Emilija asked in PetsFish · 8 years ago

How To Cycle A Fish Tank With Fish?

Ok, so I'm thinking about cycling my 20 gallon fish tank WITH fish.

Can someone tell me the step-by-step process for cycling with fish?

Also, what type of fish are the best for this method, and how many?

P.S. My fish tank will be a freshwater tropical community aquarium.

Update:

I said I was THINKING about using this method.

If you don't have an answer for this specific question, please don't answer it with something else.

Thank you.

8 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The way to do it is to TAKE YOUR TIME.

    Yes people will get on the "you are torturing your fish" hobby horse, but they haven't really thought things through.

    The fish get stressed, sick, and even dead IF the ammonia level in the tank gets high. If you can prevent this, and still get the tank to cycle, they fish will not be harmed.

    So, set up your tank and get it running, then choose just a few small hardy fish. Zebra danios, cherry barbs, feeder guppies or similar. These fish ARE going to survive, so make sure they are compatible and part of your eventual stocking list.

    Put the fish in there, feed them sparingly are first, and wait. Monitor the water quality of course, and continue to wait. The ammonia wont suddenly "spike" and shoot up out of control, because you only have 3 or 4 tiny fish in the tank, and they are only getting 1/2 a pinch of food a day. You might detect a low level of ammonia or nitrite and the cycle begins. If you have misjudged and the ammonia level does go up, change some water to keep them safe.

    Guess what. After a few weeks you tank will have started to cycle, the fish will still be healthy, and you can think about adding a few more, as long as your water tests are coming up good. If they aren't, wait another week and test again. Add the rest of the fish in stages to allow the cycle to build up to it's full level.

    Now fishless cycling is all well and good, and it works, but I never use it. Once you have one tank running, the are even better ways. You can move the cycle bacteria around by moving filters and gravel, so this allows you to jump start a new tank, and have it safe for at least a few fish from day one.

    Combine this seeding and the "take your time" approach to cycling with fish, and you can do a stealth cycle with no detectable ammonia spike at all.

    Live plants can also be incorporated. Plants form part of the nitrogen cycle, and are very good at absorbing ammonia. So a proper planted tank can be safe for at least some fish from day one as well.

    So - lots of ways to get a tank cycled. It's just a matter of understanding the process that is happening, and manipulating things so no fish are harmed. The cycle IS important to keeping healthy fish, the exact way the tank becomes cycled is not so important.

    The one thing you can't do is just set up a new tank and throw a heap of fish in and ignore the cycle process totally. That will end badly for sure.

    Ian

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  • Tina
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Do you have a pets at home store near you? There are a few different things you can buy and may aslo be able to find them elsewhere. One thing you can buy is a biological filtration booster which is a liquid basically containing good bacteria which you can add to your tank to give that extra bacteria to break down the fishes waste. You can also get a water cleaner that helps break down ammonia and nitrites. Another thing you can get is filter aid that is a liquid that you put in your tank for new filters that havn't built up good bacteria yet. You can also get something called Stress coat OR you could get aquarium salt (for freshwater fish, API do a good one) which both help to reduce stress levels in the fish which may be caused by the ammonia levels etc that will be in the tank at the moment (as it hasn't been cycled). This would only make them less likely to die from stress alone though not from ammonia or nitrite poisoning itself. Check the labels though because I'm not 100% sure you can use them all at once but you may be able to use a combination of some of them. I know you can't use aquarium salt with tonics because tonics contain salt as well so you would be adding too much to the tank. Anyway I hope that helps! I would explain to your sister that there is the likelihood that some or all of the fish may die as the water hasn't had chance to cycle yet and if they do then hopefully that will teach her for next time. Remind her it's not just the fish but her money too! Good luck!

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    How To Cycle A Fish Tank With Fish?

    Ok, so I'm thinking about cycling my 20 gallon fish tank WITH fish.

    Can someone tell me the step-by-step process for cycling with fish?

    Also, what type of fish are the best for this method, and how many?

    P.S. My fish tank will be a freshwater tropical community aquarium.

    Source(s): cycle fish tank fish: https://tr.im/QUTK2
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  • linz
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    How To Cycle A Tank

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  • 8 years ago

    You can start with guppies or Mollys. We cycled our 75 allon with 6 Mollys. They kept having babies though, so be careful how many you buy. Also, before you get fish, throw a little food in there just to get some chemicals in the tank. That's what I did and I had perfect water levels when I cycled my tank for a day.

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  • Tim
    Lv 4
    8 years ago

    If you are going to cycle with fish it is best to get some very hardy fish, like zebra danios. And a 20 gallon should be fine with 3-5 of them. zebra danios do well in a community tank set-up so if you like them you can keep them in there but if you don't you don't have to. But i would leave the fish in there for at least a week before adding any other fish.

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  • 8 years ago

    Put a pinch of fish food in it. It will break down. Cycling with fish is sorta torture. If you HAVE to do it with fish, get some hardy fish, stick em in for `15 minutes, then let out of bag, and leave them in for a week or two. Cycling a fish tank needs to bring out your patience. After 2 weeks, get some new fish if you want. Good luck, and please do it with fish food, not fish.

    Source(s): Experience.
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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Why would you want to put your fish in a tank like that? Kind of torture. Just put some fish food in to cycle it without fish.

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