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FLTekDiver81 06-03-2012 08:23 AM

Thoughts on this cycle?
So, I am a novice aquarium keeper, and have had a minimal success with my first aquarium. As with all new hobbyists, I wanted fish in my tank, and FAST, for me and my kids. Obviously, this is not the right way to do things. I used Tetras Aqua Safe Plus in conjunction with Tetras Safe Start (Bacteria in a bottle), and had less than satisfactory results. That being said, I have a 29 gallon that Id like to do, the right way. Patience.... and cycle the d*mn thing!

This is the cycle id like to try, and if i am completely wrong here, please, don't hesitate to let me know!

Iamntbatman posted an awesome sticky about cycling for beginners. I liked the "fishless shrimp" cycle and was wondering how that one would work in conjunction with live plants and a "bacteria in a bottle" method.

If this cycle doesn't seem completely outlandish, which is the best "bacteria in a bottle" product to use? What was curious to me, is that Iamntbatman said that i should use one that SHOULD be refrigerated, whilst the Tetra Safe Start said "DO NOT refrigerate, contains live bacteria". Here is where I'm confused. Any insight? Is Tetras Safe Start just a gimmick product for me to waste money?

*Note* I WILL be replacing the Tetra Aqua Safe Plus with Seachems PRIME.

Thanks for any and all help.


Tazman 06-03-2012 08:45 AM

Have a look at this article A Beginners Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle and it will give you a good idea of different cycling methods.

I personally have always used the pure ammonia method, this way it allows a large quantity of good bacteria to be built up, which once the cycle is complete, you can FULLY stock the tank straight away.

Dr Fosters and Smith have a good bacteria supplement to kick start called ONE and Only, you can find it here.

There is nothing wrong with using the shrimp method, it is personal choice as to whether you want to have a rotting shrimp in a mesh bag in your tank for 6-8 weeks, this can also create quite a strong smell coming from the aquarium.

Plants will help the cycle complete a little faster as they take up Ammonia and Nitrites.

Hope this helps and welcome to the Forum as I have not seen you post in "meet the community" :-)

equatics 06-03-2012 09:07 AM

I used API Quick Start, which also does not require refrigeration and contains live bacteria, to jump start a stalled cycle. I also did a 25% water change to lower the nitrite and nitrate. Things seem to have gone ok after that, but I really can't say it was the Quick Start that did it, although the speed at which the tank normalized might point to it. I would recommend it though - can't hurt. I would onlly add one or two small fish, like zebras which are very hardy at the beginning and after only a couple at a time per two weeks.

Personally, I would not like to use a raw shrimp because of the smell of decomposition. I cycled with fish food, and now I like the idea of using ammonia directly. It might make me nervous the first time, though. In any case, if you use bacteria-in-a-bottle and have a source of ammonia like fish flakes or a couple of zebras, you should be set. It may speed up the cycle. That's my take on it.

Tazman 06-03-2012 09:12 AM

Fish in cycling is best avoided as it stressful to the fish and long term reduces their lifespan. The fish also have to be taken into consideration in the stocking plans.

What makes a good fish for cycling, may not fit into the plans for the tank, many fish stores will not take fish back so this also must be taken into consideration.

AbbeysDad 06-03-2012 09:20 AM

I tried the prong method. The living room smelled so horrific, I tore it all down two days later and started over. If you have a display tank in any living space, be warned - rotting fish is a force to be reckoned with!

Much like bio-seed from an established tank, I think introducing a bio-seed from a bottle makes good sense. Some feel they fail because they don't understand that it's not quite instant pudding. Bacteria in stasis will need time, relative to the available food, oxygen and tank conditions to develop into a mature colony able to handle the bio-load from stock and decaying organic matter. There are several good products these days from reputable companies. Tetras 'Safe Start' was Dr. Tim's first effort. He now markets 'One and Only'. Seachem offers 'Stability' and API has just come out with their 'Quick Start'. Now admittedly, although somewhat hardy, bottled bacteria products can be compromised with bad shipping and storage practices that may expose cartons to extremes in temperature.
Refrigeration may allow for a more extended shelf life, but most of these products will remain viable at room temperature for about 1 year.

N2 Cycling of a tank continues to require an element of patience in the recipe.

marshallsea 06-03-2012 09:47 AM

i believe the bottled stuff to be gimmicks . it may help used in conjunction with other methods but it wont save the world. the best thing you can do is plants, plants, and more plants. with the right plants you can pretty much skip the cycling process as the plants will do what the bacteria does. use fast growing plants. that will be my only method in the future. you can add fish pretty much at the same time as plants.

FLTekDiver81 06-03-2012 10:18 AM

Thanks for the welcome Taz, and for all the input. I will check out the products mentioned. I did read the Beginners cycling thread and while the pure ammonia cycle seems best, i am a little "iffy" on it as i have never done it before, and im fairly new to water testing and what to look for, how much to use, etc. I am glad to hear that the bacteria in a bottle and plants together would work good. I just need to figure out which ammonia application to use. If anyone knows anymore very detailed links on applying pure ammonia, or you have any detailed tips yourselves, please let me know. Thanks again for all the help and i look forward to showing you all a nice thriving aquarium full of happy, healthy fish !

rhymon78 06-03-2012 12:32 PM

Hey and welcome to TFK.

I will try not to go on to much, this I have a tendency for!

I used API quick start, and put 10 live fast growing plants in straight away. I chose to cycle fish 'in' and used glow light tetra, 7 of them. 2nd week I added 7 danios, and by week 3 my tank appeared cycled. Slight spike in nitrite, during week 2 after the addition of the fish, but couple of partial water changes and the nitrite disappeared. Haven't had a problem since, all the fish seem fine. I admit, the use of them to cycle, may in the long run reduce their life span. This I can't do anything about now, but they certainly don't look, seem or act in any way damaged, so its hard to tell.

I would use the bacteria in a bottle, get plenty of live plants and add the fish you want slowly, I can't see why you would need to wait the 8 weeks suggested.

Taz, has a good point with waiting and doing a fish less cycle though... the ability to fully stock your tank once complete, rather than making mistakes and ending up with a tank full of fish you used to cycle (like I have!)

there, I have gone on again......sorry.

FLTekDiver81 06-03-2012 04:15 PM

Any thoughts on this....since crayfish are extremely hardy and resistant to Ph and ammonia, and eat and poop just like fish, could you not, in theory, replace starter fish in a "fish in" cycle, with a crayfish? My crayfish has been just fine through all of my first tank problems (2 crashes and an ick outbreak). A Prime>Stability> crayfish cycle? (assuming you aren't using live plants as he would gorge on them)

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