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Re: how soon to add fish & fishless cycling

> Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 23:19:25 EDT
> From: Biplane10 at aol_com
> Subject: Re: how soon to add fish...
> I found an interesting article regarding an alternative to tank cycling at
> the following: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquamag/cycling.html

There is also a follow up article with further suggestions on dosing etc

> The author recommends using actual ammonia (sans other detergents, perfumes
> etc.) to cycle the tank, and did this himself, as follows: (some relevant
> copy and paste)

Yep, Nomad's (Dr. Chris Cow) method has been making the rounds of
various boards for a while now.  Most people have found that this is a
far superior method for cycling, especially fish only tanks.  With
heavily planted tanks your plants are going to utilize most of the ammonia
that a small fish load (ex some otos and SAEs) is going to produce anyway.
Thus, you may choose just to add fish slowly while your plants are getting
established.  Which IMHO takes far less time than I sometimes see mentioned.

> <<snipped details>>

> Depending on how heavily planted, there may be excess ammonia (and nitrites)
> that can be harmful to the fish during cycling.

If you are using a fishless cycle, then yes, you need to keep it fishless
until the process is over.  The levels of ammonia that you are adding are
greater than would be produced by most fish loads, and I doubt the
plants would keep up.  Although they would utilize a good deal of the
ammonia you will still end up with a large bacterial population, relative
to traditional methods.

Although some people experience faster cycling periods with this method
that should not be your primary goal.  Although it seems faster the majority
of times, on occasion it can drag out as long as cycling with fish.  The advantages
are that a) you are not exposing fish to chronic or acutely toxic levels of
and b) once the cycle is finished, the bacterial population is large enough to accomodate
a full fish load.  So even if it does take a month to cycle, you are still getting your
full fish load into the tank sooner than you would when slowly adding a few fish
every month or so.

You can have a heavily planted tank and slowly add fish and never see any ammonia
or nitrites, or even nitrates.  Mine is a case in point.  I had a reading of 0.5ppm
for 1 day after adding 6otos and 6 neons to my heavily planted 29g.  I have to add
KNO3 just to get a nitrate reading.  However, for FO tanks or lightly planted tanks
I think the fishless method is vastly superior.

> Sylvia

<< I have a question about when to add fish to a new tank.  I am setting up a
 50 gallon planted tank.  At my local fish store (BTW, when you refer to
 LFS, is this what you're referring to???), someone told me I *should* add a
 few hardy fish (tetras?) after just a couple of days in order to get the
 bacteria going, and then add a few more each week.  But I have read that
 some people wait as long as two weeks to add the first fish.
I think the two weeks thing is often used when people are refering to planted
tanks.  Supposedly the two weeks allows the plants to get established and
rooted before adding fish.  Check out the articles above with regards to
fishless cycling...far superior IMHO.