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Fishless Cycling

Author Topic: fishless cycling  (Read 2695 times)

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Offline fruitbat

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fishless cycling
« on: December 24, 2014, 09:36:16 AM »
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hi guys, after problems earlier with my fish I'm now going to start again with a fish less cycle. my question is i have problems with low ph ( about 6 ) and I'm told bacteria don't grow well in low ph, so after all the trouble of fish less cycling will i still have problems with my bacteria growing,if so is it a pointless exercise, thanks

Offline chris213

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 12:32:30 PM »
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there is ways of raising or at least holding your ph at that level so that it dosent drop even lower
crushed coral is one option (i run this in my filters due to my kh being almost non existant )
or limestone in the tank is another choice althow iam not famillar with this option unfortuantly to raise your ph you may need a  big bit,i am sure some one with a bit more information will be along soon

Online Sue

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 02:46:01 PM »
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You need to increase the pH and KH as that is likely low as well during the cycle. The bacteria need carbonate to grow and they grow better at high pH. The easiest way to do this during cycling is to add bicarbonate of soda, sold in the home baking section of the supermarket (not baking powder!) Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) for every 50 litres water, wait for it to mix and test the pH. If it is somewhere around 7, fine. If it is lower, add some more till it reaches 7. Keep an eye on the pH during the cycle and add more bicarb if it starts to fall.

Bicarb is not very good for fish so you will have to remove it once the cycle has finished. You have 2 choices.

Either remove as much water as possible after cycling has finished and try something like crushed coral or limestone or even coral sand as a substrate to boost your pH and KH. Or add remineralisation salts such as those used with RO water - though with this route you would need GH and KH testers as well, and at every water change check the new water before adding to the tank to make sure it is the same as the water already in the tank.

Or you could have the tank water at the low pH. There are plenty fish that would thrive at low pH eg most Amazon fish.
The way to do this is by doing several small water changes at the end of the cycle to slowly remove the bicarb and allow the pH and KH drop slowly giving the bacteria time to adjust. Keep dosing the one-third dose of ammonia every 2 day during this process, checking both ammonia and nitrite as well as pH. The theory is that a lot of bacteria will not survive the pH drop, but some will and they will multiply to replace the ones that die. After the pH has dropped to your 'normal' level you should have only bacteria that can cope with the low pH. Then add a full dose of ammonia to check and if you have double zeros the following day, do a big water change and get fish that like very soft, acidic water.

Offline fruitbat

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 03:58:03 PM »
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thanks for the replies, sounds like i need to be a chemist ;-) .. would the cycle with fish in it be an alternative or would i have problems later on. i did it this way before and had no probs for 4 months  until the filter broke and thats when my problems seem to start fromů

Online Sue

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 04:03:07 PM »
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You can't use bicarb with a fish-in cycle though you could use coral/limestone etc.

With a low pH, ammonia shouldn't be a problem; it would have to get very high to harm the fish. But you would have to watch your nitrite level as that is more toxic at low pH.
So yes, you could do a fish-in cycle but be very strict on keeping nitrite below 0.25.

Offline fruitbat

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2014, 01:54:56 PM »
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hi, I'm going to put some crushed coral in my small tanks gravel first to see if it boosts the ph , then decide what to do..  how long would you think it would take for crushed coral to start boosting the ph, thanks

Offline chris213

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 06:19:28 PM »
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with the crushed coral in my external filter i started to see results after 24 hours so i would say in the gravel it should be some were around the same maybe little longer as yours will be slightly more static in the tank.
start of with small amounts its easier to add than to take it out if to much.
i have about 3 desert spoons in a net bag in both my filters so about 6 spoons in total for a tank volume of 250 liters .
hope this helps.

Offline fruitbat

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 04:23:37 PM »
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hi, would you recommend i put crushed coral in the filter rather than in the gravel

Offline chris213

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 08:31:21 PM »
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iam not sure it would make to much of a difference to be honest as i know some people actualy use it as there gravel ( mostly in chillid tanks to raise the ph )  i went for the external filter for three reasons
1 ) the article i read had placed it the filter
2) it gets a greater volume of water flowing threw it in the filter there for mixing it better or at least that was my take on it
3) i have soil base with sand top layer in my tank and decided that scattered crushed coral would look out of place

Offline Richard W

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 07:38:02 AM »
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I would recommend the filter, put the coral in a fine-meshed net bag and then you can easily take it out or change it if things don't work out as you expect, more difficult to remove it if it is in the gravel.

Offline Skittler

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 06:48:52 PM »
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Hello All,

I am a recently registered Newbie on here, fishless cycling, with a low KH. I recently added two TEASPOONS of bicarbonate of soda to my "nominal" 125L tank, and the KH went from 3  to 9. "Tablespoons" seems a lot.

                     Great Forum
                                 Skittler

           


Online Sue

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Re: fishless cycling
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2015, 07:19:43 PM »
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Hi Skittler, welcome to the forum  :wave:


It is always better to start with less than you think and go by the test results. Your tank needed less than I would have expected, but as you checked that worked well.



I just checked my notes from my fishless cycle a couple of years ago.

In a 25 litre tank, I added 1.5 level teaspoons (I actually used a 5ml measuring spoon) which was probably a bit of overkill as it took my KH to 13. Scale that up by 5 to get your 1.5 litre tank and it would have taken 7.5 level teaspoons to get it to 13. As 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons, that would be 3 level tablespoons (or 15ml spoons).
As my pH had fallen off the bottom of the scale when I added the bicarb, it was probably down to zero by then so I took it from 0 to 13 rather than 3 to 9. So half of what I used would have been OK if I'd done it at the beginning.

I should add that when I did this I hadn't yet found out that the filter bacteria need a fair bit of carbonate in the water so I just kept an eye on my pH and added the bicarb when it fell. And I was using a somewhat modified version of the old method of fishless cycling as the current one I've written up hadn't been invented then.

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