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Cycling + vacation = ??
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Danikins
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2012.04.04(Wed)12:44    Post subject: Cycling + vacation = ?? Reply with quote

Hello all.
I've been a member here for almost 6 years but I've been aquarium-less for almost 4! I moved across the country and was unable to take my tanks with me. I missed it!

Anyway, I am finally getting a tank again this weekend. 32 gallons.

I am going away for a week on May 19.

My question is... If I start cycling now, and it's finished by that time, can I leave it without fish and without adding any ammonia for a full week like that? Or would the bacteria in the filter media just die?

Because I don't really want to get fish before I go (cause then I have to find someone to feed them) but I also don't want to wait until after I get back to start cycling.

Any thoughts? Advice?
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.04.04(Wed)15:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start the cycle and while you are away put in a frozen shrimp in a stocking. This will keep feeding the bacteria until you come back.
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Danikins
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Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2012.04.04(Wed)21:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

A frozen shrimp, like food grade? Cooked or raw?

Huh, that sounds so strange, lol. Won't it make the water yucky? If that would work though that would besweet, such an easy solution...
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diademhill
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PostPosted: 2012.04.05(Thu)2:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cooked or raw - doesn't matter.
It won't make the water yukky if you put it in a cloth bag eg a sock or stocking.

Shrimp are the standard bacteria food for cycling in the UK as pure ammonia is hard to find here and they add trace elements which may well help the cycle.
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Danikins
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2012.04.05(Thu)8:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually its funny you should mention that because I'm having a hard time finding it too. I think Walmart might have it but I haven't been able to get there yet.

If for some reason I can't find it, how many shrimp would you need to start a cycle in a 32 gallon? 2 or 3?
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.04.05(Thu)8:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walmart doesn't have pure ammonia... at least none of the ones I've been to have had it.

The only place I was able to find it was, oddly enough, Dollar Tree. I've heard Ace Hardware has it, too.

If I was going to be going on vacation for a week, I'd use the shrimp method. Put it in a nylon stocking and leave it sit! Your cycle will most certainly stall if you're not there to feed pure ammonia to the tank for a full week.
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Danikins
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2012.04.05(Thu)12:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

@nikelodeon
So you think I should just completely do the shrimp method?

I can do that too, doesn't matter to me... But will the shrimp thing take way longer? And how many should I use if I'm using that to cycle?

Also how often should I change out the shrimp, if ever?
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nikelodeon79
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PostPosted: 2012.04.05(Thu)15:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've personally never done the shrimp method but I would assume it would take about the same amount of time.

Diademhill is the person to ask about the specifics of the shrimp method, and I'm sure she'll come back to this thread and give advice. Smile I would think that you wouldn't need to change the shrimp at all. I would put at least a couple in there since it's a 32g tank.
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.04.06(Fri)14:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just put in enough shrimp to give 4ppm ammonia. Try about two guppy sized ones per five gallons.
Put them in a knotted piece of stocking so they don't break up and coat the tank with gunge.
Add a quarter this amount every week or so - it isn't critical.
Check the ammonia a couple of times a week for the first ten days. then start testing for nitrites instead. Once you see nitrites test every other day (or so - not critical) until you see the nitrite reading start to lower. Once nitrites hit zero I like to check the cycle is fully working by doing a 50% water change, adding a full set of shrimp and looking for another spike & drop. You then know the tank is safe for fish.
About a month is pretty standard - can be six weeks but rarely longer.
Carbon in the filter during the cycle will help prevent smells.

You can keep the cycle ticking over by leaving shrimp in until you are ready for fish -you then remove the shrimp, do a near as you can 100% water change. Top up with dechlorinated water and the tank can be stocked.
I prefer to introduce fish steadily rather than all at once as a newly cycled tank is not as stable as a mature tank.
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Danikins
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2012.04.06(Fri)16:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diadem: Thanks!!

The shrimp I have are each about the size of two adult guppies, so 1 per 5 gallons, I'd put 6 for the 32, I guess?

So then, as I add them (a quarter of them? so 1 or 2 at a time) do I leave the original ones in there?

Also yeah I prefer to stock gradually too. I think I'll start with my bottom feeders once I get back in May, then a week or two later add a couple mid-range fish, if I'm sure the tank is stable. Smile

And 6 weeks for the cycle to complete is fine anyway since my vacation will begin and end 6-7 weeks from now! Very Happy
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