I am on Freecycle, I may put in a wanted ad! Great idea! I was using a small round table to house the biorb so I don't have a suitable stand as such for a rectanglular tank, although actually I do have a pretty big desk with about a metre length, 50cm depth clear at one end of the desk, so it could go there. Ideally I'd like to have 15 - 20 small fish and maybe 5 or 6 bigger ones, a couple of bottom feeders and some snails, but I guess I will have to adapt to whatever size tank I get.
I am on a bit of a budget as I'm a student. I could probably afford another 50 quid or so on top of the 100 I will get back from the biOrb, but ideally I would like to spend between 100 - 130. I have yet to take the biOrb back but they have said they will refund so fingers crossed!
I have some stuff to go back in the tank. The plants are sat in a bucket now, so I could do to get a tank within the next few days. I have the heater too, but most of the rest of the stuff will be going back with the biOrb so it looks like starting from scratch pretty much.
The bloke in the lfs said that the internet has caused lots of 'new age thinking' and that fishless cycling is unnecessary. He compared people to 'animal testing activists'... anyway, I will surely find somewhere that cares about their fish properly. I will get in touch with GWA.
I have bought a good testing kit and a few other bits and with the information I'm armed with now I should be well set to start a fishless cycle going.
The fish have gone back. The guy in the fish shop said this 'new' method of fishless cycling isn't really needed. He said there's nothing wrong with doing it the 'old fashioned way'. Overall he seemed pretty cheesed off that I would listen to any online advice. Anyway, I asked him to hold onto the fish for me, but I'm not sure if I'll go back for them, I might just forget about it - they were only a few quid each anyway.
Before taking the fish back I rang pets@home, told them the situation, and they said they would refund the money as a 'good will gesture' but I should really have done some research first. Well.... if asking one of THEIR employees isn't research then they're basically saying that their employees may not know what they are talking about... HA!
So my next question - does anybody know of a good aquatic centre in North/East Yokshire? I need a tank and some fish food. I'm going to start a fresh tank on a fishless cycle. I'm trusting you guys here over the local pet shop...
I think I'm going to struggle taking the tank back. I actually bought it from their website because it was 20% cheaper. I think they would have accepted a return if I could actually prove there's something wrong with the tank, but it has been sat in my lounge for a week now with plants in it so they're not going to be able to resell it...
I think this means I'm either going to have to buy a new tank and be 100 quid (and the rest!) out of pocket, or I just keep the biOrb for now and maybe look at this as a learning experience, then a year or so down the line when I move into a new flat I could get a different tank.
OK, so I confess - I have made a monumental error. I am usually so careful before I pick up something new, I have even been known to spend a full day researching something, but for some reason I had the impression that keeping fish was easier than this. Anyway, I went along to a certain pet shop (yes the one with the really original name), and talked to a girl who seemed very knowledgable about the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate cycle. It turns out she wasn't at all. She told me to buy the 60L BiOrb, telling me that it was the best tank for cirulation & filtering. She also told me that I could put 1 fish in the tank after 24 hours, and then continue adding fish at a rate of 1 per week. What an incredible series of statements.
After getting the BiOrb home, putting some water & plants in it, and switching on the pump it occurred to me that I should do a little more research. I did some mooching around online, at this point still unaware about the importance of cycling, and also still unaware that I was armed with the wrong information. I really wanted to get some Milawi Cichlids, but my girlfriend wanted neon tetras, and we were (correctly?) informed that Malawis wouldn't mix with any other fish whatsoever. We decided to leave it a couple of days and then go and choose a fish. I read a few more tips about cycling, but must have missed the whole fishless cycling thing.
After leaving the water to dechlorinate, adding stress zyme and stress coat, then leaving 48 hours, I visited a different place. I had a chat with a bloke who also seemed like he knew what he was talking about. He told me that the tank I had bought was no good, and that I should have bought a conventional (none bowl type) tank. He said I should take a couple of 'tester fish' (yes I found that phrase quite disturbing but naiveley didn't take too much notice) and let them start the cycling of the tank. He said to have a look around and ask him about different fish. Pretty much all of the bright colourful fish we wanted he said we couldn't have in a new tank for whatever reason, so we ended up with a pair of black phantom tetras (he said we'd be OK with 2 - even though the tank had only been circulating for 2 days!)
The fish have been in their new home for just over a day, and they've noticably slowed down this evening. After reading a couple of threads on here tonight I have suddenly realised the importance of cycling (something neither of the shops I went to explained properly) and I'm hoping they're not suffering an ammonia spike already. I'm really worried about them, wondering if maybe I should take them back to the shop?
Also, I have been looking at compatibility of black phantom tetras with other fish, and I don't find any of them particularly attractive, other than the neon tetras. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some fish that I could keep with the black phantoms that are bright & colourful or different? I really like the malawi cichlids, but if I was going to get those I would have to stick to them and get rid of the black phantom tetras, which I have kinda got attached to already.