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Old 01-25-2013, 02:26 AM   #31
Elliriyanna
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well i can help ... i was going to run the second filter in this tank and use some substrate from this tank in the other ... it may not be perfect but it should be much easier on myself and the future inhabitants
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:19 AM   #32
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You can certainly instantly cycle a new filter/tank if you take enough bacteria from an established tank to support the bio load in the new tank. I don't suggest doing that in this case since the "old" tank will still be relatively newly established, but it can be done. I do it all the time using media from my big tank to instantly cycle my small ones.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:48 AM   #33
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I see your point Wendyjo, but I would consider that transplanting a partial bio filter which may be sufficient for a limited bio-load. "Cycling a tank" is to have all surfaces become colonized to their fullest extent, allowing a tank to reach it's fullest bio-load potential.

When I used to set up reefs professionally, anytime I used to move live rock from it's curing bin to a show tank, I was transplanting a bio filter. However it still takes time for that bio filter to reach it's full potential by spreading throughout the tubes, glass, substrate, filter media, heater, foam, skimmer, yadda, yadda, yadda. A "sterile" 75 gallon just loaded with 150 lbs of cured live rock, doesn't have the same bio capacity that same tank 3 months later. That's why I support the full high level cycle. It's definitive and highly effective. Guesswork sucks in this hobby.

Now, transplanting a lot of "seed" can certainly speed up the process since a larger proportion of surface are is already covered with bacteria.

I guess the moral of the story is that there's more than one way to cycle a tank. (just don't do too many water changes!)
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:56 AM   #34
Elliriyanna
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so is my idea a good one? its going to be an ADF tank they are fragile and i want to do all i can
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:08 AM   #35
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How you cycle (on a long enough timeline) doesn't matter. The result is the same. Wendyjo's method will give you a passable bio-filter right way, but it will still have to mature over time. My method will give you a super powered bio-filter in about a month, but it's a rough ride getting there. Both methods will result the the same bio-filter after a 3-6 months. It only takes a drop of water or a single piece of gravel to seed a new tank for cycling. If you add more, it's going to prevent population "explosion", or you may never notice "explosion" because all of your ugly is being used so it never accumulates. Remember though, this method never allows the ammonia and nitrites to get super high, so the growth from medium effectiveness to full-on will be slower.

Minimal seeding = high levels of ammonia that will crash all at once, spiking high levels of nitrite, which will again crash all at once (about 30 days later). Full tilt when done.

Lots of seeding = instant bio filter which may (or may not) be sufficient to handle your bio load. The increase in bacteria population beyond what you introduced will take time, because it never has that glut of nutrients to feed it's population "explosion". Low and slow, but it may be enough that you never notice it lacking.

3-6 months, both results are identical.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:25 AM   #36
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maybe i am just tired but i am not understanding ... could you walk me through your method?
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:41 PM   #37
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Today's test ammonia. 25 , nitrites .25 and nitrates 5 pom

Our tap Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5ppm

I am going to update this thread daily just to be sure everything is coming along as it should
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:08 PM   #38
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I commend your attention to doing things right, but don't let it keep you up at night. Test daily, and you'll learn a lot about the process.

You will see your ammonia spike, then drop inversely to a big rise in nitrites. That will peak, then they too will drop way off to zero and you're done.

Leave the water changes until your done and don't sweat the details. Nature will make this work, regardless of how you try to influence it. Just sit back and enjoy the process. Once it's done, you'll be a pro.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:18 PM   #39
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My concern is for my fish ... I am testing daily and letting off water changes as recommended, but u don't want to lose Finn

I should have a bunch of plants getting here next week so hopefully I wont have a nitrite spike

I hope I don't seem annoyingly obsessive
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:23 AM   #40
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No nitrite spike, no bacterial bloom. (well, at least a slow one)
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:31 AM   #41
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When I cycle a tank, I conceded that the fish cycling the tank is going to have a rough time. It just is. If the well being of you fish is of paramount importance, which is a good thing, wait it out, go low and slow, and plan on not adding any new fish/invert additions for at least another 4-6 weeks. In the process, see if you can get some good seed from another "HEALTHY" tank. Dirty gravel is good. That is more of Wendyjo's method, but it will have the least risk to your fish.

I've never lost a single saltwater fish during cycling and only a couple fresh water over the years. But I choose really, REALLY HARDY fish for cycling, sometimes removing them when it's all over to put more desirable species in. I cycled 9 saltwater tanks with a single three striped damsel I called Jorge. Dude was awesome.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:57 AM   #42
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Thats the problem there are no healthy tanks I know of in my area I DO NOT trust our LFS or any of the chain stores ... I know I have seen ich on at least a few of the fish.

What exactly is your method Wookie? Just put the fish in and let it go? I am just curious.

I will let it go until my test results come out too high ... Then I will change some water.

How High can I let the nitrites get?
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:21 AM   #43
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Yes, I put them in, feed them and let it go.

To be completely honest, you are getting far too caught up in the details. Keep your hands out of your tank, enjoy your fish, and let it happen. Also, don't try so hard to be perfect in your technique. It will eventually rob you of your enjoyment. You strive to be a knowledgeable and responsible fish owner, and that's awesome, but I'm going out on a limb here, you're probably thinking far too much about it. Most people's tanks cycle and they're not even aware of it. If you're worried about your fish, get a ton of plants, toss them in (they're bringing in everything (good and bad) anyway) and stay away from any new animal life for at least a month. At the end of the month, do a huge water change and get some more fish. You don't even need your ammonia and nitrite test kits if you wait long enough. Nature will take it's course regardless of what we do.

Also, don't be too obsessed with what is in fish store tanks. Even if you don't see it, it's there. Other than gill flukes and other parasites (and even sometimes with them too), all the nasty stuff is there all the time and in the water they come with. Sure it's good practice to discard bag water when you buy a fish, but don't kid yourself, a single drop on the body surface of the fish carries hundreds if not thousands of pathogenic particles. Keep your fish in good condition (well fed with variety and good water perimeters (stable temps, dHG and dKH (and PH to some degree) and they won't get sick. Their immune systems keep them healthy, not a sterile environment (because there's no such thing). Even if you go to a fish store and see a tanks with no sign of trouble, those same tanks and a large portion of that water, was there a week before when there were issues. You can't stop the germs.

Relax and enjoy your hobby. No more about cycling! It's all good! Start a tank journal and post some pics
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:33 AM   #44
Elliriyanna
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I do have a tank journal up :P Go check it out ... I don't want to keep him in a sterile environment ... I don't believe in that crud. I am an obsessive researcher and I love it ... Its not the fish I am enjoying so much as setting up his habitat ( I wish I could set up habitats as a career I LOVE IT )
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:50 AM   #45
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Fish-In cycle:
Do enough water changes (frequency and volume) to keep the ammonia under .25ppm and the nitrite under 1 ppm.

Ammonia burns the gills and the tender tissue in the fins and elsewhere. Think of the worst sore throat you ever had. So bad it hurts to breathe. That is what ammonia does to gills.

Nitrite crosses the gills, enters the blood so that the blood does not carry oxygen very well. Look up Brown Blood Disease. Add 1 teaspoon of salt (NaCl) per 20 gallons to reduce the amount of NO2 entering the blood.

When this sort of cycle is complete you have grown only a small colony of bacteria, enough to handle the waste from the fish you used to supply the ammonia. To add more fish you will have to go very slow, and allow the tank to cycle over and over again. Each cycle will go faster, once there is a starter colony, but you are still exposing the fish to toxins. Fish that are exposed to ammonia or nitrite are stressed, injured, and may never fully recover.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Fishless cycle:

You too can boast that "No fish were harmed in the cycling of your new tank"
Cycling a tank means to grow the beneficial bacteria that will help to decompose the fish waste (especially ammonia). These bacteria need ammonia to grow. There are 3 sources of ammonia that work to do this. One is fish. Unfortunately, the process exposes the fish to ammonia, which burns their gills, and nitrite, which makes their blood unable to carry oxygen. This often kills the fish.

Another source is decomposing protein. You could cycle your tank by adding fish food or a dead fish or shellfish. You do not know how much beneficial bacteria you are growing, though.

The best source of ammonia is... Ammonia. In a bottle.

Using fish is a delicate balance of water changes to keep the toxins low (try not to hurt the fish) but keep feeding the bacteria. It can take 4 to 8 weeks to cycle a tank this way, and can cost the lives of several fish. When you are done you have grown a small bacteria population that still needs to be nurtured to increase its population. You cannot, at the end of a fish-in cycle, fully stock your tank.

The fishless/ammonia cycle takes as little as 3 weeks, and can be even faster, grows a BIG bacteria population, and does not harm fish in any way.

Both methods give you plenty of practice using your test kit.

How to cycle a tank the fishless way:

1) Make sure all equipment is working, fill with water that has all the stuff you will need for the fish you intend to keep. Dechlorinator, minerals for GH or KH adjustments, the proper salt mix, if you are creating a brackish or marine tank. These bacteria require a few minerals, so make sure the GH and KH is at least 3 German degrees of hardness. Aquarium plant fertilizer containing phosphate should be added if the water has no phosphate. They grow best when the pH is in the 7s. Good water movement, fairly warm (mid to upper 70sF), no antibiotics or other toxins.

2) (Optional)Add some source of the bacteria. Used filter media from a cycled tank is best, gravel or some decorations or a few plants... even some water, though this is the poorest source of the beneficial bacteria.
Bacteria in a bottle can be a source of these bacteria, but make sure you are getting Nitrospira spp of bacteria. All other ‘bacteria in a bottle’ products have the wrong bacteria. This step is optional. The proper bacteria will find the tank even if you make no effort to add them. Live plants may bring in these bacteria on their leaves and stems.

3) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This is the non-sudsing, no surfactants, no-fragrance-added ammonia that is often found in a hardware store, discount stores, and sometimes in a grocery store. The concentration of ammonia may not be the same in all bottles. Try adding 5 drops per 10 gallons, then allowing the filter to circulate for about an hour, then test. If the reading isn't up to 5 ppm, add a few more drops and test again. (Example, if your test reads only 2 ppm, then add another 5 drops) Some ammonia is such a weak dilution you may need to add several ounces to get a reading.

4) Test for ammonia daily, and add enough to keep the reading at 5 ppm. You probably will not have to add much, if any, in the first few days, unless you added a good amount of bacteria to jump start the cycle.

5) Several days after you start, begin testing for nitrites. When the nitrites show up, reduce the amount of ammonia you add so the test shows 3ppm. (Add only half as much ammonia as you were adding in part 4) Add this reduced amount daily from now until the tank is cycled.
If the nitrites get too high (over 5 ppm), do a water change. The bacteria growth is slowed because of the high nitrites. Reducing the level of ammonia to 3 ppm should prevent the nitrite from getting over 5 ppm.

6) Continue testing, and adding ammonia daily. The nitrates will likely show up about 2 weeks after you started. Keep monitoring, and watch for 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and rising nitrates.

7) Once the 0 ppm ammonia and nitrites shows up it may bounce around a little bit for a day or two. Be patient. Keep adding the ammonia; keep testing ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
When it seems done you can challenge the system by adding more than a regular dose of ammonia, and the bacteria should be able to remove the ammonia and nitrite by the next day.
If you will not be adding fish right away continue to add the ammonia to keep the bacteria fed.

8) When you are ready to add the fish, do at least one water change, and it may take a couple of them, to reduce the nitrate to safe levels (as low as possible, certainly below 10 ppm) I have seen nitrate approaching 200 ppm by the end of this fishless cycle in a non-planted tank.

9) You can plant a tank that is being cycled this way at any point during the process. If you plant early, the plants will be well rooted, and better able to handle the disruption of the water change.
Yes, the plants will use some of the ammonia and the nitrates. They are part of the nitrogen handling system, part of the biofilter, they are working for you. Some plants do not like high ammonia, though. If a certain plant dies, remove it, and only replace it after the cycle is done.

10) The fishless cycle can also be used when you are still working out the details of lighting, plants and other things. If you change the filter, make sure you keep the old media for several weeks or a month. Most of the bacteria have been growing in this media (sponges, floss etc).
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