Hopefully Easy Newbie Question :)

christy2828(8a)June 23, 2007

I bought a 55 gallon fish tank today, from someone knowledgable in the ways of aquariums. He left the gravel and about 3 inches of water, so as to keep the beneficial bacteria. I picked up a pamphlet at PetSmart today, and it said that it takes 4 to 6 weeks to build up the bacteria. So, add 1-3 fish a week until it has enough. Do I have enough bacteria to add some more fish, sooner?

Second, is it okay to put the rocks 'about the size of an orange' that he had in the tank in bleach water? They had a lot of stringy algae on them. I soaked them in bleach and washed, rinsed and dried them. They are not in the tank yet, I was hoping I didn't mess them up. I'm sure I'll have more questions as we go along....thanks for any help!! Christy :)

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As long as you rinse them really good they should be fine. To be on the safe side soak them in water containing some dechlorinator before you but them back in.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 11:48AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Sonce you already bleached them dobe gives good advise. Next time just remove the algae with a stiff scrub brush. Use a new one and only use it for aquarium use. I would get a good reagent type master test kit like an API brand. I would fill the tank with fresh conditioned tap water on top of the unwashed gravel and 3 inches of water in the tank. Then run the filter and other equiptment and do a fishless cycle on it. It may only take a couple weeks for it to cycle this way. It could take as little as a few days or the full 28+ days. Uncertain time frame really to tell the truth. Check the link below for info. I wouldn't do the "standard" cycle with fish thing. Fishless cycling is less stressful and really lets you see how the cycle works. read the first 5 or at least 3 articles.

Here is a link that might be useful: biochemistry 101

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 4:10PM
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Great!! Thanks so much for the tips and the links :) Christy

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 5:31PM
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I would go a little slower with the rate of adding fish and monitor the Ammonia / Nitrite / Nitrate with a test kit.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 8:15PM
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Did the tank you have by any chance come with the filter he was using?
Just from what I read it sounds like you bought a tank that was 'ready to go' and could probably have been set up straight away- leaving the water it came with in it. If you still have the seller's contact information you should give him a call and get more info on how long the tank was set up. If this was a well established tank you bought it shouldn't need cycling - hair algae is a pain but it doesn't show up over night. (I hope it really was algae and not java moss)

Going slow in adding fish isn't a bad idea though, helps you get the hang of keeping them and give you time to look into exactly what you want to keep and how to keep them. Explore LFS and do a search on the fish you like before you buy. Make a list and hopefully you will end up with a happy healthy tank.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 2:28PM
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Here it is, the bottom line:


What you should have done was:

Boil them
Soak them in brine over night (not pickle brine, just salt water)
Rinse well
scrub with brand new scrub brush.

If you saok the rocks in clean waterover night, and then boil them, they might be OK.

Also, you can use rocks from out doors as long as you boil them on rapid boil for about a minute.

Like I said, the rocks might be ruined, but if you boil them for a good 5 minutes, the bleach will lily evaperate.

Also I kinow emptying more than half the water is hrash to the bactira, it may take a while to reproduce.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 3:38PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Bleach will evaporate in a day in the sun. It can also be removed with a dechlorinating product that is used to condition municipal supplied water. Don't forget bleach is in all city/municipal supplied water, along with ammonia. Any bacteria that was on the rocks was killed by the bleach. That is why it is added to the city supplied water, to kill and prevent bacteria growth in the water supply. If the gravel was kept wet and the filter media also, and it hasn't been too many days since they where functioning. The bacteria(s) should be somewhat intact. Bacteria will grow rapidly as long as all the different type are in balance. If you have too much of one and not enough of another then you will have trouble until it balances out. Since this set up was recently running, a good reagent test set and an ammonia supply to test to see if it will still "cycle" would be the best thing to be sure before adding fish. AKA fishless cycle. The bacteria will die off without food (food =ammonia).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:45PM
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