Gravel cycling?

  1. Fish'd Member Member

    I might end up going to the pet store tomorrow; if I got some gravel from one of their fish tanks, would it help my cycle?

    I read somewhere that fish stores will sometimes give you a bit of gravel if you ask. The tanks that have fish in them look very healthy, as do the fish themselves. The people who work there seem pretty smart as far as fish related things. Do you think they'll look at me funny if I ask for some gravel?
    Have you ever done this? Should I bring a small cup or something?

    I figure that a little bit of gravel from what I guess is an established tank will help me out. Which brings up another question- how long will it take with established gravel to maybe cycle my tank?

    You're all probably tired of me, but I've got to ask. xD
    Thanks!
     
  2. agabr123 Fishlore VIP Member

    hey fish'd!

    you're right, it would help with the cycle since there would be nitrifying bacteria already established on it. however, i wouldn't use the gravel from pet stores, they have fish in and out of the tanks ALL the time, many of whom carry diseases that may not be visible yet and could eventually get your fish sick once the tank is cycled. i'd advise against it, unless you have a friend that keeps fish that you know takes great care of their tanks.

    also, i can tell you from experience that it's hard for a beginner to tell whether or not fish are sick. sometimes the fish don't appear to have anything physically wrong with them, but because you see your fish every day you can tell they are acting differently. you don't have that sort of consistency at the store. :)
     

  3. Fish'd Member Member

    I actually don't know anyone around that owns a tank. D:
    Ah well, guess I'll have to do the fish food method, then.

    I suppose that's true. It totally defeats the purpose of cycling if all of your fish die of disease when you get them.

    Thanks!
     

  4. agabr123 Fishlore VIP Member

    no problem! waiting through a cycle is as annoying as anything, it's so hard to look at an empty tank!!! but in the long run it's the best (and in my opinion the only!) way to go :)
     

  5. Fish'd Member Member

    Oh gosh, I know; it's been three days and it's already driving me nuts. xD

    Do you know if a pinch of fish food twice a day is good or not? Should I do the same amount throughout the cycle, or drop it at a certain point? Just curious. :]
     
  6. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Hello Fish'd.

    Instead of sprinkling fish food into your empty tank to cycle, I would suggest using a mesh bag (used for filter media), place the fish food inside of it, or you can even add a jumbo shrimp to the bag instead of flake food. Either that you choose, as long as it's in a mesh bag it will help to keep your tank from getting so messed up by fish food. :)
    Best of luck!
    Ken
     
  7. Fish'd Member Member

    I never thought of that. See, I crush the flake up really fine because of that, but to be honest, I don't know if it's effective... I'll look into that. Thank you!
     
  8. HitchHiker Member Member

    I just finished cycling my filter, and I did it with both the fish flakes and the the shrimp. I started out with the food, but with Christmas approaching new that I would either forget or not be home to add the food twice a day, so I bought a large shrimp and put it in a nylon bag and hung it on the side of my buck that I was using. It worked great and didn't have to worry about weather or not I was there to add food to keep the cycle going.

    I now have my tank setup in my house the filter well cycled and the tank setup and running for the past 3 days. I have switched back to using fish food, as I will be adding the fish today.
     
  9. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    You can use a sock (or nylon knee high or something) that's new and not been washed in soap (that you are willing to throw away) if you don't have a mesh bag. The goal is to have something that will contain the food or shrimp but still be able to have water flow. It'll help keep the food from molding as it is sitting in the bottom of your tank. You want to avoid having the bottom of your tank have food sitting in it and becoming so dirty that you can't put fish in it, even after it cycles.

    Lucy, one of the moderators, said that she once cycled that way, and had to break down the tank and clean it all out, destroying the cycle. :(
     
  10. Fish'd Member Member

    @HitchHiker: It's great that your tank is cycled! I also like the sock idea, because I just realized I forgot to sprinkle food in there. D:

    ...What's a buck?

    @Meenu: Could I just dump fish flake in a sock and tie it off, or does it have to be shrimp? I can't get one of those without buying a whole box, and no one in my family but me likes seafood, so they'd be sitting for a while.

    DDD: I do not wan't to tear down my tank! I can only imagine waiting for so long and then having to start over. :\
     
  11. HitchHiker Member Member

    My tank was a Christmas presant from my wife this year. I wasn't able to set it up right away because the tank would be going where the Christmas tree was. So I used a new 5 gal bucket added some sand and to the bottom and then set the filter up in the 5 gal bucket. It took about 2 weeks for the 5 gal bucket to cycle. Christmas night set the tank up in the house and everything has been running very well sense then.

    Here is a pic of my bucket:
    151.jpg
     
  12. Fish'd Member Member

    Oh yeah! I read about that somewhere. Did you pour the water in the tank to speed it up, or just sit the filter in there?
     
  13. HitchHiker Member Member

    I poured it all in. Gravel and water, after the tank was filled the nitrate levels haven't been above 5 ppm.
     
  14. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    I think you can just dump food in a sock and tie it off - I don't see why that wouldn't be okay.

    As far as the shrimp - maybe you could ask a restaurant for a chunk of raw shrimp?
     
  15. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    With just 25 posts, we barely know you!:)

    We never get tired of questions around here. That's one of the great things about this site. The people here don't think any questions are stupid, and they never berate people for not knowing stuff.
     
  16. Fish'd Member Member

    HitchHiker: Ridiculous. :O

    Meenu: I did the sock thing. I like that I don't have to remember it, lol.

    jdhef: That's why I like this place so much. ;]