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Hi guys! I'm British, live in Greece and reside in Newbiesville!
I'm here because I'm in dire need of guidance.
Long story short. I have basically killed 4 fancy goldfish: Emo, Elmo, Mr.Poopy and Manuel (not all at once) in the same tank.
When I got my fish, the pet shop guy didn't tell me about cycling my tank or anything when I asked him what I needed to do.
When my first 2 fish died (one after the other) I searched and found out about New tank syndrome and the cycle, started doing an in fish cycle, but could never get rid of the nitrites, it kind of stalled.
0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, sky high nitrites. Water changes, Prime, stability etc etc.
So here I am with this 25 litre, empty tank. (yes, I know it's too small for 2 fish now!)
My plan is to buy a bigger tank between 70 and 100 litres (depending on my husbands mood!) and have some small fish like neons,, rasporas etc
I was wondering if I could keep this tank going and try to manage to cycle it, so when I get my new tank I can use the filter-sponge from the old one in the new tank? I don't have any bio material. Should I get some?
But what should I do to get my cycle in shape? Thank you, I really don't want to give up!

empty tank.jpg

Edited by Apple Cory
added some detail
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Don’t give up!

Here’s our method for cycling:

(1) Use a biologically activated substrate like Eco Complete — or, transfer substrate from a cycled tank.

(2) Use Wood or Hardscape from inside a cycled tank. We buy wet wood from our LFS.

(3) Use a primed sponge filter already full of bio.

(4) Use tank water from a cycled tank.

(5) Buy tons of live plants. They bring in bio.

(6) Dump in Dr. Tim’s bio starter fluid.

Then wait a day. Test water. Wait until Nitrates are increasing. Add fish. 

 

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4 hours ago, Fish Folk said:

Don’t give up!

Here’s our method for cycling:

(1) Use a biologically activated substrate like Eco Complete — or, transfer substrate from a cycled tank.

(2) Use Wood or Hardscape from inside a cycled tank. We buy wet wood from our LFS.

(3) Use a primed sponge filter already full of bio.

(4) Use tank water from a cycled tank.

(5) Buy tons of live plants. They bring in bio.

(6) Dump in Dr. Tim’s bio starter fluid.

Then wait a day. Test water. Wait until Nitrates are increasing. Add fish. 

 

YES to all of this, except I was completely new to the hobby when I started cycling my tank and didn't have the advantage of primed filter media. I did use Eco Complete, tons of live plants (about 15 pots to start in my 29 gal, that's grown to about 22 and counting), and Tetra Safe Start Plus. Cycling took about 9 days, which was much quicker than I expected with starting from scratch.

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Fish Folk's advice is good. 

I have a less-than-optimal suggestion to add. When you're confident you've got it cycled and safe, consider just adding one hardy critter first to be the "canary in the coal mine," and observe it for a couple weeks. My thinking is simply that it'd be less-bad to have an oops with one animal than with multiple. Not saying you should - just an idea. 

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On 4/20/2021 at 12:35 AM, Fish Folk said:

Don’t give up!

Here’s our method for cycling:

(1) Use a biologically activated substrate like Eco Complete — or, transfer substrate from a cycled tank.

(2) Use Wood or Hardscape from inside a cycled tank. We buy wet wood from our LFS.

(3) Use a primed sponge filter already full of bio.

(4) Use tank water from a cycled tank.

(5) Buy tons of live plants. They bring in bio.

(6) Dump in Dr. Tim’s bio starter fluid.

Then wait a day. Test water. Wait until Nitrates are increasing. Add fish. 

 

Thanks very much for the reply, sorry I took so long replying!
I'll try to follow those instructions for my upgrade tank that I've got my eye on. (110 litres)
I can't get Dr.Tim's in my country unfortunately or get it delivered here, so Stability is the best route for me as it is widely available.
I have added some bio material to my current filter and added a bag in the water column too. I intend on continuing to try and cycle this one and when I get my new tank, to start from the beginning, adding the bio material to the tank and hopefully some plants. I live in a small village and getting to a good aquarium supplier means driving 90 minutes.
Thanks again

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On 4/20/2021 at 12:42 AM, Fishdude said:

One of my greatest pet peeves is when fish stores don't give people information to be successful at this hobby. Not just the wasting other people's money to make a buck, but it kills people's motivation and joy (not to mention the fish). 

Yes, he definitely wanted my money. He helped me kill 4 fish. 😢

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On 4/20/2021 at 12:43 AM, starsman20 said:

100% with you on this

Yes, you are both right. I almost threw in the towel, I was very upset. Then I started watching YouTube videos and realised that it's not that hard, maybe I can do this I thought. I realised that the idiot pet shop owner didn't care about the fish or the hobby. i found another pet shop a little further away from where I live (just sells fish and aquarium products) and had a chat with him about the nitrogen cycle etc, he was surprised by the misinformation I had been given.
Anyway, here I go...

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On 4/20/2021 at 5:16 AM, laritheloud said:

YES to all of this, except I was completely new to the hobby when I started cycling my tank and didn't have the advantage of primed filter media. I did use Eco Complete, tons of live plants (about 15 pots to start in my 29 gal, that's grown to about 22 and counting), and Tetra Safe Start Plus. Cycling took about 9 days, which was much quicker than I expected with starting from scratch.

Thank you for your reply. Yup, i felt quite the idiot when I realised that the process of keeping a Goldfish was more intricate than I thought! Thanks for the tips.

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On 4/20/2021 at 8:33 AM, awymorePDX said:

If you can, keep with the tank you have and let the cycle finish, then decide what you are going to use for filtration on the new tank, and set it up on the tank you have now. That way when you are ready for the new tank, you will have a head start with a filter that is already cycled for the new aquarium!

yes, I've actually started doing that. I'm cycling my empty tank, added bio material and when It's ready I'll get the new tank and give it a start up boost with the cycled filter. I didn't think of putting the new one in the old tank, nice tip!

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23 hours ago, CalmedByFish said:

Fish Folk's advice is good. 

I have a less-than-optimal suggestion to add. When you're confident you've got it cycled and safe, consider just adding one hardy critter first to be the "canary in the coal mine," and observe it for a couple weeks. My thinking is simply that it'd be less-bad to have an oops with one animal than with multiple. Not saying you should - just an idea. 

I had thought about that! But my closest, well trusted, aquarium supplier is 90 minutes away!

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17 hours ago, lefty o said:

ill add something, in the picture it looks like a smaller aquarium, im guessing 10gal. just be aware if you go the goldfish route, they will out grow that sized tank pretty quickly.

It's 25 litres (6.6 gallons) I was told 2 fancy Goldfish would be fine. Obviously not. I am now cycling the empty tank and intend on buying a 110 litre (29 gallons) and have Tetras, Rasboras. I'm reading up on the different types and who gets along with whom!

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@Apple Cory Hello, welcome to the forum! For cycling, I now have the benefit of having multiple aquariums so it is a breeze. But what I have done and continue to do is simply feed my aquarium fish food as if there is fish in there.
 

For an example, if I plan on having 10 neon tetras, I will feed the aquarium every day the same amount of food as I would feed 10 neon tetras or even a little more. Then test the water until the beneficial bacteria has been established and the nitrogen cycle is being completed (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, nitrate begins to accumulate). Then you can introduce the fish. This way no fish are harmed, just some food has been used. 

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4 hours ago, Apple Cory said:

I had thought about that! But my closest, well trusted, aquarium supplier is 90 minutes away!

Ugh. In that case, a different idea.

Maybe when you do get fish or other animals, you could get species that will reproduce themselves. That way you wouldn't need to return to the store as often. That's what I'm trying to do.

Maybe livebearers that will eat most - but not all - of their fry. Maybe shrimp that reproduce easily, but the fish species could be something that will eat some. A lot of snails breed very easily, and their populations can be kept in check simply by feeding less. Surely there are more ideas for a continuous supply - that's just what I've landed on. 

Edit to add: Some species of livebearers will cross-breed with each other. The fry are often sterile, but seeing how the crossed fry look would add a little excitement.

Edited by CalmedByFish
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You're in good hands here on this forum!

I remember visiting my local pet store recently, ignored as always by the young, overworked and underpaid employees, but hearing the young man working in the fish department say, over the phone to some other customer "Okay, what do you know about the nitrogen cycle?"

I pantomimed to him that I was fine and to keep going, he was going to be there awhile!

As for me, I started, perhaps quite unwisely, with some API quickstart, stress zyme, and a butt-ton of plants and made it through. Sometimes canned beneficial bacteria can do the heavy lifting, sometimes it can't.

Since it sounds like you're already halfway there with nitrites, I'd recommend some fast reproducing snails like ramshorns or malaysian trumpet snails, which can survive almost anywhere there's waste or algae, produce some themselves, and can help feed the beneficial bacteria as the final stage emerges to turn nitrite into nitrate.

Live plants also help a lot, not just in using every part of the nitrogen cycle, but also for providing even more surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Get even more planted and keep slowly feeding it fish food and you should see 0 nitrites, and lots of nitrates soon enough!

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I agree with @Kirsten! 😎The nice part about this forum is that members sift through the hearsay, F.U.D., and lies floating about in cyberspace to offer up genuinely helpful suggestions. 

Everyone has their own recipe for cycling their tank(s). Like you, I started from scratch, so I did not have any mature tanks to borrow seasoned media or substrate from. I am a low-tech (translation → lazy + cheap) aquarist, so specialty substrates were not part of my plan. I did use options #5 and a version of #6. 🌿 ↓

On 4/19/2021 at 3:35 PM, Fish Folk said:

(5) Buy tons of live plants. They bring in bio.

(6) Dump in Dr. Tim’s bio starter fluid.

I do not think we can repeat enough times the following truth about cycling. 💯 ↓

On 4/19/2021 at 3:43 PM, starsman20 said:

One of the main things that helps is patience. it just takes time to cycle. It's definitely worth it.

I too made the mistake of not waiting long enough before adding critters. 🙄I would like to add that this is actually a very smart suggestion. ↓

On 4/20/2021 at 11:39 AM, CalmedByFish said:

When you're confident you've got it cycled and safe, consider just adding one hardy critter first to be the "canary in the coal mine," and observe it for a couple weeks. My thinking is simply that it'd be less-bad to have an oops with one animal than with multiple. Not saying you should - just an idea. 

I guess the last thing I might suggest is that before you run out and buy a larger tank, try working through all the bugs in your small tank. In addition to letting you practice for the larger version, you may find that building an ecosystem for a smaller tank is quite rewarding. None of my tanks are larger than 10 gallons. All are community tanks, packed with life—fish, plants, and inverts. 😁

Edited by Anita
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1 hour ago, Kirsten said:

I'd recommend some fast reproducing snails like ramshorns or malaysian trumpet snails, which can survive almost anywhere there's waste or algae, produce some themselves, and can help feed the beneficial bacteria as the final stage emerges to turn nitrite into nitrate.

I'll add that ramshorns come in a variety of colors, and plow through algae on glass like they're on riding lawnmowers.

Malaysian trumpet snails have the perk of being almost impossible to kill, and can dig down through gravel instead of just cleaning what's on top. They also have a trunk like an elephant.

The only other species I have is bladder snails. I can't say anything about their usefulness since I just got them, but they look like they have gold glitter on their backs, and that's pretty nifty. 

Because mystery snails look so temptingly cool, I'll add that I've often heard they poo more than they eat. 😂 It's the only reason I don't have one... yet.

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I bought a trio of snails off eBay: MTS, ramshorn, and bladder snails. I was unprepared for, but absolutely thrilled by, how beautiful the ramshorn snails are. I sat and watched them for an embarrassing amount of hours the weekend I got them. And that is truth about their algae-eating ability, @CalmedByFish!

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16 hours ago, CalmedByFish said:

 

Because mystery snails look so temptingly cool, I'll add that I've often heard they poo more than they eat. 😂 It's the only reason I don't have one... yet.

Mystery snails are definitely more of a pet than a worker. But I highly recommend getting some! They are so cool!

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