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Hi guys, I have just got back into "home aquatics". I have had my 55 gallon freshwater out of comission for 3 years due to moving around a lot. But I am back in the saddle and just wanted to get people's input on my setup as I have been out of the loop. My little boy having aquariums at his daycare has also pushed me back into this fun hobby. :D

55 gallon freshwater
Fuval 304 (succeeded by the 305) with 1st stage (bottom)-Prefilter and Zeocarb, 2nd stage (middle) Zeocarb and Biomax, 3rd stage (top)- Biomax and polishing filter.
undergravel filter with two lift tubes powered by (2) Aquaclear powerheads (model 301)

I plan on doing the community fish this time around. I had Oscars for many years and as playful and smart as they were I eventually got tired of looking at only one fish and uprooted plants.

I do not plan on having live plants this time.

My tank has only been running for about 10 days and by lurking I see the importance of giving the tank time to cycle. I do plan on getting some Cycle to help it along. I see people recommend Danios to help this.

Opinions/advice on my setup??

Thanks guys and look forward to being on the forum.
 

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Welcome aboard! Sounds like a nice tank..
Danios might become fin nippers if you don't get them out after the cycle. To cycle the tank, you might just want to get a few of the fish you plan to keep long term, then give it six or eight weeks before adding more, and add more slowly. Using Cycle is a good idea, that will seed things and help it along. But you will need fish as well, of course, to cycle the tank. Put the bottle of Cycle in the fridge after you open it.
Hope to hear how it comes along and see some pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Few questions then:

Am I "fishless cycling" with this setup? I realize I should get some Cycle in there.
Should I have the Zeocarb in there or not? If yes, then should I be changing it out on a monthly basis?
I have also read about putting pure ammonia in the water during this period. Yes/No?
Should I be doing water changes during the cycling?
 

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if your doing a fishless cycle you need to put the pure ammonia in or the cycleing will never happen. As far as addind anything to absorb the ammoina in the water the answer would be not until the tank cycles and you add fish but than only if you have overstocked the tank. With the fishless cycling don't do anything just let the tank run.... let the bio coclny build up, doing WC will only slow the process down and with not fish in the tank there is no safty issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ok, looks like I need to pull out the Zeocarb. It has been setup for 2 weeks now. How much ammonia is needed for 55 gallons? Whats the rule of thumb? Can I add the pure ammonia AND Cycle?

Thank You
 

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media ther is a movement in the aqua-world to cycle tanks without fish. As it can be very deadly to the fish you use, even if they survive they sometimes have ill effects. Alot of people feel that is cruel to the fish and is the cause of many dead fish every year. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, it is just a choose each of us need to choice for ourselves.

As far as how much put in a cap full every other day and take readings once a day until the you have a spike in nitrates and then falls to zero.....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my local Walmart carried Cycle. We are kinda in the sticks so that was nice.

Added Cycle and have added pure ammonia (3 times) so it looks like I am on my way to cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cycle is in the fridge and I already have a master test kit, nothing fancy but it measures ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and pH.

Nitrates are already staring to creep up, maybe 20-30 ppm now with 3 capfuls of ammonia.

It's amazing how much has changed or perhaps I wasn't educated very well since the last time I kept aquarium, but I had never heard of cycling with pure ammonia. Maybe back then everybody cycled with fish and took our chances. I know you can to both but I'd rather not start out with losing fish.

I assume after the nitrates spike and come back down to 0ppm, that I still wait 4-6 weeks? Not rushing, I am patient.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry for not completely understanding this, but can someone explain to me how is it going to spike and return to zero as long as I keep adding ammonia. I posted this question to roc. Should I cut back on doses or amounts now? I am currently reading 20-30 ppm nitrates, 3-4ppm nitrites and 0ppm ammonia. I just want to do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
wow that was fast. ok i added some ammonia last night (half of what I had been adding). I will now wait for the nitrates and nitrites to come back down. Sorry for all the Q&A but i was just scratching my head wondering how the nitrates and nitrites will ever return to 0 when i keep adding ammonia. thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have about 20 ppm nitrates now. No ammonia or nitrites. I see a water change will get the nitrates down. Is 20 ppm too high to add fish. I assume water changes are the only way to get the nitrates down?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have done two ~20% water changes in about 10 days to get the nitrates down. Nitrites and ammonia are 0ppm. Nitrates are down to ~5ppm. Looks like I may be ready to add fish this weekend?

I am looking at community fish, tetras, molies, swords and some bottom feeders. I just need to make sure to get fish with similar WQ requirements and temperments. I hope I am not too limited with the local petsmart inventory.

Any suggestions?
 

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It looks like you are on the right path. Water quality should be good to start adding fish at this point. Remember to add fish slowly. When you put a few fish in their waste and uneaten food will produce ammonia starting the process over again. Luckily you now have the good bacteria in the tank to take care of it. If you add a full load of fish at once your tank may not be able to handle it though. So add some fish, wait a few days, add some more, etc.
 
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