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Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 05:45 PM

I'm in the process of setting up my tank right now it's just water filter substrate and some driftwood. My kids want me to add fish but I explained to them that I gotta add plants first and before I can add plants I gotta buy frets. They didn't care they just want the fish in lol. So my question is do I have to have the ferts in hand or can I put in plants then wait a week or 2 for my ferts? And also before I add fish can I just add them or do I need to cycle the tank? I've read whereas the plants kinda cycle the tank enough for fish to he introduced? My GF won't allow pure ammonia in my house because of the kids so I have to do the fish-in cycle otherwise. Much advice needed. Thank you

dmcrx7 01-01-2013 05:55 PM

Long time fish cycle believer
Just a noob here, but I am a long time user of the fish cycle. I tried fishless with plants the last time around and am now a firm believer. If your GF is concerned about ammonia around the kids, I would urge you to consider diluting it before you bring it home. That may help dispel her concern. Just make sure you get the right stuff. Give it a shake and look for bubbles. There should be none. Local hardware store is your best bet.The ammonia gives your plants a huge kick start. I still don't use ferts in that tank, and it has been cycled for a couple months.

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 06:03 PM

She read a few articles and learned firsthand from her cousin that ammonia can cause mental retardation and she told me under no circumstances am I allowed to have it in the house. She told me putting fish in is the only way I'm allowed. I don't mind I just don't like potentially risking the lives of fish.

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 06:04 PM

She's very protective lol. We don't even have any knives in the house plastic butter knifes only

ony 01-01-2013 06:54 PM

You might want to point out to her that there will be ammonia in the tank anyway if your just going to throw fish in without cycling it first : /

edit: how do you cook with no knives?

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 07:00 PM

I have 2 other fish tanks going she knows there's ammonia in there from the fish she just doesn't want a bottle of ammonia around. Even tho I keep all of my supplies under lock and key

MABJ 01-01-2013 07:00 PM

Well lets hold everything up here.

You can't add any fish or inverts until you complete a nitrogen cycle.

Some people say you can do a fish in cycle, but that's fish murder. Sorry.

Nitrogen cycles can be completed with plants. You dose either ammonia or fish flakes daily, and see if your ammonia drops by the end of the day. It is simple. It takes time, but if you don't take your time and do things right, you'll regret it later on.

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 07:04 PM

I can try the fish flakes method. Gotta get some plants soon I think lol. Need to get a heater yet as well. And we use forks to cut everything lol

DarkCobra 01-01-2013 07:13 PM

Yes, both plants and bacterial biofilters will consume fish waste, and keep it from building up. But it's best to have *both* functioning together, each capable of taking up the slack from the other.

With plants alone, depending on how many fish there are, they may not be capable of consuming 100% of fish waste. There may be too few plants for the number of fish. Even if there's technically enough plants, if they're not healthy they won't be effective consumers of fish waste, which can happen if:

1) They're lacking nutrients which the fish produce in insufficient quantities. Typically at least potassium, plus iron and other traces. These must be provided from ferts, or a rich substrate.
2) They're not getting enough light. Or too much light. Or too little carbon for the amount of light.
3) They're in transplant shock from having just been added, from a source with major differences in tank parameters.
4) Or any number of other things.

It can be done, but to guarantee success, it takes a certain amount of experience on behalf of the hobbyist. Since you don't yet have ferts, I think I can safely assume you don't yet have that level of experience, and can't recommend that method. Plants will help, but don't rely on them alone.

Though I've never done it, I hear a fishless cycle can be accomplished with nothing more than fish food. Add the amount you expect to feed daily. Monitor the progress of the cycle with your test kits as normal, and when complete, add the fish. If you've underestimated the amount of food, increase it only *gradually*, so that you don't include a noticeable mini-cycle. This probably means you can't let your children feed, or perhaps even have access to, the fish food without supervision! They'll probably want to "fatten up" the new fish, which could be disastrous.

If you can move a small portion of filter media from one of your established tanks to the new tank, it will greatly speed up the cycle.

Knotyoureality 01-01-2013 07:21 PM

If you can switch some filter material over from your established tanks along with the plants, you'll be able to establish beneficial bacteria pretty quickly.

However, if you're doing fish-in, you'll need to build the bio-load VERY slowly and commit to frequent water changes until everything is up and running.

Last spring my main tank back wall shattered, leaving me needing to set up and start transferring my fish out of temporary holding pretty quickly. The new substrate got a handful of the old seeded into it and I pulled one of my eheim filter pads to shove into the HOB filters on the new tank as well as transferring over a few bits of driftwood I'd been able to keep soaking.

Bought a trio of mollies to start things off then very gradually moved fish from my backup tanks into the new one. We're talking a couple of inches of fish every 3-4 days as I was filling in with more plants and keeping up 20% daily water changes.

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 07:22 PM

I don't have any used media that will fit in my filter. Other than that I'm planning on an otocinclus and 12 celestial pearl danios. And later if my tank can hold more fish then a few kuhli loaches. Other than that my lighting will produce roughly 30-40 PAR. And I don't have the ferts yet but I know what I'm getting. It's a money issue gotta buy everything overtime I only set the tank up already because my 5 year old son begged me. It's in his room but they will nvr feed unsupervised. The ferts I'm adding are seachem equilibrium, potassium nitrate, and mono potassium phosphate

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 07:25 PM

I'm sure ill need a few water changes to get things going while I'm experimenting with feet dosage but when everything's balanced I'm not planning on ever doing water changes. That's the reason I opted to do this style of tank. Easiest possible maintenance. Considering I enjoy pruning so I don't consider that tedious

Knotyoureality 01-01-2013 07:53 PM

I typically sacrifice a filter pad and just cut it up to fit pieces into the new filter, but you can also just toss the media directly into the tank and remove it later on.

Can't go along with you on the no water changes deal. There's ways to greatly minimize 'em but a closed system like that needs more than just regular top offs to be healthy long-term.

Colorblizzle 01-01-2013 09:23 PM

This link is to the method I'm trying. It's an article written based upon a bunch of articles written by Tom Barr. It calls for NEVER doing water changes only to do top offs when needed.

MABJ 01-01-2013 10:31 PM

There are a lot of checks on the list before you can get to a no water change tank.

People tend to only see what they want to read. But you'll need heaps of plants, all that jazz before you can get to a comfortable point.

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