Please tell me to shut up and wait

1L19

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Yes.. I'm impatient... hence this post. I'm not looking for any miracles or links to cycling articles. Honestly I'm just looking for a quick once over to see if I'm missing anything obviously. I would just like to avoid sitting here and waiting for days on end when nothing at all is happening and I need to make a change. This is an attempt at a fish-less cycle and I'm two weeks in as of tomorrow (20220320).

Gear
New 55 gallon tank
New Fluval 307 canister filter, media plastic removed and media rinsed
New and well rinsed aquarium gravel
2 new pieces of mopani wood, fairly cured and not bleeding too much tannin
Several new silk plants

Water
Using tap water with the following starter properties:
Temp - 74°
pH - 8.1
GH - 0.25
No ammonia, nitrite or nitrate

Process
  • All bottles are shaken before use
  • Fill tank, prime pump and get it running
  • Add 1 capful of Seachem Prime to kill off any chlorine
  • After 4 hours added 6 caps of Seachem Stability
  • Added 2t of Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride to bring Ammonia ppm up to about 2.
  • Daily add 3 caps of Seachem Stability and test for Nitrites
  • I've added one pinch of New Life Spectrum Optimum flakes which probably wasn't necessary but I thought it might help make the media sticky :)
  • I've done one 90pct water change after a week, used Prime on the 10pct before refilling and re-spiked with Dr Tim's to bring the ammonia back up to 2 ppm
It's been two weeks and there isn't a hint of nitrites to be seen and the ammonia is staying steady at 1.75 - 2.0 ppm. In passing folks have said it can take up to 6 weeks to cycle a tank and I can believe that but I'd assume using a product like Seachem stability or Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacterStart XLF (of which I have to use once the Stability runs out) would speed up the process. You read 1 or 2 weeks to cycle with a bottled bacteria additive but perhaps that's just overly optimistic. I have the option of getting some media from an established filter but I loathe to bring anything into my tank as I'm trying to go as algae-free as possible.

I would appreciate being made aware of any gaping holes. I would also accept being told to "shut up and wait".

Peace friends :)
 

NannaLou

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I wouldn’t be that rude, and other than something to remove chlorine I haven’t added anything ‘extra’ with the two tanks I’ve cycled following the instructions given on here.

I do know that the bacteria that ‘eat’ the ammonia develop first and faster than those that ‘eat’ nitrites. Also, by adding fish food you don’t necessarily know what exact level of ammonia you are starting with.
 

itiwhetu

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I take it you don't want live plants.
If you were to add live plants and wait till, they start growing, then you can add a few fish at a time. About 30-50% of the volume of the tank.
Your pH is very high and few fish enjoy a pH over 8
 

outofwater

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Nice setup.

How often are you testing? By the books it would seem you've done all the right things, I'd assume you'd see SOME nitrites by now. And I'd assume too you're following the ammonia instructions as given on the package.

Anytime you have water contained somewhere long enough, algae may appear, but it only will become a significant issue in your tank if there's a severe, "perfect" imbalance between nutrients and light.

If your primary goal is to cycle the tank, no better way than bringing established media from another tank... otherwise... shut up and wait 🤣
 
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1L19

1L19

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I take it you don't want live plants.
If you were to add live plants and wait till, they start growing, then you can add a few fish at a time. About 30-50% of the volume of the tank.
Your pH is very high and few fish enjoy a pH over 8

Absolutely no live plants are going in to the tank. Lost a whole tank of plants to black algae and I gave up trying to fix it. I just want a nice clean tank with some fish to enjoy. Silk plants are coming together nicely I've ordered 7 more of the big one in the middle and plan to cover the whole back of the tank.

PXL_20220320_030243813.jpg


PXL_20220320_030304576.jpg
 
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1L19

1L19

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Nice setup.

How often are you testing? By the books it would seem you've done all the right things, I'd assume you'd see SOME nitrites by now. And I'd assume too you're following the ammonia instructions as given on the package.

Anytime you have water contained somewhere long enough, algae may appear, but it only will become a significant issue in your tank if there's a severe, "perfect" imbalance between nutrients and light.

If your primary goal is to cycle the tank, no better way than bringing established media from another tank... otherwise... shut up and wait 🤣
I test every day for ammonia and nitrites. Ok sometimes I check the nitrites twice a day due to wishful thinking. Yes on following the Dr Tims instructions. 4 drops per gallon initially to establish the 1.5-2.0 benchmark. Maintenance as needed.
 

itiwhetu

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Absolutely no live plants are going in to the tank. Lost a whole tank of plants to black algae and I gave up trying to fix it. I just want a nice clean tank with some fish to enjoy. Silk plants are coming together nicely I've ordered 7 more of the big one in the middle and plan to cover the whole back of the tank.

View attachment 156737

View attachment 156738
What is your plan when black algae grows all over your silk plants.
 

outofwater

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Dish washer baby.
Well, that escalated quickly 🤣🤣 I'm drawing a blank. After a couple of months in the hobby and the forums, I'm starting to think I got extremely lucky in my rushed fish-in cycle, it took about 2 weeks or so.

Good luck, your tank looks nice. I hope one day you decide to give live plants another try, but hey, to each their own, the most important things are for your fish to be healthy and for you to be happy with your tank.
 

wasmewasntit

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I usually equate "how long do I wait for the cycle to complete" to "how long is a piece of string" :)

Every aquarium is different and thus take a variety of different times to complete the cycle. Fishkeeping is one of those pastimes where you suddenly find that you have far more patience than you ever thought possible.....and patience is key even when champing at the bit to get going with the stocking.

As for the planting......I use silicone plants and have had absolute disasters with real planting, I missed the "green thumb" queue long ago :lol: I do have some real moss lurking on some coconut shell hides but am holding the breath as to whether they follow my usual inability to keep them alive, time will tell.

Your aquarium looks very nicely laid out......however....depending on what you intend stocking you might find that you need more sight line blocking to prevent any major squabbling outbreaks, but that can be dealt with later. It is one of the downsides of artificial plants, they don't grow all big and fluffy so fish cannot hide so easily if afraid or insecure, so you end up adding more artificial plants of the same type to recreate that effect if your fish experience any behavioural issues/aggression. So I would have a few extras in the cupboard to use if required. Or if you do not want to add plants you can always use stone or ceramic or coconut hides for the fish to escape into which won't affect the aesthetics of the aquascape too much but will enhance it and make it look like a lake bed or river bed. The sort of ceramic hides I use are these....which apart from the obvious holes for the fish....look very much like natural pebbles and stones...

They are made by Superfish and readily available in most countries and come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be stacked into piles if wanted very easily.

index.jpg
 
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1L19

1L19

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I usually equate "how long do I wait for the cycle to complete" to "how long is a piece of string" :)

Every aquarium is different and thus take a variety of different times to complete the cycle. Fishkeeping is one of those pastimes where you suddenly find that you have far more patience than you ever thought possible.....and patience is key even when champing at the bit to get going with the stocking.

As for the planting......I use silicone plants and have had absolute disasters with real planting, I missed the "green thumb" queue long ago :lol: I do have some real moss lurking on some coconut shell hides but am holding the breath as to whether they follow my usual inability to keep them alive, time will tell.

Your aquarium looks very nicely laid out......however....depending on what you intend stocking you might find that you need more sight line blocking to prevent any major squabbling outbreaks, but that can be dealt with later. It is one of the downsides of artificial plants, they don't grow all big and fluffy so fish cannot hide so easily if afraid or insecure, so you end up adding more artificial plants of the same type to recreate that effect if your fish experience any behavioural issues/aggression. So I would have a few extras in the cupboard to use if required. Or if you do not want to add plants you can always use stone or ceramic or coconut hides for the fish to escape into which won't affect the aesthetics of the aquascape too much but will enhance it and make it look like a lake bed or river bed. The sort of ceramic hides I use are these....which apart from the obvious holes for the fish....look very much like natural pebbles and stones...

They are made by Superfish and readily available in most countries and come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be stacked into piles if wanted very easily.

View attachment 156740
Thank you very much for your insight. I'm going to be running 20 neon tetras and if it seems I have adequate space I'll add 10-15 harlequin rasboras or zebra danios. Maybe even 3 or so female honey gouramis as I'll have some cover at the top. The layout right now is in flux until tomorrow when I get my shipment. I've ordered 7 more of the tall plant in the back/middle so I can cover the entire back of the tank. Thank you for the info on the ceramic cave fixtures. Might just order one today.

Once I get them put in I'll start the perm layout. I'm a big rule of thirds/golden ratio guy and I actually make a grid out of cotton string and tape on the front of the tank to assist. Very much appreciate your time and help sir.

gr2.jpg


gr1.jpg


gr3.jpg
 

Jan Cavalieri

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PH is definitely too high unless you plan on only having Cichlids. You need to get Neutral Regulator, a Seachem Product - dosing is on the back but it's probably about 1 teaspoon. This needs to be added, along with Prime or other chlorine remover every time you do a water change - sometimes you'll have to guess about how much to add. This will stick the PH at 7.0 -perfect for tropical fish. It does test to drift over time depending on the buffering capacity of the tank, so after about 5 days check it and add a little bit more to keep it at 7.0. You'll just do this automatically after a few months of having fish (and you don't need to start doing it until you are going to have fish in the tank. If you're using a python or something to do a water change it's hard to add Prime and the Neutral Regulator - just get a pitcher of the new tank water and disolve both in that pitcher (the Neutral Regulator behaves like a salt so you need to stir briskly to get it to go into solution. Then pour the pitcher of chemicals in off and on during the water change. We have a 90 gallon tank and without a Python it would take a couple hours to fill - with the Python it only takes about 30 minutes.

I didn't read as carefully as I should but why did you do a water change in the middle of cycling your tank - you just threw out a bunch of good bacteria when you did that and depending on how big a water change you did. Only do a water change after the tank has been cycled. Don't forget to add the Neutral Regulator and Prime (or similar to get rid of chlorine and chloramines. Do this each time you do a water change. Test the ph periodically

I would pour an entire bottle of Tetra Safe Start in the tank if you want to cut your cycling time down to 3 or 4 weeks, It's full of good bacteria. Once you start adding fish - add a little more Safe Start each time you add new fish - or just add one fish at a time and then give your tank some time to catch up and make more bacteria to cover the new fish. If you add a bunch of new fish - add a whole new bottle or you're likely to loose them.

Right now I had to quick start a new aquarium for some babies we hadn't seen because they were hiding so well but a bunch got eaten anyway. We had only 3 survivors. We were in the middle of a water change when we found them so I took a bucket and filled it about 2 1/2 gallons of dirty bacteria filled tank water. Then I got out my 5 gallon aquarium and poured some safe start in it along with the 2 1/2 gallons of tank water and the rest being tap water, along with Prime. The PH was about 7 from the tank water so I didn't need to add more Added some vegetation on top so they could hide , added a filter and a thermometer from when i used it last. Poured about 1/2 bottle of safe start in plus some tap water to fill the tank up. That was about 2 weeks ago - they are all doing great. I skipped the gravel because it resembles the fish too much and when I clean this I just want to pick up fish poop and other trash. When I replace the water I'll disolve some Neutral Regulator and Prime in a bucket with the 2 1/2 gallons and stir well. Just try not to ever dump a chemical on a fishes head.

You'll do GREAT
 

Uberhoust

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Awesome, rule of thirds, golden rectangle and the Fibonacci all used for laying out the tank, good ideas. Personally I like to deviate from the rules on some part to provide interest otherwise it is always the same, but then a lot of people don't like my artistic endeavors, my wife included.
 
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1L19

1L19

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PH is definitely too high unless you plan on only having Cichlids. You need to get Neutral Regulator, a Seachem Product - dosing is on the back but it's probably about 1 teaspoon. This needs to be added, along with Prime or other chlorine remover every time you do a water change - sometimes you'll have to guess about how much to add. This will stick the PH at 7.0 -perfect for tropical fish. It does test to drift over time depending on the buffering capacity of the tank, so after about 5 days check it and add a little bit more to keep it at 7.0. You'll just do this automatically after a few months of having fish (and you don't need to start doing it until you are going to have fish in the tank. If you're using a python or something to do a water change it's hard to add Prime and the Neutral Regulator - just get a pitcher of the new tank water and disolve both in that pitcher (the Neutral Regulator behaves like a salt so you need to stir briskly to get it to go into solution. Then pour the pitcher of chemicals in off and on during the water change. We have a 90 gallon tank and without a Python it would take a couple hours to fill - with the Python it only takes about 30 minutes.

I didn't read as carefully as I should but why did you do a water change in the middle of cycling your tank - you just threw out a bunch of good bacteria when you did that and depending on how big a water change you did. Only do a water change after the tank has been cycled. Don't forget to add the Neutral Regulator and Prime (or similar to get rid of chlorine and chloramines. Do this each time you do a water change. Test the ph periodically

I would pour an entire bottle of Tetra Safe Start in the tank if you want to cut your cycling time down to 3 or 4 weeks, It's full of good bacteria. Once you start adding fish - add a little more Safe Start each time you add new fish - or just add one fish at a time and then give your tank some time to catch up and make more bacteria to cover the new fish. If you add a bunch of new fish - add a whole new bottle or you're likely to loose them.

Right now I had to quick start a new aquarium for some babies we hadn't seen because they were hiding so well but a bunch got eaten anyway. We had only 3 survivors. We were in the middle of a water change when we found them so I took a bucket and filled it about 2 1/2 gallons of dirty bacteria filled tank water. Then I got out my 5 gallon aquarium and poured some safe start in it along with the 2 1/2 gallons of tank water and the rest being tap water, along with Prime. The PH was about 7 from the tank water so I didn't need to add more Added some vegetation on top so they could hide , added a filter and a thermometer from when i used it last. Poured about 1/2 bottle of safe start in plus some tap water to fill the tank up. That was about 2 weeks ago - they are all doing great. I skipped the gravel because it resembles the fish too much and when I clean this I just want to pick up fish poop and other trash. When I replace the water I'll disolve some Neutral Regulator and Prime in a bucket with the 2 1/2 gallons and stir well. Just try not to ever dump a chemical on a fishes head.

You'll do GREAT
Thank you for all of your good advice. I won't do anything to the pH I'll just let the fish acclimate to it. That value though is just me testing it from the tap. If I test the water in the tank it's at 7.6 and I can live with that. I did the water change because there was so much tannin in the water I couldn't see the back of the tank. Definitely lost some bacteria there but I dosed it heavy again.

I've broken down and asked my neighbor for some bio balls from his established filter and I literally painted Seachem Stability onto my bio rings with a silicon brush. I have another bottle of Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacterStart XLF once the Seachem runs out. Was using them both for the first week.

I use a Wayne transfer pump for water changes. Empties my 55 gallon tank in 10 minutes straight to the bathtub. I normally I just follow the instructions on the prime bottle and dose for the full water volume (1 cap full) an then add the new water.

Most appreciated!
 
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1L19

1L19

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Awesome, rule of thirds, golden rectangle and the Fibonacci all used for laying out the tank, good ideas. Personally I like to deviate from the rules on some part to provide interest otherwise it is always the same, but then a lot of people don't like my artistic endeavors, my wife included.

Fork the haters! I hear you man I just try to do my best and then adjust for whatever I think looks right. Here are two pictures from tonight. Especially in the max light shot you can see four small pieces of paper stuck to the glass. I moved my big wood piece to the left qute a bit so that the twist is on the upper right focal point.

I took out both bright plants because they didn't go. I've ordered four more of the small ones on the right and two medium sized plants that are much darker green and go much better. I'm going to use one or two to cover the gap in the middle and give the illusion that it's just one big piece of wood. It's coming together. :)

tank layout 1.jpg


tank layout 2.jpg


Having fun with it as it gives me something to do while I try to cycle the tank. :) Thank you again for your kind words.
 

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