Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Fishless tank cycling, anyone? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/fishless-tank-cycling-anyone-6571/)

Julie's Julies 06-19-2007 11:52 AM

Fishless tank cycling, anyone?
 
Has anyone tried fishless tank cycling? I have heard of two methods for doing so:

1 - Drop a couple of large sponge filters into a friend's established tank; let them mature for 6 weeks and then move them to your own new tank. Go get half your stock the same day and buy the rest of your stock a few days later.

2 - Set up an aquarium with everything except the fish. Add ammonia - the cleaner stuff, as long as it has no additives - daily until it cycles, about 4-6 weeks.

Just wondering if anyone has tried these methods since they would be much gentler on fish and you would not have to get starter danios if you didn't want danios in your stocking scheme if you didn't want them.

leifthebunny 06-19-2007 12:09 PM

#1 I would avoid doing it that quickly. You would still want to slowly ramp up as the bacteria spreads in the new tank. Though it does cycle the tank immediately, it's still not sufficient to be completely seasoned to handle a full tank load.

#2 Make sure it's pure ammonia. Most cleaners have chemicals in them that will kill the fish.

If you have access to BioSpira or Nitromax, this can help speed up cycling a tank. Another option is to just put a bit of food in the corner of the tank to rot and this will produce the ammonia. You'll want to switch it out on a regular basis to keep it from molding.

mHeinitz57 06-19-2007 04:07 PM

Re: Fishless tank cycling, anyone?
 
[quote="Julie's Julies"]
1 - Drop a couple of large sponge filters into a friend's established tank; let them mature for 6 weeks and then move them to your own new tank. Go get half your stock the same day and buy the rest of your stock a few days later.
quote]

There are a few issues with this. For one, the sponge filter will actually need to be most likely in the filter itself where there is nutrient rich flowing water and plenty of oxygen. Simply dropping the filters into the tank won't ensure that bacteria grows on them. Also, only enough bacteria will grow to handle the bioload of your friends tank. Most likely there is already enough bacteria in his/her tank to handle the bioload. If any bacteria does grow on the sponges you put in, once you take them out then your friend's tank will have a bacteria difficiency and fish could even be harmed. Your better option would be to wait until your friend is ready to change his filter media after having it in there about a month and then use his old filter media. By adding a new sponge to his tank you will either grow no bacteria on it or his bacteria will recolonize on the new sponge and then you'll steal his bacteria. A smaller ammount of bacteria will be on the filter media he changes regularly and so you will want to start with a smaller ammount of fish to begin with. Or you could even do this method and instead of adding fish, add drops of ammonia and your fishless cycling will go a lot quicker.

NeonJulie 06-20-2007 10:47 AM

For those looking, if you have an ACE Hardware nearby, they have so far the only reliable brand of pure ammonia I've seen recommended on all sites, and I used it as well. It's called Janitorial Strength, and it's very cheap.

As always, I recommend the shake-no-foam test, rule out any other ingredients other than water/ammonium hydroxide etc., (no "quality control" or "chelating agents" or "surfactants", dyes, perfumes, or anything else.) Also it should have the same friction as water, not feel slippery or coated. You should also know right away once you open the bottle, because it stinks up the room - it shouldn't smell nice or anything. *lol*)

I'm happy I have mine on hand - everything I ever take out of the tank like old filters, fake plants or rocks I don't want anymore, etc., it all goes in the bin under my sink, with an air bubbler in it. Every few days I drop some of that ammonia in. It's nice to have a source of bacteria for friends' new tanks, as well as if I ever needed another QT bin, or had to wipe mine...

At 1.60 a bottle, it'll last a while... :D

TropicAurora 06-20-2007 06:23 PM

I got a fluval and then used Aqua Chargers to instant cycle so as to bypass any wait. Adding only a few fish per week is probably a good idea instead of adding a bunch at once.

mHeinitz57 06-20-2007 10:10 PM

Personally I wouldnt trust aqua chargers. You may have had success but that is very lucky or you got a container directly from the factory. The bacteria involved in the nitrogen cycle is aerobic, meaning it needs oxygen to survive. It also does not encase itself into a "dormant" stage like some bacteria can do. To fully survive in a bottle like that and have a "ready to use" bacterial colony would be borderline miraculous and pretty much every fish keeper would use it. Its also made by a no-name company that promises stuff it can't actually deliver. However, it does actually serve as a good biomedia in that its a good place for bacteria to grow...i'm just incredibly skeptical that it will have a full bacterial colony right out of the jar and no cycling would be needed. Even using bacterial supplements the tank still needs to cycle...it just speeds the process up a little.

TropicAurora 06-22-2007 04:55 PM

Have you any direct experience using these in new tank setups? Those I know who have used them had the same results as I so it would seem unlikely that it's a fluke or a matter of luck. Just sayin'. :)

Julie's Julies 06-22-2007 05:26 PM

These are some great suggestions and things to think about.

No, I have not tried these techniques myself, but I have heard of several others who have done them with success. I was curious to know the potential problems and results.

So far I have just used Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras for tank cycling, and while I never lost a fish during the cycling process, I could see that the fish were unhappy until the water parameters evened out. I might try a different technique for my next tank, whenever I have more room and can set up another (I already have three, LOL).

mHeinitz57 06-22-2007 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TropicAurora
Have you any direct experience using these in new tank setups? Those I know who have used them had the same results as I so it would seem unlikely that it's a fluke or a matter of luck. Just sayin'. :)

Well I can't argue with results, hehe...so I won't :-)


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