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Old 01-08-2005, 04:56 PM   #1
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Must you cycle freshwater tanks?

Hey all, my first post here.

I started out wanting a salt water tank, I know several people with them. But to see if it was something I wanted to get into, I went with a 10gal FW.

So, I have had this tank for months now and ready to move up. Do I want a larger FW or a larger SW tank? Not sure yet. However I started reading up. I have heard of cycling a SW tank but not a FW. When I set up my FW tank I let it sit over night with rinsed gravel someone gave me from a tank they had sitting dry. I also had water, a fake rock for hiding in and a filter. The next day, I bought a few Sarpe (sp) Tetras and that was it. I aclimated them and never had a problem?

Was this the wrong way to start a new tank and I was lucky or is this the normal way most newbs do it?

Thanks guys for any input.

BTW My water was this before adding fish:
Nitrate = 20
Nitrite = 0
Hardness = 0
Alkalinity = 80
PH =7

29 gallon bow front - Just plants, currently cycling.


10 Gallon w/ 1 male betta and alge eater (not sure what kind), looking for something to add with the betta.

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Old 01-08-2005, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Must you cycle freshwater tanks?

Originally Posted by sdveirs
Was this the wrong way to start a new tank and I was lucky or is this the normal way most newbs do it?
Yes, yes, and yes. Cycling (preferably fishless) is quite necessary.

G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:30 PM   #3
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Most people advocate fishless cycling for many good reasons. Fishless cycling does not put any fish through the high levels of ammonia and nitrItes, which can cause irreparable damage to their gills, and of course, there's the chance they will not survive the spikes in those levels. Have you ever smelled ammonia? Imagine having to breathe it for a week.

I tried instant cycling using a product called Bio-Spira (you'll find the diary further down this list)... Unfortunately, I lost all eleven fish I started with, and several of them had developed ich that I couldn't combat. There's been a lot of speculation as to why I lost them, but right now my theory is that the fish came from an unreputable source and were ill before I brought them home.

I tried to cycle the tank the fishless way, (one way is to use a small amount of 100% pure ammonia to simulate fish waste and get the cycle going) but I went to almost a dozen stores and all stocks of ammonia contained sulfactants (soap), which is deadly to fish. Unless I wanted to wait 6-8 weeks (possibly longer) or try to find someone locally that has a mature tank to borrow some gravel, I was going to have to cycle with fish.

Since then I went to another LFS and seemed to find a gem of a place. I brought home 7 new inhabitants, and 5 days later the ammonia level is barely registering and nitrAtes (the good stuff) are up. I even have 3 little babies swimming around One of the fish had a small case of ich, but I immediately treated it and by the next say the spot were gone - these fish appear to be much hardier than the first group, which is why I think they were from bad stock.

HTH, and read up all you can on the different ways to cycle a tank so you can choose the best way for you.

Oh, and WELCOME to AA!
36 gallon bowfront w/all fake ornaments, Eheim 2213 canister filter, one sub heater (have a hanging heater for backup), and a 4" airstone.
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:39 PM   #4
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Yes you have to establish a biofilter (ie:cycle), but the question is how !

Use filter media from another established biofilter.

use pure ammonia before adding fish

Use bio-spira at the same time as adding fish

Put in hardy fish, feed sparingly, monitor ammonia,nitrites and water change if too high

There are many threads on ammonia (fishless) cycling on AA, many threads on biospira and seeding with an established biofilter, not too many on cycling with fish. look around, and pick a method. Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:39 PM   #5
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Cycling with fish means you take into account the size of tank you are cycling, get the appropriate number of fish, and in about two weeks you should be ready to start adding fish slowly. People seem to get in trouble the most when they add too many fish too quickly. With smaller tanks it is hard. I used fish to cycle my 55 gallon. I used two little (at the time) sun cats and three female bettas. I made sure to change the water and vacume SOME of the gravel twice a week to keep toxins for getting anywhere near a level that they could harm my fish. Since then, I've made sure to add fish slowly and in small groups. My exceptions would be getting 6 cories at once and recently I bought 5 rummynosed tetras. But I make sure my water is perfect before I added them, and I make sure it stays perfect afterward. Also, those cories and tetras a small and don't add much to the bioload.
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cycle, freshwater, freshwater tank, freshwater tanks, tan

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