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This is a discussion on Dorm-room Fish within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Don't bother getting water from the LFS, it's useless. The bacteria you need live in the substrate and filter media. If you wanna help ...

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Old 07-10-2008, 06:31 AM   #11
 
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Don't bother getting water from the LFS, it's useless. The bacteria you need live in the substrate and filter media. If you wanna help the cycle along ask them for some gravel from an established tank or some pieces of the filter.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:01 PM   #12
 
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Although the gravel and filter media house most of the biological filtration in a mature tank, there are also bacteria growing on most of the other surfaces. Tyyrlym's right; there isn't much going on in the water itself. In addition to the substrate and filter media decorations from an established tank help. A lot of times you can get plants, rocks and even driftwood from other aquarists or even some fish stores.

The danios are hardy enough that they will likely survive the cycling process, especially if you monitor those water parameters and do water changes when the ammonia and nitrite get to high. Like I said, if you don't want to keep them you'd have to figure out what to do with them after the cycle's complete. Not to mention I imagine even non-fatal long term ammonia poisoning isn't the most pleasant experience for the fish.

Some people say that using the pure ammonia method is the best way to cycle a tank. However, you have to use completely pure ammonia. None of those cleaners with any sort of additives of any kind. I've actually had trouble tracking it down. The prawn method works well, too.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:27 PM   #13
 
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this is personally what I would do....

cycle it at home before you go
get 2 5 gallon buckets from lowes or home depot
put most of the water and the fish in 1 bucket with the filter media, make sure theres holes in the lid!
the put some water and the gravel and decorations in the other bucket.

2 easy to carry buckets and the tank weighs nothing empty :D

I just helped move a 55g with 3 goldfish and 2 plecos into my GFs new apartment (well, old apartment, but thats a different thread lol) and thats how we did it, worked out well.
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:14 PM   #14
 
I moved 2 30 gals a few weeks ago, unassisted. It was a pain in the rear, but the fish were none worse for wear. I put my fish in tupperware containers with water from the tank. I find that those are easier to travel with than baggies with fish, and less leak-prone.

With a 5 gallon tank, there's no reason why you can't just drain the water down to just enough to submerge the gravel, and transport it that way. It won't weigh much. and there isn't enough stuff in there to make a mess.

Get another tupperware with tank water and transport your filter media in there. Hauling the rest of your tank water is really overkill, the benefit is not worth the hassle of transporting the 4 gallons or so left that doesn't end up in one of the aforementioned tupperwares or keeping the gravel submerged.

When you reach your destination, getting the tank up and running again should obviously be as early a priority as you can make it. Put all of your old tank water from the tupperwares in, and fill the rest of the way with local water.

I like the idea of cycling at home personally. It shouldn't be too tough for you to give the fish a smooth transition over to your new home. And then you've already got a nice tank up and running on day 1. The only thing is, it'll be hard to make fish care a high priority when you're first starting out at college. :)
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:40 PM   #15
 
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Update:

Went with danio cycling method for the 5.5 simply because I could not find the right ammonia. The fish store gave me what I thought to be one male and one female. The male bullied the female pretty badly, though, so I removed her a few days after putting them both in. Unfortunately, she still died. =/
The male is doing extremely well. His coloring is good, he eats enthusiastically, and he zips around the tank like he owns the place... which, for now, he does. We're cycling my old ten gallon aquarium to keep at my house (my sibs wanted to start a tank), so I'll be putting him in there with more of his kind later on.

I've had the 5.5 cycling for 11 days now. I have not been able to test it because I ordered most of my supplies online. Finally got my test kit today. The readings are as follows:

Nitrate: 20 ppm
Nitrite: .5
Hardness: 0/Very soft
Chlorine: 0
Alkalinity: 180+/Higher than ideal
pH: Er, high. The strip looked closest to the 8.4 color.

Could someone translate this for me? For a tank that's been cycling for 11 days, how are we doing?

I should mention that I added more fake plants today. I don't know if that would throw off readings. I also have a live lucky bamboo plant that's been in there since the beginning.

Thanks for the tips on moving! I feel a lot better about transporting my tank and fishies to college in a month.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:06 PM   #16
 
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Sounds like you're off to a pretty good start. You might want to do a water change because a lot of people believe that it's the elevated nitrate levels that come near the end of the cycle that prolong the length of the nitrite portion of the cycle. Removing some of those nitrates via a water change might help along the very end of your cycle, which it appears you're reaching.

Are you using test strips for all of your tests, or just pH? They are notoriously inaccurate but they will at least help give you an estimate of the cycle's progression. Another alternative is to take a sample of your water to a good LFS and have them test it for you. I've heard about stores using the strips themselves, but the better stores will use a liquid kit or even digital probes. Don't let them just tell you that your parameters are "fine," make sure they give you the actual numbers.

It seems pretty strange that you'd have such a high pH with soft water, although it's not completely unheard of. If your test results from the LFS show that your pH is really through the roof, you might want to hold off on stocking your tank with anything sensitive until you get to school and do a couple of water changes.

Your bamboo will die if you keep it completely submerged, so you should try to get the top of the plant to be above water. Depending on the design of your hood, this may be impossible, so you might want to just take it out and stick it in a vase.

Have you settled on any ideas for what you're going to stock it with yet?
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:02 PM   #17
 
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What is your ammonia reading? That's a pretty important one. Also, are you using liquid or test strips? The strips are very inaccurate, so you can't really count on them.

The pH you'll want to bring down. While most fish are pretty tolerant of a range of ph, 8.4 is veeery high.

Also, the zebra danio, while nice, is a very active fish, and wouldn't really be happy in a 5.5 gallon. They need more space to swim around in a big school. Personally, I'd recommend going for something cool/rarer like a pair of non-annual killifish. Many of them are quite small, colorful, and pretty much all of them are ridiculously hardy, so they'll handle the move well. They also don't need a heater, so you won't have to worry about keeping them warm when you move them. I was going to recommend a dwarf puffer, but they are very sensitive, so it would be tricky to keep healthy during a move.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:44 PM   #18
 
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I'm using test strips, unfortunately. When they run out, I'll invest in a master kit. But until then, I'll be double-checking readings with my LFS. And no, I don't have a test for ammonia.

I tested everything again yesterday. pH seems to be closer to 7.8 now, but again, I'm going to visit my LFS soon to get more reliable readings.

My bamboo is indeed sticking out of the back of my tank. The leaves --which have access to indirect sunlight -- and roots are growing pretty rapidly, so I think it's doing okay. I'd like to leave it in there so long as it won't mess with the cycling or harm the fish.

The danio appears pretty pleased in there right now, but I'm preparing to move him into my cycling 10 gallon with members of his own species when I get new fish for the 5.5.
Oh, and I have a question regarding that. Would my zebra danio school with, say, long-fin zebra danios or golden danios? Or do they need to be the exact same variety as he is?

For stock, I've narrowed it down to killifish, scarlet badis, or a betta. Bettas are fascinating fish, but I'd really like to try something a little more unusual. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where to find scarlet badis. Same with killifish (although I know I've seen them somewhere).
If I did go with killifish, which types would be suitable for an aquarium like mine? I'd need something small, and yes, hardy.
And what is the usual price range for scarlet badis/killifish, out of curiosity?
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