Discussion: Defining a mature/established system - What's your take?

  1. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    Hi everyone,
    [wasn't sure where this fits, as it applies to both FW and SW, it's not really Advanced Topic, and not really a Hot Topic]

    So quite regularly I find myself advising that "< x species > need an established tank", and yet when I think about the statement, I find myself then thinking 'but what is an established system?'

    Quite often we say 8-12 months, but why? is this conditional (i.e. no diseases, crashes)
    I've heard people quote 4 months, 6 months.

    My definition is "a system that has been running long enough, without changes (filters etc), that is stable in parameters, and no matter what I do with water changes etc, the parameters don't change"

    I would also define it by "being comfortable that I know what's going on in the system, and that every time I do x, y happens"

    But I'm curious as to what other members consider "mature/established"

    Please qualify your comments
     
  2. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member


  3. psalm18.2 Fishlore Legend Member

    My opinion is a tank is established when water parameters stay constant, plants are thriving, fish aren't sick, and I can clean a filter w/out a mini-cycle. When tank maintenance is minimal and only done as scheduled.
    (For my planted tank, 1x a week) other tank/fish vary. When one has it all down as to light, frets, and fish balance. I don't think we can put a time line on this topic. Tanks offer and so do people.
     
  4. sirdarksol Fishlore Legend Member

    In part, it depends on why you're wanting to know if it's a mature system.
    For example, are you wanting to share filter media? In that case, I would say it's conditional: A system that can handle minor changes without a fluctuation/crash. It's gone through the initial cloudy cycles, the diatom surge (if it's going to happen), and that sort of thing.
    However, if you're wanting to know because you want to get filter-feeders or something like that, you're looking to have given the tank enough time to build up a thriving colony of micro-fauna and -flora in the water column. Short of taking water samples and putting them under a microscope, this is difficult to determine, so setting a rather arbitrary time limit is usually the way to go. I generally look at this as "At least six months, but a year is preferable."
     
  5. LyndaB Fishlore Legend Member

    My definition of an "established tank" as we see the phrase used in regards to stocking a sensitive species is a tank that has had steady parameters, no major changes like substrate change-out, no surprises and no health issues for at least 6 months.
     
  6. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I think it's the fish keeper that needs time to mature and establish themselves. 8-12 months is an arbitrary amount of time for someone to have been able to learn about the hobby and their own aquarium. It gives them time to make mistakes and establish good habits. Am I going to tell an experienced fish keeper that they should wait 8-12 months to try discus? No.

    Also, I think the media is what is established/matured, not the tank itself (excluding providing food). I'm confident that when I move media from one tank to another, that it will support any fish I get.

    I agree with your definitions.

    I would define it as "no longer worried about losing the cycle."
     
  7. catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    Established = Stable

    That is my definition. Time is an irrelevant factor.

    Water parameters are 0,0,<20
    Ph doesn't fluctuate more than 0.4 degrees in 24 hours
    Temp held at target range
    Plants growing and have no signs of deficiency
    Fish healthy, no signs of disease
     
  8. JoannaB Well Known Member Member

    Definition of "established tank"

    Occasionally I see references to "established tank," such as "these fish or shrimp should only be added to an established tank" or "if the tank is established then you can ..."

    When you use the words "established tank" what exactly do you mean? I assume it is more than just cycled tank? If so, how much more? Does the definition vary by context and who is talking or is this a fairly well defined term. I know that cycled tank means ammonia and nitrites are both 0, but I have the sense that "established tank" is a less exact term, right?

    Would anyone call a tank that has just finished cycling established? If not, what is the shortest amount of time or the minimum criterion you would accept?

    If this term is not defined or if definitions vary greatly, then I would suggest that it be replaced as often as possible with clearer instructions, such as "do not add this fish unless you have had the tank for at least six months and have plenty of grean algea" etc. Otherwise the instructions of "only in an established tank" may be confusing.
     
  9. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Usually, it means a tank that has been cycled and running for more than a few months as fluctuations in the peramiters are more likely in a tank that has just finished cycling.
     
  10. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Good topic.

    I think people have different definitions. It's one of those gray areas.
    Some think it could be as low as three months others six or more.
    Personally, I'd go say at least six months.
     
  11. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    :;du merged Joanna's thread with this one.
     
  12. Featherfin Member Member

    I agree with this! Though, with this hobby, I feel that time is important, for the reasons that Jaysee listed.

    Also agree with Jaysee in that the media establishes rather than the tank itself. Though, I keep mainly NPTs, that run no filtration. I think I would prefer to say that those tanks themselves are established since they have no media, even though technically you could move all the dirt and plants to another tank and not have an issue. That would be a big mess though, especially when comparing it to just moving a filter around. So perhaps you could say that some tanks themselves are established.
     
  13. Eienna Fishlore VIP Member

    So, basically, it seems that if I can be fairly confident in things staying about even and without major or unexpected fluctuations, it can be considered mature, I guess.