Need a few pointers on cycling

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Need a few pointers on cycling

Postby chrisg » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:35 pm

Hi, this is my first post on this forum so hello everybody

My situation is that i have a Juwel Rekord 96, with gravel substrate, 3 rocks, 3 pieces of bogwood and eight plants. The tank has been set up now for 8 days. It is my first tropical tank so I'm being very careful and seeking advice wherever I can get it.

My next task is to cycle the tank before adding any fish,the shops I have been in all seem alien to this concept and think I should cycle with fish, I disagree so I have started to add a small pinch of flake fish food every day for last 2 days and plan to keep doing this for next 10 days to try and get the process going, now I am away for 10 days from tomorrow (Tues 28 ) so my girlfriend will be keeping an eye on the tank and add the food each day. When I get back I plan to test the water and see where I am up to and look to kick things off even more by adding cucumber, does all of this sound ok and how much cucumber will I need? and do I replace it after a few days or leave the same piece(s) in?

Also I'm not sure what I will be looking for in terms of peak figures for ammonia and nitrite? And once the ammonia peaks do I leave the cucumber in?

Sorry for all the questions but I just want to get it right first time

Chris
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Postby sunny23uk » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:30 pm

Hi Chris, hope I catch you before going away.

Ask your girlfriend if she would be willing to test the tank water and write down a record of it every couple of days while you are away? That way you should start to see some movement in the cycling process.

When you get back, you can look at the figures and see whether it is progressing or not. Feel free to post the numbers and seek advice on that.

A slice of cucumber every couple of days may also help, only needs to be half a cm thick, the soft centre will start to disintegrate first, so once that's gone, the fleshier skin part can be removed.

If when you get back, you don't feel like the cycle is getting anywhere, and using the food method can be a little slow, try going to Homebase/B&Q or a pharmacy and getting hold of some household ammonia. I know Homebase do sell it here, in amongst the cleaning products - usually on the top shelf. Then you can give it a bigger push with that.

As for the nitrite and ammonia readings peaking, well the numbers can vary, but by keepping a record, you should notice them dropping and reaching zero. You can keep adding some food or cucumber until you start to add fish.

Hope this helps :)
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Postby Apistogramma » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:44 pm

Hi Chris,
Not sure where you are in the world but Boots the chemist also have neat ammonia.
Becky

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Postby chrisg » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:28 pm

Yeah I dont go away till tonight so it gives me a few hours to educate my girlfriend on the art of water testing!!

I dont expect the food method to be that quick so I'll play it by ear and when I get back look into getting some ammonia, next question is how much of this i should add? is it so many drops per litre? and once the level has peaked to I keep adding the ammonia?

Thanks for all your help so far

Chris
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Postby Apistogramma » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:51 pm

Add the neat ammonia in small amounts and test the water in between until it reaches 4ppm and you'll soon figure out how much you need. You'll need to top it up every other day, possibly a little more often as the cycle progresses.
Becky

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Postby chrisg » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:14 pm

Thanks for your help Becky, so basically I add a few drops then test after a day or so and repeat untill i reach about 4ppm? do I then keep topping up untill the nitrite readings starts to drop? or untill ammonia and nitrite reading are 0?

Chris
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Postby Apistogramma » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:21 pm

You need to get the ammonia up to 4ppm from the start and keep it there. I kept mine topped up until the ammonia and nitrite were both at 0 after two days since the last top up and then immediately added three fish and then gradually added more stock over the next couple of months and kept a close eye on the readings. Hopefully that makes more sense now!
Becky

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Postby chrisg » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:52 am

Hi, I'm back from my holiday and cant wait to get on with my fishless cycle!

My girlfriend has been adding a flake of fish food every day in my absence which has now been going on for a total of 10 days, however she has been testing for ammonia every couple of days and it has only reached 0.5ppm, I know the food method is slow so im looking to take your advice and add neat ammonia, How long can I expect it to take? I read on another forum that for a 96l tank like mine that 2.5ml of ammonia was added for first 5 days to reach the spike then after that it was cut down to 1ml. If this is the case I presume that I add 1ml untill ammonia and nitrite levels are 0, once they are 0 do I do a water change and then add the first fish?

Chris
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