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Hi gang -
So I just set up my tank and if any of you happened to see my introduction post - it has been an uphill battle. The tank now holds water, and all aspects are operational! Here's a picture of the tank as it is:



Eventually there will be fish and lots of plants, but it's up and running for the time being. It is 75g and will be a tropical community tank. I eventually I intend to stock livebearers, gouramis, tetras and maybe some angelfish and invertabrates. I do have a few questions if anyone can help...

1 - Stocking -
- How long should I wait before I begin stocking, everything was set up Monday night?
- How many fish should I start with to have a sufficient bioload?
- How many can I add at a time after that?
- Should I wait until the cylcing process is over before I start to add the next batch of fish?

2 - Cycling
- The rocks / drift wood (not gravel) were from an old tank and sat out dry for years, but were boiled somewhat before introducing - will this play any impact on bacteria introduced/cycling process?
- Assuming I add only a small amount of fish at a time, how often should I test the water for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate while cycling?
- How long should I wait between incremental stockings of the tank during cycling?


I know that's a lot of questions, but I understand the basic concepts of cycling and I just need a few fine tuned answers to my tank. Hopefully this doesn't require a huge novel, as I'm just looking for a few pointers.

Thanks all for your help!
Eric
 

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One of the basic concepts of cycling is that the bacteria don't know where their ammonia is coming from. What that means is that you can cycle the tank with no fish at all. Instead you add just enough pure ammonia to the tank to bring the concentration to around 5 ppm or a bit less and let the bacteria start growing on their own. As they consume the ammonia, you add back some ammonia to maintain levels at no more than 5 ppm daily until the ammonia is processing right to zero in a day or less. After the ammonia starts processing, the nitrites will build in the tank and will feed a second group of bacteria that process nitrites. When you can add enough ammonia to produce 5 ppm of ammonia and come back less than a day later to find ammonia and nitrites both at zero, you have arrived and can do a big water change to reset the nitrate levels. Right after that water change you can add most of the fish you intend to keep in the tank.
If you cycle with fish in the tank, you will need to test at least daily and will likely be doing large daily water changes to keep the tank water safe. It is a lot more work than a fishless cycle but can be done if you just can't wait a few weeks before getting your fish. The fish in cycle will also mean stocking at less than a 20% level and only adding more fish very slowly after the tank has finally cycled.
What it comes down to is that at say 2 months you can be finally starting to raise stocking levels after a lot of work in a fish-in cycle or can be near fully stocked after a fishless cycle.
 

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I disagree with oldman. I did my cycle with 4 giant danios 2 years ago. I had them up until a week ago when they got eaten. I didn't do any water changes until it was fully cycled. They are so hearty it didn't affect them at all. Test your water once a week til your nitrates read about 50ppm. Then the ammonia, and nitrites should register zero. Do your water change and your done. Took about a month on my 60g. Also, if you have a friend with an established tank, ask to borrow a couple of there bio balls or whatever bio filtration he/she has, and float them in your tank or filter. This will help jump start your cycle!
 

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I always cycle with live fish, mainly danios and tetras. I firmly believe and have had nothing to SHOW me otherwise that adding them 48 hours after the tank is set up as long as the top is left off for 24 hours and the heat is up to appropriate levels.

Ive done it with neons and angels as well, infact my breeding pair of angels have cycled 4 tanks now, within the 1st two weeks in their new tank they layed eggs.

I dont do the first WC till about a month after cycle is done. I havnt had a fish death in over 3 months since the tanks were set up and re-set up(my 52g), infact I got major new plant growth and alot of fish growth.

There are no rules to fish keeping less species cohabitation.

The more water you take out the more nutrients that are removed, sometimes a WC can throw it back into a mini-cycle if done prematurely.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Water changes don't affect the bacteria in a tank, there is very little bacteria in the water column. Most of your bacteria will form on rocks, glass, decor and filter.

I do very big water changes on all my tanks except for the 220 as my python don't reach that far. But they get a minimum of 75 to 80% a week. A couple of tanks get that twice a week.
 

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Nutrients not bacteria, bacteria grows on surfaces we all know this.

He stated he was going to have lots of plants, the less WC's you do with plants the healthier the tank is. Well atleast that is what I am observing in a few tanks I am keeping tabs on right now.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Thats can be but like me I EI dose my tanks and still do big water changes. My plants are healthy and if you look at my pics in the gallery you will see I have loads of plants. When I don't do the water changes it does affect my plants as they need fresh water all the time just like fish.
 

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It is apparent that this topic is controversial but it is clear different methods have met with success.

In my experience if you add plants to the tank first and then add a few (depends on tank size) hardy fish (I have cycled with danios, Serpae Tetra, guppies) you can enjoy your new tank with fish without waiting weeks. It would also make sense that adding media from an established tank would introduce a population of bacteria into the tank at the outset that would serve to jumpstart your cycling process. I do however gradually increase the fish population over a couple of months after that initial introduction.

If you do not use plants then I think going through a more prolonged cycling process or trying the ammonia method would be best before introducing fish. :)

PS I only do small water changes like 5% weekly since I have fairly heavily planted tanks.
 

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I don't recommend using someone else's media to recycle your new tank. You never know what's in that other person's water or the quality of that water, even if it is a very close friend or relative. I also prefer to let it cycle as natural as I possibly can. But if you're in a hurry to get it going, I'd use ammonia. Altho, I've never used that method. I'm just saying if you're really in a hurry.
 
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