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This is a discussion on Starter fish within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Can you get some used filter media from a friend or local business? That'll help jump start your cycle. The problem with cycling with ...

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Old 01-08-2014, 02:49 PM   #11
 
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Can you get some used filter media from a friend or local business? That'll help jump start your cycle.

The problem with cycling with fish and wanting to keep the fish alive, is all the partial water changes you do to remove the high amounts of ammonia prolong the cycling process. Is there any way you can return them?

Or, if you do have a second tank, you may want to consider moving them to the spare tank and doing large water changes in there, while you do a fishless cycle in your main tank.. If you use pure ammonia to cycle the tank, and don't need to do large water changes, it'll finish much faster.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:59 AM   #12
 
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Many of us have found that doing large (50%+) water changes does not slow the cycle noticeably. The bacteria live on the surfaces, the substrate and in the filter --- not much in the water column.

The simplicity of a proper fish-in cycle, which only requires frequent water changes and testing, has a lot to recommend it compared to the complexity of performing a fishless cycle and the knowledge required. Fishless cycling builds a large bacteria colony, appropriate for stocking of large schools or many larger individuals all at the same time, or for species sensitive to water quality. For a few fish, to get a cycle going, fish-in is too easy to ignore.

If one has a spare tank (or even a bucket), it is usually better to cycle a filter in the bucket (spare tank), then transfer the filter to the display tank, which will then be effectively cycled. This technique is called a "bucket" cycle. It is a time-honored, traditional way of achieving a nitrogen cycle without subjecting livestock to dangerous levels of ammonia.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:40 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
fish can go for three weeks or more with no food.
Months, not weeks. It takes a LONG time to starve to death.

I agree though - feeding the fish while the tank is cycling (however you choose to go about this) only makes it that much more difficult to maintain water quality. You don't have to starve the fish for that long, but it's important that you are aware of the impact feedings have. My point is to feed sparingly if you are going to feed. Perhaps once or twice a week. And feed a small amount - don't try to make up for the days they haven't a eaten.

If you want to use the fishs eye as a measuring stick of how much to feed during the restricted feeding period, fine - the eye is much smaller than the stomach is. For normal feedings, I would not use that point of reference because as I said the stomach is much larger, and because the size of an empty stomach is irrelevant due to its ability to stretch to accommodate food.


I do agree that it's best to learn the fundamentals of traditional fish keeping practices before going off exploring tangents, and I don't believe that these alternative methods belong in the beginner section, regardless of whether they are worth $0.02 or $200.
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Last edited by jaysee; 01-09-2014 at 06:55 AM..
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:54 AM   #14
 
thank you for all your help, I do have a spare empty tank, it has the same make of filter as the 65 litre tank (but smaller) and the same make of heater (also smaller) it's currently running at the same temp, but it's only 25 litres, a friend gave me the tank when I first decided to venture on my fish keeping quest, after some research I quickly realised it's too small to keep anything in really ( much less the very active zebra danios) so I bought a bigger one, I started running it at the same time as the bigger tank in case I needed to isolate a sick fish or in case I accidently over stocked the bigger one, how can I use the small tank to cycle the bigger tank?
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:11 AM   #15
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
Months, not weeks. It takes a LONG time to starve to death.

I agree though - feeding the fish while the tank is cycling (however you choose to go about this) only makes it that much more difficult to maintain water quality. You don't have to starve the fish for that long, but it's important that you are aware of the impact feedings have. My point is to feed sparingly if you are going to feed. Perhaps once or twice a week. And feed a small amount - don't try to make up for the days they haven't a eaten.

If you want to use the fishs eye as a measuring stick of how much to feed during the restricted feeding period, fine - the eye is much smaller than the stomach is. For normal feedings, I would not use that point of reference because as I said the stomach is much larger, and because the size of an empty stomach is irrelevant due to its ability to stretch to accommodate food.


I do agree that it's best to learn the fundamentals of traditional fish keeping practices before going off exploring tangents, and I don't believe that these alternative methods belong in the beginner section, regardless of whether they are worth $0.02 or $200.

Just to be clear, not adding food does not mean starving the fish. During that first week's cycle period, that first fish is a active, pecking at the plants, substrate, and glass, and pooping nicely.

With a heavily planted that there are many many food sources on the plants. snail eggs, pods (infusoria), algae, and the like. So the fish is not starving.

still just my .02
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:18 AM   #16
 
my tank doesn't have any live plants in it, just plastic ones..............if you knew my track record for murdering houseplants you'll understand why i'm nervous about keeping live plants in a tank
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:20 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
Just to be clear, not adding food does not mean starving the fish. During that first week's cycle period, that first fish is a active, pecking at the plants, substrate, and glass, and pooping nicely.

With a heavily planted that there are many many food sources on the plants. snail eggs, pods (infusoria), algae, and the like. So the fish is not starving.

still just my .02
And I agree with this as well - the aquarium is not devoid of snacks. However, new tanks don't have the flora and fauna that a more mature tank has.

I mean, I can not feed my dogs for a week and let them forage in the yard. They'll find things to eat. Most people would consider me starving them if I did that.

Last edited by jaysee; 01-09-2014 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:51 PM   #18
 
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my tank doesn't have any live plants in it, just plastic ones..............if you knew my track record for murdering houseplants you'll understand why i'm nervous about keeping live plants in a tank

I understand completely and I also have a very brown thumb with house plants.

Aquarium plants are much easier to maintain and get thriving then house plants. Everything the plants needs are right there. No need to do anything more then what is required to keep the fish.

still just my .02
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:06 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
Many of us have found that doing large (50%+) water changes does not slow the cycle noticeably. The bacteria live on the surfaces, the substrate and in the filter --- not much in the water column.

The simplicity of a proper fish-in cycle, which only requires frequent water changes and testing, has a lot to recommend it compared to the complexity of performing a fishless cycle and the knowledge required. Fishless cycling builds a large bacteria colony, appropriate for stocking of large schools or many larger individuals all at the same time, or for species sensitive to water quality. For a few fish, to get a cycle going, fish-in is too easy to ignore.

If one has a spare tank (or even a bucket), it is usually better to cycle a filter in the bucket (spare tank), then transfer the filter to the display tank, which will then be effectively cycled. This technique is called a "bucket" cycle. It is a time-honored, traditional way of achieving a nitrogen cycle without subjecting livestock to dangerous levels of ammonia.
I know that most of the bacteria is in the substrate, filter and surfaces.. But the ammonia will be in the water column. Obviously, this has it's limits, but the bacteria will grow quicker with a larger food source. So if you do a 50% water change and cut the ammonia level by half, then the food source is obviously cut by half. I'm not sure how quickly the bacteria grow though so I cannot scientifically say it will double the length of the time. I can just say that when I ended up doing a fish-in cycle, I was told that my cycle would probably take longer due to the fact that I had to do constant water changes.

Of course, then you have to ask if it's better to expose them to less lethal amounts for a longer time, or more lethal amounts for a shorter time? Probably best to keep the ammonia levels as low as possible.

I agree that you could also do a bucket cycle. That was pretty much what I was suggesting, though if you can move them out of your main tank you could also get the bacteria colony going strong in your substrate. It'll build up in the substrate anyways if you keep the fish in there and cycle a filter in your other tank or a bucket too. So either would be fine. I just feel like it's easier to do the larger water changes in a smaller tank.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:45 AM   #20
 
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I can certainly agree with your reasoning, Jennesque. There are many valid opinions regarding techniques that can used to initiate the nitrogen cycle.

Fishless cycling requires "pure" ammonia to feed the bacteria (unless you want a smelly, potentially disease-prone tank). You need a source of bacteria to begin with. It can be demonstrably faster than a fish-in cycle for many reasons, one of which you mentioned, Jennesque. High temperature, high filter-flow, high ammonia and darkness are ways to speed up the cycle once you have bacteria to grow.

In the mean-time you have to maintain water quality for the current livestock. This is accomplished by frequent water changes. So, as long as you're doing changes anyway, there's no time penalty incurred with a fish-in cycle. Just more wc's than you would do in a fishless cycle.

Nowadays, bottled-bacteria technology has improved to the point where it is arguable the most efficient way to establish the nitrogen cycle. Tetra Safestart is the most commonly used because it is among the easiest to obtain. API Quickstart, ATM Colony, MicrobeLift Niteout II have been reported to me as successful. These, as with all live bacteria products, must be used fresh, never having been overheated or frozen. Dr Tim's One-and-Onoly is arguably the best, because it is shipped fresh, directly from the factory in an insulated container. Of course, it is the most expensive.
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