Fishless Tank Cycle.

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Tawmis
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Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:17 pm

So I recently got a 20 gallon tank (upgraded from a 5 gallon) and cycled the water for a day (two, really) - and made the tragic mistake of thinking that was enough, and killed 10 tetra fish. :(

Had not realized the tank needs to build up helpful bacteria for the fish, so that the water isn't toxic to them.

So I have been doing a fishless cycle (well, my pleco survived the ordeal, so he's in the tank) - so he's providing the fish poop needed (as odd as it sounds), and the pinch of food, that breaks down is also there.

Now the ammonia level is the issue - it will eventually introduce all the other stuff needed to get the cycle going.

I plan to cycle the tank for at least two weeks (giving the pleco a mansion to live in, in the mean time) - and it's already been about one week. If need be, naturally, I will extend it. But the PH, Nitraite, Nitrites, etc - are all good. The ammonia is another test. Ideally we want it at 0, as it can be toxic to fish. (The fish I plan to put in the tank when it's ready are hearty fish; unlike the Tetras, which I learned - too late - are EXTREMELY sensitive).

So I took one test - and would love your thought what these levels are?
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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Collector » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:11 pm

Cycled the water? If you are talking about replacing the water from the tap the problem is chlorine, not bacteria. You have to "age" the water to allow the chlorine to dissipate before using it. This is nothing more filling another container and letting it set, unclosed for a day or two before using it. The only thing that bacteria might have to do with it is if you are using an under gravel filter where bacteria reside in the gravel and break down the waste. The urine in the water is exactly why you want to replace a portion of the water periodically.

Also, only replace a portion of the water to avoid too much of a shock to the fish.
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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:27 pm

Collector wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:11 pm
Cycled the water? If you are talking about replacing the water from the tap the problem is chlorine, not bacteria. You have to "age" the water to allow the chlorine to dissipate before using it. This is nothing more filling another container and letting it set, unclosed for a day or two before using it. The only thing that bacteria might have to do with it is if you are using an under gravel filter where bacteria reside in the gravel and break down the waste. The urine in the water is exactly why you want to replace a portion of the water periodically.

Also, only replace a portion of the water to avoid too much of a shock to the fish.
Well, fish tanks require (helpful) bacteria to actually survive. And there's this cycle of poop/fish, which turns into Nitrates or Nitrities (one of those), which then turns into the other, which then turns into ammonia, and then starts the bacteria cycle. :)

If you're just throwing in goldfish, then yeah - because they can survive anything. (Almost).

Here's more about "fishless cycling."
https://fishlab.com/how-to-cycle-aquarium/
https://www.myaquariumclub.com/how-long ... 24517.html
https://www.algone.com/fishless-aquarium-cycling

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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Collector » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:28 pm

I used to keep, breed and raise award winning fish and at one time was considering a career as an ichthyologist. Your links pertain to saltwater. Saltwater fish have little tolerance to change in the water chemistry. They are very sensitive to fluctuations in pH, salinity and temperatures. In that case the bacteria helps maintain the stability.

Fresh water fish are very different. Their natural environment is constantly in flux. Every time it rains the water is added to with cooler, softer and in many cases more acidic water from nearby runoff. With fresh all of this nonsense is easily avoided by frequent partial water changes. When you siphon of some of the old water you can take advantage of it to use it like a vacuum. You can suck up the feces and other rotted material that accumulates on the bottom.
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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Collector » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:33 pm

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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:40 pm

Collector wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:28 pm
Fresh water fish are very different. Their natural environment is constantly in flux. Every time it rains the water is added to with cooler, softer and in many cases more acidic water from nearby runoff. With fresh all of this nonsense is easily avoided by frequent partial water changes. When you siphon of some of the old water you can take advantage of it to use it like a vacuum. You can suck up the feces and other rotted material that accumulates on the bottom.
Well the Tetras I put in, after two days of cycling (doing the normal - filled up the tank, put in the water conditioner, ran a filter and heater for two days) - before putting in my last remaining Tetra (from the 5 gallon) and the pleco (from the 5 gallon). I let the 10 tetras I had bought sit in the bag, floating on the 20 gallon tank, so that the temperature matched for about an hour - and not only did the 10 tetras die when I cut the bag and let them in the tank, but my own tetra also died. Only the pleco survived the ordeal.

And the ammonia is still an issue, as far as I understand, even to freshwater - which is why I was checking the ammonia levels (which I think looks to be about 1ppm) - the photo makes it look a little darker than it is - and I understand, that even freshwater should have 0ppm ammonia?

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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:06 am

Collector wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:28 pm
Fresh water fish are very different. Their natural environment is constantly in flux. Every time it rains the water is added to with cooler, softer and in many cases more acidic water from nearby runoff. With fresh all of this nonsense is easily avoided by frequent partial water changes. When you siphon of some of the old water you can take advantage of it to use it like a vacuum. You can suck up the feces and other rotted material that accumulates on the bottom.
Well, after I killed my tetras... I began looking into why... and stumbled across things like this... and I am pretty sure, this is an example, of a guy doing fishless cycle on a freshwater tank (based off the fish I see in his tank - they all look like freshwater?)


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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:18 am

IMG_5245.jpg
Other than the ammonia levels (from the first post) - the above is the current readings for my tank. PH level seems to be sitting at 7.0
Nitrate seems to be around 40ppm
Nitrite level seems to be 0ppm
Carbonate Hardness is around 40ppm
And General Hardness is like 60ppm

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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Collector » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:24 am

Unless there is something very wrong with your tap water there should be nothing more you need to do than let the water age to let the chlorine dissipate. You should not need to use any "conditioners" or any other additives. If you are having fish go belly up so quickly I would be looking for other reasons, like what do you have in the tank that could be adding toxins, like any kind of ornaments with copper.

In the end do what you want, but I was just trying to share my many years of very successful fish keeping and knowledge.
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Re: Fishless Tank Cycle.

Post by Tawmis » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:45 pm

Collector wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:24 am
Unless there is something very wrong with your tap water there should be nothing more you need to do than let the water age to let the chlorine dissipate. You should not need to use any "conditioners" or any other additives. If you are having fish go belly up so quickly I would be looking for other reasons, like what do you have in the tank that could be adding toxins, like any kind of ornaments with copper.

In the end do what you want, but I was just trying to share my many years of very successful fish keeping and knowledge.
I am not arguing with you. :)

So when I got the 20 gallon tank - here's what I did -
The gravel in it is brand new - washed it first in the sink, with just sink water, to get off the dust and debris of small chunks.
Placed the gravel in there.
Placed the air filter thing in the back. One ornament, and two "fake plants" to provide a place for the fish to hang out (all purchased at PetCo).
I filled it with water from the bath tub spout - and used the water conditioning thing.
Let the water run through a regular fish filter thing, to cycle the water for a day.
Second day, I put in the water heater, so that the temperature would adapt to what it should be.
Put the bag of the new 10 tetras to float on the 20 gallon tank water for about an hour, so that the temperature in the bag of water would be fairly close to the water in the tank (to prevent any kind of shock).
Following day, I took my pleco and my last survive tetra and put them into the tank, along with the ten new tetra.
The tetras died within several hours, including my own (which had lived successfully in the 5 gallon tank, previously) - and they were all very healthy looking at PetCo (and in the bag).
I discovered that tetras are apparently very sensitive, so I am going to go with a hearty fish.

But because I care too much - it was painful to me, knowing I killed 10 tetras, plus my own - and had spent the night dreading (because I had already cleaned and emptied my 5 gallon, before the fish died) that my pleco was also going to perish.

So now I am taking tests on the water - and just want to make it as good as it can be.
So based off this: https://modestfish.com/best-freshwater- ... beginners/

I was thinking of getting some Platies.
They seem to have the highest adaptability for variations.

But my concerns is the ammonia level, which was the reason for the first post. :)

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