Fast Fishless Cycle.

Thunder_o_b

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I was asked to post my reply to another thread as its own thread.

This is a method that I and past members have used many times.

I welcome critical feed back but please be prepared to verify your critique.

1. The Ph must be above 7.0 as you get below 7.0 ammonia turns to ammonium and becomes harder and harder for the first stage bacteria to convert to nitrite.

2. The water temp needs to be high, in the range of 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the warmer the water is the less O2 it holds in suspension, it is necessary to have very vigorous aeration to facilitate the gas exchange. The warmer water speeds up the activity of the bacteria.

3. Add clear ammonia to the range of 12 PPM. It can be more or a bit less. Test the water at least once a day and keep the ammonia at this level.

4. After the clear ammonia has been added on the first day add this Seachem - Stability Add 2 to 3x what the bottle says to use. Check the expiration date to be sure it is fresh. You will add this every day. Get a large bottle. And be sure to shake it.

5. Be sure to have the full filtration that you will need for a fully stocked aquarium up and running from day one. I recommend 10x the water column or greater.

6. Do not do a water change yet, the secondary bacteria needs the nitrites to convert to nitrates.
Watch the readings. When you start to see nitrates stop adding ammonia. When the ammonia and nitrites hit 0-0 PPM do a large water change (50%-70%) and start from the beginning one more time. When the readings once again read 0-0-PPM with nitrates the aquarium is ready to fully stock. The bacteria will die back to match the needs of the stock. But you need to move fast. Bacteria expands and contracts rapidly in relation to the food (ammonia, nitrite) available. If you wait too long the bacteria will die back, and you will have an unicycle aquarium. So time this carefully.

I offer my sincere and best wishes to all of you. It is a lot of work and there is no room for skipping steps. But if done properly you should have a fully cycled aquarium in less than two weeks.

EDIT: Just to be on the safe side add stability per the directions on the bottle after the fish are added.

EDIT#2: Have the aquarium completely setup the way you want it to be before you start this. I have been told that you can do this with plants in but I have not done this so I can not say for sure that is the case.
 
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Thunder_o_b

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Kiks said:
Just out of curiosity, why do you add up to 12 ppm ammonia? That is a lot.
Actually we have had past members set it much higher. I guess it is an arbitrary number. But like most life forms if all other parameters are optimum, abundant food leads to a quick population explosion. So you can cycle in days not months.
 

Kiks

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Thunder_o_b said:
Actually we have had past members set it much higher. I guess it is an arbitrary number. But like most life forms if all other parameters are optimum, abundant food leads to a quick population explosion. So you can cycle in days not months.
That makes sense. Every time I've cycled with pure ammonia I've dosed much less than that, but I see the idea behind dosing more.
 
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Thunder_o_b

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Kiks said:
That makes sense. Every time I've cycled with pure ammonia I've dosed much less than that, but I see the idea behind dosing more.
Give it a shot the next time and let us know your results
 

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Thunder_o_b said:
I was asked to post my reply to another thread as its own thread.

This is a method that I and past members have used many times.

I welcome critical feed back but please be prepared to verify your critique.

1. The Ph must be above 7.0 as you get below 7.0 ammonia turns to ammonium and becomes harder and harder for the first stage bacteria to convert to nitrite.

2. The water temp needs to be high, in the range of 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the warmer the water is the less O2 it holds in suspension, it is necessary to have very vigorous aeration to facilitate the gas exchange. The warmer water speeds up the activity of the bacteria.

3. Add clear ammonia to the range of 12 PPM. It can be more or a bit less. Test the water at least once a day and keep the ammonia at this level.

4. After the clear ammonia has been added on the first day add this Seachem - Stability Add 2 to 3x what the bottle says to use. Check the expiration date to be sure it is fresh. You will add this every day. Get a large bottle. And be sure to shake it.

5. Be sure to have the full filtration that you will need for a fully stocked aquarium up and running from day one. I recommend 10x the water column or greater.

6. Do not do a water change yet, the secondary bacteria needs the nitrites to convert to nitrates.
Watch the readings. When you start to see nitrates stop adding ammonia. When the ammonia and nitrites hit 0-0 PPM do a large water change (50%-70%) and start from the beginning one more time. When the readings once again read 0-0-PPM with nitrates the aquarium is ready to fully stock. The bacteria will die back to match the needs of the stock. But you need to move fast. Bacteria expands and contracts rapidly in relation to the food (ammonia, nitrite) available. If you wait too long the bacteria will die back, and you will have an unicycle aquarium. So time this carefully.

I offer my sincere and best wishes to all of you. It is a lot of work and there is no room for skipping steps. But if done properly you should have a fully cycled aquarium in less than two weeks.

EDIT: Just to be on the safe side add stability per the directions on the bottle after the fish are added.

EDIT#2: Have the aquarium completely setup the way you want it to be before you start this. I have been told that you can do this with plants in but I have not done this so I can not say for sure that is the case.
So daily you have to add one parts ammonia and 3x stability until I see a shift towards nitrites and nitrates which are both currently zero?
 

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Yes, I just wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly this is day five and nothings happening reeally. When should I start to see the shift with nitrites and nitrates with this process I am not seeing anything yet I’ve been everything as stated above. What could I do next
 

jogypsygirl

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BlessedMommy said:
Yes, I just wanted to make sure I was doing iI t correctly this is day five and nothings happening reeally. When should I start to see the shift with nitrites and nitrates with this process I am not seeing anything yet I’ve been everything as stated above. What could I do next
I have the same question as blessed mommy when do we expect to start seeing nitrites and nitrates?
 

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Just to be the heretic, I'll relate what has worked best for me in cycling tanks, and I do it without any additives.

I've cycled dozens of tanks in my life, and always used cheap goldfish from the LFS. I'd set up my tanks, let them run a couple days, then put in a goldfish (10G tanks). I'd feed normally, then start checking the water. Ammonia would show up in a couple days, then I'd start doing a 25% water change every other day. In one to two weeks, nitrites would show up, and ammonia would begin to drop. Nothing more than regular feeding and 25% water changes every other day. After three to four weeks, ammonia would be about gone, nitrites would be high, and nitrates would show up. The tanks were fully cycled in five to six weeks. Easy, reliable, just stick the fish in, monitor the water for fun, and moderate water changes every other day.

I know there are people who have used the cycle starters successfully, like the OP. But to be honest it looks so complicated. If you miss a step you're right back where you started. I believe that's why almost everyone who pulls their hair out trying like crazy to get a cycle started and having no luck are people who are using cycle starters, safe start, stability, etc. I advocate a simple routine and letting nature take its course.

For the record, I'd take the goldfish back to the LFS when I was done, and they were amazed at how much size they'd put on. It didn't seem to harm the fish at all.

Just my opinion.
 

jogypsygirl

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Hmm. Food for thought. Did your goldfish survive as long as you were doing regular water changes? Why do people say that the first fish so often die?

WhoKnows said:
Just to be the heretic, I'll relate what has worked best for me in cycling tanks, and I do it without any additives.

I've cycled dozens of tanks in my life, and always used cheap goldfish from the LFS. I'd set up my tanks, let them run a couple days, then put in a goldfish (10G tanks). I'd feed normally, then start checking the water. Ammonia would show up in a couple days, then I'd start doing a 25% water change every other day. In one to two weeks, nitrites would show up, and ammonia would begin to drop. Nothing more than regular feeding and 25% water changes every other day. After three to four weeks, ammonia would be about gone, nitrites would be high, and nitrates would show up. The tanks were fully cycled in five to six weeks. Easy, reliable, just stick the fish in, monitor the water for fun, and moderate water changes every other day.

I know there are people who have used the cycle starters successfully, like the OP. But to be honest it looks so complicated. If you miss a step you're right back where you started. I believe that's why almost everyone who pulls their hair out trying like crazy to get a cycle started and having no luck are people who are using cycle starters, safe start, stability, etc. I advocate a simple routine and letting nature take its course.

For the record, I'd take the goldfish back to the LFS when I was done, and they were amazed at how much size they'd put on. It didn't seem to harm the fish at all.

Just my opinion.
Hmm. Food for thought! Why do people say that the first fish so often die? Is it because they don’t do enough water changes? Did all of your goldfish survive as long as you were doing regular water changes? Do you think my betta would be the same as a goldfish? And last Q: do you know where I could find detailed instructions for doing it your way?
 

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All my goldfish not only survived, they thrived. I cycled 20 tanks over about three or four months. My LFS guy said to get a couple cheap goldfish to cycle the tanks with. They cycled the tanks, then I took them back to the LFS and they had doubled in size.

I just started out doing 25% water changes every other day while the tanks were cycling. I tested the water every other day before I did the water change. Nice, smooth cycle, no spikes, ended up 0, 0, 20 ppm.

No detailed instructions. When you're cycling with additives there is a long list of instructions. I think that might be why so many people have such trouble with it. Let nature take its course. If you test every other day you'll be able to see if things are going bad with your water parameters and you can bump the water change percentage if necessary. I never had to do that.

I'm not saying this is the only way to cycle your tanks. But if you look at the many posts on this forum from people who are pulling their hair out because their tanks aren't cycling, the cycle is stuck, or they have ammonia or nitrite spikes, about 100% of them are cycling with some kind of cycle additives. I haven't seen a single person who is doing the natural way have any trouble.

I think the title of this thread explains why I advocate this message. "Fast Fishless Cycle." I advocate for patience. If you're looking for something to dump in that make the cycle process "fast," I think you're asking for trouble.

I'm sure that dosing with pure ammonia would work just as well with the natural cycle, but I've never done it that way. The goldfish just worked too well to change.
 

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WhoKnows said:
All my goldfish not only survived, they thrived. I cycled 20 tanks over about three or four months. My LFS guy said to get a couple cheap goldfish to cycle the tanks with. They cycled the tanks, then I took them back to the LFS and they had doubled in size.

I just started out doing 25% water changes every other day while the tanks were cycling. I tested the water every other day before I did the water change. Nice, smooth cycle, no spikes, ended up 0, 0, 20 ppm.

No detailed instructions. When you're cycling with additives there is a long list of instructions. I think that might be why so many people have such trouble with it. Let nature take its course. If you test every other day you'll be able to see if things are going bad with your water parameters and you can bump the water change percentage if necessary. I never had to do that.

I'm not saying this is the only way to cycle your tanks. But if you look at the many posts on this forum from people who are pulling their hair out because their tanks aren't cycling, the cycle is stuck, or they have ammonia or nitrite spikes, about 100% of them are cycling with some kind of cycle additives. I haven't seen a single person who is doing the natural way have any trouble.

I think the title of this thread explains why I advocate this message. "Fast Fishless Cycle." I advocate for patience. If you're looking for something to dump in that make the cycle process "fast," I think you're asking for trouble.

I'm sure that dosing with pure ammonia would work just as well with the natural cycle, but I've never done it that way. The goldfish just worked too well to change.
Hmm, MUCH food for thought! I have been maintaining my little betta in the 2 gallon bowl he was gifted to me in while I try and get his tank up and running. I do about 50% water changes every three to four days (and a complete one every few times) and add aquarium salt. When I test his water before the change there is no ammonia or ntrate/ntrite. So i now have a feel of how to keep him relatively happy. I experimented with salt and without salt and with complete water changes every time and this is the method that seems to make him comfortable, alert and active. So, from what you're saying, I am understanding that if I were to move him to his 5 gallon tank (with sponge filter and heater) and just keep up with the water changes you suggest, he would be fine and eventually the tank would cycle.
So why do people say their fish die that way? Why do people say it's cruel to subject the fish to that? and what mistakes are they making that I don't want to make?

Also, Do you think it will work the same with just a sponge filter as opposed to a stronger filter?
 

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With fish-in cycles, if you're not monitoring your water closely ammonia or nitrite spikes can happen. That's why people say it's cruel to do fish-in cycling. If you monitor your parameters closely and adjust water changes, it won't harm fish.

I'd recommend against adding aquarium salt as a routine unless you have a way of measuring salinity. Salt won't evaporate. If you're increasing salt even a tiny amount every water change, it will eventually become toxic. Also, when you add salt it's a stimulant for fish and they act like they're more energetic and healthier. Nothing that makes them instantly perk up is going to be good for them.
 

jogypsygirl

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WhoKnows said:
With fish-in cycles, if you're not monitoring your water closely ammonia or nitrite spikes can happen. That's why people say it's cruel to do fish-in cycling. If you monitor your parameters closely and adjust water changes, it won't harm fish.

I'd recommend against adding aquarium salt as a routine unless you have a way of measuring salinity. Salt won't evaporate. If you're increasing salt even a tiny amount every water change, it will eventually become toxic. Also, when you add salt it's a stimulant for fish and they act like they're more energetic and healthier. Nothing that makes them instantly perk up is going to be good for them.
Good to know about the salt. I have read that it depends on the water in your area and that in the Pacific Northwest salt seems to help... Not sure why....but I was desperate to make him a little happier because he just didn't seem to do well after his full water changes so I tried salt. I didn't know it acted as a stimulant. Hmm. I'm careful to keep the same measurements and I do a salt-less fill with every complete water change but I will keep thinking on that. Maybe try salt-less again now that i have some other issues figured out.

Thank you so much for all of your input! I'll keep up with the stability for now but if I keep having problems I now feel more confident, thanks to you, that I could start over and do a fish-in cycle. This has been such a learning process and each failure teaches me so much that I really can't regret my mistakes. I'm just glad "Bob" the Betta hasn't had to be in the tank (up till now) while I make them!

Thunder_o_b said:
I was asked to post my reply to another thread as its own thread.

This is a method that I and past members have used many times.

I welcome critical feed back but please be prepared to verify your critique.

1. The Ph must be above 7.0 as you get below 7.0 ammonia turns to ammonium and becomes harder and harder for the first stage bacteria to convert to nitrite.

2. The water temp needs to be high, in the range of 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the warmer the water is the less O2 it holds in suspension, it is necessary to have very vigorous aeration to facilitate the gas exchange. The warmer water speeds up the activity of the bacteria.

3. Add clear ammonia to the range of 12 PPM. It can be more or a bit less. Test the water at least once a day and keep the ammonia at this level.

4. After the clear ammonia has been added on the first day add this Seachem - Stability Add 2 to 3x what the bottle says to use. Check the expiration date to be sure it is fresh. You will add this every day. Get a large bottle. And be sure to shake it.

5. Be sure to have the full filtration that you will need for a fully stocked aquarium up and running from day one. I recommend 10x the water column or greater.

6. Do not do a water change yet, the secondary bacteria needs the nitrites to convert to nitrates.
Watch the readings. When you start to see nitrates stop adding ammonia. When the ammonia and nitrites hit 0-0 PPM do a large water change (50%-70%) and start from the beginning one more time. When the readings once again read 0-0-PPM with nitrates the aquarium is ready to fully stock. The bacteria will die back to match the needs of the stock. But you need to move fast. Bacteria expands and contracts rapidly in relation to the food (ammonia, nitrite) available. If you wait too long the bacteria will die back, and you will have an unicycle aquarium. So time this carefully.

I offer my sincere and best wishes to all of you. It is a lot of work and there is no room for skipping steps. But if done properly you should have a fully cycled aquarium in less than two weeks.

EDIT: Just to be on the safe side add stability per the directions on the bottle after the fish are added.

EDIT#2: Have the aquarium completely setup the way you want it to be before you start this. I have been told that you can do this with plants in but I have not done this so I can not say for sure that is the case.
Thank you so much "Thunder", for your informative post. I have a lot to think about now, especially with the input from "who knows" about fish-in cycles. I will keep trying with the stability and following your directions for now. and If i keep having issues I feel more confident that I can do a fish-in cycle as long as I'm monitoring and changing water.
 
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Thunder_o_b

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jogypsygirl said:
Thank you so much "Thunder", for your informative post. I have a lot to think about now, especially with the input from "who knows" about fish-in cycles. I will keep trying with the stability and following your directions for now. and If i keep having issues I feel more confident that I can do a fish-in cycle as long as I'm monitoring and changing water.
You are welcome
 

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I am still blown away by the 12ppm ammonia. I went by Dr. Tim's instructions every time I did a fishless cycle and never went above 4ppm. I have always been cycled in my tanks in less than 2 weeks. Food for thought though. I was not aware of the PH level need so that is very helpful. Thank you!
 
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Thunder_o_b

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Goldiemom said:
I am still blown away by the 12ppm ammonia. I went by Dr. Tim's instructions every time I did a fishless cycle and never went above 4ppm. I have always been cycled in my tanks in less than 2 weeks. Food for thought though. I was not aware of the PH level need so that is very helpful. Thank you!
You are welcome this is by no means the only way to a quick cycle. But it has worked for several of us quite well
 

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Hey @Thunder_o_b I've never cycled a tank with pure ammonia but I'm curious to learn about it. You add ammonia and test your tank till you get to the desired ppm of ammonia, right? How do you measure 12 ppm of ammonia? Test kit measures up to 8 ppm, right? Just curious.
 
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Thunder_o_b

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pugletfan said:
Hey @Thunder_o_b I've never cycled a tank with pure ammonia but I'm curious to learn about it. You add ammonia and test your tank till you get to the desired ppm of ammonia, right? How do you measure 12 ppm of ammonia? Test kit measures up to 8 ppm, right? Just curious.
8 will be fine. You could dump in a bit more when you hit the end of your test kit if you like. 12 was from my understanding an arbitrary number for "a lot"
 
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