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new tank syndrome Article

Discussion in 'Aquarium Equipment & Decor' started by The Crasher, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. The Crasher

    The Crasher Thread Starter New Member

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    i finaly founded what i needed :)

    New Tank Syndrome
    In established aquariums, just as in nature, toxic ammonia from fish waste is broken down by bacteria into nitrite, which is itself broken down by a different group of bacteria into nitrate. In a newly set up aquarium, those bacteria are not present in any quantity, and it takes time - about a 4 to 6 weeks under normal circumstances - for those bacteria to multiply to the point of being able to keep up with the waste output of the fish. “New Tank Syndrome” and “The Break-In Cycle” describe the period in which ammonia and then nitrite levels rise to dangerous quantities before being converted into relatively harmless nitrate.

    A tank need not be “new” to go through this break-in process. That thirty year old metal frame tank you drag out of the attic will cycle just like the sparkling new acrylic one you just bought this afternoon. Even well established aquariums can become “new” again in terms of the break-in cycle. Removing large quantities of bacteria, by changing the aquarium gravel for instance, will cause an “old” tank to go through another cycle. Poisoning the bacteria with medicines or shocking them with chlorinated water or sudden temperature changes will also set the cycling process back to day one.

    New tanks are generally broken in by adding a few hardy fish and simply waiting out that first month. It is important to note that the cycling process does not begin until fish are added. Some hobbyists set up their aquarium for weeks or even months before adding fish, and are surprised to see high ammonia and nitrite readings shortly after fish are finally added. Smaller barbs (tiger, gold, rosy), larger tetras (head and tail light, red eye, red minor, buenos aires), danios (zebra, leopard, pearl, gold) and rasboras (heteromorpha, scissortail, redtail, brilliant) are hardy enough to withstand the temporarily high ammonia and nitrite levels and inexpensive enough to replace if some perish during a particularly rough cycle. Damselfish (blue, yellowtail or striped) and mollies are their saltwater counterparts. Anywhere from two to five inches of fish may be used per ten gallons of water - any less and the tank may go through another, but lesser, cycle when more fish are added later; any more and the ammonia and nitrite levels may rise beyond what even the hardy fish can tolerate. A few hardy Corydoras catfish (green or albino) may also be added to reduce the risk of overfeeding. Algae eating fish are generally unnecessary until after the cycling process is completed.

    Instant Cycling? While many commercial products over the years have promised to reduce or eliminate the cycling process, most seemed to have very little noticeable effect. However, Marineland’s relatively new product Bio-Spira consistently appears to dramatically reduce the time and stress involved in the cycling process when used as directed. It is also useful in re-establishing or boosting bacteria populations in an aquarium that has been moved, medicated, over-cleaned, gravel-changed or stocked too rapidly. Otherwise. adding a handful of gravel, some decorations or even filter material from a healthy, well established tank may shave a few days off the cycling time, especially if done after the ammonia has already dropped.


    Once the cycle is in progress, it’s best to not add other fish until it is complete. The starter fish have had a chance to become slowly accustomed to the increasing ammonia/nitrite levels; any new fish have to deal with the shock of being dumped into poor water conditions all at once. It’s also best to feed regularly, once or twice per day, but sparingly. Any uneaten food can worsen the already poor water quality.

    Periodic testing of water chemistry will help to determine if a tank is on course during the break in period. (See the Typical Break In page that follows.) Break-in fish may show signs of distress, including rapid breathing, loss of appetite and skittishness during the peak times of the cycle. It is especially important to monitor the fish regularly during this time, watching for ich and other stress-related diseases. Partial water changes of up to 30% do not substantially affect the cycling time and dilute the harmful chemicals, at least temporarily. Cutting back on the feeding will also help keep levels in check.

    The total cycling time for most aquariums at 78-80 degrees F. is about thirty days, although it may take quite a bit longer at lower temperatures. On rare occasions, some trare occasions, some tanks will mysteriously stay at the nitrite peak for weeks or even months. Adding a handful of gravel from an established tank will usually cause the nitrites in these tanks to crash to zero in a day or two.

    As the cycling process nears an end, many hobbyists notice an improvement in the appetite and overall deportment of their fish. In addition, a small green algae bloom will often accompany the drop in nitrites and rise of nitrates. The cycle is over and the tank ready for additional fish when both the ammonia and nitrite are zero and the nitrate has begun to rise. This is an appropriate time for a first routine partial water change.

    Copyright © 1996, 2005 James M. Kostich

    Greets From The Crasher , and i hope this explains a lot
     
  2. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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  3. Keuzeserver

    Keuzeserver New Member

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    So Anthony was right :eek: :cry:

    I always am right untill it is proven that I am not... well it is proven :cry:
     
  4. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    LoL aw. It's okay though :D Crowding the fish is still bad.
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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    I am new to my fishes, I guess they went through this to then, huh?
     
  6. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Yep, if you have a new tank and put fish in it from the beginning your fish went through the cycle process. There's also a way to do a "fishless cycle". You basically put pure ammonia into your tank (Without fish!) for several weeks keeping your ammonia level at about 2ppm until your nitrites zero out and your nitrates increase.
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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    That sounds better for fish but I think I'd prefer to do it the normal way.
     
  8. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Yes, it is better for the fish to have the tank cycled first. Often time people use feeder fish to cycle their tank before placing the fish they want. When fish go through a cycle it can decrease their life span.

    If you go to viewforum.php?f=18 "Knowledge Base" you will see a Fishless Cycle thread if you want to read more about it.
     
  9. qwertus

    qwertus New Member

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    If i already have an established tank and I want to upgrade to a bigger tank. By transfering the water from the old tank, filter(w/ media) anh reuse its ornaments, does the new tank go through cycling again?
     
  10. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Aquarium water has very little beneficial bacteria in it. Substrate, Filter media, and decorations all have the beneficial bacteria attached to them though. If you use that, your tank shouldn't cycle. If it does, it will be a mini cycle and shouldn't cause any problems to the fish.
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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    Not sure this is the right area for this, but you will have to add some filter media from the old tank to best ensure that your tank will not have to cycle.

    Edit: I agree with everything Anthony just beat me to saying lol
     
  12. qwertus

    qwertus New Member

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    I can just add the fish right after everything is transfered over right?

    Does plants help in the cycling process?
     
  13. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Yes, you can add the fish immediately after you switch everything over.

    No, plants don't help the cycling process.
     
  14. genettico

    genettico New Member

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    You DO NOT need to put fish in order to start your tank's cycle! By simply adding organics to the water it induces the bacteria to start reproducing! You can add some fish food and let it be, throw a few dead shrimp and let them be! All you need is a form of organics to decompose and create some ammonia. Adding fish that you might not want later on is un-necessary and sometimes creates headaches when you are trying to hunt them down to get rid of them once your cycle is complete! New tank syndrome can last sometimes 6 months or even more. This accounts for dis-balances on nutrients, bacteria, and other enviromental factors sometimes hard to control.
     
  15. genettico

    genettico New Member

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    Plants DO help on cycling. As they consume nutrients, and increase ph levels by oxygenating the water, they allow beneficial bacteria to reproduce easier.
     
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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    increase ph levels? You mean plants make the water more basic than acidic?
     
  17. genettico

    genettico New Member

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    Nope... Plants themselves dont change significantly (at least) basic to alkaline levels on their own. Ph levels are affected by oxygen concentration, if you manage to increase oxygen within the same system via pumps, areation or such you also inevitably increase your ph. You can increase your ph level by increasing oxygen intake in your tank. Plants do this naturally. This is one of the reasons high temperature tanks have lower ph levels as the concentration of 02 decreases so does the ability of the ph to stay high!
     
  18. LemonDiscus

    LemonDiscus Active Member

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    True... that is why I do not need to buffer my water with anything to lower PH. My temp helps hold the PH down.... that and tannic acid.

    I had a chart that you give your temp and your PH and it will show you your O2 level.
     
  19. Ms. Wright

    Ms. Wright Member

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    Gotta put in my two cents worth on this. I set up a lot of tanks at the school where I work, and everybody wants to just add water and toss some fishes in there. I usually print the article offered below and make them read it (and take a short quiz ;) before I go fish shopping with them. Sometimes it takes a month.
    Chris Cow (AKA Nomad, from Tom's Place) is a PHD of organic chemistry and an avid aquarist. I'd love to give him credit for the whole fishless cycling concept, but I'm not sure he was the one who came up with it originally. Anyway, here's his piece on it
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm</a>

    Here at home, I'm bold enough and experienced enough to seed one tank from another and move fishes pretty quickly, but it's sure not that I'd suggest to anyone without testing equipment, rugged fishes, old tanks,
    a good supply of un-chemicalized water and some cojones. :D
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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    this sounds like my problem..lol..I really figured keeping my same filter bacteria would help NOT go through the cloudy white fog syndrome..I only changed the gravel and waited a week then added fish..