Okay so I have been in the fish keeping hobby forever with my mom, but this is my first attempt at it my self doing it the correct way.
My old set up. 29 gallon glass aquarium and hood\light (second hand not in best of shape). One Aqueon 5-15 filter, and One Tetra Whisper 10-30 gallon filter. Then I had some crap heater that had no thermostat, and i would have to get up and turn on and off to manage temperature. A standard stick on thermometer, and some river pebble substrate, and fake plants. The chemicals I had was very basic and cheap (Start-Right-Food both Jungle).
Now i have the same aquarium and hood\light, substrate, thermometer, and plants. However I upgraded to two Tetra Whisper Internal Filters (10-30). Tetra submersible heater (10-30 and maintains water temperature at 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit depending on Day\ Night). I also gathered some better chemicals. I have Start-Zyme, Algae-Control, Wardley Tropical Flake food, 5n1 Test Strips, Aqua-Safe, Aquarium Salt, and some Fungus Clear.
I know that some of this is not the best or some people even say it does not work, but its what i can find considering the closest lfs is 30mins- 1hour away and they don't stock much but fish. So this is what i have to work with right now its the best i can do and please don't down on it to much.
My first attempt by my self with the old set up was not so succesfull, well actually it was a complete failure. I had the equipment that I listed as Old set up. Well i added water, substrate, fake plants, filters (with no cartridges in them. Then i put the start right per directions in the water and ran it for 24 hours before adding filter cartridges. Then i ran for 24 more hours and then I added fish. Here is where i think i made my crucial mistake. I added 5 tiger barbs, 5 skirt tetra's, 1 golden algea eater, and 1 (what i think it was called) Upside Down catfish. Well i know that was to many fish at once with out cycling (which i did not know about till recently). With the first weekly water change came the first dead fish (the algea eater). Then my barbs started changing to a lighter color one by one and started flipping upside down, while still alive and breathing. Then the barbs started dying and the Tetras started changing colors and well dying. Then the catfish. Now i have a feeling they all died from stress from ammonia, or nitrite poisoning, and stress. This is all of coarse after doing hours of research.
After the passing of the fish i bought some aquarium salt and cleaned everything very well with scalding hot water and boiled the substrate ( I know it a no no with epoxy covered substrate but i think it okay with natural river pebbles like i have). Then i went and got my Current Equipment again it's two Tetra Whisper Internal Filters, Tetra Submersible 10-30 heater, Aqua-Safe, Start-Zyme, Aquarium Salt, Algae-Control, 5n1 test strips, Wardley Tropical Flake food. Then i added water ran filters with no cartiges for 24 hours with just aqua-safe and heater in it. Then i added substrate, start-zyme, and fake plants.Well that's pretty much where I'm at right now. This is day 3 I been feeding 3 flakes every 12 hours to the tank trying to get the cycle started.
Now time for my questions, which I know is what the forum is about and for. I just wanted to give the most detailed info I could about my situation, and equipment. My main and major question is ,Since i added what was supposed to be beneficial live bacteria blend(Start-zyme) and I'm following the directions (1 Capful per ten gallons to start for the first time then 14 days later 2 capfuls per 10 gallons) and feeding it every 12 hours 3 flakes of food, if I continue to feed the tank 3 pieces of food every 12 hours can I on day 21 add 4 zebra danio's ( since i heard that this the hardiest fish). Will this be safer for the fish and will it help with cycling. I guess to put it simply can i do fish less-into-fish cycle. Do three weeks of fish less cycling with whats supposed to be a live blend of benificial bactieria( Start-zyme), and feeding the tank every 12 hours 3-4 flakes). Then adding in a 1.5 fish per 10 gallons 4 zebra danios for my tank (29 gal) on day 21? Also another question how many cory cats do you think I could put in this tank when i get it cycled?
First, welcome to the forum. We are glad to have you here and we are always willing to help. This hobby can be a little overwhelming at first, so we will help you out one step at a time starting with the cycle.
I personally do not believe in all that "bacteria in a bottle" stuff. A fishless cycle is accomplished by dosing the tank with an ammonia source. The most common ammonia source is pure ammonia, which can be found in a bottle at ace hardware. Other people have used fish food to provide ammonia, but this takes a little bit longer because the food has to break down before it turns into ammonia. The hardest part is the daily dosing for 4-8 weeks because it requires a lot of patience. Nitrifying bacteria takes a while to get established and the truth is, it really can't be sped up with artificial products. You simply have to wait.
This is where a good water test kit comes in. Most of the people on here reccommend the API Freshwater Master Liquid Test Kit, including myself. Test your water every other day and watch for the spikes. First you will see an ammonia spike. Then you will see a nitrIte spike and the ammonia should slowly go down to 0. The last spike is a nitrAte spike and the nitrIte should go down to 0. Once your nitrAte reading is 20 or lower, your tank is cycled and ready for fish. As I mentioned earlier, this step takes a lot of patience and can take 4-8 weeks.
You could add the Danios, but I do not reccommend it. No matter how hardy the fish is, it still goes through stress when exposed to ammonia or nitrIte. Stress weakens the immune system and makes the fish very vunerable to disease. Another problem with adding the Danios, is once your tank is cycled, then you are stuck with a fish that you may not want in your aquarium.
21 days and you are halfway through what could be a traditional fishless cycle. I also don't trust the stuff in bottles. Some do. I don't. Do you know anyone that keeps fish? If so, you might be able to get some seeding material from them to help speed up your cycle.
I dont know anyone else around with an established tank i could borrow anything from. Also i know i need a better test kit but all i had was 12 bucks to get a test kit so i figured the strips would be better then nothing. Im really trying to avoid putting pure ammonia in my tank ( as i dont know whats pure or not and i really dont have cash for it right now). Im just trying to get the ammonia in there with the fish food. Which i heard would work if I fed the tank ever 12 hours 3-4 flakes of food? Also i know many dont trust the bottled bacteria and I'm not using that as my only source i just figured it might help? If not it was 3 bucks lol
okay so i think this week on my way to houma, im getting some cash for x-mas, i will get a new test kit and some pure ammonia. Anyone have any luck with the winn-dixie brand ammonia. It says Win-Dixie Ammonia -Clear- ingrediants Ammonium Hydroxide. When i shook it it foamed but not as bad as the one that had surfactants and dyes and purfume. and between my fingers it felt like water where as the other felt like soapy water
also can anyone point me in the right direction towards a cheap but affective test kit i going to be limited to around 25 bucks'
Test kit, get the API Master kit. It's a liquid kit and accurate and pretty much the standard.
Ammonia, I don't know...if you have an Ace Hardware near you can get pure there. It's pure for sure so no guessing.
okay yea i got one about 5 mins up the road but the test kit i really cant afford the master test kit its almost forty dollors and i only got 25
Get at least the Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate to start. Take your water to the LFS to see if they can tell you what your pH is...that's good to know for future fish selection. You'll have to have it tested again when the cycle is done because the pH can be crazy during the cycle.
So grab the ammonia and the test kits and you are good to go at least for the cycle. When you dose the ammonia into your tank, you'll only need a very little bit. For a 29g tank you want about a teaspoon. That will get you up to around 5ppm ammonia. You want to keep it between 3-5ppm. Much more than that and you can slow the cycle or even kill it off. Test ammonia every 2-3 days and add ammonia as needed to get back to that 3-5ppm.
You can also order the kit...it's much cheaper...
Hello and Welcome!
Just wanted to make sure you're not using all of that right now. The salt would be only if you are doing saltwater, or brackish fish. It can also be used to treat some illnesses in freshwater fish but you have to be careful as long exposure is very harmful. Same goes with the Fungus medication.
I assume you are not using it all, just wanted to be sure ;)
I'd like to talk about the fish you have though. The Golden Algea Eater is just a color variation of the Chinese Algea Eater I think. They can be an aggressive fish, and can get big. They are probably not a good choice for a community aquarium and a 29g is probably too small but could possibly be workable if you really want one.
Upside down cats like to school, they'd probably be happier with at least 3.
Tiger Barbs can be aggressive and fin nippers, not great for a community tank. A larger group can lessen that.
Take a look at the Tropical Fish Profiles at the top of the page here and read up on each fish you'd like to put in your tank. Lots of great information there (it is where I got the info for the fish you had =)
About water testing, you said you only had about $25 for it. Well, Amazon.com is your friend. You can get the master test kit for about that much (shipping may push it a little over). The liquid tests are better because they tend to be a bit more accurate. The strips do work, but over time they'll absorb moisture from the air and become less accurate. So by all means use the ones you have now, they'll at least give you an idea.
Before you put fish in you'll want to vacuum the gravel to remove all the excess food that is decaying. The fish will be producing the ammonia and you'll no longer want the decaying food. The fish store should sell them if you don't already have one. It's a ~1 foot long large hard plastic tube connected to a length of flexible tubing. You create suction with it and have it drain into a bucket that's located below the bottom of the tank.
Hope this helps!
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