Cycling w/ shrimp? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Cycling w/ shrimp?

Hi there!

I am setting up my first aquarium in >10 years and I am really happy that I am finally going back to my favorite hobby. The aquarium is a 15 gallon shallow tank with a Marineland Eclipse 2 filter and lighting system. Currently it is waiting for plants, which will arrive on Friday.

I will keep one or two killiefish varieties (male + female or male + female + female, depending on their needs) plus some cherry shrimps, and a group of tiny catfish. I will not be using any rocks, but rather build a structure with several pieces of wood to give the shrimp multiple levels to wander around and so leave more bottom-level room for the catfish.

So, sorry about the lengthy intro, I wanted to cover all bases. Here's the question: Is it possible to cycle the tank with cherry shrimp or another variety of similar size? There is no way I can use danios in a peaceful killiefish aquarium, and both the killiefish and the catfish seem to be too sensitive when it comes to the water quality.

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 05:08 AM
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Shrimp are extremely sensitive to bad water conditions and would not survive. Go fishless and use flake food.

This is the song that never ends...
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 08:17 AM
I would go fishless as well. In fact, I have what I think is the same tank and I am doing a fishless cycle on it right now. If you can't find ammonia, you can always use flake food. It will take a little longer for the ammonia to build up, but the whole cycle should take the same or shorter time than a cycle with fish. Also, no fish are harmed or killed during the process :D . Definitely the way to go if you care about your fish. Good luck!

Also, if you don't know what a fishless cycle is, I would be happy to explain it, or you can just google "fishless aquarium cycle".
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies, I'll go fishless then. I am familiar with the cycling process and method, and just using flakes sounds interesting. However, I think I will just go with the pure ammonia, which sounds a little less messy. ;)

Pure ammonia can be found at ACE hardware stores, by the way. Make sure it's always the one that contains ammonia hydroxide and water *only*!

You can also order online at
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 10:33 AM
That's great. I couldn't seem to find ammonia anywhere :( . It is good to know so that I can keep my old tank running in case I need it for a hospital tank.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-17-2008, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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I went to a local ACE store today and bought a gallon for $4.99. It's only 10% so I'll need to figure out how many drops are needed. I'll keep you posted.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-17-2008, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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I started cycling today. Even though the ACE ammonia is only 10%, 5ml was plenty to shoot my 15 gal tank into the 8ppm range. speaks of 3-5 drops pure ammonia per gallon of water, which is a much higher dose than what I used. I assume the author of the site did not use really pure ammonia.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Update on day 5: After a +8ppm peak, the level of ammonia seems to have started decreasing.

Nitrite reads 2ppm.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 04:31 PM
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Good news then.

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post #10 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 06:05 PM
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Ooh- it's getting exciting! Do you know what kind of killifish you're getting?

Also, what catfish were you planning on adding? Most killifish shouldn't be kept with a heater, as they like their water colder. The shrimp actually prefer those temps, so they'll do great, but most small cats are tropical.
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