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Fishless Cycle


yazooo

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My boyfriend bought me a new tank for Christmas and now knowing a good deal more about fishkeeping I am cycling it without fish.

Its not a tank for goldies and to be honest I wasnt really sure what to put in there so I was in no rush, I set it up on the 26th Dec and put some fish food in there. Ive basically just kept doing that. Last week my ammonia measured about 2.0ppm, nitrite was 0.5ppm and nitrate wasnt really showing up (well it was but just the same amount thats already in my water supply). I tested again today and there is almost 0 ammonia. Nitrite is around the 2ppm and nitrate is between 10-20. So I believe its all progressing!

The thing is the water is totally mank. The surface is covered by a gross white film. Is that normal? It happens to any water that I leave out for a few days. I assume that when it comes to completion ill be able to get rid of all the the water in the tank as the beneficial bacteria will be on the filter sponge? As of yet there are no decorations or gravel or anything in the tank for the bacteria to have colonised on. Also! The rotten food is sort of stuck to the outside of the filter intake as its too large to be pulled in through the slats at the bottom. Should this mouldy stuff be actually put inside the filter sponge or just left? If I were to turn the filter off it would all just fall off to the bottom of the tank you see but im not sure if its sort of essential to the whole cycling process that that stays inside the filter.

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I am nearing the end of a fishless cycle myself, though I'm doing mine with household ammonia. For the exact reason that you stated... the rotting fish food is just gross.

Yes, when you are all done cycling, you can do a large water change (though I'm not sure if you should do 100%...?) and that will get rid of most of the gunk that has built up. The good bacteria that you are after will be on your filter surfaces and not in the water.

As for putting the hunk of gunk inside your filter... that's gross! I hope you don't have to do that :blink: lol

Good luck!

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No - that is NOT normal - and makes me worry that because you have used rotting food for your "seed" you have introduced other pathogens into the tank.

When you cycle with food, it is my understanding that you must vacumn out the food every day or three and add more - such that there is always "freshly decaying" food in the tank to produce ammonia. Leaving it to grow mold and support other "scary" bacterias is not what you want.

I would do an immediate water change - a major one. Leave your filter and media alone, and leave about 5-10% of the water (the cleanest part) in the tank. Reset it all, and add in a TINY bit of food to feed the developing cycle.

The problem with cycling with food is that it is a tough, delicate line to walk between having too much rotting food - introducing things you do NOT want in the tank, or too little food - resulting in such a small beneficial bacteria population that it barely supports one small fish at the start. (common).

It also worries me that you have a white film on the surface of the tank. This means you are not getting sufficiant turnover in the water or surface agitation. If the surface water was being filtered - the whole tank being filtered properly, you should not have any stagnant parts sitting with films.

Do you have clear ammonia available? I think, with care, your cycle can be salvaged and jump started into working in the next week or two, but you need to clean up that mess - as it is it is most likely as toxic for fish as the ammonia would be. Cycling with ammonia almost eliminates the problems with molds/phosphates, etc.

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OOOOOOkay. That sucks.

I wont be able to get pure ammonia. Cant find it anywhere. There is an online source but ive ordered too much online lately already.

It sounds like id be better off just ditching the lot and starting afresh.

I dont understand the white film thing either. I actually replaced the filter that came with the tank as it was teeny tiny and just uselessly rubbish. The filter ive put on it gives it 10xtimes filtration for the size of the tank?

Like I said im not actually in a rush to buy anything to put in this tank so its not the end of the world.

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I don't think Carol suggested that you ditch the whole thing, just that you replace the water and clean the food off of the intake tube.

Then I would gently swish out the sponge or filter material and start it running again. Add the food in small amounts, and as Carol suggested, vacuum out any extra food every three days or so.

Also, if you add an airstone, that will most likely get rid of the film on the water.

Do you have the tank filled all the way to the top? Some filters work best when the water it right at the lip of the outflow.

Also, how big is the tank and do you have any idea what kind of fish you would like to keep?

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I know, it was me suggesting I ditch the whole thing :)

I dunno if id just be more comfortable just giving it a good scrub out. It really is kinda gross.

The tank isnt filled right to the top and the filter outflow is actually positioned close to the surface so there really should be more movement going on.

The tank is this one...

nano_finished.jpg

Its capacity is about 7 US gallons I think, so obviously fish choice is limited. Nothing particularly in mind. I saw a really sweet Betta at the LFS on Sat. Still need to research whats right for me and the tank really though.

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I think it would be worthwhile to keep your filter media, though. It is nicely on its was to being cycled. So, if you clean out the tank, and add fresh water, you could lightly rinse the media and reuse it.

A betta would be a good choice, as would a shoal of white cloud mountain minnows. That could be very pretty.

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AFter I read this this morning, I went to the grocery. They literally had a whole end cap shelf full of clear ammonia - on sale for $0.69 a gallon.....I could not help but think of you! I wish that you all had it so readily available. :(

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Aww thats really sweet! :heart

It is a pain being in the UK and not having ready access to the same things! Life would be so much easier. Im not even actually in the mainland UK but in Belfast in Northern Ireland so that makes me even more remote! :)

As for the tank, I ditched the water and the mouldy bits, checked the media that it didnt have any lumps of mould on it and set it all back up again with some water from the goldie tank that I had kept from a water change today. Ive popped in a little fish food too so ill just remove that in a few days and keep hoping for the best! Like I said, it really isnt a whoop de woo if it all ends up failing anyway. Ill test the water tomorrow to see where I stand.

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Water tests today are as follows!

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nirtrite: Around the 0.25ppm mark.

Nitrate: Little below 5.

So I think things are still alright and the cycle hasnt been totally wiped out!

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:)

Well pre mould removal the nitrite was at 2.0ppm. So I think im still on track!

Tested again today.

Ammonia: O

Nitrite:0.25ppm

Nitrate: 5-10ppm

If im showing nitrate, does this mean that the nitrite side of things will start to shift soon?

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:)

Well pre mould removal the nitrite was at 2.0ppm. So I think im still on track!

Tested again today.

Ammonia: O

Nitrite:0.25ppm

Nitrate: 5-10ppm

If im showing nitrate, does this mean that the nitrite side of things will start to shift soon?

That really does depend upon how much nitrate was in the water you pulled out of the goldfish tank to use.

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To be honest I cant actually remember how long ive been seeing nitrite. Longer than a week like, but after that im not sure.

Tap nitrate is low somewhere in the region of 0-3 I believe and the tank water that went into the fishless cycling tank must have only had a 5. And the tanks at a 20 or so, so its def. being produced.

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