Where to get media for fishless cycle?

el_duderinoNovember 10, 2008

I am looking to get my 11 year-old son a FW aquarium for Christmas. I would like to do a fishless cycle prior, so that he doesn't have to wait weeks to cycle and/or lose fish out of the gates.

I don't know anyone with an existing aquarium, so I'm not sure the best way to introduce "good" bacteria into the tank.

I've heard that bio spira is a good solution, but wanted to see what everyone else recommends.

This is my first post here, so be gentle with me :-)

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laurell(8 - Washington)

Bio Spira does help, but you still need to run the cycle for a week or two and continuously add ammonia (you want to get "pure" ammonia, or one without other stuff in it besides water). And invest in an Ammonia/NitrIte/NitrAte test kit. You should keep the ammonia at 3-5ppm. Once you see ammonia levels start to drop within 2 hours, start checking for nitrItes, once those start dropping, start checking for nitrAtes. Once you can add ammonia and get it to drop down to zero and start registering nitrAtes, your tank and media will be ready.

You may want to consider going to a local fish store (small mom & pop style), avoiding Petsmart/Petco - they tend to have diseases in their systems - to get some seeded filter media. They'll usually give it to you for free, and it should allow you to cycle almost instantly.

Having the test kit (you should probably also get pH, and water hardness) will be good so you can monitor the health of the tank, and help to teach your son responsibility. It will give him a greater understanding of the chemistry involved and the specific needs of the fish that he gets. Plus, what 11 year old boy doesn't like test tubes with chemicals that turn the liquid different colors!?

www.cichlid-forum.com is a good resource with TONS of articles in the library that aren't cichlid-specific.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 7:06PM
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kokosnood(z9 CA)

Get some "dirty water" from your local fish store (like other poster said, avoid the big chain pet stores; they have diseased water.)

Then put fishfood into the fishless tank everyday and it will cycle.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 10:40PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

After adjusting the temperature spouse just dumped a dozen guppies in her first tank and fed them for a month, didn't do anything else.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 12:04PM
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ichthius(z7 Or)

If you feed the tank Ammonium chloride to a couple ppm the bacteria will show up as it's in the environment.

You can get the ammonia on ebay for cheap.

Best fishes

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:46PM
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I just make sure the chlorine is gone from the water by filling the aquarium with tap water and running the air pump and filter a couple of days and then add some goldfish. They always do fine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 8:39PM
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ichthius(z7 Or)

It's not about the chlorine it's about establishing a biological filter so your fish are never exposed to ammonia like they would be in a fish based filter...

You feed the filters ammonia until the start digesting it and they move over to eating fish waste seamlessly.

Best fishes

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 4:32AM
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Sorry I wasn't clear about the chlorine. I get rid of the chlorine so it doesn't poison the fish. The goldfish cycle the tank. I also change out about 10% of the water every couple of days. Maybe not a scientific approach but the goldfish always seem happy and do great. Of course el duderino it will depend on what type of fish you plan to get for your 11 year old son. If you plan on getting high dollar fancy fish for the aquarium then you should spend the time and money to properly cycle and test the tank. If you plan on getting guppys and or goldfish then you will probably be ok with a simple approach.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 8:59AM
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