View Full Version : Cycling a new tank

01-23-2003, 11:47 PM
Thought I would share my experiences with the "fishless cycling method" on new tanks. If you are interested in the particulars of this method, you can find it on malawicichlids.com Basically you use pure ammonia instead of fish. I started 2 new tanks at the same time, a 125 gal. and a 20 gal.(actually I started the 20 gal 3 days earlier). Each morning I did my water testing and added the appropriate number of drops of ammonia per 10 gals of water. Each time I checked it prior to adding the ammonia, the reading on the 20 was zero ppm. The 125 started showing a gradual build up of ammonia and on the 12th day the reading was a bit too high so I didn't add any ammonia. The 20 gal. was still zero ppm each morning. On the 13th morning I got my first nitrite reading(2.5 ppm) on the 125, the 20 showed zero on nitrite as well. On the 125 I have 4 new power filters and an undergravel filter run by 3 new powerheads. On the 20 I have one power filter that came from an established tank, so it had a healthy colony of bacteria to begin with. I also used gravel from an established aquarium on the 20. I couldn't figure out why the 20 didn't cycle. It should have been a "no brainer" and I expected it to cycle long before the 125 did. The only difference that I can think of is that the filter bags in the new power filters on the 125 came assembled from the factory with nothing but carbon granules in them. The used power filter on the 20 was a 50/50 mix of carbon granules and Ammocarb. Do you supposed the Ammocarb was the culprit? In the original article it mentioned that someone used Amquel after the tank cycled and before putting the fish in. She lost all of her fish. So anyway, hope this wasn't too long. The method does work (usually).

01-24-2003, 10:04 AM
I would bet that the Ammocarb is responsible, it would be hard to get a nitrite reading if there is no ammonia present to be converted.

01-24-2003, 10:17 AM
Well....I figured that was the problem, so I just took the filter bag out of the power filter since there is no debris in the tank that needs filtering. Haven't checked the tanks this morning yet, but can't wait to move the fish to their new digs. That is with the exception of Mr. M. lombardoi. He's going to stay in the 29 gal. for a couple of weeks til the other fish get acclimated. Then I'll introduce him and see if he has changed his ways.
Thanks, Sam

01-24-2003, 10:22 AM
I find the best way to cycle faster is to use seasoned filters with bacteria already on them. I guess its hard to do if your filters are different from each other. In that case, I rub the debris from one a seasoned filter onto the the new filter. That way, the water moves through the bacteria instead of just hovering over a gravel bed or something. You might try to place a seasoned aquarium plant in front of the water flow as well.

01-24-2003, 10:35 AM
I used a "seasoned" power filter and gravel on the 20 gal. That's why I was so surprised that it didn't cycle. Then the Ammocarb dawned on me.