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Aquarius Keeper 09-22-2008 11:02 PM

cycling in absentia - please advise
Hi everybody - this is my first post.

I started cycling a 30g aquarium (my first) in my apartment, and then left for a 4 week house-sitting gig across town. I dropped in and tested my water today and the cycle is progressing much faster than I anticipated. (roughly: ammonia 0.1 ppm, nitrite 3 ppm, nitrate 7 ppm) so I'm thinking the aquarium will be ready for fish sometime next week - the only problem is I won't be living there again until October 9th!

So here are my questions -

1. Once the aquarium has cycled, how long will the cycle last without fish? I.E. how long after ammonia and nitrite hit 0 ppm will the beneficial bacteria begin to die?

2. If the cycle won't last without fish, what's an appropriate way to keep the cycle going if I'm only stopping in once a week?



1077 09-23-2008 03:27 AM

what source of ammonia did you use in the tank four weeks ago? without ammonia source cycling or maturing of tank cannot begin. without ammonia source bacteria will begin dying off quickly.

Little-Fizz 09-23-2008 08:33 AM

What kind of test kit are you using? Sounds like strips, before you get excited I would go pick up a liquid test kit and retest.

Aquarius Keeper 09-23-2008 09:21 AM

No I'm using a liquid test kit.

I added some substrate from an ammonia-rich turtle tank and also a very small piece of raw fish - that was about 10 days ago.

I know the cycle is progressing - it started ten days ago, and I think it will finish next week - the problem is I won't be living there for at least a week after my ammonia and nitrite get down to o ppm.

So my question is, once the cycle has finished, will my good bacteria start to die off if I wait another 7-10 days before adding my first fish? And if so, what can I do to keep the tank healthy in the meantime?

Little-Fizz 09-23-2008 09:24 AM

Really? You got 7ppm on a liquid test? Sorry I was pretty sure only strips gave you number like that. What type of test kit are you using?

You could feed it more ammonia, or just throw some guppies in there or something and that will keep it going until you can be home to do whatever.

Aquarius Keeper 09-23-2008 09:49 AM

I'm using an API freshwater master test kit - the color of my nitrate test looked somewhere inbetween 5 and 10 ppm, so I estimated 7.

The only problem with guppies is that I would be leaving them to starve - and I know they're a dime a dozen, and I'm considering letting them breed freely in my turtle tank as feeders - I would still feel bad about dooming them to slow death by starvation.

But basically what you're saying is I need to add more ammonia to keep the cycle alive until I move back permanently - maybe another small piece of fish?



Little-Fizz 09-23-2008 09:53 AM

You could do another piece of fish, but you could buy like a cheap vacation feeder and later on if you ever go away for a few days you know your fish will always be fed. Just a thought, but I think the guppies would be a good thing, they would feed the tank and you could use them for your turtles after.

Aquarius Keeper 09-23-2008 10:10 AM

hmmmm.... how much do those vacation feeders go for?

Little-Fizz 09-23-2008 10:45 AM

I'm not sure because I don't even own one. My guess is nothing over ten bucks. You can buy feeder blocks but I'm pretty sure they make a mess of your water. And really thats what you want but you wouldn't be home to do a water change and you might just come home to a lot of dead guppies.

Aquarius Keeper 09-23-2008 02:06 PM

Good idea - I'll go price vacation feeders at petco on my break.

Is there any partiular reason you suggested guppies instead of, say, tetra? I was going to add a school of tetra anyway...

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