Going on vacation while cycle is in progress - help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Going on vacation while cycle is in progress - help!

Hi,

So I am setting up a new planted 90G and I am currently fishless cycling it. I started cycling it on Mar 11. I go for a *REDACTED* vacation on *REDACTED*. I was hoping my cycle would complete before the vacation and I could add a couple of fishes to the tank, set up an automatic feeder and enjoy the vacation.

But, my tank is still cycling and its only a week to go before the vacation starts. What are my options? Here is what I considered as my options ... which one of these (or something else altogether) would you propose?

1. Stop the cycling process now and start again after the vacation
2. Continue cycling (I add ammonia back up to 4ppm every day). And when I leave for vacation, take a stocking and put a half cup of goldfish flakes in it and leave it in the tank. these will keep providing some ammonia to the tank to keep the denitrifying bacteria alive till I am back from vacation. So my tank will be up and running much faster than option 1
3. Put 3-4 hardy fish in the tank, set up an automatic feeder, and go on vacation. Poor fish

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Last edited by somewhatshocked; 03-23-2018 at 11:45 PM. Reason: Don't tell people too much. Be safe.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 07:53 AM
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I might just place a =1 SMALL frozen cocktail shrimp in a stocking with a rock to hold it down,and go on vacation.
Measure for ammonia and nitrites when you get back to see where you are.
Would NOT use auto feeder at all for they are unreliable IMHO
Could easily dispense too much food and you come home to putrid smelling glass box of water.
Ditto for the half cup of fish food= way too much.(Harmful for fishes and food for algae)
If none of this appeals to you,,then I might just cease with the maturing process and resume when I returned.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
I might just place a =1 SMALL frozen cocktail shrimp in a stocking with a rock to hold it down,and go on vacation.
Measure for ammonia and nitrites when you get back to see where you are.
Would NOT use auto feeder at all for they are unreliable IMHO
Could easily dispense too much food and you come home to putrid smelling glass box of water.
Ditto for the half cup of fish food= way too much.(Harmful for fishes and food for algae)
If none of this appeals to you,,then I might just cease with the maturing process and resume when I returned.
Thanks. I'll ask you a basic question about your suggestion - promise not to laugh please!

I don't buy shrimp (don't cook non-vegetarian dishes at home), so I don't know the distinction between frozen cocktail shrimp vs any other type of shrimp. Is it important that the shrimp be "frozen cocktail shrimp", or will any shrimp from the fresh meat section of my local grocery store work? They sell those by the pound, and I can literally go and buy one small shrimp there!

(FYI - there are no fishes in the tank right now. Only several plants that I understand help with the cycling process)
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 05:17 PM
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Thanks. I'll ask you a basic question about your suggestion - promise not to laugh please!

I don't buy shrimp (don't cook non-vegetarian dishes at home), so I don't know the distinction between frozen cocktail shrimp vs any other type of shrimp. Is it important that the shrimp be "frozen cocktail shrimp", or will any shrimp from the fresh meat section of my local grocery store work? They sell those by the pound, and I can literally go and buy one small shrimp there!

(FYI - there are no fishes in the tank right now. Only several plants that I understand help with the cycling process)
Yes one of the raw frozen shrimp from seafood section of store will work.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 05:34 PM
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Got some pellet fish food? Just toss some in there before you go.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 06:53 PM
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I'm gonna have to disagree with @roadmaster on two counts... 1) I tried cycling with shrimp once and it really stunk up my living room (it was really bad, enough to knock a buzzard off a @hit wagon). On the 2nd or 3rd day I had to either get it outta there or hire a divorce lawyer!!!
2) I find that the Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder to be very dependable and reliable. I not only have used it successfully for vacation(s), but I use it all the time for my display tank as well as fry grow out tanks (nothing beats auto-feeding fry small amounts every 2 hours).
I would use it to continue a cycle if I needed to.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 03-23-2018 at 11:25 PM. Reason: update
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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I'm gonna have to disagree with @roadmaster on two counts... 1) I tried cycling with shrimp once and it really stunk up my living room (it was really bad, enough to knock a buzzard of a @hit wagon). On the 2nd or 3rd day I had to either get it outta there or hire a divorce lawyer!!!
2) I find that the Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder to be very dependable and reliable. I not only have used it successfully for vacation(s), but I use it all the time for my display tank as well as fry grow out tanks (nothing beats auto-feeding fry small amounts every 2 hours).
I would use it to continue a cycle if I needed to.
Thanks! I too am quite apprehensive of the shrimp method.

I have a very dependable Eheim fish feeder that fed my goldfish reliably for 2 year until I gave the fish away. How do I use this for cycling though? Do I just drop a hint of goldfish flakes in the tank daily? If so, how much do I need to drop daily? Enough to feed a couple of goldfish or more? I can't put the liquid ammonia in the feeder, of course ... is there power form of ammonia that I can get to use with the feeder (instead of the goldfish flakes)?

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Originally Posted by vanish View Post
Got some pellet fish food? Just toss some in there before you go.
I have goldfish flakes. Is it the same thing? How much do I need to toss in and will they suffice for 3 weeks?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyLight View Post
Thanks! I too am quite apprehensive of the shrimp method.

I have a very dependable Eheim fish feeder that fed my goldfish reliably for 2 year until I gave the fish away. How do I use this for cycling though? Do I just drop a hint of goldfish flakes in the tank daily? If so, how much do I need to drop daily? Enough to feed a couple of goldfish or more? I can't put the liquid ammonia in the feeder, of course ... is there power form of ammonia that I can get to use with the feeder (instead of the goldfish flakes)?
You can use the goldfish flakes (although I dunno why you don't have some tropical flakes, but anyway...). As you already know you might need to slightly break the flakes so they exit the feeder okay. I'd just adjust a single daily feeding of what would be just a pinch. Test and re-test and set it up several days before you leave. That should do it.

Tank On, Mike-
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10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 01:05 AM
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I cycled my first tank with a shrimp from the seafood counter. It worked, but it stunk and the fuzz that grew on that was so gross. Next tank, I cycled with flake food, I put a large amount into a piece of thin cloth, I think it was pantyhose or old cotton bandanna. Twisted and tied it shut, let that just sit in there. It still got kind of gross looking, but was easy to remove most of it in the cloth wad, and siphon out the rest when cycle was done. That should keep the cycle going while you're gone, a nice big wad of food flake.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 02:32 AM
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You don't need a shrimp. Just throw some fish food in before you go, but not a half a cup, more like a teaspoon size.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 12:22 PM
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Understand the concern for shrimp method and smell,but water change can help there with zero effect on maturing process.
I based the one shrimp for 90 gal tank.This should not lend itself to much in the way of smell as it would in smaller volume of water and begs the question..whose gonna be there to smell it anyway?
Auto fish feeder's and me have poor history, but perhaps there are those more reliable since last I used them.
The white fungus that grows on the shrimp during shrimp method is no different than what would happen to a fish that possibly passes away in our tanks and goes unnoticed behind hardscape or plant's.Is natural decaying process = ammonia.
Will happen with fish food also,but as the food also dissolves fairly quickly,it is not as noticeable as the shrimp,or said dead fish going unnoticed.
In 90 gal tank, I would not be afraid to add the one small shrimp for the purpose implied.
Maybe next time,,I might wait until I was gonna be around for the six to eight week's needed to help get a tank established and problem thus eliminated.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 05:00 PM
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Understand the concern for shrimp method and smell,but water change can help there with zero effect on maturing process.
I based the one shrimp for 90 gal tank.This should not lend itself to much in the way of smell as it would in smaller volume of water and begs the question..whose gonna be there to smell it anyway?
It was in my 60g so smaller, but still...and who wants to come home to a house smelling of dead fish! And the spouse said "That's it honey, I'm done with you and yer @amn hobby!" LOL

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 04:56 AM
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It was in my 60g so smaller, but still...and who wants to come home to a house smelling of dead fish! And the spouse said "That's it honey, I'm done with you and yer @amn hobby!" LOL
I feel ya.
I once tried this method with about five small 20 gal tanks in classroom for some student's at elementary school
Is how I tuned in how much is too much
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