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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all -

I've had some fish in my 75g for about a week and a half - 2 weeks. I have a few platies and danios. I'm thinking that because the fish are so small and the tank is relatively large that it's just taking a while for the cycling process to get going.

My ammonia has been low (.25) and hovering the past few days. I have no nitrites yet. I'm just wondering how long it's going to take for these little guys to work up enough bio-load.

I'm fine with being patient and letting it run it's course, but because of the size ratio I also don't want to wait forever. If anyone has any experience with the bacteria additives I've seen at the store, I would love to hear what you think. I never hear anyone really talking about them on here, and after a quick search I didn't find anything too substantial on the site either. (maybe that is the answer to my question?)

If you have any advice, or tips that would help me get this tank on it's way I'd appreciate. Or - if the advice is to just let it simmer, would love to hear that too!

Thanks all,
Eric
 

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I would not use and do not recommend any of the bacteria type additives.

Are there any live plants in the tank? Planted tanks "cycle" without the dangerous ammonia and nitrItes spikes. But you do get an initial nitrate spike that lasts for about 3 weeks.

I guess a similiar "easy" cycle might happen in a large tank with a light fish load.


my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do have plants, here's what the tank looks like:



So if I'm doing an 'easy' cycle - what will be my indication that it's safe to add more fish? Zeros across the board?

Thanks
 

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Bacteria additives are a waste of money in my experience etgregoire. You already have plenty of ammonia to cycle your tank. If you can't drop it using the plant's growth, it is time to do a good sized water change to reduce the ammonia. It is already as high as I would ever let it get in my tank in the worst possible situation. If you can measure any ammonia at all, there is more than enough to cycle the tank. When you can measure any, the bacteria and plants are not using it all so there is a surplus to grow the bacteria in the filter. That surplus will grow them as fast as a huge surplus. Once you have eaten your fill, are you less hungry because there is food left on the table? Could you grow faster by leaving more on the table? Bacteria are a very simple life form that grows to the limits of its available food source. As long as there is any surplus, more bacteria will grow.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your info, that is what I was looking for. But I'm still wondering, how will I know when it's safe to add fish if the plants are buffering from the traditional cycling process? Will I still have the typical chemical signs to alert me when it's okay to move forward?

Anyway, I hope the cycling process goes smooth because one of my platies popped out a baby tonight! I have her in a floating container to trap the fry, but there's still only one. We'll see what happens, but I'm worried for the little guy as he must endure everything with the other more mature fish.
 

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I find that livebearer fry are tough. If you have one you have lots more that you have not found yet, probably hiding between those flat rocks. A platy will drop at least 20 fry even from a young female. A truly mature female will yield closer to 40 fry.
You will know when you are done when you don't need to do anything for a week to control your chemistry and both ammonia and nitrites stay at zero the whole week. Since you are doing a fishy cycle, you still won't be able to add many fish. The most you want to add at one time is a small percentage of what you already have. In theory the bacteria can double their numbers in 24 hours but reality is that a 30% increase in bioload should be followed by a full week of water testing before you try to add anything more. If levels drop back to zero in that week, you should be good for another 20 or 30% increase.
 

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Thanks for your info, that is what I was looking for. But I'm still wondering, how will I know when it's safe to add fish if the plants are buffering from the traditional cycling process? Will I still have the typical chemical signs to alert me when it's okay to move forward?
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The "traditional cycle process" is what kills the fish. If the plants are preventing the ammonia and NItrite spikes, the tank is ready for fish. I wait a week just for safety. Then add one fish and not feed for a week. Again for safety. But my wife recently started a 10g tank and immediately added 5 glo fish and 6 neon tetras. Which I do not recommend. The next day one neon was dead. But that was the only fish death after a year of operation.

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I do have plants, here's what the tank looks like:



So if I'm doing an 'easy' cycle - what will be my indication that it's safe to add more fish? Zeros across the board?

Thanks
Just saw the tank pic at home. Can't see at work.

You have some slow growing plants there which will work nicely but take a few months to expand to the point where they (fully) condition the tank.

I would recommend lining the back wall of the tank with anacharis and the sides with vals. They are fast growers and will rapidily condition the tank.


my .02
 

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woops just saw the cabomba or fuzzy stem plant. That can be a fast grower but IMHO you need more is all.


my .02
 

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I really don't get what you call cycling a tank beaslbob. Are you advocating just dumping fish into an uncycled tank with lots of plants and no circulation and just hoping you have enough plants to prevent the build of any ammonia or nitrites? If so, I will pass and use a method that can work for anyone. The statement that you will get nitrites for about 3 weeks smells a lot like an uncycled tank where the plants have yet to start growing fast enough to remove the ammonia and the ammonia is being processed by bacteria in the substrate into nitrites. That is dangerous for all the fish in the tank although there are some that will survive it.
A traditional fishless cycle threatens nothing. The bacteria are raised on artificial supplies of ammonia until they can easily process more ammonia than the fish will ever produce, then you stop adding artificial ammonia sources and add fish which of course do produce some ammonia through respiration and through having their wastes decay. Since the filter, yes I do use one, can process all of the ammonia being produced, your fish never see any ammonia and never need to live through a 3 week nitrite spike either. Levels stay at zero but I don't get to brag about never using a filter I guess. The fish definitely like it when they don't need to try to survive a nitrite spike too.
 

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I really don't get what you call cycling a tank beaslbob. Are you advocating just dumping fish into an uncycled tank with lots of plants and no circulation and just hoping you have enough plants to prevent the build of any ammonia or nitrites? If so, I will pass and use a method that can work for anyone. The statement that you will get nitrites
nitrAtes not nitrItes
for about 3 weeks smells a lot like an uncycled tank where the plants have yet to start growing fast enough to remove the ammonia and the ammonia is being processed by bacteria in the substrate into nitrites. That is dangerous for all the fish in the tank although there are some that will survive it.
Cycling is going through whatever happens to get the bacteria processing nitrogens into nitrates and then plant life to consume the nitrates. Even with the method i describe there is a cycle going on as the bacteria build up start consuming the ammonia and nitrItes into nitrates. But unlike the aerobic bacteria only cycle there is no large ammonia nitrItes spikes because the plants prefer to consume the ammonia over nitrates. Additionally the plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen so that in a 24 hour period the tanks becomes a net consumer of carbon dioxide and producer of ozygen. I maintain that with clean non toxic water you could just dump in the fish very shortly after setting up the tank with plants. I do not recommend that however. Instead I recommend the planted tank set fishless for a week. That allows the plants to establish themselves and condition that water. Which means I do not have to recommend using any water conditioners as even chlorimine has been removed by that time. I then recommend adding 1 fish in a 10g tank and not adding food for a week. Then adding a more complete fish load and start feeding very lightly. 1 flake per day for a 10g tank. With that procedure I have never lost a single fish. By adding food for the first fish I always lost that fish on the 5 day. The replacement lived. Adding 11 fish the same day as the plants the wife lost 1 of those fish.

So to be safe just let things settle down with the plants for a week.
A traditional fishless cycle threatens nothing. The bacteria are raised on artificial supplies of ammonia until they can easily process more ammonia than the fish will ever produce, then you stop adding artificial ammonia sources and add fish which of course do produce some ammonia through respiration and through having their wastes decay. Since the filter, yes I do use one, can process all of the ammonia being produced, your fish never see any ammonia and never need to live through a 3 week nitrite spike either. Levels stay at zero but I don't get to brag about never using a filter I guess. The fish definitely like it when they don't need to try to survive a nitrite spike too.
I and glad you like that method and it works for you. I also hope you now understand that "my" method does not result in a 3 week nitrIte spike.

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I have used some "cycle" that I got free at the ALA convention, Mediahound. Nutrafin was using the convention to promote their product. When I used it, with all the live bacteria that they advertised, I saw no difference in a cycle compared to one done without their product. I have read their claims but will not give 2 cents to buy a gallon of the stuff for my own tanks. I would be very happy to get it wholesale by the gallon and sell it to anyone who wants it by the ounce though. That strikes me as just a quick way to make back a large percentage on my investment in the material. It is sort of like selling "aquarium salt" which is non-iodized salt without the anti-caking additives. Again I would love to buy a dime's worth and sell it in a new box for several dollars. When I want salt in my own tanks I use sea salt to make brackish water and use table salt to treat ich in freshwater. I have found no other use for salt although I am sure there are some listed on the aquarium salt label.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks to everyone who chimed in...

I've decided to just take things slow and also add a lot of plants! It looks really nice and natural, but I have a feeling that in a few months I'm going to be doing some serious pruning because they will probably be very bushy!
 

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Plants will reduce your cycle in half most of the times. The reason is that most plants carry witht them the bacteria needed to break down ammonia and nitrite into nitrate and on top of that they utilize ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Chances are you will never see a spike, just a dull blip on the scale. Once your ammonia hits zero check, nitrites. You might see a blip, you might not see anything. If both those hit zero, you can add fish but don't go out and buy all the fish at once and put a burden on the bioload.
 

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Thanks to everyone who chimed in...

I've decided to just take things slow and also add a lot of plants! It looks really nice and natural, but I have a feeling that in a few months I'm going to be doing some serious pruning because they will probably be very bushy!
Very good idea. with lotsa anacharis and vals right at first.

they can get bushy with 1.5-2 watts/gallon of lighting.


Now you have to let us know how it all works out.

my .02
 

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I agree that Elodea, called anacharis in many shops, is a great ammonia sponge. It will remove lots of nitrogen at every step and will grow several inches per day if given enough light and nitrogen. When you remove the trimmings from growing elodea, you are basically removing the ammonia and nitrates as solids with the trimmings. This means that you can easily make do with an uncycled tank and still have decent results with the fish. It is not a substitute for a cycled filter but can save the lives of lots of fish.
 

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keep more planting and keep more driftwoods so that provide more hidiing place..use a co2 diffuser for plants growth and you may provide some fertiliser for its growth..
 

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Discussion Starter #19


Well that's the tank right now... anacharis, java fern, hornwort, cabomba, amazon sword and some kind of crpypt.

Once I get this small ich outbreak under control, I might start looking into a DIY CO2 system. I know I don't really have enough watts per gallon (I have 2 32 watt in a 75g) but I did get 2 bulbs that cover a good spectrum range, which I've heard some people say can be more important.

I think this is all a huge experiment anyways - seems like everyone has conflicting opinions some times, so we'll see how it goes. The plants seem to be doing good so far and my ammonia hasn't gone above .25 since adding them.

Thanks again to all for the pointers!!!
Eric
 

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your tank is looking awesome...this tank will be an aquatic garden of discus and angels..are you interested to keep discus and angels?
 
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