Fish for cycling with Safe Start

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happygolucky

happygolucky

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Are cardinals hardy(I want them, draw gourami, and corydora habrosus in a 20g)? Or do I need to rethink my stock of fish for my tank because I need to have fish for Tetra SafeStart?
 

tyguy7760

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If those are the 3 fish you want in your tank I would consider a fishless cycle. Lots of people cycle with certain types of danios or tetras (or in my case cherry barbs) and then return them to the LFS after the cycling is finished. I personally feel that is putting the fish through a lot of stress (being moved twice plus going through a cycling) and I don't like doing it. But plenty of people do. I still have my cherry barbs and will soon up their number I like them so much.

You don't have to have fish for tetra safe start. You can dose your aquarium with ammonia. I did not do this so I will leave instructions to someone who knows more about it.
 
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VAFish

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I had success with a fish-in cycle, and I did use zebra danios. Since I put them through helping me cycle my tank, I had to keep them. I wouldn't feel right just "using" them. They now are in a cool water 30g after cycling my 75.


 

ClearEyes

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I would definitely not use fish for a cycle and then return them to the LFS. Some poor soul down the road is then going to purchase fish who have been through trauma already.

Definitely fishless cycle, if you've already decided on that particular stock.
 
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happygolucky

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Any specifics on how to do this with Tetra SafeStart? Do I just need to also add ammonia?
 

Coradee

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Yes, you need to add ammonia with the safe start if you're going to do a fishless cycle with it, keep the level under 4ppm for best effect.
 

tyguy7760

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Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. If you don't get an ammonia reading with your test kit, add some more drops until you start to see an ammonia reading. Keep track of how many drops you've used so you can repeat this process daily. Continue to dose the tank with ammonia until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water, or if you added more drops originally to get an ammonia reading cut the amount of drops used in half. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Do a 30% water change and your tank is ready.

Another thing that you can do is if you have a LFS that keeps their tanks really clean and healthy, you can see if they will give you some filter media or something from one of their tanks. Transport that to your filter and it will cut down on the amount of time it takes to cycle. This is risky though because if your LFS has parasites or diseases in their tanks then it could transfer to yours.
 

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If you choose the fishless method, check that the ammonia you use is free of soap or detergent. The easiest way to do this is to to put any clean water into a test tube; the surface will, if you look closely, appear to be bowl shaped. (This is because of the electrical field that develops over the surface of the water, and is called the meniscus)
Add a drop of the ammonia that you intend to use to the water; if the meniscus flattens out, don't use that ammonia as is has soap or detergent in it (wetting agents). If the bowl shaped meniscus remains, the ammonia is safe to use. Or, you could spend about 1,000 X more and get Dr. Tim's Best of luck, rick
 
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Coradee

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Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. If you don't get an ammonia reading with your test kit, add some more drops until you start to see an ammonia reading. Keep track of how many drops you've used so you can repeat this process daily. Continue to dose the tank with ammonia until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water, or if you added more drops originally to get an ammonia reading cut the amount of drops used in half. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Do a 30% water change and your tank is ready
Full article can be found here
 
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happygolucky

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Thanks everyone, I am receiving my test kit today, and will begin cycling my tank once I purchase a good filter
 

Et tu

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If you choose the fishless method, check that the ammonia you use is free of soap or detergent. The easiest way to do this is to to put any clean water into a test tube; the surface will, if you look closely, appear to be bowl shaped. (This is because of the electrical field that develops over the surface of the water, and is called the meniscus)
Add a drop of the ammonia that you intend to use to the water; if the meniscus flattens out, don't use that ammonia as is has soap or detergent in it (wetting agents). If the bowl shaped meniscus remains, the ammonia is safe to use. Or, you could spend about 1,000 X more and get Dr. Tim's Best of luck, rick
Excellent information, good description.
 

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Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. If you don't get an ammonia reading with your test kit, add some more drops until you start to see an ammonia reading. Keep track of how many drops you've used so you can repeat this process daily. Continue to dose the tank with ammonia until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water, or if you added more drops originally to get an ammonia reading cut the amount of drops used in half. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit.
I don't recommend dosing daily with ammonia until you get a nitrite reading ESPECIALLY when you are using Tetra Safe Start. You can easily get the ammonia concentrate above 4 ppm when you do this and that will cause a problem. I would just initially dose it up to between 2 ppm and 4 ppm of ammonia and then wait until it falls below 1 ppm of ammonia before I dosed it again with ammonia. This will ensure you don't damage the Tetra Safe Start bacteria and will also make your fishless cycle complete faster.
 

Emily Caldwell

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Everyone does this differently. I dosed mine to 2.0 ppm ammonia and did regular water changes. Took about 6 weeks to fully cycle but was totally worth it. The ammonia and nitrite never got above 0 and I put 20 African Cichlid juveniles in at once. You may have to go higher than 2.0 ppm ammonia depending on your stocking/bioload.

It can be tough to find the right ammonia. I went to 5 different stores before I found it. The place that had the right stuff was Ace Hardware. I tried Walmart, Target, Home Depot and 2 grocery stores with no luck. Definitely be careful and get one that is pure ammonia with no detergents or surfactants (as others have mentioned.)

I also found it helpful to test my water daily and track everything in a spreadsheet. That might be too much for some people but I liked having a record of the process.
 
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