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I'm currently using my QT while I stock my main tank. When I'm done with this I'm assuming the biofilter will crash if no ammonia is supplied. What do you all do to keep a tank cycled for the surprise introduction of sick fish/fry?
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I don't bother. I just bring over some cycled media from another tank if I need to, plus some live plant clippings if I have any extras. I'll also generally pull over water from the main tank- whether QTing a sick fish or introducing new fish, this helps reduce acclimation stress.

I like keeping bare-bones tanks that are easy to keep clean, and break down and set back up very quickly.
 

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If I remember correctly..........

To do fishless cycle you add 6 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of water daily until the nitrites spike then do a 50% water change. Then use 3 drops of ammonia per day to maintain the bio.

For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would want to buy a fish they don't want just to cycle a tank. Doing so negates the whole concept of quarantine and if the new primary fish gets sick you won't have a clue if it's the water quality or a pathegen from the guinea pig.

Having an extra sponge filter in the main tank is probably the easiest way of being prepared should a quarantine/hospital tank be required. Then you just fill the tank with water from the main tank and put the extra sponge filter in. The result is having a tank with the exact same water chemistry and temp as the main tank and an established colony of nitrifying bacteria to handle the bio load. When you're done, disinfect the sponge and return it to the main tank. The quarantine tank can then be drained and stored until it's needed again.
 

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I keep a pair of guppies in my QT. Just adding fish food will work equally well but I like having something to look at in the QT. The baby Guppies seem to be appreciated by the fish being quaranteened as well.
 

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I don't bother. I just bring over some cycled media from another tank if I need to, plus some live plant clippings if I have any extras. I'll also generally pull over water from the main tank- whether QTing a sick fish or introducing new fish, this helps reduce acclimation stress.

I like keeping bare-bones tanks that are easy to keep clean, and break down and set back up very quickly.
this is exactly what I do. i leave my Q-tank empty until I need it. the only other thing i might do is put the media into a little filter bag since i used a different type of filter for the smaller tank. since i always have a bunch of java moss (as well as hornwort, salvinia - plants that don't need substrate) laying around i usually throw tons of that in along with a couple ceramic pots.
 

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this is exactly what I do.
Ditto. Sometimes I'll just take a bit of gravel from one of my cycled tanks and pop it in the QT filter, and / or squeeze out a sponge into the QT tank that needs to be cleaned anyway, etc. Plant / moss trimmings are good too. Like LauraLee I leave the bottom of the tank bare so it cleans really easily.
 

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If I remember correctly..........

To do fishless cycle you add 6 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of water daily until the nitrites spike then do a 50% water change. Then use 3 drops of ammonia per day to maintain the bio.
That's a bit lean. If you are using the typical 10% ammonia solution most of us buy, 1ml in 1g gives about 25ppm of ammonia. There are usually about 25 drops/ml, so that means each drop gives about 1ppm/gallon. So 3 drops will keep the colony alive in a 10g, but at fairly low levels. However, it's probably a big enough colony that you could get it near "full strength" within 3 days by dumping in 5ppm of ammonia each day.
 

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I'm glad this thread is here, as I was wondering the same thing myself.

Just to be sure that I'm reading this right:
A) Keep filter media or an extra filter in your main tank.
B) Put extra filter into (or filter media into the filter of) the QT along with water from your main tank.

This will create a fast 'cycled' environment for sick fish, right?

I still have a couple questions:
1) Can the fish be put in there immediately, or does the tank need to settle at all?
2) Also, I've heard people say that QTs don't need lighting, but then they say that fish should be kept in the QT for at least 4 weeks to make sure they have fully recovered; is it really alright for the fish to live that long without light? (I'm especially concerned because me Q-'tank' is an opaque storage bucket, so it wouldn't be getting much of even ambient room light.)
 

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I like the extra filter in main tank method. I use my goldfish's tank for that, we all know those guys can't have too much filtration :D
Worth mentioning with this method; water changes may need to be upped to account for the bacteria colony lost, when the smaller filter is moved to the QT, depending on the scale - if you're removing a 10g filter from a 100g tank, I guess that wouldn't be too significant, hehe.

I think this method often beats buying yet more bottles of stuff in order to instantly cycle, especially if the QT is being broken down and set up again, often.
 

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The easiest is what someone already said.

Sponge filter kept running in teh main tank. Just one of the little ones... then, toss it, along with water from the main tank into the QT tank, and voila.

Then break it down and put it away when you're done.




The other thing that someone mentioned that i liked is keeping guppies in there... often times when i QT a fish, it seems to be freaked out that it's all on its own... would be nice to have some dithers in there...
 

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This will create a fast 'cycled' environment for sick fish, right?
That's the idea! :)

I still have a couple questions:
1) Can the fish be put in there immediately, or does the tank need to settle at all?
You can put the fish in there immediately, just remember, it's a good idea to use main tank water to fill or at least partially fill the QT so the conditions remain as similar as possible to the tank the fish came from. and then just top off the main tank. (or do a water change ;))

2) Also, I've heard people say that QTs don't need lighting, but then they say that fish should be kept in the QT for at least 4 weeks to make sure they have fully recovered; is it really alright for the fish to live that long without light? (I'm especially concerned because me Q-'tank' is an opaque storage bucket, so it wouldn't be getting much of even ambient room light.)
If you put plant in there you'll want some form of lighting so that the plants don't die, because decaying plants are going to make for poor water conditions which will not help your sick fish. If there are no plants, you probably don't need a light, but you could set up like a desk lamp or something. One thing I will mention though is that it might be worth picking up a 10g tank at walmart (they're like 10 or 12 dollars) and using that as your QT so that you can actually see how the fish that you are curing look, it's hard to tell how well they're healing (or if they're getting worse) if you can't see them properly.


And one thing everyone should remember if you are doing the filter transfer method DECONTAMINATE THE FILTER after it is used in the QT tank before you put it back on your main tank. I know it's probably common sense for most, but I figure a reminder never hurts ;)
 

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If you keep fish regularly in the tank that's used for a QT tank you need to keep in mind that those fish could not only catch anything new or sick fish bring in, but also pass it along... ich would be a prime example, as ich can carry on indefinitely undetected in fish gills.
 

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My QT tank is 3 years old with no filter. Works fine, it's got plants, stray RCS, and snails in it.
 

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If you keep your QT with inverts (snails) and planted, how do you medicate, if it comes to that? Isn't medication hard on most plants and inverts?
Well the way I see it is that you wouldn't necessarily want to make your QT permenantly scaped. Plant it with clippings from your other tank with the thought that you might have to medicate. After that you can start all over if the plants and/or snail are killed. I have a catchall tank that regularly gets clippings from my main tank and I use it as a QT tank. If I loose everything in it then I don't mind all that much.....
 
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