14G tank: unable to cycle in shrimp method - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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14G tank: unable to cycle in shrimp method

Okay, so my 14G tank has been cycling for the past 5 days now. for the first 3 days i had one shrimp, when the shrimp started smelling horribly bad, i replaced the shrimp with two more new ones[to speed it up]. These two were partly cooked shrimps though. and these two guys have been in the tank since Saturday.
I just got my master test kit today, and decided to test it. Ammonia level was just 0.5-1.0pp 0 nitrites 0 nitrates. I'm confused, i expected ammonia to be atleast 8pp. I do have a flourite classic substrate and a single anubias plant on a drift wood. could these be absorbing the ammonia? I've just added two more raw shrimps in there.. I'm going to plant the tank[yet to order], but still want the beneficial bacteria to take hold, just in case.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 06:46 PM
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Stop replacing the shrimp. You need to let the decomposition happen so the shrimp will release a stable supply of ammonia. Put some carbon in your filter to help with the smell if you need to.

The "rule of thumb" is one medium cooked & deveined shrimp per 10 gallons. Use much more than that and I expect the tank is REALLY going to start smelling bad...

You want to use cooked deveined (and beheaded) shrimp because the head and guts are what will really start to smell. Using cooked shrimp helps them decomp more quickly.

If you put the shrimp inside a media bag (or tied off pantyhose toe) it can help make removal easier once the cycle is done. Just be sure to put the bag someplace that gets lots of circulation (right under the filter, in front of a powerhead, etc).





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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 06:53 PM
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whoa. I have never heard of this method before.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 07:13 PM
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There is also a means of doing this using simple household ammonia. Lots of links out on the web - just search for "fishless cycling".

One advantage of liquid ammonia solution over using rotting shrimp for ammonia is that adding household ammonia directly will allow your ammonia level to peak immediately, rather than after a few days.

Tom
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 08:03 PM
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Just another note in addition to the other good advice here, plants do not need the tank to be cycled before you add them, in fact, they really help the cycling process, so the sooner you get those plants in there the better


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 08:11 PM
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The single plant is absorbing a tiny amount of ammonia, but unlikely enough to have a measurable difference. If you seeded the tank with anything from an established tank (equipment, substrate, filter media, rocks, driftwood, etc) then there will be a base of bacteria that will have jumpstarted the process a bit.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powchekny View Post
There is also a means of doing this using simple household ammonia. Lots of links out on the web - just search for "fishless cycling".

One advantage of liquid ammonia solution over using rotting shrimp for ammonia is that adding household ammonia directly will allow your ammonia level to peak immediately, rather than after a few days.

Tom
Agreed that you have more direct control over the cycle dosing ammonia... but the drawback is that you then have to physically go and dose the ammonia just about every day for a month. Lots of testing and measuring involved to make sure your dosing is correct. I actually prefer the "toss a shrimp in a tank and leave it alone for a month" method just b/c I'm lazy.

And also agreed that if you can pull over some established filter media or some mulm from another tank you can cut down the cycling time dramatically.

I don't ever need to cycle my tanks any more since I can bring over established filters and mulm from my other tanks.

If you don't have any other tanks going, though, you're stuck cycling unless you want to research and actually hunt down some of the few "instant cycling" products that actually work...





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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 08:58 PM
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Its hard to get ammonia without surfactants - searched everywhere. Even the ACE brand stuff that everyone says is good bubbled like crazy.
I ended up just having to use one that listed "surfactant" but wasnt very bubbly.
It only took me 2 weeks to cycle like that.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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House hold ammonia it is then, the tank is in my room and i wont be able to stand the smell. Just curious... Since i'll be planting it a bit heavily, is it okay to stock it? or should i wait for the cycle to finish anyway? i've heard that cycling a planted tank takes a lot longer than unplanted/
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 02:42 AM
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But you can stock a planted tank faster than you can stock an unplanted tank, because the plants are absorbing ammonia as well.

This is, of course, assuming you are planting after 2 weeks. (really need the first two weeks to build up the first stage of bacterial filtration)

I'll often cycle fishless for 2 weeks (with seeded filter of course), then add plants and hardy livestock. If you have trouble finding someone to part with used filter media, try your LFS (not big chain store), ask if they'll sell you a few bacteria-laden bio balls, and toss those in your filter.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 02:52 AM
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FYI I was curious, so I cycled a new 10g tank with no borrowed bacteria. Fishless, and just a few small plants. I added a pinch of fish food daily, and it took maybe 17-20 days to cycle.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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2 week sounds manageable now that i have the ammonium hydroxide. thanks alot folks.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 07:46 AM
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Just for my tastes I prefer not to plant untill the tank is cycled.
I'd rather have a larger than necessary bacteria base established and then add plants and fish, vs having fewer bacteria because the plants took their food, and then when you add fish your bio load might be past what you had prepared for.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zareth View Post
Just for my tastes I prefer not to plant untill the tank is cycled.
I'd rather have a larger than necessary bacteria base established and then add plants and fish, vs having fewer bacteria because the plants took their food, and then when you add fish your bio load might be past what you had prepared for.
but when good bio colony estabilised then add fish...what about after that when you add plants, then your tank will go into a mini cycle again...so essentially its the same as if you add your plants before, right?


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 01:37 PM
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I encourage you to add plants sooner rather than later. It's really only an academic issue about plants taking up the ammonia and decreasing the food for the bacteria colonies- since in pragmatic terms, the end result will be the same. The goal of cycling a tank is ensuring that ammonia is metabolized ASAP- so whether that is through be converted into nitrate or absorbed by plants really doesn't matter in terms of when the tank is ready to be stocked.

One of the best reasons to add plants sooner is to give them time to become established before adding fish. It's pretty common for plants to go through die-off after being transplanted, and decomposing leaves release ammonia. Sometimes it also generally takes a bit for them to acclimate before they'll start taking in nutrients. Put both of those factors together, and it will be safer for the fish to add plants at least a week or two before fish.

Adding them sooner can only help the cycle go more quickly. Especially since in most cases, the plants themselves will be hosts to N-bacteria colonies all on their surface area, so you'll also be boosting the colony in your tank.





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