Tank cycling and when to add fish

Brolli

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Hello there
I just set up my first aquarium ever around 2 weeks ago. I think it's around 330 litres, 152x42x53 cm in diameters and has been planted from the start. Some valisneria, amazon swords, java moss, bucephalandra, rotala, tripartita, s repens among a few others. I have dosed bacteria twice, once today and once sometime last week. Do I need to buy ammonia and test kits for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and start dosing ammonia and then test for the water for a week or two? To see if it's truly cycling? Should I add a few hardy fish to speed up the cycling process? I'm really not sure and any advice would be appreciated, I am a total newbie.
Maybe it's worth mentioning that there's a white transparent fungus growing on my driftwood, I read somewhere that the beneficial bacteria will outcompete it for nutrients and in turn kill it. So if the fungus declines and dies, will that tell me if the bacteria has settled?
Also I think I saw a couple tiny snails on some of the leaves who obviously tagged along as hitchhikers. Is it safe to assume if they are alive and well in the tank, that the cycle is complete?
Any help would be gladly appreciated
 

mattgirl

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A tank can't cycle without an ammonia source. You will need to either add fish or pure liquid ammonia. Adding the bottled bacteria without also adding ammonia can't start the cycle. The bacteria has to have food. We can help you once you determine which way you are going to go meaning fish in or fishless.
 

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Brolli said:
Which would you recommend? The inhabitants I'm planning on getting are panda cories, kuhli loaches, neocaridinia and amano shrimp, cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, a betta, endler guppies and probably some snails. Are any of these hardy enough to endure this?
Personally I would go with fish in but to do one you have to be very committed to water changes and lots of them. You will have to keep the ammonia down to negligible levels. And then when the nitrites show up you have to keep the ammonia plus the nitrite levels below one. That is going to take a LOT of water changes. I also think just about any fish can live through the cycling process but again only if you are committed to doing a LOT of big water changes. I wouldn't add shrimp until the tank was well established.

Should you decide to go fishless you add ammonia and wait. Eventually the ammnia will start going down and nitrites will show up. When both ammonia and nitrites start going down you will start seeing nitrates. With all the plants you already have in this tank you may already have some bacteria but it needs food. Your cycle may move along fairly fast once it gets some food.
 
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Brolli

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Thanks for the response, I was under the impression that doing too many water changes in the beginning would remove beneficial bacteria or am I completely wrong? So with fish in the tank during cycling I'd be doing what? Like 50% water changes per day? I think I'll end up doing fishless though, makes for a more uninteresting tank in the waiting time but sounds like alot less trouble.
 

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I've never seen anyone advocate the method I used on this page but I've seen it other places and it worked for me.

I set up my first tank in 35 years, a Fluval Flex 9, with a lot of plants and waited two months. I checked my water using an API test kit - 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates. I added a betta, and every time I've checked since I've gotten the same numbers.

I think if you have enough plants and enough patience you don't have to use ammonia. Add fish slowly and check your water and you'll be fine.

I'm sure people are going to say this tank isn't cycled, but there is clearly enough BB for the fish I have in it.
 

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Brolli said:
Which would you recommend? The inhabitants I'm planning on getting are panda cories, kuhli loaches, neocaridinia and amano shrimp, cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, a betta, endler guppies and probably some snails. Are any of these hardy enough to endure this?
I do fishless and the process is safer for the fish as you don't need to be hawkishly on top of the water perimeters with the lives of your aquatic pets in the balance. Just make sure to reduce the Nitrate to a safe level (I'd go for 20.0 or less) before introducing fish. Fishless took me about 28 days, which is a bit fast.
I have a log of the cycling process on Fishlore, I can dig it up if you would want to see it.

As for the fish choices they look pretty good just be very mindful of the Betta. Betta splendens, the common Betta sold in cups, is a pretty territorial fish. Your tank is large enough to have one with other fish but you should still watch for aggression from it, some Betta splendens are just hyper-aggressive as a lingering trait from being bred to be fighting fish.
There are other Betta species but they're all, to the best of my knowledge, something you'd have to go out specifically looking for as they're not really the sort of common pet most fish stores would stock (and certainly not the sort of thing that'd be kept in those cups).
 

kansas

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My betta flares at snails. I wouldn't put another fish in there cause I'm pretty sure it would end in violence.
 

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Brolli said:
Thanks for the response, I was under the impression that doing too many water changes in the beginning would remove beneficial bacteria or am I completely wrong? So with fish in the tank during cycling I'd be doing what? Like 50% water changes per day? I think I'll end up doing fishless though, makes for a more uninteresting tank in the waiting time but sounds like alot less trouble.
The bacteria isn't free floating in the water so doing water changes won't be removing any of it. As to how much water need be changes. You would let your tests be your guide. I recommend you get a test kit. I recommend the API Master Freshwater Test Kit. It contains all the test normally we need. PH (both high and low), ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

I actually agree with what kansas is saying. If you are willing to stock your tank very slowly meaning just one or two fish at a time you can cycle this tank without doing as many and as big water changes. Adding the fish just a few at a time will keep the ammonia/nitrites very low. Keep a very close eye on the ammonia/nitrite levels. If you see the total amount going above one change out enough water to get them back below one. When both go and stay at zero add the next few fish. Keep repeating this until you have your tank stocked.

Fishless is a faster process but doing it the way kansas did it will work.
 

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Brolli said:
Thanks for the response, I was under the impression that doing too many water changes in the beginning would remove beneficial bacteria or am I completely wrong? So with fish in the tank during cycling I'd be doing what? Like 50% water changes per day? I think I'll end up doing fishless though, makes for a more uninteresting tank in the waiting time but sounds like alot less trouble.
Water changes do not remove bb, bb lives in your filter and eventually on surfaces not in the water. 50% a day depends on what you add, your ammonia and nitrites will "tell you" when to do a water change. I would not let either rise above .5.
Brolli said:
Which would you recommend? The inhabitants I'm planning on getting are panda cories, kuhli loaches, neocaridinia and amano shrimp, cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, a betta, endler guppies and probably some snails. Are any of these hardy enough to endure this?
If you want a fish in cycle I'de probably go with the endlers, possibly the rasboras. The endler guppies should be fine as long as you keep ammonia and nitrites down(and your tank is pretty big so if you just add a few there shouldn't be a lot of water changes actually), they are pretty hardy(even if they are a bit inbred sometimes. My petco guppies went through the cycle without issues).
 
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Brolli

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Wow I'm getting a bit of choice anxiety haha, but I'll at least go buy the test kits today and either get a couple of endlers or the ammonia.
I'm aware bettas can be territorial and aggresive, but I've seen many tanks online with bettas in communities, as far as I understand it's best to establish the community first and then put in the betta last. But that's not gonna be anytime soon.
 

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I think fishless cycles are much safer and cause much less stress hahah. But if you plan to go with the fish I would go with harlequin rasboras, panda cories, or endlers to start.
And yes, bettas can be kept in a community. Many have had success. I've only ever kept one on it's own, though.
Edit: Sorry yes the endlers sound fine to start
 

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Brolli said:
Wow I'm getting a bit of choice anxiety haha, but I'll at least go buy the test kits today and either get a couple of endlers or the ammonia.
I'm aware bettas can be territorial and aggresive, but I've seen many tanks online with bettas in communities, as far as I understand it's best to establish the community first and then put in the betta last. But that's not gonna be anytime soon.
There are lots of ways to reach the same point. At least we gave you lots of options :D Keep in mind, we LOVE pictures.
 
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Brolli

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Yeah thanks a bunch for the responses, I could post some pics once the tank progresses if you'd like :)
 

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Brolli said:
Wow I'm getting a bit of choice anxiety
Read the book "The Paradox of Choice".

My Betta did not work with a colony of guppies in a 40 breeder. He is very aggressive. He had them all cowering in the corners of the tank while he strutted around the middle.

I do not have a lot of experience with Bettas. But my understanding is that you are rolling the dice a bit. You might get a nice one or you might get a mean one.
 
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Brolli

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Hello again, I came home some time ago with 3 endlers, a multi test kit, and some hornworts(spent like 20 minutes picking off like a 100 snails). The endlers have been floating for 30 minutes ans should be ready to go inside the tank. I just had a couple more questions, the guy at the store was foreign and couldn't speak my language, and spoke limited english, but was helpful nonetheless. I was just wondering, should I wait to feed them tomorrow(just a tiny ammount) and test the water as well? And should I change the water if the levels are high and test until I see that the ammonia and nitrite levels have reached 0
20200501_182506.jpg
?
 

mattgirl

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With a tank this big it is going to surprise me if you get an ammonia reading any time soon if at all. It is very possible that the plants you have added will have had some bacteria on them. That bacteria will most likely keep the tiny bit of ammonia they will produce taken care of.

Keep an eye on the nitrate level. If you start seeing any nitrates it will tell you that there is some bacteria working in there. At that time I would add a few more endlers. I actually rethought something I said earlier once I paid attention to the size of this tank. If I converted it correctly this tank is close to 90 gallons. You may want to go ahead and add at least 6 more to the 3 you just put in there. I don't think 9 little fish will cause a huge spike in ammonia and/or nitrites but should produce enough ammonia to get this cycle moving forward.

I would keep the lights off and wait until tomorrow to offer food. Lots of times they need quiet time to calm down from all they have just gone through.
 
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Brolli

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Alright I might just go ahead and pick up a couple more tomorrow. Or in their place would you think 4 harlequin rasboras would be ok? Or 4 cardinals? Also I just noticed that they were munching on the fungus growing on the driftwood and also on some floating plant material, should I still feed them a bit of fish food tomorrow? Every day?
And one more thing I have a fluval 406 canister filter which has a flow rate of around 383 gph. Is that maybe a bit high for the endlers? I have it set to half that for the moment. I'm not running an airstone would you reckon that with 383 gph or even half that ammount is enough surface agitation for this tank?
Thanks again for the help
 

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Brolli said:
Alright I might just go ahead and pick up a couple more tomorrow. Or in their place would you think 4 harlequin rasboras would be ok? Or 4 cardinals? Also I just noticed that they were munching on the fungus growing on the driftwood and also on some floating plant material, should I still feed them a bit of fish food tomorrow? Every day?
And one more thing I have a fluval 406 canister filter which has a flow rate of around 383 gph. Is that maybe a bit high for the endlers? I have it set to half that for the moment. I'm not running an airstone would you reckon that with 383 gph or even half that ammount is enough surface agitation for this tank?
Thanks again for the help
Your filter should process the entire volume of the tank in ~15 minutes. I have twice that filtering power for my 50 gallon. If your concerned about the filter potentially harming the fish adding a sponge pre-filter to the intake is an excellent protection measure. Just if you get a pre-filter be sure to remove it when you do water changes and rinse it out with the tank water you've removed as part of the change to help keep it from gunking up.
 

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