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Discussion Starter #1
I know that pure ammonia is the best way to cycle a tank and that using fish food or shrimp to cycle can lead to mold. However I'm wondering how bad it would be to use the shrimp method.

The reason is that I just bought a 5.5 gallon. I want to cycle it before I put Dahli in it. Dahli will be moving in after June first because that is when I graduate. I want to get him out of his little one gallon as soon as possible. So I'm attracted to the idea of putting some fish in the tank, turning on a filter and letting it run. I wouldn't be measuring it at first or anything because I wouldn't be in the same state. But then I figured by the time I get home it should be well on it's way to cycled so I could move Dahli in faster. I figured if the shrimp was feeding a set amount of ammonia it probably wouldn't hurt the cycle to keep it in after it already cycled and until I'm ready to move dahli in.

So, would this be okay or is it not advisable? I'd do a couple of back to back water changes and then maybe medicate the tank to treat for mold, leave it in a day or two, and do some more back to back water changes? Perchance?
 

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I just cycled my 5gal using a finger-sized piece of salmon wrapped in nylon mesh. Apparently one of the advantages of using decaying shrimp/fish is the way it produces ammonia in a "time-release" manner. My NH3 never went over 4ppm for the first nine days. It then diminished over three days as expected, followed by the nitrites. It goes without saying that I had borrowed a handful of "cycled" gravel.

I only saw a little white mold oozing through the bag, and some spots of tan powdery something on the bottom, which was easily vacuumed when I removed the nitrate buildup.

As I understand it, while cleaner, ammonia needs to be monitored and added on a regular basis. It is also easier to kill the nitrifying bacteria if you use too much. Perhaps someone can corroborate my opinions?
 

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Yes, thank you, Joe. I do remember reading that nearly a year ago. I didn't think much of it at the time, because I saw no reason to cycle my 2gal tanks. Unfortunately I lost the URL, so I was not able to refer to it before my latest 'adventure in cycling.'

So, I stand corrected. Now I wish I could retract the advice I have given recently on a few threads around here.

But I still believe these things:

- Never put live animals in a cycling tank. (NO fish-in)
- Check parameters at least every other day.
- Minimum 25% change at least once a week (for nitrate and DOC removal).
- Get to know your fish well, so you can recognize any change in appearance or behavior.

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."
----Groucho Marx
 

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Yes, thank you, Joe. I do remember reading that nearly a year ago. I didn't think much of it at the time, because I saw no reason to cycle my 2gal tanks. Unfortunately I lost the URL, so I was not able to refer to it before my latest 'adventure in cycling.'

So, I stand corrected. Now I wish I could retract the advice I have given recently on a few threads around here.

But I still believe these things:

- Never put live animals in a cycling tank. (NO fish-in)
- Check parameters at least every other day.
- Minimum 25% change at least once a week (for nitrate and DOC removal).
- Get to know your fish well, so you can recognize any change in appearance or behavior.
Meh, it's all good, whatever's best for our little buddies, right?

And I totally love your list.
 

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When doing this method, just make sure when you are done to leave no visible mold residue. If you have extensive mold (I had tons) you can put in some Pimafix a few days before the cycle ends, which won't disrupt anything. I did this and it got rid of all visible mold for me, and I have yet to have any problems ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the information guys. I'm at school and the new tank is at home. I think I'll try it out. I need to get a few things so I will make sure to pick some pimafix before I start. I'll also do extensive water changes and make sure to watch for any visible growth.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the information guys. I'll make sure to pick up some pimafix before I start. Would it be okay to precautionarily dose the tank to start?I'll also do several back to back changes before moving my fish in.

I don't eat shrimp so if I'm going to buy them I was wondering, if I cut up little pieces could I feed them to my betta?
 

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The Pimafix has no effect on a cycle so you should be fine dosing it at first.
I wouldn't do any water changes during cycling, your ammonia will be steady. Don't follow the directions on the Pimafix bottle either, I'd do the preliminary dose, then dose the recommended amount again at signs of molding.
I have no clue about feeding betta things like shrimp. :/
 

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I don't eat shrimp so if I'm going to buy them I was wondering, if I cut up little pieces could I feed them to my betta?
There's better food for your fish.

Please read the thread that Sparkyjoe posted above.

This URL (from that thread), an article by Carl Strohmeyer, is the last word on cycling, in my opinion. Carl is a highly-regarded professional aquarist. (I wish he were a better writer.)

Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle and cycling. Methods for ammonia, nitrite removal.

I'm going to try that powdered fishfood idea someday.
 
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