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Help! Urgent Fish Tank SetUp Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by _lyds__, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. _lyds__

    _lyds__ PetForums Newbie

    Jan 4, 2020
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    I have wanted a Black moor goldfish for a while now and decided 2020 was the year to get him. I've purchased a good quality 30L tank for him and have filled it with high quality silk plants (so he won't cut his fins) and gravel he won't be able to choke on. I have had the tank for two days now and have had the filter and air stone running, and obviously I dechlorinated the water as soon as I filled the tank (I used tap water) with the API Tap Water Conditioner. I also purchased the API Quick Start, and this is where some of my confusion begins. I knew about having to cycle the tank, but I got some information about naturally cycling and artificially cycling muddled up and I'm worried I've ruined everything! I have placed in a little more than the recommended amount of the starter (I read a blog post of someone who had experimented with it and they said the more the better as it is beneficial nitrifying bacteria), but I also put in some fish food to produce some ammonia to "feed the bacteria", but I don't think I was supposed to do that (I think you only try to add ammonia to a tank you are trying to naturally grow bacteria in). I believe the point of the starter is to put it in and within 2 hours max, add the fish. This is where I need some fish expertise. Now that I have done what I have done, where should I go from here, and when is it safe to put my fish in this tank? Should I let it cycle with the filter running for another week or so? And should I purchase some ammonia remover? Thanks so much!! :)
  2. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 24, 2011
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    Hi. Welcome to pet forums. :)

    First thing first. 30ltr isn't big enough for a Goldfish - not even a Blackmore. They're large fish and big waste producers, so you need a tank that's at least three times the size of you have, and a filter rated for double that.

    Yes, you can cycle the tank with fish food, but you need a lot of it. Put a handful into a sock or the toe of a pair of tights, tie a knot in the other end, and leave it in the water.

    Check ammonia every day. Once it reaches 4ppm, remove the ammonia ball and throw it away. Keep checking the ammonia.

    Once it begins to go down (after a few days), start checking nitrIte (NO2) as well as ammonia. Once ammonia reaches about 0.5 or so, make up a new ammonia ball, and repeat. You'll notice the filter will start to process the ammonia and nitrite quicker and quicker.

    The tank is cycled once you can top up ammonia to 4ppm, and when you test 12hrs later, you get a reading of 0ppm for both ammonia and nitrite.

    Do a 50% water change to bring down nitrate (NO3) before you get the fish,

    The tank will cycle quicker if you raise the temperature to 30°C, but will still tank about 2 weeks.

    Whether or not the QuickStart does anything is anyone's guess. The manufacturer says that it contains millions of bacteria, but those bacteria need oxygen and food to survive. I'm not sure how they get either in a sealed bottle.

    Hope that helps. :)

    PS; as for the ammonia remover - no. You don't need it. It has its uses, but not in a cycling tank. You need the ammonia and nitrite at this stage.
    NaomiM likes this.
  3. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Sep 22, 2012
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    LinznMilly likes this.
  4. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Jan 19, 2014
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    I agree with above. You need a larger tank. There are lots of good value second hand tanks out there. Fancy goldfish grow quickly. Have a look at Magpie's thread on how fast her baby fancies grew....


    See post number 6

    They are also very messy fish so do best with an extra large filter.

    Do you have a water test kit? If not you will need one to determine whether the filter is cycled. I too am not certain whether the filter bacteria boost supplements actually work. I suspect at best they may speed up the process but it will still take several weeks. Either way the bacteria will still need a food source in order to multiply and time to do so.

    Follow instructions for fishless cycling. Most people use pure ammonia as a food source as it is easier. I have done it with fish food and it worked ok but as you are adding slightly different amounts each time as compared to ammonia the water parameter readings can be a bit more variable. Either method ultimately results in a cycled filter so it doesnt really matter overall.

    Well done for going down the fishless cycle route and getting the filter and tank ready before adding fish.
    NaomiM likes this.
  5. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums Senior

    Jul 24, 2018
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    As others have said, your tank won't work for a Goldie. They get so BIG.

    The advice you've had on cycling is excellent, once cycled a 30 litre would be fine for a single Betta, provided you pop a heater in.
    NaomiM likes this.
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