Opinions: Do most people take "tank cycling" too seriously? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
cyfan964's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 293
Opinions: Do most people take "tank cycling" too seriously?

A fellow aquarist and I were having a discussion the other day about the "cycling" process of aquariums. We came to the conclusion that most people take the whole process maybe to seriously so I was interested in everyone elses opinion.

Every aquarium I have ever set up I always do the exact same thing. I do a partial water change on my other tanks and add that water to the aquarium. I then fill the remainder of the tank with tap water and then add dechlorinator. After that I squeeze some filter media into the tank and hook up some aeration/new filter.

I then add a handful of any floating plant I can find and continue to feed the tank with flake food as if there were fish in it for a week. After a week I do an approximately 30% water change and immediately add fish at that point. I don't even own water parameter testing equipment and I have never lost a fish from "new tank syndrome" or whatever you want to call it.

I often read of people adding household ammonia, special store purchased items, and waiting weeks-months before adding fish.

I'm of the mindset that if you feed properly, do weekly/bi-weekly water changes you don't need to be to concerned of the "cycling" process. Am I way off base here?

Let's try not to get chippy, everyone has their own ideas, I'm just honestly curious what others think.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
cyfan964 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 10:57 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
Depends on how you deal. If you keep small fish and add them a few at a time, it works. But if you are the type who wants to order fish and that often means ordering all at once to save shipping, cycling is about the only way to go.
Simple, cheap fish like tetras or mollies are not so expensive that most would get warped by their dying. If you are ordering 6-8 fish that costs $50 and up, you will likely want to do it more carefully.
The cycle with ammonia, done correctly , will set the bio filter up to handle a full load where otherwise one has to work more slowly and watch more carefully for ammonia and nitrite if doing a fish-in cycle.
PlantedRich is offline  
post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:45 AM
Banned
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Near Ashville, North Carolina
Posts: 1,866
Around 45 years ago when I first started keeping fish you never heard talk about cycling fresh water tanks. Only saltwater. Even 10 years ago I don't remember it being made such a big deal bout it like you read today.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
jrill is offline  
 
post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:54 AM
Algae Grower
 
mikeh7172's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 46
lo tech amateur

I'm just a lo tech amateur that prefers live plants as opposed to plastic. I have a 55 gal tank at 75% capacity. The only thing I do is 30% wc every 2 weeks and add dechlorinator (city water). I've had almost all my otos die and 2 mollies in the last 2 weeks. All others are healthy. My wife said she always used straight well water and rarely changed her 10 gallon. She even did complete flushes as I used to do and the fish survived. I would say some get too bent around the axle about it.
mikeh7172 is offline  
post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
cyfan964's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrill View Post
Around 45 years ago when I first started keeping fish you never heard talk about cycling fresh water tanks. Only saltwater. Even 10 years ago I don't remember it being made such a big deal bout it like you read today.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
Couldn't agree more. I read all these posts and am just so confused by the answers given to "beginners". It seems like we are turning something relatively simple into some crazy to achieve process. I had a co-worker recently tell me that they were going to get a tank for their kids, but after reading about the amount of work to get it set-up correctly online they passed and got a video game instead. That makes me sad.
cyfan964 is offline  
post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:11 AM
Planted Member
 
jeremy va's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Va
Posts: 175
Given the incredible level of ignorance and misinformation at many PetStores (where most new aquarium keepers seem to get their "facts") and the tendency for people to buy a tank and bunch of fish and then show up on forums asking why their fish are dying it makes perfect sense for more knowledgeable people to get out there and preach about cycling. It takes time to cycle a tank and time to read about nitrates and nitrites and so on -- if they don't get some pressure to learn many will not bother. Once a month or thereabouts I see a post on this site where the poster's fish or inverts are clearly doomed because the person does not understand the basics. So, I think it makes perfect sense to preach the gospel of cycling and more: Quarantine and the responsible disposal of surplus fish or plants are two others that come to mind.

The difference between you (OP) and the folks I just mentioned is that you know what you are doing -- you can break the rules because you know them!

So, personally, I think it good to be an evangelist for "best practices" and preach cycling even if I don't practice it.
jeremy va is offline  
post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
cyfan964's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy va View Post
Given the incredible level of ignorance and misinformation at many PetStores (where most new aquarium keepers seem to get their "facts") and the tendency for people to buy a tank and bunch of fish and then show up on forums asking why their fish are dying it makes perfect sense for more knowledgeable people to get out there and preach about cycling. It takes time to cycle a tank and time to read about nitrates and nitrites and so on -- if they don't get some pressure to learn many will not bother. Once a month or thereabouts I see a post on this site where the poster's fish or inverts are clearly doomed because the person does not understand the basics. So, I think it makes perfect sense to preach the gospel of cycling and more: Quarantine and the responsible disposal of surplus fish or plants are two others that come to mind.

The difference between you (OP) and the folks I just mentioned is that you know what you are doing -- you can break the rules because you know them!

So, personally, I think it good to be an evangelist for "best practices" and preach cycling even if I don't practice it.
I agree 100%. I guess I should have said in the beginning that I don't think any information given out is necessarily "bad" or "wrong", just that I was confused as to if every person out there was really going to such excessive lengths to get their tank ready for fish. I've read so many articles advising people to add certain percentages of store bought ammonia to get the tank cycling on a daily basis. How many people actually do that? To me advising a beginner to dump ammonia in a tank is almost scarier than having them do nothing... maybe I'm way off base here.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
cyfan964 is offline  
post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:25 AM
Planted Member
 
jeremy va's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Va
Posts: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyfan964 View Post
I agree 100%. I guess I should have said in the beginning that I don't think any information given out is necessarily "bad" or "wrong", just that I was confused as to if every person out there was really going to such excessive lengths to get their tank ready for fish. I've read so many articles advising people to add certain percentages of store bought ammonia to get the tank cycling on a daily basis. How many people actually do that? To me advising a beginner to dump ammonia in a tank is almost scarier than having them do nothing... maybe I'm way off base here.
True. Then there is peroxide.
jeremy va is offline  
post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 05:09 AM
Planted Member
 
twentypoundtabby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Arvada, Co
Posts: 246
I've been keeping fish since 1969. I don't remember exactly when I learned about the nitrogen cycle, but it was a long time ago from library books. Way back then they didn't talk about fishless cycling and test kits, but they did strongly emphasize starting out with a few hardy fish to get things going and then to add fish slowly so the bacteria could catch up.
So, for most of my fish keeping experience I've not done testing when setting up a new aquarium (most of my tanks have been set up for over 30 years), but I always took it very very slow and rarely lost fish due due to new tank syndrome. But I certainly know of people who bought a tank, set it up and promptly added a bunch of fish only to have them get sick and die in a few weeks when ammonia and/or nitrites built up because they didn't understand that their clean looking water wasn't as good as they thought it was.

Cycling was emphasized years ago:
Just recently I was cleaning out a bunch of stuff from the basement and found aquarium related magazines from late 1980's to early 1990's. I read a few of them again and noticed that they really really emphasized cycling! Every magazine had at least one large article about it, I assume to make sure that readers were educated on the subject. Some of the later magazines from 20 years ago talked about even fishless cycling.

In the last few years my daughter started up her own tanks so I thought we'd get some test kits for our selves and follow the cycle. Since her tanks are betta tanks we didn't bother with a fishless cycle since bettas seem to be exremely tough. Even with plenty of media from my very established tanks, we observed the ammonia spike and then nitrite spike following by nitrates forming, taking almost a month to complete. With water changes and such we never observed any obvious stress on the fish, but it was definitely a learning experience to know that the fish were probably going through some stress.
IMO, the nitrogen cycle is one of the most important things a person new to fish keeping needs to know. How they cycle their tanks, whether with a few tough fish, fish food or ammonia isn't the critical thing.

2 2.5s, 3 10s, 2 20s, 1 29. Low light, low tech. Ponds
twentypoundtabby is offline  
post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 07:57 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
plantbrain's Avatar
 
PTrader: (267/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The swamp
Posts: 13,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrill View Post
Around 45 years ago when I first started keeping fish you never heard talk about cycling fresh water tanks. Only saltwater. Even 10 years ago I don't remember it being made such a big deal bout it like you read today.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
+1 and all the yammering has not saved fish.

Water changes, not sure why there's an aversion to them, but any new planted tank with CO2 etc, it's going to be a wise thing and will make the start up much much easier, eg, 2-3x a week, 50-70%.

You get a planted tank, or otherwise, water changes are what you signed up for. Non CO2 can do without them, but............there's some caveats and serious trade offs.

Plants take up NH4, so cycling is pointless for planted tanks.
There is no "cycle" of any concerned. I suppose if you have 1 Anubias and 30 Gallon tank...........then add 50 cardinals in it and feed them like mad right away, but those folks will kill their fish anyhow. They'd do best to do the water changes more and not play with ammonia. I'm trying to think of any good that Fishless cycling might do for a hobbyists, and I'm really coming up with very very few reasons anyone should bother with it.

Several others with decades also have essentially stated the same things.

Using mulm, or that brown muck from the filter sponge of filter media that's being cleaned is ideal cleaned, or swap out an old pad for the new filter pad etc. Plant roots are also covered with bacteria. So the seeding is easy.
Why wait 3-4 weeks when you can add precisely what you need that's live and fresh?

Goad newbies into doing water changes, that will save more fish over time than any FC ever has. One simple universal thing. And teach them to do so and make it easier, eg, python like things or 20 years before python or similar hose doohickies came out, we used this:





Hang on the tank to drain, twist to set the height % you want changed, clean filters, do any other things you need while it drains out onto the lawn, drain etc. Once drained, then you take the other end and get a garden hose to PVC adapter(Most all hardware stores have these) and get generally 1/2" thread for the shower head. Adjust the tap temp and connect to refill the tank with tap water and add dechlorinator etc to the tank. No buckets are harmed, you can change multiple tanks in a few minutes.

Plenty of folks have killed or toasted their tanks using Fishless cycling also, like anything that can kill fish...........




Regards,
Tom Barr
plantbrain is offline  
post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:26 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Hampstead, NC
Posts: 339
hmm, still do a cycle when I set up my tanks, not that hard and just takes a bit of time...

I like your pvc tank drain fill as it is really simple, I will modify mine a bit with your idea, I also have a 3/4" pvc with a 1.5" inlet for vacuuming when I do that

I normally do a 50% change every 3-4 weeks on a 120 and 50 at the same time, it takes me about an hour, during the drain and fill time I do some plant trimming, glass cleaning, and general housekeeping...

50G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
120G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
10G QT
MarkM is offline  
post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
cyfan964's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
+1 and all the yammering has not saved fish.

Water changes, not sure why there's an aversion to them, but any new planted tank with CO2 etc, it's going to be a wise thing and will make the start up much much easier, eg, 2-3x a week, 50-70%.

You get a planted tank, or otherwise, water changes are what you signed up for. Non CO2 can do without them, but............there's some caveats and serious trade offs.

Plants take up NH4, so cycling is pointless for planted tanks.
There is no "cycle" of any concerned. I suppose if you have 1 Anubias and 30 Gallon tank...........then add 50 cardinals in it and feed them like mad right away, but those folks will kill their fish anyhow. They'd do best to do the water changes more and not play with ammonia. I'm trying to think of any good that Fishless cycling might do for a hobbyists, and I'm really coming up with very very few reasons anyone should bother with it.

Several others with decades also have essentially stated the same things.

Using mulm, or that brown muck from the filter sponge of filter media that's being cleaned is ideal cleaned, or swap out an old pad for the new filter pad etc. Plant roots are also covered with bacteria. So the seeding is easy.
Why wait 3-4 weeks when you can add precisely what you need that's live and fresh?

Goad newbies into doing water changes, that will save more fish over time than any FC ever has. One simple universal thing. And teach them to do so and make it easier, eg, python like things or 20 years before python or similar hose doohickies came out, we used this:





Hang on the tank to drain, twist to set the height % you want changed, clean filters, do any other things you need while it drains out onto the lawn, drain etc. Once drained, then you take the other end and get a garden hose to PVC adapter(Most all hardware stores have these) and get generally 1/2" thread for the shower head. Adjust the tap temp and connect to refill the tank with tap water and add dechlorinator etc to the tank. No buckets are harmed, you can change multiple tanks in a few minutes.

Plenty of folks have killed or toasted their tanks using Fishless cycling also, like anything that can kill fish...........
Thanks for the reply Tom. You basically reaffirmed my opinion on the subject. Appreciate it.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
cyfan964 is offline  
post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 03:21 PM
Planted Member
 
twentypoundtabby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Arvada, Co
Posts: 246
Whether or not planted tanks will negate a cycle depends on the planted tank. A high light, high tech, CO2 tank with loads of plants is not a newby kind of tank. A low light low tech tank with lots of crypts and java fern will not take up the ammonia of anything more than a very low fish load. I will agree that adding floating plants such as pennywort or watersprite can soak it up pretty good, but it still won't allow someone to dump a bunch of rummynose into their tank right away.
Even seeding with lots of old filter media can still take some time to properly colonize an entire new tank.

I've seen plenty over the years to totally convince me that cycling (and PATIENCE) is important for most fish keepers. And water changes. I will definitely agree with water changes.

I don't think it has to be complicated nor expensive. I'm very low tech, very old school - l learned to keep fish when I was a kid and no extra money so did without test kits and chemical additives, back in the day when I could declorinate water by just aging it a day and the only live plant I could find was elodea or hornwort.

2 2.5s, 3 10s, 2 20s, 1 29. Low light, low tech. Ponds

Last edited by twentypoundtabby; 02-16-2014 at 03:39 PM. Reason: ..
twentypoundtabby is offline  
post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 03:52 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
Some things I think get missed are:
The nitrogen cycle is an inevitable occurrence in an aquarium. Whether we want one or not is irrelevant, it will happen.
A guppy is a very small fish, and its waste products must necessarily be extremely tiny compared to the size of a typical aquarium tank. It takes a lot of them, or other small fish, to produce a measurable amount of ammonia.
The bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite will exist in equilibrium with the amount of ammonia that is present to feed them. Add a teaspoon of ammonia to the tank and grow a big colony of those bacteria, but stop adding the ammonia, and the bacteria colony has to shrink as a result. Add a few fish, instead of the ammonia, and the colony can quickly adjust to that, without overshooting and dieing back.

The above is why I like to plant my tank relatively heavily from the start, give it a week or two for the plants to start growing well, then add a few fish, wait a week or so, add a few more, wait another week or so and add the rest of the fish. ADA Aquasoil complicates this a bit, but the idea is still valid, in my opinion.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 04:07 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
For those who say it makes no sense to cycle a tank, I have a question as I feel you may be ignoring one whole aspect of the hobby. Not all tanks are set up and used as your tanks are so there are other cases where I feel the tank needs to be cycled with a fishless cycle.

Example: An experienced fish keeper who knows how to deal with fish, moves and wants to set up his tank. He doesn't want to settle for a few small fish as he has in the past. He wants nice, big, expensive fish that he can't get locally so he has to order them.
The fish are only available from a dealer across the country so shipping is too expensive to do more than once.

Does he do a fish in cycle and change water until he is blue and risk loss or damage to the fish ? Or does he need to do a fishless cycle and make the tank ready to support a full load of fish added all at once?

There is not one true way to do this game but it does take some thought as to which works best in each situation. Of course there are those who can't do a fishless cycle correctly. But is that the fault of the process or the fault of the user?
PlantedRich is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome