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Cycling an Aquarium.

  • #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 22,976 mod godtabh


    The biggest cause of the lose of fish is putting them in a tank that hasn’t been cycled. Get properly cyled tank and maintain it correctly the chances of having a stress free hobie ( for both you and the fish!) will greatly increase.
    Nitrogen cycle. he process by which fish waste (Ammonia) is changed into a harmless/ less toxic substance (Nitrate) that won`t kill your fish.
    Fish produce Ammonia (nh3)through waste from feeding (ie their urine and poo) and through their gills. Another significant cause of ammonia is rotting food and plant decay. This Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and will eventually kill them.

    What happens through the Nitrogen cycle is that Ammonia is broken down/processed by Bacterialess toxic substance called Nitrite(no2) and then through further bacterial breakdown is converted into Nitrate(no3) which is the least toxic by-product to the fish. Nitrate is the reason why a correctly maintained tank still requires a weekly (at least) water change to reduce the levels of nitrate in your tank.




    When starting off a tank you should not add fish straight away. It must be cycled. Cycling a tank done in a few different ways:

    The ones I recommend are:

    1) “Feed” the empty tank

    2) A kick start.

    3) Buy commercial products

    All three have their pros and cons.
    1) Simply adding small amounts of fish food to an empty tank can help kick start the cycling process. As the food is broken down the bacteria colony in the filter begins to break down the ammonia and gradually over time begins to expand and grow.

    2) Many people (who probably aren’t beginners!) think the the best, simplest and quickest way to cycle a tank is by getting the squeezing from mature filter ie you squeeze the bacteria from one sponge into another thank.

    3) You can buy off the shelve products that have dormant bacteria in them. Adding them to your tank allows bacteria colony to establish itself in your filter.
    Some people swear by them. Some people think they are a waste of money. I’ve used a few different ones such as Special Blend but not sure if I would recommend them. Do your research and you will be sorted.

    The only way to be sure that your tank is cycled is if you test it regularly. You will see the ammonia spike->its reduction->the increase in Nitrite-> its reduction and then a stable system should develop.

    Things to remember.
    1) Tap water contains Chlorine which can kill bacteria. Use De-chlorinator in your water to prevent this. This also helps prevent new tank syndrome.

    2)Test your water regularly.
    3) Add fish slowly. Dont over load the bacteria by adding 20 fish in one go. By them over a period of time


«134

Comments



  • Good stuff.

    Mods - Can we sticky this please?




  • Just to add that for Marine systems, you don't want or need to add livestock to start the cycle. Adding Live Rock should do this.

    Also, very low nitrate levels are important for marine systems in particular with a lot of corals. It is generally advised that 5ppm or less of Nitrates is needed.

    Nitrates can be kept low by:
    * Not overfeeding
    * Not overstocking
    * Water changes
    * Using a protein skimmer
    * Using a Nitrate Reactor
    * Having a refugium with macro algae (chaetomorpha and/or Caulerpa sp.)




  • godtabh wrote: »
    The biggest cause of the lose of fish is putting them in a tank that hasn’t been cycled. Get properly cyled tank and maintain it correctly the chances of having a stress free hobie ( for both you and the fish!) will greatly increase.
    Nitrogen cycle. he process by which fish waste (Ammonia) is changed into a harmless/ less toxic substance (Nitrate) that won`t kill your fish.
    Fish produce Ammonia (nh3)through waste from feeding (ie their urine and poo) and through their gills. Another significant cause of ammonia is rotting food and plant decay. This Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and will eventually kill them.

    What happens through the Nitrogen cycle is that Ammonia is broken down/processed by Bacterialess toxic substance called Nitrite(no2) and then through further bacterial breakdown is converted into Nitrate(no3) which is the least toxic by-product to the fish. Nitrate is the reason why a correctly maintained tank still requires a weekly (at least) water change to reduce the levels of nitrate in your tank.




    When starting off a tank you should not add fish straight away. It must be cycled. Cycling a tank done in a few different ways:

    The ones I recommend are:

    1) “Feed” the empty tank

    2) A kick start.

    3) Buy commercial products

    All three have their pros and cons.
    1) Simply adding small amounts of fish food to an empty tank can help kick start the cycling process. As the food is broken down the bacteria colony in the filter begins to break down the ammonia and gradually over time begins to expand and grow.

    2) Many people (who probably aren’t beginners!) think the the best, simplest and quickest way to cycle a tank is by getting the squeezing from mature filter ie you squeeze the bacteria from one sponge into another thank.

    3) You can buy off the shelve products that have dormant bacteria in them. Adding them to your tank allows bacteria colony to establish itself in your filter.
    Some people swear by them. Some people think they are a waste of money. I’ve used a few different ones such as Special Blend but not sure if I would recommend them. Do your research and you will be sorted.

    The only way to be sure that your tank is cycled is if you test it regularly. You will see the ammonia spike->its reduction->the increase in Nitrite-> its reduction and then a stable system should develop.

    Things to remember.
    1) Tap water contains Chlorine which can kill bacteria. Use De-chlorinator in your water to prevent this. This also helps prevent new tank syndrome.

    2)Test your water regularly.
    3) Add fish slowly. Dont over load the bacteria by adding 20 fish in one go. By them over a period of time

    Our tank is about 6 weeks old. We followed the pet stores instructions and left it to mature for 7 or 8 days before we bought fish. And even then we bought 5 mollys and guppies. Now we are expanding but is there something we can buy to test the water to make sure its ok?




  • You can buy test kits in any decent pet store. Not sure which are the best brand for freshwater though.




  • Noopti wrote: »
    You can buy test kits in any decent pet store. Not sure which are the best brand for freshwater though.

    Ill take a look this evening. Its a tropical tank, and our first so its a real learning curve.


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  • Noopti wrote: »
    You can buy test kits in any decent pet store. Not sure which are the best brand for freshwater though.

    Generally the strips are piss poor. Go for the "test tube" tests




  • I also keep fish in a pond..if i add a small amount of pondwater to the tank with it help cycle it?




  • Degsy wrote: »
    I also keep fish in a pond..if i add a small amount of pondwater to the tank with it help cycle it?

    Is the tank coldwater too?

    I'm not sure how much good it would do tbh. the bacteria needed live on filters or rocks and stuff in a pond rather than the water itself.




  • Am I correct in thinking that I just need to put water in my tank, some fish food leave it for about 10days and it will be ok to put fish in? I have just bought a new tank so want to make sure I am doing it right. I was looking at all the products you can buy in the pet shop and it is really confusing.




  • my new tank is half way through cycling,if i take old filter media and place it in new tank for a week to speed up the cycle,will my old tank be ok with no filter for the week?


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  • kingerae86 wrote: »
    my new tank is half way through cycling,if i take old filter media and place it in new tank for a week to speed up the cycle,will my old tank be ok with no filter for the week?
    generally (from what i've read) people will take their filter media out of the old tank and give it a good squeeze out in the new tank water and let the new filter pull all the good stuff from the water into itself where it will settle in and start doing it's thing and help speed up the cycling process.

    you can then put the old filter back where it was and leave it to carry on in it's old home.




  • thats perfect thanks vibe666




  • I've done it before, just did it again yesterday in fact and it definitely speeds up the cycling process.




  • godtabh wrote: »

    Things to remember.
    1) Tap water contains Chlorine which can kill bacteria. Use De-chlorinator in your water to prevent this. This also helps prevent new tank syndrome.


    i just bought my aquarium set up kit. i was told there would be a De-chlorinator inside what i got was "Aquael actibaktol" i reckon this is the bacteria to jump start the cycling process am i wrong

    im a complete noob at this and dont want to have to restart my cycling by putting bacteria into chlorinated water

    any help appreciated:)

    sorry if im hyjacking the thread




  • yep a quick google search suggests you are correct - you will need dechlorinator also, thats the first step




  • ok back to the fish place tomorow it is.


    thanks




  • fungun wrote: »
    yep a quick google search suggests you are correct - you will need dechlorinator also, thats the first step

    I never bothered with that tbh, just leave the water sitting in an open top container for an hour or two, it dissapates.




  • I never bothered with that tbh, just leave the water sitting in an open top container for an hour or two, it dissapates.

    Chlorine does, but chloramine does not.




  • Silverfish wrote: »
    Chlorine does, but chloramine does not.

    is chloramine present in irish water? My understanding was it doesn't in the majority of Irish water supplies




  • godtabh wrote: »
    is chloramine present in irish water? My understanding was it doesn't in the majority of Irish water supplies

    Well, you'd hope not, but I'd be paranoid about these things, based on how much clorine there is in ours. Also, there's a lot of metals / minerals in water that are harmful to fish, so I use Prime which removes all these, better safe than sorry. I've heard from a few sources that there is cloramines added to water in Ireland, where I don't know.
    You'd honestly not know what was in your water, I know of someone who's tapwater tested 10-20ppm in nitrates, yet the info from their council said nitrates were 0. Better just to use something that neutralises the bad stuff and won't harm the fish, than taking the risk on whether you're harming them or not with straight tapwater.


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  • Silverfish wrote: »
    Well, you'd hope not, but I'd be paranoid about these things, based on how much clorine there is in ours. Also, there's a lot of metals / minerals in water that are harmful to fish, so I use Prime which removes all these, better safe than sorry. I've heard from a few sources that there is cloramines added to water in Ireland, where I don't know.
    You'd honestly not know what was in your water, I know of someone who's tapwater tested 10-20ppm in nitrates, yet the info from their council said nitrates were 0. Better just to use something that neutralises the bad stuff and won't harm the fish, than taking the risk on whether you're harming them or not with straight tapwater.

    I always use something to treat the water but I would add small amounts of untreated water if evaporation resulted in a top up




  • godtabh wrote: »
    I always use something to treat the water but I would add small amounts of untreated water if evaporation resulted in a top up

    I doubt that'd do any harm.




  • at one stage i was having loads of deaths and so was a local friend of mine. Worked in an industry where we could actually do water quality checks.....the level of copper in the water was 10X the legal drinking limit for the USA. Conveniently enough, we didnt have a legal limit, just a 'guideline' :rolleyes:

    Anyway, point being, as Silverfish says you never know whats coming out of your tap.

    Hmm, hang on a sec, so I dont trust it for my fish, but I drink that ****, wtf, my priorities are fcuked up :pac:




  • i don't suppse you know of somewhere that would do water testing on tap water do you?

    i believe my local tap water is causing skin problems, but i have no real way to prove it. if i could get it properly tested, i'm sure something would come up.




  • I honestly believe a lot of tummy bugs come from tap water and we tend to blame it on something else.

    Sometimes my tap water has an extreme amount of chlorine in it, almost smells like bleach. My suspicious mind thinks they increase the levels of chlorine after they have a high reading of some sort of bacteria etc.




  • I heard of on water treatment plant where they'd throw in a week's worth of chlorine on Monday and call it job done for the week. I didn't see it myself, but the water quality was definitely all over the place.




  • vibe666 wrote: »
    i don't suppse you know of somewhere that would do water testing on tap water do you?

    i believe my local tap water is causing skin problems, but i have no real way to prove it. if i could get it properly tested, i'm sure something would come up.

    Yup, there's a couple of labs about, I only know there's one in Oldcastle. Not sure if you can post a sample, but might be worth giving them a buzz to find out.

    No messing, I stopped drinking tap water about a year ago, haven't been sick once this year, apart from a mild cold.




  • In OP, when it says feed the tank, with what? Stupid question I know but I've heard feed it with food and feed with ammonia?




  • Food! See the note 1) just below where it says that!


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  • Should have gone to specsavers:D


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