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Plants First Or Fish?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by blissfulbunny, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    If my aquarium is set up and full of water, with the filter and heater in action, will the BB die if I wait to add fish until after my plants are added (in the next few days)? I assumed I would do this is this order.

    I had some BB on my filter biofilter, so I filled up right away after rinsing my sand so the filter stayed wet and the BB didn't die. But then I read here that they will die anyway if there are no fish making nitrates.

    Advice much appreciated!

  2. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    You can ghost feed the tank.

    Feed the tank flake food to create ammonia, and feed the BB.

    You can also use pure ammonia for this too.

    Your BB may die if you don't at least feed the tank, but you can wait a while to add fish as long as you feed the BB.

    Plants can be added before or after fish, but it's best to do it before.

  3. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    Thank you for the great information! Whew.

    How much flake food/how often for a 29? I guess I'll follow the directions.

  4. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    You could do a pinch a day.

    If you can, feed a small pinch the first day, then test for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate 12-24 hours later.

    Pure ammonia is more precise, however, it can be done with flakes. Just don't get overexcited and dump the container.
  5. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    No toddlers here (but there is my cat...)
  6. MaddieTaylah Well Known Member Member

    I would add the plants first, that way you can aquascape your tank without stressing out your fish.
  7. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Actually, the fish do not make nitrates. The fish release ammonia into the water. The bacteria in your filter then consumes the ammonia as it passes thru the filter, but releases nitrites into the water. Te second bacteria in your filter consumes the nitrites and releases nitrates.

    Since ammonia (and nitrites) are the food these two bacteria live off of, if you do not have an ammonia source the bacteria will starve off. You could use fish food as suggested, but the problem is that it takes some amount of time for the fish food to decay and start producing ammonia (plus you have no way of controlling how much ammonia is being added). During that time, your bacteria could starve off. So it would be much better if you could add bottled ammonia to the tank.
  8. MaddieTaylah Well Known Member Member

    Raw shrimp is a much more effective method to raise ammonia than fish food flakes. I have personally done it myself as I am unable to get pure ammonia in Australia, and it worked really well. Just toss it in a stocking for ease of removal.
  9. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    Thanks, friends. I'm learning fast!

    I'm off to the fish store to buy some ammonia. Hope I'm not too late to keep the little BBs alive.

    I just did a baseline on my tank with API freshwater master test kit, my first time using. Basically it is just a pH test at this point. I think this is a good pH for a lot of fish? I'll be researching that more.

    (7.6 pH)
    8.2 high range pH
    0 ammonia
    0 nitrite
    0 nitrate
  10. BottomDweller Fishlore VIP Member

    Ph is fine for most fish
  11. Lemonz13 Valued Member Member

    Most fish will adapt to a new pH. How do you have 0 nitrates if you are cycled?

    Just curious [ ]
  12. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    I don't have any fish yet. I'm doing a no-fish cycle with Tahitian Moon Sand. I received some input to put some flakes in to create some ammonia to keep the BB alive. I also went to the LFS and they had no ammonia. I have been to 3 stores so far and they were just not very good at all. Do you have some advice about this strategy? I think it's called a ghost cycle (no fish). I will not add fish until this is set up right, of course. Maybe I should add one of those BB additives? Or the shrimp method? Meanwhile I am getting ready to add plants.

    PS The guy at the LFS said that Prime adds BB. I said show me where it says that on the bottle, please. He said it doesn't say that, but that how they start their tanks at the store. Sounds all wrong to me. Why would you want to remove ammonia etc. at the same time you're adding BB? I'm new, so I don't know.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  13. BottomDweller Fishlore VIP Member

  14. Lemonz13 Valued Member Member

    If you want pure ammonia try a hardware store (just make sure it is pure). TSS+ is starting bacteria that you put in the tank and don't test; but if you have prime you have to wait 24 hours after dosing with prime to put it in. If you can find seachem stability it works with prime, and you can do water changes.

    Do you have a test kit?

    I have never used fish flakes or shrimp to cycle a tank. But it can be done. You want to shoot for 2PPM (parts per million) ammonia with no fish, and if it gets too high do a %wc (water change) unless using TSS+ (but then you wouldn't be testing your water.

    Personally I liked the stability-prime way, but I know a lot of people do the TSS+ way. Both work it just depends on you. No one here will force you down one way or the other. We all just provide the best information we can, and what has worked for us.
  15. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

  16. Lindsay83 Valued Member Member

    No advice on products that speed up the cycling process, as I've never used them but if you're using fish food to cycle the tank, put a handful in a clean, used stocking and suspend it in the water. Check ammonia after 12hrs, and, once it reaches 2ppm, remove. You may want to throw it out at this point because it'll stink to high Heaven. :D

    Repeat with a fresh ammonia ball once the level drops, and start testing nitrite. (If you wait until ammonia drops to 0ppm, you'll have a baseline for how quickly the filter is converting it. As the filter cycles it'll get harder and harder to keep the level at 2ppm).
  17. blissfulbunny Valued Member Member

    Ammonia is still zero after a couple of days with a big pinch of flake fish food (I wish I had put it in a sock, LOL). I think I need the Seachem Stability because I think all the BB are gone.

    I ordered some Seachem Stability and some Dr Tim's Aquatics Ammonium Chloride (I have Seachem Prime). I also ordered Dr Tim's Aquatics One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria. I think this is basically the same as Stability(?)

    Big learning curve for this hobby.:watching:
  18. Lemonz13 Valued Member Member

    Lol, I think most people here made mistakes and learned the hard way before finally doing research or admitting we needed help. I know I did.

    I have never used Dr. Tim's supplies so I can't provide you any info with them. Good luck getting your BB back. I know that before I new about the bottled bacteria it was a nightmare for me. [ ]
  19. MaddieTaylah Well Known Member Member

    It is much easier to get ammonia in higher levels with a shrimp than with fish food in my experience.

    Dr Tim's aquatics one & only is a great brand it should work well to speed the cycle up.

    I like to put a shrimp in the tank, use the bacteria supplement as per instructions. Once ammonia levels reach 4ppm I remove the prawn and wait for it to get down to 1ppm and then I put a new shrimp in and do that again until the cycle completes itself.
  20. purslanegarden Well Known Member Member

    The Prime neutralizes ammonia because usually you are using it after you have the fish. So you don't want to have large amounts of ammonia or add ammonia via the tap water, if you can help it. That's why it is a product that neutralizes ammonia, even if the BB need it.