Jump to content

Some cycling questions


Recommended Posts

I have started cycling a new tank with a new sponge filter and new heater. I scrubbed everything well with hot water. It looked very sterile.

I added some fish food the first day, and 24 hours later, there was 0 ammonia. The water was cloudy, so I figured it was starting to work, so I added some more fish food and some fritz 7. I am going to get some Seachem Stability as soon as I can

This morning the living room smells a bit swamp and the water is cloudier. The Ammonia was 0.5 ppm. I added more Fritz 7, and will do a water change tonight or tomorrow morning.

After finding leeches in one tank, I don't want to introduce anything bad into this aquarium. Once I get it cycled. I can move one of the 10-gallon tropical fish tank's fish to it and clean that one and start cycling it for the next tank with some gravel and an extra sponge filter from this tank.

Here are my questions:

1) I want to move my new plants to bigger pots and then add them. Is it OK to add them while the water is cloudy?

2) I don't have clean gravel. I am wondering if I should boil the gravel I have from the native 120 tank, or is there a better way to clean it? I kind of hate putting gravel in a pot I use to cook food. I know it should not matter, but it just doesn't feel right.

3) I have some rocks and some drift wood in a cart that is covered with snow. I can bring them in and scrub them. Do they need to be boiled as well?

4) I don't have a cover for the tank yet. Should I cover it with plastic until the I get a cover?

5) my test strips have 0.0 and 0.5 ppm, but nothing nearer to 0.2ppm. The ACO instructions says to do water changes at 0.2 ppm. Do I need to get different test strip for cycling a tank?

All advice welcome !!! Thank you so much.

@Guppysnail or anyone else. The ACO link about cycling says you can add one fish per 10 gallons. This is a 10-gallon tank. I don't think a single guppy would feel safe in a 10-gallon tank by itself. 

What do think would be the minimum number of guppies to add, and at what point could I add that many? Or for 10-gallon tanks, should I just do a fishless plant cycling?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) I think the plants would not be bothered by cloudy water, and they would enjoy the ammonia, But I would recommend that you not add plants until cycling is complete. Plants consume ammonia and nitrites, and that is what beneficial bacteria need in order to multiply. Plants might be useful for a fish-in cycle in order to provide a margin of safety for the fish. But in a fishless cycle, it seems logical to me that plants would delay the process by consuming ammonia and nitrites unless you add more fish food to compensate. You don't explicitly say whether there are fish in the tank, but I assume not from your comment about adding a guppy..

2) I think rinsing the gravel is fine. A clean tank and a clean filter will not cycle. That is why you put fish food in and wait for it to rot.

3) I have never boiled a rock. I confess I boiled a small piece of driftwood to remove tannins and make it sink. I won't do that again.

4) A cover is good for limiting evaporation. I don't know whether evaporation and replacing the evaporated water will affect the cycle. I doubt it.

5) I am not sure what instructions you are referring to, but there is no reason to do water changes if there are no fish. You would just be removing ammonia and/or nitrites that the beneficial bacteria need in order to multiply.

I would also recommend that you read the aquariumscience.org articles regarding ammonia and cycling.

Good luck to you and your guppies!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@HH Morant

Information I forgot to add:

1) All that is in the tank now if the sponge filter, heater, water, fish food, and some fritz 7. 

2) My 120 tank was a native fish tank all summer with wild, unquarantined fish. That is why I think I may need to boil the gravel to make sure everything from the fish and the lake water is dead. There could be parasite eggs etc in the gravel. I found leeches in one of my tropical tanks after adding scuds and some plants from the lake and plants from a pet store, so I am starting up new cycled tanks. At this point I don't trust anything in any of my tanks, so I am starting with everything clean.

3) The rocks and drift could also have eggs etc from the lake.

4) I didn't see anything about having the tank covered or not covered, so I thought I would ask about it. It may not matter.

5) The instructions are on the Aquarium Co Op web site. It talks about a "fish cycling" using 1 fish per 10 gallons. "Plant cycling" and "fishless cycling":

*I am not sure if 1 guppy would do well in a 10 gallon tank, and I do not have test strips that measure to 0.2 ppm, so I don't know if I can do the "fish cycling".

*I think I can do the "plant cycling" if the plants can be added to the cloudy water. 

*They recommend against the "fishless cycling" for beginners. That's me all over.

Hope this is explains things a bit more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Plants will help clear cloudiness as they consume the nutrients the free swimming bacteria are feeding on 

2. put the gravel in a bucket dump boiling water over let cool add conditioner good to go. 
3. toss rock and wood  in the bucket with the gravel and boiling water to get gunk off. 
4.  If guppies are uncomfortable they jump. Sit a cookie sheet/sheets on top do not seal with Saran Wrap you want o2 exchange

5 I either throw everything in with some food and and feed when I remember until enough algae grows or for a 10 2 guppies(I use zebra danio if I have no media)  test 3x/day water change to keep no more than .25 am and nitrite. If I remember correctly you have crazy high ph. This makes even that amount of ammonia VERY toxic for fish I think you said almost 9? I DO NOT recommend fish in cycling for ph that high  plant it feed it test it you will be just fine  I don’t use bottled bacteria so cannot speak to its use  

hope that helps

Edited by Guppysnail
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When it comes to boiling stuff (gravel, driftwood, garden soil, etc.) a barbecue (or fire pit for those trendier folks) and a metal container (trash can, metal bucket, etc.) work pretty well. Stuff that gets cooked/boiled tends to have an aroma that's not always pleasant. By setting up a barbecue outside and then setting the metal container atop the hot grill, you solve most of the issues you'd run into doing it inside. If the container fails and springs a leak, no biggie. It's outside. If the stuff you're boiling stinks, it's outside and who cares? You can reuse the trash can for stuff like trash when you're not boiling large pieces of driftwood or mountains of gravel. And the barbecue can be reused as a barbecue when you're not using it for more important stuff like your fish tanks. It's a win/win situation. 

Now as to the plants, they'll likely be bringing in some good bacteria with them. That can help your cycle. If you add enough ammonia you can provide more than the plants can consume and keep the cycle going. And with a high pH you really want very low levels of ammonia before adding any fish. A low pH like 6.0 or so can have lots of ammonia and have it do little harm to the fish. The toxicity of ammonia varies wildly with pH. People who recommend fish-in cycling tend to have low pH. It works for them as even high levels of ammonia are not toxic to the fish at a low pH. They can't understand why everyone doesn't do it that way. "This works great for me! I never lose a fish while the tank is cycling." And they're right. It works great for them. If you've got a high pH, it's death.

Do you need to boil driftwood that's been outside? Probably not. The sunlight (assuming it's been in the sun and not in a shed or something) will have likely killed anything dangerous on the wood. Sunlight is a great disinfectant. Could something nasty be lurking deep inside the wood and out of the reach of the sunshine? Yeah, possibly. But the odds are in your favor that it would be safe after being outside for a while. 

As to a cover, many aquascapers never cover their tanks. Covers serve two purposes. They limit evaporation and keep fish prone to jumping inside the tank instead of on the floor. The guy who has Aquarium Domain on YouTube recently had his cat bring his oldest Denison Barb upstairs to him after it had jumped out of the tank. Why would you want to limit evaporation? When water evaporates, just the water tends to go leaving minerals behind. That can lead to a buildup of minerals beyond what you really want in a tank. Now it can take years for that buildup to cause trouble and water changes tend to offset that, but it can be an issue for some.

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/7/2022 at 7:31 AM, gardenman said:

If the stuff you're boiling stinks, it's outside and who cares? You can reuse the trash can for stuff like trash when you're not boiling large pieces of driftwood or mountains of gravel. And the barbecue can be reused as a barbecue when you're not using it for more important stuff like your fish tanks. It's a win/win situation

Very well said, and the dry delivery of "reused as a barbecue when you're not using it for more important stuff like your fish tanks" is Steven Write caliber of humor, in his driest form.

I like the charts and explanations on aquariumscience.org for demonstrating the interplay between pH, ammonia and nitrite toxicity. 

I think everyone else has covered the 'secrets' to successful cycling. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...