Fishless cycling for all the naysayers
To all of you who criticized me when I tried to cycle my tank fishless (and were pretty harsh about me always being "wrong"), I just wanted to let you know:
My tank took exactly 2 weeks to cycle. I used "Pure Ammonia", kept my 55-gal spiked to 5ppm. At 2 weeks, when my levels went to 0, I added 12 juvenile mbuna. It has now been 2 weeks since adding them, and they are all thriving. My ammonia and nitrites have not gone above 0 since.
To Dawn specifically, mbuna are mainly herbivores - they need a lot of algae/veggies in their diet, not protein. I'm still surprised that you told me to feed them guppies and no one else corrected you! And 1-2 mbuna in a 55-gal sounds a bit understocked. In fact, mbuna are much more active and happy with friends. LOL.
You may be an "aquatics specialist" in some areas, but obviously not all. Stick to what you know before you criticize people (offering your opinion is one thing, but harshly coming down on someone as if you know so much more, when you obivously don't, is another entirely). On the net, anyone can title themselves anything, apparently.
To those who want to try fishless cycling, I highly recommend it. Not one fish was harmed, I didn't end up with some fish I didn't want in there anyway (or have to return them), and it allowed me to stock my tank entirely at one go.
I agree there is more than one way to do things, and if you would rather do it the fishy way, that's fine with me. I was just disheartened at all the negative remarks about my trying it with bottled ammonia. I'm glad I did it after all. Thank you, I'll get off my soapbox now.
We're sorry if you felt our members were being too harsh on you. We apologize if we made a lot of inconvenience to you.:blueworry: The members were just trying to help, however, your thread will still serve as a call that harsh remarks will not be allowed.
Sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you understand.:)
I am glad your tank is doing well, starcollector. We have experience with Mbuna. Currently we have a lab species tank with 10 yellow labs and another brood on the way. 1-2 mbuna in a 55 gallon is way understocked. Our Mbuna are very happy and our one lab keeps breeding she is on her 3rd batch. In our previous 55 gallon we had 22 Mbuna in there. We decided to stay strictly with the yellow labs and sold the other species.
It looks like you have your ducks in a row but feel free to ask any questions, my husband (SKAustin) has done extensive research on Mbuna and we have had our lab tank for over a year now. He's been in the hobby for about 25 years. I am truly sorry if you felt talked down to on this forum. I do hope you will stay around most of us are truly here to help.
Re: Fishless cycling for all the naysayers
Star Collector, I'm sorry that you have felt criticized here at FishForum. I dont believe that it was the intent of anyone to make you feel that way. As for your cycling methods, It really is a personal preference. There is nothing wrong with fishless cycling, though as stated, you definately dont want to use ammonia with any type of additives. I've used other methods to cycle including use of additives, which even though they generally contain the wrong bacterias, do work sufficiently when used properly. I've also taken a handfull of gravel, taken from an established tank, wrapped in a stocking, to seed a tank. Probably the most effective method, when available, was to seed the new filter in an established tank, or place the old filter media into the new filter. Regardless of you chosen method, fishless cycling included, the key is that the bacterias need an ammonia source to survive. I will also state that fishless cycling is a preferred method to keeping Mbuna and other Malawi Cichlids as it is beneficial to the community of fish to be introduced in larger numbers. Ideally, the entire stock of the tank should be introuduced in 2-3 groups. Once territories are established, it is more difficult to introduce new fish. Contrary to what anyone has told you, you are correct in the notion that Mbuna should be slightly overstocked to control aggression. There are however other factors. The best advice anyone can give you in respect to keeping Malawi cichlids, is research the available species carefully. Aggression issues can be minimalized by seeking out the more peacable species such as yellow labs, sunshine peacocks, ect. Knowing the source of the fish can also be beneficial. Hybrid fishes often found in low quality fish stores and places such as Wal-Mart can develop serious aggression issues. As for overpopulation due to breeding, it is a concern, but there are several options. Talking to your LFS to see if they would be interested in the fry once they reach sellable size. Synodontis Catfish are also an option, as they can sense the breeding and generally will consume most of the eggs before the female is able to get them into her mouth (full grown size of the Syno species may be a factor based on your tank size). I have a Nimbochromis Venestus (Giraffe hap) which lives peacably with my yellow labs. He does an effective job of population control, though he has been temporarily re-homed to allow the labs to breed for the time being.
Anyways, based on your above statement, I would guess that you've been doing your homework on the Mbuna, your willingness to research your fishes is commendable. You have probably already read much of what I have written previously, elsewhere. So Keep up the good work. Best of luck to you in your Malawi venture. I hope you find them as rewarding as I have.
Fishless cycling is the next generation of cycling. I will never do it any other way ever again. You can seed your tanks with old media, seed with gravel or whatever but you still have to build up the bacteria to support the number of fish you are putting in. I don't know, nor have I ever seen how much ammonia to put in for the number of fish you want to start with so I can't say there. I do know, that regardless of how much you add to a tank, overstocking is never a good idea after a fishless cycle.
Starrcollector, you did it perfect. Seeded the tank with ammonia, tested to make sure it was going to zero and then added a number of fish that would not overtax the bacteria estbalished in the tank. I do have to say I would have cycled longer even though the numbers went to zero but as long as they stay at zero, I can't find any fault with what you did.
I will see if I can copy an article about the fishless cycle and bring it here for all to read. Cycling with fish, IMHO is not only bad for any and all fish but is like saying that humans that are less desireable should be used to experiment on to cure those that are more desireable. It is very easy to do a fishless cycle and is becoming a prefered method in the fishkeeper community.
To add to it, adding plants in the beggining aids not only in the cycle but also "HELPS" prevent accidental disasters if we mistakenly add fish too early.
Great job Starcollector!
I wouldn't say that it's the next generation, I would more likely say it's an alternative. Fishless cycling has been around longer than I have been in the hobby (probably 15 years now) and as far as I know, cycling WITH fish is still the most commonly used.
I'm ALWAYS willing to try the latest, popular things in the aquarium hobby, to make things easier for me with fish keeping, which is why I have an Python No-Spill syphon, Eheim filter, UV sterilizer, Hydor inline heaters, Rena Filstar XP3 filter, Discus, etc. As I mentioned before, I'm lazy and don't want to make my tanks a chore to keep up. Adding ammonia to a tank and frequently checking the levels, then when things seems fine, then add fish, seems too much work. I just much add fish. Of course, not all at once.
Thank you to everyone for all your kind replies. :-) Most of you are very kind and I appreciate all your advice, etc. Hoping maybe Dawn, the "specialist" will read this post and see that I didn't end up with the "mess" she warned me about.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!
I was going to use the method you used to cycle my 75 gallon, but I had enough established gravel and filter media to complete my cycling...along with 6 zebra danios :) It was also good that you tested the water frequently so you knew exactly what was going on in the tank. Glad it worked out for you!
When you initially put in the bottled ammonia, did you have any gravel/filter media/water from an established tank in there already? Or did you do this with all clean, new material. I'm thinking it would take a little longer for the bacteria to develope with all brand new supplies as opposed to with pre-etablished stuff in the tank.
What kind of tank is it?
If I recall correctly, he had mentioned in the original thread that filter media from an established tank was used to seed the new tank.
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