Carter_Knight Carter_Knight
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 26/5/2013 1:55
  • From Lincolnshire
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership
  • Posts: 4
  • Posted on: 26/5/2013 2:23
New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #1
Hi all,

Ok so I have just bought an Interpet 64L Fish-Box aquarium with a view to setting it up as a tropical environment.
(I've added a couple of pics for you all to have a look at, let me know what you think?)
Crucially I think its important to mention here that I am completely new to fishkeeping. (Although, I have done a fair bit of reading before deciding to take up this hobby). I am really here for some guidance as I want to get this right first time :D

Right, so here's where I am with my new set-up:

- After cleaning all my substrate (sand) in a bucket until the water ran clear I added it to my tank.
- I then filled my tank with tap water until is was about 1/2 full.
- At this point I added decor, fake plants (not confident enough yet to have live plants!), rocks and my other equipment (Heater, air pump, and PF2 Internal power filter).
- I then topped off the tank with more tap water.

At this point I turned on the heater, filter and air pump (mainly to check they all work).

Now this is where I get a little lost......

So I understand I should 'cycle' any new tank in order to build up sufficient friendly bacteria before adding any stock.

I added my 'Interpet Tap Safe' to de-chlorinate the water, soon after I also added 'Interpet Filter Start' (both of which I have read aren't the best products but they came with the tank so I may aswell use them).

It's at this point I don't quite know what I should be doing next, other than waiting a while and testing the water for ammonia to increase then decrease, nitrite to increase followed by nitrate, then for the nitrite to begin decreasing. Once the ammonia and nitrite are completely gone I can add fish right???

Some clear questions I do have are:

Is the Interpet Filter Start my 'Ammonia' to begin the cycling process.....or do I actually need to go get some fish flakes/pure ammonia etc to get things going?

Was I wrong to add the Tap Safe and Filter Start at pretty much the same time? If so, what should I do to rectify this?

As you can hopefully see in my pictures there are LOADS of tiny oxygen bubbles in the tank (oxygen is good I know that) but can too many oxygen bubbles be a hinderance?? Should I be concerned?


Sorry for such a long post here but I wanted to get it all out in one go. I just hope somebody takes the time to read this and help me :)

Thank you all in advance.

Attach file:



jpg  (1,990.33 KB)
16341_51a162b61eef8.jpg 3264X2448 px
Fishlady Fishlady
  • Tropical Moderator
  • Tropical Moderator
  • Joined: 6/7/2010 19:26
  • From Worcestershire
  • Group: Caresheets Moderators FK Supporter Registered Users Image Admin Advisers
  • Posts: 13277
  • Posted on: 26/5/2013 8:39
Re: New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #2
Hi and welcome,

Yes, you need to get some ammonia and start adding sufficient to maintain the level at 4ppm. The ammonia acts as a substitute for fish and causes bacteria that "eat" it to colonise the filter. When they arrive and start processing ammonia you will see the level of ammonia drop and nitrites will start to rise. The level of ammonia is tested every 24 hours and is topped back up to 4ppm every time you find it has dropped. Eventually a second colony of bacteria develops which "eat" nitrite. When they start working, they produce nitrate and that will start to rise as nitrite falls.

The whole process takes around 4-6 weeks, and is complete when you find you can dose the tank to 4ppm of ammonia and on testing 12 hours later find both ammonia and nitrite are reading 0. At that point, you'll need to do a large water change to reduce the nitrate level before buying fish.

Fewer shops seem to stock ammonia these days and in many cases what they do stock is either too weak or contains unwanted additional ingredients so I suggest you go straight to eBay and buy some of this which is pure ammonia and the right strength. Also get a small syringe for accurate dosing.

Our fishless cycling article explains the process in detail, and has a calculator at the end for working out the correct ammonia dosage as you progress through the cycle, but if you have any questions do ask.

Final point: if you don't yet have a liquid based test kit you will need one as test strips are not precise enough. This is what most of us use.
Carter_Knight Carter_Knight
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 26/5/2013 1:55
  • From Lincolnshire
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership
  • Posts: 4
  • Posted on: 26/5/2013 9:28
Re: New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #3
Hi Fishlady,

Thank you so much for your reply. It is really appreciated :)

Do you think a fishless cycle is the best wy forward?As, I am really keen to get some stock in there (But I do appreciate that this first cycle is really important for the long term and as I said in the first post, I want to get this right first time)....I understand I can use a couple of hardy fish as my ammoia source? Is this ok to do?

Thanks again :D
suey2 suey2
  • Coldwater Moderator
  • Coldwater Moderator
  • Joined: 21/2/2006 14:46
  • From London
  • Group: Registered Users Caresheets Moderators Advisers Image Admin
  • Posts: 10141
  • Posted on: 26/5/2013 10:25
Re: New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #4
Hi, a fishless cycle is definitely the way to go People used to recommend a few 'hardy' fish but now that we know what can happen to a fish during a cycle it's considered bad practice and unnecessary. Even a supposedly hardy fish won't appreciate having its gills burnt by ammonia, or having the level of oxygen its blood can carry reduced by nitrite poisoning Far better to get the tank ready for the fish to enjoy from the outset, and to only buy the fish you actually want rather than some 'hardy' ones to get things going I appreciate you're keen to get some fish in there, but doing the cycle will not only make things better for them when they move in, it will help you get a much better understanding of the nitrogen cycle so you'll be much better placed to spot any future problems and resolve them before they cause issues for the fish
It's Not Just A Fish
Darlo toe Darlo toe
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 22/4/2013 11:32
  • From County Durham
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership
  • Posts: 15
  • Posted on: 27/5/2013 20:19
Re: New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #5
Hi & welcome, a few weeks ago i was in the same boat as you & couldnt wait to set my tank up & running & get some fish in,but how wrong was i, ive taken the advice given on this website & am now in my 3rd week of cycling, & i think im enjoing it & learning more about keeping water than i thought i would, my advice would be to do the fishless cycle & learn as much as you can as im sure it would give you a better understanding of the hobby
DaveGodfrey DaveGodfrey
  • Temperate Adviser
  • Temperate Adviser
  • Joined: 10/5/2010 0:02
  • From London
  • Group: Registered Users Deep End Advisers
  • Posts: 528
  • Posted on: 28/5/2013 10:51
Re: New Tropical Tank and New To FK Forums :) Newbie advice needed please !!! #6
The other thing about doing a fishless cycle is that it gives you plenty of time to think about which fish you want to keep, and to get your plants off to a good start. What fish were you thinking of keeping?

A 64L tank is a good sized one to start with- its not too large to feel overwhelming, but its not so small as to be useless for all but the smallest fish (and I'd not recommend the "micro" fish like Ember Tetras, to people just starting out).

Most of the bunched plants you see in the shops should be fine. Avoid anything with variegated leaves at it is unlikely to be a true aquatic plant and will drown. I'd also avoid red leaved plants as they tend to need high levels of light, and lots of nutrients. Most "pondweeds" will be fine, as will Java Ferns, Anubias, Cryptocorynes, and plenty of others.
Loaches, Barbs, Minnows & Shrimp! Oh My!