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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all.
I used to be into this hobby when I was younger. I started with Oscars then moved to African Cichlids. I had a 55 Gal tank which was absolutely beautiful.
When we bought our house, I had to sell the tank because I just didn't have the room.
Anyway, I've been thinking about getting back into the hobby for a long time, and now is the time.

So, this is all that I've decided on: I can fit a 29 Gal (is that a std size) tank in my living room, and I want to put African Cichlids in it again.
I plan on buying a used tank and hood. I already have a light that will hopefully fit on the hood, gravel and nice rocks from my earlier tank. I also have a heater that I used in my 55 gal tank. I assume it can be used in the smaller tank by monitoring the temp carefully. Anyway, as far as filters go, I know nothing about the modern equip.
Obviously, I want the water crystal clear, and want to keep maintenance of the filter media as simple as possible. PLus, I asume I'll only need one filter for this tank, right?
Any recommendations, or can you point me in the direction of beginner FAQ's or posts?
Other things to consider: Do's and Don'ts for initial setup, 1/3 water changes every week, right?
Anything else?
Thanks,
Lenny
 

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Queen Platy
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I heard Aquaclear power filters and Fluval Canister filters work good. I have a Marineland pengiun bio-wheel and it worked great at first but the wheel gradually slows down and doesnt spin anymore unless you meddle with it like fileing down the 2 ends of the wheel for less friction on the notches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, thanks.
I'll look into those filters.
BTW, what does it mean when somebody says to "cycle the tank"?
Lenny
 

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Queen Platy
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OK, thanks.
I'll look into those filters.
BTW, what does it mean when somebody says to "cycle the tank"?
Lenny
Because if you just start throwing a bunch of fish in the tank. You havent gave time for the tank to grow good bacteria that breaks down both ammonia and nitrite. And you will end up with an ammonia and nitrite build up (from the excess food and waste) which are both toxic to fish. Thats why when people start an aquarium and start throwing in fish, they wonder why their fish start dieing off 1 by 1 after a week as the days go on.

If you decide to cycle with fish, use a very hardy fish that do not poop a lot, goldfish poop a lot and arent recommended for cycling tanks. Or you can do a fishless cycling, or cycle with plants (dont remember what its called or how to do it).
 

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OK, thanks.
I'll look into those filters.
BTW, what does it mean when somebody says to "cycle the tank"?
Lenny
Cycling a tank means it goes through the initial cycle as it matures. Usually refering to the aerobic bacteria build up that results in ammonia->nitrIte->nitrate parameter spikes.

But with planted tank the ammonia and nitrIte spikes are avoided by the action of the plants cunsuming ammonia directly.


my .02
 

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I just started keeping fish a few months ago. I can't stress enough the importance of the nitrogen cycle. When I started up my 20 gal I fell victim to a local petco employee telling me that if I put microbe-lift special blend in my tank it would cycle instantly. I thought great, that means I can get fish sooner. What a crock! Because of my lack of knowledge I lost an entire tank of fish. Almost none of these cycle in a bottle products work. They contain live bacteria but not aquatic bacteria. They will do the job for about a week and then die of. This results in a sudden ammonia spike and you lose your fish. Like I said I'm a beginner, I don't know what the "best" way to cycle a tank is. A fish less cycle seems to be very popular. I decided to go with the "old fashioned" method. I got 5 zebra danios. My tank is still cycling. It takes a while but it's well worth it.
 

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Just Google fishless cycle and you should find a wealth of info!
Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's the problem, there's too much info, most of it confusing and contradictory.
One method says to use squeezings from a filter from an established tank.
One method says to just add ammonia and the bacteria will magically appear.
Could some kind soul point me to a "fishless" method that is very specific and simple to follow for a complete starter?
I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks,
Lenny
 

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Queen Platy
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That's the problem, there's too much info, most of it confusing and contradictory.
One method says to use squeezings from a filter from an established tank.
One method says to just add ammonia and the bacteria will magically appear.
Could some kind soul point me to a "fishless" method that is very specific and simple to follow for a complete starter?
I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks,
Lenny

I can try. I was very confused at first too. But its very simple once you understand the pathophysiology of it. Ammonia is produced from the feces and leftover food because it decays. so thats why theres a rise in ammonia. But with the fishless cycle, there are no fish, so in order to induce ammonia to the tank, people add straight up pure ammonia. I think you add until you get 5ppm in the tank. 5ppm means the concentration of ammonia. to measure this, you need a test kit that measures ammonia.
There is a bacteria that feeds on ammonia, and when it does, it releases nitrIte. thats why the ammonia level drops and the nitrIte level rises. you continue to add ammonia and keep it at 5ppm to feed this set of bacteria to grow them.
Now there is ALSO a 2nd set of bacteria that feeds on nitrIte. and when it does it releases nitrAte. So here, the nitrIte level drops and the nitrAte level rises. There is no bacteria that feeds on nitrAte, so you can only remove this by water changes once per week.

So therefore after the ammonia and nitrite levels become 0ppm you know that the cycle is finished. The reason why people do cycles is to just grow good bacteria.
tap water has 0ppm of all nitrIte nitrAte and ammonia but it doesnt mean theres bacteria in there.

Its known as the fishless cycle and takes about 4 weeks or so to establish.
Theres a master freshwater test kit that has all pH, ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte testings. Its about $30.

The reason why people use squeezings from a filter from a different tank is because there is good bacteria that has grown on there. Squeezing this into a new tank speeds up the cycling process by adding the good bacteria.

Let me know if you are still confused. It might make sense when I'm typing it but not to someone else when reading it ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That all makes sense except for one thing.
Where does the bacteria come from initially?
Does it just come from the air to eat the ammonia?
Lenny
 

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Queen Platy
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That all makes sense except for one thing.
Where does the bacteria come from initially?
Does it just come from the air to eat the ammonia?
Lenny
beats me ;D maybe someone on here can explain this to me too
 

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Here's a link that will take you right to some simple instructions for fishless cycling:

Guide to Freshwater Aquarium Setup

As far as where the bacteria comes from, you can use any of the suggestions in the link provided or in the previous posts here. Despite the controversy over "bottled bacteria" I used Seachem Stability when setting my tank up and my tank was cycled in less than two weeks. My tank is fully stocked and my fish have been happy and healthy for quite some time.

When adding ammonia make sure you use pure ammonia with no added detergents. You can usually find this at a hardware store like Ace. It's cheap.

Some people will tell you to go the old hardy fish route to cycle your tank. I prefer the fishless cycling method because even though the hardy fish will survive, they will have been stressed and injured by the spikes in ammonia levels during cycling. The fish will never live as long or be as healthy as they would have been otherwise.
 

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....

Some people will tell you to go the old hardy fish route to cycle your tank. I prefer the fishless cycling method because even though the hardy fish will survive, they will have been stressed and injured by the spikes in ammonia levels during cycling. The fish will never live as long or be as healthy as they would have been otherwise.


I respectifully disagree. By starting the tank with fast growing plants there will be no ammonia nor nitrite spikes. Even though there is no aerobic bacteria initially. Therefore,there will be no stress on the fish. Plus the plants consume the carbon dioxide and return oxygen as well. So the fish actually IMHO has less stress than a tank originally started with the fishless methods.

just my and my .02
 

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I respectifully disagree. By starting the tank with fast growing plants there will be no ammonia nor nitrite spikes. Even though there is no aerobic bacteria initially. Therefore,there will be no stress on the fish. Plus the plants consume the carbon dioxide and return oxygen as well. So the fish actually IMHO has less stress than a tank originally started with the fishless methods.

just my and my .02
Ok, my turn to disagree :)

There would still be a nitrogen cycle. Ammonia has to be converted into nitrite and then nitrate. I do not believe that if you plant an uncycled tank and then add fish, the plants will instantly convert the ammonia into nitrite and nitrate with no ammonia or nitrite spikes. I will also disagree with the claim that the fish will have less stress than they would if they were placed in a tank that went through a fishless cycle. You don’t add the fish until after the tank has been cycled. If a tank is cycled, it’s cycled. The fish are not being subjected to dangerous levels of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates – regardless of how you got there.

That being said, I believe everyone should research this info on their own and then go ahead with whatever they feel most comfortable doing. As you can obviously see, there is disagreement on which is the best way to proceed from people who end up with healthy tanks through different methods.
 

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Queen Platy
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Ok, my turn to disagree :)

There would still be a nitrogen cycle. Ammonia has to be converted into nitrite and then nitrate. I do not believe that if you plant an uncycled tank and then add fish, the plants will instantly convert the ammonia into nitrite and nitrate with no ammonia or nitrite spikes. I will also disagree with the claim that the fish will have less stress than they would if they were placed in a tank that went through a fishless cycle. You don’t add the fish until after the tank has been cycled. If a tank is cycled, it’s cycled. The fish are not being subjected to dangerous levels of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates – regardless of how you got there.

That being said, I believe everyone should research this info on their own and then go ahead with whatever they feel most comfortable doing. As you can obviously see, there is disagreement on which is the best way to proceed from people who end up with healthy tanks through different methods.

What beaslbob is talking about is the Silent Cycle not a Fishless Cycle. Silent cycling is stocking the tank with many fast growing aquatic plants that consume nitrogen. The plants can consume it so efficiently that the ammonia and nitrite spike are low that there might not even be any spikes.
 

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That all makes sense except for one thing.
Where does the bacteria come from initially?
Does it just come from the air to eat the ammonia?
Lenny
Basically, yes. There are bacterial spores (small resistant units that help bacteria survive when the conditions are unfavorable) floating in the air and on surfaces. You don't have to do anything special to get the bacteria to appear in your tank, BUT it happens much faster if you can introduce a lot of them from an established tank, as in a squeezing from a filter or some gravel from an established tank.

Here's a link to fishless cycling:

SimplyDiscus.com: Fishless Cycle by Chris Cow
 

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Ok, my turn to disagree :)

..

Ammonia has to be converted into nitrite and then nitrate.
...

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Cooper

I know that is what we are all taught in this hobby. But it in fact is not correct. Nurseplaty is corrrect in that it is possible for there to be no ammonia or nitrIte spikes in the absence of aerobic bacteria.
With a planted tank the plants and the bacteria work together to control the dangerous spikes.

Consider this graph of a newly setup 20gl. the pH was measured with the api pH kit not the hight range. It actually is much higher.



Notice ther very minor ammoina bumps when adding a fish . What I have found out over the years was to not add food for a week to keep the bioload low.

Also notice the presence of nitrates that drop down a few weeks later. indicating the plants are then conuming the nitrates as the bacteria is consuming the ammonia.

I know I'm a stuck record on this or a one trick pony. I just keep hearing how the only way to reduce ammonia is through bacterial action when for years I have done it with plants and then let the bacteria build up.



just my .02
 

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lol - I guess I'm a dinosaur, but it gives me more peace to mind to be able to verify that the tank is cycled and the bacteria colony has been established and is sufficient to handle the bio load before I add my fish. You may be 100% correct, but I would just be too nervous about ammonia and nitrite spikes after adding fish without cycling the tank first. That's just my own preference. I'm not a scientician nor am I claiming any consensus. ;)
 

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lol - I guess I'm a dinosaur, but it gives me more peace to mind to be able to verify that the tank is cycled and the bacteria colony has been established and is sufficient to handle the bio load before I add my fish. You may be 100% correct, but I would just be too nervous about ammonia and nitrite spikes after adding fish without cycling the tank first. That's just my own preference. I'm not a scientician nor am I claiming any consensus. ;)
Understand completely.

If you're the dinosaur, I'm the dinasaur's dinosaur. *old dude
 
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