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NikNak NikNak
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 0:41
Help with Fishfree Cycling please #1
I know you must have seen this 100 time before. But...

After a few week of deliberating, on Saturday I went to our Local Fish Shop (it was shut) so I went to another one and bought a FLUVAL Uno 600 Aquarium set, bought it home and set it up in the hall (no direct sunlight).

Up went the Stand, on went the Aquarium, in went the gravel (painstakingly rinced through a seive) + Authentic Greek Ruin/Boat Wreck/Filter/Heater/fake plants/Anenomie etc. (all rinced in tap water) and filled up the tank.

I switched on the filter and added the recommended 10ml of Nutrafin AquaPlus Water Conditioner, and went to bed. (I've just noticed now that the reccomended dose should have been 20ml - I'll not do anything about it now).

The next morning as per the instructions added 20ml of Nutrafin Cycle biological aquarium supplement and a few flakes of Nutradin Max Tropical flake food to start the cycle off, powered up the heater and lit the light (it goes on for 12 hrs a day).

Came home from work on Monday to find the water a bit cloudy, left it alone, came home from work Tuesday, still cloudy, re-read all the instructions, hit the Nutrafin website (www.hagen.com) the guide I've been following is there: http://www.hagen.com/pdf/aquatic/UK_Fluval_Aquarium_Care_Guide.pdf - no answers, and have been scouring the web this evening...

It sounds like I have a bacterial bloom. Q. is it anything to do with signs of the cycle starting or in progress?

From what I have read the whole idea of Fishfree cycling without using ammonia is pretty much a pipe-dream as Nutrafin Cycle does not actually contain the Beneficial Bacteria the system needs to get running.

Because there are no fishes lives at stake here am I better off starting again and trying to do the fish-free cycling with ammonia and test kits, or do I continue to follow the FLUVAL guide?

I would have really liked to get some hardy/suicide fish in it this next weekend, if so do I need to add more food (how much/how often),if so should I do a partial water change before adding the fishes.

About the fishes, I liked the look of the Guppies and Tetra Neons, but the staff in the LFS suggested one of another kind of fish (can't remember the name).

I should say that the motivation behind this is my 2 year old boy, he loves fish, I'd like to give him the pleasure of having them in the house, Thomas the Tank Engine has already had a dip..

However I am now worried about the large amount of H20 in a relativly fragile (glass) container mixed with dangers of the 240V AC power and it proximity to the aquarium.

I kinda feel I bit off more than I can chew here, Any advice would be appreciated...
TetraLinz TetraLinz
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 8:25
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #2
Cycling can take anything up to 8 weeks, so I'm afraid there's no way the tank will be ready for fish by this weekend. The bacteria grow from scratch on the filter media - with or without the help of Nutrafin Cycle However, you definately need some source of ammonia for the bacteria to feed on.

The cloudy water is caused by a bacterial bloom, and will settle down on its own.

People have mixed feelings about Nutrafin Cycle on this site Most don't rate it. I've never used it, but I used something similar, and I know that didn't work for me. If anything, they're filter aids - nothing else. They're not going to mature your filter for you in a week

If you don't add ammonia, the bacteria that have begun to grow, will die off, and the cycle will have to start again. Test kits are a must - even after the cycle has completed, because they're the only way you know what's going on in the tank. A lot of problems the fish suffer come down to water quality.

I don't think there's any reason for you to start the cycle again. Homebase sell household ammonia for about £2. Add a few drops of that to the tank, and the filter will start to do the rest.

Edit: Only leave the lights on for a max of 10 hours. Anything more will only encourage algae.
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TetraLinz TetraLinz
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 8:31
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #3
If there's anything else we can help you with, just ask It's a steep learning curve, and yes, you can feel like you bit off more than you can chew - I know I certainly did! But believe me, it's worth it when you see your new fish swimming happily in their new home
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cathie cathie
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 8:34
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #4
Hi, welcome to fishkeeping!
That Fluval guide is useless re cycling tho quite informative about other stuff, I'd say you have 3 rational alternatives:

1. Go back to this thread:
http://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... php?topic_id=559&forum=14
and follow fishless cycling instructions in that.

2. Or, buy a bottle of Biomature and a Waterlife nitrITE test kit (you can get both from waterlife direct - website has tel. no for mail order) and use those to do fishless cycle. This is an easy way to do it - biomature is just an ammonia source, all you have to do is add the amount is says for the size of your tank and do nitrite tests. you have to have the waterlife test kit as it measures much higher levels than most.

Either of these will take 3-6 weeks, less if you can get hold of a bit of sponge etc. from someone else's mature filter and put it into yours to kick-start.

3. Buy some Bactinettes and put them into the filter. I am experimenting with these at the moment. You have to go to quite a big lfs to get them - they will have a special fridge and they are expensive - but they really do seem to work. I have been testing mine by adding ammonia to tank, without fish in it. If I was going to use them for a new tank without a period of testing I would buy double the recommended amount (v expensive) and add no more than a couple of little fish a week.

I hate the idea of 'suicide fish'. 'Hardy' fish will suffer during a cycle even if they don't die.

Not sure 2 years old and thomas and fish mix but i'm past that stage of worry, someone else is bound to have tips on that ...

edit: Linz is a quicker typist than me!
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TetraLinz TetraLinz
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 8:39
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #5
lol
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NikNak NikNak
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  • Posted on: 5/9/2007 22:34
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #6
Thanks for the advice, I'll get a test kit and some ammonia and get the cycle running that way... I read somewhere else that if you crank the temp up high, the cycle can be accelerated, is that worth a go? Also as I have not got any amonia yet shoul I put some food flakes in to give the bacteria that are there something to snack on?

BTW the white water appears to be clearing up...
NikNak NikNak
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  • Posted on: 6/9/2007 23:06
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #7
I got myself a test kit (API Master Test Kit) and the ammonia from Homebase (that was fun, I phoned ahead and asked if they stocked it they said no, but I had to drop by there anyway and found it).

All results in ppm.

Ran a control test on mains water:
Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = 20

Tested the untouched Aquarium water:
Ammonia = 0.25 Nitrite = 1 Nitrate = 20

If I understand it right the fact that there is Nitrite means I got some Beneficial Bacteria, and the presence of ammonia would indicate that they have not yet been starved to death.

Added 5 drops ammonia:
Ammonia = 1

Decided to retest because I may not have rinced the syringe properly after using it to add the ammonia before obtaining the last sample...

Ammonia = 0.25

added another 12 drops of ammonia (waited 10 mins, rinced syringe thourghly):

Ammonia = 1

I think I'll stop there...

Should I repeat the 17 drops tomorrow? Also at what level does the Nitrite become a problem, as the tapwater contains 20ppm?

I must share this with you: When I went into the 'Pets-at-Home' store and I told them I had got a new tank (empty - yes water no fish) needed some ammonia to put into my aquarium, they looked at me like I was insane. The 18 year old assistant bless him said "why on earth would you want to do that - ammonia kills fishes" I explained to him that the fish make ammonia of their own, he knew this.. he also knew about the Bacteria and the Nitrites and the rest of the cycle, I said "I'm putting the ammonia to feed and grow the bacteria so it's there for when I put the fish in... That way the fish will not suffer the start of the cycle" but I don't think I convinced him, he still tried to sell me some 'live' bacteria.

I am going to stick it out and wait till the tank has matured and wont put fish in till it's safe to do so, I'm happy that there is life in it even if it is bacteria lol.
cathie cathie
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  • Posted on: 7/9/2007 9:16
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #8
Quote:


Should I repeat the 17 drops tomorrow? Also at what level does the Nitrite become a problem, as the tapwater contains 20ppm?



i havent done a fishless cycle with household ammonia so not sure of nuances, but someone will be on shortly to advise ...

nitrITE is a problem at anything more than 0 but i think you know that and meant nitrATE - 20 in tap water is high like ours some lucky people have none
you need to try and keep below about 40 in tank, which is quite hard work with that tap water - lots of plants is the way to go - but wait until tank cycled to add as it is thought they slow down cycle a bit. oh yes, should go quicker at higher temperature. don't forget to turn down heater later!
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Cardnim Cardnim
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  • Posted on: 7/9/2007 10:07
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #9
Hey NikNak,

I used Ammonia to cycle and I think the general rule is, once you get the Ammonia spike happening (i.e. the Ammonia levels go up then back down), you only want to add enough Ammonia every day to "feed" the bacteria that are already developed.

Usually, that is about 1ppm Ammonia every day, which for me was 10 drops (but this is totally going to depend on your tank size).

My own personal preference is to reduce the Ammonia right down as too high ammonia levels can inhibit the growth of the nitrite eating bacteria.
Andrew -- www.frogcdrom.com
NikNak NikNak
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  • Posted on: 7/9/2007 10:19
Re: Help with Fishfree Cycling please #10
Cathy,

You were spot on - my typo - Nitrate at 20ppm in the tap water not Nitrite.