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How Many Fish To Cycle Tank?


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Okay, I just received some extra money (thanks Mom) and will set up my 168 gallon tank with 2 FX5's and 1 110 HOB filter. I am going to cycle my tank with goldfish feeders. How many should I use and for how long shall I cycle the tank for? Thanks in advance, The Doctor.

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You're technically not supposed to cycle a tank with fish. Feeders can also spread disease in your tank if you just want them for that reason. :) I would just use some pure ammonia and get a test kit and do a fishless cycle. That way you don't have to change the water until it's done, instead of doing daily water changes since you have fish.

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i have heard platies are food when it comes to fish cycles.. but then my friend, setting up his 55 gall, got like 17 platies or something like that.. 3 or 2 are alive, and the cycle failed horribly, never really happened soo then all newer fish died as well..

horrendous story i know... LOL so i say avoid the potential massacre and go for what the other people are saying. ammonia cycle ftw?

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You should never buy a fish with the intention of using it as a cycling implement. Ammonia is incredibly toxic and to subject a fish to high levels of toxicity without proper upkeep (water changes to keep the levels safe) is cruel and frankly wasteful. There is also the concern about parasites and disease, as you may know, feeder fish are riddled with them.

If you mean to say you don't want to do a fishless cycle, and are going to cycle with your pets, you have a ton of water changes in store for you.

That said, cycling with pure ammonia, and no fish, is faster because you don't have to do any water changes to prevent die off, since you know, there are no fish that could be poisoned. It also ensures that you will have no disease cross contamination, the only way you would have illness is if you bought pet fish already ill!

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If you're just upgrading your tank from a smaller one, you don't need to cycle it, just either attach your old filters as well or move all the filter media into the new tank. Hey Presto! Cycled tank. This assumes your current tank is already cycled of course. You might get a slight cycle bump but it'll be much easier and as long as you're not adding any new fish to it straight away other than those already in the tank the bacteria will already be accustomed to the required bioload.

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Everyone has covered the subject but if you have to cycle with fish then by all means use filter media and gravel from your existing tank. I would add your fish gradually as not to overload the cycle as it will be fragile at first. Cycling your fish as I have done is a task that can be done safely provided that you can perform numerous water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites down to safe levels until the tank has cycled. Otherwise you're going to stress your fish with toxins and that will send your fish on the way to disaster. Good luck! ;)

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I'm not sure if OP is too concerned about the survival of the feeders. The guy I got my tank from told me that you should buy this certain kind of fish for the cycle and just let them die and stay in the tank.... I just think that fishless cycle is a lot cleaner and safer.

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Everyone has covered the subject but if you have to cycle with fish then by all means use filter media and gravel from your existing tank. I would add your fish gradually as not to overload the cycle as it will be fragile at first. Cycling your tank with fish as I have done is a task that can be done safely provided that you can perform numerous water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites down to safe levels until the tank has cycled. Otherwise you're going to stress your fish with toxins and that will send your fish on the way to disaster. Good luck! ;)

Sorry had to fix my previous post that I screwed up.

Edited by blackteles
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I'm not sure if OP is too concerned about the survival of the feeders. The guy I got my tank from told me that you should buy this certain kind of fish for the cycle and just let them die and stay in the tank.... I just think that fishless cycle is a lot cleaner and safer.

How mean is that. Sounds like that person had no clue.

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Well, I am not saying that this is what Dr_Shakalu is planning, but the guy I got my tank from... I just wish I could remember what kind of fish he was talking about. I didn't even want to start arguing about it (or the terrible condition of the tank with tons of poo and food floating up when I was trying to catch his fish plus the fact that both the heaters in the tank were set to 93 degree) but just get it done and get the tank plus the fish out of there.

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93 ouch. I have seen people call Commons 'cycle' fish. The lady who set up tanks for people for a living would buy 10 to 'cycle' a 10 gallon tank with. Needless to say I had to set her straight but she would not hear of it. Now when she sees me in the pet shops she avoids even making eye contact with me. Insert something not nice about that here.

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93 ouch.

Yeah, I was joking with Tay about the adult (looking) angelfish that came with the tank probably only being a couple months old when I got her. The high temp just sped up her growth and metabolism :lol Got them in 77 now.

She really did that? How mean. I hate when people disrespect living beings just because they are smaller or less pretty or "cheap".

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