Re: Fishless Cycling - Seachem Ammonia Alert/plant Fertilizer


I set up and began fishless cycling my 20Long aquarium last week.
• Substrates include 1/3 EcoComplete, 1/3 Sand, 1/3 gravel;
• added Top Fin Bacteria Supplement initially;
• water was conditioned;
• dropped in a couple of bug bites initially but prefer not to add more if I don't need to;
• put media from my other established tank filter into the Tidal 35 filter.

I have two questions:
1) I hung a Seachem Ammonia Alert card in my tank so that I won't need to test ammonia levels every day. When it starts reading an Alert, then I plan to test for both Ammonia and nitrite. Does this make sense?
2) I planted some plants in my tank in the EcoComplete substrate when I set it up. Sadly, some of the plants are dying and leaves are rotting. Should I be removing these leaves or leaving them in to rot? Also, should I add a fertilizer tab now before the tank has completed cycling?

Just a note: Just spotted a pest snail in the tank. Very happy because it will be food for my two assassin snails when I put them in there (after the tank has cycled).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


You need to keep feeding the beneficial bacteria somehow. With an ammonia source. Food, ammonia, or fish poop or you tank will not cycle. You put in established media so should be good to add fish now.


Why are you fishless cycling? You put the media from your other filter into the one on this tank? There is no need to fishless cycle. Not sure how much media we are talking about, but you can at least stock the new tank to whatever level the donor tank was.
  • Thread Starter


I put in the bag of AquaClear Biomax that was in my AquaClear 20 hob filter which has been running on my 10 gallon since mid-June. (I purchased the well-established tank – complete with a betta fish, 3 snails, and kept all of the water/decorations/substrate etc. in it – back in November. Just changed the filter in June.)
I thought that I had to wait for an ammonia spike, then a nitrite spike and a return to 0 for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
If I can add fish now, that would be great because on Saturday I adopted/rescued a betta fish (1.5+ years old, spent life in a bowl) and was about to acclimate him to go in the 10 gallon only to be put in the 20long once that had cycled. Better if he only has to acclimate once to the 20L and if I can put him in there asap.
How can I be sure?
Also, thought the Fluval bacteria supplement and the EcoComplete would suffice. Can add more fish food if that is necessary. Or just add the two snails and the betta?

Have a bottle of Stability. When I received it (shipped to me), the bottle was in a plastic bag and both the bottle and the bag were very hot. Will it still work?


The point of the fishless cycle is to build up bacteria that will eventually keep the nitrogen cycle at 0s on your readings. If you have media from a pre-existing tank that media houses all the bacteria you need. You can add your fish (don't over stock of course), nothing else needed.
  • Thread Starter


I am very happy that this is the case. I will therefore add the betta right into the 20L. I did just add Stability to be safe and will continue it for the next 7 days as instructed on the bottle. Thank you all so much for bringing this to my attention.

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