How can I move fish and decor from established tank to another tank without cycling again?
No, you can't. You can use ripe gravel and an established filter to speed the process up some. But there is no way to get around cycling a tank.
Is there any way to help the present fish survive the cycle? Should I just give them all to my LFS?
Perform 25% water changes every couple of days to decrease the levels of ammonia. This will help the fish but it will lengthen the time it takes to cycle the aquarium. If you want to keep the fish you have to do the water changes. Even trace amounts of ammonia can stress your fish. If you have some of the hardier types, i.e. swordtails, guppies, zebra danios, then they should be able to pull through the cycle. Check your water parameters daily if possible to monitor your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.
There are some products out there that claim to speed up the process, such as Cycle sludge. Check out the nitrogen cycle page on FishLore.com for more information: https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
What kind of fish are in the tank?
sorry it took so long to reply, I have a silver lyretail molly, a black molly, 2 white skirt tetras, 2 possible glowlight tetras, 3 neon tetras, a pleco, 2 dwarf gouramis, 2 unidentified catfish (shaped like corys,brownish with irridescent green sides), 2 unidentifieds that look like serpae tetras or phantom tetras but are pale pink; and one unidentified that is shaped like a platy, color is like salt and pepper.
(If you have any idea about my unidentifieds I would appreciate the info.) They are all in a 30 gal tank that I inherited (fish and all). These fish are not compatible because tetras like a lower pH than mollies, I think the catfish are intolerant of salt and the mollies need it, the gouramies are both male and constantly tearing each others beautiful fins, the neons are tiny and I think something ate the 4 other ones that have disappeared (pleco?). Anyway I did as yall suggested (used gravel and ornaments from 30 gal) and have been cycling a 20 gal long and a 20 gal tall since 3/12/05. I can't believe it but today my ammonia is 0, nitrite o, nitrate 20 ppm in 1 tank and 10 ppm in the other. Shoul I wait for 0 nitrate or are these tanks ready? Also how do I get a lower pH? It is 8.8 / 8.2 now.
Thats a lot of fish in the 30 gallon. You'll have your hands full with maintenance on that one.
For your other tanks, if you are getting a nitrate reading then you should be good to go. The nitrates will continue to rise - besides having live plants, the only way to get rid of nitrates is through water changes. There are chemicals out there to lower pH. You could also try using peat moss or peat pellets in the filter to lower the pH. However, I wouldn't try to mess too much with the pH and I really try to avoid adding any chemicals to the water if not absolutely necessary. Whenever you go to get fish for these tanks (assuming local pet store), ask the fish store what the pH is in their tanks. It may be the same or close to yours.
Yes I would think those tanks are ready. Just keep an eye on the nitrAtes and do a small water change every couple of days.
I don't know anything about changing the pH. I've just left mine were it was. When you start messing with the water chemistry to that extent its more than I have wanted to challenge myself with.
I agree that there are too many in the 30 gal, one of the reasons for all the fin nipping. Are all fish ok with peat? It seems that all my tetras need peat. The 2 cats that I thought were corys may be aspidoras species instead. Does anyone know a good site with pics?
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