Inconsistancies in the hobby.

Maff

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
13
Location
Pontefract
So you plan a tank, you plan a fish in cycle and it works, you know it works because you've done it before but according to some sources it doesn't work and it will kill your fish. You then read instances of fishless cycles that are supposed to be safe but in fact - killed the fish. A friend follows a fishless guidelines down to the last letter and low and behold it killed the fish. No consistency. You have to do fish in anyway after the fishless cycle then it becomes a guessing game as to how many fish you can add to the tank. If you add too many you'd failed because you'll spike the fish. If you add too few you also failed because your bacteria culture will reduce to the amount of available ammonia there is in the tank. Bottom line - you might as well do a fish in cycle in the first place and be patient. No consistency in methodology at all.
So you plan some fish, fish that you are familiar with and had experience with in the past. You go on a website and check compatibility with your GH and KH for these fish. One website says 10.4 to 15 dkh and another says 7.4 to 10dkh. Conflicting figures on all the major websites and on here too as well as my LFS. No consistency. Who do you turn to?
Fish compatibility with each other, conflicting advice on here, LFS and reputable websites. No just slightly conflicting but completely contradictory. Again, who do you turn to?
No one wants to see animals suffer, no one wants to see fish in poor conditions least of all myself. The reason I started keeping fish again is because of this virus, I can't do anything else, if I don't do something positive I'll go barmy because all my hobbies are locked down. But I can't do it like this, my heads a shed.
I'm going to have to pick a source of information and stick with it so if I come on here and say I put a fish in my tank that you may not agree with, it's not because I want to see fish suffer or that I haven't thought it out properly, it's because I chose to use information from what I think is the best source available to me.
So my apologies in advance if I offend anyone for sticking fish A with fish B.
 

jonny-5

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
692
Reaction score
311
Location
Sat in front of the tanks
The only advice i would give you is try a method, If that does not work try another and so on.
I know i can do both but the fish in cycle i do it with certain species as ive done it many times before. If unfortunatly fish do die off (which ive never had) during cycle then you look at what you did that time, Then maybe try another method, It just comes down to experience,Common sense &/or preference.
I know for a fact if i wanted to fish cycle a tank i wouldnt go out & buy (example) 20 Neon Tetras cos i know they would all die. I would buy a school of hardy species & test the water parameters every day
 

AbbeysDad

Fish Herder
Joined
May 13, 2011
Messages
1,757
Reaction score
1,115
Location
Central New York, USA
The internet is amazing and full of good information...but also some well meaning wanna be gurus that parrot old hobby myths. You just gotta separate the wheat from the chaff. I have a website/blog with 80 tropical fish related articles (and growing) from three authors with over a combined 125 years in the hobby. Have a look see and see what you think....MJV Aquatics Blog.
Be sure and check out the article on Featured Youtubers. Finally, off the Home Page there's some cool hobby related Videos.
Back to cycling, check out Cycling a New Aquarium.
 

OnlyGenusCaps

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
160
Reaction score
145
Location
MNUSA
I have found I quite like the content on this site here.

Want hard numbers? Here you go (wish the author had put it in metric, but there are conversion programs).

I am trying to wade my way through, and over thinking things right now too. Good luck!
 

mcordelia

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
1,097
Reaction score
635
Location
michigan
I hear your frustrations. I think fishkeeping in a way is just another microcosm of life itself... We want things to be orderly and predictable, but there are too many variables and too many uncontrollables that prevent fishkeeping from being as clean cut as it "should" be based on our research.

I was reading a post on reddit earlier today about someone who had started an aquarium hoping it would alleviate her stress, but instead every time she was looking at the tank she could only focus on the things that she felt she had done poorly, or points that concerned her, and it was generating stress instead of alleviating it. I thought it was a very poignant example about how important it is to, in colloquial terms, not "allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole".

I think there is a special allure especially with keeping fish of this ideal of creating the "perfect microcosm", this idea that if you do everything perfectly you will have the perfect tank, and then reality hits you in the face because your fish that looked healthy in the store isn't, or your parameter readings that should have followed the textbook aren't, etc.

It's hard, especially during covid times, to deal with the reality that fishkeeping can be kind of an unforgiving hobby. Your fish are effectively continuously on life support, and if one small thing goes wrong with the life support system (power cut, water parameter shift, equipment malfunction, etc) it can cost your wet pets their lives. I'm sure there are many ethics conversations that can arise out of that haha.

But bottom line: there isn't enough money in aquatics to support the propagation of reputable research across the hobby (I mean think about it, vets won't even consult on fish issues) so hobbyists are left to figure it out as they go. Since most people don't have time to keep diligent logs and run controlled experiments, information is always based on "experience", which always suffers from confirmation bias. And finally, as OP said, what works for one guy doesn't work for the next, so how is anyone any wiser?

I do have to say though - when I was last into fishkeeping I was also on forums,and while many things haven't changed, I do see a general progression in the state of the hobby, and it does seem like there is a little bit more science and a little bit better information out there than 15 years ago. I think on the macro scale,the hobby is advancing and becoming more scientifically founded with better and more replicable principles, but this development is obviously slow, and to the individual aquarist who does not have the benefit of longitudinal snapshots, it still may not feel like it is "good enough".

The world is not a perfect place, and I think this hobby and the forums supporting the hobby are just another manifestation of that. The most salient advice given is definitely to do your best, do your research, contribute your experience, and over time with hundreds of data points, the hobby will move towards robust, sound principles. Until then, the best any of us can do is muddle along :)
 

itiwhetu

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Messages
2,334
Reaction score
1,449
Location
Hokitika, New Zealand
What is great about this hobby is people are so passionate about it. When people are onto something they scream and yell about it. What we have to remember is on this forum site we are from all over the world, what works in one persons backyard might not work in yours. I am learning that!!. I think that we need to be very careful what we read into posts and just ignore the stuff that just seems strange. But follow up on ideas that have some merit.
 

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
24,591
Reaction score
8,759
Location
Perth, WA
Fish don't die from a fishless cycle. If you had fish that did die after a fishless cycle, they either had a disease or you did something wrong and poisoned them.

You can do a fish in cycle if you keep the feeding down and monitor ammonia and nitrite levels. Do regular water changes and monitor the fish.

If the pH is 7.0 or below, there is less problems with a fish in cycle from an ammonia standpoint, but it becomes a problem for nitrite.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
11,261
Reaction score
7,007
Location
Teesside, UK
There are reports of people following the fishless cycling on Dr Tim's website and finding ammonia/nitrite in the tank after adding fish.
But I have never read a report of this happening where people have followed the fishless cycling method on this website.
 

Guyb93

Fish Addict
Fish of the Month!
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
796
Reaction score
426
Location
.
I have never done a fish less cycle.. first time I had a fish tank I was about 15 and didn’t really know anything or care and just bought a tank and threw them in .. surprisingly I didn’t loose any fish , after learning about a cycle I was cautious but again set the tank and threw some fish in because well let’s face it as bad as it was it worked the first time , the last time I cycled a tank it’s stocking wasn’t really suited to a fish cycle and did loose a few but I’d rather loose a fish or two and be set up in a week rather than sitting for months waiting
 

OnlyGenusCaps

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
160
Reaction score
145
Location
MNUSA
I hear your frustrations. I think fishkeeping in a way is just another microcosm of life itself...
I know I am not the OP, so perhaps this is inappropriate. I truncated the full reply so people wouldn't have to scroll past it again, but it was awesome! My film review of it was: two thumbs up, five stars, it was tour de force!
 

Yohance1130

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
74
Reaction score
73
Location
Canada
So you plan a tank, you plan a fish in cycle and it works, you know it works because you've done it before but according to some sources it doesn't work and it will kill your fish. You then read instances of fishless cycles that are supposed to be safe but in fact - killed the fish. A friend follows a fishless guidelines down to the last letter and low and behold it killed the fish. No consistency. You have to do fish in anyway after the fishless cycle then it becomes a guessing game as to how many fish you can add to the tank. If you add too many you'd failed because you'll spike the fish. If you add too few you also failed because your bacteria culture will reduce to the amount of available ammonia there is in the tank. Bottom line - you might as well do a fish in cycle in the first place and be patient. No consistency in methodology at all.
So you plan some fish, fish that you are familiar with and had experience with in the past. You go on a website and check compatibility with your GH and KH for these fish. One website says 10.4 to 15 dkh and another says 7.4 to 10dkh. Conflicting figures on all the major websites and on here too as well as my LFS. No consistency. Who do you turn to?
Fish compatibility with each other, conflicting advice on here, LFS and reputable websites. No just slightly conflicting but completely contradictory. Again, who do you turn to?
No one wants to see animals suffer, no one wants to see fish in poor conditions least of all myself. The reason I started keeping fish again is because of this virus, I can't do anything else, if I don't do something positive I'll go barmy because all my hobbies are locked down. But I can't do it like this, my heads a shed.
I'm going to have to pick a source of information and stick with it so if I come on here and say I put a fish in my tank that you may not agree with, it's not because I want to see fish suffer or that I haven't thought it out properly, it's because I chose to use information from what I think is the best source available to me.
So my apologies in advance if I offend anyone for sticking fish A with fish B.

Yes I understand completely were your coming from, when I first started in this hobby I became overwhelmed very quickly with everything that is involved with a tank. I used to think it was just a box with water and you throw a couple fish in there lol. You could imagine how I was when I was hearing things I never heard before in my life like ammonia, nitrite,nitrate,ph,Nitrogen Cycle it was really confusing. But The biggest thing I learned about this hobby is that nobody's tank is exactly the same your tank can be similar to someone else's tank but its not the same. If you have multiple tanks in your house none of those tanks are the same, they all have different water chemistry, substrate,fish etc... With that being said everybody's experiences will be different since everyones tank is different the results will always be different for ex: 1 certain ich medication might cure ich for someone within a week, and they will recommend the product to others. That same ich medication might not even cure ich at all for someone else's tank, And it may cure ich within 2 weeks for someone else. So the information you see online is more a guideline to the right path, there is no set rules in this hobby really.

What works for you Works for you! If it works it works! even if people say its wrong if it works it works.


I completely understand your frustrations I remember recently I just started taking care of aquatic plants, And when I was trying to learn on how to take care of them I was overloaded with too much information, it was a little stressful. I was completely confused about fertilizers,micro and macro nutrients, lighting, par, best light. When I would search for a specific plant 1 forum would say they need this amount of lighting, a YouTube video on the plant will say they don't need that type amount of light they need this etc... Its not easy. I did as much research as I can and even when I was not 100% sure about what I was doing I just got the plant and hoped for the best luckily it is now thriving in the tank. Most of this hobby is experimenting just trust your gut and do it and if something does not work try to find out the reasoning behind why it failed and improve so that the next time you do not make that same mistake and when you keep doing that the hobby will eventually become a lot easier. The beginner stages are the most difficult times that is why most people quit at this stage since it is confusing, you gotta keep your head up when a fish dies a plant dies fish tank is infected and reflect on the reasoning behind it and see what you can do better to prevent that from happening again. when you do that you get a little better and improve in the hobby every time.

When I first started I have killed albino cories,pepered cories,neons,bettas etc.. I lost almost my whole tank to ich. It really sucked since I really was passionate about it but every time I tried my fish kept dying. Even when I was mad and frustrated, with every death I reflected on it and see what I can do better. There is always room for improvement, and you also get better.

Most important thing is to just try out the fish and see how they do, sometimes information can be confusing, the people are really just trying their best to help you and give their knowledge to you. So sometimes it might be cruel or not. But if your not sure just buy the fish and see how they do and if they die well now yk that they can't live in your conditions. I remember 1 time when I was looking into buying neon tetras someone said that they will not survive in 7 or higher ph but other people were saying they can live in a ph of 7 the information was inconsistent like you said. I ended up just saying whatever an bought them anyway and they have been living for more than a year now. Everyone will have different experiments. The person who told me they won't survive maybe he had bad experiences with them when they lived in a ph of 7 or higher.

MOST IMPORTANTLY
If you want to get good at something your gonna have to deal with the tough times,mistakes,deaths and persevere after failure

Im pretty sure multiple people who are consider experts, when they started keeping fish have killed 1000's of fish before becoming expert on keeping fish, that's what made them an expert. You learn from your mistakes. There is no set rule for this hobby it's impossible everyone's tank is unique so it is impossible for everyone to have the same results. Use the information here as a general rule.

for ex: people on the forum will say to do the nitrogen cycle but you do not think it is necessary since your friend said he has not did it, you buy fish and 1 week later they die you buy more the next week they die. If you reflect and examine you will start to think maybe they are right about the nitrogen cycle. You will learn the hard way but at the end of the day you will learn and improve and not make the same mistake again.

Obviously there are some rules to follow t like ammonia and nitrite should always be at 0.

Fish in cycles do work! the reason why people are against is that we do not believe you should let a fish go into a tank with a toxic compound when there are options you can use without involving the fish. In the wild fish are always in a natural clean environement. We find it a bit cruel to make a fish swim in ammonia when there are ways to do it without fish. Are jobs as fish keepers are to insure are fish are thriving are living their best life. When you do fish in cycles with a fish they will most of the time not live to their maximum potential since they will have the scars from being exposed to constant ammonia levels and will be there for the rest of their lives. We believe it is not fair to them. You can still continue fish in cycles if we want we are just trying to tell you are opinion on it but you can follow what we say or not its your choice. At the end of the day it's your tank.
 

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
7,840
Reaction score
1,434
Love this :) I can relate to so much of it. Ultimately you can find information, articles and forums to tell you what you want to hear. Goldfish in bowls, dont need a filter, fish grow to size of tank, plants poison fish, its all out there.

The best approach is to find information you agree with and that makes sense to you in a way that puts your fishes health first. Don't use new or small youtube channels or websites as sources of information. Do find sources backed by years of experience or backed by some kind of reputable science or study of our hobby like Seriously Fish. And of course do talk to people on this forum :)

Wills
 

Vicko

New Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
4
Location
Geelong, Australia
I've never lost a single fish while setting up a new tank. Not one. Maybe I got lucky? Maybe I had patience... It's been a while but here's what I used to do.

When starting from scratch:
- Setup tank and plants- run filters for a couple of days while you get water hardness conditions to where they need to be and then clean filters in warm water (always warm water btw so you don't kill off all of the beneficial bacteria in there)
- Run for a week, checking water quality every few days, if all good, add a small number of your smallest fish. Like, a tenth of your final tank load.
- Run for a week, partial (<20%) water change, clean filters, if water tests ok, add another quarter of your fish load.
- Continue to do that, adding no more than a quarter of your fish load each week. Going from small to big fish helps settle the inmates in too before bigger fish come to the tank.
It should take you a month to build up to a full tank load from scratch. Take your time and you wont lose fish. If at any time you see a spike in water quality, do a water change, wait another week until that spike has sorted itself out before adding any more fish load.
Going slow gives bacteria time to get their numbers up in the substrate and filter mediums to help convert waste.

Its a lot quicker and easier if you can get some water/substrate from a healthy tank and add it to a new tank from the start - its already got the bacteria load in there and will shorten the timeframes by half. So if you have multiple healthy tanks - use the water from the weekly water change to fill half your new tank and you're already half done.
 

trending

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Top