fishless cycling 1st attempt - advice please!

(18 Posts)
jobnockey Mon 15-Aug-16 10:46:59

Quick question regarding fishless cycling – sorry if it’s a bit of a stupid one.

I have got all the kit, including some pure ammonia, and have got as far as adding the substrate and the water.

As soon as my ammonia arrives I’ll start the cycling process. My (hopefully not too stupid) questions is, do I need to have the filter and heater switched on during this process? I can imagine the filter may need to be on to facilitate getting the right bacteria on the filter sponges etc, but not sure if the water needs to be a specific temperature at this point. May as well save energy where I can!

Also, I have a stingray elite filter but have been advised to remove the carbon from it - I think it’s something to do with Zeolite added to the carbon which breaks down ammonia but therefore affects the cycling process. Any thoughts on this?

Thank in advance!

plutoisnotaplanet Tue 16-Aug-16 15:39:07

No need for the heater but yes, keep your filter running. Turn the heater on 4 days before your fish come home.

The carbon will break down the ammonia to a point, but after 6 weeks or so will release it all back into your water, usually around the time that your fish is added angry

No need for carbon at all in a filter so just remove it, it will slow down your cycle and then kill your fish by bioloading the ammonia back into the tank just as the fish is settling!

Well done for doing a fishless cycle, it's by far the safest and easiest way to do it!

CharleyDavidson Tue 16-Aug-16 15:43:50

All sounds good to me.

Do you have a friend who could loan you a bit of their filter media to stuff in your filter? It really speeds up the process if you can seed the filter with the right bacteria from an established tank.

jobnockey Wed 17-Aug-16 16:47:50

Thanks for the replies. very helpful and good to know I'm on the right track so far. I have a friend with a cold water tank I wonder if she'd let me borrow some of her filter media - I'll have to ask.

another question: what's the general consensus about ordering fish in the post? It seems a bit weird to me and not sure if it's in fishes best welfare interests? however, I'm not keen on the state of the tanks in my local pet shop and the only other place nearby is pets at home who I'd like to avoid using if possible.

CharleyDavidson Thu 18-Aug-16 18:19:08

I prefer to buy them where I can see the general state of the fish in the shop. I won't buy at my local place as they sometimes have dead fish in the tanks which tells me that's not the place for me.
The other, independent store is much better and they are full of good advice too, unlike PAH who will tell you that you just need to let your water sit for a couple of days before adding fish.

LadyFlumpalot Thu 18-Aug-16 18:25:40

I've never ordered through the post, but used Maidenhead Aquatics who seem knowledgeable and seem to care about the fish.

Pets at Home tried to tell me I could keep 3 fancies in a 25l tank!! angry

plutoisnotaplanet Fri 19-Aug-16 08:36:03

I currently have a Betta importing from Thailand smile

The way fish via post generally works is you have 3 main components: breeder, transhipper and courier. You pay the breeder for the fish and the transhipper for everything else.

Breeder sells the fish ---> You book a transhipper and tell the breeder who will be collecting the fish and when ----> transhipper collects fish from breeder and escorts them to your country ----> transhipper unpacks the fish, checks they are healthy and confirms with you they are ok ---> transhipper confirms a date for delivery with you ----> transhipper re-packs the fish and gives them to the courier (Royal mail usually)----> courier delivers fishy to your door smile

I ordered my Betta in early June, he'll be delivered at the end of August! It's a loooong wait but worth it for the right fish!

jobnockey Thu 08-Sep-16 09:17:32

Hello, me again!

So I am in week 4 of my fishless cycle. I am dosing daily with ammonia which is being gobbled up straight away (back to 0 after 24 hours).

I’m not sure what to do now about the nitrites, which have spiked and are off the chart. I also have high nitrates.

There is mixed advice on the internet as to whether I should do a water change at this point to bring the nitrites down… any advice?

OscarDeLaYenta Sat 10-Sep-16 11:47:00

Have just finished week 2 of my fishless cycle!

This is what I am following:

injaf.org/beginners-guides/the-nitrogen-cycle-and-the-fishless-cycle-getting-your-aquarium-ready-for-fish/

Am I a complete novice at this, but this would seem to suggest that your nitrite bacteria are not up to sufficient levels yet?

jobnockey Mon 12-Sep-16 17:31:56

Hi Oscar, thanks for replying.

That's what I'm thinking topo - but there's such conflicting advice I wasn't sure if the high nitrites would have stalled the cycle or not?

I did a partial water change anyway, and added some more ammonia. this was 0 the next morning but still got quite high nitrites. there are nitrates too though so I guess I just have to be more patient.

I'm not sure if I should keep adding ammonia every day now let the nitrite come down a bit first.???

OscarDeLaYenta Mon 12-Sep-16 22:12:32

Hmm. I don't know. If you don't keep adding ammonia, won't your ammonia-chomping-bacteria get depleted? What level of ammonia are you hitting once you add? I'm aiming for 2-3ppm as per the website linked above.
My nitrites started to rise on day 9 (0.25ppm), then day 11, 1ppm; day 13, 5ppm (or more, that's the highest level with my testkit); day 15, 2-5ppm; day 16, 2ppm. Ammonia has been dropping to 0ppm within 24 hours since day 14. Not tested for nitrate yet.

jobnockey Tue 13-Sep-16 11:36:16

I think my testing kit is a bit crap tbh. I bought those 5-in1 test strips which probably aren't very accurate. Should've just invested in a proper kit I expect. Anyway, my nitrite is at about 10 according to these but nitrates are at about 50 -100 so they are starting to rise. I'm just not seeing a corresponding drop in nitrite just yet.. (that was yesterday evening)

I'll test again and will add some more ammonia tonight and see what happens... I've been doing it to about 3ppm but it's back to 0 24 hours later so that type of bacteria is obviously working happily...

Its quite interesting working out all the water chemistry but I am getting impatient to start adding fish now!

OscarDeLaYenta Tue 13-Sep-16 12:48:56

I've been using API liquid test kits. It is SO much fun!

jobnockey Tue 13-Sep-16 16:12:08

I really wish I'd got one of those now... can't justify the expense this month but maybe once I've been paid.... I feel like I should get a white lab coat too to complete the look.

OscarDeLaYenta Tue 13-Sep-16 18:13:26

The whole testube thing is extremely gratifying! You can get kits with lots of bottles to test for all the different things, rather than buying them individually. But yeah, it's not the cheapest of options....

jobnockey Tue 20-Sep-16 10:30:00

Just thought I'd let you know Oscar, that my nitrites have disappeared like magic! tested yesterday evening and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and about 100 nitrates! woo hoo! I whacked the temp up to 27c and that seems to have kicked the nitrite bacteria into action... Will do a water change tonight and then add some more ammonia and hope the same will happen... might be able to finally get some fish at the weekend!

TheUterati Tue 20-Sep-16 18:12:18

Woo hoo!!!!!
Great news :-) xx

TheUterati Tue 20-Sep-16 18:18:13

Name change - I'm Oscar :-)

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