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Thread: How do i start an aquarium?

  1. #1
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    How do i start an aquarium?

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    Hello, I'm new to the freshwater aquarium hobby.

    My biggest concern is that I do not know how to start a tank. I've researched about it and I'm still very unclear of what i should do.
    My tank is a small one(32 cm wide, 25 cm high) as I want to familiarize myself with the hobby first before dwelling into bigger and more sophisticated tank.

    My questions are

    1) How do i start a fish-less cycle to my aquarium?** (This is my biggest question because I am an absolute noob)
    2) What should I buy for pre-tank set up? Currently have filter, substrate, tank and some ornaments.
    3) Is a thermometer and water test kits absolutely necessary?

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    1. There are few ways out there to do so, common ones includes
    1.1 buying those bottled "bacteria" and dosing it according to instructions.
    1.2 Another traditional method is to use a small piece of shrimp and let it rot while running the filter over few weeks (test kits are required for this).
    1.3 "feeding" the tank as though there are fish in it, method is similar to item 1.2, test kits are required as well.

    2. What you have is good enough already.

    3. Depends on individual i guess, those are good to have, especially if you are troubleshooting tank issues (algae, sick fish etc) but not a must to have.


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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    I have a friend that says to just let the filter run and minimize feeding for 3-5 days and to constantly clear as much wastes from the fishes as possible ; and the bacterial colony will stabilize. Is this true?

    My research told me that a typical cycle lasts for weeks before it is complete.

    Besides fish-less cycles does cycles with fish work too?

    Do you do fish-less or with-fish cycles?

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    cycling with fish is pretty cruel to be honest: imagine the fluctuating parameters and stress that the fish have to go through while it is cycling, if the fish is hardy enough, it might survive, else, most of them probably wont.

    Another way to speed up the cycling is to borrow filter media from an established aquarium and use it in your aquarium, to seed and speed up the cycle


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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    The information is useful for me.thanks

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    How do I know that my tank is cycled?
    Can I test the water and measure the "cycle" with just nitrate and nitrite testers?

    PS.
    I've just started my fish-less cycle. I've added seachem prime on the 4th of Jan and have not added any bacteria.
    1) My water was clear on the first day. but got cloudy the next.
    2)I decided to let it settle down but on 6th Jan it is still cloudy.
    3) So i bought a plant and Seachem Stability in hopes of helping it.

    Are there any tips you can give me? Also, is cloudy water normal?

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Hello Weixiang,

    Welcome to the aquarium hobby. The cloudy water is caused by bacteria bloom. You can google 'new tank syndrome'. Your tank will take ages to get fully cycled if you don't add bacteria, it may take up to 3 months. Adding Seachem Stability helps a lot.

    Maybe you can state your aquarium stats so that we can better help you.

    What type of substrate and filter are you using? What type of fish do you intend to keep? A nano aquarium would be quite tough for a beginner. A tank of at least 2ft is better. If will probably need test kits to know for sure if your tank is fully cycled, if not, it would be a guessing game.
    Regards,

    Desmond

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    My tank is a nano aquarium because i d o not have the space for anything bigger. I believe my tank is at least 4 gallons +-

    I've restart my cycle because i suspect that cloudy water is due to dirty filter and etc.
    The case is that my tank, filter, substrate are hand me downs; not sure how long it is not in operation.
    I also believe that i did not clean the filter properly as once i switched it on, debris started flowing out of the filter.

    It's either a dusty filter, or my filter is not strong enough

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Hi Wei Xiang,

    I suggest a thorough cleaning of all your equipment, substrate and ornaments before you attempt cycling again. There are several ways in which you could start your cycle but a fishless cycle with some fish food is a common way to do so. You could introduce some bottled bacteria to the tank to give the cycle a kick start as well (though ime it doesn't really help much).

    I suggest you get an API Master Test kit or just Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate test kits just to ensure that your tank is fully cycled before adding any fish.

    A fully cycled tank should observe the following trend:

    Phase 1: Ammonia spike, nitrite and nitrate low
    Phase 2: Ammonia high, nitrite mid to high, nitrate low
    Phase 3: Ammonia med-low, nitrite high, nitrate medium
    Phase 4: Ammonia 0, nitrite medium, nitrate high
    *Water change*
    Phase 5: Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0-20ppm

    **Always keep supplying the system with ammonia throughout the cycle even until the cycle is complete to keep the ammonia alive until you decide to get fish. At which point, stop introducing ammonia at least 24 hours before you decide to add your fish and do a 50% water change. Also, a cloudy aquarium is just a sign of a bacterial bloom. Its tough being patient and just waiting but eventually your tank should clear up once the bacteria takes hold in your filter media**

    All the best!
    FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Thanks for your advice! Is it really necessary to have a ammonia test kit?

    I only have nitrate and nitrite test kit. Is it enough to test the cycle?

    I cleaned the filter and did a change in water to restart the cycle. I've introduced seachem stability (bottled bacteria?) for 2 days now. I might start with fish food to help speed up the process.

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Hi TS,

    this is my take of cycling a tank... see below link...

    http://theplantedtankblog.blogspot.c...g-of-tank.html

    what you intend to keep in your tank? small tanks are a bit tricky due to chemical and temperature fluctuation. But still do-able... have fun


    Check out my Blog on planted tank, good for newbies ( i am lazy to retype all the info i know, so please click and read below link... i hope you don't fall asleep while reading)
    Link to my Blog

    I am not PERFECT but I am LIMITED EDITION !!! BIG Tank comes with BIG Responsibility...as they makan a lot of $$....lol

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Xiang View Post
    Thanks for your advice! Is it really necessary to have a ammonia test kit?

    I only have nitrate and nitrite test kit. Is it enough to test the cycle?

    I cleaned the filter and did a change in water to restart the cycle. I've introduced seachem stability (bottled bacteria?) for 2 days now. I might start with fish food to help speed up the process.
    No probs!

    I think itís quite important cos ammonia is the most toxic of the 3. I use it for my shrimp tanks too.

    Oh good choice stability is pretty good. Youíll have to dose fish food for sure cos you need an ammonia source

    All the best and keep us posted


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    https://www.facebook.com/chew.weixia...22809781067273

    So my tank has cycled and I have finished adding my critters.

    So far, i have lost 3 fishes.
    1) neon dwarf rainbow probably parasites from the shop
    2) White guppy might be super stressed
    3) Asian stone catfish found himself stuck in the filter


    So, as of now I have completely finished adding everything. So i have,
    1) 2 neon dwarf rainbowfish
    2) 3 male guppies
    3) 1 male endler guppy
    4) 1 bamboo shrimp (Rufus)
    5) 1 dwarf crayfish (Woody) 'Supposed to be blue'
    6) 2 leopard synodontis (Bear and Thump)

    I know neon dwarf rainbows are schooling fish. But they are happy to school with the guppies!
    My Dwarf crayfish is pretty chill. And overall, they are all happy.
    I am considering investing in a bigger tank soon.

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Xiang View Post
    https://www.facebook.com/chew.weixia...22809781067273

    So my tank has cycled and I have finished adding my critters.

    So far, i have lost 3 fishes.
    1) neon dwarf rainbow probably parasites from the shop
    2) White guppy might be super stressed
    3) Asian stone catfish found himself stuck in the filter


    So, as of now I have completely finished adding everything. So i have,
    1) 2 neon dwarf rainbowfish
    2) 3 male guppies
    3) 1 male endler guppy
    4) 1 bamboo shrimp (Rufus)
    5) 1 dwarf crayfish (Woody) 'Supposed to be blue'
    6) 2 leopard synodontis (Bear and Thump)

    I know neon dwarf rainbows are schooling fish. But they are happy to school with the guppies!
    My Dwarf crayfish is pretty chill. And overall, they are all happy.
    I am considering investing in a bigger tank soon.
    Great to hear you're having success! You will probably need to upgrade your tank to something bigger seeing as your stocking is quite heavy now. Quick tip: If you're sure that you're gonna start a new tank soon, place some new bio-media inside the filter in your running tank if possible (or somewhere in the tank itself) so you can seed the filter media and make the cycling of the new tank a much faster and easier process
    FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    So what I do is i take new filter media and just put it somewhere in the running tank? Does it work instantly?

    Will it work if I used plants instead or even gravel, stones and whatnot in the running tank?? Because I remember that beneficial bacteria are also on the surfaces in the tank. So i figured that i could just transfer the plants, stones or whatever to the new tank.

    Also, would the new dechlorinated water from a new tank kill the beneficial bacteria should i use any of the methods?

    I'm really inclined in keeping a Mbu pufferfish. Really very interested in them

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    I wouldn't say it works instantly, but its much faster (2x faster) than trying to establish a new tank since you're just letting an existing bacterial colony grow onto the new media. Yes it would work as well though the amount of bacteria that can be housed in biomedia is usually much more since the media is highly porous and designed solely for the purposes of growing bacteria but it wouldn't hurt to do both to speed up the process even further.

    Properly de-chlorinated and aged aquarium water wouldn't kill the bacteria. You could also add a mixture of 20% old aquarium water and 80% new when starting the new tank if you're worried about chlorine levels (word of caution: you'll be increasing the nitrate levels in the tank right from the start so do a huge water change before you add fish)

    MBU puffers can get really huge so i suggest you do more research before you invest in such a large set-up. You could start with smaller FW puffers or even brackish. I keep a figure 8 puffer named yolo and he's honestly the most personable fish I've ever kept
    FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD

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    Re: How do i start an aquarium?

    Honestly I have no idea on how to keep brackish water fishes. So I probably wouldn't set up one as I'm more interested in freshwater aquarium.

    There are quite a number of fresh water puffers such as the dragon puffer, congo puffer etc. MBU puffers is just a goal to work towards when I have the time and money to set up one huge tank for em.

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