Fish-In cycle Day 2

  • #1
Yesterday, I got a great deal on a 29 gallon tank with a Fluval 3 Plus filter and Ebo-Jager heater. I decided to do a "fish-in" cycle (yes, yes... I know...) So I set up the tank and added tap water, Aquaeon dechlorinator (15ml as stated on the bottle for tank size) and some Start Zyme (also 15ml). I also bought a mesh bag, rinsed it and added some gravel from our established tank (36gallon) with a piece of filter floss and the carbon from it as well. I threw all that in a corner of the tank. Set the heater to 80 and waited a few hours to make sure everything was working.
Next I bought 3 Giant Danios and a Marimo Moss Ball. I let them float around in the bag for 15 minutes and released them. They seemed to be doing well. Late last night I noticed that one of them was hanging out toward the bottom of the tank, while the other 2 were up in the corner by the filter. The guy at the bottom seemed to be breathing really fast but I decided to go to sleep and just check on them in the morning.
This morning I wake up and the fish that was at the bottom was dead and the other 2 are up by the filter still just hanging out. The water is a little cloudy. I turned down the heater to 76 (It's still turning on and off on its own but I don't know why, if the water is hotter than what it is set at) I fed the remaining 2 a tiny bit of food and they were both eating. I even turned off the fluorescent light (just in case it was stressing them out).
What am I doing wrong? I thought that I could add the fish immediately after adding filter media and Start Zyme. I have another tank that is established that I can put the other fish in, but I have never tried a "true" fish in cycle before and I want to get through this. So PLEASE don't make this a Fish-in Fish-out debate!!!
My API test kit reads as follows (tested immediately after removing dead fish):
PH: 7.4
Ammonia: >.25
Nitrites: 0
Should I do a PWC even though the ammonia levels are still so low? The temp is still reading that it's 82, so I have the top open in the hopes that it will cool off quicker. Should I add some more Live plants from the 36 gallon? Should I just leave everything alone until I get a spike in ammonia readings? I don't want to add more chemicals if I don't have to, but we do have water clarifyer and Easy Balance plus.
Do I need to add more Start Zyme if I end up doing a PWC? I don't remember having any of these problems with the 36. Also: I'm using the same filter media that I bought with the filter, so would there be any good bacteria on that, even though it was dried out?
Sorry for all the questions and the long winded-ness. I just don't want to leave anything out. Thanks in advance! I've been lurking around this site for a while now and you guys seem to always have good advice!
  • #2
Hello nro...

Cycling a tank with fish can be done in 30 days or even less with no chemicals, just water treatment and no harm to the fish as long as you use a hardy species that will tolerate the somewhat poor water conditions that happen during the cycling process. Female Guppies, Platys, Rasboras, Danios and White Cloud minnows are very hardy.

Here are the basics: You set up the tank and add some floating plants like Hornwort, Anacharis or Pennywort. These are available at the pet stores that sell fish. You add several individual stems and let the tank run for a few days, so the plants can settle the water chemistry.

You add 3 to 4 fish for every 10 gallons of water and feed them a little bit every day. After a day or two, you begin testing the water for traces of ammonia or nitrite. If your test shows a trace of either of these forms of nitrogen, you remove 25 percent of the water in the tank and replace it with pure, treated tap water. This water change will get the chemistry back into the safe zone for the fish and leave enough dissolved waste for the growing bacteria colony.

Just test the water every day and remove one-quarter when needed. When several daily tests show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is cycled. Once cycled, you remove and replace at least half the water weekly to keep the fish and plants healthy.

  • #3
Welcome to FishLore! I hope you enjoy the site
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
So I should add 8 or 9 more fish and a bunch more plants to get the cycle underway? I have plenty of live plants from the other tank that I can add clippings of but I don't want to add more fish if there is something that I am not doing correctly with the water. The test results that I posted were from a couple of hours ago, are you saying that I just don't have enough fish in the tank to get the ammonia up high enough for the startzyme bacteria to feed on or that it is too soon for the fish that I have to produce enough waste?
  • #5
oldsalt777 the only thing I might differ on is the amount of fish. IMO 1 or 2 per 10 gallon to start out with. 10 of any fish in a 29 gallon from scratch is going to cause a large quick spike that could be hard to control. nroutz let your tank water get down to a decent temp. Get rid of any and all dried out used filter media. Get a bucket with 10 or so gallons of water dechloinated and aerated ready and at the same temp as the tank.
Stop feeding.
Do a PWC with the seasoned 10g.
Now you're on track to test and continue. Feed sparingly and keep a bucket of water ready to go for PWC.
  • #6
Hi, welcome to fishlore

I agree with leftswerve and personally would only have 1 fish per 10 gallon or perhaps 4 for the 29 to cycle with.

Because you are using seeded media (I would actually put this in the HOB along with new filter materials), you should cycle pretty quickly. No, the dried out media does not contain bacteria.

I'd pick up Seachem Prime because the Aqueon water conditioner does not protect from ammonia and nitrites which Prime does. This will keep your fish safe while cycling with the media. You can dose for full volume of the tank every 24-48 hours.

Did you test the ph in the bag? Did you add any tank water in your bag and acclimate over 30 minutes or really just put them straight in? Moving is stressful as they have gone to the pet store then to your house. Its possible that its just from the move.

You don't need to do a water change yet. If you are dosing prime then when ammonia + nitrites gets close to 1.0 do a 50% water change or larger. Just make sure to keep dosing it every24-48 hours.
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  • #7
No, I didn't test the PH from the pet store bag- I didn't even think about it, honestly. I have some PH down, should I add any of that or just leave it alone? They did float around in the bag before I let them out for about 15 minutes- I thought that if you left them in longer it depletes the oxygen that's in the bag (?)
I realized that I didn't wait long enough for the ammonia test and after re-doing it, my reading was at .25. So I unplugged the heater all together and did a small water change (about 5 gallons). The temp is sitting at 78 now. Heading topick up some Prime and a new filter sponge in the hope that all of this plus the added plants will save my fishies. Guess I will try adding 2 more fish and see if things go all right. I feel like I really mucked all of this up! ???
  • #8
I'd leave it alone at this point, I'd stay away from the up and down products

You can acclimate by either adding a little tank water into the bag over 20-30 minutes or putting them in a bowl and adding your tank water over the same amount of time.

I don't think you mucked it up at all. You put the seeded media in and didn't over stock your tank. Those are two
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Thanks! So I picked up 3 tiny zebra danios, a bottle of Prime, a couple more live plants and new filter foam for the Fluval. Letting the fish acclimate to the temperature and then adding a little water from the tank for a bit. The 36 is getting a water and filter change and I'm gonna try to stuff that media in with the new foam, and add the water from that tank to mine (a total of about 10 gallons or so). The temp is steady now at 76 which is hopefully still warm enough for the bacteria to grow. I'll add some Prime after all that's done and hope for the best!
  • #10
Unfortunately there really isn't much if any nitrifying bacteria in the water column which is why you can change out 90% of the water and have no negative effects on a cycled tank. They adhere to surfaces so media is your best location, some on the top layer of gravel etc.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Okay cool, so I'll just take the filter floss from it then, I don't need to add the carbon that's in there right? or should I just throw the whole thing in there? There isn't much room in my filter anyways so if I don't need to add anything but the padding, it would be easier. I'm going to leave the gravel and media that is already in a mesh bag in the tank though.
  • #12
2 fish should be fine to cycle it. Just do daily water changes until cloudiness goes away. It has worked for me at least.
  • #13
If you don't have much room you can dump the carbon

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