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Cycling a tank with Dr Tim ammonia and FritzZyme


madmark285
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Using Dr Tim's ammonia, my started level of ammonia was ~4-5ppm (API test kit). I added 1oz of FritzZyme and in few days, the ammonia level was under 1ppm. I repeated this and once again, the ammonia levels went from ~4-5ppm to under 1 ppm. Clearly I have establish the ammonia munching colony of bacteria.

 

The nitrites levels are difficult to read as they are on the bottom end of the scale (.25ppm) and being color blind doesn't help :-).  Same issue with nitrates. I did a comparison test using tap water,  there was a significant color difference for nitrites and a very slight difference for nitrates. 

 

Initially I expected to see the normal cycling curve with nitrites spiking at high level then ramping down which confirms the establishment of the bacteria. But on second thought, if you seed your tank with live bacteria, this is what you should expect ie: no significant levels of nitrites. I believe my tank is cycled and ready for fish once the ammonia levels drop. 

 

FritzZyme recommends adding fish right away but I do not agree with this, Spiking your tank with ammonia confirms the bacteria was alive when added to your tank. Time for a major water change and finally, buy some fish on Friday!

 

Mark

 

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Couple of questions & thoughts...

(1) What sort of filtration are you running? And how large is your tank? Is everything “new” — substrate, hardscape? Is this your first aquarium, or do you have others? What sort of fish are you planning to add — how “delicate” / sensitive? Any live plants at all? 
 

(2) New tanks really do benefit from as much care as possible when cycling. We generally do the following: [a] Use a lot of substrate with bio built in, such as Eco Complete. It may be expensive, but it’s worth every penny in the long haul. [b] Fill the tank with water from another (healthy) aquarium. Buckets are a bother, but this ensures some seasoned water. [c] Transfer in at least one primed sponge filter from another aquarium — or if using a hang-on-back, put in a dirty, bio-filled cartridge from another HOB. [d] Use wood and large rocks from other cycled tanks. We buy wet wood and rocks from inside tanks already our LFS. It’s rich in bio. Yes, it may bring along algae, other issues, but it is healthier for fish. [e] We believe in live plants! Always add live plants unless you’re working with certain Cichlids. [f] After that all settles for a day, we water test. Providing there’s no issues, we then finally use a Fritz or Dr. Tim’s bio starter liquid and immediately add fish. 
 

Doing it this way, we can basically go from a bare tank to a fully cycled, fully stocked aquarium in just a couple days. It does cost a lot of $ though. But if you’re not spending money to replace dead fish, it’s worth it. The challenge is if this is your very first tank, and you do not have access to primed filter. As I understand it, you need more than just a splash of bio-loaded FritzZyme... you need a healthy bio colony.

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49 minutes ago, Fish Folk said:

Couple of questions & thoughts...

(1) What sort of filtration are you running?

 

I have alot of experience from long ago, I took a 20 year break from aquariums. It is a 75 gallon tank with a custom built sump filter built using 1/2 sheet PVC stock (I will post more on this later).  The pump is a LifeGard QuietOne 3000 (~500gph) .The hardscape is dead shrubs I collect from a trail behind my house.  I did use a couple bags of Eco Complete and with a top layer of gravel. The light is a Finnex Stingray 2. 

This will be a Tiger Barb tank  with a secondary school of Serpae Tetras. 

The biggest concern now, is the wood safe for fish? I will add a few fish and see how it goes ie: take it slow. I also need to buy more plants primary for the back corners.

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59 minutes ago, KBOzzie59 said:

I would think adding ammonia is not required if you use fritzyme.  Adding fish and food would accomplish the same thing.

It is not required. In fact, FritzZyme recommend you add fish immediately,  But how can you determine if the bacteria in the bottle is still alive?

By spiking the tank with ammonia, I got a clear indication that the bacteria was alive and I have establish my bio filter.

 

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36 minutes ago, madmark285 said:

have alot of experience from long ago, I took a 20 year break from aquariums. It is a 75 gallon tank with a custom built sump filter built using 1/2 sheet PVC stock (I will post more on this later).  The pump is a LifeGard QuietOne 3000 (~500gph) .The hardscape is dead shrubs I collect from a trail behind my house.  I did use a couple bags of Eco Complete and with a top layer of gravel. The light is a Finnex Stingray 2. 

This will be a Tiger Barb tank  with a secondary school of Serpae Tetras. 

The biggest concern now, is the wood safe for fish? I will add a few fish and see how it goes ie: take it slow. I also need to buy more plants primary for the back corners.

That looks beautiful! We’ve added some found wood before without problems. Ours tended to attract / grow certain algae more than the mopani, spider wood, or driftwood pieces. Otherwise no problems. 
 

Sounds like it will be a wonderful tank. Have you ever looked into Odessa Barbs? Greg Sage at Select Aquatics used to sell a really nice line. 

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3 hours ago, madmark285 said:

The biggest concern now, is the wood safe for fish? I will add a few fish and see how it goes ie: take it slow.

The way you did the layout with the wood looks amazing. That is a gorgeous tank. I don't know if you even need more plants. It's so stunning the way it is. It looks like you are getting a peak at what's happening below the water level of a river or lake or something. This is seriously one of the best tanks I've ever seen posted here. I want you to come over and put my next tank together for me! LOL. Putting new wood in a tank now always makes me nervous. I have 5 tanks and I have ALWAYS boiled the wood before I put it in the tank to make sure it was as hygienic as possible. However one time I bought a piece of wood at a LFS and came home and threw it in my goldfish tank. The next morning all my fish were dead. Now I'm overly paranoid so I even boil rocks before I put them in my tanks. I learned the heard way, so taking it slow with the fish is a good idea.

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I set up a 90 gal. I filled her up, rant it 2 days and planted it. For two weeks I added a tiny bit of fish food daily. Once my levels started coming down I added fish. Plants plants plants. Even if they will be taken out for fish. They immediately bring life in. As they convert and old leaves break down, they naturally release ammonia. The bacteria on their roots will help bring in beneficial bacteria etc. 

ps. I added bogwood right away. Wish I waited for the plants to establish a little more. The wonderful white fungus can establish quick. But I have watched snails, cherry shrimp and swordtails munch on it into extinction  

Edited by Jeltz
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4 hours ago, madmark285 said:

It is not required. In fact, FritzZyme recommend you add fish immediately,  But how can you determine if the bacteria in the bottle is still alive?

By spiking the tank with ammonia, I got a clear indication that the bacteria was alive and I have establish my bio filter.

 

I'd guess because the label says it is alive?

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2 hours ago, Wes L. said:

The way you did the layout with the wood looks amazing. 

Thanks so much. Behind my house was railroad tracks which were removed 50+ years ago. With no tress, the shrubs could grow freely but as time went on, the trees grew over them and they slowly died over a couple decades. Below is a close up of them. 

I am think the same as you, not sure if I will go with a heavily planted tank. Initial I was going to dry start it and cover the wood with java moss, I glad I changed my mind! With few plants, the Tiger Barbs will have lots of room to swim.

 

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Edited by madmark285
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1 hour ago, madmark285 said:

With no tress, the shrubs could grow freely but as time went on, the trees grew over them and they slowly died over a couple decades.

That's so awesome that you have that option to find wood yourself. I live in the middle of the Mojave Desert, so no trees or wood for us. However I have cholla wood growing in my backyard, so that we have an abundant supply of since we can grow our own. Your tank truly is a masterpiece. Be sure to post a photo (and tag me so I can be sure to see it LOL) once you have it stocked with fish, and I think barbs would be stunning in your tank. It looks like you just took a piece of nature and brought it into your house, instead of some overdone fish tank like all of mine. Sometimes less is definitely more.

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4 hours ago, Jeltz said:

The wonderful white fungus can establish quick. But I have watched snails, cherry shrimp and swordtails munch on it into extinction  

I notice some white fungus growing on the wood, I am a bit concerned. I plan on giving the wood a good scrubbing with a brush then a major water change.

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1 minute ago, madmark285 said:

I notice some white fungus growing on the wood, I am a bit concerned. I plan on giving the wood a good scrubbing with a brush then a major water change.

I wouldn't worry, this is normal when wood is first introduced into a tank. it should dissapear on its own and is not harmful to your fish, infact shrimp and other fish like to eat on it.  

Here is a youtube playlist that Girl Talks Fish did about cycling a tank with dr tim ammonia and other products, I would reccemoned a watch:

 I dont know if you mentioned this in your intial post, but make sure you have at least 10-20ppm of Nitrates.

Also here is a thread on the forum fishlore explaining the white film on your drift wood

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/white-film-on-driftwood.195958/#:~:text=The fuzz growing on the,piece of new%2Fold driftwood.&text=The fish tank and water,all sorts of beneficial bacteria. 

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