Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fishless Cycling with Fish Food + Gravel

I'm doing a Fishless Cycle with my tank. At this stage, I've decided to go with using fish food - and waiting for it to decay to build up the ammonia. I've been advised to put a teaspoon of fish food in the tank every day for 5 days. Today, I'm on day 4 of putting food in. The food I put in from Saturday and other days is still in there as well, decaying slowly - which is exactly what I want to happen (faster would be nice though! haha). I tested the Ammonia levels this morning and its at 0.25ppm/0.50ppm. The colour is a bit greener than the 0.25 indicator and a little yellower than the 0.50ppm indicator. The ammonia reading needs to be around 3-4ppm from what I've researched. Then a few days after that I should start to get readings for Nitrite as well. Once I get nitrite readings, Ammonia readings should start to decrease. After some more time, Nitrate will start showing in readings. Once the Ammonia reading is 0, Nitrite reading is 0 and Nitrate reading is at a high spike (100 range), I can do a 50%-75% water change and then we are all good!

Before I put food in on the first day of starting the Fishless Cycle, I decided I wanted a bare bottom tank (no gravel). So I took out the gravel I had put in prior. The information I had been given about gravel from various sources was somewhat conflicting, so I weighed out my pro's and con's of having gravel and then decided against it.

My Pro's of using gravel being -
  • I have it -I had been talked into getting two 1kg bags of gravel from my local pet store. By their calculations, apparently I needed a kg and a bit, however one bag did the job quite well.
  • I had spent the money on gravel already so I may as well use it.
  • It looked quite nice with the gravel in (down to personal preference really).
  • Tank decorations sat nicely in the tank and it all blended well.

My Con's of using gravel being -
  • Possibly choking hazard to my future fish.
    Something I didn't consider when buying it, it was all a bit rush rush at the time). The gravel ranged from bits being 2mm to 8mm in some cases, of various shapes. And with the history of Cosmos (my Ryukin of 7 years which is living at my parents place) playing with his gravel and getting it lodged in his mouth once - I don't want a repeat of that experience!!
  • Can scratch the tank.
  • Builds bacteria.
  • Collects fish poop and food waste, which fish would forage through and eat if bored.
  • Can make the tank look "cluttered".

So... I've decided to go "bare-bottom" for my tank. I do actually prefer the look of this, even though my decorations don't look 100%, or don't suit at all. The "log tunnel" (pictured) I had in there before actually doesn't sit flush on the tank floor, which means it would rock if fish nudge it etc. Which then may cause scratches to the bottom of the tank *sad face*. What somewhat irritates me in this situation, is the way that the log was packaged when I bought it you wouldn't be able to tell if it did or didn't have a level base on it. You can see from the picture, the packaging is a "box", which the ornament was actually suspended in and tied to - so it doesn't really allow for a full inspection to see if it is suitable and what you want. Although, I wasn't aware of the fact I was going to end up with a bare bottom tank so a level deco wasn't the top on my priority list!

Long story short - had I have been aware of all this from the start I wouldn't have bothered with gravel, and I would not have bought this tank deco. I hope to use the gravel and deco in future tanks of mine, hopefully!

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