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Discussion Starter #1
I plan on using this method to cycle my tank but I have two main questions

Where can I get Pure Ammonia (or Ammonia diluted in water with no other chemicals) WalMart? CVS? Home Depot, Lowes? etc.

Where do the Bacteria that convert Ammonia into Nitrites and Nitrates come from? Are they all ready in the water, and grow with the addition of Ammonia each day? Or do I need to add a bottle of the quick Cycling bacteria to the tank, and then feed them the Ammonia each day?

Thanks
 

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I never cycle tanks, I just plant them well and off you go. But if plants are not possible, then using a pure ammonia works. Be careful it is pure ammonia, with no additives. Another similar method is to use fish flake food, or chunks of shrimp; both of these do make a mess with fungus, and can smell from what others have written.

On the bacteria, this is one of those marvels of nature. Once organics/ammonia are present in a tank of water, the Nitrosomonas and then Nitrospira bacteria will appear and multiply up to the level required to handle the ammonia and then nitrite. At least, generally speaking; various factors can affect this, and also how long it takes. You may find my article helpful:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-74891/

Adding a bacterial supplement is one way of quickly introducing these bacteria. Another is seeding with filter media or substrate or hard objects (wood, rock, even plants) from an existing tank. These bacteria colonize all surfaces under water, so moving these items from an established tank will move over some bacteria.

I always use live plants, and usually I move over solid objects which is a sort of back-up. This is a much safer method, it is easier, and it is instant.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I never cycle tanks, I just plant them well and off you go. But if plants are not possible, then using a pure ammonia works. Be careful it is pure ammonia, with no additives. Another similar method is to use fish flake food, or chunks of shrimp; both of these do make a mess with fungus, and can smell from what others have written.

On the bacteria, this is one of those marvels of nature. Once organics/ammonia are present in a tank of water, the Nitrosomonas and then Nitrospira bacteria will appear and multiply up to the level required to handle the ammonia and then nitrite. At least, generally speaking; various factors can affect this, and also how long it takes. You may find my article helpful:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-74891/

Adding a bacterial supplement is one way of quickly introducing these bacteria. Another is seeding with filter media or substrate or hard objects (wood, rock, even plants) from an existing tank. These bacteria colonize all surfaces under water, so moving these items from an established tank will move over some bacteria.

I always use live plants, and usually I move over solid objects which is a sort of back-up. This is a much safer method, it is easier, and it is instant.

Byron.
Byron, thanks for Chiming in..
I,ve read several of your comments on cycling and definilely notice you push for live plant stocking for cycling or instant addition of fish. Im not sure I want plants....for one its more work, keeping them alive, adding chemicals to the water etc. And the Cichlids I was going to keep will probably kill them or distroy them. of course I could toss the pants out after a month or two once the beneficial bacteria had populated to remove the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites the fish produced.......
Any fast growing plants that are hardy enough to thrive off about 13-14 hours of light a day with out the addition of iron supplements or Co2 on the tank??
 

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Byron, thanks for Chiming in..
I,ve read several of your comments on cycling and definilely notice you push for live plant stocking for cycling or instant addition of fish. Im not sure I want plants....for one its more work, keeping them alive, adding chemicals to the water etc. And the Cichlids I was going to keep will probably kill them or distroy them. of course I could toss the pants out after a month or two once the beneficial bacteria had populated to remove the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites the fish produced.......
Any fast growing plants that are hardy enough to thrive off about 13-14 hours of light a day with out the addition of iron supplements or Co2 on the tank??
You don't say what cichlids specifically, but even those that uproot plants can benefit from simple floating plants. And floating plants are the absolute best type of plants for any aquarium when it comes to "cycling" or long-term water stability.

Floating plants have two major advantages: they are close to the light, so almost any decent spectrum will suffice. And they assimilate CO2 from the air, four times faster than they can in water. That only leaves other nutrients, and the addition of a comprehensive liquid fertilizer once a week will likely suffice.

The amount of ammonia that these plants take up is quite amazing. Any tank that can have live plants, should; all else being equal, the water will be more stable and the fish healthier.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You don't say what cichlids specifically, but even those that uproot plants can benefit from simple floating plants. And floating plants are the absolute best type of plants for any aquarium when it comes to "cycling" or long-term water stability.

Floating plants have two major advantages: they are close to the light, so almost any decent spectrum will suffice. And they assimilate CO2 from the air, four times faster than they can in water. That only leaves other nutrients, and the addition of a comprehensive liquid fertilizer once a week will likely suffice.

The amount of ammonia that these plants take up is quite amazing. Any tank that can have live plants, should; all else being equal, the water will be more stable and the fish healthier.

Byron.

Looking to do African cichlids....and I was interested in Floating plants, if any actually, because they also add some shade to the tank, along with the Rocks and caves that I will make. So if these are the best bet, what species of floating plants would you suggest? (African cichlid tank)
 

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Looking to do African cichlids....and I was interested in Floating plants, if any actually, because they also add some shade to the tank, along with the Rocks and caves that I will make. So if these are the best bet, what species of floating plants would you suggest? (African cichlid tank)
My favourite floater is Ceratopteris cornuta. If you want to be geographic, it occurs in Africa, though admittedly not in the rift lakes (so far as I know). It should adapt to hard water. I have found that it does not like changes, even from tank to tank which will set it back sometimes. But once settled, it should be fine. It is a very soft plant, and may be nibbled on, but that is fine, esp if you have the more algae-eating cichlids; Ceratopteris will grow so rapidly that I would expect it to keep ahead of most fish.

I am not familiar with any rift lake floating plants, so can't suggest that. But one species that is native to these lakes, though not a floater, is Vallisneria. And it does exceptionally well in hard water. If you could weight a small clump down in one spot with sand and rock, it might do quite well even under the floaters. Mbuna will eat algae off of its leaves.

Byron.
 

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I'll look into both species. On the topic, how many of the plants would be sufficient? I plan on keeping just two species, (havnet narrowed it down to which two yet) with a ratio of 1 male to 4-5 female each species...max 12 fish in my 55 Gal tank.
 

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I'll look into both species. On the topic, how many of the plants would be sufficient? I plan on keeping just two species, (havnet narrowed it down to which two yet) with a ratio of 1 male to 4-5 female each species...max 12 fish in my 55 Gal tank.
Floatring plants will quickly spread across the entire surface if allowed to; every second water change in most of my tanks I cull them by removing the oldest (largest) and leaving the smaller (daughter plants). You'll understand this from our profile of Ceratopteris cornuta.

Vallisneria, I would get a clump and plant it in one location. It will when settled send out runners everywhere. They may be nibbled, or you can easily cut them off during the water change.

There are two species of Vallisneria commonly seen, and both are in our profiles. The Giant Vallisneria will easily grow across the surface as it notes therein.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My favourite floater is Ceratopteris cornuta. If you want to be geographic, it occurs in Africa, though admittedly not in the rift lakes (so far as I know). It should adapt to hard water. I have found that it does not like changes, even from tank to tank which will set it back sometimes. But once settled, it should be fine. It is a very soft plant, and may be nibbled on, but that is fine, esp if you have the more algae-eating cichlids; Ceratopteris will grow so rapidly that I would expect it to keep ahead of most fish.

I am not familiar with any rift lake floating plants, so can't suggest that. But one species that is native to these lakes, though not a floater, is Vallisneria. And it does exceptionally well in hard water. If you could weight a small clump down in one spot with sand and rock, it might do quite well even under the floaters. Mbuna will eat algae off of its leaves.

Byron.
Floatring plants will quickly spread across the entire surface if allowed to; every second water change in most of my tanks I cull them by removing the oldest (largest) and leaving the smaller (daughter plants). You'll understand this from our profile of Ceratopteris cornuta.

Vallisneria, I would get a clump and plant it in one location. It will when settled send out runners everywhere. They may be nibbled, or you can easily cut them off during the water change.

There are two species of Vallisneria commonly seen, and both are in our profiles. The Giant Vallisneria will easily grow across the surface as it notes therein.

Byron.
Yea i all ready wrote down the names of the floating water sprite and the Vallisneria...probably get the corckscrew, or the Americana species of that. I just didnt know if I needed 20 plants to start with or 5 and let them grow. wasnt sure how much I needed to handle a fully stocked tank??
 

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Yea i all ready wrote down the names of the floating water sprite and the Vallisneria...probably get the corckscrew, or the Americana species of that. I just didnt know if I needed 20 plants to start with or 5 and let them grow. wasnt sure how much I needed to handle a fully stocked tank??
On the Valls, whichever you get, they usually come in a bunch of several plants, and they can be planted fairly close together, maybe 1-1.5 inches max. They will spread. And I am assuming you are only going to have one or maybe two of these clumps in the cichlid tank.

For the floating, a couple plants, 2 or 3, depending on size. Larger plants may have several adventitious (daughter) plants forming on alternate leaves.

Byron.
 

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ok so I need 2-3 floating water sprite and a few of the Valls and that will be enough to support a fully stocked tank while the Bacterial populate? 10-12 fish, juveniles, approx 2" range...?
 

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ok so I need 2-3 floating water sprite and a few of the Valls and that will be enough to support a fully stocked tank while the Bacterial populate? 10-12 fish, juveniles, approx 2" range...?
Once you get the plants in and everything is OK, add the fish slowly, a few at a time with several days between. This is advisable since there are not a lot of plants, and I don't know the size and number of them, though again the floaters are pretty good at this.

Now, I know you are dealing with rift lake cichlids and I am no expert [had some but over 25 years ago] and there may be concerns over which fish at which time. Someone like Tazman who knows these species would be good, send him a PM if he doesn't enter this thread.

Byron.
 

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Cj, be sure those plants are non-toxic to your Africans as they will eat them. The problem I have with floating plants is any food you put in your tank is going to collect somewhat on the plant, which will entice the fish even more to eat them. If you try to plant something in the substrate, every African fish I know of is going to continually uproot it because they are sand sifters, that is how they eat. This will cause pieces of plants and roots (if you are lucky to keep it in the substrate long enough to grow roots) to be all in your tank and you will have to keep constantly netting it out. So, the plants eventually die, or quickly die and you have dead plant funk to deal with in your tank, which I am not sure what all that dead funk produces, but I would not want that in my tank water.
 
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