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Fishless Cycle and Stocking

Discussion in 'Freshwater Newbie Forum' started by EagerAqua, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. EagerAqua

    EagerAqua
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    Well, in case any one is interested, I started to cycle my tank with 4 dwarf gouramis as recommended by my lfs. Needless to say that did not go very well and I ended taking all 4 back. So, as a result of reading this board I started a fishless cycle and my nitrites have peaked and are coming down. I can burn through 5ppm ammonia in 8 hours or so but still have 1-2ppm nitrites so I am still seeding and waiting until it goes to 0.

    Anyway, my question concerns stocking after doing a fishless cycle. I have read a few conflicting messages - some say that a fishless cycled tank can accomodate fully stocking the tank all at once while others say that fish should be phased in. What should I do? Can you 'lose' a cycle by not adding more fish since there is not enough waste to keep the cycle going.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Eager
     
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  2. carpguy

    carpguy
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    lots of small fish

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    As far as the bacteria are concerned, your tank is already full of fish. Once the fishless cycle is finished, do a large water change to bring the nitrates back down (they should be very high by now). At that point you can fully stock the tank.

    The gradual build up method is used in fishy cycling where quick heavy stocking will cause large toxin buildups before the bacteria are ready to handle it. With fishless the bacteria are there and waiting to go, so the gradual buildup isn't necessary.

    If you reduce the ammonia load by leaving the tank empty or by lightly stocking it the bacteria will gradually shrink to fit the new level. It doesn't happen overnight, but it will happen. In that case, you should treat it like a fishy cycle and build back up gradually to let the bacteria readjust. (If for some reason you decide to leave the tank empty for a bit, you can just continue adding ammonia).

    Good luck and enjoy!
     
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  3. superstein61

    superstein61
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    I agree with Carpguy - however, let me add that it would not be a problem to phase in your fishover a shorter timeframe if you wanted to.

    I did this with my 72 gallon recently. I did a fishless cycle - then added about 17 inches of fish - 2 days later - added 6 more inches. Four days later, added 9 more inches. Seven days later - added 6 more inches of fish. Seven days later added 6 more inches.

    Now, I could have added these all at once - but I was getting them from different places, waiting for some new shipments at my LFS to become acclimated, etc.

    The key is that as CarpGuy noted, with a fishless cycle, you in essence have the biofilter for a fully stocked tank now. If you don't add a full load - it will die back - but this happens slowly - at least a week. So if you add your full fish load within a week, you should have no problem. After that, if you just add fish in moderation, you should not see any spikes
     
  4. EagerAqua

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    This is great information carpguy and superstein61. I think what I will do is have two phases (I have a 25 gallon):

    Phase I:

    Middle-Surface: 6 Zebra Danios
    Middle: 6 Bleeding Heart Tetras
    Bottom: 4 otos

    Total inches = 16

    Phase II (approx 1 week later):
    Middle: 2 angelfish
    Bottom: 2 panda corys

    Total inches = 6 inches

    I think it will be very important to water test during the first week to ensure that no readings are getting up there.

    Let me know what you think of the mix and numbers. I may be high in terms of inches in the future when things start to grow.

    Thanks,

    Eager
     
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  5. NJ Devils Fan

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    carpguy pretty much summed it up
     
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  6. carpguy

    carpguy
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    lots of small fish

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    I think the angels are going to get too big for a 25g. Everybody else sounds good. Your numbers seem fine. You might look into some other smaller cichlid, rams maybe, for a centerpiece fish.

    I prefer to stock according to adult size. Especially with small fish, they'll reach it soon enough. Stocking should be conservative, and I think going by their present size is a way of cutting a corner that probably shouldn't be cut. There's nothing wrong with using the first tank to grow out some juvenile fish, so long as you realize you've committed to getting the bigger tank for them. :D

    It never hurts to test, but your levels should be fine.

    Like Superstein, I did a fishless and then added the first several fish, then another lot a few days later. I was probably at 80% stocked by the end of the first week. Added my dwarf barbs a few weeks later and a pair of SAEs around the same time. I lost one of the SAEs, not sure if it was introduction shock or a turf war caused by being a little overstocked.

    Good luck with it and enjoy, you're past the hard part. :D
     
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  7. superstein61

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    I agree again with Carpguy - your stocking looks fine except those angels will likely outgrow your tank (or make it overstocked as they grow). That is the only thing I would maybe reconsider
     
  8. kveeti

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    You might want to consider getting a couple more panda corys. They would really like being in a bit bigger group, so that might affect your stocking, too.
     
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  9. EagerAqua

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    Thanks for all the replys. I think I will reconsider the angels. Deep down in the back of my mind I kind of thought I would need to but my desire for a cool centerpiece fish won out. So with that in mind, one of the suggestions was for rams. Specifically, what kind of rams would fit my mix here?

    Eager
     
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  10. Faramir

    Faramir
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    The twit from over the pond.

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    Rams are not a good newbie fish - they are unforgiving about nitrates, let alone nitrites or ammonia.

    Before even a guarded recommendation, I'd want to know the hardness and pH of the water.
     
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