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Old 09-08-2022, 09:38 PM   #1
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Brand new tank owner

Hi guys brand new to the aquarium scene, my brother gifted me a 29gal tank kit, I set everything up (rocks, decor ect) used the proper amount of conditioner then used the stability for a week daily, after a week I went to petco to find out if I was ready to throw a fish in there, long story short they said goldfish to start off, I have had 2 goldfishes in there for 4 days, I was ready to throw in some more fishes in the there went back another person told me I canít mix tropical fishes with goldfishes, Iím gonna return my goldfishes to the store and pickup some tropical fishes after a water test from them,
whatís the steps that should be done to my tank is the question I have, should I change some of the water or just throw in the tropical fishes in there the heater is on temp is at 76f
Any tip would help with details please itís my first tank! Iím in love with the whole fish tank scene!!!

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Old 09-09-2022, 02:37 AM   #2
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You need to cycle the tank. This is something pet stores very rarely explain, or if they do they sell you a product (stability) and tell you it will cycle a tank in a matter of days which is simply nonsense. Cycling a tank typically takes 6 to 8 weeks. They just want to get to the stage where they can sell you fish as quickly as they can and dont really care about the health and wellbeing of what they sell you.

Ill post an explanation on the nitrogen cycle, and an explanation on the 2 main methods of cycling a tank. Basically you can cycle dosing ammonia for several weeks to cycle a tank before you get your fish, which is called a "fishless" cycle. Or you get a small number of fish, and gradually build up the number of fish over an extended period of time while doing frequent water changes to maintain water quality until your tank cycles. This is called a "fish in" cycle.
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Old 09-09-2022, 02:37 AM   #3
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The nitrogen cycle is the natural processes that go on in your tank that convert ammonia into less harmful substances.

Ammonia gets into your tank through various pathways. Fish waste, decaying uneaten food, and dead, decaying plants are common ammonia sources in an aquarium. Its also possible your tap water is an ammonia source. Chloramine is a common water treatment and when treated with most water conditioners the bond in the chloramine breaks and releases ammonia into the water.

Ammonia can be toxic to fish, depending on how much there is, and what the pH and temperature of your tank water is.

The first stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of ammonia. If you have real plants in your tank some of this ammonia will be absorbed as part of their natural growth. Generally though ammonia is consumed by denitrifying bacteria that lives mostly on your filter media. These bacteria consume the ammonia and produce nitrite. Unfortunately nitrite is pretty much as toxic to fish as ammonia.

The second stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of nitrite. A different denitrifying bacteria will consume the nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful than ammonia and nitrite, and for most aquariums the nitrogen cycle ends there. Excess nitrate is removed through your regular water changes.

A further stage of the nitrogen cycle can also happen, but its difficult to remove all the nitrate from a typical freshwater aquarium. Plants will absorb some nitrate in a similar manner to how it absorbs ammonia to grow. There are also nitrifying bacteria that consumes nitrate and gives off nitrogen gas which will simply offgas from your aquarium. This nitrifying bacteria is difficult to grow in freshwater aquarium.

“Cycling” a tank is the process you go through to grow denitrifying bacteria in your aquarium to consume ammonia and nitrite. You are said to be “cycled” when you have enough bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces and turns all of it into nitrate. If you test the water of a cycled tank you should see 0 ammonia and nitrite and some nitrate.
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Old 09-09-2022, 02:39 AM   #4
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

Two commonly used methods to cycle a tank are called a “fish in” cycle and a “fishless” cycle.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels. This has been the go to method to cycle a tank for many years, and it commonly is the way new fish keepers cycle a tank when they have bought fish with no knowledge that a tank needs cycling and how to go about it.

Pros.

You get to keep “some” fish pretty much on day 1 of setting up your tank.

More consistently gets you through your cycle.

Only real choice if you already have fish.

If done simply, eg stock lightly, add fish slowly, you can fishless cycle safely without testing. Although testing your water while cycling is still a good idea.

Cons.

Lots of water changes, especially if you are doing a fish in cycle with a fully stocked tank.

Although you should be doing plenty of water changes to maintain relatively safe water, your fish will be living in waste which isn’t ideal.

Can take a long time (several months) to go from an empty tank to fully stocked if done safely.

A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.

Pros.

You cycle the tank before adding fish, therefore they shouldn’t be exposed to their own waste.

No need for regular water changes while your tank cycles.

Can be quicker to go from an empty tank to fully stocked.

Cons.

Needs patience, you will be looking at an empty tank for several weeks.

More technical approach requiring dosing ammonia and will need to be done alongside regular testing.

Less consistently successful than fish in cycles, especially with new fish keepers who don’t understand the process and expect it to run to a timetable.
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Old 09-09-2022, 02:41 AM   #5
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Have a think about you want to cycle your tank and let us know which way you want to go. Fishless or fish in.

Also here is a link to some useful articles for new fishkeepers.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...um-154837.html
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Old 09-09-2022, 10:21 AM   #6
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Got it! Well I already put in a goldfish in there for about 5-6 days now, now I want to change it to tropical, should I do the cycle with the goldfish then switch over or should I do the cycle with the tropical fish in there already, I would get like 2-3 tropical fishes to start off, but I was told goldfishes make the process quicker, they said within a week my tank would be cycled with the goldfish in there, which Iím also assuming is false? Petco manÖ
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Old 09-09-2022, 11:17 AM   #7
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Cycling a tank takes as long as it takes. Typically 6 to 8 weeks. The quickest ive known a tank cycle by someone on this forum (without starting with a cycled filter) is 3 weeks, someone recently did it in 4 weeks. Those timescales are unusually quick.

It wont cycle any quicker with a goldfish than tropical fish, although goldfish are quite hardy and may be more tolerant of the process than most tropical fish. On the other hand, a warmer tank will cycle quicker than a tank at room temperature.

The idea with a fish in cycle is to gradually increase the number of fish, so if you did it with goldfish you would have to add more goldfish over the next weeks/ months. When you are fully stocked and cycled enough for the full tank, you would then need to rehome all those goldfish, turn up the temperature and then introduce tropical fish.

Its up to you really.

Ill post a thorough method of a fish in cycle so you know what you are getting into, although there is probably a guide in those links i gave you.
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Old 09-09-2022, 11:17 AM   #8
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. Seachem Prime is a water conditioner that will also detoxify some ammonia for a day or two, so is a good choice for a water conditioner while cycling a tank with fish.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

In ideal circumstances you should be starting a fishless cycle with a low bioload (number of fish). 1 small fish per 10 gallons/40 litres is a good number of fish, but this can be tweaked a little for fish that are social and don’t do well on their own. Ideally a hardy type of fish. You may have fully stocked (or overstocked) your tank before you knew about cycling. In these circumstances, if its not possible to return fish, you will have to make the best of it.

If you haven’t already done so, add your fish. Acclimate them to the water in your tank before doing so.

Feed lightly to start with. Daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes, or as much as is eaten in 3 minutes every 2 days. You can increase to full feedings if you are confident your parameters aren’t getting too elevated too quickly and water changes don’t become a daily thing.

Start to regularly test the water for ammonia and nitrite. At least daily. Depending on your bioload you could start to see ammonia quite quickly. Nitrite will likely take a little longer to appear.

Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite combined no higher than 0.5ppm by changing water whenever your water parameters exceed this target. 0.5ppm combined is a level of waste that is sufficient for your cycle to establish but relatively safe for your fish.

If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.0ppm nitrite (0.5ppm combined) then leave things be. If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite (0.75ppm combined) then change 1/3 of the water. If you see 0.25ppm ammonia and 0.75ppm nitrite (1.0ppm combined) then change 1/2 the water. If water parameters get worse than these levels it may require multiple daily 50% water changes to maintain safe water conditions. This is more likely to happen with a fully stocked tank.

Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change to maintain your ammonia + nitrite combined target will reduce. You can also start testing for nitrate and should see this rising. If you are finding the ammonia and nitrite in your tests are consistently low, and you aren’t already fully stocked, you can add a few more fish. It may take a few weeks to get to this point.

Once you add a few more fish, continue to regularly test the water and continue to change water if you exceed the 0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite target. With added bioload the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change may increase again until your cycle has caught up. Again once you are consistently seeing low ammonia and nitrite you can add some more fish. Rinse and repeat with testing, water changes, and adding fish when safe to do so until you are fully stocked.

You can then cut back on water changes to control nitrate only. Typically you want to keep nitrate no higher than 40ppm, but I would recommend changing some water every 2 weeks even if your water test says you don’t need to.

A fish in cycle from an empty tank to fully stocked can take several months.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 09-09-2022, 07:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. Seachem Prime is a water conditioner that will also detoxify some ammonia for a day or two, so is a good choice for a water conditioner while cycling a tank with fish.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

In ideal circumstances you should be starting a fishless cycle with a low bioload (number of fish). 1 small fish per 10 gallons/40 litres is a good number of fish, but this can be tweaked a little for fish that are social and donít do well on their own. Ideally a hardy type of fish. You may have fully stocked (or overstocked) your tank before you knew about cycling. In these circumstances, if its not possible to return fish, you will have to make the best of it.

If you havenít already done so, add your fish. Acclimate them to the water in your tank before doing so.

Feed lightly to start with. Daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes, or as much as is eaten in 3 minutes every 2 days. You can increase to full feedings if you are confident your parameters arenít getting too elevated too quickly and water changes donít become a daily thing.

Start to regularly test the water for ammonia and nitrite. At least daily. Depending on your bioload you could start to see ammonia quite quickly. Nitrite will likely take a little longer to appear.

Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite combined no higher than 0.5ppm by changing water whenever your water parameters exceed this target. 0.5ppm combined is a level of waste that is sufficient for your cycle to establish but relatively safe for your fish.

If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.0ppm nitrite (0.5ppm combined) then leave things be. If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite (0.75ppm combined) then change 1/3 of the water. If you see 0.25ppm ammonia and 0.75ppm nitrite (1.0ppm combined) then change 1/2 the water. If water parameters get worse than these levels it may require multiple daily 50% water changes to maintain safe water conditions. This is more likely to happen with a fully stocked tank.

Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change to maintain your ammonia + nitrite combined target will reduce. You can also start testing for nitrate and should see this rising. If you are finding the ammonia and nitrite in your tests are consistently low, and you arenít already fully stocked, you can add a few more fish. It may take a few weeks to get to this point.

Once you add a few more fish, continue to regularly test the water and continue to change water if you exceed the 0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite target. With added bioload the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change may increase again until your cycle has caught up. Again once you are consistently seeing low ammonia and nitrite you can add some more fish. Rinse and repeat with testing, water changes, and adding fish when safe to do so until you are fully stocked.

You can then cut back on water changes to control nitrate only. Typically you want to keep nitrate no higher than 40ppm, but I would recommend changing some water every 2 weeks even if your water test says you donít need to.

A fish in cycle from an empty tank to fully stocked can take several months.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
Wow great! I think I can do it now with this!! Thanks for writing this up man!!!
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