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Old 11-03-2004, 02:22 AM   #1
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can a 'dead' fish be used to cycle a tank? fishless cycling

i was wondering, can i use a dead fish to cycle a tank?

i want to do a fishless cycling..
but instead of using ammonia from the grocery store...

can i just use a dead fish???
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Old 11-03-2004, 02:27 AM   #2
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You can use a piece of shrimp or a dead fish. There is an article on fishless cycling in the Articles Section. The article I am thinking of is in the SW section, but it also applies to FW.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:57 AM   #3
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I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want anything rotting in a tank I was going to put my nice, healthy fish in. What's wrong with a tried & true scientifically proven method of plain old ammonia? Much more controlled, IMO.
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Old 11-03-2004, 12:15 PM   #4
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I would have to agree with Pufferpunk on that. I personally have never, nor will I ever cycle that way, but I'm sure you will need more then one fish, right?
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Old 11-03-2004, 12:20 PM   #5
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Thsi dead fish you are referring to, is not currently swimming around in your tank is he??

JK! I guess you could do it that way, but I would not, just seems kinda nasty.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:01 PM   #6
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While the idea is sort of creepy, I am a big fan of creative, inexpensive methods - especially when they are less work. I would guess that when using this method you would not have to be adding something to the tank every day like you do with ammonia.

If you do opt for this method I would suggest keeping a close eye on the water parameters just to make sure that everything is going according to plan. Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Old 11-03-2004, 06:17 PM   #7
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Ammonia is not expensive at all and your not adding it everyday. I bought a half gallon for 99 cents and I was able to cycle over 3 tanks with it and tossed out the rest.

I would be concerned that if you need more then one dead fish to cycle, where do you plan on getting it? And I personally think that anything decaying in your tank just causes other problems during your cycling.
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:00 PM   #8
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Rotting fish do create ammonia, so will cycle a tank. Someone on this board did a cycle using a dead shrimp a while back & she kept a log & posted it. As I recall, the biggest problem with her experience is that it STINKS! .... not just in the tank, but in the room, etc.

A lot of trouble to save a buck's worth of ammonia ... IMO...

and with the price of shrimp these day ... ammonia is prob. cheaper!
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Old 11-04-2004, 12:22 AM   #9
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It would work -- i.e., create ammonia to start the cycle. But I would be wary of how the fish died. Did it have a disease, parasite, etc.?
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Old 11-04-2004, 12:57 AM   #10
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Yeah, where exactly would you go for dead fish. Do you have them lying around in your freezer? Because when my fish die, I never think to myself, "self, I think I will throw you in the freezer so that I can use you to cycle my next tank."

Not trying to be rude at all, just curious.
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Old 11-04-2004, 03:38 AM   #11
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If you don't want to buy ammonia, use fish flakes. But a dead fish? Come on! Not only will it create ammonia but it will also spoil the water. Althought I am pretty sure most parasites leave after the host dies but it may still spread some other disease to new healthy fish. BTW have some respect for the poor dead fish!
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:47 AM   #12
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I know this post is old, but... If u are vegetarian please stop reading.
Myself and my sister have been doing about 20 odd cycling experiments,
We were specificly trying to find out how to cycle a tank from ground zero for newbies or someone who had to nuke their tanks due to snails or disease etc, and they can't seed their tank.
And by far the fastest method of cycling after nuking etc is a dead HEATHY, HUMANELY killed fresh fish. Combined with ammonia.
The reason is obvious, all living breathing fish contain the benificial bacteria in their gut.
Fishless cycling is far safer and kinder to your fish. But it's also faster.
Fishin cycling (I personally believe this to be cruel) works because the fish all ready have the correct bacteria in their gut but it's slower because of water changes.
So by using a dead fish u combine the speed of a fishless cycle with the instant correct bacteria from the dead fish.
Or u can use a dead fresh shellfish must still have intestines.
Notes, don't freeze fish that might kill the bacteria.
Don't boil fish that will kill the bacteria.
Fish must still have intestines.
The fish we used were killed the same day we added to the tank we were cycling.
Same with the shellfish, they were collected from beach killed and put in the tank on the same day.
Most of our tests we didn't use dead fish or shell fish.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:12 AM   #13
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Can you cite a source that says a fish gut contains nitrosomonas and nitrobacter bacteria?
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Can you cite a source that says a fish gut contains nitrosomonas and nitrobacter bacteria?

With respect, this information would be irrelevant. New information on the types of microbes are being discovered all the time and the strains change too. In fact, it isn’t even clear if the microbes responsible for ammonia oxidisation are even a bacteria but a type of Archaea. The closest our hobby gets to actual scientific validity is probably in waste water treatment. There is just nothing reliably accurate out there on this subject. It is for this exact reason I tend to shy away from naming single organisms and instead prefer to use the word microbes.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:48 PM   #15
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can a 'dead' fish be used to cycle a tank? fishless cycling

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyealands View Post
I know this post is old, but... If u are vegetarian please stop reading.
Myself and my sister have been doing about 20 odd cycling experiments,
We were specificly trying to find out how to cycle a tank from ground zero for newbies or someone who had to nuke their tanks due to snails or disease etc, and they can't seed their tank.
And by far the fastest method of cycling after nuking etc is a dead HEATHY, HUMANELY killed fresh fish. Combined with ammonia.
The reason is obvious, all living breathing fish contain the benificial bacteria in their gut.
Fishless cycling is far safer and kinder to your fish. But it's also faster.
Fishin cycling (I personally believe this to be cruel) works because the fish all ready have the correct bacteria in their gut but it's slower because of water changes.
So by using a dead fish u combine the speed of a fishless cycle with the instant correct bacteria from the dead fish.
Or u can use a dead fresh shellfish must still have intestines.
Notes, don't freeze fish that might kill the bacteria.
Don't boil fish that will kill the bacteria.
Fish must still have intestines.
The fish we used were killed the same day we added to the tank we were cycling.
Same with the shellfish, they were collected from beach killed and put in the tank on the same day.
Most of our tests we didn't use dead fish or shell fish.


Most interesting - I think I tend to see most references for waste water as well so great to see some aquarium research. Some old threads on saltwater methods were pretty wonderful reading.

Any tips? Some questions I wondered on were if any smell or if so much weight gave so much ammonia for a volume (or something haha).
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:30 AM   #16
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Yes stink, is an issue...
Sorry I lost this thread,
I used combined with dry powered ammonium chloride..to 2ppm.
Air bubbler, heated to 25c.
I don't have other evidence to support this.
But try it ur self in a bucket or small tank etc, if u do try, test for nitrite in 12 hrs, it is that fast. (in a small amount of water eg 5-10 litres of water.)
Re artical found today might interest some one, its on pH..... In ponds, these guys do some good articles.
https://www.aquaculturealliance.org/...re-pond-water/
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