So a friend has asked for advice on setting up a 25 litre (5gal) tank for his kids. After using my new found knowledge to advise, I'm confident they won't now just fill it with water and plop a goldfish in!
So what I was planning on doing was providing them with the following from our tank:
Sand substrate, enough to lightly cover the base of the 24l Three small Marimo moss balls Small piece of bog wood Ceramic noodles and Seachem Matrix from our filter Seachem Prime Seachem Stability
The new tank is TINY compared to our 350 litre. My filter is packed out (ready to increase stocking, that will be on hold now!) with media so I can easily spare enough to fill the tiny HOB filter. Our aqadvisor capacity is such that I'm not concerned about a mini cycle in our tank my removing the above items.
They know the tank needs to be cycled before stocking, if they feed it with fish food how long do folks think it will take?
I do have all my test kits on hand to monitor it for them and can dose pure ammonia if needed. It will be unheated so I wondered if this may slow it some.
Somebody else advised them to use Evolution Aqua Pure Aquarium Balls? I've seen these at the lfs but thought they were a water clearing conditioner?
This will certainly be a lesson in patience for the kids! As for tank stock, one betta? Snails?
Good plan except don't feed with fish food. Fish food is designed to resist breaking down so it doesn't pollute the tank, which means it will take time to produce any ammonia and in that time the beneficial bacteria in your media may have died off. Instead, dose with a small amount of ammonia (to 2ppm) and test after 24 hours for ammonia and nitrite. You may well find the tank is instantly cycled and ready to go. If not, then continue a fishless cycle with ammonia.
So dosed the tank last night to 2ppm, just popped back (16 hrs later)and ammonia 0.5ppm and nitrite 0.5ppm.
I'm going to try and get again tonight but if I can't does this look like the tank is already cycled? Am I right in thinking at the 24 hour point, if the ammonia is 0, the nitrite is 0 and nitrates are present then it is cycled?
There will never be more BB than the bioload can support so the number of BB will drop back to just enough to support the stock. That means any future additions should be gradual and with daily monitoring of ammonia and nitrite for a week or so after any new addition.