Fish less cycle

  1. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    My 75 gallon tank has been cycling for a little while now without any fish in it. I added a food pellet to introduce some ammonia into the tank and after a day or so it hasn't dissolved properly, there also seems to be some weird white sludge on top of it. I poked it with a prod and it came apart. Now the white sludge is sort of floating in the tank. There isn't much of it but I just wanted to know if its anything to be concerned about?
  2. AndrewJ54 Member Member

    This method your using is going to take very long to cycle the tank and after it is cycles you're going to have to add fish very slowly so that you don't overwhelm the BB. A lot of people why doing fish-less cycles prefer to just use pure ammonia so that there's and abundant food source for the BB to consume and break down. This makes cycling go a lot quicker and you won't need to add fish as slowly but should still take caution when doing so. As for the white sludge I'm not entirely sure, I would personally gravel vac it up and switch to flakes if you're going to stick with that approach. But then again I have never cycled a tank this way I always use Seachem stability and prime when cycling tanks, or even the occasional use of TSS.
  3. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    How do you do a fish in cycle, do you just add a single fish in as an ammonia source?
  4. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    As mentioned above, fish food isn't very ideal for fishless cycling because you can't control the amount of ammonia that you're trying to maintain to feed the bacteria. It's also messy which you've already seen. I would do a large water change and gravel vac to remove the sludge.

    What's your planned stocking for this tank? You can use a bacteria supplement like Tetra SafeStart Plus or Seachem Stability to help cycle it faster.
  5. AndrewJ54 Member Member

    That is one way of doing it, but the buildup of ammonia could harm the fish if you wanted to go with a fish in cycle add some fish preferably with a small bio load, add Seachem stability for 7 days and if the levels of ammonia or nitrite get to high during those seven days or even after then dose with Seachem prime to convert them to a less harmful substance for the fish while still allowing the BB to consume the ammonia and nitrite.

    One of the positives to adding stability and prime is that you can also continue to do water changes while cycling the tank, if you went with Tetra Safe Start you cannot test or change the water for two weeks after adding. You must also wait at least 24 hours after adding a de-chlorinator before adding the TSS otherwise the bacteria will not survive and your tank won't cycle!
  6. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    Ill use stability then, I assume its finished cycling when I test the water and ammonia is 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 10
  7. AndrewJ54 Member Member

    If that's the case then you are indeed cycled! Just be sure to slowly add fish as to not overwhelm the BB. I should have asked sooner what your parameters were, glad to see you cycled the tank before adding fish though! Would really suggest prime in case of ammonia or nitrate emergencies though Congratulations and enjoy the fun part!!
  8. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Just to clarify - are you saying those are your numbers now or what the numbers should be to know if it's cycled? I interpreted it to mean what you think the numbers should look like when cycled. Correct me if I'm wrong. :)

    Also, do you have nitrates in your tap?
  9. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    No your right that's what I want them to be in a week or twos time when its cycled.
    I dont know about the nitrates I haven't tested my tap water before, do I need to?
  10. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    There's no set number for nitrates when you're cycled though you definitely want it to be greater than 0. After you're cycled, you want to keep nitrates below 40ppm, ideally under 20ppm by doing regular water changes.

    It's a good idea to get a baseline out of your tap for all 3 - ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to see what you're working with from the beginning. Can you test out of your tap and tank?
  11. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi, Also test your tap for ph :)

    If you can't find pure ammonia (ammonia and water only, try ace hardware) and want to cycle with fish in you pick up one small fish per 10g, no more! People plan on this and then go in and are convinced to buy more, so don't do that :)

    Add in a bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus at the same time you add your fish and then do nothing (other than feed your fish once a day, not more while cycling) for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, test your tank for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. You should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates.
  12. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    Ill test my tap water at my next water change, im using seachem stability and just following the instructions on the bottle, is that ok instead of tetra safe start?
  13. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    Also is it possible to do water changes or add fish while cycling with stability?
  14. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes and yes. :)
  15. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, some people prefer stability because you can do water changes with it and keep dosing it daily.

    I usually recommend these guidelines:

    If ammonia + nitrites is less than 1.0 >> dose prime for the full volume of the tank, dose stability, re-check in 24 hours
    If ammonia + nitrites is 1.0 or greater >> do a large, at lest 50% water change, dose prime for the full volume of the tank, dose stability, re-check in 24 hours.

    This will keep fish safe and allow your cycle to complete.
  16. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    Ok ill follow the guidelines
  17. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    If you don't over stock it will be smooth sailing!

    In the 75g I'd say pick up 8-10 fish depending on their size. Did you know what you wanted to stock with originally?
  18. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member

    Mbuna cichlids, ill have to overstocked a little to help reduce aggression. Ill be stocking the tank very slowly anyway so I think ill be ok
  19. Oliver5672 Well Known Member Member