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Fishlessly cycling my upgrade....help!


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Hi guys, I'm a long time lurker, but have really enjoyed everything that I've learned so far. I have two teensy goldies (that my son brought home from summer camp) in a ten gallon. :help: Trying to keep them healthy has been an adventure, I assure you. They had fish lice, flukes, an internal bacterial infection, and ich. It was...fun, but they're great now, and really a lot of fun. We have a male calico ryukin (Cal), and a female oranda (Cleo). The 10g was all we had available, so I tossed my old AC on it, and let 'er rip. It's been about 6 weeks, and I can't even find a trace of nitrites on it, so I think I'm just going to fishlessly cycle their brand new 40g. Thank god for Petco's DpG sales!

I've never cycled without fish, despite keeping tropicals for...I can't even tell you how long.

Can somebody break it down for my 40, and give me all your tips to making it easy (and making it work)?

I don't have the stand yet, so I want to set the tank in the garage for now (the temps are ideal for garage setup cycling anyway), and then empty, and reset in the living room when the cycle is complete. I've read that you have to do a super duper massive w/c at the end to get the nitrates out anyway, so this shouldn't be a big deal, right?

Is it a good idea to cycle bare-bottom, if I intend to put in pea gravel and silk plants once it's set up? I don't want to waste time decorating, to tear down, and redecorate once it's in the living room, you know?

I've read conflicting stories as to whether you dose the tank with prime, the first time. Is it so? I have private well water, and live 40 miles from the Jersey shore (t-shirt time!).

I bought clear ammonia last night, which lists only ammonia as the only ingredient. No phosphates, no surfactants, nothing else...but it foams when I shake the bottle. No good, right? I'm gonna head out to the dollar tree later, and maybe then try to track down an Ace Hardware. Out in the sticks, a good Ace is hard for a hillbilly like me to find! Lol!

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  • Regular Member

hello and welcome to koko's...........you will find ALL the gold fish knowledge here you will want,

as far as "fish-less" cycle goes there is info on one of the forums on how to do......or a mod will be on shortly to help with that..............

Congrats on the tank !!!!..............oh I can see fishes in the future..................lol

btw.....we like pics here........................good luck on the cycle..................

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Hello,

Happy cycling! :)

Here are some quick notes:

1. Prime is not necessary the first time for you. You have well water, so there isn't likely to be chlorine or chloramine in there.

2. Do you have a test kit? You will need this to monitor the amount of ammonia, and to check for nitrites and nitrates.

3. Ammonia should be added slowly and in small amounts so that you will know how much to add to the tank to make 1ppm, 2ppm, etc. The initial phase requires keeping ammonia at 4ppm until you get the nitrite peak, at which point you then maintain ammonia at 1ppm until the tank is cycled.

4. I would go ahead and put all your decorations in first. You can certainly add it later, as well.

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wait, you have a 10 gallon set up with an aquaclear filter? more experienced members please correct me if im wrong.

I would set up the new tank in the living room, fill with water, put fish in it with the aquaclear from the 10 gallon(the bb is held in your filter) and run a second filter as well. that sould pretty much give an instant cycle, use prime to help protect your fish and keep an eye on parameters. have you tested for ammonia and Nitrates?

Big welcome to kokos, members with more experience than me will soon chime in im sure :D

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Hi Dodge, you do have a very good point. It may be that the little AC is already cycled.

yafashelli, what are the readings for the 10 gallons right now? (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate)

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wait, you have a 10 gallon set up with an aquaclear filter? more experienced members please correct me if im wrong.

I would set up the new tank in the living room, fill with water, put fish in it with the aquaclear from the 10 gallon(the bb is held in your filter) and run a second filter as well. that sould pretty much give an instant cycle, use prime to help protect your fish and keep an eye on parameters. have you tested for ammonia and Nitrates?

Big welcome to kokos, members with more experience than me will soon chime in im sure :D

That was a good thought!

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I agree :) I would just move your current filter over to the 40 gallon. Like dodge said, if the filter is cycled this will pretty much give you an instant cycle, and your fish will appreciate the extra space :)

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I tested water parameters last night, and we were holding at:

PH 7.4

Ammonia: 4

Nites: 0

My GH and KH (according to the testers) are both on the very low end of a goldfish's comfort zone. I'm not buffering because I never have, and everyone seems to be fine.

Oh, if only it was so simple. The old aquaclear was out of commission for quite some time, and is absolutely NOT cycled. I don't have access to any cycled media, as this is the only tank we have going. I've always been really bad with MTS though, so I'm sure that there'll be more tanks in the future. We sold most of our stuff when we bought this house in 09.

I've been wrestling with the ammonia levels since I set the tank up. It's been at least six weeks, and I don't even have a trace of Nitrites. I'm going a little out of my box, because these little guys are growing, and I want them in the bigger tank. The AC is rated from 20 - 50 g's, so once it's cycled, it'll work for the old tank, and the new one, as well. I also have two submersible pumps rating 330gph. I've had tremendous success modifying these guys for both cleaning, and oxygenating the tanks, and they're so CHEAP!

I bought the 40 breeder a few weeks ago, but with just the two of them (at maybe two inches body length each), the stocking level would be so little. I figured that I'd try to cycle the AC in the 10g, hoping it would be faster. My little Poo Poo Kings are fouling the water quicker than I can clean it. How the noobs do a 10g with 5 fish, I'll never know!

I've never worked so hard to keep two fish alive in my LIFE! :krazy:

From what I read, fish-less cycles are a little quicker than fish-in cycles because you don't have to temper the spikes. And my Oranda has already shown signs of nitrite poisoning, so I'm really not eager to expose her to anything else. I'm pretty sure that's pre-home though. I've been testing the water every day (API master kit), and my tank has never shown a trace of them. She's fine as Boone Farm wine now, and fat as a pig, but boy-howdy did she give me a scare. My son brought the pair of them home in little Betta fish tupperware thingies. There was a third fish; a feeder, but he didn't last the night.

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Because nothing is cycled this is what I would suggest.

Move your fish to the 40 gallon and cycle with them in that tank. You are already cycling with them in the 10 gallon so you might as well cycle with them in the 40 gallon. They will appreciate the extra room and the increased water volume will mean that your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate will not rise as high as fast so you will be able to keep things a little more under control. Ammonia of 4ppm is really way too high :( you want to keep ammonia no more than .5 ppm

What filters are you planning to run on the 40 gallon? (I think you explained this in your post but I got a bit confused :P)

A fishless cycle can sometimes be a little faster because you can allow ammonia levels to build up faster, but it's not a guarantee and if you are unable to control the water params in the 10 gallon it just isn't worth it.

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I took them last Sunday, and while I know the KH is right, I'm not so sure about the GH. My LFS was out of the API GH, so I had to get the Sera brand. The color change is very subtle, and to be frank, I hate it. I love the testing vials so much better than the API, but I hate the bottles, which blow bubbles before they drop, and I just...I don't like them. LOL!

So, the KH took 4 drops to turn. Blue and yellow are very easy to tell apart. LOL!

The GH took 4 drops to turn also, but I'm not really so sure that it went through both color switches. I've been waiting for a good day to try to take the test outside, for decent lighting (my house is all dark paneling, yellow lights, and antique carpeting--no joke), but the weather has been uncooperative all week. Today looks like it's shaping up a bit, so I should be able to give it a go again.

What about tossing carbon into the 10 g, with regular replacements, while the 40g fish-lessly cycles?

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Do me a favor... If you can test everything out of the tap. This will give us an idea of the water your using...

4 drops for KH is kinda on the low end. Meaning that if you place...plants, logs and even fish, your ph might drop... Is that 7.4 ph test out of the tank?

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How often are you currently changing the water on the 10 gallon and how much water are you changing at a time? My concern is that you are not able to control the ammonia in the tank, and ammonia as high as you are reporting will do permanent gill damage if not kill your fish. In the 40 gallon the ammonia will not build up as quickly.

Carbon will not do anything for ammonia. Most here do not even bother with carbon because it really isn't necessary in most setups. It is better to use this room in your filter for extra biological media that will help along your cycle.

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Thank you for all your help so far. <3

I guess I was a little too efficient. I didn't see your post until after I'd dragged buckets of water to the garage, and started the fish-less cycle. Ammonia is up to 4ish ppm, and now I guess we wait!

Everything on the tap is the same as the tank (except the ammonia levels). I've watched the ph closely from the beginning, as I've never set up a tank on well water. Never had a PH crash (knock on wood). Every once in a blue moon, the tank ph will hit 7.8, but 99% of the time, we're looking at 7.4, across the board.

ph 7.4

ammonia 0

nitrites 0

nitrates 0

kh/GH 4-5 drops

The 4 on the ammonia was a typo, btw. I meant to type 2. Still bad, but not as bad.

I do roughly 40% changes every evening, and dose 1.5 ml of prime. After a w/c the ammonia reads .25. By the end of the next day, it's somewhere in the 2ish range. Gravel vacs are every two to three days, just to keep the water clear. My pond pump seems to be filtering better than my Aqua Clear, believe it or not. I may nix the AC entirely, on the new setup, or just have loose bio max in it. It's definitely underperforming, and thoroughly disappointing me, this go around. I've had trouble with dirty water pouring out of the top, and everything. It's a pretty new hob, and it shouldn't be doing that... What the PPs don't pick up, the gravel vac does.

I don't use carbon, as I'm trying to cycle the tank. But I already have the 40 breeder started on the fishless cycle. I was thinking that it might be less stressful for the fish to throw an ammonia eater in the 10g (and regularly replace it, so it doesn't puke ammonia back into the tank), until I could put them into an already cycled BIG tank. Hope that makes sense?

I have a very hard time differentiating colors on the testing cards, which is probably why I try to test it so much. I don't want to miss anything due to negligence. It has only reached 4 twice, and I was really hopeful that my nitrites would finally start showing, but they never have. I've never had such a tough cycle before, and I'm just really, really confused! Don't people use goldfish specifically because they're such filthy fish? Lol!

You said you like pics, so here's one for you:

101_3915.jpg

My poor, starved oranda was desperately trying to eat something stuck on the outside of the tank. At the moment this was snapped, he had just kissed the glass...You'll have to excuse him.

The setup of the 40B is as follows:

1 A/C 50 (if it shapes up :SmackBottom: )

2 330gph pond pumps for both filtration and oxygenation.

and here's a pic, since someone asked about the doctored pumps. They're not for top dwelling fish as it provides lots of surface action for the top (it'll be less, when the tank is full, and I've turned the pumps down a wee bit). Perfect for bottom dwellers, like goldies, because there's no bubbles to eat, for floater fish, and still you get great gas exchange. There's no current on the bottom, so they're comfortable, and happy.

101_3894.jpg

Ammonia is dosed to 4ppm, and I guess now all I can do is keep up the water changes on the 10 g, and wait.

Edited by yafashelli
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The AC 50 is not going to be enough filtration for the 40 gallon, will you be moving your filter from the 10 gallon to the 40 when you move the fish over? You need 10x the tank volume in gph for goldfish, so 400 gph for the 40 gallon (two AC 50's would work, however I would do an AC70 and an AC50 :) )

I would suggest upping your water changes to 80-90% (you can remove as much water until just the dorsal fin of the fish is covered. If you choose to keep them in the 10 gallon the ammonia needs to be kept below .5 ppm. You can double dose with Prime to help keep the water safe between daily changes.

However, I still personally would move them to the 40 gallon.

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