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Thread: Starting a Tank

  1. #1
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    Starting a Tank

    This process of starting the aquarium is often referred to as “cycling”, which is the introduction into an aquarium of various types of bacteria which utilize the ammonia and nitrite (both toxic to fish) produced by fish waste. This process is accomplished by reducing ammonia and nitrite to nitrate, which is not toxic to fish. This process (cycling) takes an average of 30 days after the introduction of the fish. It can take as little as 21 days, or as long as 60 days without any apparent reason for the differences. There are live bacterial cultures on the market, which can help “cycle” an aquarium faster. These products do work when the bacterial cultures are viable, but fish should still be added very slowly. The following steps are recommendations on how to start a new aquarium while minimizing the hassles and problems:
    In the water section there is a sticky on cycling,so you can decide what type of cycling you want to do.
    Decide on the size and type of aquarium you want to have.

    Decide on the type of filtration you’re going to use. You can choose from under-gravel filters, hang-on-the-back filters, canister filters, overflow filters, or some combinations of these types of filtration. Ask your pet store associate to help you decide which type of filtration is most appropriate for your aquarium.

    Set up the aquarium with all of the equipment and add the water. This will include rinsing the gravel, installing the filtration, and setting the heater to the appropriate temperature. Goldfish and other cold-water fish do well at room temperature, while tropical fish need temperatures around 74-80°F depending on the type of fish.

    Run the aquarium for 2-4 days,7 being better before adding any fish.

    Use starter fish to begin the “cycling” process. Some excellent starter fish include danios, black tetras, and white clouds. Some other recommendations could include platies, other tetras, or some barbs. Do not use too many fish during this “cycling” process. Invariably beginners ask if it’s all right to start with angelfish, catfish, plecostomus, or other inappropriate fish. Resist the temptation to do this, and you will save yourself a lot of grief and disappointment during the first few months of operation.

    When you get your starter fish home, float the bag in the aquarium for 15-20 minutes to equalize the water temperature. This is very important, as fish are very sensitive to temperature changes. After equalizing the temperature, you can add about ¼ cup of water to the bag every 15 minutes for 1-2 hours. The fish can then be released into the aquarium. If at all possible, net the fish out of the bag into the aquarium, rather than dumping the water from the bag into your tank.

    Be very cautious when feeding your fish, especially until the “cycling” is complete. Overfeeding is the most common mistake made with new aquariums. A fish’s stomach is probably about the size of its eye, so feed very sparingly. Your fish should eat everything you feed them within 3 minutes. If not, you probably fed too much. Just reduce the amount the next time you feed. Fish only need to be fed once a day.

    After about 14 days, you can bring in a water sample to be tested for ammonia and nitrite. This will tell whether the tank has begun “cycling”. It can also tell you when it’s safe to start adding more fish. It is not a good idea to introduce additional fish once the aquarium has started to “cycle”. The ammonia and nitrite levels will typically rise to toxic levels during this process. Because you started with hardy fish, they will often survive these toxic levels. Because the increase happens so slowly, they are able to adapt with no adverse effects. To introduce new fish during this process can be very stressful to the new fish, since they haven’t had time to slowly acclimate to the elevated levels of ammonia and nitrite. Unfortunately, they often don’t survive this trauma.

    Once the test on your aquarium water determines that your tank is safe, you can begin adding additional fish. Your pet store associate can help you determine which fish are compatible in terms of size and temperament for your aquarium. Add new fish in stages. It’s not a good idea to add a lot of new fish all at one time.1 or 2 fish then wait for 2 weeks,then 1 or 2 fish each week after that,test your water the same day,after about 6 hrs

    Do not be disturbed if your aquarium becomes cloudy of hazy during the first several months of operation. This is normal, and usually disappears naturally after 2-3 months.

    Routine tank maintenance should begin after the “cycling” process has been successful. Water changes of 20-25% should be performed every week. Fish do not respond well to significant chemical changes in their water. They do much better with small water changes done more frequently, than with massive water changes done infrequently. Adding water to the aquarium to replace water that has evaporated is not a water change. Again, be very sensitive to water temperature when doing water changes.
    Last edited by MADMIKE; August 8th-2005 at 08:20 PM.
    Did you do your water change today
    "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." - Friedrich Nietzsche
    Don`t help others because others have helped you,help others because its the right thing to do!!!

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  2. #2

    so all fish die in a setup?

    my tank was set up and running for three weeks before we put fish in 50gal 3gups 2 dalmation mollies (now 14 mollie fry)i feed little flake, and checked the ammonia level and it has gone up from 0 to 2.0 and i was sold some proquatics ammonia detoxifier.ok but it says instantly detoxfys, but it will still read ammonia levels when tested??? i put the fish in the tank tus aug 29 i just read this, and now im sooo upse thinking my fish will die in a set up???
    my kids boy 5-girl 2 will freak out they have been so good to just look at the water for 3 weeks til we could get fish just so they could see them die?? what cani do?
    sally

  3. #3
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    10-15% water change every other day,small feeding,will help but the tank needs to cycle and needs ammonia to start it on it`s way.Ammonia detoxifier will still give you reading of ammonia.Read up on the type that you have
    Did you do your water change today
    "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." - Friedrich Nietzsche
    Don`t help others because others have helped you,help others because its the right thing to do!!!

    madmike140$gmail dot com

    Vice President Bostonguppyclub: MADMIKE

  4. #4
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    If you can get some Bio Spira it will immediately add the beneficial bacteria to your tank. I have found it at Petco for cheaper than the LFS.

    I didn't cycle my tank correctly either Sally. But my tank is doing great now and I have 8 adults and 47 fry.

  5. #5
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    Gardner

  6. #6
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    If you use bottle water for the tank, do you need to condition it also, like tap water? Is there any benefit in using one over the other?
    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Bottled water still usually contains chlorine and other chemicals. So always use water conditioner for chlorine, chloramine at the very least (probably heavy metals too) as even RO bottled water will contain these as they arent considered "bad" for humans and are considered beneficial to water thats been "Sitting" like bottled water often has.

    Kath

  8. #8
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    So It does not matter whether or not I use tap water? Doesn't it? I saw somewhere online that to set up a new tank the best was to use bottle water. But I prefer not to buy water just for that, after all, I'm getting a large tank and would mean spending money and keep the spending on the low side as much as possible.

  9. #9
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    I use bottled water, just because my tap water is well water, not trustworthy and full of calcium, so everything ends up white in about 3 days.
    But for most, their tap water is fine and you can use that. Just know what is in your water when you start, run ammonia/nitrate/nitrite/ph/kh etc tests on it so you know your base and what fish will like your water readings.

    Kath

  10. #10
    I just started a new tank and it is 30 gallons and it is gravel with a bio-wheel 200 and I wanted to know if I could put my fry in there when I get a heater.?

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