Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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EricAlverado 06-05-2009 11:43 PM

Just got a 55 gallon!! Help!
Hey guys just got a 55 gallon tank, all that is in there at the moment is water with conditioner, filter and some gravel, will be adding more this week, i just purchased it 2day. Any help

cycling help

what fish i should start with ?? How long?:?

Arkamaic 06-05-2009 11:56 PM

A lot of people will recommend doing a fish less cycle. put in the gravel, plants, filtration etc... this takes anywhere 6-8 weeks. There are however chemicals that will help speed this process along. Also, I think some people add a few flakes in each day to help bring about the bacteria that needs to develop.

I just bought my GF a 5 gallon the other day and she couldn't wait for it to cycle, so I told her wait at least one day, and the next day we got her some guppies. If you wish to do a fish cycle, I suggest something like a few guppies or danios. These are hardy fish. With my tank I have now (setup up roughly 5 years ago) I waited about a week, went and got a plecostomus, and feed him with algae waffers till the tank became cycled.

One more thing, I believe some people say that adding a piece of media from another established tank would help.

There's an article explaining the proccess.

EricAlverado 06-06-2009 12:03 AM

thank you i did hear that it does take about 6-8 weeks and yes i am impatient,. but i do wanna do it the right way, i may get guppes or danios just 2 start off, how do u know when the tank becomes cycled.

Arkamaic 06-06-2009 12:05 AM

Just another note, when I started this tank I was 15, I didn't much care about the cycle nor know about it. But soon I will be getting a 46 or 55 gallon such as you. And with that tank, I will be very careful about the process and take my time. My tank now however never had any problems with cycling, lost no fish and still have the first few I put in.

EricAlverado 06-06-2009 12:07 AM

ahhh i hear you, yeh im just trying to decide, i may leave it with a couple weeks, of just water and start something small, so i get a little build of bacteria and stuff

Arkamaic 06-06-2009 12:07 AM

By testing the water, should be done daily or every other day. Need to test for ammonia and nitrites. You should notice a peak in ammonia during this course, after the peak, it will decrease to 0 eventually. And as ammonia reduces, nitrites should rise and peak. After the nitrite peak, and readings are 0 for both ammonia and nitrite, its cycled.

Note that you may not have a perfect 0 reading. But thats the aim.

EricAlverado 06-06-2009 12:09 AM

im a little confused by this, im going 2 get a ph kid tomorrow by the way. I SHOULD NOTICE A PEAK IN AMMONIA THE FIRST OR 2ND DAY, EVEN WHEN NOTHING IS IN IT?

Arkamaic 06-06-2009 12:12 AM

It should happen sometime from week 0 to week 8.

You can help it along by adding some ammonia every day I believe.

here's a chunk about that from the article:

Get your ammonia test kit ready! Add some ammonia. Start small, only a couple of teaspoons for a small tank around 40 liters (10G), or use about a 1/2 cup for large tanks around 200 liters. Let it sit for an hour or so to allow the ammonia to circulate. Test. Your goal is to get a reading of about 3 to 5 mg/L (or ppm, it's the same). If you have zero ammonia readings, add a bit more to the water. Not too are using a toxic chemical afterall. Let the tank sit. Test. Keep testing and adding SMALL amounts of ammonia until you get a reading in your test kit. When you have a reading, you may want to add Cycle or StressZyme if you've decided to use these products. Keep in mind that the commercial bacteria is bottled in a non-toxic form of ammonia, so if you use them, your ammonia readings will be higher than if you hadn't used them. This is OK. You may discover your ammonia levels will go over 6 ppm (parts per million), which is fatal for all fish, but this is OK too, since you don't have any fish in the tank.
As soon as you notice high levels of ammonia, stop adding ammonia to the tank. Now is the part where your patience is tested! Let things run their course, and keep testing the water. Once a day is fine, or once every other day. After a few days, you can begin testing for nitrites as well as ammonia. If you aren't getting any readings for nitrites at all, that's OK. These things take time. Don't do any water changes yet, and continue to let everything sit. When your ammonia starts dropping, you should definitely be able to read some nitrites. After the ammonia reading drops to zero, start adding just a little bit more ammonia again every day, just a teaspoon or so...not enough to force the reading above zero again, but just enough to keep the newly grown "ammonia-eating" bacterial colony happy"

Arkamaic 06-06-2009 12:16 AM

Also, make sure that it is 100% ammonia your adding. Ingredients should be water, and ammonia.

Byron 06-06-2009 09:24 AM

Eric, Arkamaic has been leading you through this and posted a good link, so I only have a couple of comments.

The cycling process takes 2 to 8 weeks no matter how you do it. It is a natural biological process that occurs in every aquarium once ammonia is introduced. The time depends upon several things, but there are some constants. The ammonia "spike" (which is when ammonia is at its highest level) occurs between the 5 and 8 day after ammonia is first introduced into the tank. The nitrite spike occurs after the ammonia has spiked, and is another 3 to 5 days. Once you have readings of "0" for both ammonia and nitrite, and consecutively for several days, you can consider the tank is cycled for the bioload then in it.

Ammonia must be introduced into the tank to start the process, and it must continue to occur (be introduced) every day. The bacteria that do the converting of ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate require "food" which is the ammonia for the nitrosomonas bacteria and nitrite for the nitrobacter bacteria. If their "food' decreases, they will die off accordingly, and if it increases, they will multiply (slowly) to handle it.

The above is always the process. Putting in one or two small hardy fish is one way to introduce ammonia because fish constantly produce ammonia by respiration and from their waste. Once ammonia is present, the nitrosomonas bacteria will appear, and after a few days when they have caused nitrite to occur, the nitrobacter bacteria will appear. Just letting the tank sit with nothing in it will not start the cycle; however, this is good to do for a day or two because it allows you to ascertain there are no water leaks, the heater and filter are operating correctly, etc.

What is the pH of your tap water (which is what you use in the aquarium I'm assuming)? This can have some effect on the cycling in terms of the fish stress, but the cycling process occurs as set out above no matter what the pH is.

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