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Cycle Without A Filter


Kissy

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I want to start cycling my rubbermaid as soon as I can so I can use it as quarentine and start getting some fishies, but I will have to wait a while on a filter. I am going to be cycling my 29 gallon tank as well, and this does have a filter. Its more important to get the quarentine tank cycled first of course, and the first fish to go in there will go into the tropical tank. The tropical tank is almost completely cycled, but only for 2 small tetras, so I can't use any "bio-gunk" to help speed things along. Is it possible to throw a few new cartridges into the rubbermaid and cycle it that way? Will the bio-bugs live on them? I could throw them in the filter when I get one and I will get a jump start on cycling the tub. Will this work?

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I'm sorry I'm confused. If you have an already cycled tank you can put filter material in it to start colonizing it to move to the next tank.

Have you thought about using a fishless cycle in the tanks that haven't been set up yet? (Since you are worried that the bioload in the one tank won't be enought to properly jump start the new tank)?

:D

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Theoretically, any container of water will eventually 'cycle'. Think of fish that have survived in bowls. However, without a filter and regular water changes the water can become deadly long before it is cycled.

The job of a filter is not just to home the biobugs, but the continual flow of water and detriment into the filter oxygenise and feed the biobugs. The filter also traps and processes water borne detriment that would otherwise eventually settle on the bottom and decay slowly.

So, in answer to your question about using the filter pads from your tropical tank to sit in the tub. They will help but only to a small degree, eventually the majority of biobugs in the material will die.

I think the safest thing to do in this situation is regular large water changes and regular water testing.

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Egh this really isn't going well! I don't think I was clear enough here... I want to do a fishless cycle with ammonia, but like on my other posts I can't find any :( The ten gallon with two small tetras isn't all the way cycled yet and I don't think taking some biobugs from there will really help anything..there isn't any gunk on the filter cartridge anyways.

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It is definitely possible, but I would add some aeration. The biobugs, especially in something larger will need oxygen. I cycled my 2 gallon for my betta, but I seeded it from my other tank. There is no filter on it.

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So it would work if I added my bubble bar in there?

I always thought that bowls and such were never cycled. I really don't think the three gallon betta home isn't cycled. The bugs only have the tree stump cave to cling to because I do 100% water changes every 5-7 days, but I also wash out that cave too!

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Depends. All of my 2 gal tanks have cycled (they all have filters & some have heaters). I only have bettas in them so the bioload is fine (I think right now you have a gf in yours? I wouldn't try to cycle that small of a tank with a gf in it. Too much waste)

My original tank (which has seeded all of my other tanks) was cycled with fish in it. (I had no choice we "won" them at a school fair & they needed a home...fast!)

You can cycle with fish. It just takes dedication. (& salt...& alot of water changes...& I would recommend using Prime). If you really can't get any ammonia- you can try it - just be prepared for some extra work. I would think that would be the beauty of a fishless cycle (you donn't have to worry about the fish!)

On another note - can you get any biospora? I've heard that really speeds up cycling!

:D

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Oh sorry! I don't have a bowl. I have a three gallon kritter keeper for my betta with no filter and stuff. I want to cycle a 15 or 25 gallon rubbermaid and a 29 gallon :)

No goldfish in bowls..as Tam says, "Bowls are for toilets!" :exactly

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No, you cannot realistically cycle any bin or tank without a filter. You see, the term "cycle" actually refers to the balance of beneficial bacteria colonies and the amount of ammonia being fed to it. Since you will have virtually nothing to move the water through a specified bio-media, there will be nowhere for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Of course, they will TRY to grow and TRY to establish a balance, but it will be to no avail. Without bio-media for the good bugs to stick to (and some power source to draw water through it, you have no efficient biological filtration. If this were to happen, the levels would constantly be out of wack.

Of course, a thousand years ago, the chinese kept their goldfish in this manner. But they also had lots more gallonage per fish, lots of gravel and payed particular attention to keeping the water moving about and fresh. If I'm not mistaken, they even discovered the qualities of using carbon to remove impurities. So, there ARE ways of getting non-filtered bins to cycle fully but I'm afraid that it is very labor intensive and unrealistic without a power source.

You know, there is a VERY cheap way to get a good bio-base going in a temporary bin. Just get yourself an undergravel filter. You can hook an airpump to it and viola! You have excellent bio-filtration. Most people don't realize it but an undergravel filter is perhaps one of the very best forms of bio-filtration there is. I mean, gravel is an EXCELLENT place for them to grow and an undergravel fitler is constantly drawing water through it and up the uptube.

In recap: An undergravel filter makes for a VERY excellent bio-filter. They are also one of the cheapest forms of filtration available. You just have to make sure to clean out underneath the gravel plate once every two weeks to a month. That is the only drawback.

I would seek out flea-markets, swapmeets, mom and pop fish shops, yardsales and the like for old equipment. I swear, I have found the very best deals ever at each of those listed above. Particularly,, flea-markets. They always have some old undergravel filters laying around......

About your betta: Don't you have test kits? If you were to begin testing your bettas water everyday, and you really should, I think you'd be very surprised at what you'd find.......

Hope this helps!

Paul

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I'm not so sure about undergravel filters, I've been told that they didn't filter very well. Do you mean this + another filter? Lol...I don't even know how they work..does anyone know of a good link? I don't know much about filters except for the "waterfall" kind. Thanks :) I might end up waiting for smack to give up her filters first..I'm not sure how long it will be tho. I don't have anything to cycle the tank with yet, so it won't be horrible waiting after all.

I do have a test kit and the first couple weeks I tested the water a bit and found that I should do a 100% water change every 5-6 days to keep the ammonia below .3 ppm. Is there something I'm missing?

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Well, I think it can be unanimously agreed that you should never have ANY readable ammonia for ANY fishtank. Unless, it is cycling. In the case of your bettas tank, it is constantly cycling. This isn't very healthy for your betta and can eventually lead to problems.

Do you have test kits for nitrItes as well? Do you ever get readings for them from the betta tank?

Before I got into good fishkeeping, I had a betta that was kept in the same conditions as yours. One day he caught a bacterial infection (pop-eye) that was the early stages of dropsy. I was able to heal him and even keep him in a good clean tank with filter. But, he eventually became dropsied again and died. I just don't want this to happen to yours...... :unsure:

Yes, undergravel filters are a VERY efficient and very cheap means of biological filtration. In fact, I dare say that it is as good as ANY other filter for keeping the water ammonia and nitrIte free. In fact, an undergravel filter ran with an airpump is perhaps a good idea for your bettas tank. Undergravel fitlers work in the same way that sponge filters do. All you need to do is get the water to go through the sponge or gravel and it gets cleaned up by the beneficial bacteria. then it make its way up the uptube and across the surface of the water (thus aerating it). Good stuff there.......

Here is a page that Dr. Erik Johnson (world renowned fish doctor) has on one of his sites about undergravel filters: UG filters

And anohter: UG filters again

And a diagram on how they work: post-1193-1122338144_thumb.jpg

The white going into the yellow uptube is the airline and bubble stone. The rising column of bubbles causes water to flow up the tube. The water flowing up the tube causes water to be drawn in through the gravel (and beneficial bacteria) and over to the uptube and back up again. The water passing though the gravel/beneficial bacteria converts all the ammonia to nitrItes and then to nitrAtes.

In my opinion, you should start working on getting together some stuff on your end. There are ways to correct these problems, you just have to actively seek them out. For instance, take a look into the DIY forum at all of the helpful hints. Theres even a good DIY sponge filter that would work excellently in your bettas tank. Or you could make several of them and and use them elsewhere.

I hope this helps! :D

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Thanks, I don't have much money right now, so I'll go research. My betta's fin rot came back today...I think he had it when I got him and I was able to heal him mostly with clean water :(

I always thought it was okay to have a betta tank without a filter? I actually thought they prefered it that way because they didn't like the current.

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It is totally ok to keep a betta in a small tank without a filter. But waterchanges must be done often enough to ensure that ammonia or nitrItes do not rise to readable levels. But these tanks need to have very little gravel and must be washed out very well during every single waterchange. This is so that no beneficial bacteria survive and no cycle can begin. Otherwise, as your bettas tank is right now, it will constantly be trying to cycle itself.

Basically, your going to have to do a 100% washout of the tank and all the ornaments or gravel. Then you refill it with freshly dechlorinated, temperature matched water. Place your betta back in the tank and feed as you normally do. Then, you should test every day, morning and night, for ammonia. As soon as you begin to see ammonia on the results, you know that that is as long as you can go without a 100% waterchange/cleanout.

This seriously might only last a day in between waterchanges. It just depends. You have to do the test above to find out for yourself. However, there are a couple ways you can help prolong waterchanges without comprimising water quality:

Ammonia chips used as gravel in the tank (a light layer) will eat up ALL of the ammonia as it starts to build up. You might even be able to make it a week in between waterchanges if you use it. But, you HAVE to test for the first week to know exactly how long you can go. I highly suggest you use this method (but do the testing) if you plan on keeping your betta in an unfiltered tank without 100% daily waterchanges.

Using prime can and does detoxify ammonia in a pinch. Use it as per the directions and youll buy yourself some time.

I realize I am throwing all this info at you at once. But it IS good information that will help you greatly. Try re-reading the advice I have been giving you so that you retain a good understanding of the mechanics of your tanks, filters and fish.

Paul

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No worries on throwing tons of info at me, its important and I suck stuff up like a sponge. I will probably try and go with the second method, at least for now. I've got tons of prime, and I'll be testing lots :) I have never heard of ammonia chips tho, they sound useful! Do they have a limited lifespan? If I get them, will I need to syphon all the water? Do I cover the entire bottom with them like gravel? Right now there is no gravel on the bottom so waterchanges are really easy.

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As for the cycling...I think I will just cycle my 29 gallon for now. If the time comes I'll use it as a quarentining tank. If I get my filters soon, I can use some of the gunk and try to jump start the rubbermaid

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OK - the ammonia goes in the filter media basket (If you don't have a filter I would think you could just hang some in the tank with a stocking or other type of mesh bag.

There is one huge cavaet - if I remembr correctly you cannot use salt with ammo chips because that causes them to release the ammonia back into the water (Hopefully someone who remembers this more clearly will be along shortly! If not I'll search around for you! I just have to go to work soon right now)

Hope this helps! :D

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OK - the ammonia goes in the filter media basket (If you don't have a filter I would think you could just hang some in the tank with a stocking or other type of mesh bag.

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Is this instructions for cycling a tank? (not the bettas...ahh this has evolved to more than one topic!)

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I decided that I'm just going to start cycling the 29 gallon with fish flakes right now. If I still don't have a filter for the rubbermaid once the tank is cycled, I'll just use that as the quarentine tank. I'm not as fussy over it now cuz we figured out a way to clean it out without moving it. If I get the filter halfway thru, I can use some of the bio-bugs from the tank and transfer them to the new filter. They only problem I can think of is trying to catch four black neon tetras in the huge tank with the huge gravel. I'm sure they'll blend in well and hide perfectly in the cracks between pebbles. I'll figure something out by then.

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Since bettas cannot tolerate much salt, you won't have to use any.

The ammonia chips (zeo-lite) can be added anywhere in the aquarium you like. But, in your case, adding it as gravel is needed becae of the lack of a filter to place them in. Just place a light layer of it over the whole bottom of your bettas tank. 1/2 inch should be fine.

Yes, ammo-chips have a limited lifespan. BUt, you can re-charge it using a really salty solution (as per instructions on the packaging). Basically, you let it soak in really salty water for 24 hours and it is then ready for a good rinsing and replacing into the tank. So, you can add some ammo-chips and when they are filled up, you just take out the old ammo-chips, replace with new ammo-chips, and then re-charge the spent ones overnight. Once the recharged ammo-chips are ready, you can put them on standby until the new batch is spent. Then, You just alternate.

The way to tell if the ammo-chips are full and how long it takes for them to fill up is to test every single day until you get a readable amount on the tst kit. Then, that is the amount of time you have until you need to add new, or recharged, ammo-chips. However, to be safe, subtract a day or two from that number of days so that your fish is remains safe from ammonia.

Paul

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Fair warning.... RINSE THEM WELL BEFORE USING! they have lots of dust on them at first. You don't want your water beoming murky with suspened zeolite dust.

They are a little coarse. But not so much that it can hurt your goldies. However, if the goldies are small and the chips can get stuck in their mouths, you can either put the ammonia-chips into a vacuum bag or stocking and lay them as flat as you can on the bottom.

If a spare filter is laying about, you can ut the ammo-chips into the filter instead of filterfloss and the like, This will force tha water through the ammonia chips and make for better adsorbtion of the ammonia.

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