Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

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Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:00 pm

Since I started keeping African Cichlids in October 2006, I have discovered the
advantages of the fishless cycle over using "dither fish," or "seeded filters."

Using the fishless cycle method over using dither fish and/or seeded filters is that
once cycled, I can add the full amount of fish I expect to house in that tank without
having to worry about ammonia spikes. In addition, another advantage is being able
to add all the fish at once preventing the problem of aggression toward newcomers
in an established tank.
Now I do like to put juveniles in the tank when possible and then let them grow into
their new tank. I make sure to allow for this growth when planning the tank inhabitants.

However, the purpose of this thread is not to debate these advantages, but to simply
relate to you how I do the fishless cycle.

The process of the Nitrogen Cycle.

This process will work in any size tank.
I use pure ammonia with no sulfates added.

In the 125 gallon tank, I added 15ml. of ammonia or 3 teaspoons everyday. (I use a baby medicine dropper)
In the 75 gallon tank, I added 10ml. of ammonia or 2 teaspoons everyday.
In the 20 gallon tank, I added 5ml. of ammonia or 1 teaspoon everyday.

The goal during the fishless cycle is to keep the ammonia level at about 5ppm for the first 14 days until
the ammonia is converted into nitrites. Of course, this requires one to do daily ammonia tests to keep
the ammonia level around 5ppm. This is why I use the above amounts because these amounts seem to work best in my situation.

In my experience, and I understand there are many variables, the tanks usually take
about 14 days to convert the ammonia into nitrites. After this, it usually takes another 14
days to convert the nitrites into nitrates. During this time, you still have to keep adding the
ammonia; the same amount of ammonia that you first started out with in the beginning.

When you test your water and the nitrites are converted into nitrates, then your tank is now
cycled and almost ready for fish. I highly recommend testing the nitrate levels and doing the
necessary water changes to bring the nitrate levels into acceptable range. (under 40ppm, best
20ppm or lower)

One way to do this is if for example your nitrate reading was 50ppm after cycling, if you performed a
50% water change (which is exactly what I always do before placing the fish in the tank) then your
nitrate levels should read 25ppm.

It is very important to understand that you must continue to add the ammonia to your established
tank until about a day before you put the new fish in the tank. You must continue to feed your good
bacteria or they will starve to death very quickly.

I know I'm old school when it comes to cycling a tank.
It requires patience to wait about 28 days or so, but it is certainly worth it in the long run!

If you have any questions or you would like to challenge my experience, please
feel free to talk about it here!

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Re: Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

Post by theswede on Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:54 am

I never done a fishless cycle in my life. Reading American and English forums they seem to be a commen method. I use substrate (sand & rocks) from already running tanks and that works perfectly every time. That makes it possible to stock the tank from the first day.
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Re: Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

Post by Aura on Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:09 pm

Media from one of your already established tanks is a good way to go and it's what I do, but if it's your first tank, fishless cycling would be a great way to do it.

Thanks for the article, preacherboy. Smile
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Re: Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

Post by Emma on Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:01 pm

Or like me... trying to out run a snail problem. Nothing except the fish are being moved from the old 75 to the new 125. Hopefully that will do the trick Smile
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Re: Fishless Cycling a New Tank (submitted by: Mark preacherboy)

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