gravel and went with silk plants

I would love a properly planted tank..I had one years ago and loved it even though I had to thin the thing almost nightly, the plants were growing so fast.

Good luck

T
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:48 PM   #6
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The kuhli's in the new tank should hold up well, I would suggest 3 since they seem to be happier in a social group; my two just mope around, but at least they'll eat most anything.

Think about cories or SAE instead of the oto's? They'd be hardier, I think.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:08 PM   #7
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If you add in enough plants that are faster growing (hornwort, anacharis, wisteria), you can have a "silent" cycle where you won't see ammonia or nitrites usually. Its safe for the fish (add in 4-5 every 1-2 weeks) because the plants take in the ammonia and nitrites. That along with water changes as needed will be enough. Eventually you'll see nitrates. I cycled a 55g this way once and never registered ammonia and nitrites. And hopefully you have some bacteria left in the substrate, though if it hasn't had any ammonia to feed on, its probably not alive....but we'll hope!

If you choose to do the silent cycle, you still want to add in the hardiest fish on your list first, just in case.

Pink Skirt tetras are probably dyed. I've never heard of real ones that are pink. I'd choose something else and if you haven't heard of dyed fish, google it. Its not nice at all. Tell your wife as well...she'll probably be sympathetic and change her mind.

I would get a minimum of 5 Kuhlis....you have a large tank, so you have room for 5+. They'll be happier that way. Same with the Cories and the Otos. I would go with 6+ Cories of the same type (or you could do like 6 of 2 kinds ) and then 5+ Otos.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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All great advice guys. Thanks, and keep it coming.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:40 PM   #9
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The colored skirt tetra can occur in nature but there are dyed ones also. If they are a solid pastel color they could be natural. If they are striped they they are most likely dyed. Here is a link with more info. Colored Skirt Tetra, Colored Tetra, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:03 PM   #10
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As a huge cory fan, I do want to point out that your cories will be much happier in a group larger than three (per species). I would go with at least 6. What kind of cories are you thinking of? My favorites are Panda cories.
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