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Old 05-08-2015, 09:29 AM   #1
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Fishless or fish in cycles?

So I'm on the road for buying a brand new tank. My last one I had to give up due to going travelling. Anyway I'm back now and going to start over... Anyway, now I feel the need to jog my memory on tank care mainly the cycling of a tank. I know this is an extremely important task, so my question is as the title states.


Which is better for cycling a new tank, fishless or fish in?

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Old 05-08-2015, 10:13 AM   #2
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I prefer fish less. I wouldn't want to risk killing the first fish I put in the tank and I wouldn't want to put cheap feeder fish in there because if they live your stuck with them unless you have something to eat them


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Old 05-08-2015, 10:25 AM   #3
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So basically a fish in cycle most likely will kill the fish I put in there. So a more humane method would be fishless. I don't want to intentionally harm the animals I wish to keep.

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Old 05-08-2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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Not if you do it right but you have to test the water more. I just like to be safe. There is a guide on cycling with fish on here if your interested.


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Old 05-08-2015, 05:11 PM   #5
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Hi. I think that fish less is better because you can load the tank to a higher ammonia level which will increase your bacteria levels without harming a fish. However, a piece of seeded media added to your filter will push the process along quicker. I don't have much faith in starter cultures (bottled bacteria). With fish in cycling, even if you don't kill the fish, they will be weakened by the ammonia levels needed to start and grow the filter bacteria. Then after cycling the tank is only capable of handling the stocking level of the cycling fish as any additions could lead to a mini cycle. Better to prove your filter, without fish, and when 4ppm ammonia and resulting nitrites are converted to zero within 24 hours then, following a major WC to reduce the nitrates, you can add a much larger stock of fish. The scientific approach of fish less cycling also appeals to me.


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Old 05-08-2015, 06:14 PM   #6
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Yeah fishless is a lot less stressful for you and your future fish
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:56 PM   #7
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Fish in if done properly is perfectly safe and harmless for fish. It is however, more work.

If youre confident in your ability to test water daily and maintain water parameters at acceptable levels i.e. ammonia and nitrite both below 0.5ppm then have at it and do a fish in cycle.

If you arent confident in your ability to do that then do a fishless cycle.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:36 PM   #8
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I'm doing a fish-in, not by choice but because the LFS told me I could add fish after 48hs.
It's more work, I change 50% of the water every other day, but the fish look health and happy. I took as a personal goal to not lose these fish so I'm being extremely careful, sometimes testing the water in the morning and at night.


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Old 05-08-2015, 11:05 PM   #9
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I've only ever done fish in. You just have to monitor water quality. Don't pick sensitive fish, very lightly stocked. Use prime and aquarium salt to reduce toxicity. It can be done well, or badly.


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Hi! I'm new here, but I've got the fish bug, and I've got it bad.

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Old 05-09-2015, 11:39 PM   #10
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I've never had a problem with fish in. I can't understand how anyone loses fish unless they start with touchy fish, put too many in, or feed them like they're taking a food challenge. Size of tank, and what kind of fish you intend to keep could alter that train of thinking.
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Old 05-10-2015, 12:47 AM   #11
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I think that fish in can be fine, but I have no interest in doing water changes every day, so I would never do it. It seems like a lot more work to me.
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:33 AM   #12
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You will probably change the same amount of water trying to bring nitrites down to a readable level mid fishless cycle and nitrates down at the end in order to deem that tank 'fish ready' as you would do during a fish in cycle.

You probably also use the same amount of test reagents as fish less cycles tend to breed frustration and impatience. You only have to peruse the getting started section to see that fact.

I prefer fish in but like fish less you really have to understand what is happening in the tank during the cycle.

You need 2 tools in order to successfully carry out a fish in cycle.

1) The API master freshwater test kit.
2) the Seachem ammonia alert (often gets overlooked but is very helpful)

The ammonia alert will tell you if your fish are in danger. If done properly, it should remain in the safe zone throughout. If it moves out of the safe zone this is the only time you will need to do a water change.

The api kit can be used to see when ammonia reaches zero and to check for nitrates. Nitrites are often missed if a fish in cycle is done correctly.

If you have these tools and use them this way you should be able to do a fish in successfully by following the fish in sticky.

In my opinion, fish in cycling is actually LESS work and takes just as long as a fishless.


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Old 05-10-2015, 09:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
You will probably change the same amount of water trying to bring nitrites down to a readable level mid fishless cycle and nitrates down at the end in order to deem that tank 'fish ready' as you would do during a fish in cycle.

You probably also use the same amount of test reagents as fish less cycles tend to breed frustration and impatience. You only have to peruse the getting started section to see that fact.

I prefer fish in but like fish less you really have to understand what is happening in the tank during the cycle.

You need 2 tools in order to successfully carry out a fish in cycle.

1) The API master freshwater test kit.
2) the Seachem ammonia alert (often gets overlooked but is very helpful)

The ammonia alert will tell you if your fish are in danger. If done properly, it should remain in the safe zone throughout. If it moves out of the safe zone this is the only time you will need to do a water change.

The api kit can be used to see when ammonia reaches zero and to check for nitrates. Nitrites are often missed if a fish in cycle is done correctly.

If you have these tools and use them this way you should be able to do a fish in successfully by following the fish in sticky.

In my opinion, fish in cycling is actually LESS work and takes just as long as a fishless.


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+1. I, like many others, inadvertently did a fish in cycle with the first tank I purchased because I followed the advice of "wait 48 hours." It was a tank for my daughter and I overstocked it too. It was a 5 gallon tank. I just threw ALL the fish in it right away. Found out about the tank cycle 2 months later. I purchased the API test kit and the Seachem ammonia alert, which told me that the tank was not cycled after all that time ( I had been replacing the filter due to bad advice). Ammonia was through the roof. I stopped replacing the filter and the tank cycled two weeks later. My second tank cycled in 3 weeks. I only did 25% WC once a week. Never lost a fish. All are still quite happy and healthy after 6 months. I realize that I may have been extremely lucky, but personally, I plan on doing fish in cycles for all my tanks. Pouring ammonia into an empty tank for two months is something for which I lack the patience. I admire the dedication of those who do it, though.


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Old 05-10-2015, 02:05 PM   #14
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The problem really lies in the advice that we give others. Mebbid and Caliban we all know about the difference between the dangerous and the non-dangerous ammonia forms so we know that things are "ok" at certain levels, but here on the board we always end up advising people to keep their ammonia at .25-.50. So that always means a lot of water changes for them.
If we just took more time to teach about the ammonia/ammonium difference we could advise people on a more specific level tailored for their tank and perhaps they would WC less. But it is a lot to learn for a person who just wants to keep fish, not take chemistry class.
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by threnjen View Post
The problem really lies in the advice that we give others. Mebbid and Caliban we all know about the difference between the dangerous and the non-dangerous ammonia forms so we know that things are "ok" at certain levels, but here on the board we always end up advising people to keep their ammonia at .25-.50. So that always means a lot of water changes for them.
If we just took more time to teach about the ammonia/ammonium difference we could advise people on a more specific level tailored for their tank and perhaps they would WC less. But it is a lot to learn for a person who just wants to keep fish, not take chemistry class.

So what are you saying here thren? Are we to refrain from discussing fish in cycling to appease those who fail to recognise the importance of chemistry in the hobby? Because I know you don't hold that philosophy

The op has asked a very specific question here.


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