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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been cycling my 155 gallon aquarium for 2 weeks now with 4 starter fish (some kind of tetra, maybe black skirt) in it to speed it up some. I have also used "Stability" by Seachem. My question is if I need to be doing water changes while I cycle? My water tests are showing 0 ppm for ammonia, 0 ppm for nitrite and 0 nitrate. My ph is about 8. I would think that I wouldnt want to do a water change while cycling, but would like some experienced opinions.

Also, can I add fish now if my water is testing ok? Would like to add Neon/Cardinal tetras, blue german rams, khooli loaches and some kind of shrimp. Yet another question, when is it best to add plants?
 

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It Sounds Like Your Mixing Up Freshwater With Saltwater... That Ph Is High For Freshwater. You Dont Need To Worry Too Much About Cycling A Freshwater Tank That Bad Either.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What do you mean I am mixing up freshwater with saltwater? A ph of 8 is high for freshwater? What about freshwater fish that prefer a high ph? How do type like that, with all the capitol letters? Why am I asking all these questions?
 

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I have been cycling my 155 gallon aquarium for 2 weeks now with 4 starter fish (some kind of tetra, maybe black skirt) in it to speed it up some. I have also used "Stability" by Seachem. My question is if I need to be doing water changes while I cycle? My water tests are showing 0 ppm for ammonia, 0 ppm for nitrite and 0 nitrate. My ph is about 8. I would think that I wouldnt want to do a water change while cycling, but would like some experienced opinions.

Also, can I add fish now if my water is testing ok? Would like to add Neon/Cardinal tetras, blue german rams, khooli loaches and some kind of shrimp. Yet another question, when is it best to add plants?
Freshwater tanks need to be cycled in the same way saltwater tanks do. The nitrogen cycle applies to both. You should do water changes during cycling if you have fish in the tank, because it'll help them avoid the dangerous ammonia and nitrite. You can put plants in right now. Fast growing bunch plants are great for cycling while keeping your fish alive.

If you still have nitrate readings of 0 your tank probably has not cycled yet. 4 fish is probably going to take some time to cycle a 155 gallon tank, as they don't produce that much waste. The best way to speed up a cycle is to get mature filter media from an already established tank and use this to "seed" your tank. I've had luck asking for some sponges from a LFS here when setting up new tanks.

Be very careful adding Neons/Cardinals and especially GBRs before the tank is well cycled. They are not hardy fish and won't tolerate the ammonia/nitrite spikes during the cycle. While there are freshwater fish that like high PH (mostly cichlids), the cardinals/neons and GBRs you mention do prefer soft acidic water. However, they can be kept in higher PH levels (assuming they are stable) if you take extra care acclimating them.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Im kinda an idiot for not reading up on the cycling process before I set the tank up. They guy I bought it from gave me his sponges and I could have just used them, but before I knew what I was doing I washed them out really good with hot water.

Lets say I borrow a filter medium from another aquarium and use it to seed mine. Wont the bacteria that need ammonia and nitrite die off if there is no ammonia and nitrite in the water? If I use a seeded filter from someone else, should I add a bunch of fish at the same time to keep the bacteria alive?
 

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Queen Platy
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Lets say I borrow a filter medium from another aquarium and use it to seed mine. Wont the bacteria that need ammonia and nitrite die off if there is no ammonia and nitrite in the water? If I use a seeded filter from someone else, should I add a bunch of fish at the same time to keep the bacteria alive?
The bacteria wont die off because your fish will be producing ammonia. Which in turns will be broken down into nitrIte and then nitrAte. You have a 155 gallon, so the reason why your tank probably shows 0 ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte is because those fish are so small compared to the tank and its no producing enough ammonia/waste to cause any changes. I would add more hardy fish to increase bio load.

You should see a rise in ammonia over the time after adding more fish due to more waste, and you will want to keep it at a therapeutic level with water changes so it wont get too high. Eventually it will be broken down into nitrIte and you will need to keep this at a therapeutic level also with water changes. And finally will be broken down into nitrAte. Which then shows you your cycle is complete.

OR what you can do is... return the 4 fish, complete a fishless cycling, and buy them back agian. Your tank will cycle faster because you can add straight ammonia to the tank to increase cycle rate without having to worry about fish dieing due to high ammonia/nitrIte/nitrAte levels.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know how the cycle works. My question was if I should add a bunch of fish if I use a filter sponge from someone else to seed my tank. I wouldn't want all the bacteria to die because I don't have enough fish to support them. I have hear that using another sponge from an established tank is the best way to start a new one.
 

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Don't buy the kuhlis, neons, cardinals, or germans, they are not the right type of fish to consider cycling the tank with. Neons, and cardinals aren't hardy at all compared to other fish and many will die or be severely stressed from the cycling process. Kuhlis are known to produce little waste, so they wouldn't help you too much over there. Germans are the most sensitive and require a fully cycled tank.

Get those sponges and/or gravel being used from elsewhere (make sure the tank didn't have any outbreaks of disease), stick them into yours. Depending on how much bacteria you end up getting, and how little of a food source you give them, yes, some of the bacteria will die off since food amount defines population size.

You can either return the fish as Nursy stated, and do a fishless cycle. Or, keep the fish, overfeed and litter the floor a bit with food to help produce additional ammonia/etc, or just buy more fish. I don't think that the fish you have currently are hardy either. Danios are considered one of the hardiest and cheapest fish to cycle with.

I find the ph of the tap water a little unbelievable. I was told that driftwood will lower the ph by around .5 in case you wanted to try that.
 

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Queen Platy
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I know how the cycle works. My question was if I should add a bunch of fish if I use a filter sponge from someone else to seed my tank. I wouldn't want all the bacteria to die because I don't have enough fish to support them. I have hear that using another sponge from an established tank is the best way to start a new one.
If you want to cycle with fish, then add more hardy fish, 4 tetras is not enough.

Seeding isnt necessary but will help cycle faster.

Bacteria will not die because of small bio loads.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the help guys. I wasn't trying to cycle with the 4 fish I currently have, it just worked out that way. They were donated by my mother as her tank was overcrowded. They just gave me an excuse to put food in the water, which I assumed would start the cycle. I never planed on using the fish I would eventually like to have in the aquarium as a cycle fish, I will wait until the whole process is done for that. I was just wondering if I seed my filter with someone else bacteria, should I go buy a bunch of "hardy" fish to get it moving?
 

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Thanks for all the help guys. I wasn't trying to cycle with the 4 fish I currently have, it just worked out that way. They were donated by my mother as her tank was overcrowded. They just gave me an excuse to put food in the water, which I assumed would start the cycle. I never planed on using the fish I would eventually like to have in the aquarium as a cycle fish, I will wait until the whole process is done for that. I was just wondering if I seed my filter with someone else bacteria, should I go buy a bunch of "hardy" fish to get it moving?
IMO, the best thing to do (assuming you can get the filter media, and find a temporary home for the 4 fishies) is to complete a fishless cycle by adding ammonia on a daily basis until you start seeing nitrate readings and ammonia and nitrite have come down to 0. I don't think throwing in a bunch of hardy fish is really the route to go because it may turn out that you don't want those fish in the end and you will need a lot of them to cycle a 155 gal.

If you go the other way and cycle with fish, definately you will need more of them. Zebra Danio's are probably the most hardy fish readily available. Also overstocking the tank with fast growing bunch plants like Anacharis and Hornwort (I'm talking about LOTS of it) will keep the ammonia under control and your fish alive.

Definitely do not add german rams to the tank before the cycle is well and truly complete, as you will loose them for sure. Good luck!
 

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The pH on all my FW tanks is 8.4-8.8 with api high range test kit. With or without peat moss in the substrate. I additionally get no ammonia or nitrIte spikes during cycle but do get an initial nitrate spike that lasts for a few weeks.

The pH is that high because the plants suck out the carbon dioxide.

my .02
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The lady at the LFS said that goldfish would be good to start the cycle. They are pretty much poop factories aren't they? She said that I could bring them back when the cycle was complete too. Anyone think this is a viable idea? I can't imagine a fish being more "hardy" than a goldfish. Do they eat plants btw?
 

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Queen Platy
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I cycled my tank with Platy's and a TON of Water Sprite because I knew I was going to keep platy's in the end. I'm sure you can cycle with goldfish. But keep in mind that they have a large bio-load. If you choose to switch over to tropical fish after your cycle is complete..... then its a totally differnet bioload cause they poop a lot less. It might cause your tank to go into a mini cycle. Also... feeder goldfish carry diseases because they are overstocked and stressed. ALSO... they are coldwater fish anyway.. You want warm water to increase the cycle.
I hear very good stories about cycling with Danios.

I used to have goldfish and they ate every plant I introduced to the tank. They're basically aquarium lawn mowers.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I wonder if it would be safe to add neon and cardinal tetras in small amount. If the tank is big enough, like 155 gallon, and you have an extremely light bio load, like I want, I wonder if adding the fish I eventually want is ok, as long as I monitor the ammonia and do regual water changes? If I only have 20 or so small fish in that large of a tank, I dont see how the ammonia or nitrite could spike. I am also using the filter sponge out of an already established tank to seed mine. Anybody have any opinions? I think I will stay away from goldfish with the above advice.
 

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We started a 10g heavily planted with 6 neon tetras and 6 glo fish. with treated tap water. It was close as we did lose 1 fish the first night. But 2 years later the remaining fish are still there all 5 glo fish and 5 neon tetras.

I recommend starting with a lower bioload, but even heavy bioloads can be handled with enough live plants.

my .02
 

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Queen Platy
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Yes plants help a lot. My nitrAte level is always around 5 ppm and I feed 20+ platies twice a day. I dont even think I need water changes every week. More like once every 3 weeks.
 
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