A question about cycling

ara
  • #1
2 days ago I started nitrogen cycle in a new Eclipse 6 tank. I used a frozen shrimp. It is my first fishless cycle and it is nasty! The tank stinks like crazy and it is next to my bed! Could I clean everything and start all over with ammonia (hopefully it is not so nasty) or should I continue with the rotten shrimp and breathe through my mouth?
 
FishKing
  • #2
Why do you not just get a small fish such as a tetra to begin your cycle or a guppy. Having a cycle done by fish is a lot better.
 
luna
  • #3
No, not it's not. Fishless is preferred, as it can be done more quickly, and doesn't force whatever fish you're cycling with to live in a glorified cesspool until their tank is cycled.

Besides, tetras and guppies aren't solitary fish, so she'd have to get a whole school of them, and if she wanted a school of tetras or guppies, I don't think she would have posted on the betta forum.
 
susitna-flower
  • #4
Why do you not just get a small fish such as a tetra to begin your cycle or a guppy. Having a cycle done by fish is a lot better.


PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS ADVICE! For months and months, we have consistently been telling people fishless is the way to go....trying to counter the bad advice given out by all the "expert" chain store employees, who try to sell cycle, and a whole bunch of fish!

I personally have never tried to use shrimp, or raw fish....and can imagine it is horrid. If you want to take it out, and change the water....don't do anything to the filter, just continue running it as it is....if there is a ACE Hardware near you, they might have 100% ammonia.....that would be fine....then you just add according to the directions on the link here at the top of this page under ARTICLES, to the nitrogen cycle...it tells about how much to put in, and how to add it every day.....

This should be just fine, and smell lots better!

You can't use household cleaner ammonia, it has ingredients that are harmful "surfacents", that cause problems....IF the bottle says 100% ammonia, shake the bottle....no bubbles ......it is ok...Don't use anything that has other additives like perfume ....
 
Shawnie
  • #5
also, maybe you have too much in it...you don't need a whole lot..just a lil peice ....but you can always take them out and feed it fish food a lil each day...DONT cycle with fish..its not fair to them ....amonia is totally poisioning them...goodluck!
 
chickadee
  • #6
The ammonia method is by far the easiest, cleanest, and quickest way to go as the ammonia is already there. If you use fish, shrimp, fish food or any other matter it takes time to convert it to ammonia. With the ammonia you skip that step. It also does not make a mess in the tank. With fish food or shrimp or fish it decomposes and makes a real mess.

Of course the easiest and quickest of all is to use Bio-spira or Turbostart700 which is clean and totally instant. BUT expensive...very expensive and hard to find as yet.

Rose
 
chickadee
  • #7
Hello Rose,

We are actually in the process of launching a new version of BIO-Spira. The new version does not require refrigeration, which will allow more stores to carry it. Hopefully, this will greatly increase the availability. I believe the new version of BIO-Spira is supposed to come out around mid-May to early June. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

Sincerely,

Marineland Consumer Relations


This is a communication I received from Marineland not long ago and wanted to let you know that Bio-spira will soon be changing and perhaps the cost will be more reasonable. Maybe the cost of the product will not change much but the transportation method will not mean refrigeration and that will cut the price a lot. It may be that many other stores that have not previously been able to handle it will be able to carry it and it will be available locally most places. We will have to wait and see.

So let's all hope that the product is effective and much more reasonable.

Rose
 
COBettaCouple
  • #8
The ammonia is pretty smelly. I moved the tank out to the back porch when I did a tank that way. :-O
 
ara
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I gave up! Yesterday I took the shrimp out, cleaned the tank with baking soda and put it in the back yard to dry out. It was a terrible experience. Unfortunately I had to clean the filters too (nasty smell) but it is better to lose 2 days old good bacteria than grow maggots. I bought a pure ammonia bottle from 99cents store (hope it is pure, ingredients were not listed). It is almost impossible to find PURE ammonia around my area that's why I started with a shrimp. Never again!
Could you, please, recommend a good heater for my Eclipse 6 gal tank? Eclipse has a full hood (covers all top, no top openings) so I can not use something that hangs on a wall inside/outside the tank.
 
luna
  • #10
Baking soda? Umm...that may do more harm than good, but I'll wait for someone with more experience to address that potential issue.

As for the dollar-store ammonia, it's not going to be pure. Dollar store generic stuff will almost certainly have some sort of additives in it. If there aren't ingredients listed, I wouldn't trust it - I know there are a couple of tests you can do to rule out some additives, but I don't know what they are, or if they would verify that the stuff is safe to use.

Heater - that's an easy one. Visi-Therm Stealth; it doesn't have any glass! A 25-watt would be sufficient, but the 50-watt is the same size, won't be too powerful, and is the same price. The Stealths are on sale here:

I've got the 50-watt in my 5g, and haven't had any problems.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #11
It sounds like what will probably work best for you is the flakes method. Just add a pinch of flakes to the tank every 12 hours. Set the tank up as far from where you'd smell it as possible too.
 
pamd
  • #12
I gave up! Yesterday I took the shrimp out, cleaned the tank with baking soda and put it in the back yard to dry out. It was a terrible experience. Unfortunately I had to clean the filters too (nasty smell) but it is better to lose 2 days old good bacteria than grow maggots. I bought a pure ammonia bottle from 99cents store (hope it is pure, ingredients were not listed). It is almost impossible to find PURE ammonia around my area that's why I started with a shrimp. Never again!
Could you, please, recommend a good heater for my Eclipse 6 gal tank? Eclipse has a full hood (covers all top, no top openings) so I can not use something that hangs on a wall inside/outside the tank.

As susitna-flower mentioned, one test is to shake the bottle and make sure it doesn't suds up at the top. You may see a few very small air bubbles, but no suds if it's pure. Does it mention any kind of scent on the label? Then smell it. Does it smell like perfume trying to cover up the ammonia smell? Not very scientific, I know, but it's the best advice I found while researching the ammonia method. If it does suds or have scent, don't use it!

I used the ammonia method to cycle my six-gallon Eclipse and it seemed to work very well. I misplaced my earliest record on this tank, but it seems it took a little less than a month to cycle. That may not be a good measuring stick for you, though, because I started with BIO-Spira. However, test results were not as expected a week later and I felt pretty sure the BIO-Spira was either dead or weak. It probably was weak and probably helped speed the cycle a bit, though.

Heater - that's an easy one. Visi-Therm Stealth; it doesn't have any glass! A 25-watt would be sufficient, but the 50-watt is the same size, won't be too powerful, and is the same price. The Stealths are on sale here:

I've got the 50-watt in my 5g, and haven't had any problems.
I use a 50-watt Visi-Therm Stealth, too. It works very well in the Eclipse. It's fully submersible, so you stick it to the acrylic with the included suction cups and the cord comes out the little notch on the back of the hood.

$13.49 from luna's link is a great price! I paid about $30 for mine at one of the chain stores. That's how much it cost at three different stores.

Good luck with your cycle!
 
chickadee
  • #13
Everyone is going to yell at me but I used plain household ammonia and it had surfactants. It was not while the fish was in there but I did use it. When I was done I did a great big water change and then put my little girl in there and she was fine. It took less than two weeks to get the cycle completed but I would not recommend it for anyone else to do it. The very best way is the Bio-spira or Turbostart700 route of course, the thing is that no one listens to me and they all do the testing every day and get themselves freaked out. The trick is to put the stuff in the tank and NOT do any water changes or TESTING for the first 7 days as the results will be a false positive. It is the cycle happening. The bacteria are already there to protect the fish and everyone gets all upset because they see ammonia and nitrites in the testing. It is a normal thing and this is why we say don't test. The reaction is usually someone throwing the water out and doing a water change and that ruins the cycle process. It works if we let it.
The other methods are going to take time. The longest method is the flake food method as it takes time for the flakes to turn to the ammonia you need. You will have a very messy tank and it is going to smell before you are done, maybe not as bad as the fish or shrimp but it will smell. The ammonia does not form until something is rotting and whether it be shrimp, fish, or flakes it is not a good smell. I do wish you all the luck but if your nose is that touchy, I am just sending fair warning that there are going to be a few rough days and perhaps a couple weeks. It is going to have to happen somehow. Sorry.

Rose
 
Peterpiper
  • #14
Everyone is going to yell at me but I used plain household ammonia and it had surfactants. It was not while the fish was in there but I did use it. When I was done I did a great big water change and then put my little girl in there and she was fine. It took less than two weeks to get the cycle completed but I would not recommend it for anyone else to do it. The very best way is the Bio-spira or Turbostart700 route of course, the thing is that no one listens to me and they all do the testing every day and get themselves freaked out. The trick is to put the stuff in the tank and NOT do any water changes or TESTING for the first 7 days as the results will be a false positive. It is the cycle happening. The bacteria are already there to protect the fish and everyone gets all upset because they see ammonia and nitrites in the testing. It is a normal thing and this is why we say don't test. The reaction is usually someone throwing the water out and doing a water change and that ruins the cycle process. It works if we let it.
The other methods are going to take time. The longest method is the flake food method as it takes time for the flakes to turn to the ammonia you need. You will have a very messy tank and it is going to smell before you are done, maybe not as bad as the fish or shrimp but it will smell. The ammonia does not form until something is rotting and whether it be shrimp, fish, or flakes it is not a good smell. I do wish you all the luck but if your nose is that touchy, I am just sending fair warning that there are going to be a few rough days and perhaps a couple weeks. It is going to have to happen somehow. Sorry.

Rose

Well said Rose
Cycling will take as long as it takes, if you mess with it it will just take longer.
 
ara
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
It looks like the more I read the more confused I get... I cleaned the tank, added new water with Prime and checked Ammonia and Nitrite levels: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.25. Can it be possible? How can I get Nitrites without Ammonia in a fishless tank? I have not even started to cycle yet!
Could you please tell me how much pure ammonia I have to add to cycle the tank. One source says 5 drops per 10 gallons, another - 5 drops per 1 gallon.
 
ara
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Thanks, COBettaCouple for the link. I have read it before. This is the article that says to add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of water. However, flippersandfins.net recommend 5 drops per gallon. That's why I would like to hear from somebody who has done cycle and can give me the correct information.
Sorry to bother you, guys, with my questions. I am sure they sound silly to you. But everything is new to me and looks very uneasy and complicated. If I had a decent fish store near me I would be able to find all the answers I need. Unfortunately, there are only Petsmarts and Petcos around. And you know it is useless to try to get some information from them.
 
pamd
  • #18
I went by the ammonia method described from the link Dave (CoBettaCouple) provided and it worked fine. That is, 5 drops per 10 gallons, although I seem to recall adding a few extra drops to get the initial ammonia reading as recommended in the instructions, then using that number of drops daily, also as recommended.
 
Peterpiper
  • #19
As the % of ammonia will vary form one brand to another the drop method is not the best to use, % of ammonia can vary from 3% to 37.5%.
As this tank is being cycled for 1 Betta I would do the following.
Add 3 drops of the ammonia to the fishless tank and mix. Using your ammonia test kit, test the water, I would be aiming for a reading of 2-3ppm ammonia.
Keep adding the ammonia and testing till you reach 2-3ppm. if you go over 2-3ppm a small water change will bring it down.
Hope this helps
 
chickadee
  • #20
I use the exact directions according to the article at the link Dave gave and had excellent results.

Rose

Of course I now use the Turbostart700 to cycle the tanks so I cannot say that it is my current method.
 

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