Fishless Aquarium Cycle

how long it took to complete

The following article is written by Chris Cow Ph.D. Organic Chemistry

This is the way to set-up your aquarium - guaranteed. Fishless cycling is much easier and faster then attempting to starting up the nitrogen cycle in the traditional way, I have no doubt. This then is my fishless cycle diary, which happened on 10 Aug - 20 Aug.

The aquarium - 55gal, Eheim 2224. Everything was set-up from scratch - no beneficial bacteria from established tanks was exported, nor was the filter "run in". Test kits were made by "Aquarium Pharmaceuticals". The ammonia had a 10% concentration. Key - Am (Ammonia, NH3); Ni (Nitrite, NO2); Na (Nitrate, NO3), ppm (parts per million) 10 Aug - First test: Am 0ppm. 60 Am drops added

10 Aug - 6 hours later: Am 1.5ppm
11 Aug - 55 drops added.
12 Aug - Am 2.0ppm.
12 Aug - Ni 0.25ppm
12 Aug - 50 drops added
13 Aug - 6 KH - 7.5pH - CO2/plants added.
13 Aug - Am 2.0ppm; Ni 0.25ppm.
13 Aug - 50 drops added.
14 Aug - Ni 0.5ppm; Am 3.0ppm.
14 Aug - Added 30 drops.
15 Aug - 7.3pH (all day)
15 Aug - Am 3.0ppm; Ni 1.0ppm
15 Aug - Added 25 drops.
16 Aug - Am 2.0ppm; Ni 3.0ppm.
16 Aug - Added 20 drops.
17 Aug - Am 1.oppm; Ni 4.0ppm; Na 20ppm.
17 Aug - Added 15 drops.
18 Aug - Am 0.0ppm; Ni 4.0ppm.
18 Aug - Added 15 drops.
19 Aug - Ni 2.0ppm; Na 20ppm.
19 Aug - Added 15 drops.
20 Aug - Am 0.0ppm; Ni 0.0ppm; Na 20ppm

Thats the journal of my fishless cycle, and I was mightily impressed by the efficiency of the method. To test the water quality, I immediately transported 2 Platys and 2 Zebra Danios from another tank. The next day, they had fared excellently and very much enjoyed their new home I think. I then transported 2 adult Angels and a Bristlenose, and bought 4 Otos, 3 Cories (small) and 6 Cardinal Tetras (small). The water conditions were under control, and every new addition has adapted well (apart from one Oto, which has a small case of "Pop-eye" which I'm associating with its stressful journey). Just one week later on - the angels have laid eggs. So this method is sound - so much easier for you and the fish. You may not be able to re-create my exact steps, as the ammonia content solution is very dependant on the water levels, and my solution was obtained from a friend. You may wonder - why did I use such small doses? This is because I had to use a lot of distilled/de-ionised water to get the right water chemistry - I could not afford large (50-70%) water changes like that if the nitrates levels were going to be very high at the end of it. So I added my ammonia in smaller doses - and I think I got that one right.<