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cycle my tank??

Discussion in 'Fish and Aquarium - all types' started by willieb18, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    so all i have to go is.....
    fill the tank up with water. :?:
    put in some ammonia. :?:
    let it set for a few days and test it. :?:
    once i have a lot of nitrAtes i can put my fish in???? :?: :?:

    if i missed anything please help. this is really confusing (sp) :?

    if anyone wants to add something can the just copy what i have and fill in where i need something? that would make it easer.
  2. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Idealy, you'll need to test the water every day then add enough ammonia so it registers 5ppm. You'll gradually see a rise in nitrItes, then they will start decreasing while the nitrAtes increase. When you can add 5ppm ammonia one day and the next day have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes, and some amount of nitrAtes, it means your tank is cycled and it's safe to do a 30% water change and add your fish.

    Basically what happens when you cycle a tank is you are feeding the bacteria and letting it grow. There are 2 types of bacteria (I'll call them A & B). Bacteria A eats ammonia and turns it into nitrIte. Bacteria B eats the nitrIte and turns it into nitrAte. You start off with basically no bacteria in the tank. When you add the ammonia, you are giving bacteria A lots of food so they multiply and produce lots of nitrItes. After a while bacteria B startes growing and eats the nitrItes (that's why you'll see a decrease in the nitrItes) and produces nitrAtes.

    Eventually everything will even out. Bacteria A will be able to eat all the ammonia you add (or eventually all that is produced by the fish). And bacteria B will be able to eat all the nitrItes produced by Bacteria A. There are no bacteria to eat the nitrAtes so that's why you have to do water changes.

    Also, when you do a fishless cycle, you are adding the ammonia to simulate the presence of fish. During the cycling process, the levels of ammonia and nitrIte get very high. And since those 2 are very toxic to fish, it's best to not have fish in the tank when you're cycling it because chances are they will die or at the very least suffer.


    I hope that helps you understand the nitrogen cycle a little better.

  3. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    ok i think i have it!!
    so all i have to do is put water in the tank, and keep the ammonia at 5ppm untill there are no ammonia or nitrites, and some nitrates.

    when i don't have any ammonia or nitrites but i have nitrates then it is ok to do a 30% water change and add my fish.

    then i do a water changer like once a week to keep the nitrates down.

    is that right? if it is so will my ammonia usually stay down as long as i'm not putting too much food in the tank.

    thanks alot!!
  4. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    can you also tell me how to get a pic on my profile???
  5. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Yup, that's it.

    And yes, unless your tank is really overstocked, you overfeed, or something catestrophic happens to your filter media (ie you rinse it in chlorinated tap water), you should not have any ammonia.

    As for the picture, I'm assuming you mean the one under your username (avatar). To get one of those, click on "Profile" at the top of the page, then scroll all the way down. You have to have a picture that is no more than 80 x 80 pixels or 4 kb and it has to be hosted on a site that allows outside linking. Then you just paste the url in the box.

  6. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    well i tried to do that but all i got was that box with the red X in it. a pic that small is hard to find. i have been looking for days.

    i'm only planning to have one fish so i don't thing it will be over stocked. but as far as over feeding...... will all food if not eated turn to ammonia? like blood worms or beed hearts for an oscar.
  7. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Yes, uneaten food will break down and turn to ammonia.

    And for your avatar, you didn't enter a valid url. You entered:
    http--20and adopt pics-Pugsley.jpg
    It should look more like this:
  8. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    i am to the poing to where i have to app the ammonia. does anyone know how much i should start off with??? thanks
  9. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Since ammonia can be sold in different concentrations, I can't give you an exact measurement of how much you need to add. Just add a little, wait about 30 minutes and test the water. Keep doing that until it registers 5ppm.

  10. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    i put the ammonia in my tank the other day. i just tested my water and
    ammonia 2.0
    nitrate 2.0
    nitrite 0

    i thought that the nitrite was going to be wigh like the ammonia..... im confused.
  11. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    I think you have your nitrIte and nitrAte mixed up. You should be seeing a nitrIte spike before you see any nitrAtes.

  12. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    yeah, thats what everyone was saying. thats why i thought that it was wrong. but that is what it said yesterday. so i dont know what could be going on.
  13. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    I'm not really sure what's going on either. Did you add any decoratons or filter media from an established tank?

  14. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    no i didnt do anything. it is just plain water. well i did put the vaccum in there that i bought the other day to see how easy it was to work. but it was just in there for a min.
  15. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    if i add some plants to my tank will it help it cycle faster? or once it is cycled should i get some plants
  16. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    If you're getting an oscar, don't get live plants. They will eventually get torn up.

  17. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    so will it be ok to get fake ones so i can put them in front of the heater so it will it? i have read that a oscar will break the heater
  18. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    That actually works with my oscars so you can try it. Your other choices would be to get a titanium heater or a heater guard.

  19. willieb18

    willieb18 New Member

    the last time that i did a water test my ammonia was at 2.0. so it is going down. well i went to the fish store today and they told me that i should drain my tank and do a cycle with fish. but i think i am close to having it cycled, and i dont want to start over. everyone has a diffrent way to do it and i dont which one to go with.
  20. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Definitely don't cycle with fish (and really, I don't think you should be listening to the people at the LFS anyway. From what I've heard so far, they don't know what the heck they're talking about).

    The 2 main reasons not to cycle with fish are:

    1) The cycling process involves very high and toxic levels of ammonia & nitrIte. Purposly exposing fish to those high levels is, IMO, cruel. You will be poisoning the fish and will most likely kill about 1/2 of them and make the rest very sick.

    2) If you use "sacraficial fish" to cycle a tank (like zebras or feeder goldfish), they will only produce a fraction of the bioload of a fully stocked tank. So by the time your tank is cycled, you won't have as much bacteria as you would need for a fully stocked tank and it will go through another cycle. When you do a fishless cycle and add 5ppm of ammonia/day, that's more than a properly stocked tank would have. So in other words, you will have plenty of bacteria to be able to handle the bioload of your fish when you add them and the tank shouldn't even go through a mini cycle.


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