New 20 a few questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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New 20 a few questions

Hi all. I'm new to the hobby. Purchased a 6 gallon setup, loved it and now just purchased a 20 gallon. I currently have a dwarf gourami, yellow mystery snail and 2 zebra dannios in the 6 gallon tank. My 6 gallon has been taken over by those pesky snails. I clean them out constantly and still they come back! I know if I used the substrate form my 6 gallon it would speed the cycle in the 20 gal, but I want to prevent snails in my new tank. I have a few questions...

Can I cycle my 20 gallon with a betta? After the cycle is complete I plan to put the fish in my 6 gallon into the 20 gallon and put a betta in the 6 gallon.

I would like to use a combo of artifical and live plants in my new tank. Do I need to wait for the cycle to complete before adding live plants? If not, is it safe to do a fishless cycle and add ammonia if I have live plants?

Thanks so much for any help. Suggestions are also greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 04:43 AM
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if it was my tanks,i think i would move everything over in one go to the 20.
leaving both filters running,after a few weeks,take the small filter out and put it
back into the small tank,then put the betta in.
add plants when you like.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SiennaSkye View Post
Can I cycle my 20 gallon with a betta?
You could, but it would only "start" a cycle for the future inhabitants.

A small bacterial colony will start up to handle the ammonia generated by the betta. The colony will multiply until there are more bacteria then there is ammonia for them to live off of. Your bacterial colony is now as large as it can get.

Now you add in more fish and there is again more ammonia than your current colony of bacteria can eat. The ammonia will spike and again your colony will start growing. This is what's referred to as a mini-cycle.

So you can cycle your tank with a betta but it will only be cycled for 1 betta worth of bio-load if that makes any sense.

If you want to get rid of the snail, you're better off moving the fish into the 20. Clean the filter out thouroughly and inspect it for snail eggs and snails. Rinse the filter media gently and inspect it for snails as well. Then boil the gravel and decorations to kill off the snails.

Hope this helps.

I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew...

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post #4 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, it sounds like I should do a fishless cycle with ammonia then.

I thought you shouldn't boil gravel.

I have new gravel in the 20 gal and plan to dispose of the gravel in the 6 gal with the snails.

I was worried that if I put the filter in the 6 gal tank it may have snail eggs and then the problem would convert over to my 20 gal.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 09:09 AM
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good luck with it.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 10:08 AM
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If you are going ot have live plants (a very good idea in any aquarium) plant them immediately before the fish go in, once the tank is filled, heater and filter working. Then add some fish. Plants require ammonium which they convert from ammonia, so they will act as the "cycle" agent. Move over filter and media as suggested previously, ensuring there are no snails; this will add the bacteria that will work with the plants in the cycling. I would not add any source of ammonia other than the fish. The zebra danios would be good fish to first move into the new tank. After a couple of days, move the rest of the fish. I would not bother using the old gravel; it won't be necessary and it risks transferring snails. Don't know whytype of snails you have, but the usual ones are good in most tanks, but that's your preference.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Byron. After doing a little more reading here on the forum I realized that the live plants would be super beneficial. Your response just confirms this. I'm heading the the LFS today to get some plants.

I'm keeping my large yellow mystery snail. The others, not sure what kind, are the small black snails that multiply like crazy. If they didn't multiply I wouldn't mind a few of them, but it drives me crazy to see so many of them in the tank.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-27-2009, 02:29 PM
Plant it up and then add the danios. I have cycled EVERY one of my tanks with zebra danios and have never had a problem. VERY hardy fish.
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