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Cycle Of The Tank
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Cycling of the tank is necessary to raise goldfish or any other
fish. The term cycling is refering to "Nitrogen Cycle" and in this page
I will get into detail about the whole thing in simple terms.
We recommend that when setting up new aquariums, a fishless
cycle should be the first choice. Please see this link.
However, if you have already added fish, then you will need to do a
fish-in cycle, which is discussed further below.
Okay lets start with the basics. Goldfish need at least
20 gallons of water. So
you've got a 20 gallon tank and you just got the tank home with no fish
at all at this point. Well the first thing is to set the tank up.
In short terms setting up the tank is placing water into the tank,
rocks, filter, dechlorinator and
plants if you want to. Now once the tank is all put together you will
need to let the tank run for atleast 24 hours before adding the fish.
After 24 hours of running with the filter in the tank, you
will need a fish that will help cycle the tank. I wouldn't get your
goldfish right now, there are Danio's that are very hardy fish and they
can take they cycling of the tank better than the goldfish can. After
you add the fish in to the tank I would strongly suggest getting a test
kit so that you can see the levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in
the water. This is going to be the only way for you to find out if its
safe for you to add the goldfish to this tank.
Okay, so now the fish is in the tank and your wondering whats
next.......Well now we get into the cycling of the tank. The cycling of
the tank is simple but can be complicated. So I'm going to try to make
it easy to understand.
first thing that's going to happen to the tank is the ammonia is going
to get very high, this is caused by the fish waste (food, plant decay).
You will need to test this, because if the levels get to high the fish
can die of ammonia poisoning (blood poisoning). You will need to make
sure that the level stays below the 1.0 mark on the test kit. The way to
help this level if it gets to high is small water changes every day of
at least 20-30% this will help to relieve the ammonia level off of the
will rise until about the 10th day, the nitrites will kick in around the
10th day also. Nitrites can be just as dangerous as the ammonia levels.
Nitrite bacteria basically convert the ammonia into nitrites. If the
level of nitrites gets above the 1.0 mark on the test kits you can get
Nitrite poisoning (fin rot, flashing, bacterial ulcers etc.). This level
can be controlled to by small water changes of 20-30% when you test the
water. It is very important that you test the tank at this level, as
most fish that show signs of stress will die at this level.
After about 20 days the next level of the cycling will
happen: Nitrates. This is not harmful like the others. It can be if the
levels are very high in the 100 range. Once the ammonia and nitrite
levels are down to 0 and you just have nitrates the tank is fully
cycled. The only other thing that you will need to do now is regular
water changes. Now you can add your goldfish.
thing to remember, tanks at temps 78*f will cycle in about 30 days,
tanks with lower temps will take much longer to cycle.
Cycling with Goldfish
Some of you will most likely be finding out about cycling
after youve already added your goldfish to the tank and noticed a few
odd things like cloudy water or erratic behavior. The rest of this
section will help you through the cycling with your goldfish still in
now, you've discovered that your filter does quite a bit more than just
clean out the bits of poo and uneaten food. Despite the complexities of
all that is going on in your new tank, there is a simplistic format to
help you nurse your new goldfish through it all.
First, you'll need to get the ammonia under .50 ppm and the
nitrItes under .25 ppm by performing water changes. These (and all water
changes) should be done with temperature and Ph matched dechlorinated
Now, test your water every morning and night. If the ammonia
climbs higher than .50 ppm, do a 50-80% water change. If the nitrite
gets over .25 ppm, do a 50-80% water change. These levels will rise
daily and closely monitoring them is very important. You'll need to keep
this up for close to a month from the time you set the tank up. Sometime
between 21 days and 30 days, the tank should be very nearly cycled,
although some tanks can take longer. Your tank should be fully cycled
when the ammonia and nitrites are no longer registering on the kits
(0ppm). Ammonia will be the first to disappear, then a week or two after
that, the nitrItes will begin to disappear. It's about that time that
you should start seeing nitrAtes appear on the kits. This is when you'll
be nearing the end of your water changing vigil. After the tank has
become cycled, you only need to do weekly water changes of 50-80% to
keep the nitrates to a safe minimum (40ppm or less).
Salting for nitrites:
Aquarium salt will help your goldfish deal with the nitrites
that will invariably be hanging out in your tanks water for a while. As
you read above, the nitrites will hamper your goldfish from receiving
enough oxygen to their bloodstream. Salt will act as a buffer and make
life a lot easier for them. Its important to remember that salt cannot
be filtered out, or evaporate from the water. The only way to remove it
is to do water changes without it. That is why extra care must be given
to the amount that you're putting in.
can add aquarium salt to the tune of 2 1/2 level teaspoons per us
gallon. At first, you'll want to bring them to this level slowly. The
best way to do this is to get the ammonia to 0ppm or less and the
nitrites to .25 ppm or less, then you can start adding salt. You can
continue to add salt until the tests register 0 for nitrites (up to 30
days with tank temp in the upper 70's). The initial addition of salt
should be split up into three additions if water changes are more than
50% a day. If they are somewhat minimal, you can begin adding the 2 1/2
teaspoons per gallon to the gallonage that you're adding back to the
tank. Basically, you are trying to make the salinity rise somewhat
slowly so as not to stress your goldfish even further.
symptoms of toxic exposure:
During this toxic and stressful time, your goldfish may
display a wide variety of symptoms. Black spots can appear. They are
signs of ammonia burn and actually signify healing. Tails and fins might
begin to look ragged, torn or split. Red veins in the tail. Fins
clamped, bottom/top sitting and gasping for air are all symptoms as
well. These symptoms are all known to get better once the params have
been brought to a manageable level and/or a cycled tank has been
achieved. However, sometimes these and other symptoms will persist
beyond that. It is wholly advisable to get the tank fully cycled and
under control before any treatments are administered.
Another way to Cycle the tank is Fishless
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