View Full Version : Cycling used tank

10-07-2008, 09:19 PM
Well I'm not new to the hobbie, but it has been awhile and these resources were not available back then.

Set up 29 Gallon tank that hasn't been used in 5 years with Marineland Eclipse biowheel/cartridge/fluorescent lighting system.

Set up aquarium stand (complete)

Clean aquarium (I used windex to scrub out the grime and wiped w/ paper towels, not ideal, but it's what I had onhand)

Check aquarium for leaks ( I filled the tank using a britta pitcher to remove chlorine and other crap in the water. I placed the tank on the stand with the edges of 8.5 by 11 inch sheets of paper interlocking around all four edges and hanging out. I figured if there was a leak, I could identify it earlier by wet paper than wet carpet) After one month, no wet paper, I didn't turn out the lights on the tank so greenish tint to the water.)

Threw in a bag of seashells (hopefully adding some biomaterial to the water)

Trip to LFS to get gravel and decorations. (I brought a sample of water to be tested, ammonia 0 nitrites through the roof! I picked up 50# of silicate sand and 5# of black sand. Rocks... $5 a pound you are kidding me!)
Wash Sand and place in tank (I filled the bag of sand up with water to reduce dust as the bag suggests it is very harmful and can cause permanent bodily damage. I then dumped into a 30 gallon tub and rinsed and washed repeatedly until the water poured out clear and no floaties.)

I dumped it into the empty tank covering most of the sea shells. I mixed the silicate sand with the black sand to darken it up a little.

Let set for two weeks... Algae has bloomed covering the sides of the glass and is so dense I could barely see the inlet pipe to the filtration system.

Looked and looked and researched for Rocks. Ended up at a Home and Garden Nursury and got a wagon full for $20. mixed between granite, volcanic, sedimentary, stratified and heavy rocks.

Placed all rocks in the dishwasher cleaned on high temp/sanitize with no dishwashing liquid added. Manually cleaned rocks that would not fit in the dishwasher.

Removed sand from the tank cleaned the sides of the glass and removed 20 plus gallons of water. Leaving 1/2 inch of sand on the bottom of the tank I started placing the rocks in the tank. carefully stacking first in the corners with stable large flat rocks and then building up the center with caves, etc. I let the rocks in the dishwasher cool before adding them. with the hiding cracks of the rocks along the edges of the tank I filled in with sand, I did this only after stability of the rocks was achieved.

Mistake: I refilled the tank with tap water, with no conditioners. Hope I didn't kill off my bacteria in my filter! It took me 23 gallons of water to refill the tank

I added a heater, set to 82 degrees F.

The water is still a bit murkey, but I figured it was the rocks stablilzing and letting go of any air and sediment remaining, also getting the sand to settle again is going to contribute.

I am ordering water test kits today.
Particularly, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, and Ph.

I am also ordering water conditioners today... it used to be Amquel and Novoqua had cornered the market here. But some of the posts I have heard is Amquel doesn't help cycle a tank b/c it bonds to the Ammonia and gives false readings to the status of the cycle.

It seems from this particular community Seachem's 'prime' 'clarity' and 'stability' are recommended.

I also intend to order Buffers and Salts such as Seachem's 'Liquid Malawi/Victoria Buffer' 'Liquid Chichlid Lake Salt' and 'Chichlid Trace'.

In the past I had used a Ph Buffer with a large 8.2 imprinted on the side, but I don't recall the producer... I also used Kent Marine's water clarity and chichlid buffers and salts. So does anyone know the difference between the two is it cost, one is better than the other etc... As far as water conditioning, I had used Amquel exclusively for more than 15 years.

Also one post suggested Marineland Biospira, I haven't read up on this product yet, but despite the cost I am interested.

My intent for this aquarium is to keep
6 Synodontis petricola,
3 1m/2f Iodotropheus sprengerae
3 1m/2f labidochromis sp. "Mbamba"
3 1m/2f Pseudotropheus saulosi

I'm basing my number of fish on the model presented in
for the 30 gallon tank.

I'm hoping to pick up the petricoas at the Catfish show in MD in two weeks.

Any advise is appreciated.

10-07-2008, 10:10 PM
9 cichlids plus 6 syno's seems like a lot for a 29gal. I have 9 cichlids in my 29 and its crowded...although im upgrading asap...

10-07-2008, 10:24 PM
That might be a little too much in a 29gal, you may want to consider omitting the group of synodontis from the list. A species tank with 6 specimens would probably work the best in my opinion (for a tank that size).

Also keeping mbuna's for long-time housing in a 29gal is risky even with the least aggressive mbuna species.

In regards to the description of the labidochromis genus on the site you've referenced, I'd say they're low-end aggressive in mbuna standards rather than characterizing them as "generally extremely peaceful", and this describes their behavior toward non-labidochromis.

With each other, however, they can be aggressive. Behavior-wise I've found the genus to be rather conspecifc aggressive at times. Just something to be aware of. This will become most apparent when they attain/exceed 3.5" in length.

Regarding price of rock. I highly recommend obtaining your rocks from a landscaping place than at the LFS. At the landscaping place you can acquire rock at a fraction of the cost (25-65 cents per pound compared to $5 per pound).

Recently, I purchased 70lbs or rocks for $37 before tax (that money would get you 7lbs of rock at the $5 per lbs LFS). Just something to consider. :c3:

Make sure your tank is fully cycled prior to adding the fish.

10-08-2008, 09:53 PM
30 Gallon African Cichlid Communities (http://www.cichlidrecipe.com/crp22.htm)

30 Gallon Aquariums
6-8 Dwarf Julidochromis, Fairy Neolamprologus, Dwarf Neolamprologus, or Altolamprologus
2 trios of Copadichromis or Aulonocara
6 small/medium schooling fish (Danios, Rasboras, Rainbowfish, etc...)
1 or 2 Dwarf Plecostomus
1 trio Labidochromis
1 trio Cynotilapia or Haplochromis
1 trio Copadichromis or Aulonocara
6 small/medium schooling fish (Danios, Rasboras, Rainbowfish, ect...)
1 or 2 Dwarf Plecostomus
2 trios Dwarf Pseudotropheus
1 trio Cynotilapia
1 trio Melanochromis dialepis (dwarf)
1 trio Haplochromis
1 or 2 Dwarf Plecostomus

The above is cut from the link posted above regarding african cichlid communities. I know that this could sound like a lot, but I have paid special attention to the maximum sizes of all the fish involved.

6 Synodontis petricola,
I love these cats and I'm more interested in them than the cichlids.
Using several websites with maximum lengths from 3.5 to 5.1 inches taking the average of 6 different websites I get a length of slightly larger than 4 inches.

So I guess now I could look at getting a trio of these guys:
Metriclima sp. Mbweca (http://www.reservestockcichlids.com/product.php?productid=198&cat=16&page=1)

Anyone have any experience with Marineland's Bio Spira. I don't really want to add fish that I'm not going to want long term...

10-08-2008, 09:55 PM
In my above post I did go to the home and garden store. I got about 120 pounds of rock for $25. And I managed to fit all of it in the tank. I washed the rock in the dishwasher with no soap or additives. Rocks were hot, but damn clean.

10-08-2008, 10:36 PM
I've heard good reports about Biospira...I'd definitely give it a shot. You should probably do a cycle without fish, as the cichlids need to be added in one go...to avoid more aggression than necessary.

10-09-2008, 01:09 PM
I like the amonia concept presented on this board, but I'm having difficulty finding a "very small" quantity of it. I live in Washington, DC, so you'd think it wouldn't be hard...

10-09-2008, 01:16 PM
you should be able to buy household amonia at your supermarket?