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I have a 40g breeder that I've been growing HC using DSM for about 2 months now. The carpet has grown in very nicely and the tank is ready to be flooded. 80% of the tank has a thick carpet of HC and I plan to fill the remaining 20% with blyxa japonica immediately after flooding.

There are lots of threads and guides about how to grow DSM and how to flood the tank, however, I don't see alot on how/when to introduce livestock into the tank.

As of right now, I have the following on hand that I plan to introduce into this tank. All livestock are in exceptional health from being in species specific quarantine tanks for the last 1-2 months. I plan on having the following in this tank:

Cardinal Tetras
CPDs
Rummynose Tetras
Amanos

As of now, my plan is as follows:

- flood the tank and do 1-2 90% water changes
- raise lights to about 50 par at surface (right now it is something ridiculous like 200par+)
- reduce light hours from 18 hours to 4-5hours
- blast pressurized co2
- begin EI at 1/2 dose
- reduce co2 a little every day until drop checker is lime green

My current dilemma is how to approach the introduction after flooding the tank. In the past, I've always introduced livestock to pressurized tanks at night about 1hr after the co2 turns off. The next day, I lower the bps from normal levels and only have lights/co2 on for half the day. The 3rd day, I return everything to normal and usually the new introductions tolerate it (they're not happy, but not gasping).

So should I do the same thing here with ALL the livestock at once? I'm just a little worried this will be a trainwreck...I've never introduced a full tank's worth of livestock in one go. On the other hand, if i slowly introduce the livestock in groups. I'm worried about algae blooms from the co2 and lights constantly changing week to week as each group is introduced.

Any input would be appreciated! :)
 

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I didn't see anything about you letting your tank cycle before introducing the live stock. Im in a similar situation. I DSM my tank(in my signature) and its been flooded for just about one month now. I did 50% water changes EVERYDAY for the first two weeks, and then very other day I've done 50% w/c for the last two weeks. My last testing shows my parameters all zeroed out, so on Wednesday night I introduced 5 red rili shrimp...they are doing well and the female is saddled. I plan on picking up 23 Brigittae Rasboras this weekend and introducing them to the tank. Being that they are so small, I can't imagine the bioload will disturb much of anything.

It looks like you have quite a bit of fauna you plan on introducing and your gut feeling is to take it slow, seems like a good idea to me. Perhaps you can put in half of them once it is cycled and maybe a week later put in the other half? Better safe than sorry.
 

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If the livestock are in tanks where you can add CO2, do that. Get them acclimated to something close to the level you will have in the main tank.

The easiest way to address the nitrifying bacteria issue is to add the bacteria to the main tank as you add livestock.
Add a few fish, then just add a little bacteria; add more fish, add more bacteria.

Sources of bacteria:
Filter media from a healthy, cycled tank.
Bacteria in a bottle. Read the label. Look for Nitrospira. Keep it in the fridge between adding it to the tank.

Another way: Flood the tank etc, and start adding ammonia. This will do the fishless cycle in about 3 weeks, maybe less if you already have some bacteria growing in the substrate (there sure could be, but probably not much). During that 3 weeks you will be planting, adjusting the CO2, the lighting and the fertilizer schedule, and you might not want the fish in there then, anyway. So it is OK to add ammonia.
If you sort of want to do this, but want it to go faster, then seed the tank with media from a cycled filter or from a bottle, then there will be a bigger population of bacteria to jump start the fishless cycle. Might be complete, ready to add all the livestock at one time in just a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't see anything about you letting your tank cycle before introducing the live stock. Im in a similar situation. I DSM my tank(in my signature) and its been flooded for just about one month now. I did 50% water changes EVERYDAY for the first two weeks, and then very other day I've done 50% w/c for the last two weeks. My last testing shows my parameters all zeroed out, so on Wednesday night I introduced 5 red rili shrimp...they are doing well and the female is saddled. I plan on picking up 23 Brigittae Rasboras this weekend and introducing them to the tank. Being that they are so small, I can't imagine the bioload will disturb much of anything.

It looks like you have quite a bit of fauna you plan on introducing and your gut feeling is to take it slow, seems like a good idea to me. Perhaps you can put in half of them once it is cycled and maybe a week later put in the other half? Better safe than sorry.
hmm...I was under the impression that the tank is cycled after 2 months of DSM from reading Tom Barr's posts? If not, that's okay...I have a cycled filter media that I can use.
 

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How much ammonia have you been adding to the tank while you were getting the plants started?

There will be enough bacteria and plants to handle that much ammonia from livestock.
 

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Can someone explain adding ammonia to the tank I have been doing this a little while now and have never heard of adding ammonia to the tank thanks in advance
 

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When doing a fishless cycle, you have an ammonia source - usually pure janitorial strength ammonia - to feed the bacteria in your filter and the rest of the tank. Usually takes 2-4 weeks for the tank to develop the ability to process 3ish PPM ammonia. Once the tank can do that, it's "cycled" and you can then add livestock because the tank can support them.

Search the forum for "fishless cycle" - it's not a new thing. Diana will also likely chime in with details.
 

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Diana will also likely chime in with details
Sure will!

Fish produce ammonia.
Decaying things (leaves, fallen food...) produce ammonia.

In a fully cycled aquarium there are enough bacteria to remove the ammonia. They grow to match the amount of ammonia. When there is not much ammonia there are not much bacteria.

When you suddenly add more ammonia (such as by adding livestock) the bacteria cannot keep up, so the ammonia rises to toxic levels and kills the fish.

You can anticipate this, and start adding ammonia before you add the fish. Get a good colony of bacteria going before you add the fish.

Here is the 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 2 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.

The other 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, Peat or Coral sand if needed for pH, salt, if you are creating a brackish tank...

2) Add some source of the bacteria. Used filter media from a cycled tank is best, some decorations or a few plants... even some water, though this is the poorest source of the beneficial bacteria.
Bio Spira and other products that contain Nitrospira species of bacteria are a source of these bacteria, but if you add a full measure for your tank, you ought not to need to do the fishless/ammonia cycle. If you add a smaller-than-required amount of Bio Spira, this method will grow more bacteria for you.

3) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This is the non-sudsing, no-fragrance-added ammonia that is often found in a hardware store, 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)

4) Test for ammonia daily, and add enough to keep the reading at 5 ppm.

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 (5 ppm), or seem to stay up for several days or a week, not coming down, reduce the amount of ammonia you are adding, or even skip a day. If this does not budge the nitrites, then a partial water change may help. It can happen that the bacteria growth is slowed because of the high nitrites.

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) You can test the system by adding more than a regular dose of ammonia, and it should be able to handle it.

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)

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, nitrite and nitrates. They are part of the nitrogen handling system, part of the biofilter, they are working for you.

These bacteria grow best in a tank with alkaline water and plenty of minerals. They use the carbon from carbonates, and probably some of the same fertilizers we add for the plants. They do not do well when the pH is under 6.5. I am not sure if it is actually the pH, or if it is the lack of carbonate that is common when the water is that acidic.
 
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