I decided to try the fishless cycling method i've read about on the net (including this forum). I put a little gravel from my established aquarium into the new tank (I don't know how much to use, but since the substrates are entirely different, I only used a few pinches so it wouldn't be hard to remove later). I also took the "biobag" from my AquaClear filter (established) and stuffed it into one of my Penguin filters in the new tank.
I added the ammonia, etc.
Here's my silly question. Will the established tank suffer without having the biobag in the filter for awhile? Thanks!
Your established tank is the 46 Gallon you have in your signature? Is the Aqua clear the only filter you have in your established tank?
Removing the biobag won't completely disapate your beneifical bacteria, it colonizes in other parts of the filter, ornaments, plants, substrate, so I don't think it will be too bad. Also, since you have quite a few live plants, that will help in the overall biological filtration. It probably would have been better if you had 2 filters, that way you could take some media from one, and keep the media from the other in your established tank. But I think you'll be alright. Test the water frequenty, keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrites, just to be safe.
I'm not a big fan of fishless cycle, since I already have other established tanks where I can get benificial bacteria from. Besides, if you add fish slowly and perform your maintenance properly, you should have no problems. Also, you need to add 100% ammonia with no other chemicals, which appears to be getting harder and harder to find these days. You also need to constantly monitor the tank parameters to know when to add more ammonia.
Eddie, you say that 100 percent ammonia is required.
I'm not contradicing you as I haven't actually used this method myself, but I know of many people in the UK who have in the past, used a common brand of household ammonia sold in chemists, and the ammonia content is 9.5 percent.
I'm just looking at a bottle I bought a while back with the intention of fishless cycling, and the percentage is indeed 9.5. Other ingredients are not listed.
Would you advise against using this then? I've never heard of any problems using it.
Thanks everyone for the replies. I have lost too many fish in the past when cycling, so I thought I'd try this method at least once. Yes, the 46-gal is my established tank. That is the only filter on it. I still have the sponge and carbon (I squeezed the sponge onto one of the filters in the new 55-gal). I am wondering, however, if I take the biobag back out of the newer filter later on if that will mess up the cycle. Hopefully the bacteria will have had time to accumulate on other surfaces. I have 2 filters on that tank, so I put the biobag in one and the other has sponge squeezings in it. I also moved over 2 live java fern and a couple of rocks from the older tank. I am still a little unclear about how long to keep adding ammonia (I don't reallyl understand why you can't just add it once), but I'll read up on it again tonite. After only 12 hours, my nitrites are already up to about 1.0; I have never seen that happen in any of my fishy cycling. Is there such a thing as overdoing the ammonia? It's about 4.0 right now in a 55-gal. Thanks!
I think you should be aiming to keep the ammonia at around 5ppm during a fishless cycle (somebody correct me if I'm wrong here).
What you should do is test for Ammonia at the same time each day.
If the ammonia level has dropped when you do the test, add more until you get back up to 5ppm.
Add more ammonia if the level drops (to = 5ppm). Okay, got it. Question though: at what point do I allow the ammonia to go down? If I just continue to dump in ammonia every day, it will never be safe for fish, right? How long do I keep this up? Until the nitrites disappear?
Ammonia will drop if you detect nitrites. I wouldn't go for 5 ppm when you detect nitrites as this will slow down the growth of bacteria. Just add ammonia only at 2-3 ppm.
If the nitrites disappear, you should detect nitrates.
Don't add ammonia if you have fish. Fish will never tolerate the presence of ammonia hence the reason why you have to keep up with water changes when ammonia and nitrites are detected in the tank with fish.
Less than 24 hours after adding ammonia to my new (fishless) aquarium and my stats are:
Ammonia 4.0, Nitrite 0.5, Nitrate 0
Do I add more ammonia at this point or do I just sit tight?
4.0? that sounds deadly. Almost any trace of ammonia will kill. I've heard of entire tanks crashing at 0.25. Your tank will cycle out when the ammo reads 0 after being that high. Just sit back and test the water every few days.
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