How do I know if my tank is ready?

(8 Posts)
moveon Mon 11-Apr-16 20:55:44

I bought a 30L tank and installed it on Friday (no fish). I added tapsafe and the filter is running. No heater.

The shop said come back in a week with a water sample that they would test so see if it was ready for fish.

What can I be doing to test at home to see if it's ready or at least moving in the right direction? Is there a test kit thing that someone can recommend?

And should I be doing anything more to it at the moment? I've done nothing since Friday, it's just the filter that's on 24/7. Not even put the light on.

Micah Mon 11-Apr-16 21:02:39

Oh god.

It's way, way more complicated, bad advice from the shop. Do you know what the ammonia levels are? Nitrates and nitrites?

Your tank won't be ready until it's cycled. The only humane way to do it is by a fishless cycle- google it. If you put fish in an uncycled tank they will be forced to cycle it which is deeply unpleasant for the fish, and you'll likely kill a few in the process. You need to test regularly, a one off in the shop tells you nothing.

Do you know anyone with an established tank that would give you a squeeze of their filter sponge?

Please do some research. Look at tropicalfishforums too, they guys over there are seriously knowledgable, and there are stickies on how to set up tanks.

moveon Mon 11-Apr-16 21:08:55

I don't want to out any fish in until it's ready, but I do want to know the best way for me to test and find out when it's ready rather than go back to them.

I don't know anyone close-by with fish. What would a squeeze of their filter sponge do?

What can I be doing to test at home to see if it's ready or at least moving in the right direction? I would assume that a home testing kit would provide information about ammonia, nitrates and nitrites?

Is there a test kit thing that someone can recommend?

TrionicLettuce Mon 11-Apr-16 21:12:36

This article has a good explanation of fishless cycling, which is what you need to do to get a tank ready for fish.

API test kits are fine for checking water parameters.

The Practical Fishkeeping forums are very good for advice, especially the new fishkeepers section if you're just starting out.

You are going to be very limited with what you can keep in a tank that small, what fish were you hoping to have?

moveon Mon 11-Apr-16 21:17:30

Thanks trionic. I will look at those links now.

I haven't any particular fish in mind. It was a starter tank that I bought and it said somewhere that danios were a good fot.

CharleyDavidson Mon 11-Apr-16 21:29:33

I really wish that shops selling tanks and fish were required to be more knowledgeable about it all.

You need a water testing kit that tests for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

Three ways to cycle a tank.
1 - Fish-in cycle. Add hardy fish (poor things) that hopefully won't die when the ammonia levels rise before the bacteria are established. Or when the nitrites then rise before that new bacteria type grows. Quite a cruel way to do it unless you can guarantee by almost daily water testing that the levels of ammonia/nitrites aren't too high for them.

2 - add in a biological ammonia source like prawns or a few pinches of fish food. They rot a bit (yum!) and then the bacteria grow.

3 - pure ammonia seeding. You buy pure ammonia from a DIY store. And a water testing kit. You add a very small amount of ammonia to your tank every few days and test the water. When the ammonia level starts to diminish it means that you have the bacteria there munching away on it. This is the method you are most in control of because you are choosing how much ammonia to add from a 'clean' source.

Then you can add your fish when whichever method you've used means you now have levels of ammonia that are zero.

A squeeze of a sponge from an established tank colonises the tank with good bacteria that are needed for your filter, to allow it to work to break down the ammonia waste that the fish produce. It can take a very long time to cycle the tank on its own. It was months before I could put fish in my tank when I did the ammonia method without any seeding. But a couple of weeks when I used some filter media from a friends' tank.

TreeSparrow Tue 12-Apr-16 12:28:42

30 litres is far too small for danios. Danios are speedy, active fish that should be given a lot of space. To be honest there's not much you CAN keep in 30 litres. It's too small for neon tetra. You can try some micro rasboras, or a single Siamese Fighting Fish at a push. Or consider a red cherry shrimp colony.

Micah Tue 12-Apr-16 12:34:20

Empty it out and get a hamster, rats, or gerbils.

Far, far easier to look after than fish ;)

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