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Cycle

Discussion in 'Freshwater Archives' started by countrygirl, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. countrygirl

    countrygirl AC Members

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    We are setting up a brand new 250 gallon aquarium. We can put water in it tommorrow. I am getting driven crazy here because the guy at the pet store said to use Cycle, it is a great product, it will help the Nirogen cycle along and make the transition easier for your fish, he said he was going to give us some gunk from the tanks in the store to help get the process along too, so we could bring our fish home this weekend. GREAT YEA!!!! RIGHT?

    Well not the built the aquarium said do not use Cycle it is crap and can actually kill the bacteria you want in the aquarium gravel. He said do not bring the fish home, put the three bala sharks in there and that is it let the amonia go up up up up and then when the amonia drops add the other fish. Also do not mess with water changes, leave it alone

    Ok I have other aquariums and I have been very successful using cycle at the beginning and then every week thereafter. I do a 25% water change after 4 days, after 8 days and then every week thereafter, that gets me through the 30 day period and I water change once a month after that. This has worked very well for me, so it is what I want to do this time.

    I don't know what the right thing to do is, I don't want to lose any fish but I want my fish home, they have been paid for for two months now. HELP!!!!
     
  2. SP2

    SP2 what?

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    This is only my opinion!! Take the gunk from the established tank(the more the better)........take a just a couple of fish. Wait a week or two, do your water changes. Wait and check your water. You know what your looking for right.??? Then just add fish slowly over time. My opinion is that cycle is snake oil....would never use it, but what the heck do I know. I dont know how many fish you have paid for for a 250 gallon tank but you are crazy if dump a ton of fish into a new tank.
     
  3. countrygirl

    countrygirl AC Members

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    thank you, there are 3 balas, one blue acara, one motoro stingray and one leopaldi stingray
     
  4. Richer

    Richer AC Members

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    You have some pretty expensive fish there (it is here anyways), personally, I wouldn't chance anything but a fishless cycle. Read this article http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquamag/cycle2.html that should get you started on doing a fishless cycle for your 250 gallon tank. Stay away from things like "cycle." I've tried it before, and it didn't do anything to speed my cycles along.

    If you want to make sure those fish don't die, leave them at the LFS for a few more weeks while you get your tank ready (via a fishless cycle).

    -Richer
     
  5. JesseJ

    JesseJ You should be dancin'

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    I would make sure the tank is fully cycled before getting any fish. Do a fishless cycle like Richer suggested. I have used Cycle in my tanks and I find that it is useful at startup but after that I don't use it. The sponge squeeze is sketchy to me. I wouldn't be comfortable taking it unless I was really really sure that I had a competent LFS giving it to me. The guy you talked to probibly just wanted you to buy stuff that day which is why he said it would work. It would be better for your fish if you got the bacteria started and were sure it was doing fine and could handle all the wastes before you got the fish into the tank.

    If I had a 250 G (mmmmm......... big tank.....) GAH where did all this drool come from?........ Anyways I couldn't wait to load it with fish but waiting would be better if you can do it.
     
  6. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    If I knew the tank(s) to be healthy, I would much rather get some cultured gravel or filter squeezings to start a cycle. Those both have the actual bacteria responsible for oxidizing ammonia/nitrite, unlike Cycle...

    Jim
     
  7. greenterrorrr

    greenterrorrr AC Members

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    IMO the best way is to set the tank up and fill it with water. Let that run for a day or so and then get some fish to add in there and start the cycle. I've cycled plenty of tanks including a 150 gallon and have never used fishless cycling. I very rarely loose a fish I got to cycle with.
     
  8. TKOS

    TKOS Registered User of Fish

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    Just a couple of things to mention.

    While Cycle doesn't really work, I doubt it will kill your bacteria. If anything it just does nothing but waste your money.

    If you do a fishy cycle then I highly suggest not letting your ammonia levels get above 1ppm and nitrite levels above 0.25 ppm. Don't let them climb and then drop. That will at worst kill your fish and at best leave them weak and prone to disease and a short life.

    With expensive fish like that buy a Master test Kit and make sure the levels never climb above what I mentioned. Keep it lower if possible with water changes with a good dechlorinator.

    If you do go the fishy cycle way then make sure to add the fish slowly and as long as ammonia levels keep climbing between water changes then do not add more fish yet. And feel free to add some gravel or filter media from an established tank. Just adding water or a squeeze of gunk really won't do much though.
     
  9. Richer

    Richer AC Members

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    Very rarely doesn't mean no fish die. I have never lost a fish in a fishless cycle... because no fish are involved.

    Lets break it down a bit:

    Cycling with fish:
    What does it involve? Sticking a few hardy fish into a tank, and letting the ammonia the fish naturally (and decaying fish food) produce start up the cycle.

    Pros:
    -You have fish in the tank right from the beginning.
    -The tank will cycle successfully.

    Cons:
    -The fish have to swim in water containing detectable levels of ammonia/nitrite. This leads to the possibility that the fish may contract diseases, infections, etc. because their immune systems may take a hit from the ammonia/nitrite. Exposure to ammonia/nitrite may also reduce fish lifespan.
    -The constant water changing that is necessary to reduce ammonia/nitrite levels to a less toxic level, so that your cycling fish can survive.
    -The fish you use must be hardy fish so that they can survive the cycle. What will happen if those fish aren't part of your stocking plan? Will you return them? What if the fishstore will not accept them?
    -Even a complete cycle isn't complete. Fish have to be introduced slowly to the tank. Introducing too many fish at once will upset the balance of the tank. Remember that the tank only has enough bacterial colonies to convert the waste of a few fish, not a full load of fish.

    Fishless Cycle:
    What does it involve? Buying ammonia from a store, adding this ammonia to a tank till you get an ammonia level of about 5ppm. The ammonia added will start the cycle.

    Pros:
    -Spares fish from swimming in water containing detectable levels of ammonia/nitrite. Which prevents any of the ammonia/nitrite related problems a fish may get.
    -Cycling a tank on 5ppm of ammonia will give the aquarist a large margin of error for fish stocking. Unless a person really packs a tank, fish will never produce enough ammonia to get an ammonia reading of 5ppm. In turn, this allows the aquarist to fully stock a tank after a successful cycle.
    -A few people have said that fishless cycling actually speed up how quickly a tank will cycle.
    -Like a fish cycle, it will cycle a tank successfully.

    Cons:
    -One very large water change at the end of the cycle is needed, to remove the large levels of nitrates that are probably in the water. Still... not as bad as doing multiple water changes during a fish cycle.
    -You will have to look at an empty tank for 2-3 weeks.


    Seems to me that a fishless cycle is the clear winner. I probably missed some stuff, but that is the general gist of it.

    HTH
    -Richer
     
  10. TKOS

    TKOS Registered User of Fish

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    Good post, though I would have to say that it can generally take up to 4-5 weeks to finish a fishless cycle. That seems to be the norm for posts I have seen around here.
     
  11. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    Great post, Richer. I'd add to the cons of fishy cycling that fish cycling may cause permanent damage to sensitive gill tissue from ammonia burns, and the discomfort the fish feel from swimming in toxins.

    There are certainly greater evils in the world than cycling with fish, and some folks who practice fishy cycling are no doubt extremely conscientious to minimize damage/discomfort to the fish. Newbies are much more likely to err during cycling, though, and expose fish to dangerous level of toxins. Even worse, the idea of using 'cycling fish" seems to promote the idea that some fish are more or less disposable, an idea I find in opposition to the feelings that make me want to keep these creatures as pets.

    Jim
     
  12. TKOS

    TKOS Registered User of Fish

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    Cycling fish is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have even heard of stores that tell you to bring your danios back after they have been through the cycle so they can sell them to others for the same purpose.

    My current tanks were fishy cycled, but I also had them stuffed with fast growing stem plants and did many water changes. Over a year later they are still very healthy. But I agree that without proper knowledge you will more than likely damage your fish or kill them. My next tank will be a fishless cycle.
     
  13. countrygirl

    countrygirl AC Members

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    Okay don't throw stones at me too hard, I know I shouldn't have brought my babies home BUT I DID, call me impatient call me whatever you want, but I promise I will be very very careful and check the water levels religiously. Here is what we did. We filled the tank last night added aquasafe and cycle and let if sit for a couple of hours until it got to 75 degrees. Then I added a smallish (For this tank) Berney's Shark, a Fire Eel, and two angelfish. Then this afternoon we went to the fish store where our poor fish have been waiting for two months on hold. We picked them all up. A motoro stingray, a leopaldi stingray, a large Blue Acara and three large Bala sharks.

    They gave us the gunk from the filter to add to our wet/dry system. Guess what they found in the filter when they did that? A baby Acara (the other large acara in the tank had died) So they gave him to us for free he is about 3 inches long and an inch and a half wide. I can't believe he lived in the filter all that time. But they gave him to us free. He is so sweet.

    When we got home we added the gunk directly to the wet/dry system to start the bioballs off. Then we floated the fish for 20 minutes and added them all to the tank. So far so good. I then went and picked up some feeder fish and shrimp pellets and boy did these guys eat them all. Good sign, I think, means they aren't too stressed out so far I think.

    So this is what we have in there:

    1 fire eel
    1 Berney's Shark
    1 Motoro Stingray
    1 Leopaldi Stingray
    2 Angelfish
    2 Acaras
    3 Balas
     
  14. Richer

    Richer AC Members

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    Alright... what's done is done I suppose.

    You have introduced a large load to an uncycle tank... prepare for equally large ammonia spikes. Do large water changes _every_ day without exception. Reduce on the amount of food you feed your fish. Fish don't need much to eat. My 66 gallon Malawi tank only gets fed a few pellets and a few flakes once every 2 days, and my fish are thriving (the fish have bred countless times). I must re-emphasize, you _cannot_ slack off on the water changes. You have expensive (and nice) fish in your tank, you cannot risk losing nor injurying them.

    Forget about feeder fish, unless you breed your own, you are only introducing fish with potential diseases to your tank.

    *edit*
    If you can find a friend, or whoever who has multiple filters on a _healthy_ tank, ask to take one of the sponges/bio media off of the filter and stick it into your filter, that should help things out a little bit.

    HTH
    -Richer
     
    #14 Richer, Mar 17, 2004
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2004
  15. countrygirl

    countrygirl AC Members

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    I will be careful. I get so much different information from so many different people. Some say don't bother with the water changes because of the size of the tank, type of filter and siz of pump. Some, like you say do it EVERY DAY without fail. Yikes don't know what to do. I will keep a very close eye on the levels and test the water every day, if I even have a slight discoloration on the amonia test I will do a 25% water change.

    I have learned quite a bit about cycling through all of this. My son's 30 gallon aquarium he got for Christmas I water changed on the 4th day, the 8th day, then every week, once a month went by I reduced the water changes to whenever the water got cloudy. Now I change the water once a month and his tank is chrystal clear and so healthy we have a breeding pair of Angelfish in there already.

    I have even had people tell me to overfeed the fish like crazy so the bacteria will grow faster, and people tell me to barely feed them so they don't produce much waste. It's so hard to know what to do.
     
  16. countrygirl

    countrygirl AC Members

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    Well it is day 3 and good news. All fish are fine and active. We have done a 25% water change yesterday and today and testing the water with my kit tells me pH 7.4, Ammonia 0 and Nitrates 0. The guy that built the tank took some water and tested it on his expensive machine and he said good news. Amonia 0.1 Nitrates 0.24 and pH 7.2. The water is cloudy though. We have a filter in the prefilter that looks like quilting batting and we are changing that every two hours. Hopefully the bioballs will get populated with bacteria fast since we added the gunk from the filter of the tank my fish were in at the pet store; directly to the wet/dry filter.
     
  17. copeina

    copeina Registered Member

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    Day 3 isn't even the begining of a tank cycle. It is a 4 - 6 week process. Just wait until day 13, then you'll be wishing you hadn't been so hasty in stocking the tank.

    While changing water will keep the spikes to (hopefully) sub-lethal levels, it will also lengthen the cycling process because it reduces the concentration of available bacteria food. It is kind of a good/bad way to start out. Plan on at least a 6 week cycle using this method.

    BTW, where are you located? Locally, stingrays are like $150 a pop, and I think the leopoldi is closer to $300! That's quite the expensive taste for a self-proclaimed 'newbie' unsure of how to cycle a tank. :confused:

    Good luck. You'll need it.
    /Douglas
     
  18. TKOS

    TKOS Registered User of Fish

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    I have to agree that you should be doign daily water changes. As for your sons tank, just because the water is crystal clear doesn't mean the water doesn't need changing. Not to sound mean or jumpy or anything but there things liek nitrates don't make the water cloudy and at high levels are toxic. That 30 gallon tank needs weekly water changes. Also the metabolic process that breaks nitrogen down creates acids which eat away at the buffer in a tank and will eventually drop your pH.

    And one more quick little tid bit, hardy fish can easily withstand a 20 minute float int he fish store bag but generally acclimation should take at least an hour as you slowly take a little water out of the bag and replace it with a small amount of fish tank water. Temp isn't the only thing to acclimate for, water quality (ph, hardness etc...) is just as important.
     
  19. kveeti

    kveeti Easily amused

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    copeina makes a great point about being overly optimistic on Day 3.

    However, I have a differing view on water changes and cycle lengths, based on what I have read by people a lot more knowledgeable than myself. As long as there is ammonia detected by the test kit, the bacteria will continue to grow simply because the ammonia is excessive. A higher ammonia reading does not make their metabolism/reproduction speed up. They will continue to multiply at their own pace as long as excess 'food' is present. Water changes help the fish. As long as water changes dilute the ammonia to almost 0 (but not 0) the cycle process will not take longer.
     
  20. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    I agree totally with Kveeti. In addition, there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that higher ammonia levels might inhibit development of nitrite-eaters.

    As long as you have ammonia in excess of what the nitrifiers can eat, they will grow in number.

    Jim
     

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