fish for cycling? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
dorabaker's Avatar
Exclamation fish for cycling?

I decided to post another thread because I really can't do much with my aquarium until I have an answer to this...

I'm setting up a 10 gallon aquarium (I have a 5 gallon currently) and Ive planned all the steps out up to the point of introducing the first fish. I need to know what species can withstand cycling.
The tank will be very heavily planted and I'm putting the filter from my current tank into it to help get the cycle established.
The fish I already have, which will be moved to the new tank once it's mature, are an angelfish and a gold gourami. I'm planning on getting some tetras, a pair of rams, a bristlenose catfish, and maybe a red-tailed shark but obviously none of these fish are suitable for cycling.
two ideas have come to mind but I'm not sure if they'd work:
cycling with water snails (which is how I cycled my current tank)
or golden barbs. I have a golden barb which is currently living in an outdoor pond and on deaths door :( hes very sick but previously has always been incredibly hardy, able to withstand almost any conditions. would a shoal of golden barbs, perhaps introduced gradually, be good for cycling a tank?

i really need an answer to this, i can't get on with planning my tank without knowing :)
thanks :)
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 08:57 AM
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I am new to fish myself but have found all kinds of helpful information here. Sadly, I didn't find this place until after I had been talked into purchasing a few Tiger Barbs for a 60 gallon tank to cycle. Truth be told, I wish I had done a fish less cycle. The daily or every other day water changes to keep the fish healthy gets to be a lot.

My question is this, If you are just switching tanks but keeping the current filter, why don't you just transfer all the already cycled water along with your current fish, decor etc... Into your new tank all at once? That water is cycled, the decor, filter already have the good bacteria so that should be fine, right?

It seems the fish you intend to add to your tank might be way too much. 10 gallons doesn't give a lot of swimming room. My concern would be the fish might fight due to stress over lack of space but like I said, I am new and just learning myself.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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thanks, I did consider transferring everything at once but I think it may be too stressful for the fish I've already got. also, I'm trying to introduce the new fish in such an order that the more aggressive/ territorial ones are added right at the end. unfortunately my angelfish is one of them and I kind of have to keep him in the current tank until all the more delicate fish have settled in.
I'm hoping it won't take long for the tank to cycle, with the filter from the other tank added, and I'm starting to think I'll transfer the main feature of the tank - a piece of bogwood with a huge java fern growing on it - straight away which should help a bit. I don't own an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit unfortunately. they seem pretty expensive. but there's no way I'll know whats happening with the cycle if I don't have one, right?
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post #4 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 09:12 AM
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Again just a thought, rather then getting a whole bunch of fish maybe you could spend the money on the test kit first and save up for fish as you go. What will you be doing for a filter on your old tank with the Angel fish when you put it on your new tank? Maybe it is just me but I think it would be far less stressful to carefully, slowly move them into the new tank with their old stuff, gravel, decor, filter, water then to add them in with new fish etc... It doesn't seem like it would be any worse then a large partial water change. Again, that is if you plan it out and do it carefully.

I am most concerned about the amount of fish you want to add to your 10 gallon. That really seems like a heavy load but hopefully someone with more years experience will weigh in on this one. Some of the fish you mentioned get rather long.
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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I know I'm likely to be overstocking my tank which is why I need to narrow down the number of fish a bit, haha. the red-tailed shark is one of my faves but also one of the largest.. :S the catfish is supposed to get quite big too but I've kept them before and they don't seem to grow all that fast. still, you never know. the angelfish is huge but I'm stuck with him :P

my filter is homemade and I'm making another one to use in the angelfish's tank while the original one will be in the new tank. I'm also getting another heater. in the end I'll have two heaters and two filters in the larger tank - one filter wouldn't be enough and possibly one heater wouldn't be enough either. I talked about this in another thread and everyone thought the two heater idea sounded good.
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post #6 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 09:34 AM
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Wait, was I mistaken, did you mean 100 gallon, not 10? I only have 1 heater in my 60 gallon tank and am now wondering if I should have a second heater. It seems to be doing the job and the heater was rated for up to 90 gallon, I believe.

Do you have plans to get a much larger tank down the road? Not very far down the road as you already have some rather large fish and the others will grow quickly. My tiger barbs have double in size in just 4-5 weeks.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 11:46 AM
None of the fish you said should be kept in a 10 gallon tank except maybe the gourami alone.


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post #8 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 01:06 PM
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Agree. I'm afraid you have too many (or too potentially-large) fish for a 10g let alone adding more. As you are stuck with the angel (reading here and the other similar thread) that fish alone in a 10g is pushing the limit. The fish will not be healthy long-term. Please do not add other fish in with it, it will only become worse. Such fish kept in small tanks often become very aggressive, which stresses out the other fish as well as themselves.

Golden barbs are shoaling fish that must be kept in groups, and a 10g is no where near large enough for any barb. They are active fish that need swimming room, aside form the water quality issues.

Given your circumstances, will the fish store not accept the angel in exchange for maybe supplies or other suitable fish? If you have a reliable store and they know you, they will understand the situation (we all have probably gone through this) and to keep you happy and a regular customer, help out.


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 #9 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
dorabaker's Avatar
I'm not intending to keep golden barbs, just wonderd if they would work for cycling.
the angelfish has always been a bit agressive, but even in my 5 gallon tank, I haven't had a problem with him for a long time. usually he'll chase new additions away until they know to keep out of his territory - then everythings fine.
I have kept up to 4 fish in a 5 GALLON tank and never had a problem...I know I must have been overstocking hugely, but I swear they were all very healthy. one day I'd like to have a large tank - maybe 55 gallons - but there's no way I could get one now.
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 05:01 AM
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I'm afraid I agree with what's been said. An angelfish will grow 6-8 inches long and 10 inches tall. A 10g tank is only 12 inches tall, so with a standard inch or two of gravel on the bottom the full grown fish would barely fit in the tank and would certainly not have enough swimming room. The shark will also outgrow a 10g. A single ram might not be a problem, but a pair in a 10g would be problematic, especially with the angelfish present. There are many tetras that would work in a 10g tank, though.

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