Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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zachary4311 12-23-2008 04:30 PM

how long for 4 day old 10 gal tank to be ready?
I just bought a 10 gallon 4 days ago and its all set up with gravel, plastic and live plants , some decorations, a filter a heater and a light on the canopy. the pH, temperature nitrate levels and almonia levels are good.
nitrate at 50mg/l (alright level)i have used nutrafin cycle and nitrafin chorine treatments and carried out partial water change.

the main question is how long till i can put fish in and what kind are good?
please help. and tips would be appreciated.

Oldman47 12-23-2008 04:54 PM

Welcome Zachary. It is time to review the basics. What you have is a container full of water with some mechanical devices attached. What you need before you get fish is a functioning mature filter and a heater that is keeping the water at the right temperature for the fish you want. The filter you have been sold is not really ready for fish, it needs to develop a bacterial colony to process some ammonia that the fish will put into the water. The way it works is that fish and anything that decays in the tank will make ammonia that is poisonous to your fish. That ammonia can be converted into nitrites by bacteria but you haven't cultured any of those yet. The nitrites are also poisonous to your fish but other bacteria will come along and build a colony that will convert the nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates are much less poisonous than ammonia or nitrites so we can remove them with weekly partial water changes. I see that you have at least a partial test kit that measures ammonia so that is good.
Your next step is do a cycle of the filter, that gets it ready for your fish. The way to do it is to add in ammonia and get it around 5 ppm. It sounds backward but what we are trying to do is get the bacteria to grow so that they will able to take care of your fish. When the ammonia drops down around zero, you put more into the tank to bring it back up to around 5 ppm. When the ammonia is going away in less than 24 hours, you will find that nitrites have risen quite a bit. Eventually, if you can keep bringing the ammonia back up around 5 ppm each day, you will get the filter to the point that it can remove all the ammonia and nitrites within a day or even less. At that point you could do a huge partial water change using your dechlorinator to bring the nitrates back down and you would be ready for some fish. The whole thing can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks to happen but a month is about typical.

zachary4311 12-23-2008 05:31 PM

thank you for this advice. it should really help. but how can I add ammonia to my tank?

MBilyeu 12-23-2008 05:38 PM

You can buy a bottle of pure ammonia from some hardware stores. Other options are to "feed" your tank flake food everyday to create needed ammonia, or put a fresh shrimp or small fillet of fish from your grocery store. The rotting meat will create the needed ammonia as well.

zachary4311 12-23-2008 05:52 PM

do you think i could add 1 hardy fish to my tank...i just cant wait, or is that just being selfish and going to kill it

p.s what is a quarantine tank

Kim 12-23-2008 06:41 PM


Originally Posted by zachary4311 (Post 159083)
do you think i could add 1 hardy fish to my tank...i just cant wait, or is that just being selfish and going to kill it

p.s what is a quarantine tank

Well, while some people still cycle with fish, it puts a lot of unnecessary stress on them to be exposed to high toxin levels for that amount of time, and yes it is quite possible that it will kill them. I think it's cruel to cycle with fish if you have to option of just using ammonia. It's also a lot less work for you because you just add ammonia and wait, no frequent water changes like you would need to keep fish alive :-). If you are anxious to add fish, just add enough ammonia to bump it up to 2 ppm. You will have to add fish slower, but the fishless cycle will take less time.

A quarantine tank is an extra tank that people keep to put new fish in for several weeks before adding them to the main tank. This tank needs to be cycled in some way as well (some people just keep an extra filter running on their other tank that can be put on the QT tank when they need it). QT tanks are very useful in keeping disease from affecting all your fish. It is quite likely for a fish from a pet store to be sick, and treating them in quarantine is much better than having a disease wipe out all your other fish in an entire tank epidemic.

Hope this helps.

MBilyeu 12-23-2008 06:45 PM

The most humane way is without fish and using one of the ammonia, shrimp, etc choices. If you add any fish, you cannot use one of those methods because it will kill the fish. I am new to the hobby, and in october I set up my new tank and added fish the next day as per the lady in the pet store. It has been nine weeks and counting and my tank still has not cycled(I have been having to do daily water changes throughout this whole process). I would do a fishless cycle with your average time being four weeks and your tank will be stable enough to handle your new fish without added stress of ammonia present. The great thing about the fishless cycle is no need for water changes until the cycle is complete!

A QT is used for adding new fish to your main tank, or treating sick fish. When you get a new fish from the pet store, you keep it in your QT for a few weeks to make sure there is no sign of sickness before adding him/her to your healthy main tank. If one of your fish show visible signs of sickness you can pull it from your main tank to hopefully avoid getting your other fish sick. Also in the QT tank, you would be able to use chemicals and medicine you normally wouldn't in a tank that has plants or inverts in it.

MBilyeu 12-23-2008 06:46 PM

I type beat me to it!!!

iamntbatman 12-23-2008 10:20 PM

I personally have switched from cycling with fish to cycling fishless. I had trouble tracking down pure ammonia, so I've just been using raw shrimp. One medium shrimp per ten gallons of water in the tank will provide a constant ammonia source to feed your growing bacteria colonies. You can put the shrimp in a filter media bag for easy removal when the cycle is complete. I think this method is a lot easier than the ammonia method, as you only have to check the water parameters periodically to see how things are coming along, whereas with the pure ammonia method you have to dose more ammonia whenever it gets down to undetectable levels. The pure ammonia method is a bit more precise, though.

zachary4311 12-24-2008 06:30 AM

Ok guys thanks for all the help and advice you guys have put in to this. now i think i am allot more knowlageable in the subject and i am going to stick with the fishless cycle as that would be less cruel to the fish. also thankyou for the answer on the QT tank.

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