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Advice on fishless cycling please

(12 Posts)
SoapyBubbl Sun 06-Jan-19 13:11:49

We are brand new to fish but I have been reading and hopefully learning!

We set up our new 60l tank about 10 days ago, it was an all in one kit thing that included a pump and heater and came with 'Easy Balance' and 'Aqua Safe'. I added water and the prescribed about of both chemicals and just left it with the heaTer on and pump running.

Today I headed over to Maidenhead Aquatics, chatted to them and bought testing strips. The bloke there told me what levels to look out for and according to what he said we could start adding fish now - but it feels too soon, it's only been 10 days. The testing strips say we have zero nitrite and around 20mg/l nitrate.

Advise/am I missing anything?

Santaisfastasleepatlast Sun 06-Jan-19 13:16:21

Sorry no advice, only clicked to see wtf fish had to do with cycling!!

SoapyBubbl Sun 06-Jan-19 13:18:19

😂😂😂 fair enough. Its todo with the cycle/balance of chemicals in the water...

timetostepup Sun 06-Jan-19 13:19:10

Me too! I thought you meant this.

littlehayleyc Tue 15-Jan-19 09:54:59

I'm in a similar position to you. Got a tank for Xmas and have been running it with plants and no fish since then. From the reading I've done, the idea of fishless cycling is that you add either pure ammonia or fish food to the tank over the course of a few days/weeks. Through regular testing you should see ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels peak and then go down again as the bacteria in the filter multiply and are able to process the harmful chemicals. Only when the levels are back to 0 should you gradually add fish a few at a time so as not to overload the amount of bacteria

BaconPringles Tue 15-Jan-19 10:04:41

The moment you said testing strips from Maidenhead...

Testing strips are rubbish. Invest in a proper kit. API has a good one.

To be honest my first tank was a 60 from Maidenhead, they gave me everything you mentioned and said ten days was fine.

I learnt the hard way. The fish died, ever addition. I did everything by the book?!

I took the strips and water to a local independent and he showed me the difference in accuracy between paper tests and liquid tests.

Cycling should take weeks, not days . What they gave you as chemicals is a pile of crap. The cycle probably hasn’t even started.

You can cycle using the above method.
I’ve also done it this way too.
If you know someone with a tank, a bit of their filter materials can kickstart everything

I never use anything but Seachem Prime as a water conditioner once my tank is cycled

littlepotatoes Tue 15-Jan-19 11:37:32

You haven't added anything to get the cycle going. You need to put some fish food or a couple of prawns in the tank to give the bacteria something to work on.

Either that or just use Seachem Prime and then add a few fish st a time.

Fcukthisshit Wed 16-Jan-19 22:14:52

I use ammonia to cycle my tanks (you can usually get it for a couple of quid from homebase). It takes 6 - 8 weeks. I like nt test lab kits. I’ve used those for all my tanks and never had a problem. They’re much better than the strips.

frenchchick9 Wed 16-Jan-19 22:16:29

We waited a month. The strip kits are fine, though, I think?

BaconPringles Wed 16-Jan-19 23:11:20

Ooooh I couldn’t think of the name of the current set I had but yes, it’s NT Labs

Strips are horribly inaccurate , I was shocked

SoapyBubbl Sat 09-Feb-19 21:10:37

Sorry to say the replies to this came too late and I took Maidenhead Aquatic's word for it. Luckily it all turned out ok but I am sorry that I put the fish thru unnecessary stress :/

Anyway to round out the story smile
About a week after posting, all our numbers seemed stable (I now realise this is because nothing was going on!) and I took a water sample to MA who pronounced it perfect and we bought our first fish! We took it easy, half a dozen guppies and against my better judgement two live grass-like plants. The fish seemed happy and the numbers stable for about a week and then the nitrites started to spike. I did a partial water change which didn't help much, waited another couple of days and it seemed to be getting worse though fish were ok. I bought a chemical to reduce ammonia and also bought a gravel cleaning siphon and did a good clean and water change. Not sure which of these helped or if it was just that the tank cycled but the numbers settled out and have been perfect ever since - all six guppies survived and appear to be thriving. Phew!!

justchecking1 Wed 13-Feb-19 17:19:24

It'll have been the anti ammonia chemical. If you add more fish, stick a bit of this in again whilst the bacteria grows to accommodate the extra fish.

When you clean your filter, only use the water out of the tank, never tap water as the chlorine will kill all the bacteria and you'll have to start again

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