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Questions about fishless cycling- please help!

(11 Posts)
BlowMeDownWithAFeatherMissis Mon 07-Nov-16 10:25:07

Hi everyone,
DD2 (will be 7) would really like some fish for her birthday. I've always wanted fish too and have done a bit of research so know we need a big tank and to do fishless cycling. I am buying a second hand fluval 180l tank.I've ordered an API fresh water testing kit and some ammonia.

I'm assuming I need everything else apart from the fish in the tank before I start cycling it - is this right? Gravel, plants, rocks and wood? What would people recommend?! -Dd likes the look of variatus platys. I've read they should be fine in a centrally heated house in cold water. We are in London with hard tapwater, would these fish be ok? What other fish might go well with them? In a 180l tank how many fish would be ok?

Sorry - lots of questions I know - but I'd be v grateful for any answers and advice from experienced fishkeepers out there!

froglou Mon 07-Nov-16 20:53:58

Waters all you need to start the cycling but having the gravel in there as soon as possible will help, so you could start cycling and add the bits as you go just don't wait too long. The whole process will take a couple of weeks.
You have probably about 30 fish in there assuming they all only get to about 5/6cm? They'd need to be temperate fish (i.e. Not goldfish) but you could look at danios, mountain minnows, amano shrimps, Hong Kong plecs and some barbs too. Plan what fish you want before you start adding them smile

froglou Mon 07-Nov-16 20:56:20

Ph shouldn't be an issue they're fairly hardy fish and the waters fine as long as drinkable.
Also go with gravel as it's easier to clean with a gravel cleaner, as opposed to sand which needs to be completely changed.

BlowMeDownWithAFeatherMissis Mon 07-Nov-16 23:13:28

Brilliant thank you. So you add plants after the cycling, like the fish. Gosh 30 is a lot - dd will be very happy. And if she isn't the fish can come and live downstairs where we can all see them!

TheUterati Tue 08-Nov-16 16:28:40

I used this site for info on fishless cycling:

It took me about 6 weeks to complete the cycle for my 200 litre tank.

Lots of other helpful advice on that site too.

TheUterati Tue 08-Nov-16 16:29:19

I used the API testing kit and Waterlife Biomature for my source of ammonia.

user1474539059 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:05:51

INJAF is great. Highly recommend.

I don't really understand the logic of some previous posters. I would add everything then cycle. Its just a whole lot easier. If you want to have plants (and I highly recommend doing so as they help with filtering, help combat algae, look nice and help the fish feel secure) I suggest you research how much lighting you will have before you decide on plants. Some plants also require high levels of CO2. If you do not want to inject this avoid the plants. If you want to plant your plants (as opposed to having moss and anubias etc on wood and rocks) I would suggest you buy a soil instead of gravel or sand as this encourages plant growth. Specialty soils can also help with water conditioning at the beginning of a cycle (by releasing small amounts of ammonia and buffering the water).

Remember to wash any rocks or gravel before they go into the tank. Any wood will also need soaking. This is another reason I would suggest putting it all in the tank at the begging as for a week or four the wood may need weighing down. Of course you could buy wood now and keep it in a bucket of water too.

Certainly research everything you want now rather than ad hoc adding to the tank as and when.

Practical fish keeping magazine really helped me when I started out. If you cannot get the tank ready for DDs actual birthday day (cycling does take a long time) maybe presenting her with a wrapped issue of the mag would be good? The Jan issue is out later this month and I think, think, its main feature is on setting up a tank.

Really hope you and DD get a great tank in the end!

user1474539059 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:08:42

Oh and one more thing - which you probably have already come across in your research - don't add all the fish you would like in one go. It will be a huge change to the bio load and probably too much for your filter bacteria to absorb. I would start with six fish every few weeks or so. Possibly three at the very beginning.

BlowMeDownWithAFeatherMissis Wed 09-Nov-16 22:16:58

Thank you so much, the Uterati and user! I will definitely have a look at that link. Brilliant, thank you. I think dd understand she will have to wait for her fish - have some other things for her birthday too so hopefully will be ok!

TheUterati Thu 10-Nov-16 13:31:55

Good luck!

Don;t forget to add the conditioners to the water for the fishless cycling!

I confess, I really enjoyed this stage. All the testubes and everything. Even did a spread sheet......

BlowMeDownWithAFeatherMissis Fri 11-Nov-16 18:46:09

That INJAF site is absolutely brilliant, thank you so much for the link. Yes I'm quite looking forward to the test tube aspect though have lots of ADHD tendencies and know I am going to struggle a bit with measuring at the same time each day and keeping a record of it.
For doing water changes, basically I need a long piece of tubing, a gravel cleaner (?) and a bucket - have I got that right? Gravel cleaners can attach to the end of the tubing so you clean some at the same time as you change the water? In practice how long does it actually take you to do water changes and do you have any tips? Dd's room has pale beige carpet (not chosen by me, previous house occupants) so I don't want to get fish water all over it!
Do you all have backgrounds for your fish tanks? I'm not sure how I'd go about getting one but will the fish show up against the wall (off white)

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