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Discussion - Cycling An Aquarium
May 10, 2008
9:20 am
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ndc
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QUOTE(Sofia @ May 9 2008, 10:30 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok, so I keep the waterchanges going? At 25% a day and the medication with melaFix to see what happens. I spend about 2-3 hours a day watching the fish and there seems to be no nipping going on at all. The only thing happenihng is the male Platy pestering his two girls for that thing and they keep chasing each other.

Is there anything else I can do? The Guppies seemed to be able to take a lot more stress than the other fish.

Is there anything else I can do?

Obviously no new fish /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />


i have only been on this site on my works computer which wasnt built for graphics so the photos are always a bit fuzzy but ive got a feeling the problems been to do with the fishless cycle, i believe that when this is the method used to cycle a tank there is only enough bacteria to support a very small amount of fish (the bacteria will only be sufficient to use the amount of ammonia put into the tank- ie it doesnt fully colonise the filter- theres only enough bacteria for the amount of food in the tank) i then believe that the filter has to 're cycle' when fish are added as the bio load goes up massively - thats why i dont subscribe to the fishless cycle method - personally i thinnk its a bit of a fad at the moment - so in effect the tank has cycled but on a very low level and when fish are added it has to go through the process again - i think that the fishless cycle helps but only as a kick start, i dont think it fully cycles the tank and if i was recommending anyone to cycle a tank i would -
1- do the fishless cycle for a week to two - it usually takes up to 2 weeks for the correct bacteria to be present so that ammonia is removed from the tank
2- at this point i would start to introduce fish but very slowly- eg say 4 zebra danio or equivalent per week-
3- test each day for nitrite from this point on, if it is approaching an unsafe level (as per the test kit ) then do a 25% water change (dechlorinated)
3- only feed the fish every other day very small amounts (and miss the feed if the nitrite is high)
4- keep doing this until the tank if stocked , but also when any new additions are added as the increased bio load will need to be caught up on by the bacteria

sorry for hi jacking your thread and i know this is probably a bit late for this tank (but not for the next one !!) , your doing the right thing now, plenty of water changes , to be honest i hardly ever use a bacterial/fungal medication as usually the fish will repair itself if the water quality is very good, (but myxazin is the best and wont hurt using) a couple of the geos tales i have are a bit raggy at the moment because of the nipping from the guianacara and the fact that ive missed a water change because of the fry buti know when i start doing water changes they will pull back around in a couple of weeks, again best of luck with everything

May 10, 2008
10:22 am
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Sofia
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Those are all very valid points, Neill. That is exactly what I have done. I did the fishless cycle until the Ammonia and Nitrite had peaked. Then I adde4d 4 Platies and kept feeding to a minimum (3 flakes a day between them).
I kept the weater tyests and ev en have a spreadsheet, so that I can go back at any time to see what the levels were /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Then when that had calmed down (the next week) I added 4 guppies, followed by the same cycle as described and so on /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I keep the water changes running for the time being. The first Platy is healing very well, even though the new fin is clear, but I guess it will mcolour in with time. The white spot and scars have also gone from the fish as far as I can see.

Do you think i should release thje Ram back into the main tank? I doubt he is very happy in his breedinmg trap and his black bit of the fin is more gray now. All tghe other fish have got their colour as intense as it was before the whitespot was there.

Thanks everybody for all the help always /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 10, 2008
10:47 am
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ndc
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yup, i would put him back and keep an eye on him, i must say your level of dedication is fantastic cheers neill

May 10, 2008
11:05 am
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Eyrie
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QUOTE(ndc @ May 10 2008, 10:03 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
the problems been to do with the fishless cycle, i believe that when this is the method used to cycle a tank there is only enough bacteria to support a very small amount of fish (the bacteria will only be sufficient to use the amount of ammonia put into the tank- ie it doesnt fully colonise the filter- theres only enough bacteria for the amount of food in the tank) i then believe that the filter has to 're cycle' when fish are added as the bio load goes up massively - thats why i dont subscribe to the fishless cycle method - personally i thinnk its a bit of a fad at the moment - so in effect the tank has cycled but on a very low level and when fish are added it has to go through the process again


The whole point of fishless cycling is that it does enable the tank to be fully stocked immediately the cycle is complete. This can be proven by doing just that and then checking for a mini-cycle.

Looking over your alternative approach to cycling, you'd add fish once the ammonia reading is nil. But surely there will still be nitrIte present at this point?

Whilst I appreciate what you say about lightly stocking, by doing this the bacteria colonies in the filter are starved by an inadequate supply of ammonia and so will die back. This means that each time the stocking is increased there is an attendant risk of a mini-cycle and it will take several months to fully stock.

Just my (less than!) humble opinion /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

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May 10, 2008
4:04 pm
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ndc
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yes but until there is a way of measuring the amount of bacteria in a filtration system then either way is partly guesswork, and i dont mean measuring the nitrate/ammonia/nitrite- as a tank can cycle but only have enough bacteria for a small number of fish, rather than the type of cycle i think the most important thing is to test and do water changes when the nitrite level is too high, since we cant guage what a fish is 'feeling' and changes in the water chemistry can accur quickly its impossible to say that you can fishless cycle and then fully stock a tank (there is no way of measuring the amount of 'beneficial' bacteria) so we cant say we can suddenly add X amount of fish because the test is showing nitrate and not nitrite anymore, theres just no way to know how much bacteria is needed to support even 1 fish in a tank, theres too many variables involved , but if someone could come up with a test for this then it would be a significant step forward for fishkeeping. you can have a huge filter but if theres only 1 fish in a tank and the tank is cycled you cant suddenly add another 50 fish and think they are going to be ok- this is the same with the fishless cycle- i dont disagree with the fact it cycles a tank but like i say you still dont know how much life it will support. if anyone could come up with a way of measuring the amount of beneficial bacteria in a system and apply it to fishkeeping i think they would make a fortune as it would mean you would know exactly how much life the filters could support before putting fish in and therefor taking away the unknown - imagine going to buy fish (especially new fishkeepers) doing a little test and knowing how much was safe to put in or a warning system as to when the levels needed attention ! this would potentially finally end the problems associated with stocking tanks.

May 10, 2008
7:54 pm
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Matt
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Good discussion this. I don't subscribe to the theory that a tank can be described as "mature" or worse, "fully-mature" following a fishless cycle either. The maturation process takes months and involves much more than the presence of filter bacteria in my opinion.

I suppose the reason the maths behind fishless cycling are so arbitrary AND the fact that no product for accurate/guaranteed cycling of a tank yet exists is for exactly the reasons Neill put forward. Laboratory techniques to count filter bacteria must exist, but applying the results to exactly how many fish could be supported in the presence of a specific number/density of bacteria must be virtually impossible when environmental factors such as pH, temperature, conductivity, hardness etc. are taken into consideration. You could be there for years and not have tested all the combinations of variables.... /wacko.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wacko:" border="0" alt="wacko.gif" />

Sofia, you're an example to us all. Keeping a log of your water parameters is a brilliant idea. Oh and yes, I'd free your ram too...looks like the poor bugger doesn't deserve an ASBO after all. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

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May 10, 2008
8:05 pm
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Adam
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Again without wanting to hijack this thread I think Sofia's problems are probably related to water quality which often leaves fish vulnerable to (secondary) infection. I think you have been unlucky in that an aquarium when it is establishing is always less stable than an established aquarium. This probably takes at least 6 months

The raised temperature (which can affect the bacteria thought to be Nitrobacter and Nitrospira which live in the filter combined with the treatment (s) IMO do have a detrimental effect on the filter and ultimately the water quality exactly when the fish are most vulnerable or are suffering the most.

Obviously treating the fish I the lesser of two evils and for what it is worth I agree with the advice given above. If it were me I would keep an eye on water quality and try to keep things as stable as possible to allow the fish to recover.

Observation (which you are clearly very good at) &
Patience
are what you need and things should start to sort themselves out.

Keep water changes fairly small and if water quality starts to deteriorate then increase the frequency.
I would keep treating with Melafix (IMO a bacterial problem)
drop the temperature back down as it should have done the job by now (keep an eye open for whitespot return tho)
And remember that all bacterial treatments like probably (most/all) treatments generally damage the filter bacteria. So be prepared to water change as necessary (while trying to let the tank settle as much as possible) a bit of a balancing act I know - but put it down to experience.

If the problems continue let us know there are more things you could try but I think for now keep it simple and give it some time /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 10, 2008
8:30 pm
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ndc
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i agree with the above 2 quotes- especially about the meds and the temp - it will definately impact on the type of bacteria present in the filter - hence the water changes- i think by now youll also have discovered that fishkeeping is more of a dark art (though not one to be scared of) than an exact science- thats whats so good about it! its also good to see other opinions about fishless cycling - to me its a bit like when everyone was recommended to add a bit of salt to the water a few years back - not a great problem to most fish but the problem being that it doesnt evaporate so that over time the aquarium would have a higher and higher salt content (it was often recommended by shops as it was beneficial to the fish) and because no one used any way of measuring the salt content over time it became a problem - i had 1 customer who had been told to add salt to their tank and they just lost plec after plec after plec , it was only when i found out that they added salt on a regular basis that i knew what the problem was (in all other respects they were very conscientious) - they stopped the salt and after a month or so of water changes added another plec - this one survived happily - and the conection to the fishless cycle being that today its fervently recommended (as was the salt) even though (and i dont disagree it is in part beneficial) no one exactly knows (ie measurable by scientific method not just anecdotal) the exact benefits of it - and finally i must just say that this is the other good thing about this site- people can exchange ideas without fear of being held up as being cruel to fish or idiots for not following exactly the latest 'trend'

May 10, 2008
10:09 pm
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Sofia
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Thank you everybody. A lot of good opinions here /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I didn't think of the fact that the medication would harm the beneficial bacteria, but it makes sense. I shall reduce water changes to around 10% a day until the MelaFix treatment finishes in 3 days.

I dropped the temperature gradually down to 80F as I had it before the whitespot.

The Ram has been released amnd loves his new freedom. I kept a close eye on him all afternoon and evening and he hasn't been nipping on anyone so far.

I will start the new water changes tomorrow and see what happens.

BTW, Neill, I added salt to my tank to give the Bumblebees a better environment, but they all died /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" /> I was trying my best with them, but they refused to feed altogether. I would place bloodworm, brine shrimp, etc. right in front of them, but they didn't take any of it.

I only added salt that one time and have been doing the changes frequently, so the salt content should have drastically reduced by now.
However, it was after the adding of salt that I lost the fish I lost. With the exception of yesterday's Guppy, which might have been very stressed/ill /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

It is great that you are all so helpful and I am glad I found this forum, because another one I signed up for completely ignored any of the questions I had (and that was pre setting up the tank!!!)

I even got my friend to sign up /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 10, 2008
10:14 pm
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We can't measure the bacteria colonies, but surely we can know they are adequate if there is no mini-cycle following the addition of fish to a fishless-cycled tank? I do agree though that a cycled tank is different to a matured tank (ie one that has been running for at least several months).

QUOTE(ndc @ May 10 2008, 09:13 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
good thing about this site- people can exchange ideas without fear of being held up as being cruel to fish or idiots for not following exactly the latest 'trend'


/thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" /> The hobby is always evolving, so there's always something new out there to be considered.

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May 10, 2008
10:21 pm
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dunc
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Indeed - that is the core ethos around which Seriously Fish was built. We're not here to compare egos, we're here to keep our fishes in the best conditions we possibly can /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 10, 2008
11:46 pm
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Matt
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Look out, Dunc's turned into some kind of fishkeeping Buddha /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" /> (He's spot on though).

Mark I suppose the only way you'd know if you have adequate bacteria following a fishless cycle is if there aren't any ammonia/nitrite spikes after adding your first fish *shrugs*.

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May 11, 2008
9:58 am
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ndc
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QUOTE(Matt @ May 11 2008, 12:29 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Look out, Dunc's turned into some kind of fishkeeping Buddha /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" /> (He's spot on though).

Mark I suppose the only way you'd know if you have adequate bacteria following a fishless cycle is if there aren't any ammonia/nitrite spikes after adding your first fish *shrugs*.


and therefor were in the same position as a 'normal' cycle - the fish would still be subject to the nitrite etc etc

sophia - sorry i wasnt meaning you when i brought up the salt, it was just supposed to be an example to compare the fishless cycle to - /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

May 11, 2008
10:38 am
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Sofia
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I didn't take it against me at all, but I wondered whether it has something to do with my deaths too. That's all /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

May 11, 2008
10:53 am
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ndc
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quite probably - i never use salt at all, not even as a med as it is hard to measure and hard to work out how much is needed

May 11, 2008
10:57 am
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Eyrie
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QUOTE(ndc @ May 11 2008, 10:41 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
and therefor were in the same position as a 'normal' cycle - the fish would still be subject to the nitrite etc etc


But a fishless cycle is only complete once the nitrIte has spiked and fallen to zero, so this wouldn't be an issue /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I haven't actually done a fishless cycle myself but have followed the progress of numerous ones which worked fine. Afraid to confess that when I started I didn't know about the cycle /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> and just chucked in fish, some of which weren't suitable for that tank. Since then each tank has been an upgrade and so was cycled by transferring the filter media over from the previous smaller tank.

Apologies to Sophia for the thread hijack!

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May 11, 2008
12:00 pm
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ndc
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QUOTE(Eyrie @ May 11 2008, 11:40 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
But a fishless cycle is only complete once the nitrIte has spiked and fallen to zero, so this wouldn't be an issue /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I haven't actually done a fishless cycle myself but have followed the progress of numerous ones which worked fine. Afraid to confess that when I started I didn't know about the cycle /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> and just chucked in fish, some of which weren't suitable for that tank. Since then each tank has been an upgrade and so was cycled by transferring the filter media over from the previous smaller tank.

Apologies to Sophia for the thread hijack!


as i said - its not the fact that the tank will cycle , its the amount of the bacteria the system holds for the amount of fish in it - if a tank has been cycled with a few flakes of fishfood, or prawn or even ammonia in liquid form theres no way of knowing how many fish the system will support so there is a high chance it will start to re cycle when fish are added - thats why you cant just cycle a tank and chuck in a tank full together - this is no different to haveing a lightly stocked tank and then suddenly adding another 30 fish at once - theres just not enough bacteria to support them
ammonia in aquaria doesnt just come from fish waste but also from urine - fish are almost constantly excreting urine we just dont see it, it also comes from the fish breathing so its impossible to cycle a tank without the presence of the fish.

May 11, 2008
12:13 pm
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No worries. I find it very interesting indeed /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 11, 2008
1:13 pm
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dunc
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I'm sure it would be easy enough for a scientist to work out how much ammonia a fish excretes in certain water conditions over a certain period of time. From there it would be possible to -at least roughly- work out how much liquid ammonia was required for a fishless cycle.

I.e. if a fish produces x amount of ammonia, and you're wanting to keep 10 fishes at roughly the same size, you could then perform a fishless cycle with 10*x amount of ammonia.

Obviously it'll never be totally accurate - the amount of ammonia excreted is different depending on the species of fish and its environment [including amount fed etc] but you could get a rough idea which, imo, would be more than adequate for a quality fishless cycle.

May 11, 2008
1:37 pm
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Matt
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The problem would be environmental factors as already mentioned though, or at least the ones that are known to have an influence on the number/type of bacteria present in a tank. There are so many potential combinations of these it's dizzying. /wacko.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wacko:" border="0" alt="wacko.gif" />

Judging by the opinions here, is it fair to say that while performing a fishless cycle is certainly helpful to kickstart a system, there can be no guarantee that the fish won't be subjected to any swings in water chemistry? Interesting as the benefit of the process most folk tend to mention is that it's "kinder to the fish".

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