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How should I cycle my tank? I need to do it fast!

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I don’t need to add my fish for another month. I will do the ammonia one if it will get done by Christmas. If what twotankadmin said is true and it will only take 10 days then I’ll do that for sure. I just want to get it done by Christmas. If I were to do the ammonia cycle would I add the plants in too?

@TwoTankAmin is who you should listen to. Believe me. He wrote half the articles in this forum, because he seriously knows his stuff. Don't be tempted by other advice just because you want results fast. By following his instructions it can be done fast, but also in a way that is safe and not cruel to your fish.

That's my advice. You'd be foolish to ignore what this man is telling you.
 
Here is he best advice i can give you here. Ignore everything you have read in this thread except the following and you will be fine, They key is to follow the directions on the site where I am about to send you. Bo not deviate from the directions, do not listen to anybody who suggests you should and you will have your tank up and ready to recive a full fish load in short order.

I have cycle a bout 150 tanks or more over the years. I can set up a tank and stock it 100% in a single day and lose no fish. But I have been at this for a few decades. The keys to cycling are pretty simple.

1. How much bacteria one can have at the start is the first major derterminent of how long a full cycle will take.
2. The bacteria reproduce when there is more ammonia/nitrite than they need to thrive. Conversly they die back when there ius less than they need.
3. There are a few more things they need- carbonates/bicarbonates/CO2. The need inorganic carbon. they need iron and some other trace elements, many of these are in our tap.
4. Plants use ammonium (NH4) and the bacteria prefer ammonia (NH3). The plants can use ammonium faster than the bacteria can use ammonia. Elevated ammonia (NH3) can actually harm plants. And just like with fish different plants can be more or less susceptible .
5. It is possible to use only plants to make a tank ammonia safe. This takes time and requires one stock gradually. Tanks plants actually host nirtifying bacteria.
6. When using plants one must understand that different [plants will use ammonium faster or slower and that the toal mass of plants in a tank is also relevant in terms of how much bacteria is needed in addition to the plants.

Since you want to move over all the fish, you need to know the new tanks is safe for them all. Since we cannot see or measure tha actual bacterial numbers in a tank, the only way we can tell if a tank is fish safe is to test for ammonia and nitrite.

So if you are in a rush to get a tank cycled you have a few options depending on you level of knowledge and experience. You can get the tank ctcled in about 10-14 days with no plants and using Dr. Tim's One and Only. If you want to try the planted clow cycle, then you need to pant and let the plants settle in for about 10- 14 days. The add fish.

If you want to do a light planting and use bacteria, you need to reduce the amount ammonia being added to protect the plants. If you want to got the plant only route, then you still need to do an ammonia dose to know how much ammonia the plants can handle. if you want to go that route, I can explain how you can dose and test safely. It is important to use the right ammonia or you can use ammonium chloride.

Dr. Tim sells ammonium and so does Fritz- Firtx Fishless Fuel
https://fritzaquatics.com/products/fishless-fuel

Please be aware that both of the above products use a different scale for testing than most of us as hobbyists do. Scinece uses the Nitrogen scale which only measures the nitrogen. Hobby kits test total ions which means they include the Hs in ammonia (NH3) and the Os in Nitrite (N02) and Nitrate (NO3). So, you need to compensate for this in your testing and dosing.

Fortunately, both products use 4 drops/gallon to produce what they call 2 ppm of ammonia using the Nitrogen scale.
On a hobby kit this should read about 1.29 times as much. So our test kits will measure that 2 ppm as 1.56 ppm. For nitrite the multiplication factor becomes about 3.28. it gets bigger again for nitrate but do not worry about that here.

Finally. both unplanted and planted tanks need their water changed weekly. We do this for two reasons. The first is it removes some of the bad things we do not want yo accumulate in the water. The second reason is that things we need and want in the water get used up by the fish. Plants and any other critters we keep. So the regular water changes serve 2 purposes. There is a bit of wiggle room. Heavily stocked tanks may need more frequent changes while lightly sticked tanks can go a bit longer between changes. I just change water in all 20 of my tanks weekly. It makes it easy to keep track.

Just bear in mind that you will never hear about fish dying because their water was too clean. Clean doesn't mean pure, it means not having things in it that can harm the fish etc.
Lots of info right there. Here’s my summary correct me if I missed anything important. Add the plants wait 2 weeks dose with the Dr. Tim’s and good to go? If I am to go this route I will do one 50% water change per week or could I just do 30% I feel like that is what most people do or I could be completely wrong idk. Will the tank ever be cycled to wear I don’t have to add the bacteria but instead it grows by itself? I fed my invisible fish so I can get some ammonia in there hope that’s ok? I’ll add the plants tomorrow and replace them with fake plants in the 10 gal for now.
 
If you have enough plants you do not need much bacteria. The problem is know what the capabilities of the specific types and number of plants one uses which determine how much and how fast it can use ammonium. The bit of bacteria that is also in a planted tank with grab some of the ammonia but with enough plants, they do most of the work.

But, the bacteria in the bottle are basically in suspended animation. They go into this state when they sense what then need to survive has become unavailable. What wakes them up is ammonia and whatever else the need becomes available again. So you need to do more than just add the Dr. Tims One and Only. You also need to put some ammonia into the tank for them as well.

I think two doses would do. After the first test every day for ammonia. When it hits under .5 ppm also test for nitrite you may or may not see any. If you do, as long as it is also under 1.0, add the second ammonia dose. test daily and when you have 0/0 do a big water change and add fish. You should be able to put a full fish load into the tank, Do not over stock at this stage. Of course test water for the next few days after adding fish. if you get an ammonia or nitrite reading consult the article here on rescuing a Fish In Cycle Gone Wild part II.

The plants mean less bacteria is need so you need less of the bottled bacteria. but if you do the bacteria first and then the plants, you need to feed the bacteria while the plants settle in. However, you need to lower the ammonia dose so you do not harm the plants.

Since a fishless cycle with no plants uses 4 drop of ammonium chloride per gal of water, I would reduce that to 3 drops which is 75% of the normal dose because of the plants. Since it would produce 2 ppm as nitrogen using 4 drops, the reduction means 1.5 ppm. Doing the conversion to a hobby kit that becomes a bit under 2 ppm which is safer for the plants. 5 drops/2 gallons would be even safer. Because the plants are present you can add less bacteria than you would in a plantless cycle.

The smallest bottle, 2 oz., is good for a full cycle in a 30 gal. tank. I would suggest you need to use only about 1/2 the bottle. But it wont hurt if you use it all. However. you can save it got up to a year in the fridge.

Finally, the biggest difference between the plants and the bacteria is the plants do not create nitrite or nitrate the way the bacteria do. However, unless one is putting in easy to care for plants than need lower light levels, it is likely they will need some amount of fertilizer. Fish produce ammonia but the rest of what they need comes from ones tap water. As the plant load increases it usually means one has to ad some kind of ferts to a planted tank.

My favorite site for plants and and their for is the Tropica site. They are one of the oldest and best in the business. I have used their ferts since 2002. http://tropica.com/en/
Read the articles there.
Tropica Aquarium Plants is a privately owned Danish company, based in Egå near Aarhus. The company was founded by Holger Windeløv in 1970. In 2004, the company was sold to JPS Clemens, due to a generational change and the new owners established a new nursery garden in 2007 as the base of a long-term strategy.

Tropica Aquarium Plants aims to increase the joy and experience of having having an aquarium as a hobby. The company develops, produces and sells aquarium plants, fertiliser and aquarium equipment. We deliver on a daily basis to retailers all over Europe, Asia and North America.
 
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grab some piping...connect the 2 tanks using a bridge and add some water...run a pump from one tank to the next for water circulation...
add some water again after a few days and again after a few days until it's at capacity and voilá...you just created a 10+29gal water volume multi-tank
when time comes to give the 10gal away...just transfer all the stuff you want over
keep the water and whatever in the tank you want to give to your sister as it'll still be cycled for her new crabs or whatever she wants to put in it
no need to play around with cycling a new tank when you already have one cycled...just increase it's water volume
 
grab some piping...connect the 2 tanks using a bridge and add some water...run a pump from one tank to the next for water circulation...
add some water again after a few days and again after a few days until it's at capacity and voilá...you just created a 10+29gal water volume multi-tank
when time comes to give the 10gal away...just transfer all the stuff you want over
keep the water and whatever in the tank you want to give to your sister as it'll still be cycled for her new crabs or whatever she wants to put in it
no need to play around with cycling a new tank when you already have one cycled...just increase it's water volume
Interesting idea but my tanks are on the opposite side of my room
 
I just cycled my 75 gallon tank using Dr Tim's and following the guidelines from this forum.
Started Oct 14th and was fully cycled Nov 10th. Added tenants Nov 11th. Everyone is doing well and will probably be adding more this week if I find some I like. Good luck!! Sending smooth cycling vibes your way! :fish:
 
grab some piping...connect the 2 tanks using a bridge and add some water...run a pump from one tank to the next for water circulation...
add some water again after a few days and again after a few days until it's at capacity and voilá...you just created a 10+29gal water volume multi-tank
when time comes to give the 10gal away...just transfer all the stuff you want over
keep the water and whatever in the tank you want to give to your sister as it'll still be cycled for her new crabs or whatever she wants to put in it
no need to play around with cycling a new tank when you already have one cycled...just increase it's water volume
Ok super long paragraphs I don’t think I’m really taking a lot of the info in but I think I’ll go this route. I’ll add the plants, get the bacteria, test the water levels then add a few fish at a time over about 4 days or so. My biggest question is will the tank ever be cycled to wear I don’t have to add the bacteria after a water change but it will just grow itself like it would if you were to cycle it with ammonia? Is that all I have to do? I don’t have many plants but I want to add a lot more possibly over a long period of time. How do you know how much bacteria I’ll need to put in? I am assuming it says on the bottle but if I have a lot of plants how do you know much then or do you just put in the amount like it says and the excess will just die of?
 
You only need to add the bacteria once. But to wake up thiose bacteria and get them working you also need some ammona in the water.
 
Ok super long paragraphs I don’t think I’m really taking a lot of the info in but I think I’ll go this route. I’ll add the plants, get the bacteria, test the water levels then add a few fish at a time over about 4 days or so. My biggest question is will the tank ever be cycled to wear I don’t have to add the bacteria after a water change but it will just grow itself like it would if you were to cycle it with ammonia? Is that all I have to do? I don’t have many plants but I want to add a lot more possibly over a long period of time. How do you know how much bacteria I’ll need to put in? I am assuming it says on the bottle but if I have a lot of plants how do you know much then or do you just put in the amount like it says and the excess will just die of?
You're not adding any ammonia or bacteria or anything.. you have a 10gal
Add 3gals to the 29gal and connect them with the bridge (make sure the 29gal is higher than the 10gal so the water in the 10gal doesn't drop much and this way you don't lose any good bacteria sitting on the 10gal glass
wait 3/4 days and now add 6gals.. You now have 18gals wait another 3/4 days and add 9gals
Wait another 3/4 days and just level both tanks and fill them up.. 1 week later do a water change and you should be good to go
You can move stuff at any time as long as it's submerged in the 29gal.
And make sure you don't do water changes while doing this... You want bacteria to grow to spread to the 29gal...split the fish between both tanks so they can create ammonia and colonize the 2nd tank.
It's a very simple system...just connect both together and add water little by little and have circulation from one tank to the next. That's it
No ammonia bottles bacteria or adding this or that.
Although you have a 10gal and a 29 this basically just increases the volume and has to be done slowly because the water volume will quadruple at the end.
Now if you had a 29gal already and wanted a 10gal you could literally just fill it up connect them and call it a day.
This is the stuff nobody teaches because they say is against principle and you should always cycle each tank.
In a fish rack people don't cycle... Just add the tank and fill it up and connect it to the rest of the rack.
This is the same minus the rack
 
You only need to add the bacteria once. But to wake up thiose bacteria and get them working you also need some ammona in the water.
Ok that makes more sense, thank you! Do the fish add the ammonia or do I have to buy some and add it? Doctor Tim’s bacteria or was it the api and I just add the bacteria once or do I add it once a day for a week or something?
 
You're not adding any ammonia or bacteria or anything.. you have a 10gal
Add 3gals to the 29gal and connect them with the bridge (make sure the 29gal is higher than the 10gal so the water in the 10gal doesn't drop much and this way you don't lose any good bacteria sitting on the 10gal glass
wait 3/4 days and now add 6gals.. You now have 18gals wait another 3/4 days and add 9gals
Wait another 3/4 days and just level both tanks and fill them up.. 1 week later do a water change and you should be good to go
You can move stuff at any time as long as it's submerged in the 29gal.
And make sure you don't do water changes while doing this... You want bacteria to grow to spread to the 29gal...split the fish between both tanks so they can create ammonia and colonize the 2nd tank.
It's a very simple system...just connect both together and add water little by little and have circulation from one tank to the next. That's it
No ammonia bottles bacteria or adding this or that.
Although you have a 10gal and a 29 this basically just increases the volume and has to be done slowly because the water volume will quadruple at the end.
Now if you had a 29gal already and wanted a 10gal you could literally just fill it up connect them and call it a day.
This is the stuff nobody teaches because they say is against principle and you should always cycle each tank.
In a fish rack people don't cycle... Just add the tank and fill it up and connect it to the rest of the rack.
This is the same minus the rack
Defiantly very interesting idea. I would do it but I don’t have a hose that can stretch the distance across the room.
 
3. There are a few more things they need- carbonates/bicarbonates/CO2. The need inorganic carbon. they need iron and some other trace elements, many of these are in our tap.

Interesting. I am in the very long process of setting up a 75 gallon Mbuna tank, it will have a sump with a fluidized bed filter. The K1 media is currently in a 5 gallon bucket, it's been cycled 3-4 times with ammonia. It was seeded from an established tank.

My goal is to fully stock it with ~20-24 juvenile Mbuna with one large online purchase. If all goes well, I just watch these guys mature and hopefully have some babies.

So how to I add these trace elements for the bacteria colonies? Should I add some fish food to the bucket and let it rot away? Setting up the sump filter is next, once done I can move the K1 media to it and continue to feed the bacteria.

Any thoughts on my plan?

Mark
 
Most of the trace stuff comes in with one's tap. the most common thing lacking when cycling are the carbonates and bicarbonates. These are primarily what makes up the KH in our tanks. If your water is warm, if it is well oxygenated you can just follow the fishless cycling directions here.

But if you use the Dr. Tim's you should follow his directions. The one thing one needs to know about Dr. Tim's directions are that he uses the nitrogen scale for testing and most of us hobbyists use the Total Ion Scale. One of the things Dr. Tim warns against is exceeding 5 ppm for ammonia or nitrite. On out test kits those numbers are 6.4 for ammonia and 16.4 ppm for nitrite.

One more note, how fast one can cycle a given tank depends on how well cycled you want it. If you plant heavy stocking right away you really need to be adding 3 ppm of ammonia. One the other hand of your tanks will have some live plants and be lightly stocked, or if you plan to stock in stages, you can get away with as little as 1 ppm.

The fishless cycling method here is designed to make it impossible to ever hit the ammonia or nitrite limits and to get a tank cycled for a full bio-load of fish. But is assumes one follows the directions without devviating unless is is a highly unusual situation.
 
Most of the trace stuff comes in with one's tap. the most common thing lacking when cycling are the carbonates and bicarbonates. These are primarily what makes up the KH in our tanks. If your water is warm, if it is well oxygenated you can just follow the fishless cycling directions here.

But if you use the Dr. Tim's you should follow his directions. The one thing one needs to know about Dr. Tim's directions are that he uses the nitrogen scale for testing and most of us hobbyists use the Total Ion Scale. One of the things Dr. Tim warns against is exceeding 5 ppm for ammonia or nitrite. On out test kits those numbers are 6.4 for ammonia and 16.4 ppm for nitrite.

One more note, how fast one can cycle a given tank depends on how well cycled you want it. If you plant heavy stocking right away you really need to be adding 3 ppm of ammonia. One the other hand of your tanks will have some live plants and be lightly stocked, or if you plan to stock in stages, you can get away with as little as 1 ppm.

The fishless cycling method here is designed to make it impossible to ever hit the ammonia or nitrite limits and to get a tank cycled for a full bio-load of fish. But is assumes one follows the directions without devviating unless is is a highly unusual situation.
The fish are producing the ammonia? Or do I buy some?
 
Well- the fish will do longer term. But until you know the tanks is safe in this regard it makes more sense to protect the fish and use ammonia and then test to know the tank is safe for the fish. What it boils down to is if one is willing to stock slowly over time or one wants to stock fully or close thereto right away.

My experience, including with myself, is that, when new to the hobby, we find it hard to wait to add fish. But, unless we are expecting to die in the very near future, you will likely be keeping fish a many years to come. One of the harder skill to acquire as a fish keeper is patience. The is an old saying that goes something like this, “act in haste, repent at leisure.”

Please do not add ammonia to a tank which contains fish.

edited for typos and to add the last sentence
 
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